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(506) 2223-1327                         Published Friday, May 24, 2013, in Vol. 13, No. 102                  Email us
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March Sunday is part of Caja no-smoking campaign
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation's health professionals are organizing a march, called a caminata, against tobacco for Sunday as part of a campaign against smoking.

The campaign includes radio spots by those who suffer from illnesses caused by smoking. These start today. The campaign is a preparation for the World Day against Tobacco, which is a week from today.

The march Sunday kicks off at 8 a.m. and ends on Avenida 4 to the main office of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social.

The Caja said it expects physicians, nurses, technicians and former smokers to join the march against what it calls an addiction that can cause two of the illnesses that cause 50 percent of the country's deaths each year, cancer and cirulatory problems.

Costa Rica has passed a tough anti-smoking law and has signed on to an international treaty against tobacco. But the various health agencies are not backing off the effort to eliminate smoking.

The radio spots will be 60 seconds each and present personal stories of smokers and some who have quit through the Caja's stop-smoking clinics, said an announcement.

Monday, workers at the Caja will be invited to see a 10 a.m. videoconference that addresses strategies for prevention and intervention to stop smoking, said the Caja.

The Caja notes that smoking is one of the principal causes of death in the world and that more than
smoking
                        sign

1 billion people smoke. Internationally, the World Health Organization is leading a crusade against what it says is one of the principal forms of drug addition.

The new anti-smoking legislation basically forbids smoking in offices and many public places. This is why there usually are clusters of smokers on the sidewalks outside office buildings and other workplaces. The legislation also forbids tobacco advertising and the sponsorship of public events by tobacco companies.

Cosponsoring the walk Sunday is the Instituto sobre Alcoholismo y Farmacodependencia. The event starts at the central offices of the Institute in Barrio la Granje in San Pedro.

Ironically, Costa Rica is a famed manufacturer of cigars that equal some of the better Cuban varieties.


Dip in business perception blamed on utility prices
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The business community's perception of the future is off slightly, according to a survey reflecting opinions in the first three months of the year. And part of the concern is the soaring rate of regulated utilities, according to the chamber that has been taking the survey for the last 17 years.

The survey of 499 firms reported the average confidence to be 5.3 on a 10-point scale, six-tenths of a point lower than the same period in 2012, said the  Unión Costarricense de Cámaras y Asociaciones del Sector Empresarial Privado.

The chamber also said that business leaders were also anxious of the slow pace of approval of the trade accord between Central America and the European Union. Costa Rican lawmakers have passed the agreement for the first time, but the final vote is awaiting an opinion by the Sala IV constitutional court, the chamber noted.
The business community's confidence level remained at 6,7, according to the survey results.

The chamber in its interpretation of the results said that the price of electricity has increased 42 percent and water has gone up 58 percent.

It said that an index of prices of services regulated by the Autoridad Reguladora de Servicios Públicos has gone up 16 percent in the last 12 months while unregulated prices have increased just 3.73 percent. Both electrical power and water markets are dominated by government agencies.

The chamber called upon the legislature to pass a proposal that would allow private generation of electricity, mainly from renewable sources.

The chamber also called on the Autoridad to revise its methodology that is used to compute the prices of regulated utilities.

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The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2013 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission.
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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, May 24, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 102
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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.


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Ash from Turrialba volcano
does not suggest bigger event


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Scientists who examined ash emitted Tuesday by the Turrialba volcano said they believe the ash came from the upper area of the vents in the crater.

That is good news because it appears that the ash did not come from the depths of the mountain, which would indicate magma activity there.

This was the report Thursday from the national emergency commission which asked experts to study the emissions of the mountain. Volcanologists with the Red Sismológica Nacional at the Universidad de Costa Rica and the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico at Universidad Nacional flew over the volcano Wednesday. Colleagues collected ash samples.

The commission said that Geoffroy Avard of the Observatorio reported that scientists did not find new ash that would suggest an emission from deep in the mountain.

Meanwhile the mountain continues to emit vapor and gas as it has for the last three years.

The eruption Tuesday sent a column of ash and vapor kilometers into the sky and attracted the attention of neighbors of the volcano and emergency commission members.

Representatives of the Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias said after a meeting with scientists Thursday that a low-level alert would be continued. The national park surrounding the volcano is closed to visitors.

There are a number of electronic sensors and cameras keeping an eye on the volcano.


Costa Rica given invitation
to Pacific Alliance trade bloc


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The country presented its request Thursday to become a full member of the Pacific Alliance.

Representatives of the four countries that make up the Latin trade bloc and observers are meeting in Cali, Colombia.

The Costa Rican foreign ministry said that the country's request was met with approval by the group and that the country would begin the paperwork to become a full member.

The other countries are Perú, Colombia, Chile and México. The trade pact was formed in 2011. Costa Rica met the requirements when it formally signed a free trade treaty with Colombia, also at the summit session Wednesday.

Costa Rica already has individual trade agreements with some of the countries.


Robbery suspects no strangers
to the criminal process


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Fuerza Pública officers detained two men as robbery suspects in Cartago, but the suspects will not be confused by procedures. They know the drill. They have been in court for a total of 13 times, said police.

The robbery happened in Guadalupe de Cartago. A man who runs an electronic shop said that he was confronted by two men and a gun. The bandits took jewelry valued at 6 million colons or about $12,000, police said.

The pair fled on the motorcycle on which they arrived. But a witness nearby saw them exchange the motorcycle for a car in an apparent effort to duck pursuit. A third party drove away with the motorcycle.

Acting on this information, police officers with the Grupo de Apoyo Operacional stopped a car near the municipal stadium in Tibás, north of San José.

There they encountered two men, one with the last names of  Fallas Montero and one with the last names of Rodríguez  Rodríguez, they said.

Police also found evidence of the robbery in the vehicle, they reported.

The security ministry said that Fallas had been detained in the past for aggravated robbery, illegally carrying a weapon, attempted aggravated robbery and other crimes for a total of five times. His associate, Rodríguez, has been in court on a murder charge, vehicle theft and aggravated robbery, said the ministry.

The ministry said that police also found three police radios and two police type rotating lights in the vehicle.


Firebomber gets no time
in flagrancia appearance


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

One of the demonstrators who tangled with police in front of the Asamblea Legislativa May 1 received two years and 11 months in jail. But since the sentence was less than three years, the individual remains free as long as he does not commit any criminal acts.

This was one of the individuals who were trying to use firebombs against police at the end of the May Day parade. The protesters also threw rocks and other items.

The individual appeared in the Tribunal de Flagrancia of the Segundo Circuito Judicial Thursday afternoon. Police did not name him. He admitted aggression with a weapon, threatening a public official and having explosive materials. One of those at the demonstration was found to have a briefcase full of firebombs.

Some of the protesters were university students.


Middle class mortgage bill
gets first OK in legislature


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Lawmakers have passed on the initial reading a measure to create a fund to provide mortgages for middle class wage earners.

The money would come from securities issued by state banks.  The measure passed without opposition.

The bill contemplates that state banks, and some private banks and credit agencies will take advantage of the plan.  Middle class wage earners would be eligible for 100 percent loans of up to 85 million colons or about $170,000 at 15 percent.


Security workers are eligible
for vaccination protection


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police officers and administrative workers in the security ministry are eligible to vaccinations for a range of diseases.

Mario Zamora, the security minister, was quoted in a release saying that the shots were donated by the Pfizer Co. Employees 50 years and over are getting the shots, which would cost 52,000 colons or about $100 each.

Among other diseases, the shots protect against pneumococcus, meningitis and pneumonia.

The estimated 3,000 eligible employees can receive the shots at work or at any Fischel, the ministry said.


Art festival today in Limón

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some 25 performing groups will participate in the Festival “N RAÍZ ARTE” in Limón Centro today starting at 1 p.m.

The event is in the Gimnasio Eddy Bermúdez, en Barrio Roosevelt. The groups include dancers, bands, painters, poets, story tellers, singers and even a marching band, said the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud.



Our reader's opinion
Avoid fish, save whales,
duck extensive pollution


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

The article about the 2-year-old baby whale that eventually died from being entangled in fishing gear is not uncommon and a very sad story to many of us. This problem can be lessened if we change some of our daily behaviors. 

Of course it is obvious that the death of the whale was caused by gill nets.  As most of you are consumers of fish you are partly responsible for the death of this incredible beautiful behemoth.  What can we do to help alleviate the death of whales, dolphins and hundreds of other species of sea animals including sea turtles?   Make different choices of what fish to eat. That is the most approachable way to lessen the gill netting and long line industries.  Better yet remove fish from your diet as many have done.  You will have less of a mercury build up in your system, which is extremely toxic.

HERE is a list of fish to avoid so that you can help make a difference to save our oceans wildlife populations and ocean ecosystems.

Much of the fish caught and sold in Costa Rica is from the Gulf of Nicoya.  The gulf is polluted by the Tárcoles River which dumps much of the sewage water, including heavy metals, from San Jose and the Central Valley into the gulf.  The Tárcoles river is listed as the most polluted river in Costa Rica and Central America.  Much of the red snapper, corvina and shrimp are caught in the Gulf of Nicoya.

Help solve the problem and not be part of the problem.  Whale populations along with many other creatures of the sea are at an all time low because of our choices of seafood you eat.

Henry Kantrowitz
Punta Leona

 
Find out what the papers
said today in Spanish


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

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

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

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

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










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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, May 24, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 102
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Maps and data about public education to be released next week
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Programa Estado de la Nación has generated maps and data that provide a picture of public education in Costa Rica.

The agency and the Programa de Investigación en Desarrollo Humano Sostenible de la Universidad de Costa Rica will present what is being called an educational atlas Wednesday.

Also participating are the Ministerio de Educación Pública and the economics faculty at the university.

The atlas is being characterized as a tool.  A broad summary of the state of the nation study contained no surprises.
For example, one finding is that the large- and medium-sized communities have bigger schools than the small ones located in the rural Nicoya peninsula, the central Pacific and the Brunca region.

The atlas will provide statistics on many variables, including student dropouts, repeating students and schools in areas of geological risk, said a summary.

The report noted that the big increase in student numbers was in the decades of the 1960s and 1970s.

After the presentation next week, the data and the maps will be on the agency's Web site.


U.S. hurricane prediction points to a more active season
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
and wire service reports

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting an Atlantic hurricane season more active than earlier estimates.

The agency said the Atlantic season this year may see as many as six major storms.

The agency said Thursday there is a 70 percent chance that 13 to 20 named storms will form in the Atlantic Ocean this season. It says as many as 11 of them could strengthen into hurricanes, storms with winds of 119 kph or higher.

The forecasters say they cannot predict if any of those storms will strike land.

The agency known as NOAA says warmer than average waters in the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic along with other atmospheric conditions make it ripe for an active hurricane season. The agency says it is committed to providing life-saving forecasts.

The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1.
In mid-April the Colorado State University forecasting team said that there would be eight named storms, nine of which will be hurricanes.

Of the hurricanes they said they see two major ones.

The higher activity than the 1981 to 2010 average is due to warmer ocean surface temperatures and the lack of an El Niño condition, said the forecast.

Last season was similar and saw two major hurricanes, 19 named storms and 10 hurricanes. Many dissipated in the open Atlantic.

The forecast is important to Costa Rica, because the country feels the backlash of strong storms even if the actual hurricane does not enter the country.

The Colorado researchers are Philip J. Klotzbach and William M. Gray. Gray has been making fairly accurate predictions for 29 years.

The Pacific hurricane season began May 15. Both seasons end Nov. 30. However, it is not unusual for a storm to ignore the calendar.


Some answers to questions raised by A.M. Costa Rica readers
Jo Stuart is home from Hospital México after a bout of illness. We expect her column to resume next week. In the meantime, we take this opportunity to give some newspaper trade insights.

A reader wondered in an email why the news articles in A.M. Costa Rica were not more objective. He seemed to be most worried about wire service stories out of Washington, D.C., that were critical of the Barack Obama administration.

We had to tell him that news gathering is a very subjective activity. First a reporter or editor must determine if something is newsworthy. Here at A.M. Costa Rica that is a bit tricky because our readership is much different than that of the Spanish-language newspapers. What is important at La Nación may not be important here.

We have been writing for years about various types of crimes affecting expats, including home invasions, property thefts and credit card frauds. We also stress development, business operations, taxes and relationships with government agencies.  These are all of high interest to expats here, but not something that is reported heavily in the Spanish-language newspapers.

An example is the type of news story that Garland Baker has written for years. Most are of little interest to the casual tourists but of upmost urgency for those trying to carve out a life in Costa Rica.

We also try to maintain U.S. publishing standards. Costa Rican police and prosecutors seem to treat everyone who is arrested as a convicted criminal. We prefer to call them suspects until the facts show otherwise.

A case in point is the Colombian who was involved in the use of a private plane by Laura Chinchilla. A reader wondered why we did not say in the initial news stories that he was being investigated for links to narcotraffickers in his
The Friday column.

By Jay Brodell
editor of A.M. Costa Rica


homeland. Well, we did not say so because we did not know that for a fact. The Spanish press said that because they relied on claims printed in some Colombian newspapers years ago. That is not good enough for us.

Frequently, too, a reader will email a link to an article in another publication and suggest that we reprint it. Although we appreciate the gesture, we do not have the legal right to reprint anything without permission. That distinction is lost on some Internet writers who basically steal material from online sources. We created Costa Rica Report to prepare legally acceptable brief paragraphs of Spanish language news stories and provide a link to the original site. La Nación hires reporters just like we do. The newspaper pays for their efforts. To steal the product of their labors and publish it elsewhere without permission is morally and legally lacking whether the result is in English or Spanish. And that is true even if the writer says where the information originated.

Publishing itself is fraught with perils. Most expats know how inconsistent the legal process is here. What they may not know is that defamation is a felony. At any moment, police may come to our office door to carry off editors and reporters to San Sebastián because some lawyer has filed an allegation of defamation. There doesn't have to be a conviction, only success in convincing some judge that the alleged crime warrants pre-trial detention.

So if a news story stops in mid-sentence some day, readers will know why.

Del Rey Hotel

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, May 24, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 102
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Alajuela man facing allegation that he laundered drug money via credit cards
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial agents searched an Alajuela home Thursday at the same time that the occupant was being detained in Panamá. The man faces an allegation that he orchestrated an elaborate scheme to launder drug money from the United States.

The Poder Judicial identified the man by the last names of  Pérez Echeverría. The Costa Rican came to the attention of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency  when it dismantled a drug operation in New York and Philadelphia.

The case resulted in the confiscation of 100 kilos of cocaine and ecstasy tablets, said the Poder Judicial.

Agents for the organized crime section of the Judicial Investigating
Organization went to the home in Cerrillal de Alajuela and confiscated computers and machinery and supplies for fabricating credit cards.

According to the Poder Judicial, the man is accused of accepting money in amounts smaller than the $10,000 limit that requires reporting and then issuing pre-paid credit cards that he would send on to the final recipients of the money.

The man is the responsible party for corporations in the United States and some here which maintain bank accounts, said the Poder Judicial.

Agents in Panamá also were involved in the arrest.

Anti-drug investigators in the north were said to have been involved in this case since 2011.

 
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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, May 24, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 102
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Obama outlines U.S. policy
on use of anti-terror drones


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

In a major address at the National Defense University in Washington, U.S. President Barack Obama has given a framework for ongoing counterterrorism efforts, including the use of drones in direct lethal action against terrorists. 
 
The hour-long speech was Obama's most expansive effort yet to define threats that al-Qaida and associated forces pose to the United States, define how the U.S. responds, and outline limitations on such action.

As the U.S. ends its military involvement in Afghanistan, he said al-Qaida's core in Afghanistan and Pakistan is on a path to defeat.  He said there have been no large-scale attacks on the United States.
 
Obama said other threats have emerged, including al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula  along with other localized groups, and radicalized individuals in the U.S.
 
Obama said the U.S. prefers to help build the capacity of partners such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia to act against extremist networks. 
 
He said that when governments cannot stop terrorism on their territory, lethal targeted action, including with drones, is required, but must be held to rigorous standards.
 
"America does not take strikes when we have the ability to capture individual terrorists. Our preference is always to detain, interrogate and prosecute them.  America cannot take strikes wherever we choose. Our actions are bound by consultations with partners, and respect for state sovereignty," he said.
 
Obama called the use of drones effective, saying they have disrupted many plots, and that they are legal, noting America was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001.
 
But he acknowledged that the new technology raises profound questions and the risk of creating new enemies.
 
"As our fight enters a new phase, America’s legitimate claim of self-defense cannot be the end of the discussion.  To say a military tactic is legal, or even effective, is not to say it is wise or moral in every instance.  For the same human progress that gives us the technology to strike half a world away also demands the discipline to constrain that power or risk abusing it," he said.
 
Obama also spoke about the legality of targeting Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen and radical Muslim cleric who was among four Americans killed by drones since 2009.
 
"When a U.S. citizen goes abroad to wage war against America and is actively plotting to kill U.S. citizens, and when neither the United States, nor our partners are in a position to capture him before he carries out a plot his citizenship should no more serve as a shield than a sniper shooting down on an innocent crowd should be protected from a swat team," he said.
 
Obama did not announce any steps to transfer additional authority for drone operations from the CIA to the Defense Department.  But a policy document he signed expresses a preference that the U.S. military has a lead role in the use of force outside of war zones.
 
Ken Anderson, from American University Washington College of Law, says the speech, which also covered detention policies, probably achieved a key objective.
 
"I think that it represented an understanding by the Obama administration in its second term that it has to reach out to Congress on a wide variety of issues that range from Guantanamo to drone strikes to other things, and that it needs to find ways in which to institutionalize and make an acceptable part of the permanent national security tool set of the United States, not just for this president but into the future," he said.
 
Obama said the U.S. must define counterterrorism efforts not as a boundless global war on terror but rather as a series of persistent, targeted efforts to dismantle specific extremist networks.
 
The president plans to re-engage with Congress on drone policy.  He ordered a review of proposals such as establishing a special court to evaluate and authorize lethal action.
 
He also wants the congressional Authorization for Use of Military Force that Congress approved after the Sept. 11, 2001, al-Qaida attacks, to be refined and ultimately repealed.  He said the U.S. must discipline its thinking so it is not drawn into more wars it does not need to fight.


President will again attempt
to close lockup at Guantanamo


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Barack Obama pledged Thursday to renew his attempts to close the controversial U.S. military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The president announced his plan in an hour-long, wide-ranging speech on U.S. counterterrorism policy.

Obama first promised to close Guantanamo when he ran for president in 2008.  On his third day in office in 2009, he signed an order to close the facility within the year.

Later that year, the U.S. Senate blocked the funding needed to transfer or release prisoners from the camp.  And in 2011, the president signed a defense spending bill which restricted the transfer of Guantanamo prisoners to the mainland or other countries, forcing the facility to remain open.

In Thursday’s comprehensive address, Obama said his administration is committed to prosecuting alleged terrorists whenever possible. He called the detention of terror suspects without charge at Guantanamo a glaring exception which is damaging America’s global image.

“The original premise for opening GTMO - that detainees would not be able to challenge their detention - was found unconstitutional five years ago.  In the meantime, GTMO has become a symbol around the world for an America that flouts the rule of law.  Our allies will not cooperate with us if they think a terrorist will end up at GTMO,” Obama said.

The president called on Congress to lift the restrictions it placed on transferring detainees from Guantanamo to other countries or imprisoning them in the United States. 

Obama asked the Defense Department to designate a location in the U.S. where military commissions could be held.  The president also said he is appointing a senior envoy to the State and Defense departments who will work to transfer detainees to other countries.

The president said he would lift the moratorium on detainee transfers to Yemen, to allow each case to be reviewed individually.  And he committed to trying terror suspects in U.S. civilian and military courts, where appropriate.

There are 166 prisoners still at Guantanamo.  Eighty-six have been approved for transfer as long as security restrictions are met.  More than 100 of the prisoners are on a hunger strike to protest their detention, and about 30 are being force-fed.

Toward the end of the speech, when he addressed the Guantanamo issue, Obama was interrupted repeatedly by an anti-war heckler.  The president acknowledged her as he made his case for closing the camp. 

“Look at the current situation, where we are force-feeding detainees who are being held on a hunger strike.  I am willing to cut the young lady who interrupted me some slack, because it is worth being passionate about.  Is this who we are?” Obama said.

At Human Rights Watch, counterterrorism adviser Laura Pitter says she believes the hunger strikers forced U.S. officials to revisit the Guantanamo issue.

“Well, the hunger strike has really put the issue of closing Guantanamo back on the political agenda.  It is unfortunate that the detainees had to resort to such drastic measures and desperate measures in order to get the attention of the administration and Congress again,” Pitter said.

President Obama has been criticized at home and around the world for failing to close Guantanamo.  He also has faced domestic opposition for proposing the detention of terror suspects on U.S. soil.


British agents had known
about two radical Muslims


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Senior British officials say the two men detained for the gruesome murder of an off-duty British soldier on a London street had been identified earlier by security teams investigating suspected Islamist extremists.

The victim, a 25-year-old father named Lee Rigby who had served in Afghanistan, died at the scene. The two suspects were shot and wounded by police.

Media reports Thursday cited British Muslim hardliners and acquaintances who identified one of the suspects as 28-year-old Michael Adebolajo of Nigerian descent.

Anjem Choudary, head of the banned British radical Islamist group al-Muhajiroun, said Adebolajo had regularly attended sermons by the group's Syrian-born founder Omar Bakri, who was banished from Britain in 2005.

Reporters confirmed that both suspects are British citizens who converted to Islam after being raised as Christians by their African immigrant families.

As the investigation progressed Thursday, British police said they had arrested a man and a woman on suspicion of conspiracy in connection with the case.

Rigby was rammed by a car and then hacked to death Wednesday afternoon near an army barracks in south London. Government officials said one of the attackers shouted Allahu akbar "God is great" as the soldier lay dying near him.

Prime Minister David Cameron said the killing was an appalling attack on Britain and a betrayal of Islam.

"This was not just an attack on Britain and on the British way of life. It was also a betrayal of Islam and of the Muslim communities who give so much to our country. There is nothing in Islam that justifies this truly dreadful act," Cameron said.

The prime minister also said Britain was "absolutely resolute in its stand against violent extremism and terror."

"We will defeat violent extremism by standing together, by backing our police and security services and above all by challenging the poisonous narrative of extremism," Cameron said.

The two suspects are under guard in a prison hospital.

Witnesses to the attack said the soldier was hacked to death with large butcher knives. British television broadcast a bystander's dramatic video showing a man identified as Adebolajo with blood-covered hands holding a cleaver and a knife.

He criticized the presence of British troops in foreign lands and justified the attack on religious grounds, saying to those around him, "the only reason we have done this is because Muslims are dying every day."

Adebolajo apologized to women and children who witnessed the bloodshed but said, "in our land, women have to see the same."

U.S. President Barack Obama condemned the attack, saying "the United States stands resolute with the United Kingdom, our ally and friend, against violent extremism and terror."

In signs of a backlash after the attack, more than 100 angry supporters of the English Defense League, a far-right street protest group, took to the streets late Wednesday. Separately, two men were arrested in connection with separate attacks on mosques outside London. No one was hurt.


More camels in parched Kenya
raising concern about the milk


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Camels are known for their ability to travel long distances across the desert without water, but they’re also becoming an increasingly important source of milk for people in drought-prone regions.

That includes East African countries like Kenya, where populations of camels, the single-humped kind technically known as dromedaries, have grown rapidly over the past few decades.

But introducing camels, or any species, to a new region could mean bringing in new diseases, so researchers are studying camel diseases in Kenya to try to assess the possibilities.

The camels at the Mpala Research Centre in Kenya might sound fierce and, at more than two meters tall, adult dromedaries can be pretty intimidating. But Margaret Kinnaird, Mpala’s executive director, says they don’t deserve their reputation for meanness.

“I’ve never been spat on, I’ve never been bitten, I’ve only been sort of gummed and kissed,” she said.

A couple of years ago, Ms. Kinnaird began a project on camel health with Sharon Deem, who directs the Institute for Conservation Medicine at the St. Louis Zoo in Missouri.

“Camels may have some diseases that, as the human population reaches for camel milk, these diseases could be passed to them,” Ms. Deem said.

A growing number of Kenyans are drinking camel milk, most of it unpasteurized.

“These are estimates, but we really believe that up to 10 percent of Kenya’s 40 million people, so we’re talking four million people, probably drink unpasteurized camel milk,” Ms. Deem said.

Camels are not native to Kenya. But Ms. Kinnaird estimates that over the past 30 years, their number has grown to about three million.

Many have been brought in by immigrants from neighboring countries like Somalia and Sudan, where people have traditionally kept camels. Kenyan ranchers are turning to camels because of their ability to survive with limited water.

“People are learning that they can have camels persist throughout some very severe droughts, where they tend to lose all of their cattle, or a large majority of their cattle,” Ms. Kinnaird said.

Unlike cattle and goats, camels can continue producing substantial quantities of milk under drought conditions, which climate scientists predict will become more severe and frequent in Kenya in the future.

"So, I would imagine that given climate change, the role of camels is bound to be even more important than it has been before for those who live in these areas,” said Amos Omore, with the International Livestock Research Institute in Nairobi.

With camels becoming more common in Kenya, as well as a significant source of nutrition, Ms. Deem, said she believes it’s critical to find out what diseases they might be spreading.

When she began her research on camels, she really didn’t know much about them, so she started hitting the books.

“I became, very quickly, sort-of a camel expert," Ms. Deem said. "And I think that first field season I was maybe one of the best camel vets in Kenya.”

That unusual expertise helped Ms. Deem gain the trust of some local herders, who were eager to have her check out their camels.

Ms. Deem and her colleagues decided to focus on three diseases: brucellosis, trypanosomiasis, and Q fever.

They chose those diseases not only because they could spread to people who drink unpasteurized milk, but because they might also infect Kenya’s abundant wildlife species, like zebras and elephants.

With start-up funding from the St. Louis-based animal health and nutrition company Novus International, Ms. Deem worked with Margaret Kinnaird and local ranchers to test 150 camels over the course of two years. They collected blood, fecal, and tick samples.

The testing didn’t turn up much brucellosis or trypanosomiasis, according to Ms. Deem, but almost a third of the camels, and more than half the ticks, tested positive for Q fever, a bacterial disease that can be fatal in humans.

“So we really feel that Q fever in camels could be very important in this region,” she said.

The next step for Ms. Deem and her team will be to take a closer look at Q fever and how it is affecting livestock, people, and wildlife.

She also wants to keep working with Kenyan ranchers on what she calls “camel 101,” basic steps to keep their herds healthy.


Cash mobs help local stores
compete with the big chains

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. economy posted a solid growth in the first quarter, in part due to the biggest consumer spending surge since the end of 2010. A trend sweeping the country is helping to push more of that spending toward local businesses.

What do you get when you mix a store's need for more business with enthusiastic local consumers? A cash mob.

Organized through social media, the phenomenon is based on the concept of a flash mob, where large groups convene in a public area to perform a dance routine. Instead of showing up to dance, these people show up to spend money. This cash mob was organized by Think Local First DC, a group that works to grow the Washington, D.C. economy. Stacey Price is the group's executive director.

"Local businesses are why people stay in a community. They are the character of our community, they give back to our community. If you look at studies you know that 68 cents to every dollar goes back into the local economy when people spend at a local business. When you spend at a chain store, only 37 cents goes back into the local economy," explained Price.

The rules of the cash mob are simple. Just show up at a local business at a set time, bring $20 and spend it on anything in the store.

The group chose Pleasant Plains Workshop for a cash mob to showcase the gallery's unique artwork and crafts. Everything in the store is made by local artists like Chris Haughery.

"I love my work and I like showing my work, but I would be more excited about people being able to see art just in general, and for me to be a part of that, to be able to add to that, you know, is really cool," said Haughery.

Store owner Kristina Bilonick said the event was a huge success.

"It's a win-win, and the sales are just icing on the cake," she said.

The cash mobs organized by Think Local First DC have increased sales for local businesses in Washington by 500 percent. And the mob members say the events are so much fun that they look forward to participating in one again.


Boy Scouts eliminate ban
on openly gay youngsters


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Boy Scouts of America has voted to lift its official ban against openly gay members, but will keep the ban on gay scout leaders.

More than 60 percent of the 1,400 members of its National Council voted to lift the ban at their annual meeting in Texas Thursday.

It adopted a resolution saying that America needs scouting and the organization's work will stay focused on what unites members. It says starting Jan. 1, no youth may be denied membership on the basis of sexual orientation or preference. It says there is no change in its policy in adult members.

Many current members say they have no objections to allowing openly gay scouts to join.

But many scout chapters are sponsored by churches and other religious groups. They opposed changing the policy towards gays, Some parents have threatened to take their sons out of scouting.

The Boy Scouts were founded in 1910 but did not have a policy banning gays until 1991.


Deep cultural changes sought
to safeguard women soldiers


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A recent Pentagon report says the number of sexual assaults among people in the military continues to grow. The estimated number of incidents, ranging from groping to rape, increased by 37 percent last year. Both men and women were victims.  This is prompting them, and activists, to push for deep changes in the US military. 
 
More women are on active military duty than ever before. And as their numbers grow, so do the reports of sexual assaults.  
 
Calls to do something about it are growing.
 
“So not only is it a crime, not only is it shameful and disgraceful, but it also is going to make, and has made, the military less effective than it can be. And as such, it is dangerous to our national security," said President Obama.
 
Few understand that better than Jenny McClendon, a veteran who was raped by a superior while serving in the U.S. Navy. She now works to advocate change through a group called Protect Our Defenders.
 
"If you can't trust the people that you're working with to have your best interests at heart, if you can't trust the people that you're working with to not assault you, then you can't trust your unit which means that there's a divided unit," she said.
 
Women now make up more than 14 percent of the active duty force, and for the military that means new challenges in creating an environment where men and women can work and live in close quarters while maintaining professionalism.
 
The military has tried to combat sexual assault with public service announcements that stress awareness, and training programs that call for sensitivity and an improved reporting system.
 
But revelations that some of those in charge of the programs have allegedly been perpetrators could undermine these efforts. Like the case of Colonel Jeffrey Krusinski, head of the Air Force sexual assault prevention and response unit, who is now charged with groping a woman near the Pentagon. 
 
Ms. McClendon believes it's time for deep cultural changes.  She recalls that while serving 12 years ago, it was acceptable for male soldiers to say they didn't want to work with women. 
 
“When that's permitted, you've got a culture that promotes sexual assaults and rape. We need to challenge that paradigm. We need to have people saying we're not going to allow people to not work with women. If you don't want to work with women, you're not working in the military," she said.
 
With an estimated 26,000 assault cases last year, Congress is considering tougher penalties for sexual assaults in the military.  Activists welcome those moves.
 
Ms. McClendon says creating a more diverse, gender-neutral environment in the military will ultimately advance as more women enlist.

Real estate-related services (paid category)

Bid on Costa Rican properties to be foreclosed!
Win big with Costa Rican foreclosures.
Full service team at your service

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

WE GET RESULTS!
7873-4/7/13

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)


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 2228-5961 or 8339-2112. www.costaricarealtyone.com
7938-6/8/13

Re/Max, the Pacific coast expert
Re/Max offers comprehensive Costa Rica Real Estate, vacation rental and relocation services. Our award-winning team is the largest in the country, and can show you the best lifestyle and financial investment properties in the most desirable locations including prime real estate in Tamarindo, Langosta, Conchal, Flamingo, Pinilla, Coco, Hermosa and Playa Panama.  Give us a call in Costa Rica at 506-2653-0073, or toll free from the U.S. and Canada 1-800-385-5930. Re/Max, the name you trust for the finest real estate services in Costa Rica.
7949-11/15/13

Moran Arenal
Lake Arenal, Costa Rica
The undiscovered jewel of Central America, 35 square miles of blue, pristine, clear water ideal for fishing, swimming, boating, Real estate values still low.
Great lake front, river front land, farms, homes, condos and commercial property. Some with owner financing
 
This is far and away the most beautiful place in all Central America — cool climate. Try our two-day, all-inclusive discovery tour for $299.

Check with our Web site at www.moranlakearenal.com
Contact us at the office: (506) 2694-0088
Cell (506) 8880-8888
Phone number from the U.S. (305) 307-0088
Email: moranrealestate@gmail.com
Moran logo
7922-10/15/13

The #1 Authority in Costa Rica Real Estate

Costa Rica real estate
Since 1996, CRREC has been providing the most valuable resource for discovering real estate in Costa Rica. Our Costa Rica properties database contains some of the most exclusive and hard to find properties in the country. Not to mention how affordable some of our Costa Rica homes for sale are. So if you're in the market for Costa Rica real estate then we encourage you to
visit our Costa Rica MLS and discover for yourself why people call CRREC the #1 authority in Costa Rica real estate.
Call Today @ 506-2654-5507 (Costa Rica) or 1-888-414-1836 (Toll-Free) Email: info@costaricarealestate.com
7721-4/29/13



Costa Rica,

Central America
Houses, lots and farms in Grecia,
western Central Valley.
Great climate
and safe communities.
Gracia home
Sale price now reduced from $240.000
to $190.000.
  Click HERE!
Sarchi home
Modern three-bedroon home in San Rafael de Sarchí. Cick HERE!
 Great deals for you!
SEE OUR OFFERS HERE
Visit our Web Site:
 www.greciarealestate.com
 English: (Cristian Arce)
English:  (Luis Arce)
 Español: (Luis G. Jiménez)

   (506) 8538-6186
   (506) 7100-8489
   (506) 8707-4016

  Send us your request to our email: info@greciarealestate.com
7685-2/7/12
Bargain

Real estate for sale (paid category)


San Pedro condo
Condo for Sale in Flor del Este
Lourdes, Montes de Oca San Jose

Located behind The Foundation Costa Rica Canada 500 meters north of Inglesia Lourdes. U Latina, UCR, and U Fieditas are located within 5 minutes.  Beautiful mountain view from roof covered 3rd floor terraza. Condo is a 3-story. Three/four-bedroom, three and half bath unit within a secure complex of 40 condos with high cement outside walls with only one entrance manned by an armed guard 24 hours per day. In addition, to security fencing, and electric wire, a recorded security camera system is monitored within the guard house. Residence has a telephone communication system to contact the guard house. In addition there is a green park area inside the complex for children to safely play and an outside parking area in from of guard house for visitors. Equipped with an independent wired security system in addition to iron bars on windows and patio doors. Equipped with circuit breaker box and 220-volt service for hot water heater, stove and dryer. Also has water storage tank under parking area and water pump to maintain high pressure on all three floors. American-style washer and electric dryer, Refrigerator, glass top stove, and kitchen cabinets included. Other furniture items may be available for purchase.
Call Bill   (English) C.R. Phone: (506) 8876-7399
U.S. Phone:  6630-886-4458  or   (305) 848- 5577
Spanish  phone number: (506) 8799 4041
Email:  sjogringo@yahoo.com
7973-8/23/13

Guaancaate condos
Little Dreams La Colina Magnolias

Great Guanacaste Beach Condos Available

$28,500 - Little Dreams - Ocotal beach studio condo, furnished upper floor condo in great complex just 1 mile from Ocotal beach, 2 miles from Coco beach, great price for this complex.
$70,000 - La Colina - another Ocotal beach 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo, 80 m2 and fully furnished with upgraded kitchen, complex has Infinity pool, mountain views.

$75,000 Magnolias 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath townhome just 1 minute's walk from Coco beach and the 2 beach clubs in Coco. Nicely furnished, walk to town, 67 m2, perfect location.
Find out more information on these and other condos at my website WendyLovesCostaRica.com. All 3 of these condos are about 35 minutes away from Liberia Intl. airport, no need to drive a long way to get to your condo.  Call for more information, 1-415-670-9382 or 011-506-826-1211. Or email Wendy@WendyLovesCostaRica.com.
7971-6/23/13

Rich Coast Montage
RichCoastRealty.com
Central Pacific Coast Real Estate
- 2 Bedroom House in Gated Community near the beach, $89,000!!
- Beachfront Residential Lots from $35,000! Financing Available
- 2 Coffee Shops and Bakeries Turnkey $40,000/ $120,000 Great ROI
- Lots in Gated Community near the beach from $17,500!!
- 3 Bedroom House in Gated Community, furnished, walk to the beach, $120k
- 3 Bedroom Oceanview House on 5 acres subdividable
into 4 oceanview properties $250k
- 58 acre Oceanview Property subdividable, $169k
and much more....
http://www.richcoastrealty.com/
USA Toll Free 1 866 833 4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718 9891
Brendan@RichCoastRealty.com
7972-8/9/13

NOW REDUCED TO $680,000
ALAJUELA – PRIVATE COMPOUND OF 4 HOMES - $850,000 TURNKEY
Spectacular view property on a ridge near Alajuela.  Large home and 3 rental homes totaling 7,300 square feet (678 square meters) live-in construction.  Property area is 3,376 square meters (0.83 acres) including a vacant lot for expansion options.  In total there are 10 bedrooms, each with an ensuite bath.  Property has pool, rancho, mirador, courtyard and covered parking.  Homes have romantic fireplaces, built-ins, storage, other luxury features.  Turnkey sale includes all appliances, furniture, fixtures, equipment.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at gerrybuilt2000@yahoo.com.  See property video here:

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:
7967-7/17/13

La Cruz finca
La Cruz Finca 223 ha. (558.2 acre)
This beautiful 223-hectare (558-acre) farm is 70 kms. north of Liberia on the Pan-American Highway and has over a kilometer of frontage on the highway. The property is almost 3 kms deep and has good interior roads. The River Sapoa runs year round at the back side of the farm which is almost 1 mile wide with and incredible views over the Nicaraguan border to Lake Nicaragua and Isla Ometepe. Great property for an eco retreat, teak farm or cattle ranch.  At $900 per acre, this is one of the best farm deals around. See details HERE! The seller will entertain any reasonable offer. Price: $495,000 contact: Bruce Hummel. Email: Bruce@bh-cr.com. Cell Phone: 011 (506) 8819-2119, From US/Canada: (816) 987 7166,  www.bh-cr.com
7966-6/16/13

Playa Octal home
Playa Ocotal Beach Home
This home is located in a residential resort complex made up of 40 luxurious, fully furnished beachfront villas, plus a clubhouse complete with poolside bar and restaurant. Bahía Pez Vela is located in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, one kilometer from Playa Ocotal on the North Pacific coast and just 30 minutes drive from Liberia International Airport and three miles to downtown Playas Del Coco. From this home you can hear and see the waves crashing on the rocks of this pristine beach. See it HERE! This is the best priced beach home in Costa Rica! Price $225,000   Contact: Bruce Hummel Bruce@bh-cr.com, www.bh-cr.com - Cell Phone: 011 (506) 8819-2119, From US/Canada: (816) 987-7166.
7965-6/16/13

hree peanel montage
This dream Costa Rica beach house overlooking Carara National Park and the Pacific has been rented continuously for two years. D.C. owners are on site at the house in May and prepping for June 1 Move in and/or vacation rentals and have an unbelievable offer. Already listed way under value, $150,000 Cash or $199,500 with owner financing through May 30th. Note: This was the owner's (14 year residents of Costa Rica) dream home before their relocation to Washington, D.C., Your own salt water Infinity pool, expansive sala and balcony, views from every room. Each room is individually air-conditioned, ceramic tiles, cathedral ceiling; three bedrooms in an international community. Scarlet macaws fly by your veranda each evening.
zen/natural contemporary design ideal for your location overlooking Costa Rica's biological corridor. 50 minutes from San José, minutes from beaches/20 minutes from Jacó Beach. Tour this property online first at www.dreamincostarica.com and if interested contact Barry in Costa Rica through May 30th for a tour. In Costa Rica: 8701-5639 or call Rosemary in the U.S. 239-910-3354. Note: On June 1 the price of this property will increase to over $200,000 after equipping, painting and acceptance of rental income. Don't wait!
7958-6/2/13

La Garita
                                  home
This home was built by a California contractor with all the amenities expected in a 3,000-square foot home.  There is a little less than one acre of land.  Their is a 800-square foot shop easily converted to a rental unit or studio.  Located in La Garita de Atenas, 15 minutes to the international airport and 30 minutes to San José.  $225,000. 2487-4500.
xxxx-xxxxx

Casa de Eden
For sale by owner Playa Conchal home. Reduced $329,000

Casa de Eden is an ocean view three-bedroom, 2.5-bath, with outdoor shower, private pool located only minutes from Playa Conchal.  The home is in a private, secure community surrounded by nature but still only 20 minutes to the resort towns of Flamingo & Tamarindo and less than an hour from the Liberia airport. There is 2,600 square feet under the roof, which includes a large outdoor terrace and has phone, Internet & satellite TV. The home boasts luxury finishings: AC & ceiling fans, Frigidaire professional series stainless steel appliances, granite kitchen countertops, marble bathroom vanities, custom wood cabinetry, ceramic tile.  Contact desmondproperties@gmail.com  U.S. 1-800-939-2617 or CR (506) 8349-2025.
www.puntaplayavistas.com
7948-5/29/13

Pirate beach
For sale by owner: Ocean view condominium. Reduced $175,000

Gorgeous two- bedroom, two-bath with private terrace offering spectacular ocean views and built-in energy efficiently. This condo is located in a gated community with low HOA dues and offers amenities including a pool & rancho.  It is located close to a beautiful white sandy Pirates Beach. Only 20 minutes to the resort towns of Flamingo & Tamarindo and less than an hour from the Liberia airport.  Luxury finishings: Pella double panel windows, AC & ceiling fans, Frigidaire stainless steel appliances, granite kitchen countertops, marble bathroom vanities, custom wood cabinetry, porcelain tile. Contact desmondproperties@gmail.com  U.S. 1-800-939-2617 or CR (506) 8349-2025. www.puntaplayavistas.com
7947-5/28/13

montage ofr photos
ALAZAN Eco-Friendly Community

- Ocean, mountain, and river views, built in harmony with nature
- 70% sold out, 1.25 acre + lots available from $75,000
- All lots held in separate corporations
- Functioning HOA with 24-hour security and gated front entrance
- 100% custom homes, turnkey construction
- Community homes have been featured in Su Casa Architectural Magazine
- Abundant wildlife on the property, access to 45-acre nature preserve
- Organic Permaculture farm coming soon
- Build your custom dream home and join our community of friends in paradise!
Brokers Welcome
http://www.richcoastrealty.com/1011.html
USA Toll Free 1 866 833 4005
CR Cell 011 (506) 8718-9891
7725-5/15/13

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: http://www.intertica.com/homes/roy.htm
http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=wKaNmrNyyZtXGg
7933-7/22/13

Jacó compound
Located in Jacó 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. Owner financing available. German-built, excellent quality and well maintained. More photos on request. http://www.intertica.com/ocean/wolfgang.htm
7929-7/18/13

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 on site,
security and lawn maintenance.
Water and power on site.
http://www.haciendamontemar.com/
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891
7928-8/9/13

Nicoya views
Property with ocean and gulf view for sale
Tranquil million dollar view, 5,000-sq.meter property with 3/2 home built to American standards, artistically designed and decorated, 16-foot ceilings of mango and tamarindo, appliances, plunge pool, rancho, caretaker apartment, workshop, covered parking, views of Gulf of Nicoya and ocean, in countryside near San José to Caldera highway. Near the lovely town of Esparza. Can provide extra income from bed and breakfast room rental and stellar Tripadvisor reviews. www.oasisbytheseabandb.com $180,000 506-8869-9274.
7882-4/15/13

FOR SALE BY OWNER
You can purchase property in Costa Rica legally without paying Land Transfer Tax; this plus the usual real estate commission of 5% will reduce your purchase price by approximately 11%. Save over $50,000.00 on the purchase of this $465,000.00 property. Large 5000+ sq.ft. House. Ideal for business executive, B & B or large family. E-mail for photos and more information to landofpalms@hotmail.com.
7869-4/6/13

For Sale By Owner
1 lot (1.5 acres)  at SIBU (8 lots total) amongst 50 acres of protected jungle gardens with sunset ocean views of Playa Nosara. Underground electric and water.13 minutes from Playa Guiones. Gated. In house financing available. Home of SIBU Sanctuary. jungalow@gmail.com.
7845-8/18/13

just reduced
Just Reduced to $169,000!!!
58-acre oceanview and mountainview property

Segregated into 9 lots, Excellent Development Potential!
20 minutes from the beach Central Pacific Coast, between Jacó and Quepos.
http://www.richcoastrealty.com/1060.html
Brendan@RichCoastRealty.com
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005  CR Cell 8718-9891
7766-6/17/13

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


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

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, May 24, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 102
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Big data has its dark side
as new manipulations grow


By the SINTEF news staff

A full 90 percent of all the data in the world has been generated over the last two years. The Internet companies are awash with data.

An increasing amount of data is becoming available on the Internet.

The volumes of data make up what has been designated Big Data – where data about individuals, groups and periods of time are combined into bigger groups or longer periods of time.

Petter Bae Brandtzæg of the Scandinavian SINTEF ICT points to the huge research centers now developed at
Internet companies such as Facebook and Google. "The advantage they have is the enormous volume of data that other social researchers can only dream of,"  he says.

However, it has also changed the way SINTEF researchers work. Even those not working in the major Internet companies can still access Big Data.

Brandtzæg has investigated a tool called Wisdom developed by the American-based company MicroStrategy, and has started applying it to young people’s social activity on the internet.

'This gives me access to data about over 20 million people – without making a single enquiry. I can analyze different preferences on Facebook and look at age and gender differences between various groups and nations across the world. So far I have compared gender differences in social activity on Facebook between people in Norway, Spain, England, USA, Russia, Egypt, India and China.'

Data protection is a problem often associated with Big Data, but according to Brandtzæg, data from Wisdom is restricted to large groups and does not go down to individual level. This makes it possible for him to compare large groups without any data protection problems.

Big Data makes it possible to achieve research results that cover a wide range of issues, and can tell a great deal about developments in the world in many different areas. It is possible to carry out thorough analyses and comparisons between countries and different genders.

For example, researchers in Facebook's own research department have looked into how people across the world update their messages, and what kind of information they post about themselves and their lives.

"The surveys show that the messages people have been posting have been getting shorter each year," says Brandtzæg.

'This reflects the increase in other types of fast social communication, such as Twitter, which has achieved huge popularity because it is about expressing oneself briefly and concisely in a maximum of 140 characters. Another trend in that direction is that young people are telling their stories using images rather than text. The current Instragram craze could be due to the fact that users don’t have to write anything.

These volumes of data can therefore provide useful information. However, Big Data can become a problem when different sources of data are compared for commercial use in targeted advertising campaigns.

It is becoming increasingly common for data about locations to be linked to our purchasing preferences – about what buyers like and don’t like. Facebook has made big strides in this area.

Vulnerability and data protection are the dark sides of this new entry into huge data sets and registers.

"Who knows – in two years, perhaps the tax register will be linked to the health and insurance register?" says Brandtzæg. "And tax data can go astray; it has happened before."

The ability to disseminate information to large groups in real time has made Twitter and Facebook important communications tools when major events take place.

When hunting for the Boston terrorists, the police, authorities and traditional media also used social media like Twitter, Instagram, Reddit and Facebook to actively collect and disseminate information about the incident. Several voluntary groups were also set up via social media, in order to try and help the police. However, social media as channels of communications proved to be not entirely beneficial, but also a source of confusion and misinformation.


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