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(506) 2223-1327                    Published Monday, April 22, 2013, in Vol. 13, No. 78               Email us
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Jo Stuart
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Blue skies can help expats from feeling too blue
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Gray days like Sunday may have more impact on mental state than most expats believe.

There is not a lot of research from tropical sources on the effect of weather on the brain, even though the rainy season and gloomy days are part of life here.

But elsewhere researchers have linked something called seasonal affective disorder to 7 percent or more of the population.

The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional said Sunday that this week will see weather than represents the transition into the rainy season. Hot mornings will give way to gathering clouds and downpours in the afternoon.  Today the heaviest rain will be in the central and south Pacific, the institute said. That is because the rainy season is moving from south to north.

Costa Ricans know that this is the time to get up early and enjoy the morning sun. They may not realize it, but they are self-medicating.

The Seasonal Affective Disorder Association in the United Kingdom estimates that about 7 percent of the population suffers from winter depression from September to April there. The association claims 900 members.

Most of the research has been done in areas where
there is winter weather. The condition used to be known as cabin fever.

The symptoms include sleep disturbances, a tendency to overeat, lethargy and depression, said the association.

Researchers at Columbia University in New York said that short days, winter skies and shadows of sunlight not only make humans blue, limiting the amount of sunlight in their life may also affect how their brains work, they said. Investigators used weather data from satellites to measure sunlight exposure around the United States and linked this data to cognitive function in depressed people.
Cognitive function of the brain describes how a person thinks and was assessed by measurement of short-term recall and how aware one was of where they were and what time it was, called temporal orientation.

Light has been shown to regulate the hormones serotonin and melatonin as well as affect brain blood flow. Brain blood flow is in turn linked to how well a person thinks, they noted.

Some expats, of course, have a tendency to magnify the situation by making the gray late afternoons a time for alcoholic excess.

The government is aware of the effects of sunlight, too. In part, that's why the official workday is from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Scientists building network to track sea level rise
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Scientists are trying to get accurate figures on how fast the sea level is rising along the Caribbean coast. A new platform has been erected at Bocas del Toro to keep track of the levels. But first scientists had to establish that the sea floor was not sinking. So they set up concrete benchmarks on shore.

This is a project of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The institute has a research station at Bocas de Toro on Almirante Bay just south of eastern Costa Rica.

The speed and amount of sea level rise is critical for government and personal planning. Because the Earth is warming, scientists expect the sea to rise about a meter and a half by the end of the century. That's about 59 inches. The sea level has risen about 200 feet since the end of the last ice age when large quantities of water were locked up in the ice.

There already was a platform with scientific instruments in the bay, but the research team constructed a replacement. The effort is part of a $100,000 research program paid for by a Smithsonian grant. Eventually the Panamá site will be connected electronically with other measuring stations operated by the Smithsonian, the institute said.
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute/Sergio Dos Santos
This is the new platform at Bocas del Toro

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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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Legal services



Official English/Spanish translator and interpreter
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Judicial Investigating Organization photo
Agents check out car parts in Palmares

Junk yard operators provide
firm link to home invaders

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Investigators have a good lead to the identities of a gang of home invaders because they have found vehicles stolen in three such crimes.

Agents tracked a Mitsubishi that was robbed during a home invasion last April 11. The vehicle ended up at a junk yard in  Buenos Aires de Palmares, where a surveillance was set up.  However, agents said that the operators of the junk yard realized they were being watched and they tried to ditch the vehicle in a nearby coffee plantation.

A subsequent raid turned up two more vehicles that had been reported in such home robberies, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

The April 11 home invasion was in Hacienda Vieja de Orotina where three masked men broke into the home and threatened the occupants before taking valuables and the vehicle.

Home invasions appear to be the crime of choice now because there is seldom any resistance and crooks get to loot entire homes.

The junk yard operators are not being charged with being part of the robbery. They face allegations of receiving stolen goods. Agents certainly will ask them where they obtained the vehicles.

Agents recovered the Mitsubishi, which only had a radio missing.

May Day parade is open
to anyone who has a gripe

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Anyone with a gripe has the chance to express that view May 1 for the annual May Day workers' parade.

Already unions are prepared to protest a 5 percent increase in the pay of lawmakers. The increase is 163,113 colons, about $330 a month. The increase is based on a 1995 law.

At the same time workers will be protesting the revelation that more than 1,000 high government officials receive more than 5 million colons a month salary. That is at least $10,000. The Asociación Nacional de Empleados Públicos y Privados
 said that this was learned about the same time government officials were discussing even more tax proposals.

Not just union members will be protesting the cost of living. Certainly residents who live on the proposed highway route to San Ramón will be out in force. This is the same group that conducted a protest at the April 11 Juan Santamaría day celebration in Alajuela.

They are calling for the government to annul a concession agreement with a Brazilian firm because the company wants to charge a 2,000-colon toll when the job is done. That is about $4 each way. The central government appears to be waffling on the contract.

Disabled residents will participate May 1, too, They have announced that they are seeking more consideration.

Then there is the government's gag law. This is the law that established state secrets and provides prison terms for those who disclose them. Many news organizations protested when they finally realized what was passed, and the government quickly moved to have some amendments approved. But not everyone is happy. And the law does not just cover news people even though the government seems to have made a deal with the Colegio de Periodismo, the journalistic professional organization.

Corruption is a big issue, and there will be a large contingent including students, who will be carrying signs protesting that. The roadway along the Río San Juan has resulted in a number of investigations. But there also are those who believe that the San Ramón highway concession was motivated by something other than public spirit.

Then there is the Las Crucita mine and the threat by the Canadian Infinito Gold Ltd. to take Costa Rica to international arbitration to the tune of $1 billion. There are strong opponents to open pit gold mining who will march against Infinito.

Local gold miners will be protesting, too. The Parque Nacional Corcovado on the Osa peninsula has placer deposits that have been worked by residents for years. But now that the land is incorporated into a national park, placer mining or panning is illegal.

The Fuerza Pública and park rangers swept the area last week looking for illegal miners.

But those who used to earn their living panning for gold are seeking compensation for the ban.

No firm action is likely to come from the May Day march, but the protests provide solidarity for union members and give the country a platform to outline grievances.

Meanwhile, the day is also when the legislature elects or reelects its leadership.  And President Laura Chinchilla will deliver her state of the country address that night.

Police will march today

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police officers from a handful of agencies are protesting their pay this morning, and that means traffic downtown probably will be tied up.

The police plan a march from Parque Central to the legislature. So Avenida Segunda and Avenida Primera south of the legislature will be blocked at least for the morning.

Superstorm Sandy generated
seismic waves through U.S.

By the University of Utah news service

When superstorm Sandy turned and took aim at New York City and Long Island last October, ocean waves hitting each other and the shore rattled the sea floor and much of the United States. The shaking was detected by seismometers across the country, University of Utah researchers found.

“We detected seismic waves created by the oceans waves both hitting the East Coast and smashing into each other,” with the most intense seismic activity recorded when Sandy turned toward Long Island, New York and New Jersey, says Keith Koper, director of the University of Utah seismograph stations.

“We were able to track the hurricane by looking at the microseisms  generated by Sandy,” says Oner Sufri, a University of Utah geology and geophysics doctoral student and first author of the study with Koper. “As the storm turned west-northwest, the seismometers lit up.” Microseisms are relatively small seismic waves.

There is no magnitude scale for the microseisms generated by Sandy, but Koper says they range from roughly 2 to 3 on a quake magnitude scale. The conversion is difficult because earthquakes pack a quick punch, while storms unleash their energy for many hours.

The shaking was caused partly by waves hitting the East Coast, but much more by waves colliding with other waves in the ocean, setting up “standing waves” that reach the sea floor and transmit energy to it, Sufri and Koper say.

While many people may not realize it, earthquakes are not the only events that generate seismic waves. So do mining and mine collapses; storm winds, waves and tornadoes; traffic, construction and other urban activities and meteors hitting Earth.

“They are not earthquakes; they are seismic waves,” says Koper, a seismologist and associate professor of geology and geophysics. “Seismic waves can be created by a range of causes. … We have beautiful seismic records of the meteor that hit Russia. That’s not an earthquake, but it created ground motion.”

While Sandy’s seismicity may be news to many, Koper says microseisms just as strong were detected before and after the superstorm from North Pacific and North Atlantic storms that never hit land but created “serious ocean wave action.”

Koper adds: “Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was recorded by a seismic array in California, and they could track the path of the storm remotely using seismometers.”

In a related study Koper and geophysics undergraduate student Yeou Hui Wong found preliminary evidence that seismometers near Utah’s Great Salt Lake are picking up seismic waves generated either by waves or winds on the lake.

Koper says researchers wonder if microseisms from storms and other causes might trigger tiny but real earthquakes, but “that hasn’t been investigated yet,” he says.

The microseisms generated by Sandy were detected by Earthscope, a National Science Foundation-funded array of about 500 portable seismometers that were first placed in California in 2004 and have been leapfrogging eastward so that most now are located east of a line running from Minnesota to east Texas, and west of a line from Lake Erie to Florida. Some remain scattered across the Midwest and West, with a heavier concentration in the Pacific Northwest.

Earthscope’s purpose is to use seismic waves from quakes and other sources to make images of Earth’s crust and upper mantle beneath North America, similar to how X-rays are used to make CT scans of the human body. To do it accurately, scientists must understand all sources of seismic waves.

Sufri says the new study included Earthscope data from Oct. 18 to Nov. 3, 2012, “which coincides with the passage of Hurricane Sandy, and we tried to understand microseisms that were generated.”

Sandy caused a damaging storm surge due to its size, almost 1,100 miles in diameter for tropical-storm-force winds, more than its intensity, which was 3 when it hit Cuba and 2 off the Northeast coast.

“The energy generated by Sandy is going to be used to image the crust and upper mantle under North America,” says Koper, noting that Earthscope uses years of seismic data to construct images. “We are using seismic waves created by ocean waves to make images of the continent.”

Normal ocean waves decay with depth very quickly, says Koper. But when Sandy turned, there was a sudden increase in waves hitting waves to create standing waves like those created by two pebbles thrown into a pond and the ripples intersect. “Pressure generated by standing waves remains significant at the sea floor,” he says.

“When Sandy made that turn to the northwest, although wind speeds didn’t get dramatically bigger, the seismic energy that was created got tremendously bigger because the ocean’s standing waves were larger from the wave-wave interaction,” he adds.

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 summaries are disabled
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Washing the smoke doesn't make it safe, researchers report
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A few of those hookahs that are on sale at malls and specialty shops in Costa Rica might even be used for smoking tobacco.

That would be a bad idea, according to a new report.

Smoking tobacco through a hookah is a pastime gaining popularity among the college crowd, but many mistakenly believe that using the fragrant water pipe is less harmful than smoking cigarettes, according to researchers at the University of California at San Francisco.

The researchers measure the chemicals in the blood and other body fluids and concluded that hookah smoke contains a different but still harmful mix of toxins, said the university. The findings are published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

The hookah, a Middle Eastern device, draws the smoke from a burning substance through water or wine. Users inhale the smoke via an individual flexible tube. More than one person can partake at the same time.

Glass bowl hookahs are preferred because some smokers claim that metal containers impart a metallic taste to the smoke.

Probably the bulk of hookahs sold in Costa Rica are used for smoking something other than tobacco. And that has some health risks. too.

“People want to know if it is a lesser health risk if they switch from cigarettes to smoking a water pipe on a daily basis,”  said Peyton Jacob II, a university of San Francisco research chemist. “We found that water-pipe smoking is not a

safe alternative to cigarette smoking, nor is it likely to be an effective harm-reduction strategy.” He was quoted in a university release.

And compared to non-smokers, according to his colleague Neal Benowitz, “If you are smoking from a hookah daily, you are likely to be at increased risk for cancer.”

A 2009 survey found that three in 10 university students had smoked tobacco from a water pipe on at least one occasion.

Despite tougher restrictions on smoking, the devices are on sale in every mall in the Central Valley, purportedly for tobacco.

U.S. Human rights report overlooks some key expat issues
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The U.S. Department of State has issued another report outlining the state of human rights around the world. The section on Costa Rica holds no surprises for anyone who is a daily newspaper reader.

There is little of issues affecting U.S. expats, except perhaps criticism on how Costa Rica handles parent child abduction cases. The report makes no mention of the many property thefts that victimize Costa Ricans and expats. Nor is there any mention of restriction of the right to have firearms for self protection or even the prohibition of any foreigner without an approved form of residence from getting a driver's license.

Basically the report echos a fill-in-the-blanks form that the State Department asks workers at the embassy to complete each year.

Regarding Costa Rica, the report said that the principal human rights abuses reported during 2012 included harsh prison conditions and treatment, delays in the criminal judicial process, and domestic violence against women and children.

Other human rights problems included trafficking in persons, commercial sexual exploitation of minors, and discrimination based on sexual orientation, the report said.

Without giving specifics, the report said that sex tourism still was a problem.

There were these other summaries:

• The Ombudsman’s Office recorded 187 complaints of police abuse, arbitrary detention, torture, and other inhumane or degrading treatment, and cited as an example a complaint by a club owner of aggression and homophobic behavior after uniformed and municipal police conducted a raid.

• The prison population increased and exceeded designed capacity by 30 to 100 percent depending on the section and facility.

* As of July 31, there were 3,357 persons in pretrial detention, constituting approximately 12 percent of the prison population.

•  In 2011 approximately 237,000 criminal complaints were filed with the judicial branch, of which 4 percent (10,997 cases) went to trial with a conviction rate of 64 percent, according to the statistics office of the Poder Judicial.

• Traditional attitudes and the inclination to treat sexual and psychological abuse as misdemeanors hampered legal proceedings against those who committed crimes against children.

• The native communities of Térraba, Curré, and Boruca were concerned about the social, cultural, and environmental impact of the development of the Diquis hydroelectric dam project.

• While the labor and health ministries shared responsibility for drafting and enforcing occupational health and safety standards, they did not enforce these standards effectively in the formal or informal sectors.

The report noted that the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled against Costa Rica in December for its ban on in vitro fertilization. The issue had been raised by a handful of would-be parents. The country is still trying to respond to the ruling.

The report also notes that Evangelical legislator Justo Orozco had been named to chair the legislative rights committee even though he is an opponent of gay rights and that the committee subsequently rejected a  civil partnership proposal.

The country is a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, and the report cited a separate document that said there was just one pending case of parental abduction, although it gave no names.

The report, which was released Friday, also noted that the Sala IV constitutional court had watered down the impact of the Hague convention by ruling in another case that courts hearing Abduction Convention petitions must consider the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other legislation to determine the best interests of children.

The Hague Convention basically says that the court originally involved in a child custody case continues to have jurisdiction. Frequently individuals hunt for a favorable venue and abduct their non-custodial child to that state or country. This happens several times a year in Costa Rica, and Costa Rican courts are reluctant to give up jurisdiction, despite what the treaty says.

The report also noted that the legislature had passed and President Laura Chinchilla had signed a law to criminalize any individual trying to obtain inappropriately secret political information. This is the law that has been heavily criticized by newspeople in Costa Rica because they see it as a way to keep unfavorable news stories out of print. The legislature just passed an update of this law.

Some newspeople said they thought the central government backs this gag law because of revelations of corruption and poor construction of the roadway that borders the Río San Juan in the northern part of the county.

The report noted that there are allegations of bribery surrounding the work and that two highway department inspectors are under investigation.  There also have been resignations. The issue is one of several major scandals facing the Chinchilla administration.

Much of the report is based on 2011 figures, the year when 2010 census data was released, and not those of 2012.

Del Rey Hotel

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 22, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 78
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Officials suspect there were other planned bomb targets in Boston area
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The surviving suspect in last week’s Boston marathon bombing remains hospitalized and unable to speak.  A law enforcement official says other attacks might have been carried out had Dzhokhar Tsarnaev not been apprehended and his brother Tamerlan not been killed. 
Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis says the suspects had weapons and explosive devices and likely were planning attacks beyond the marathon bombing.
“We have reason to believe, based upon the evidence found at that scene - the ordinance that was unexploded and the firepower that they had - that they were going to attack other individuals," he said.
Davis spoke on the CBS television program Face the Nation.  He gave an update on Tsarnaev’s condition.
“He is in serious, but stable condition.  And we have not been able to interrogate him at this point in time.  There is a special FBI interview team that is coming up to talk to him," he said.
The police commissioner said many questions remain unanswered, including the motive for the attack.  Some Republican lawmakers have suggested Tsarnaev be tried as an enemy combatant. But not the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Rogers.
“He is a citizen of the United States.  I think that brings all the protections of the U.S. Constitution," he said.
But appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press program, Rogers argued that interrogators delay advising the suspect of his constitutional right to remain silent and be afforded legal counsel to make it easier to collect information vital to public safety.
“I do believe that the FBI has a period of time to try to determine what threats there are today.  We do not know if there are other devices.  We do not know if there are other people," he said.
Also appearing on CBS, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said Bostonians are returning to their usual routines.  He said it is vital that events like the Boston marathon go forward and that Americans not succumb to fear.

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

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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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Rare birds in abundance. Includes,  One  double bed and refrigerator, stove, juicer, sofa, tables,  dishes, pans, etc.  Plus, electric, (hot) water   Phone, TV connected, Internet cable connected, garbage and gardener. All included for $425. /month.  Looking for one good person, reliable, long-term.    Non-smoker.

Manuel Antonio long term apartment for rent
This modern two-bedroom apartment with a breathtaking view of the Quepos town and the Pacific Ocean is situated near Manuel Antonio National Park and beaches. The location offers a unique experience in the edge of the jungle, where you can observe wildlife. The apartment has two separate bedrooms and sleeps three guests maximum. The bathroom has a walk-in shower and a toilette. The living room is furnished with very comfortable furniture. The kitchen is fully equipped. Public transports like taxis, bus station, port as well as shops, groceries, restaurants, cafes, bars, and nightlife are within a very short distance. Fully furnished, all bills included (water, electricity, cable tv, wireless internet), $575 per month, 6-month minimum. Contact us now!!! 8853-8245. or see our
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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 
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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
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Palacio condo
Beautiful 2-bedroom, 2-bath modern condo for rent.
(Only 6 years old).
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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!
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A.M. Costa Rica's
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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 22, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 78
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Gold nanoparticles found
to have negative effects

By the Stony Brook University news staff

New research reveals that pure gold nanoparticles found in everyday items such as personal care products, as well as drug delivery, MRI contrast agents and solar cells can inhibit fat storage and lead to accelerated aging and wrinkling, slowed wound healing and the onset of diabetes.

The researchers, led by Tatsiana Mironava, a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Molecular Engineering at Stony Brook University, detail their research, “Gold nanoparticles cellular toxicity and recovery: Adipose Derived Stromal cells,” in the journal Nanotoxicology.

Together with co-author Marcia Simon, professor of oral biology and pathology at Stony Brook University, the researchers tested the impact of nanoparticles in vitro on multiple types of cells, including fat tissue, to determine whether their basic functions were disrupted when exposed to very low doses of nanoparticles. Subcutaneous fat or adipose tissue acts as insulation from heat and cold, functions as a reserve of nutrients, and is found around internal organs for padding, in yellow bone marrow and in breast tissue.

They discovered that the human adipose-derived stromal cells – a type of adult stem cells – were penetrated by the gold nanoparticles almost instantly and that the particles accumulated in the cells with no obvious pathway for elimination. The presence of the particles disrupted multiple cell functions, such as movement, cell division and collagen contraction, processes that are essential in wound healing.

According to the researchers, the most disturbing finding was that the particles interfered with genetic regulation, RNA expression and inhibited the ability to differentiate into mature adipocytes or fat cells. “Reductions caused by gold nanoparticles can result in systemic changes to the body,” said Professor Mironava. “Since they have been considered inert and essentially harmless, it was assumed that pure gold nanoparticles would also be safe. Evidence to the contrary is beginning to emerge.”

This study is also the first to demonstrate the impact of nanoparticles on adult stem cells, which are the cells the human body uses for continual organ regeneration. It revealed that adipose derived stromal cells involved in regeneration of multiple organs, including skin, nerve, bone, and hair, ignored appropriate cues and failed to differentiate when exposed to nanoparticles. The presence of gold nanoparticles also reduced adiponectin, a protein involved in regulating glucose levels and fatty acid breakdown, which helps to regulate metabolism.

Betty Friedan feminist book
marks its 50th birthday

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Fifty years ago, a book by Betty Friedan sparked a national conversation about gender roles, launching a movement to empower women both at home and in the workplace.

Over the past five decades, "The Feminine Mystique" sold more than 3 million copies, and inspired millions of women to fight for their rights.

In 1957, Ms. Friedan conducted a survey of her college classmates for their 15th reunion.

Many of these well-educated and well-off women said they were unhappy being housewives, even though many had homes in the suburbs, children and bread-winning husbands.

Ms. Friedan went on to talk with other women about their lives, and how they were portrayed in media.

She originally intended to publish an article, but no magazine accepted it. So she published a book instead: "The Feminine Mystique."

Stephanie Ortoleva, a feminist and human rights activist, read the book in the 1970s, when she was in law school. She still remembers Ms. Friedan’s words, “...why should women accept this picture of half-life, instead of a share in the whole of human destiny?”

“It broke ground that hadn’t broken before," Ms. Ortoleva said. "It also really raised very important issues about objectification of women and dressing us up, making us become sort of playthings as opposed to presenting images of women as strong and powerful people.”

She feels Ms. Friedan’s arguments spoke to her generation, especially when she was studying law.

“Even though my law school was somewhat progressive and that we had a very large class of women," Ms. Ortoleva said, "but still, most of our professors were men and that’s why we all decided to sit in the front row of the classroom so no professor could ignore us.”

Ms. Ortoleva said she believes the women’s movement has made significant strides since then.

“Women are being involved in some professions that were barred from being engaged in previously," she said. "We’re making some political progress. We're making progress on reproductive health. Economic equality is getting better.”

Susan Mottet is president of the Washington, D.C., chapter of the National Organization for Women, which Ms. Friedan helped found in 1966. She says the younger generation of feminists has made its own contribution.

“We still use the political process, getting the right people elected," Ms. Mottet said. "But certainly, and this is something the younger generation of men and women within the movement have helped with, is new ways to engage media, really engaging social media to get your perspective out there.”

Although Ms. Mottet said she believes there is still a ways to go before women are truly treated equally in America, many in the younger generation don't feel the need to get involved.

Katayoun Kishi, a 23-year-old graduate student, and her friends don't consider themselves feminists, although they are aware of what the women’s movement has achieved.

“I think that we are resting on the laurels of the feminists that came before us, that we’re living the lifestyles that we’ve been afforded by them," Ms. Kishi said. "That's maybe why we don't feel the need to be out there marching, because we're not feeling the same discrimination they felt before us.”

For Ms. Ortoleva, that doesn't mean the women’s movement is no longer relevant, in the U.S. or around the world.

“I work with a feminist in Colombia. I work with feminists in Egypt, Japan, South Korea," she said. "I think it’s very much of a global movement. There are serious challenges, whether it’s the persistent rapes in India, whether it’s the forced sterilization of either women with disabilities or Roma women in Eastern Europe. That’s why we talk about global feminism.”

There are different concerns, but the goal remains the same: equality and justice for women and men.

Rescuers seeking to reach
isolated Chinese victims

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire service

Search and rescue teams are struggling to reach remote areas of China's Sichuan province, where a powerful earthquake has killed more than 200 people and injured more than 11,000.

After the quake Saturday morning, state media said hard-hit parts of Lushan were not reachable by road, with phone services cut off. China's official Xinhua news agency said the quake also rattled buildings in the provincial capital, Chengdu, 115 kilometers to the east.

Numerous aftershocks have struck the area.

Xinhua says rescue workers on Sunday saved nine villagers trapped in the mountainous Lushan.

Those rescued were all elderly and children, with the eldest being 85 years old and the youngest only 2.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited the West China Hospital, a leading medical facility in Chengdu, which has taken in a number of seriously injured patients who had been transferred from the quake-hit areas.

President Xi Jinping has ordered all-out measures to rescue victims and minimize casualties following the disaster.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the 6.6-magnitude quake occurred at a shallow depth of just 13 kilometers.

The incident brings back painful memories for Sichuan, which suffered a 2008 earthquake that killed more than 70,000 people.

Top financial leaders
are more optimistic now

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire service

Despite an uneven recovery between advanced and developing economies, the heads of both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund say the global financial crisis has eased substantially. But these global lending institutions say member countries must do more to spark sustainable economic growth. 

The world's economy is growing at a slightly slower pace than the Monetary Fund's initial forecasts in January. But top financial officials gathered in Washington for the annual Spring meetings face a less threatening economic landscape, says the fund's managing director, Christine Lagarde.

"Looking behind the numbers, we believe we have avoided the worst, and the economic world no longer looks quite as dangerous as it did," she said.

But Ms. Lagarde added that the pick-up in financial conditions in the U.S., Europe and Japan has yet to translate into a sustainable recovery. 

"On the euro area, policy makers have accomplished a great deal over a short period of time. The priority now is to fix frayed banking systems, press ahead with a banking union. In Japan, which as I said, has a space of its own, the recently announced framework of ambitious monetary easing, is, from our point of view, a positive step. But it is not enough," she said.

Friday, finance ministers from 20 of the world's biggest economies endorsed Japan's efforts to boost its stagnant economy. But the stimulus package enacted by Japan's leaders also lowers the value of the yen, giving Japanese-made products a price advantage in world markets. In an official communique, G20 nations said they will monitor the effects of Japan's policies and take corrective action as needed.

Much attention also is focused on China, which saw weaker than expected growth in the first quarter. But World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said he's not worried.

"We've worked with China on a 2030 report that looks specifically at the strategy going forward. And our sense is that the Chinese leadership is laser-focused on doing those things that will build the foundations of their future growth," said Kim.

The world's top financial policy makers also are expected to look at the effectiveness of debt reduction policies around the world. Some economists say austerity measures, particularly those in Europe, have helped reduce the debt burden in some countries at the expense of economic growth.

Protein filter can capture
antibiotics in runoff water

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire service

Cancer-causing chemicals and drugs like antibiotics pollute many of America's lakes, rivers and drinking water supplies. Activated carbon filters can remove about 40 percent of carcinogens and antibiotics from these waters. But a tiny solar-powered filter made of two bacterial proteins absorbs at least 50 percent more of the pollutants.

In addition, the filter, developed by a team at the University of Cincinnati, can release the captured antibiotics so they can be reused.

Antibiotics and chemicals enter waterways through sewage and run-off from yards and farms. They can breed resistant bacteria and kill helpful microorganisms, degrading the health of aquatic ecosystems.

The nano-filters, each smaller than the diameter of a human hair, employ a protein used by drug-resistant bacteria to excrete waste, but the researchers have turned it around so it sucks compounds in. Another protein, which responds to sunlight, provides the pumping power for the filter.

Environmental engineer David Wendell, one of the developers, calls the innovation an environmentally friendly and cost-effective way to extract and recover antibiotics from surface waters. He foresees the possibility that, one day, a collection of nano-filters could be anchored downstream from urban or farming areas to capture harmful compounds in water.

Details of the development and testing of the new filter appear in the journal Nano Letters.

Center right businessman
wins election in Paraguay

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire service

Horacio Cartes won Paraguay's presidential election Sunday, succeeding former Roman Catholic bishop Fernando Lugo, who was impeached last year for poor performance.

Cartes, a business magnate who made his fortune in banking and tobacco, has vowed to create jobs in a nation where nearly 40 percent of the population lives below the poverty level.

Cartes' election marks a victory for the center-right Colorado Party over challenger Efrain Alegre's leftist Alianza Paraguay Alegre, which previously controlled the government. Cartes took 46 percent of the vote to Alegre's 37 percent.

The incoming president will face challenges such as repairing the ailing economy, creating jobs, and combating drug trafficking, smuggling and corruption.

Liberal Federico Franco has led the landlocked, South American country since last June after Lugo was ousted from office.

Immigration reform holds
spot as top topic this week

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire service

This week, U.S. lawmakers will weigh in on a bipartisan proposal to overhaul America’s oft-criticized immigration system and resolve the status of an estimated 11 million people who entered the country illegally or overstayed visas. The bill’s unveiling late last week was overshadowed by fast-moving events surrounding the Boston bombing.
With the eyes of the nation fixed on Boston, major legislative developments took a back seat last week. A push to reform America’s gun laws hit a roadblock in the Senate, and Democratic and Republican senators, the so-called Gang of Eight, presented a long-awaited immigration reform proposal.
Republican Marco Rubio said, “First and foremost, it is about modernizing our legal immigration system. It is about helping to attract the world’s best and brightest talent, and to keep the world’s best and brightest talent.”
The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy, says the status quo is unacceptable. “The dysfunction of the system affects all of us. Now is our time to fix it," he said.
The bill sets forth a long and arduous path for the undocumented to attain U.S. citizenship. That provision amounts to amnesty that will attract more illegal border-crossers, according to critics such as Rep. Lou Barletta. a Repubican.
“We have our immigration laws for two reasons. One, to protect our national security. And two, to protect American jobs," he said.
The national security component of the immigration debate could become a focal point in the aftermath of the Boston bombing. Both suspects came to the United States legally from abroad. 
While their motives have not been definitively ascertained, they are already being mentioned as a cautionary tale by skeptics of immigration reform, including Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican.
“How can individuals evade authority and plan such attacks on our soil,?" he asked. How can we beef up security checks on people who wish to enter the United States? How do we ensure that people who wish to do us harm are not eligible for benefits under the immigration laws, including this new bill before us?”
Gang of Eight senators are predicting long and fierce debate on immigration reform. Sen. Charles Schumer, a Democrat:
“There will be perils we cannot even anticipate, but we start off with optimism, because this bipartisan agreement gives us a sturdy ship to ride out the stormy seas ahead," he said.
More about the Boston bombing could be learned if the surviving suspect recovers from wounds sustained in a gun battle with police and shares information with interrogators. Meanwhile, the debate on immigration reform is moving forward at the Capitol.

Youngsters can face multiple
specific learning disabilities

By the University College London news service

Up to 10 per cent of the population are affected by specific learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and autism, translating to two or three pupils in every classroom, according to a new study.

The study by academics at University College London also indicates that children are frequently affected by more than one learning disability.

The research, published in Science, helps to clarify the underlying causes of learning disabilities and the best way to tailor individual teaching and learning for affected individuals and education professionals.

Specific learning disabilities arise from atypical brain development with complicated genetic and environmental causes, causing such conditions as dyslexia, dyscalculia, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorder and specific language impairment.

While these conditions in isolation already provide a challenge for educators, an additional problem is that specific learning disabilities also occur together far more often than would be expected. As, for example, in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, 33 to 45 per cent also suffer from dyslexia and 11 per cent from dyscalculia.

Lead author  Brian Butterworth of the university's  Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience said: "We now know that there are many disorders of neurological development that can give rise to learning disabilities, even in children of normal or even high intelligence, and that crucially these disabilities can also co-occur far more often than you'd expect based on their prevalence.

As part of the study, Butterworth and Yulia Kovas  have summarized what is currently known about specific learning disabilities's neural and genetic basis to help clarify what is causing these disabilities to develop, helping to improve teaching for individual learners, and also training for school psychologists, clinicians and teachers.

What the team hope is that by developing an understanding of how individual differences in brain development interact with formal education, and also adapting learning pathways to individual needs, those with specific learning disabilities will produce more tailored education for such learners.

"Each child has a unique cognitive and genetic profile, and the educational system should be able to monitor and adapt to the learner's current repertoire of skills and knowledge," said Butterworth.

"A promising approach involves the development of technology-enhanced learning applications – such as games - that are capable of adapting to individual needs for each of the basic disciplines."
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Arenal Colonial
Property for sale, great potential income
Turnkey business $350K. Rental $1,250/month This luxury home (4,000 square feet and two story private home) is a botanical paradise overlooking beautiful Lake Arenal. Only one block from the lake park and boat ramp. Close to Tabacón hot springs and Monteverde cloud forest. Caño Negro national park and many beautiful beaches along the Pacific are only a short drive away. Costa Rica bird watching, wind surfing, fishing, water sports, ecotourism adventures, hiking, tennis and mountain biking are out your front door. Also has a wonderful view of the Arenal Volcano, a safe 25 miles away. Electric gated entrance. Safe private home and entire property. To see more pictures and info, click here:

Jacó compound
Located at Barrio Ricos y Famosos in Calle Europa, Casa Shangri La.
Main house: 3 bedrooms, 3 bath 270 square meters, 2 condominiums 2 bedrooms, one bath, 110 square meters, plus one small apartment. one bedroom, one bath. Huge pool, carport for five cars. plus double garage, rancho with pool bathroom,  gymnasium, laundry room, pool plumbing room, huge dog house in separate 500 square-meter garden with aviary for Guacamayas (we have three birds) 60 meters of river front of Río Copey with a 4 meter-high protective and retention stone wall. Eight surveillance camera CCTV system with Internet access from anywhere. Over 2 meter-high brick wall all around the property with two layers of razor wires on top, the safest place to be! Electronic entrance gate, door phone, five telephone lines, high-speed Internet wireless access everywhere. Beautiful gardens with many fruit trees. Price $ 1,350.000 negotiable. All fittings and furniture, included even a car. German-built, excellent quality and well maintained. More photos on request.

Monte Mar
Hacienda Monte Mar
Gated Community near the beach
SALE on our last 4 lots! Starting at just $17,500 with financing available.
Reserve today with just $5,000 down
Great Retirement Home, Vacation Home, 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

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.

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

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 22, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 78
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'Trance' requires viewers
to consider possibilities

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

"Trance," a high energy thriller, is the latest opus from director Danny Boyle whose films include the award-winning "Slumdog Millionaire." The film highlights Boyle’s versatility but it also carries his signature frantic pacing, dramatic characters and high-impact music.

Simon, an art auctioneer, played by James McAvoy, risks his life to hide a Goya painting from a gang.

Franck, the gang leader, hits Simon on the head, and Simon loses his memory from the blow. But Franck does not believe Simon suffers from amnesia and tortures him to make him talk. Gradually, he realizes that Simon is telling the truth and takes him to a hypnotist to help him remember.

The hypnotist is the seductive Elizabeth Lamb, played by Rosario Dawson.

In the beginning, the characters and their connection to each other appear straightforward. Simon is the victim, Elizabeth his advocate, and Franck the villain. But Danny Boyle says there is nothing formulaic about "Trance."

“From every character’s costumes, the sound, the music, the locations, the style of the filmmaking, everything is there to seduce you, as though you are sitting in the chair about to be hypnotized." said Boyle. "There might be more than one story you should listen to here. And the delight of the film is who to trust.”

"Trance" resembles "Inception,"  which came out in 2010. But in Christopher Nolan's blockbuster, the main characters build subconscious worlds for corporate espionage. 

The characters in "Trance" have fractured memories and broken personalities. They are not who they appear to be.
"It’s a lovely multi-layered sweet box, really which is all designed to lure you in and then, you have to contribute to the puzzle of the film to try and unravel the puzzle," said Boyle.

Boyle likens "Trance" to a film noir where the central character is a mysterious, alluring woman and there is no clear villain or hero. Although Boyle's "Trance" is not as gripping as his Oscar-winning "Slumdog Millionaire," it reflects its creator’s lively, over-the-top personality.  It mesmerizes and entertains.

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