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Wal-Mart ripped in report for stashing cash overseas
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., is being singled out as a tax dodger because of its creative use of overseas tax havens and 78 subsidiaries.

The detailed report from the Americans for Tax Fairness includes brief mentions of the U.S. company's holdings in Central America.

Wal-Mart’s Central American operations include 217 stores in Costa Rica,  89 in El Salvador, 217 in Guatemala, 81 in Honduras and 86 in Nicaragua, according to the organization's report. 

The Central American operations are held by TFB Corp., NV, located in Curaçao, said the report.

Americans for Tax Fairness  says it is a coalition of  425 national and state organizations that believe in greater revenue to meet the growing needs of the United States.

Wal-Mart has built a vast, undisclosed web of 78 subsidiaries and branches in 15 offshore tax havens which may be used to minimize foreign taxes where it has retail operations and to avoid U.S. taxes on those foreign earnings, said Americans for Tax Fairness.

Although the report was not intended to support territorial taxes by the U.S. government,  Americans for Tax Fairness shows Wal-Mart has gone to great lengths to avoid the U.S. 35 percent corporate tax.

Mike Duke, Wal-Mart CEO, has told a Senate committee that the United States should lower the corporate tax rate and move to what he calls a territorial system.

The United States now stands nearly alone with its citizenship-based taxation. U.S. citizens, permanent residents and some others must file tax returns with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and report income from anywhere in the world even if they live overseas.

This has created the extensive bureaucracy, including bank account reports, that U.S. citizens encounter in their daily lives overseas.

Wal-Mart currently has 22 shell companies with addresses in Luxembourg, a country where it does not have a single store, said the report.

stash of money
A.M. Costa Ricca graphic
Report says Wal-Mart has $76 billion stashed overseas.

"Wal-Mart has transferred ownership of more than $45 billion in assets to Luxembourg subsidiaries since 2011, and reported paying less than 1 percent in tax to Luxembourg on $1.3 billion in profits from 2010 through 2013," said the report, adding:

"The Wal-Mart Web report is being released as Congress and the Obama Administration consider whether any form of corporate tax reform can be crafted and voted on this year.

"A central part of that discussion is how to tax the $2.1 trillion in offshore profits that are held by U.S. corporations and are currently untaxed here at home. The conventional wisdom in Washington is that corporations should be able to bring these profits home at a steeply discounted tax rate, and the revenue would be used to rebuild roads and bridges.

"This would result in a huge tax break for multinational corporations that have already dodged paying their fair share of taxes, many through the use of offshore tax havens."
Two organizations that promote the interest of U.S. expats also are lobbying for a territorial or geographic U.S. tax policy. They are American Citizens Abroad and the Association of Americans Resident Overseas.

Members of the latter organization recently told the U.S. Senate Finance Committee that a change in the law would  alleviate the reporting burden, raise compliance, and make Americans less undesirable as banking customers, business leaders and joint account holders.

Meanwhile, the  Americans for Tax Fairness that was released Wednesday is being distributed all over the world, and other governments might be motivated to look into Wal-Mart's tax avoidance methods.

Two bills put focus on cultural identities and rights
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Lawmakers are being asked to set up a special investigation of the human rights enjoyed by the native populations.

In addition, a measure that would insert multiculturalism in planning, education and culture has advanced out of committee. Sandra Piszk Feinzilber. who heads the legislative  Comisión de Derechos Humanos, linked the two measures Wednesday.

She said that bill calling for the study of the current situation of native peoples was No. 19.364 and that the proposal was to open a special office directed to the needs of the various native groups.

She also said that one job of the new office would be to see that the native groups are consulted on legislation. Certain agreements require such consultations, but frequently this requirement is overlooked.

The bill that advanced out of committee Wednesday was No. 19.279. The bill follows the legislative action last week to change the Costa Rican Constitution to define the country as multi-ethnic and multicultural.

The pending measure is not very specific, but it would require the planning ministry, the education ministry and the cultural ministry to adopt multicultural policies in an effort to change social patterns.

For example, the  Ministerio de Planificación would be required to develop proposed policies and plans of a multicultural character and submit them to the ethnic groups involved for approval in order to promote what is called in the bill ethnic equality.

The bill covers all ethnic groups, but the sponsor, Maureen Clarke Clarke, wrote extensively about Afro-Costa Ricans in the bill summary and noted that they were at the lower end of the economic scale.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, June 18, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 119

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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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In the Spanish-language press
Train gates supposed to be in service today

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A contractor was to install the crossing gates at the La Sabana train line by 4 a.m. today, and they are supposed to be in service by 6 a.m.

This is the crossing just south of the Gimnasio Nacional in the vicinity of McDonald's and the Universal store.

These will be the valley rail line's first crossing gates. The train service has been plagued by accidents, some of them fatal.

The firm Grupo Portafolio is doing the job, and, in addition to gates, there will be lights that flash when a train approaches and a sound to alert motorists.

There is not a lot of distance between the rail line and the end of the Caldera highway, so motorists will have to be careful not to block the six-lane route.

Crossing the rail line to the south gives motorists access to an upscale residential neighborhood and the rest of Sabana Sur as well as what is called the carretera vieja de Escazú, a concrete road that runs parallel to the Caldera highway, Ruta 27.

Neighbor reported U.S. citizen missing

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A U.S. citizen from Pococí has not been seen since June 1, the Judicial Investigating Organization said Wednesday.

The man is Brian Lynn Hogue, 65. The judicial agency issued a missing persons alert Tuesday.

Wednesday the agency said that Hogue was reported missing by a neighbor who saw him leave in his own vehicle that day.

The agency said that judicial agents made inquires in the area where Hogue lives without finding any leads. The man was planning to make stops in several towns ending in Guápiles.

A.M. Costa Rica received no reports of the man even after a news story appeared about him Wednesday.

 Any information can be telephoned to  800-8000645 emailed to, agents said.

Judicial police chief in Quepos detained

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The head of the judicial police in Quepos was one of two persons detained Wednesday by the anti-corruption prosecutors, said the Poder Judicial.

The man, identified by the last name of Solano, is accused of using his police authority to intercede for a private citizen and detain four U.S. citizens. The detention is believed to related to a private dispute.

The private citizen, identified by the last name of Corrales, also was detained.

The incident took place May 8 in the center of Quepos when Solano is accused of sending two other agents of the Judicial Investigating Organization to collar the U.S. citizens. They were in a vehicle and spent a brief period in confinement.

Solano is accused of abuse of authority and of illegally detaining the men. Both suspects went to San José Wednesday for investigation.

The U.S. citizens were held for about 45 minutes, said the Poder Judicial.

World heritage status marked for spheres

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There are a series of discussion and workshops to celebrate the first anniversary of the country's stone spheres achieving world heritage status.

There will be events in San José and also at the site of the spheres in the canton of Osa, said the Museo Nacional.

The spheres still are enigmas, but next Tuesday will mark a year since the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization placed them on the world heritage list.

Costa Rican officials are hoping that the new status will make them top tourist draws. A satellite museum has been erected at the site of the spheres.

Rocío Fernández, director of the museum, said that a series of scientific studies had been done in conjunction with the  Universidad de Costa Rica over the spheres.

Francisco Corrales, a former museum director, is now in charge of the site and museum where the spheres are located. He gave the first presentation Wednesday afternoon. He was to discuss the method and the challenges in achieving the U.N. designation.

Ana Eduarte,  restoration expert, is scheduled to speak today at the museum at 4 p.m on the state of the spheres and the strategies for their conservation.

Next Tuesday at the museum primary school children will attend a workshop on the spheres.

Corrales will repeat his presentation Tuesday at the  Museo Finca 6 in Osa Tuesday at 9 a.m. There will be  discussion on this topic in  Palmar Norte at 4 p.m. the same day.

A more complete schedule is  HERE!

Cruz Roja seeks more money

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Cruz Roja, the rescue agency, wants a raise. The public service says more money is needed to eliminate a 2-billion-colons deficit.

Idalberto Gonzalez Jiménez, the general manager of the Cruz Roja, appeared before the  Comisión Permanente de Hacendarios to seek changes in the laws and an increase in the ubiquitous Cruz Roja legal stamp from 200 colons to 500. The stamp is required on lots of public documents along with others.

The general manager said that the problem began with changes in the law in 2011 and the the Cruz Roja applied its reserves to the shortfalls. The reserves are now depleted, the general manger said.

The organization also would like a piece of traffic fines, exoneration for its vehicles from highway tolls and an increase in the taxes it receives from telephone use.

The committee took no action, but members said they would study the request.

The Cruz Roja is best known for its ambulance and search and rescue services.

Pope Francis seeks environmental priority

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Vatican today is releasing a landmark letter by Pope Francis calling on Catholics to place a greater priority on protecting the environment, which he says is being ruined.

The 191-page encyclical, the draft of which has already been leaked, is expected to say climate change is one of the main issues of the day and is mainly the result of human activity.

"This home of ours is being ruined, and that damages everyone, especially the poor," Pope Francis said at his weekly audience Wednesday. "This then is an appeal on my side toward responsibility," he said of the  encyclical.

In the letter, Pope Francis is expected to highlight the importance of combating pollution and protecting water supplies. He also calls for moving away from the intensive use of fossil fuels and says so-called carbon credits are ineffective, according to drafts.

The encyclical, which is the second-highest ranking document able to be issued by a pope, comes ahead of his September visit to the U.S. and a major United Nations conference on climate change in Paris later this year.

The document reflects a continuation of relatively progressive stances taken by the Argentina-born pope. He has also called on the church to become more welcoming to homosexuals and to not put undue focus on controversial issues related to abortion and gay marriage.

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In the Spanish-language press
Today, June 18

Firm promises tunnel and driveways for mall

La Nación: A construction company promises to build a tunnel and help with the expansion of the highways to avoid traffic jam with the new opening of the Desamparados mall.

Wave of new flights benefits tourism

La República:  In a few months routes like Interjet, Volaris, Alaska Airlines and Southwest shall join Spirit, Southwest and JetBlue in servicing the country.

Lexus opens a dealership  in Terramall

El Financiero: Buyers will find a wide selection of luxury vehicles, including hatchback, sedan and 4x4s, at the new locaton.

Coffee harvest decreases dramatically

El Heraldo:  The last harvest was down significantly compared to previous years by 1 million bushels.

Compiled by Sylvia Quesada Hidalgo

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A.M. Costa Rica

Third News Page

San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, June 18, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 119
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Don't miss our showcase of top restaurants HERE!

San José pawn shop searches turn up very few stolen elecronic items
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial agents and the municipal police searched 15 pawn shops in the downtown area Wednesday and came up with just 10 suspicious cell telephones and two portable computers.

The pawn shops are clustered in an area between avenidas 1 and 3 at Calle 10. Although the pawn shops, called  compra y ventas here, are an important aspect of Costa Rican budgeting, they also are where thieves dump their loot.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that the searches were made with the permission of the store operators. Suspicious goods were found in just six stores. There was one computer that had been reported as having been stolen in a crime and one computer with an altered serial number, said the judicial report.

The cell telephones had altered numbers, the agency said.
A recent survey determined that less than 30 percent of crimes committed in the nation are reported by the victims. So unless there was a report, police and judicial agent would not know that a cell telephone, a computer or other electronic devices had been taken by crooks.

Police said they concentrated on checking electronic item.

The capital's pawn shops have extensive collections of cameras, lenses and other items that appear to have once belonged to tourists.

Even though they may have loaned just a fraction of the

cell phone
Judicial Investigating Organization photo
Agents search a cell phone cabinet in a local store.

item's value to customers, store operators usually want close to market value for their items.

Some shops are open 24 hours a day for the benefit of those who might have an urge to pawn something in the pre-dawn hours.

Solís offers to meet with chamber chiefs who protested import barriers
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

President Luis Guillermo Solís defended his executive branch employees and told protesting chambers of commerce that health measures on importing items were not restrictions on commerce.

The president did offer to have a meeting with the protesters, which includes the Cámera Nacional de Turismo.

Seven chambers, but not Turismo, called for the firing of the director del Servicio Fitosanitario del Estado,  Francisco Dall´Anesse Álvarez, and  Bernardo Jaén Hernández, the 
director of the Servicio de Salud Animal.
Both men are the center of a controversy best known to the public as a restriction on the importation of Mexican avocados.

The fruit has been kept out of the country over a condition known as sunblotch.

But there are other products that have faced some forms of restrictions. They include honey, potatoes, pork, beef, platanos and spices.  Critics contend the import restrictions are protectionism designed to help local producers.

Solís replied via letter to the presidents of the chambers and representatives of some other entities Wednesday.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, June 18, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 119
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Small number of wild bee species are major pollinators of world's crops
By the University of Vermont news staff

A major international study finds that surprisingly few bee species are responsible for pollinating the world’s crops.

The paper, published in Nature Communications, suggests that only 2 percent of wild bee species pollinate 80 percent of bee-pollinated crops worldwide. The study is one of the largest on bee pollination to date.

While agricultural development and pesticides have been shown to produce sharp declines in many wild bee populations, the study shows these busy bees can remain abundant in agricultural landscapes.

The study gives a powerful economic rationale for conserving wild bees. It calculates the value of wild bee pollination to the global food system at $3,000 per hectare of insect-pollinated agricultural land, an amount in the billions globally, and roughly equal to the value of honey bees.

But the findings also offer a warning to conservation advocates hoping that economic arguments can justify the preservation of all species. Moral reasons are still needed, researchers say.

“This study shows us that wild bees provide enormous economic benefits, but reaffirms that the justification for protecting species cannot always be economic,” says Taylor Ricketts of the University of Vermont’s Gund Institute For Ecological Economics, a study co-author. “We still have to agree that protecting biodiversity is the right thing to do.”

Fifty-eight researchers worldwide conducted the three-year study, led by David Kleijn of the Netherlands’ Wageningen University.

The study advances the understanding of wild bees’ crucial role in the global food system. About two-thirds of the world’s most important crops benefit from bee pollination, including coffee, cacao and many fruits and vegetables.

Wild pollination is increasingly important with the growing instability of honey bee colonies. Wild bees’ agricultural value is now similar to that of honey bees, the study finds. Honey bees are no longer considered wild in many regions due to their intense management.

carpenter bee
U.S. Geological Service/ Sam Droege
This is a carpenter bee which make its home in wood and is an important pollinator.

The most important wild bees for agriculture include some of the world’s most common species, including the common eastern bumblebee (Bombus impatiens) in the U.S. and the red-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius) in Europe, researchers say.

One reason to preserve bee biodiversity is securing the future resiliency of global pollination systems, Ricketts says. Previous studies associate biodiversity with more stable pollination services over time.

“Species and populations can fluctuate significantly as landscapes and climates change,” says Ricketts. “So protecting a wide variety of our wild bees is crucial.”

The paper outlines bee-friendly practices for farmers, including maintaining wildflowers and grass strips, organic farming techniques, and limiting – or delaying – the use of pesticides and other chemicals.

The study includes 90 individual studies of nearly 1,400 crop fields across five continents (North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and South America).

Regular monitoring found nearly 74,000 individual bees from nearly 785 wild bees species on crops. Of 20,000 known bee species, roughly 2 percent pollinated 80 per cent of crops.

“Rare and threatened species may play a less significant role economically than common species, but this does not mean their protection is less important,” says Kleijn.

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Adventures in Costa Rica are awaiting you.
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Hotel Boutique Playa Bejuco
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:   Web page

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* GUIDED TOURS. General holiday planning giving you the best value for your investment Costa Rica vacation Packages. Click HERE!

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Comfort of your home in the campo, 5 minutes from Fortuna Centro of San Carlos, in the shadow of Volcano Arenal, Flat screen TV, AC, refrigerator, free coffee. Local area activities like four-wheeling, horse riding, zip lining, hot springs, jungle walking tours. Bring your camera for great photos of nature, fishing and swimming, canyoning and wireless internet. Harry Hart, proprietor.  Call for reservations  (506) 2479-8670   and (506) 8682-9219  Email:

Will Costa Rica Retirement Work For You?
Find out for yourself on Live In Costa Rica Tours

When you visit Costa Rica, you'll want to discover what you need to know to  make the right choice about moving to this tropical paradise.  Our familiarization tours have won hard-earned credentials that prove general excellence and the right focus.  These are the only retirement tours that are licensed and approved by the Costa Rican government and tourism institute  (ICT). In 2006 we were featured on the NBC Today Show and World News.  In 2010, we won the  prestigious Latin America-Asia Travel Excellence Award for the Best and Most Unique Tour in Latin America.

   * Discover how to make the right choices about moving here
   * Find out how to live affordably
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   * Tours led by Christopher Howard, 34-year resident, citizen,
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Click HERE  to learn all about our Association of Residents (ARCR)  approved tours at

Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
Drop in to see some of Costa Rica's finest art
at the largest gallery in Guanacaste.

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
or contact us by email:   
Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tel. 2667-0592 / 8386-6872; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073. International shipping available.

Click photo for another video

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

 (as reported by the moving companies)
Visit many rental options to actually experience the price/amenity options available in more of the areas chosen by Expats for security, comfort, and quality of life.

Meet many Expats who are willing to share their experiences and how the tour has value long after the “lust” wears off.
See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!

Ask the others what you get for your money, and then compare the quality of accommodations, quality, quantity and variety of food and drink to measure the best value for your money. 

Learn how others “talk the talk” and learn who really can “walk the walk”

Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
George Lundquist, retirement, relocation columnist, Guide & Developer/Builder.


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Costa Rica's world class medical specialists are at your command. Get the top care for much less than U.S. prices. It is really a great way to spend a vacation. See our list of recommended professionals HERE!amcr-prom

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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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Real estate for rent (paid category)

Beautiful cottage in San Rafael, Heredia

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Heredia cottage

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Rent my beautiful little home for a year or two and see if you like it. Located in the hills of San Isidro de Heredia. Cool weather, peaceful
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Apartment Lemur del Bosque for rent
San Francisco de Dos Ríos, El Bosque, furnished 2-bedroom, 1-bath apartment, quiet area, free cable TV, WiFi, large patio area, swimming pool, parking, security. Close to San José. $440/month.   Retired persons prefered. Call 8375-6838. Email:

Furnished apartment for rent  Available Now!
Impeccable newly remodeled villa in Villas de Cariari for rent day, week or month. Rates from US$85 per day. Utilities, washer and dryer, car parking,  24 hour security, Wi-Fi, close to airport and shopping. Long=term and corporate renters are accepted.
Contact: Chris English/Spanish U.S. phone: 1-804-699-8073
Costa Rica phone : (506) 6145-7003 Email:

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.  Rent per month $750 plus utilities with free internet.  Price for Sale $179,000   Contact Mike:  Check out slide show HERE!

Beautiful 2-bedroom 2-bathroom American-style apartments with an elevator to your front door in a secure building located in Gringo Gulch the American Section of downtown San José. Costa Rica. Located between the Hotel Del Rey, the Hotel Mona Lisa and the Sportsman's Lodge and The Zona Blue (AKA) Little Habana across the street from Harry's Poas Bar, and next to the Holiday Inn.
apartment view
 There are 15 restaurants and American- style bars on this block and four supermarkets within a few blocks. There are 5 casinos within 2 blocks and dozens of hotels around this apartment. Included in your rental price, fast Internet, the best they have in Costa Rica, cable TV with 80 stations, water, washer
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Condo in Jacó for rent
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

Palmares graphic

Homes for rent in Palmares, Alajuela

See our web page:

Condo for rent.
Conveniently located just a 200-meter walk to the beach. In the favorite community of Las Palmas, this condo is a perfect vacation home and/or great for vacation rental income.  The condo is located on the 2nd level offering beautiful vaulted ceilings, front and back balcony, pool and mountain view. Screens in every window/door, Air condition in both bedrooms and at living room. The condo is in perfect condition. It has been recently painted and super well-kept, new appliances, fully furnished. Wired to have own washer dryer. It has been the residence of the owners since they built it. Never rented out to third parties. The owners are selling as they are moving to the Central Valley.  The community has a great-size pool and beautiful landscaping and large parking. Just step out your condo and in less than 5-minute walk be swimming in the ocean! A must see! Rate $795 per month. Contact Bob Mobile C.R. ( 506 ) 8392-7520. E-mail:

Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for your stay in this beautiful part of Costa Rica.
We are offering homes for every budget and every need.
Please visit our Web page at or contact us at
or call at (506) 2654-5442.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, June 18, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 119
Real Estate
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House will try again to OK
fast-track negotiating authority

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. House of Representatives may try again today to advance President Barack Obama’s ambitious Asia-Pacific free trade agenda by separating fast-track negotiating authority from a measure aimed at helping American workers that was voted down Friday.

The two pieces of legislation had been linked so both had to be approved before the president could sign them into law.

Now officials say it is possible they will be separated. The Republican-controlled House would vote again on the enhanced negotiating authority, but this time as stand alone legislation.

The measure to aid American workers who lost their jobs because of a trade pact, would then be voted on later.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Wednesday that the president can only support a strategy that would put both bills on his desk, but, Earnest added, not necessarily at the same time.

“Now there’s also this fundamental question … about whether or not they have to arrive at the same time, on the same day, as part of the legislative vehicle or separately," he said. "That’s exactly what is being discussed on Capitol Hill…”

The situation places the president in a rare alliance with Republicans.

Many Democrats are concerned the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal would send more American jobs overseas and hurt the environment. The workers' aid piece was initially included to appease Democrats, who overwhelmingly voted it down Friday with some Republican help, as a way of scuttling the other part of the legislation, the fast-track authority.

Separating the two pieces of legislation would remove the incentive for Democrats to vote against it.

Wednesday, both the speaker of the House, John Boehner, and the leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, reiterated their commitment to the trade legislation and to ensuring it gets sent to the president for his signature.

The fast-track authority would allow the White House to negotiate the 12-nation Asian trade pact and others like it while preventing Congress from making any changes in the deals when they come up for approval or rejection.

Refusal to grant the negotiating authority would make it much more difficult for the administration to secure the Trans-Pacific deal, which already is years behind schedule.

The countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific agreement are the United States, Vietnam, Singapore, Peru, New Zealand, Mexico, Malaysia, Japan, Chile, Canada, Brunei and Australia. The U.S.-led pact aims to cover nearly 40 percent of global economic output when completed.

The White House has said the Trans-Pacific pact would help further break down global trade barriers, open untapped markets, and grow the economy, while providing an important counterbalance to the growing economic strength of China.

GE chairman would move
jobs without financing agency

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The chairman of General Electric, Jeff Immelt, says he may move jobs out of the United States to Canada or Europe if Congress lets the U.S. Export-Import Bank go out of business.

The Export-Import Bank helps U.S. companies export their goods and services with financing and a type of insurance that protects firms in case a foreign customer cannot pay. The companies pay premiums or interest for these services.

The Export-Import Bank's charter expires at the end of June and the usually uncontroversial agency has been the target of campaign by some conservative Republicans who say the agency is an unwise intrusion into processes better left to the market. Without congressional action, the government agency will go out of business at the end of June.

GE is one of the large U.S. companies that get help from Export-Import, and critics say large firms should not need help or get corporate welfare from the government.

GE's Immelt says if his company does not get help from the U.S. Export-Import Bank, he may move some production to nations that do provide such help.  He says China, Germany and scores of other nations bolster companies that compete with American firms with export promotion agencies.

In a Washington speech on Wednesday, Immelt also said most of Export-Import's customers are small- and medium-size companies.

U.S. lawmakers given
new report on gas attacks

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is again systematically using chemical weapons to kill, terrorize and disperse civilians in rebel-held areas, Syrian doctors and human rights activists told a U.S. congressional committee Wednesday

President Assad had denied the use of chemical weapons, saying there is no evidence. In response to earlier pressure,  Assad declared that he had gotten rid of his entire stockpile of chemical weapons. 

But Mohamed Tennari of the Syrian-American Medical Society told members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee that the Syrian military began launching helicopter attacks using chlorine gas on March 16 in his hometown of Sarmin.

Tennari showed the committee disturbing video of dead and wounded children and others from that night and told what he saw when he went to the hospital to treat the injured.

"Dozens of people experienced difficulty breathing, with their eyes and throats burning, and many began secreting from the mouth," he said. "We lay people on the floor as the beds filled up. Our small field hospital became chaotic."

Tennari presented the panel a dossier of data, photos and other evidence documenting 31 separate chlorine gas attacks in Syria since March.  The witnesses emphasized that only the Syrian leader has the helicopters to deliver the barrel bombs with chlorine gas.

Annie Sparrow of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai works in the region to train doctors and said she has never seen anything like this.

“I am a doctor, and I am very familiar with death," she said. "But I have never seen a more obscene way to kill children."

Lawmakers, including Rep. Elliot Engel, were visibly shaken by the images.

"I am not usually speechless. But after watching those pictures of the children dying, I am speechless," he said.

Engel said he and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce have asked the Pentagon to seriously consider leading efforts to establish a no-fly zone in Syria.  Royce said such a zone would protect civilians from the deadly combination of barrel bombs and chlorine gas dropped by aircraft.

"Syrians would no longer be forced to choose between staying above ground where they could be killed by the shrapnel Assad packs inside his barrel bombs or going below ground where they are more vulnerable to suffocating from chlorine gas," he said.

Many have become illegal
in Dominican Republic

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Dominican Republic has set last midnight as the deadline for a new immigration law that could result in the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Haitian immigrants and those of Haitian descent, whom it accuses of illegally living in the country.

Haitian Prime Minister Evans Paul, in a press conference Monday, said it was unclear when the deportations would take place. He added there were reports that some had already begun.

"We have heard mixed statements from Dominican officials on the expulsion," Paul said. "On one hand, the Dominican minister of foreign affairs, Andres Navarro, has said that they would not do the expulsion en masse. On the other hand, there other Dominican officials who said there will be massive expulsion."

Paul added that his government would assume its responsibility and face the situation.

"It is also the responsibility of Haiti as a whole," he said.

Ilaria Lanzoni, from the International Organization of Migration, said that his agency is concerned by the vulnerable status of the migrant population in question.

She said the agency, in coordination with the Haitian government and the United Nations, has worked to develop a response and assistance plan for those repatriated. She said the contingency plan would provide for an influx of up to 2,000 people per week into Haiti.

Dominican President Danilo Medina has said previously that there would be no mass deportations, but government officials say Haitian migrants can be deported within 48 hours of the order coming into effect.

In 2013, the Dominican Constitutional Court issued a ruling retroactively denying Dominican citizenship to anyone born after 1929 who did not have at least one Dominican parent. The ruling effectively branded hundreds of thousands of Haitians as being in the country illegally or in transit.

A year later, following intense international criticism, the government announced a special naturalization process for undocumented Haitians who immigrated before 2011 and had children born in the country.  Hundreds of thousands of people would need to provide documents proving their time in the country, such as a deed to a home or a note from an employer or school, as well as memos of good citizenship proving that they were not criminals.

Deputy Interior Minister Washington Gonzalez said Tuesday that those who did not apply for legalized migrant status would be officially regarded as illegal.

"They still have the opportunity to have legalized migrant status through the general immigration agency," he said. "If they don't come to the general immigration agency, well, then they will find themselves in an illegal situation, and it will be necessary to act according with the law."

As of Wednesday, thousands of migrants continued to wait in long lines to register for legal residency.

The Dominican government says thousands have registered under the program. Legal residency, if approved, could provide them with a two-year temporary migrant status.

Spanish-speaking Dominicans and Creole-speaking Haitians share the Caribbean island of Hispaniola and have a long history of conflict and tense relations.

More than a half-million Haitians are estimated to live in the Dominican Republic. Many moved over during the last century to escape political violence or find employment.

Displaced persons called
a record by U.N. agency

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United Nations refugee agency says a record number of people worldwide have been displaced by war, violence and persecution and the number of people forced to flee their homes is rapidly growing.

In a new report issued Thursday, the U.N. High Commission for Refugees says that at the end of 2014, there were nearly 60 million forcibly displaced people, about 8 million more than the year before and about 20 million more than a decade ago.  The increase since 2013 was the highest ever in a single year.

A major exodus of people from their homes started in 2011 with the eruption of civil war in Syria; but, in the past five years, armed conflicts and persecution also have sent people fleeing from their homes in Africa, Asia and Europe.  Last year 42,500 people a day left their homes due to some type of violence.

"The world became a mess, and if people think that humanitarians can clean up the mess, they are wrong.  We don't have the capacity to pick up the pieces," said Antonio Guterres, the U.N. high commissioner for refugees.

One in every 122 humans is now either a refugee or internally displaced or seeking asylum.  The report is a reflection of the state of the world today, said Guterres.

Syria is currently the world's biggest producer of displaced people and refugees, followed by Afghanistan and Somalia. Syria's neighbor, Turkey, has become the world's top refugee-hosting nation. Greece and Italy are swamped with refugees who want to settle in Europe.

European officials cannot agree on how to share the burden.

"Italy and Germany certainly both agree that we need to arrive at a more equitable distribution in Europe.  In our view, the best way is mandatory quotas for the European member states," said German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier.

Several EU members have balked at the idea, and Hungary has announced plans to seal its border with Serbia. Many refugees use the Balkan route to reach Hungary on the way to Germany and Sweden.

U.N. peacekeeping report
urges significant changes

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

After an extensive review of United Nations peacekeeping operations, an independent panel is recommending significant changes to help the world body adapt to the rapidly evolving challenges it faces in the globe's trouble spots.  This is the first major peacekeeping assessment in 15 years.

The United Nations has more than 120,000 military, police and civilian peacekeepers in 16 missions across the globe. With no end in sight to many of the world’s worst crises, this number is not likely to decrease anytime soon.

The 16-member panel appointed by the U.N. chief and chaired by former Timor-Leste president Jose Ramos-Horta worked for seven months, looking at what the limits of peacekeeping are and what expectations should be going forward.

The panel handed the report to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Tuesday morning, but it was not publicly released.  Ramos-Horta spoke to reporters about its contents. He stressed that clear political goals must guide all U.N. peacekeeping operations.

"Peace is not achieved nor sustained by military or technical engagements alone. But often solutions can be found only through patient, steady political engagement," said Ramos-Horta.

He warned that U.N. missions are increasingly deployed in volatile and dangerous environments, with little or no peace to keep, and have frequently been used in the absence of a peace process. He said the panel recommends that missions should always deploy as part of a wider political process in which the U.N. plays the lead or leading role.

Ramos-Horta also called for faster deployment of missions. With no standing army of its own, it currently takes the U.N. about nine months to recruit and deploy peacekeepers.

“We call for a modest U.N. capacity to respond quickly to a crisis. For the U.N. to be able to react faster, there has to be discussions about a stronger network of first responding bridging forces from regions or individual member states," he said.

As the reach of terrorist groups spreads, blue helmets, as the U.N. troops are known, have been caught in the middle – such as in the Golan Heights, where armed groups fighting in the Syrian conflict have abducted and attacked them, or in Mali, where they have been targeted by terrorist groups, including al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, in the course of protecting civilians.  The panel warned that there are real limits to what U.N. peacekeepers can successfully take on, and counter-terrorism operations is not one of them.

Sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers of the people they are sent to protect has been one of the biggest stains on the United Nations. An internal report released this week said that while allegations are decreasing overall, they continue to persist. From 2008 to 2013, there were 480 such allegations, over a third of which involved a minor. Ramos-Horta said the U.N.’s zero tolerance policy must mean exactly that and that immunity must never mean impunity for such acts.

New York University professor and U.N. expert Richard Gowan said the report has a dual focus – improving how peacekeeping missions are managed as well as a political warning.

“Don’t push U.N. into places in North Africa and the Middle East where it will face serious terrorist groups like ISIS. Don’t imagine that the U.N. can do large-scale peace enforcement. Understand that peacekeeping is a tool that can be incredibly useful in countries like Liberia or Haiti, but still have its limits in the most dangerous environments," said Gowan.

Gowan adds that the peacekeeping review will only have real impact if member states, including the biggest ones such as the United States and China, are willing to implement the panel’s recommendations.

Gunman kills nine in attack
at black church in U.S. South

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Nine people are dead after a gunman opened fire in an African American church in Charleston, South Carolina, Wednesday night, in an attack police are investigating as a hate crime.

Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen told reporters that an unidentified 21-year-old white male walked into Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church during a weekly scheduled prayer meeting and began shooting.  Mullen said eight people died at the church, while another died after being taken to a hospital.  The chief said several more people were wounded in the shooting, which he called unfathomable.

NBC News says it has learned that one of the victims was the church's pastor, State Sen. Clementa Pinckney.

Mullen said the gunman was still at large and is believed to be extremely dangerous.  He said the shooting will be investigated as a hate crime and that a monetary reward will be offered sometime today.

Police were forced to evacuate the neighborhood surrounding the church after receiving a bomb threat.  The threat was later lifted.

Charleston's mayor, Joseph Rileyr, called the assault "a most unspeakable and heartbreaking tragedy."

Emmanuel AME Church was founded back in the mid-19th century, making it one of the oldest African American congregations in the southern United States.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley released a statement early this morning offering her condolences to the victims, saying "we'll never understand what motivates anyone to enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another."

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who officially launched his 2016 presidential campaign earlier this week, has cancelled planned events in Charleston today.

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Photo montage of penthouse
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Mafi Real Estate: Houses, lots and farms in Costa Rica
If you do not find, what are you looking for, contact us
WE HAVE A NETWORK OF OVER 500 brokers across the country to get what you are looking for.
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Costa Rica,

Central America
Houses, lots and farms in Grecia,
western Central Valley.
Great climate
and safe communities.

Visit our Web Site:

English calls: (Cristian Arce) Phone: 
(506) 2494-0016 
(506) 8309-0173
English calls :  (Luis David) Phone: 
(506) 6154-1940 

Español calls: (Luis G. Jiménez)  Phone:   
(506) 8707-4016
Grecia one
Big house for sale.
Great opportunity !!!

If you know about house for sale prices,  you will realize that this is a real deal.  Original price of  $400,000 now is $320,000.
Due to its characteristics and location, it can also be used for commercial purposes (boutique hotel, offices, medical center).  Large house, 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, one office, just 250 meters from Grecia downtown. High quality construction, built in 2009, high ceilings, balcony with beautiful views over central Grecia valley, elegant luxury furnitures included, network cabling 6 gigabits throughout the house, Giant TV flat projection system of 120 inches in the main room, sound system 7.1 channel. Air conditioning system, security system, and cameras, lighting system in open areas. 4-car parking space plus large garage, Recommended for large families.

Property Location: Central Grecia, Alajuela
Total area construction (two floors):
252 square meters
Total area: 250 square meters
Construction Type: Concrete
See more photos click HERE!

Grecias two
  Send us your request to our email:


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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.
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Real estate for sale (paid category)

Aerial Ocean and Volcano Views with Boutique Coffee! 33 Acres $725,000. Click HERE!

San Ramon rollover
Three-bedroom home with view near San Ramón
Beautiful house in magical setting in the hills above San Ramón in Costa Rica can be yours for $185,000! House was built 10 years ago with soaring 16-foot ceilings.  Enclosed area is 1,200 square feet with 3 bedrooms and 2 full bathrooms, large kitchen, and utility room.  It is located at 4,000 feet with typical temperatures ranging between 75 and the low 80s during the day and the low to mid-60s at night.  The house is offered fully furnished, including all appliances (nearly new energy-efficient Samsung refrigerator). The front of the house features a large covered veranda (another 500 square feet), with a barbecue and outdoor patio furniture to seat 8, and hooks for a hammock. There are many tropical plants, flowers, and trees are on the half-acre property.  Set on the far western edge of the Central Valley in a small, pastoral community, it's only 10 minutes to San Ramón and its many small stores, restaurants, museums, a branch campus of the University of Costa Rica, and a weekly farmers' market.
See additional pictures at
Phone: (506) 7009-0364

For sale 5,200 m2 Escazú
Fantastic location for condo, hotel, restaurant.
Large lower lot, incredible views. Flexible zoning.
Easy to get liquor license. Low interest financing.
Call: 877-778-8515
(506) 8307-0164
(410) 975-6703

ranch view
Small private ranch for sale
This exceptional private ranch sits on a 9+ hectare lot and supports 15-20 horses. Only 2 hours south of San José, on the road to Puriscal. Roomy stalls all with drains, water hookup, lights and fans, grooming and shoeing área. Two-story house all furnished and cowboy house. Don't miss your chance on that turnkey operation.  Offered at $949,000.
E-mail:  or call (506) 8707-1037 
(506) 2778-8408 Web:

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: 
Check out slide show HERE!

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:

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   
For more information contact:

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
Contact in Costa Rica:  Cray phone (506) 8977-2777
Contact in USA: Billy phone  001 (678) 576-5107

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 See this Web site:

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:  Cell 8838-2081 or home 2643-2979.

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 or call (506) 8386-8825.  Rodney, asking $350,000.

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 In Costa Rica call: Ivo Henfling at Godutch Realty: 2289-5125/8834-4515

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:   Web:

ARenal property
Location: Near Arenal        Price: $2.7 million
Size: 113 acres
Web site:

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.

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

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, June 18, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 119
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Hemispheric health coalition targets
region's noncommunicable diseases

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

A group of agencies concerned about the burden of noncommunicable diseases on human and economic development in the Americas has launched a new task force to accelerate prevention and control.

"Cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes and chronic lung diseases are the leading killers in the Americas and around the world, and tackling them requires collective efforts and multisectoral approaches, such as the alliance we are launching today," said Carissa F. Etienne, director of the Pan American Health Organization.

Pan American Health will chair the new Inter-American Task Force and  work collaboratively with the Organization of American States and other partners including the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, the Inter-American Development Bank, the U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and the World Bank.

The task force will support countries in Latin America and the Caribbean with policy advice, technical assistance, resource mobilization and capacity-building while also facilitating a common and harmonized approach, optimal use of resources, and networking and information exchange among agencies of the Inter-American system and partner institutions to ensure maximum impact.

Noncommunicable diseases, also known as chronic diseases, are diseases of long duration and generally slow progression.

In the Americas, some 4.5 million die each year from them. This figure represents more than 80 percent of all deaths, of which 36 percent are premature, that is, occurring in people under age 70. If no action is taken, deaths and disabilities from this silent epidemic are expected to increase, along with the burden they place on health systems and national economies.

Most deaths from noncommunicable diseases are related to common risk factors, principally tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity. Exposure to these risk factors can be modified through policies and actions, said Pan-American Health.

The agency said that these include policies for universal health coverage and universal social protection, incentives to increase production and availability of healthy foods, educating children about healthy eating and physical activity, and urban planning that promotes public spaces for recreation and physical activity.

They also include legislation and regulations intended to reduce consumption of tobacco, alcohol, salt, sugar and trans fats--measures that are considered best buys due to their cost-effectiveness, the agency added.

The global cost of implementing these best buys is estimated at $11.2 billion, representing an annual investment of only $1-$3 per person.

Woman's portrait sought for U.S. $10 bill

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. $10 bill will feature the portrait of a notable U.S. woman by 2020.

The new image will replace that of Alexander Hamilton, the nation's first Treasury secretary, whose portrait has graced the $10 bill since the late 1920s. The redesigned currency will debut in time for the 100th anniversary of the formal ratification of the constitutional amendment that gave women the right to vote.

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew announced the plans for the new redesign Wednesday. Lew said the Treasury Department will launch a social media campaign dubbed "The New 10" to solicit ideas on whose portrait should be chosen for the new bill, along with a series of public meetings.  He will reveal his decision sometime this year.

A woman's portrait has not been printed on U.S. paper money since 1896, when Martha Washington, the wife of the first U.S. president, was shown on a one dollar silver certificate.

Wednesday's announcement follows an online campaign, "Women on 20s," which had a similar goal for the $20 bill that currently features the portrait of Andrew Jackson, the seventh U.S. president.  A majority of voters selected Harriet Tubman, a black woman and escaped slave who led thousands of other slaves to freedom in the years before the Civil War, to replace Jackson on the currency.

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From Page 7:

Central Pacific municipalities plan fair

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Municipalities in the central Pacific region plan a promotional fair from July 3 to 5 in Jacó. This will be the first.

The fair is designed to show the beauty and promote tourism in the region, said an announcement. The event is being called the Feria del Pacifico. and is organized by the  Federación de Municipios del Pacifico Central.

The location is in the  Centro Cívico Epicentro por la Paz in Jacó. More information is HERE!