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(506) 2223-1327                     Published Monday, April 15, 2013, in Vol. 13, No. 73               Email us
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Jo Stuart

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Homemade guns pose problem for new firearms law
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Armament officials plan to destroy about 1,000 homemade firearms today, highlighting the black market in the illegal production of guns.

A proposed new firearms and explosives law forbids firearm production in Costa Rica, legal or otherwise. But making an illegal gun is cheap, and technology will make such activities easier.

The destruction of the weapons today will be one of those made-for-television events at the  Dirección General de Armamento in San Antonio de Coronado. Representatives of the Organization of American States will be there, as will court officials.

Homemade guns have not been a big issue among adults because factory-made weapons are so available even for illegal purposes.

The proposed weapons law, No. 18.050, that is in the last stages of approval in the Legislature prohibits anyone under 18 from having a firearm and prohibits anyone younger than 15 from even firing one.

Yet any youngster who wants a gun can easily find instructions on YouTube or other Internet resources. The homemade weapons range from a couple of pieces of tubing to sophisticated semi-automatic devices. The investment can be as low as $7, according to some YouTube videos. Some even use a rubber band as a firing mechanism.

Cheap, homemade weapons are not new. The famous British Sten machine gun of World War II fame was designed to be manufactured with low technology in anticipation of a German invasion of the island.

But there is a new wrinkle. The problem of making homemade guns with 3-D printers has become a matter of public concern, according to Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

Laws mean little if a determined criminal or a hobbyist teen wants to make plastic guns or extra-high capacity magazines, says Hod Lipson, a professor of engineering there and a pioneer in 3-D printing. He added in a university release:

“With a homemade 3-D printer, you can print a gun using ABS plastic, the same material that LEGOS are made out of. You can even use nylon, and that’s pretty tough,” he says. “You won’t be able to make a sniper rifle with a 3-D printer and it won’t shoot 10 rounds a second, but the gun you can make could be dangerous. And a high-capacity magazine is nothing more than a strong plastic box with a spring. It’s trivial to print.”
A random video from YouTube shows the construction of a fairly sophisticated handgun.

There are templates available on the Internet for gun parts.

Costa Rica's proposed weapons law, indeed, most countries' weapons laws, are based on marking and identifying firearms. There even is a network, eTrace, that tracks weapons by serial number. The United States allows hobbyists to build and register their own firearm, but assesses a $200 fee.

The proposed Costa Rican law has no such provision allowing home construction. Even repair shops would be licensed. In fact, except for sportsmen, the law restricts an individual to just one pistol or revolver. Also prohibited is reloading spent shells, knives with blades longer than about 4.75 inches and self-protection sprays of more than 30 grams content, Also prohibited are toys that look like real guns. Air guns delivering a BB bigger than 5.5 millimeters are treated as firearms. The typical Daisy BB is 4.5 millimeters.

The Internet also contains information on converting some toy guns to a firearm.

Penalties in the law range from 6 months to eight years. A citizen has an affirmative responsibility to report violations under penalty of prison.

Some who have testified at the legislature about the weapons bill expressed concern that the tight restrictions might stimulate black market deals.

As has been the case, only expats with permanent residency without condition can obtain the right to carry a weapon. And expats in the bar business will find out that the proposed law requires them to maintain a secure storage area for weapons of customers. Carrying a weapon in a bar or at a mass demonstration and some other locations is prohibited.

The proposed law also prohibits target shooting at informal ranges. A registered and licensed range must be used, it says.

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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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Maduro wins in close vote
over Henrique Capriles

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Election officials in Venezuela say acting President Nicolas Maduro has won the special election to succeed his late predecessor, Hugo Chávez.

The national election authority announced late Sunday that Maduro had narrowly defeated opposition leader Henrique Capriles, winning just 50 percent of all votes cast to Capriles' 49 percent.

Venezuelans gathered in the streets of the capital of Caracas to celebrate the election of Maduro, Chavez's hand-picked successor. The 50-year-old former bus driver and foreign minister began the campaign with a double-digit lead in the polls over Capriles, a 40-year-old state governor who lost decisively to Chávez in last year's presidential election.

But Maduro's lead shrank considerably in the lead-up to Sunday's vote.  Capriles accused Maduro and the Chávez government of doing little to solve Venezuela's economic problems, food shortages and soaring crime rate.

Maduro has pledged to continue what he calls the Chávez revolution, which supporters say used oil wealth to lift millions out of poverty.

Chávez died last month after a two-year battle with cancer.

He was a staunch socialist who was first elected president in 1998. He earned the enmity of the United States and others for such policies as nationalizing major companies and courting world leaders like Cuba's Fidel Castro, Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Libya's Moammar Gadhafi.

The opposition accused him of becoming a dictator, but he was revered by many of Venezuela's poor.
Early election day the voting lines were shorter than expected in some parts of Caracas.  Maduro was counting on a high turnout by the poor to continue the Socialist Party's rule in Venezuela.
Maduro has cast himself as his mentor's son during the campaign, and has promised to continue oil-funded policies that cut poverty from 50 to 29 percent with popular health, education and food programs.
Maria Ortega said she voted for Maduro because that is what President Chávez wanted.
She said Venezuelans have a lot of faith and confidence in  Maduro, and if Chávez put him there it was for a reason.  She adds he did it with all his heart and voters must go with their hearts to support the legacy of Hugo Chávez.
Many voters say they were frustrated with the stagnant economy, the double-digit inflation, chronic power outages, and shortages of food and medicine.  The soaring crime rate is also a major issue for voters.  Venezuela has among the world's highest homicide and kidnapping rates.
Capriles supporter Joselyn Fernández said she was thinking about her young niece when she voted.
She said she does not want her to live in a dictatorship, she is just starting life.  Ms. Fernández said she wants her niece to live and have a good life, so that she can go out on the street with a sense of security and get a good education.
The opposition has complained that Maduro has used the state bureaucracy of nearly 2.7-million workers and government-owned media to unfairly support his campaign.  But the voting process in Venezuela is generally considered fair and impartial.
Election official Juan Martínez said witnesses or observers from each party are on hand at polling stations to make sure there is no voter fraud.
He said the observers were looking to see that voters show the official identification and that it is not a copy or some other paper.
Nearly 19 million people including Venezuelans in Costa Rica were eligible to vote.
Road construction delay
not enough for protesters

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The central government has backed down on a highway concession after protesters dominated the Juan Santamaría day festivities in Alajuela.

Casa Presidencial said late Friday that after a meeting with mayors of the affected cantons, the order to start construction would be delayed.

This is the San José-San Ramón highway where a 2,000 colons toll, about $4, has been predicted. The concession was won by a Brazilian firm, OAS. Those who would use the highway say that it is too much. The toll would be $8 for a trip from San Ramón to San José and return.

Opponents of the concession said over the weekend that they would continue their efforts to have the concession rescinded. They have been meeting to plan additional actions to bring their message to the government.

The central government issues concessions to private firms because it does not have the money for capital projects, despite heavy taxes on vehicle imports and on gasoline and diesel. In exchange for building the road, the contracting firm gets to collect a toll for a specific period of years.

San Ramón book sale
promised to be the biggest

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The Gran Venta de Libros, Costa Rica’s largest used book sale, is back and is bigger than ever.  The third annual event will be more than just a used book sale; it will be a celebration of reading with additional activities scheduled including workshops for children and teachers, and storytelling,   The Community Action Alliance will once again produce this event at the Universidad de Costa Rica regional museum in San Ramón Saturday, April 27, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Last year’s event featured over 7,000 used books, CDs, DVDs, magazines and other educational materials, more than half of which were in Spanish.  Nearly 1,600 people attended from throughout the country. The proceeds from the 2012 event benefited the regional museum and the Hogar Para Ancianos de San Ramón.  The beneficiaries for the 2013 event will be the museum and Escuela Jorge Washington.  Prices for paperback books will be 1,000 colons. Hard-bound books start at 2,000 colons. 

In addition to the new activities, this year’s book sale will help pay for the installation of a 5 kw solar panel electrical system on Escuela Jorge Washington, named after the first president of the United States.  The project is being pursued in support of the efforts of the Fundación San Ramón Carbono Neutral to have San Ramón become the first carbon neutral canton in Costa Rica.  The Carbon Neutral Foundation and the Municipalidad de San Ramón are partners in this project.  It is believed that Escuela Jorge Washington will be one of the first public schools in Costa Rica to install a solar panel system which is projected to reduce the school’s electrical consumption up to 50 percent and save the school up to $100,000 over the life of the system. 

To ensure that the sale is successful, the Community Action Alliance is requesting donations of used books and other educational materials.  Drop off locations have been set up in over 10 locations in San Ramón including the following: the Municipality, the Cruz Roja, the Centro Cultural José Figueres, Café Aromas, and the Regional Museum.  Books can also be dropped in the Central Valley at any of the three locations for the Centro Cultural Costarricense Norteamericano, or at AGECO.   Individuals or institutions with large donations can contact Sergio Di Giancinto to arrange pick up of books at 8680-7914.

More information on the Community Action Alliance and the Book Sale can be found at 

Our reader's opinion
Vietnam vet  is unhappy
with portrayal in column

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I don’t know your reason to have such a low opinion of former military.  When I returned home from Vietnam,  I didn’t experience the humiliation of being spat upon as I entered the terminal, but the disgust that I felt as I read of this happening to my fellow servicemen was overwhelming.  I haven’t felt that emotion in a long time, until I read the column in today’s A.M. Costa Rica.

“There has been a new group of expats coming to Costa Rica. Many may be former military who are in possession of guns,” according to Ms. Stuart.  As a member of the American Legion, I would like to know where these former military members are located so they can attend our meetings.  Are we talking about the former military being in possession of guns?  I don’t know what information this is based upon, but of the number of expats who own guns, the former military, are the ones who are probably the ones who are most knowledgeable in the safe use of firearms.  “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”  You are absolutely right in that!

According to Ms. Stuart, “some of these very people with guns, who probably could be called “rightists” to balance the teeter totter of political equilibrium, are also what are called 'peppers' or survivalists, who have built bunkers and collected provisions and artillery in the peaceful hills and mountains of Costa Rica” Again, I don’t know where you are getting your information.  I have no knowledge of former U.S. military, in Costa Rica, having bunkers in the peaceful hills and mountains but if there are any and they aren’t bothering anyone, why should anyone care?
Most of the veterans, “that is the proper term for those who have fought in wars and conflicts for the United States of America,”  that I know are people with children and grandchildren, and all they want is peace so that their loved ones won’t have to experience the sights, sounds, and sorrows of battle. 

Your use of that wide brush to portray veterans in a bad light is personally repulsive. I don’t have to agree with what you believe and print, but many of my brothers and sisters have defended your right to your opinion, to their death.

Tom Branham
San Jose

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

Costa Rican news feeds are disabled on archived pages.

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From A.M. Costa Rica

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museum exhibit
Here are some of the photos that the Museo Nacional said will be in the exhibit.
Museum honors tropical studies organization for its 50 years
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Organization for Tropical Studies, which runs three research centers in Costa Rica, is celebrating 50 years.

The Museo Nacional has created a photo exhibit to honor the organization.

There are 52 different works, including four sculptures. Photographers are Juan José Pucci, Giuseppe Tarnero, Karla Kruse and Carlos de la Rosa, said the museum, adding that the sculptures are by Jonathan Torres.

Naturally the photos are of outdoors Costa Rica, and they cover
most of the country from the dry northwest to the Parque la Amistad in southeastern Costa Rica.

The organization will be having its annual meeting June 23 to 27 at the Ramada Herradura Convention Center.

The non-profit organization operates the La Selva Biological Station at the northern end of the Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo. The Palo Verde Biological Station is in Parque Nacional Palo Verde in Guanacaste. The Las Cruces Biological Station and the Wilson Botanical Garden are in the south.

The organization provides both undergraduate and graduate academic courses.

Taxing court filings considered to raise money for judiciary
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A large U.S. law firm has a slogan: How much justice can you afford?

That also might be appropriate for the Poder Judicial here which might be the beneficiary of yet another new tax. This time the tax would be levied on those going to court to collect money on a debt.

The nation has a new, faster law on collecting money, and such cases have more than doubled over the last few years. The staff at the Asamblea Legislativa said that there were 856,685 such cases in 2011.

The new tax would be half a percent on the amount claimed in the initial filing. So if a bank sought to collect a debt for
$50,000, the bank's lawyers would have to pay the colon equivalent of $250 up front.  Of course, there is no guarantee that the bank would prevail in the subsequent hearings.

The legislative staff estimated that the tax would have brought in about $8 million in 2010 and about $7.3 million in 2011.

The proposal, No. 17.526, for the tax had been dormant since 2009 when the measure first was put in the legislative hopper. But now there are active hearings before the Comisión Permanente de Asuntos Jurídicos.

The Poder Judicial would use the proceeds to improve services and training, according to a summary.

Testifying last week was Luis Ortiz Zamora, adviser to the Cámara de Bancos e Instituciones Financieras de Costa Rica.

Key highway in north San José to be open fully this morning, transport officials say
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Road officials said that the stretch from the La República intersection in north San Jose to the Río Virilla would be open fully to traffic this morning at 5:30 o'clock.

Passage on the main highway had been limited because of the
work removing exiting concrete and putting down asphalt. This is the main highway to the north and to the Caribbean coast. The work has been a major inconvenience to motorists.

Top officials including Pedro Castro, minister of Obras Pública y Transportes, were expected to be at the highway for the opening.

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 15, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 73
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Another weekend river cleanup
nets 10 bags of plastic trash

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Río Tibás in Heredia is cleaner today because students and residents took to the waterway in yet another effort to keep it clean.

Participating were teachers and students from the Colegio Yurusti and members of the Comité Bandera Azul Ecológica de San Miguel de Santo Domingo

This was the third and last cleanup. In three efforts, some 30 bags of plastic material and other items have been removed from the river. The weekend efforts have been going on since March, said committee members. This week there were 10 bags collected for recycling. Rainy weather will raise the level of the river making further cleanups this year impossible, said the organization.

The river flows into Santa Domingo from San Isidro de Heredia y San Rafael de Heredia where there also are organizations protecting it.

The Comité Bandera Azul Ecológica issued a plea for residents to avoid using the river as a dump. The members also said that those with property near the river should take care that material does not get washed or otherwise enter the river.
Comité Bandera Azul Ecológica de San Miguel photo
Colegio Yurusti do not hesitate to get wet while they collect trash.

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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Christ Howard with Max
retiring in Costa Rica,  and who has personally helped over 10,000 people with ALL BUDGETS relocate SUCCESSFULLY over the last 35 years. CUSTOM TAILOR-MADE TOURS are also available for people with special needs or who can’t take one of our fixed-date tours. ALL tours include EXTENSIVE touring and a highly informative SEMINAR by the country’s most renowned EXPERTS in their respective fields. Also visit: Live in Costa Rica to check out our NEW tour prices and specials.  Customer satisfaction 100% guaranteed! MY REFERENCES.

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A.M. Costa Rica
Real estate rentals
Real estate rental agents
Real estate for rent
Real estate wanted

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

Real estate for rent (paid category)
COMPLETELY and nicely furnished apartments
apartment view
in San José, and one condo in Escazú. Fast Internet, cable TV, hot water. Large American appliances including washer and dryer. Both convenient locations. No pets. $600 per month. Contact: or call 8555-9819.

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

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.

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
Web page:  

Anywhere Costa Rica educates visitors about the numerous 

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

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
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.

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
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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 15, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 73
Real Estate
About us

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Gases beside carbon dioxide
seen trapping world heat

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

There's still time to slow the rising of sea levels around the world, according to a new report from climate scientists, and their strategy does not focus on carbon dioxide.
Carbon dioxide building up in the atmosphere and trapping solar heat over the past century is widely blamed for today's melting glaciers, shrinking ice sheets and rising ocean waters. But other heat-trapping pollutants have a more short-term impact, and the researchers say cutting those emissions could be a more effective way to slow the rate of climate warming and reduce sea-level rise.
They identify methane, tropospheric ozone, hydrofluorocarbons and black carbon as pollutants that could be targeted with technologies that already exist to drastically cut their release. Quickly implementing that strategy could offset warming temperatures by up to 50 percent by 2050, and reduce sea level rise by 22 to 42 percent by the end of the century, the researchers said. Delaying emission cuts would reduce the beneficial impact.
In their report, published in Nature Climate Change, the researchers stress that carbon dioxide is still the most important factor in sea level rise over the long term. But co-author Warren Washington of the National Center for Atmospheric Research notes that "we can make a real difference in the next several decades by reducing other emissions."

Spanish protesters march
seeking end to monarchy

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Thousands of Spanish protesters marched through the streets of the capital, Madrid, to demand the abdication of the monarchy and the return to a democratically-elected government.

Sunday's protest marked the anniversary of the country's last democratically-elected republic, which was overthrown by an army uprising, followed by a civil war and nearly four decades of dictatorship under Gen. Francisco Franco.

King Juan Carlos took over as head of state following Franco's death in 1975 and is credited with steering the country towards a constitutional democracy.

The royal family has come under intense criticism following a series of recent scandals, including last year's controversial elephant hunting trip by the 75-year-old king and a corruption investigation involving his daughter, Princess Christina.

Speedy evolution reported
in a controlled experiment

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A new study challenges the widely held belief that evolutionary changes in living organisms take place slowly, over hundreds, thousands or millions of years.

Researchers have found evidence species can evolve much more quickly when in response to environmental change.

Tim Benton studies how living organisms respond to changes in their environment. In a paper published in Ecology Letters, the professor of biological sciences at the University of Leeds in England examines why marine species, for example, have declined so rapidly in size and number over the past 50 years.

“Is this a response that is due to them having less food or the temperature of the water changing from climate change or is it a response that is due to natural selection working and evolutionary biology happening?” Benton said.

To find out, Benton’s team of researchers conducted a series of laboratory experiments with soil mites, tiny spider-like creatures that, among other things, reproduce rapidly.
“We brought them in from the wild and put them in test tubes, where each test tube maintained about 1,000 individuals in a free running population. Every day, we just put in a little bit of food," he said. "And in some of the populations we took out juveniles and in other populations we harvested adults. And then we just left them to it over about 100 weeks.” 

That’s normally long enough for about 20 generations of soil mites. In their new test tube environments, the tiny creatures competed for food, sex and survival in different ways than they would have in the wild. And in charting the mites’ growth rates, genetics and reproduction over this relatively brief span of time, the scientists observed that natural selection produced significant evolutionary changes. For example, Benton said, the length of time the mites needed to reach adulthood doubled during the course of the experiment.

“Because it is taking them so much longer to grow up, then that means that the population responds to changes in a different way," he said. "Population growth rate is slower, which means that there are very large changes in population dynamics, the way the population size responds to environmental change in itself.”

According to Benton, the mite study suggests there is a powerful interplay between environmental and evolutionary change.

“And one or two more complementary studies like ours in different groups, then people will quite happily accept, I think, the force of evolutionary change in ecological time," he said. "So over a single human life time, 100 years, there are likely to be very large changes and if we don’t start thinking about the evolutionary changes as well as the changes in the environment then the things we put in place to protect the species we want to manage won’t actually work.”

One place where this might have a critical impact is in fisheries management.

"Given that we are harvesting large animals all the time, that’s what we do when we go out fishing," he said. "The phenotypic response that we see in the reduction of size is likely to be an evolutionary response and that’s what we found in our laboratory study. So what that means is, if you stop fishing because your stock is getting depleted and the animals are increasingly smaller and smaller and smaller, there is no necessity that they will be able to recover because you’ve had a hard-wired evolutionary change. So they won’t just be able to spring back.”

There’s no guarantee that they will again grow larger and larger.

Benton added that environmentally-induced evolutionary changes could also have serious implications for other wildlife conservation efforts, as well as for disease and pest control programs.

Comedian Jonathan Winters
left modern stand-up legacy

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Comedian Jonathan Winters, whose manic improvisational genius never seemed to take a rest, has died at the age of 87 after a more than 50-year career in stand-up, on television and in film.

The burly, moon-faced Winters, a major influence on contemporary comedians like Robin Williams and Steve Martin, died Thursday of natural causes at his Montecito, California,  home, surrounded by family and friends, said long-time family friend Joe Petro III.

Winters had standout roles in 1960s comedy films "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" and "The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming."

He also made regular appearances on "The Tonight Show" with hosts Jack Paar and then Johnny Carson, and had his own TV shows "The Jonathan Winters Show" and "The Wacky World of Jonathan Winters" in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Winters' outlandish riffing style and repertoire of madcap characters made him a leading stand-up performer in the late 1950s but the pressure of being on the road led to a mental breakdown in 1959. He spent time in mental hospitals and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Winters was a comedian who rebelled against telling jokes and entertained in a stream-of-consciousness style that could veer into the surreal.

"Most of us see things three-dimensionally," Robert Morse, who starred with Winters in the 1965 movie "The Loved One," once told The New York Times. "I think Jonny sees things 59-dimensionally. Give me a hairbrush and I see a hairbrush. Give Jonny a hairbrush and it will be a dozen funny things."

Steve Martin said on Twitter Friday: "Goodbye, Jonathan Winters. You were not only one of the greats, but one of the great greats."

His characters included Maudie Frickert, the salty old lady with a razor for a tongue, and Elwood P. Suggins, the drawling overall-clad hick who "was fire chief a while back until they found out who was setting the fires."

Winters joined the U.S. Marine Corps at 17 and fought in the Pacific during World War II. After the war he returned to his native Ohio, attended art school and married Eileen Schauder.

At her urging he entered a talent contest, which led to a show on a Dayton radio station on which he would create characters and interview them using two voices.

Winters moved to New York and with his many impressions, facial expressions and sound effects, quickly made a reputation in the city's stand-up comedy clubs, leading to high-profile appearances on television variety shows.

Winters' career derailed in 1959 when he began crying on stage at a nightclub in San Francisco. He was later taken into custody by police who found him climbing the rigging of a sailboat, saying he was from outer space.   Wrung out from the solitude of the road and stress of performance, Winters spent eight months in a mental facility.

Winters once admitted he felt the need to be on at all times, staying on the set after filming was done to entertain the crew, breaking into characters to amuse strangers on an elevator or joking with customers in a store.

"I was the class clown," Winters told The New York Times in recalling his high school days. "Other guys had more security, steady dates and all that. I didn't. The only thing that kept me together was my comedy."

In 1981 Winters was cast in the sitcom "Mork and Mindy," teaming him with Williams, an ardent admirer whose gift for off-the-wall improvisation made him the Jonathan Winters of his generation.

Winters won an Emmy in 1991 for his work on the short-lived sitcom "Davis Rules" and was given the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 1999.

Recent work included providing the voice of Papa Smurf in the 2011 live action "The Smurfs" movie, and a sequel due for release in July.

His wife Eileen, with whom he had two children, died in 2009 of breast cancer.

Hopi masks auctioned
despite strong protests

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

An auction of ancient masks revered as sacred by a Native American tribe fetched more than 750,000 euros on Friday, disappointing prominent opponents of the sale after a French court ruled it should go ahead.

The Hopi tribe of northeastern Arizona and supporters including the U.S. ambassador to France and actor Robert Redford had urged the Paris auction house to suspend the sale due to the masks' cultural and religious significance.

But the court rejected a motion from the tribe and Survival International, a non-government group representing its interests, arguing that it could only intervene to protect human remains or living beings.

The auction went ahead in front of a standing-room only crowd, raising about 752,000 euros ($984,500) in pre-tax proceeds as collectors snapped up dozens of lots in a sale that lasted more than two hours.

The most expensive, a crow-mother mask, went for 160,000 euros.

A buyer who acquired four masks said he was delighted to be adding to his collection of Hopi artifacts.

"One day I might give some back,'' said the collector, who declined to be identified. "But if it had not been for collectors in the 19th century who contributed to the field of ethnology, there would be very little knowledge of the Hopi."

Some disagreed. A man with Hopi origins studying in France was kicked out of the auction room for interrupting the sale with an angry speech. Several people trying to take photographs were also removed.

"We have lots of art that can be shared with other cultures, but not these,'' said Bo Lomahquahu, 25. "Children aren't even supposed to see them.''

The Neret-Minet, Tessier and Sarrou auctioneers said their collection of masks, priced between $2,000 and $32,000 apiece, was assembled by an amateur with assured taste' who lived in the United States for three decades.

A spokeswoman for the auctioneers was not immediately available for comment.

"This decision is very disappointing,'' said Pierre Servan-Schreiber, the lawyer for Survival International, a London-based advocacy group. "Not everything is necessarily up for sale or purchase, and we need to be careful.''

A chorus of opponents had weighed in on the dispute, arguing the Paris auction house should provide legal justification for selling the masks.

"To auction these would be in my opinion a sacrilege, a criminal gesture that contains grave moral repercussions,'' Robert Redford wrote in an open letter.

The U.S. ambassador to France, Charles Rivkin, had urged the auctioneers to reconsider, saying in a statement late Thursday: "A delay would allow the creators of these sacred objects the chance to determine their possible rights.''

Rivkin, who said that the auction house had yet to provide the Hopi Tribe with essential information about the objects, voiced his dismay in a Twitter message.

"I am saddened to learn that the sacred Hopi cultural objects are being put out to auction in Paris today," he wrote.

The tribe's legal advocates had sued the auctioneers at the Drouot-Richelieu auction house in central Paris on grounds that auctioning the masks would cause the Hopi profound hurt and distress.

Lawyer Quentin de Margerie bought mask 13, a design which mocks tourists, on behalf of Servan-Schreiber to give to the Hopi. He said few of the collectors understood the significance of the artifacts they were buying.

"It's a symbolic choice,'' de Margerie said. "What the Hopi have said about this auction is that people don't understand their culture.''

Integrated approach planned
against two diseases of kids

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The World Health Organization and U.N. Children's Fund are unveiling a new strategy to end preventable child deaths from pneumonia and diarrhea by 2025.  The agencies say this new plan of action potentially could save the lives of up to two million young children each year.

Pneumonia and diarrhea are two leading killers of children.  Together, they account for nearly one-third of all the deaths of children under 5 years old in developing countries.  Nearly 90 percent of the two million annual child deaths from these two diseases occur in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
Health agencies say children are dying from these preventable diseases because effective interventions are not reaching them or are not being provided equitably across all communities. 
Elizabeth Mason, director of the World Health Organization's Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health, says pneumonia and diarrhea are currently treated separately.  She says evidence from countries such as Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Tanzania show it makes good health and economic sense to tackle these diseases together.
She says many factors contribute to pneumonia or diarrhea, so no single intervention can effectively prevent, treat or control these two conditions.  She says the new approach involves putting the known interventions into one comprehensive, integrated package.
“Current interventions, such as exclusive breast-feeding, good under-5 good nutrition for children, hand washing, safe drinking water, improved cook stoves, environmental pollution, zinc, oral rehydration solution, antibiotics, such as amoxicillin, vitamin A, and vaccination need correct and consistent and sustained use,” said Ms. Mason.
Vaccines against pneumonia and diarrhea are not affordable in many developing countries.  The GAVI Alliance, a public-private partnership, provides funding that increases access to immunization in developing countries.
To date, GAVI has helped 24 poor countries immunize 13 million children with pneumococcal vaccines to prevent pneumonia and 13 countries with rotavirus vaccines to immunize five million children against diarrhea. 
GAVI welcomed the integrated global action plan and says it hopes to accelerate affordable access to these life-saving vaccines by developing countries.
Ms. Mason said she believes the targets set by the new integrated approach for ending preventable child deaths from pneumonia and diarrhea by 2025 are achievable.

Real estate-related services (paid category)

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English-speaking team of lawyers, translators and other experts will help and guide you to make the right decision. Complete support including legal research and accurate description of all documents. Legal support all through the process. Cell: (506) 8919-4545 (English)


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The undiscovered jewel of Central America, 35 square miles of blue, pristine, clear water ideal for fishing, swimming, boating, Real estate values still low.
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Costa Rica real estate
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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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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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:

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

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The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2013 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 15, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 73
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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

Ministerio de Gobernación. Policía
y Seguridad Pública photo
Policía de Fronteras confiscated this load of medicines from Nicaragua at the Peñas Blancas border crossing. No one claimed ownership of the bags and a box after police expressed an interest.

Rules on rebar delayed,
and builders unhappy

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The construction industry is asking the government to enact technical regulations relating to rebar.

Rebar are the long pieces of metal that add strength to concrete construction. The Cámara de Industrias de Costa Rica said the government has postponed for a month issuing the regulations and that the consumer deserves to know that the material in use is high quality.

The rebar also affords protection against earthquakes.

The regulations are under the auspices of the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio. The regulations were worked out since 2011 and comply with international standards, said the chamber. They were supposed to go into effect Thursday, but the ministry issued a delay.

Intruder stabs man
in Escazú confrontation

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial investigators said that an Escazú man suffered critical stab wounds administered by someone who entered the victim's home.

The victim was identified by the last name of Flores. The intruder stabbed him several times in the abdomen and then fled about 6 p.m. Saturday, said agents.

Flores was being treated at Hospital San Juan de Dios.

China not manipulating yuan,
Treasury Department reports

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United States has determined that China is not manipulating the value of its currency, which has been a major complaint by the Obama administration.

The Treasury Department said in its twice yearly report to Congress Friday that China has taken a series of steps to liberalize currency controls and peg the value of the yuan to a more market-determined exchange rate.

But the report also says the yuan is still significantly undervalued and that the Chinese economy, as well as others in Asia, need a more flexible exchange rate and transparency.

The Obama administration and many in Congress have accused China of deliberately manipulating the value of the yuan against the U.S. dollar. This makes U.S. goods too expensive on the world markets compared to Chinese exports.

China has always denied currency manipulating.

The Treasury report also calls on Japan to refrain from what it calls "competitive devaluation" of its currency.

Costa Rican News
Retire NOW in Costa Rica

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