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(506) 2223-1327                                     Published Thursday, May 14, 2015, in Vol. 15, No. 94                                     Email us
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Embassy offers no help for property theft victims
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

U.S. citizens caught in a property scam in Costa Rica better not expect any help from U.S. Embassy staffers.

An anonymous response from the embassy told any victims of scams that they should contact the Judicial Investigating Organization and then find a lawyer on the embassy's Web site list.

The response came from Evelyn Ardon, a Costa Rican who is in the press office. She was asked to obtain an official response from embassy higher-ups on what they were doing to help U.S. citizens who have been caught in property frauds.

One of these is Sheldon Haseltine, who has been fighting to keep property on the central Pacific coast for nearly 17 years. He said that one time an embassy staffer visited the courts in Puntarenas to ask about one of many legal cases he has endured. He also gets occasional emails from the same person, a Costa Rican, when he has a favorable or unfavorable court decision.

Other U.S. expats have said the embassy staffers were of no use whatever.

The bulk of the efforts by embassy staffers appear to be in providing weaponry or supplies for Costa Rican police who are seeking drug smugglers. The United States has bankrolled truck inspection installations at the Peñas Blancas boarder crossing and an elaborate facility for police on the Interamericana Sur where officers pull over suspicious vehicles.

The embassy does make brief mention of the property ownership problems in the annual report that is sent to Washington. In a State Department investment report released last June, the section on Costa Rica said "Invasion and occupation of private property by squatters, who are often organized and sometimes violent, occurs in Costa Rica. The Costa Rican police and judicial system have at times failed to deter or to peacefully resolve such invasions. It is not uncommon for squatters to return to the parcels of land from which they have been evicted, requiring expensive and potentially dangerous vigilance over the land."

And "Potential buyers should retain experienced legal counsel and carefully conduct due diligence to ensure that properties are free of conflicting ownership claims."

And ". . . there are continuing problems of overlapping title to real property and fraudulent filings with the National Registry, the government entity that records property titles."

The comments on property were tiny parts of the lengthy report. But the report makes it clear that embassy officials are aware of the problem, although the wording stops short of describing the sophisticated and aggressive methods some land crooks use and the involvement of highly placed Costa Ricans.

The embassy report provided Wednesday only addressed frauds or scams in general and not necessarily those involving real property.

A reader, Harv Brinson of San Ramón, recounted in a letter May 5 how he was "in a state of near total exhaustion after 20 hours of being surrounded in unfriendly territory and managing to prevail in the re-taking of my six hectares in Guanacaste all alone at the age of 70."

The previous day, Phil Baker, now of
Our Opinion:
yawn

California, said "Yes, I recovered my
property, but during the ordeal the shower drain collected a lot of hair, and I suffered a divorce impacting my daughter and a painful ulcer. Did I mention spending $40,000 in recovery fees, being gouged financially by one attorney, while the next attorney lied to me about his efforts in an attempt to sabotage my case?"

The embassy disinterest is in contrast to what ambassador-designates tell the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee when they are seeking confirmation.

A 2001 edition of A.M. Costa Rica says this: "One of John Danilovich's priorities as U.S. ambassador to Costa Rica will be ensuring the protection of Americans here, he told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday."


"Ensuring the protection of Americans in Costa Rica will be one of my priorities if I am confirmed," he told the senators.

What editors did not know at the time is that Danilovich was reading from a script prepared by the State Department. Subsequent ambassador-designates have made the identical promise.

S. Fitzgerald Haney, the current ambassador-designate, probably will use the same script when he appears before the committee.

None of the ambassadors since has distinguished him or herself by pressing Costa Rican officials on the topic of rampant property theft that affects U.S. citizens.

This is how the U.S. Embassy responded:

If an American citizen is victim of fraud and/or scams, the U.S. Embassy advises victims to report this information to the OIJ immediately and file a report.  They should visit the OIJ website to locate the nearest OIJ location near them (https://www.poder-
judicial.go.cr/oij/).  In addition, for informational purposes, victims can report the fraud and/or scam to the Embassy by e-mailing fpusanjose@state.gov.

In some cases, it may be advisable to seek legal counsel.  The Embassy provides a list of attorneys who speak English and have offered to assist U.S. citizens on its website:  http://costarica.usembassy.gov/attorney.html.  Please be advised that the U.S. Embassy assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms listed.

To report an online scam or e-mail hoax, file a complaint online with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at http://www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx.  To report cases of fraud to the FBI, use their online tips form or contact the nearest FBI office or overseas office:  https://tips.fbi.gov/. 


 
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A.M. Costa Rica's
 
Second news page


San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, May 14, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 94

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DelRey 300
Professional Directory
A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.

Optometry

Del Valle Visual Eyes Optometry
in  San Isidro del General

10% Discount on all our contact lens brands and solutions - Valid thru May 31.
Del Valley
Del Valle Visual Eyes Optometry has been a leader provider of advanced eye care services, eyewear, contact lenses, low vision devices and professional attention.  The preferred provider of quality vision care products and personalized optometric services to our patients in Pérez Zeledón in a comfortable and friendly environment since 2007.
Centro Comercial Pedro Pérez, south side of the park, San Isidro del General, Pérez Zeledón,
San José, Costa Rica.
Contact: Dr. Allan Mora Vargas
Email: info@opticasdelvalle.com
Web: www.opticasdelvalle.com
Phone Number: (506) 2772-0349
8620-6/2/15

Psychotherapy

Dr. Gray

Dr. Lucinda Gray

California Licensed
Psychologist
International Practice

www.LucindaGray.com
New World Meditation

CR (506) 2228-2041
8610-8/23/15

Insurance professionals

The Garrett Insurance Group
Garrett
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      government.
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4/12/15

Residency experts

Residency in Costa Rica
A full service immigration agency
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Getting and authenticating documents can be a chore. —

We know how to do it. Experienced with many nationalities. Up-to-date on
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Tel: (323) 255-6116
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 Accountants

Ms. Summers
Marlene B. Summers
U.S. Income Tax Services
Marlene B. Summers
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Phone (506) 2289-6590 or (506) 8750-2316
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U.S. Tax International
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 U.S 786-206-9473         CR 506-2288-2001
FAX: 506 2231-3300
E-mail: ustax@lawyer.com
Web page: www.ustaxinternational.com
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James Brohl, C.P.A. & M.B.A.
US Income Tax,  U.S. GAAP Accounting
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pecializing in all matters of concern to U.S. taxpayers residing abroad including:
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Past-due tax returns: Taxpayers filing before an IRS notice do not face criminal sanctions.
Reporting foreign financial assets: FBAR and foreign corporations.
Up-to-date FACTA news.
All US Tax return preparation:
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eFile returns: secure with faster refunds.
Business consulting to facilitate working in Costa Rica.

Telephone 8305-3149 or 2256-8620
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Legal services

Real Estate Closing Services
Lic Matta

Lic. Pablo Mata Ferreto, MBA.

Legal – Financial Adviser

Real Estate and Business Transactions

Avoid Real Estate scams, get independent advice and have due diligence performed before signing or making a deposit.

Phone number: (506) 8853-0000
Email: jpmata2000@gmail.com
8587-3/8/15


Dentistry

Marco Cavallini & Associates
Dental Implants and Crowns

Dr. Marco A. Muñoz Cavallini has placed and
DR. Cavallini
Dr. Marco A. MuÏoz Cavallini
restored over 17,000 dental implants since 1980. The Dr. Marco Muñoz Cavallini Dental Clinic, is recognized as one of the best practices in Dental Reconstruction, Dental Implant placement and Cosmetic Dentistry in Costa Rica and the World. For more information, visit us today at: marcomunozcavallini.com
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Land surveying services

René Sánchez Quirós
30+ years of experience in:

Mr. Sanchez
Survey (cadastral) maps
Subdivisions
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Boundary markers
Calculations of terrain

Call me:
CR phone number:   +506-2290-4573
CR Cell phone number: +506-8383-0083
Email:  ojoche01@gmail.com       
6887-7/27/15


Real estate agents and services

Ms. Gonzalez
Noemy González
Real Estate Adviser
Bienes Inmuebles CR.com

 
We are a real estate company specializing in prompt & effective attention for you. English, Spanish & Italian spoken. Professionals in the sale of properties such as commercial premises, homes & apartments through our advertising & marketing services.
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CR Beach
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8596-8/27/15

Solar power grid link will carry a cost

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Home and business owners who plan to produce solar electricity and sell it back to the utility are going to face a lot of a paperwork and costs.

The nation's regulatory agency said Wednesday that those who do so will have to pay for the connections themselves because the costs should not be born by electrical users who are not selling energy back to the utilities.

Left unsaid is exactly how much these connections will cost. The homes presumably already are hooked to the electrical net but with power flowing in just one direction. The agency, the Autoridad Reguladora de Servicios Públicos, said that this cost of hooking up has yet to be announced.

That will be done by the Intendencia de Energía.

Power companies have been foot dragging for months over the sale of power by private generators. The companies are involved in writing the rules, so those with solar electrical generators might be surprised by the complexity.

The idea is that those with the solar panels will be able to sell their excess power to the utilities when they are generating a surplus. At other times the home or commercial building will draw what extra power it needs from the utility. The price the utility pays for the excess will offset somewhat the cost of the electric bill.

However, the Autoridad already has said that payments for private power generation might be only once a year.

Utilities are required to purchase the excess power because of a law.

Those installing solar panels have said that wrestling with the bureaucracy on behalf of customers will be part of the job.


Rough seas predicted on both coasts

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The weather is not a local phenomenon. A high pressure system in the Atlantic is merging with a low pressure system north of Colombia generating choppy Caribbean seas.

And in Antarctica there is an intense storm that is doing the same for the Pacific.

These are the reports of the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología at the Universidad de Costa Rica.

Three meter waves are expected in the Caribbean, said the Centro. The wave height should diminish by Saturday, it added.

Waves nearly that high were predicted for Wednesday for the south Pacific with slightly smaller waves at points up the coast. The wave height is expected to diminish today.

On both coasts, the Centro said that there would be danger to small boats, particularly at river mouths. The Pacific beaches also will have rip tides, that can be fatal to bathers, the Centro noted.

In any event, the breakers are supposed to be very strong.


Instability causing winds and downpours

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Unstable weather conditions will bring electrical storms this morning to the Caribbean coast and the northern zone, said the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional.

The Ríos Sixaola and Bananito were reported rising in the late afternoon.

In the Central Valley the instability will mean strong winds, cloudy skies and some showers, the institute added.

The weather institute also said that there will be strong winds in the north Pacific with heavy downpours in the central and south Pacific coasts


Our reader's opinion
U.N. food estimate seems overblown

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Refer to subject article today's A.M. Costa Rica - with specific reference to the following paragraph:

"The world population is expected to climb to 9 billion by 2050.   By that time the demand for food will double.  Accommodating  those future needs is a concern today, especially for the more than  800 million people who go to bed hungry."

By my calculations: Current population at 7.2 billion vs 9.0 billion projected by 2050 equals a 25 percent increase in population.  This results in (according to the U.N.) a 100 percent increase in demand for food.

This type of fear mongering is nothing new as it has been ongoing for at least the past half century to my recollection.

Outright silliness proving once again that the U.N. has progressed (?) well
beyond its Best Before Date a long time ago.
J. H. Penner
Richmond, British Columbia


Press group raps Venezuelan exit order

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

A Venezuelan court has prevented the departure from the country of 22 executives and representatives of news media involved in a lawsuit filed by the national assembly president, Diosdado Cabello. They're accused of having reproduced an article that links Cabello with drug trafficking.

Judge María Eugenia Núñez Wednesday issued the restriction which prohibits owners and executives of the newspapers El Nacional and Tal Cual and the online publication La Patilla to leave Venezuela, as requested by Cabello in a suit filed April 23, said the Inter American Press Association which condemned the court order.

Those three media outlets reproduced a report published by the Spanish newspaper ABC based on statements by Leamsy Salazar, a former close collaborator of Cabello. The information, attested to by the Spanish newspaper’s editors, declared that Cabello was one of the heads of the Soles drug cartel that engages in cocaine trafficking in Venezuela.

Among the 22 persons subject to the court order are Miguel Henrique Otero, editor of El Nacional, Teodoro Petkoff Malec, editor of Tal Cual, and Alberto Federico Ravell, owner of La Patilla.

Inter American Press Association President Gustavo Mohme, editor of the Lima, Perú, newspaper La República, declared that the order to the media executives not to leave the country “demonstrates once more how the Venezuelan judicial system is being used as an instrument of political power. There is no compliance with the guarantees of due process, which imply that the judge should have first interrogated the accused individually to determine whether or not to issue the restriction order in each case.”

Concerning the issue in question, the lawsuit for having published assertions made by the foreign press, Mohme said, “This action violates the principles established by the Inter-American Human Rights Court, which ruled that the media cannot be held responsible for faithfully publishing information that was originally disseminated by other media.”

Mohme thus was referring to the court’s ruling that exonerated journalist Mauricio Herrera Ulloa, currently Costa Rica’s communication minister, and the San José newspaper La Nación, after they were found guilty of defamation by that country’s Corte Suprema, for having replicated news items from European media concerning alleged corrupt acts that involved a former Costa Rican diplomat.

The chairman of the association's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Claudio Paolillo, editor of the Montevideo, Uruguay, weekly Búsqueda, said that the court’s action occurs within an overall framework of serious restrictions and attacks on critical and independent media, which “unmasks the climate of authoritarianism that the Nicolás Maduro regime favors.”

“This judicial harassment,” Paolillo added, “is another link in the long restrictive chain that includes strangling the privately owned media so as to purchase them, directly or through front men, and thus build up an extensive propaganda machinery, which conspires against the free flow of plural and diverse information, that is essential for a democracy.”


U.S. bee colony losses more than 40%

By the University of Maryland news staff

Beekeepers across the United States lost more than 40 percent of their honey bee colonies during the year spanning April 2014 to April 2015, according to the latest results of an annual nationwide survey.

While winter loss rates improved slightly compared to last year, summer losses - and consequently, total annual losses were more severe. Commercial beekeepers were hit particularly hard by the high rate of summer losses, which outstripped winter losses for the first time in five years, stoking concerns over the long-term trend of poor health in honey bee colonies.

The survey, which asks both commercial and small-scale beekeepers to track the health and survival rates of their honey bee colonies, is conducted each year by the Bee Informed Partnership in collaboration with the Apiary Inspectors of America, with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"We traditionally thought of winter losses as a more important indicator of health, because surviving the cold winter months is a crucial test for any bee colony," said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, an assistant professor of entomology at the University of Maryland and project director for the Bee Informed Partnership. "But we now know that summer loss rates are significant too. This is especially so for commercial beekeepers, who are now losing more colonies in the summertime compared to the winter. Years ago, this was unheard of."

Beekeepers who responded to the survey lost a total of 42.1 percent of their colonies over the course of the year. Winter loss rates decreased from 23.7 percent last year to 23.1 percent this year, while summer loss rates increased from 19.8 percent to 27.4 percent.

Among backyard beekeepers (defined as those who manage fewer than 50 colonies), a clear culprit in losses is the varroa mite, a lethal parasite that can easily spread among colonies. Among commercial beekeepers, the causes of the majority of losses are not as clear.

"Backyard beekeepers were more prone to heavy mite infestations, but we believe that is because a majority of them are not taking appropriate steps to control mites," vanEngelsdorp said. "Commercial keepers were particularly prone to summer losses. But they typically take more aggressive action against varroa mites, so there must be other factors at play."

This is the ninth year of the winter loss survey, and the fifth year to include summer and annual losses in addition to winter loss data. More than 6,000 beekeepers from all 50 states responded to this year's survey. All told, these beekeepers are responsible for nearly 15 percent of the nation's estimated 2.74 million managed honey bee colonies.

The survey is part of a larger research effort to understand why honey bee colonies are in such poor health, and what can be done to manage the situation.

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School children on their way to Escuela de Santa Rita pass by heavily armed Fuerza Pública officers, who will be guarding the school for an indefinite time.

under guard
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo

Police mount guard to secure battleground among three drug gangs
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

School children went to classes Wednesday under police guard in a notorious section of Alajuela.

The area, called El Infiernillo, was the scene of a war among three gangs Tuesday that culminated with battles with police. The three gangs are trying to assert dominance over the area, part of Barrio San José, for drug sales and other illegal activities.

Some residents said they have been sleeping in a bath tub for fear of stray bullets.

After gunfire broke out Tuesday morning, parents quickly
 removed their children from the local Escuela de Santa Rita after police secured the area Wednesday.  Juan José Andrade Morales, the head of the Fuerza Pública, met with public school officials to map out a strategy to safeguard youngsters.

That meant stationing heavily armed officers around the school and along routes children take.

At one point there were some 50 heavily armed police officers in the area.

Officials noted that the Alajuela force cannot dedicate half of its strength to this small area, so police are working with judicial agents to break up the gangs. The adult leaders are well known. Many of the gang members are juveniles.


Lawmaker wants court to order gender parity on legislative committees
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A female legislator has filed a constitutional court case because she said there is a disparity in the number of women on key legislative committees.

The lawmaker is Emilia Molina Cruz of the Partido Acción Ciudadana. She said that the legislature is 38 percent women but that at least one committee has only men as members.

The Costa Rica electoral code provides that party lists presented for election contain a representative number of 
women. 
There does not seem to be an established law or tradition in the legislature where membership is defined by politics.

The appeal is supported by Frente Amplio, the Movimiento Libertario and other members of the legislator's political party.

Both the Partido Acción Ciudadana and Frente Amplio were not members of a coalition that won leadership roles May 1.

The appeal seeks to have the constitutional court order the president of the Asamblea Legislativa to guarantee membership of women in the various legislative commissions.


Displays from 20 museums to be presented Monday at culture ministry
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The culture ministry is celebrating the international day of museums Monday by bringing together displays from 20 such institutions at the Centro Nacional de la Cultura. The event is called the Feria de Museos Costarricenses.

The free event is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The museums also will be having events on their home grounds.
Among the exhibitors are some of the lesser-known museums. They are:

Museo Calderón Guardia, Museo de Arte Costarricense,

 Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo, Museo de la Comunidad Judía de Costa Rica, Museo Histórico Agrícola de Santa Ana / Centro de Conservación Santa Ana, Museo Histórico Cultural Juan Santamaría, Museo Islita, Museo La Salle de Ciencias Naturales, Museo Leone de Ujarrás.

Also the Museo Nacional de Costa Rica, Museo Regional de San Ramón, Museo Regional Omar Salazar Obando de Turrialba, Museos del Banco Central de Costa Rica, Parque Zoológico, Jardín Botánico Nacional Simón Bolívar, Archivo Nacional, Fundación ARS TEOR/éTica, Asociación AcciónArte, Conarte, and Fundación ILAM.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, May 14, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 94
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More U.S. citizens choosing to give up their citizenship over tax rules
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

It’s a highly coveted passport that represents freedom and opportunity to millions of people worldwide, yet more Americans than ever are renouncing their U.S. citizenship.

A record number of Americans, 1,337, relinquished their passports in the first three months of 2015, according to the U.S. government. That’s up 18 percent from last year at this time, according to an analysis by Bloomberg News, and nearly 40 percent of the total 3,415 Americans who gave up their passports in 2014.

“It was a gut wrenching experience that I do not think I will ever be over,” former American Ruth Freeborn told reason.com. Ms. Freeborn says she is a stay-at-home mother who married a Canadian man and moved to Canada to help care for his elderly parents. She blames the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act for forcing her into a decision she didn’t want to make.

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, which was enacted by Congress in 2010, was designed to target rich Americans who use foreign accounts to avoid paying U.S. taxes. The legislation known as FATCA requires that foreign financial institutions report accounts held by U.S. taxpayers to the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. government agency responsible for tax collection.

The United States taxes its citizens on all income, regardless of where it is earned or where a person lives.

This can lead to complicated and time-consuming paperwork that some ex-patriots complain has been made even more burdensome by FATCA.

“The cost of compliance with the complex tax treatment of non-resident U.S. citizens and the potential penalties I face for incorrect filings and for holding non-U.S. securities forces

me to consider whether it would be more advantageous to give up my U.S. citizenship,” Stephanos Orestis, an American living in Norway, wrote in a March 23 letter to the Senate Finance Committee. “The thought of doing so is highly distressing for me since I am a born and bred American with a love for my country.”

More than 7 million Americans live abroad, according to the IRS. Many of those who have chosen to renounce their citizenship have limited ties to the United States. Some were born in the United States but have lived elsewhere their entire lives. Anyone born in the U.S. automatically receives citizenship, as do people born abroad to American parents.

Eduardo Saverin, the Brazilian-born billionaire co-founder of Facebook, trimmed his tax bill when he relinquished his U.S. citizenship in 2012.

“I am obligated to and will pay hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes to the U.S. government,” said Saverin in a statement at the time. “I have paid and will continue to pay any taxes due on everything I earned while a U.S. citizen.”

As Saverin learned, giving up U.S. citizenship doesn’t come cheap. There’s the $2,350 renunciation fee and an exit tax that can climb into the millions of dollars.

But some who have renounced have found there’s an emotional cost to giving up U.S. citizenship, which often goes to the core of Americans’ identity.

American-born Patricia Moon, who lives in Canada, renounced her citizenship not long after FATCA was enacted.

“I was terrified we’d lose all our money,” Ms. Moon, who became a Canadian citizen in 2008, told the Guardian.

But the decision to give up her American passport wasn’t an easy one. “It was like cutting off my right arm.”

Vacation, travel and hospitality


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Mar de Luz
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Hotel Playa Bejuco
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Cozy, opened in 2007 just 90 minutes from the capital, with good access. Go shopping or enjoy the evening entertainment. Hosting services, friendly, quality and comfortable, discreet under the concept of 100 percent family hotel, the reason we do not allow or endorse any activity related to prostitution or drugs. Natural beauty, recommended for tourists for a relaxing holiday. Nearby is Manuel Antonio National Park. Tours, canopy, fishing, rainforest, horseback riding, ATV, rafting, etc. 20 deluxe rooms equipped with 3 for disabled. All with air conditioning, cable TV, telephone, refrigerator, private bathroom, hot water, free wireless Internet, etc. Maximum 5 people. Main restaurant, pools (adults & children), jacuzzi, private parking, 24 hours security, pool bar, playground equipped. At front desk currency conversions, confirm your flight or coordinate tours. Address : Playa Bejuco, Esterillos, Costa Rica. Local phone (506) : 2779-2000. Email: info@hotelplayabejuco.com   Web page www.hotelplayabejuco.com.
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Hidden
                        Garden
Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
Drop in to see some of Costa Rica's finest art
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The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is a great place to find quality remembrances of Costa Rica to take home or to decorate your home or office in Costa Rica.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever.  With more than 60 artists on exhibit and fine art in 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we are easy to locate just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport. Visit our Web site at
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Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
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beach
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The vacation homes at Manuel Antonio Estates offers luxury, comfort and peace of mind. We have numerous homes from 2 bedrooms to 8 bedrooms ocean view with private pool,  all within walking distance of the town’s shops and restaurants and just a few minutes to the best beaches and the famous Manuel Antonio national park. While the homes are secluded and hidden among the rainforest, the surrounding area offers adventures like zip lines, whitewater rafting, mangrove kayaking and many more. All of the homes are available for short-term rentals, Fully equipped, Pool, concierge,  parking, cable TV, and Internet. We are happy to assist with all your need for the perfect Costa Rican vacation, Call us for your family vacation package.
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Two-bedroom, 1-bath condominium available for rent starting June 1st in Corteza del Sol in the Quebrada Seca, just across the Costanera from Jacó. 24-hour security, wifi/cable, AC, luxurious amenities, kitchen includes everything you need to cook, gorgeous pools just steps from your front door. 15 minute walk to town or quick bike ride. ¢2,000 taxi to center of town. Short-term renter is fine. Long-term would be great! Looking for someone low-key who will fit in well with the complex. $950/month including cable & internet, NOT INCLUDING ELECTRIC! Call 8725-0344 or email emilyanneaston@gmail.com
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Palmares graphic

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, May 14, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 94
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U.S. House votes to end
collecting phone records


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Legislation that would end the U.S. National Security Agency's massive collection of telephone records of ordinary Americans has been overwhelmingly approved by the House of Representatives.

The legislation, known as the USA Freedom Act, passed Wednesday by a vote 338 to 88. Instead of the bulk collection of phone records, including the date, time, and duration of the phone call, the bill would require the NSA to obtain the records from private phone companies after getting a court order from a secret national security court.

The program came under fire from advocates of civil liberties after former contractor Edward Snowden disclosed it to journalists in 2013. The House bill received strong support from both liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans, as well as President Barack Obama.

The measure now moves over to the Senate, where it is strongly opposed by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has sponsored a measure that would renew the current program. However, a large bipartisan faction is also demanding an end to the NSA program, which could force McConnell to bring the reform measure up for a vote.

The NSA bulk telephone collection program was authorized under the USA Patriot Act, which was passed in days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on Washington, D.C., and New York City.  A federal appeals court in New York just last week ruled the NSA bulk phone collection program was illegal, but refused to issue an injunction against the agency.

The section of the USA Patriot Act that authorized the NSA program is due to expire on June 1. 


Massive numbers of records
probably not needed today


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

As U.S. lawmakers debate whether to continue an American spy agency’s massive collection of telephone metadata or approve a less intrusive version, experts say the program may not be as critical as it was once thought to be.

The collection program falls under section 215 of the Patriot Act, which was passed in the panic-filled aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. One former senior intelligence official, acknowledged priorities have changed.

“There may be a sense that it may not be as important as we thought it was going to be in 2001, 2002,” the former official said in a telephone interview. Moreover, he said, the line between civil liberties and security has also shifted.

“The country saw the line very differently on Sept. 13, 2001, in which case I think there was a sense of ‘do whatever you have to do,’” he said. “I think the country has dialed back a little bit, perhaps because we’ve not had any terrorist attack.”

Supporters of the National Security Agency’s bulk collection have said it is an important tool to prevent terrorist attacks. Critics believe it is a violation of Americans’ civil liberties.

In 2001, mobile phones were widely used by al-Qaida and other terrorist networks.

The U.S. military has used satellite and cell phone signals to help locate targets. Today, terrorists are aware they can be tracked through cell phone calls, and leaders of groups like the Islamic State have warned their followers of the risks.

As a result, terrorists and their supporters use a medley of different electronic communication tools, such as WhatsApp, SnapChat, TextSecure, Twitter, Kik, ChatSecure, Telegram, RedPhone, Silent Phone, several of which offer destruct features after use. They also discuss the latest technologies to avoid being detected by government-led content surveillance.

Carrie Cordero, director of national security studies at Georgetown Law, says despite the attention the Section 215 bulk telephone metadata collection is getting, it is less relevant in the U.S. counterterrorism effort than it used to be.

“Is it the most valuable program? Probably not,” Ms. Cordero said. But she adds that national security leaders say it is still useful.

“They are not asserting that it’s the most productive collection program that exists, but that it was intended to fill a particular gap that was identified after September 11, and that it’s an insurance policy to ensure that that gap doesn’t occur again.”

A federal appeals court in early May declared the bulk gathering of phone data as illegal, on the basis that collecting such a high volume of phone records strained the reasonable definition of what is relevant to a particular investigation.

Gregory Nojeim, senior counsel in the Center for Democracy and Technology, said Section 215, the authority under which U.S. intelligence agencies collect data on telephone numbers of calls to, from and within the United States, and which was due to expire on June 1,  was used as a doorway into even broader and more intrusive surveillance techniques.

“Section 215 is collecting a lot of records, I don’t want to understate that,” Nojeim said, and added that “it is used to identify potential targets for more invasive surveillance, including communications content surveillance.

This is how it works: the FBI or NSA collect phone call records, then run a particular number against those records. Once they find what number has been calling what number, they can establish networks and patterns of phone calls. That information is then used to help them decide whom to target under a different part of the Patriot Act, known as Section 702.

Under Section 702, surveillance has to be targeted, that is, it has to be selector-based, meaning either a particular email or phone number. Once that is established, the content of the information associated with that email or phone number can be collected and surveilled. That would include social media, texts, emails and other modes of communication.

Section 702, Nojeim said, “is a particularly difficult statute because it involves surveillance conducted in the United States of people outside the United States by compelling U.S. providers to turn over their communications content.”

But there is more. Even though Section 702 cannot be used to target Americans, it is used to target foreigners who may speak with Americans.

“What the statute is being used for is to compel a U.S. provider to, for example, turn over all the emails to or from a particular email address that is associated with a non-U.S. person abroad. Those emails may well include the communications of people who are in the United States or people who are Americans,” explained Nojeim.

As yet, Congress has not focused on this statute, which is not due to expire until 2017.

“Those types of content-based collections, I think government officials have said, are probably the most valuable means of collecting signals intelligence,” Cordero said.

Even if that statute comes under fire, intelligence agencies can also collect information on leads developed through Section 215 with another tool in their surveillance tool box: Executive Order 12333. That order was first issued by President Ronald Reagan to govern surveillance and other intelligence techniques used to collect foreign intelligence information.

According to Nojeim, the EO 12333 definition of foreign intelligence information is so broad that it imposes no meaningful restriction on surveillance of people outside the United States. Under the order, any activity of a foreign person, whether or not tied to a foreign government, qualifies as foreign intelligence information and can also be collected in bulk.

“When collection is done in bulk, more and more communications of people who have nothing to do with a foreign government, foreign terrorist organization, who have nothing to do with spying or espionage, gets collected, including the communications of Americans,” Nojeim said.

The volume of the NSA’s mass surveillance and bulk telephone metadata gathering became public after it was leaked by Edward Snowden to The Guardian newspaper. Critics said the breadth of the surveillance surpassed the intention of the law.

Bob Litt, general counsel in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence acknowledged last week that the intelligence community needs to be more transparent about its work if it wants to maintain public support.

But he insisted there has to be a balance between transparency and security. “The fact of the matter is the more you authorize release of information about specifically what we are doing, the more you enable people to evade what we’re doing, and that is the balance that has to be struck in any kind of legislation like this.”

The former senior intelligence official who agreed to speak also agreed with that assessment, and said if the US public felt more comfortable with its government dialing back its intelligence, that was its decision.

But, he warned, “If we dial it back, if it turns out we dialed back too far in the other direction, and something happens, I would like Congress to stand up and take responsibility for that instead of blaming it on the intelligence services.”


Harriet Tubman may win
a place on new $20 bill


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The legendary Harriet Tubman, a black woman and escaped slave who led thousands of other slaves to freedom in the years before the Civil War, could one day become the new face of the U.S. $20 bill. 

More than 600,000 people voted in an online campaign dubbed Women on 20s, which seeks to remove the image of the seventh U.S. president, Andrew Jackson, from the currency in favor of an accomplished woman by 2020.

The campaign marks the 100th anniversary of the formal ratification of the constitutional amendment that gave women the right to vote.  Although only the U.S. Treasury secretary can authorize the currency redesign, bills have also been introduced in Congress to put a woman's image on the banknote.

Ms. Tubman helped blacks escape bondage from southern U.S. plantations by traveling along the so-called underground railroad, a secret network of people who shared her goal of abolishing the practice of slavery. 

Ms. Tubman won more than 118,000 votes to be the face on the $20 bill, putting her ahead of former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, 1950s civil rights hero Rosa Parks, and Wilma Mankiller, a native American and first female chief of the Cherokee Nation.

"Our work won't be done until we're holding a Harriet $20 bill in our hands," said Susan Ades Stone, the group's executive director.  Ms. Stone says the group has sent the results of the poll to President Barack Obama, and has asked him to instruct Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to move forward with the redesign.

At present, the only woman on a currently circulating piece of U.S. currency is Sacagawea, on the dollar coin. Sacagawea was an American Indian woman who accompanied explorers Lewis and Clark on their expedition of the Western United States.

The U.S. Mint lists two other coins depicting women: Helen Keller is on the reverse side of the 2003 Alabama quarter and Susan B. Anthony was on the dollar coin until 1981.


Handshake grip considered
good indication of health


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The strength of a grip could be a doctor's first clue about a person's long-term health.

In a new study from Canada's McMaster University, researchers found that a handshake is a better indicator of health than blood pressure. Writing in the journal The Lancet, they reported that reduced grip strength was consistently linked with early death, disability and illness.

Researchers measured muscle strength in nearly 140,000 adults over four years in 17 countries. Using a handgrip dynamometer, they found that for every 5-kilogram decline in grip strength, there was a 17 percent increased risk of death from any cause.

That level of risk was not affected by any identifiable differences among the participants, including age, gender, education, physical activity or their countries' wealth.

The researchers did take into account the probability that a healthy grip for a young man is likely to be stronger than the healthy grip of an old woman. They also noted that ethnicity appeared to make a difference. Further study is needed to set a benchmark for different countries, they said.

Principal investigator Darryl Leong suggested, "Grip strength could be an easy and inexpensive test to assess an individual's risk of death and cardiovascular disease."

What's not clear is whether working to strengthen a grip also improves health, Leong said more research was needed to answer that question.


Debate surrounds bill
to allow U.S. oil exports


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Proposed legislation to end a decades-long ban on exporting most U.S.-produced crude oil is sparking sharp debate in Washington and the energy industry.

One oil company chief says the outdated rules hurt his company and keep the U.S. economy vulnerable to foreign oil producers. But ban supporters say ending it would boost consumer energy prices and hurt the environment. One bill to end the ban has been introduced in the House, another is expected in the Senate.

U.S. drivers waited in long, frustrating lines in 1973 when Arab oil exporters cut supplies to the United States.

Worries about access to oil and soaring prices then prompted a new law blocking the export of U.S.-produced crude oil.

The ban had little effect when the United States was importing more and more crude to make up for falling U.S. oil production.

But new techniques in recent years, called fracking, boosted domestic production and cut U.S. demand for imported oil.

That falling demand pushed down global prices and, ironically, hurt U.S. frackers.

Oil producers say lifting the export ban, which they call outdated would help their companies.

Chris Faulker, who leads Breitling Oil, said, “Things have changed, we are not in the idea of fear and scarcity; exuberance and abundance describes the United States of America today. But this law is continuing to hold us back and drag us into the 1970s."

But ending the ban would hurt consumers, said Tyson Slocum, who runs the energy program at the Public Citizen advocacy group.

“The likely result would be higher gasoline prices in the U.S. market," said Slocum.

Oil industry experts say exports, however, could cut U.S. gasoline prices.

“Because it is putting more supply, other options into the world markets. Gasoline is marketed across the planet not just in the United States so we could see a price reduction occur," said Faulker.

The industry’s critics also say exporting crude would encourage more drilling which would hurt the environment.

“Allowing uninhibited oil exports is going to vastly increase the rate of fracking and that is going to cause a lot more environmental harm," said Slocum.

However, the oil industry calls environmental concerns exaggerated, and contends that properly conducted drilling, including fracking, does not cause undue harm.
Real estate-related services (paid category)

solar
       
CR SOLAR gives you…
Enphase-Micro-Inverters: Simple, reliable, installation without batteries or complicated central inverters that limit expansion and downgrade your system with one shady panel.
Enphase-Micro-Inverters: so flexible; you can begin saving with a third of a system, then add as you go with your savings!

Think of it this way: cash in a CD paying 7% and get 15% to 25% from the Sun!  What better way to lower your electric bill than with a Quality Solar System from CR Solar?    Ask about our BEST HI END Solar Hot Water Heaters. 
2446-0543           8898-9398                8314-8090
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8553-6/22/15

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)


Mafi Real Estate: Houses, lots and farms in Costa Rica





Visit our Web Page:
www.mafirealestate.com


If you do not find you are looking for in our page, contact us, WE HAVE A NETWORK OF OVER 500 brokers across the country to get what you are looking for.

English Calls:
Miguel Fiatt Sauma 
or Paule Ortiz
Phone/Fax.+506 2238-5029
Cel. +506 8399-7000

Send us your request to our
Email: mfiatt@mafirealestate.com
8609-2/20/16
Mafri one
Beautiful house in Santa Ana, Valley and mountain view. Price: $1,300,000. Single story, bedrooms. 5 baths. Double-size garage: 360 m2. Lot: 4,487 m2. 
Click HERE!

Mafri two
San Isidro de Heredia. Great lot with 3 houses. $3,200,000 single story. 1,505 m2 Lot: 37,419m2  Click HERE!
Mafri three
Finca Las Trufas, San Ramon-Esparza, Price: $3,900,000 Farm and ranch. Single story 1,500 m2. on 25 hectares Click HERE!

CoopeAgri

CoopeAgri Real Estate

The best option in real estate services in southern Costa Rica and the South Pacific coast. We are professionals promoting properties such as farms, lots, ranches, commercial premises, homes and apartments, through our advertising and marketing services.
Are you buying a property? Our experienced team is ready to help you to find the right place. Are you selling? We are experts selling properties.  Keep it simple. Don't waste your time. We are  the best local and international listing.  Contact us, and we will be glad to assist you!
E-mail: bienesraices@coopeagri.co.cr
Local CR Phones: (506) 2785-0282 or  (506) 2785-0278
CLICK HERE 
8690-7/16/15

Swimming pool at night
A Buyer’s Broker offering the best
of Costa Rica Real Estate.
For those looking for quality properties and service at quality prices. Central Valley Rentals. Offering honesty, experience and knowledge. Your Villa Real Expert. Call us now  Toll Free (877) 845-4533. In Costa Rica 4030-5480 or 8339-2112. www.costaricarealtyone.com
8554-6/15/14

Remax logo
Re/Max Ocean Surf and Sun:

The experts in buying property in Costa Rica, with more than 20 years experience and the largest networked team of agents in the country.  We can help you learn if investing in Costa Rica is right for you with our low-key, educational approach to sales. Our professional agents can tell you more about Costa Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and commercial real estate.  Call us: Ocean Surf and Sun Int. Realty Ldta at 011 (506) 2653-0073 or send us an email at: info@remax-oceansurf-cr.com
8583-1/27/16

Real estate for sale (paid category)


San Ramon
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya. 7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 foot elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 baths, appliances included. High-speed internet installed, Direct TV via sling box on Internet. Price for sale $179,000    Contact Mike: mmpeace@hotmail.com 
Check out slide show HERE!
8671-6/30/15

volacano
DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!
They say a stock market crash is overdue.  Is your money in the bank earning only pennies in interest?  Is it time to get some of your assets out of the United States and into a wonderful retirement location?  That was this owner’s plan.  Gross ROI for this property was 11% most recent 5 months with 1,129 m2 lot crying for development of more rentals.  Build two or even three inexpensive fourplexes and live off of the income the rest of your life.  But current owner is unable to stay in Costa Rica (divorce, health reasons) so must sacrifice retirement dream property.  Offered at only $140,000 by extremely motivated seller and cash talks!  Very desirable location only a short 5-minute walk to central La Fortuna, clean and modern construction 2 bedroom 1 bath home is 102 m2 with no wasted space, very livable.  THIS ABSOLUTELY MUST BE SOLD!  For interior pix email  lafortunaguy@gmail.com
or phone (506) 8377-8402.
8552-5/20/15

Lantz
A beautiful American style suburban home just reduced.

A beautiful American style suburban home, 2,700 sq ft of living space with 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, front and rear living rooms, laundry area, kitchen and small attached library nook, arched windows and doors and connected hallways, exotic wood interior ceilings and trim, tile floors thru-out.  The lot is 835 m2 with mature landscape and orchid nurseries surrounding the house. There is an enclosed workshop and BBQ area in the back yard with lots of storage under roof, plus a nursery for an herb/vegetable garden.  This is a very well-kept property with many upgrades, a private feel but yet only 5 minutes from the center of town.  Pérez Zeledón is the commercial hub of the southern zone and considered to be one of the best places to live in all of Costa Rica, the perfect size town, not too big and not too small.  The beach is 45 minutes to the west and a short drive to the cool mountains is to the east. In between, this large valley has a moderate climate.  Pérez has plenty of modern goods and services, an excellent farmers market, private schools, private doctors and clinics, all you need without having to go to the crazy madness of San José.    Just reduced to $239,000.  Call  Jeff: 8824-8113 or 8725-8176.  Email:  angelsdad@me.com
8661-6/20/15

Med house
Mediterranean inspired home overlooking the Bay of Nicoya and Pacific Ocean. This design allows for barrier free living, yet maximizes views from every room in the house . Vaulted ceiling over the living area and kitchen give the great room it’s spacious, open feeling with a natural stone fireplace and imported Spanish tile floors. $365,000.   Property: 22,000 m2 or 5.5 acres. Construction: 4,500 sq. ft. including porches and garage. 3 nedrooms, 2 baths, full dining room, separate office. Custom wrought iron gates, custom exotic wood cabinets, high-end stainless steel appliances, Granite countertops.    Slide show at   
 www.picturetrail.com/sfx/album/view/24055899   
For more information contact:  deeday214@gmail.com
8657-7/14/15

Orosi
Costa Rica Villas For Sale
*In 2009 this property appraisal for $240,000  (two hundred forty thousand).
*Located in Paraiso, Cartago, Costa Rica.
*We spent over $70,000 in renovating the villa.
*The first floor has renters with a year lease. They pay $200 a month.
*Health reasons need to return to the U.S.A.
*One of Costa Rica famous waterfalls, 100 yards in front of the villa.
*I'll sell this property for $189,000.
*Visit my Web site www.costaricavalleyhotel.com
Contact in Costa Rica:  Cray phone (506) 8977-2777
Contact in USA: Billy phone  001 (678) 576-5107
8652-5/7/15

For sale: Titled beachfront lot 1/2 acre (1,750m2) near Jacó $89,000. Just one hour drive from San José.
Panoramic ocean view lot 1.25 acres (5,000m2) 25 minutes from Tamarindo  $25,000.
Panoramic ocean view lot  5,400 sq. ft. (500m2)  $6,500. Financing available.
For rent two-bedroom house  five minute walk to water $350 a month.
Call 6261-7932 Or email gsmboss@hotmail.com. See this Web site:
http://costaricarealestate.jimdo.com/
8651-5/7/15

Shangra la
Located in Jacó in the best and safest location possible, at Barrio Ricos y Famosos in Calle Europa, Casa Shangri La.

Main house: 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, 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 birds and other animals. 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, Beautiful gardens with many fruit trees. Built in year 2005 to highest standard by German owner now 69 years old, who wants to downgrade. Room for two more apartments, plans approved. Only 6 minutes walk to the beach and or center of Jacó.  Price reduced for quick sale to $1,150.000 and still negotiable. All fittings and furniture included. Excellent quality and well maintained. Just upgraded and remodeled for $ 30,000. Owner financing available.  More photos on request HERE! Email: wolfganghilbich@yahoo.com  Cell 8838-2081 or home 2643-2979.
8648-7/29/14

Ringle resort
on one big lot in Esterillos Oeste, (Central Pacific)
Located on a breezy hill just 4 minutes walk to the beach, surf and tide-pools, only 20 minutes drive north to Jacó nightlife and shopping or south to the rural town of Parrita.

First, a 2-storey, 2-bedroom (sleeps 4), 1½-bathroom house with big kitchen and living room.  Full-width verandah with eating and sitting areas, overlooking lawn, pool and gazebo. Sitting balcony at upper, bedroom level.  Carport. and laundry. 

Second, a completely private single-storey. 2-bedroom (sleeps 4), 1-bathroom home with big back yard at a lower level on the same, big fully titled 1,100M2 lot.. Full security bars at all doors and windows, plus locking vehicle access and pedestrian gates at the street. In a very safe neighborhood, with private and natural surroundings

Well maintained, fully and tastefully furnished and equipped, hot water, local phone, cable TV/DVD and high speed wireless internet   The houses have been rented for both long-term and vacation for $100/$80 per day and $1,500/$1,200 per month respectively. See this place, you will love it! Then make an offer. E-mail azucarb@racsa.co.cr or call (506) 8386-8825.  Rodney, asking $350,000.
8679-5/17/15

Finca home
 Little piece of paradise near Santiago de Puriscal, Costa Rica.       

16 acres (approximately.)   Price: $599,000USD
We are selling our beautiful finca that has been in the family for 37 years. It is located 3 miles (5 k) northwest of Santiago de Puriscal in the village of Desamparaditos.  We are looking for a discriminating buyer who would appreciate the location, views, flora and fauna. Excellent for artists, writers and nature lovers. Fantastic birding. Very private but not isolated. For more  information: In the U.S.A. call the owners: Pete & Debbie Todd: 970 -221-1457 or 720-951-7928 or email toddscolorado@gmail.com. In Costa Rica call: Ivo Henfling at Godutch Realty: 2289-5125/8834-4515 ivo@godutchrealty.com
8524-6/5/15

Jaco hotel

Beautiful beach hotel for sale.
Located at Jacó Beach, Costa Rica, Pacific Ocean.
Apartotel Costa Arenas is located just 5 minutes from the beach and 10 minutes from Jacó Downtown. The perfect place to rest in a cozy and familiar environment; surrounded by beautiful gardens. We have 11 fully equipped apartments. Also has swimming pool for adults and children and private parking 24 hours.  Retail value US$700,000.00   Contact:  
Carlos Díaz  Local CR Phone: (506) 2643-2085  
Email: costarenas@ice.co.cr   Web: www.costa-arenas.com
8573-4/15/15

ARenal property
Location: Near Arenal        Price: $2.7 million
Size: 113 acres
Web site: costaricalandsales.com
email: kim@costaricalandsales.com

The farm is at the highest point on a stunning ridge bordered by pristine Costa Rican primary forest on all sides of the property, with active wildlife all throughout the area. On each of its gently rolling terraced lomas you get a glimpse of Volcán Arenal from a distance. This property has four different lagunas, a working organic farm and nursery, mature fruit trees, sheep corral, ideal for grazing horses with stunning views from all the hillsides. The Northern Zone of Costa Rica is the country's best kept secret, providing a perfect home base location to travel the country's many destinations while still maintaining the best climate at 400 meters above sea level.
8406-8/2/14

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
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Business for sale or lease (paid category)
FOR SALE  5,200 M2  ESCAZÚ
Fantastic location for condo/ hotel, restaurant. Large lower lot. incredible views. Flexible zoning $2.3 M 
hotel
Easy to get liquor license.
Low interest financing
http://www.hotel4salecostarica.com/
http://www.hotelsescazu.com/
hotelescazu@aol.com
Call Bruce at: (506) 8307-0164.
8863-6/13/15

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

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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page


San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, May 14, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 94
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
dino wars
University of Pennsylvania/Mary P. Williams    
Saurornitholestes sullivani attacks a much larger dinosaur.

New, smaller dino called fierce hunter

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

It may have been small, but the newly identified dinosaur was fierce.

The 75 million-year-old fossil skull, found by paleontologist Robert Sullivan in New Mexico in 1999, was thought to be from a species of raptor found in what is now Montana and Alberta, part of a family of swift, powerful predatory dinosaurs like the velociraptor.

But Steven Jasinski, a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania, found some subtle, but significant, differences.

This dinosaur, which he named Saurornitholestes sullivani, had an unusually large area of its skull where the brain's olfactory bulb would be. That meant this species "had a relatively better sense of smell. This keen olfaction may have made S. sullivani an intimidating predator as well."

S. sullivani, which lived around the end of the age of dinosaurs, is the only named creature from this period found in the southern part of North America. It was less than a meter high at its hip, and about 2 meters from head to tail. Jasinski suggested that it was agile and fast, perhaps hunting in packs, "not a dinosaur you would want to mess with."

Jasinski's findings are reported in this month's New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin.

Macaques join the ranks of tool-users

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Like early Homo sapiens, Burmese long-tailed macaques use stone tools to get to their food.

A study published in the journal PLOS One details how the monkeys on an island in southern Thailand use stones and shells to hammer open oysters and shellfish.

During eight years of observation, Amanda Tan from Nanyan Technological University in Singapore identified the parts of the tool used (the flat face, the narrow edge or the point) and the ways they were used (hammering with one hand, bashing down with both hands, using them with a stone anvil).

Tan and her colleagues determined that 80 percent of the macaques on the island used tools, and that they chose the tool based on the need. They used the point of smaller stones for the precision strikes needed to crack open oysters and the flat side of large stones to hammer other shellfish that were placed on larger rocks.

Earlier studies have found other primates using tools. Cataloging the tools and actions used by macaques can help future studies comparing tool use and how it developed among different primates.


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From Page 7:


Sustainable builders presenting green expo

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Green builders from all over the Americas are meeting through Friday at the Hotel Barceló San José Palacio in La Uruca, and there is an expo of environmentally friendly building products and techniques that is open to the public during the daytime both today and Friday.

The sponsor is the Consejo de Construcción Verde de Costa Rica. An announcement said that today will be inaugurated the Programa EDGE, which is designed to evaluate and calculate the carbon dioxide emitted by a building as well as its energy consumption, water use and other resources.

Representatives from a number of national and international agencies are attending the conference. They met with former president José María Figueres of the Carbon War Fund at a welcoming reception.