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(506) 2223-1327                          Published Friday, July 12, 2013, in Vol. 13, No. 137                  Email us
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Jo Stuart
                del bosque

lion fish
University of North Carolina/Abel Valdivia

This is the colorful lionfish with the dangerous spines. They are reported to be good eating, and residents along the Caribbean coast have said they see them around reefs there.

Human efforts called best way to control lionfish
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Controlling lionfish populations in the Caribbean is a job for humans not ocean predators, according to a new study of the invasive fish species.

Lionfish, known for their voracious appetite and the ability to herd and eat smaller sea creatures, are dwellers in Costa Rica's Caribbean reefs.

An earlier study said that approximately 27 percent of mature lionfish will have to be removed monthly for one year to reduce its population growth rate to zero. The fish has no natural enemies in the Caribbean or Atlantic. The only way to do this is with human intervention, according to the new study by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

"Lionfish are here to stay, and it appears that the only way to control them is by fishing them," said John Bruno, professor of biology the university and lead investigator of the study. The research has important implications for Caribbean reefs. He was quoted by the university.

Lionfish have venomous spines, making them unpleasant fare for predators, including humans although once the spines are carefully removed, lionfish are generally considered safe to eat, Bruno said.

In fact, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and North Carolina State University once announced an eat lionfish campaign. Lionfish are not easy to get with a hook and line, but divers find that they can be approached easily and caught with spear or net.

North Carolina State's Seafood Laboratory reports that the fish has a white, somewhat firm flesh and a mild flavor, slightly similar to snapper. Cooks are advised to watch out for the poisonous spines that can still deliver a healthy but non-fatal dose even after the fish is harvested, said the university in its 2010 study. The spines can be cut off with shears.

Bruno at the University of North Carolina likened the extraordinary success of the liionfish to that of ball pythons, now eating their way through Florida Everglades fauna with few predators other than alligators and humans.
"When I began diving 10 years ago, lionfish were a rare and mysterious species seen deep within coral crevices in the Pacific Ocean," said Serena Hackerott, lead author of an academic article and master's student in marine sciences at the Chapel Hill university. "They can now be seen across the Caribbean, hovering above the reefs throughout the day and gathering in groups of up to 10 or more on a single coral head."

The University of North Carolina international research team looked at whether native reef predators such as sharks and groupers could help control the population growth of red lionfish in the Caribbean, either by eating them or out-competing them for prey, according to a university summary of the research.

They also wanted to evaluate scientifically whether, as some speculate, that overfishing of reef predators had allowed the lionfish population to grow unchecked, the summary said. The university gave this description of the study:

The team surveyed 71 reefs, in three different regions of the Caribbean, over three years. Their results indicate there is no relationship between the density of lionfish and that of native predators, suggesting that interactions with native predators do not influence the number of lionfish in those areas, the study said.

The researchers did find that lionfish populations were lower in protected reefs, attributing that to targeted removal by reef managers, rather than consumption by large fishes in the protected areas.

Ms. Hackerott noted that during 2013 reef surveys, there appeared to be fewer lionfish on popular dive sites in Belize where divers and reef managers remove lionfish daily.

The researchers support restoration of large-reef predators as a way to achieve better balance and biodiversity, but they are not optimistic that this would affect the burgeoning lionfish population, the summary said.

"Active and direct management, perhaps in the form of sustained culling, appears to be essential to curbing local lionfish abundance and efforts to promote such activities should be encouraged," the study concluded.

11 jailers face a charge after fight with suspect
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The head of the Judicial Investigating Organization ordered the arrest of 11 persons involved in the guarding of prisoners after a robbery suspect broke his arm in a confrontation outside a cell.

Two of the jailers face allegations of abuse of authority because of the fight, which was videotaped. The rest face the same charge for not stopping the fight, said the agency.

The suspect was identified by the last name of  Cabrera. He was transported from the cells of the  Segundo Circuito Judicial in Goicoechea to the cells of the Primer Circuito downtown, the agency said. The purpose of the trip was to hold a meeting with
a prosecutor on the robbery allegation.

The cells of the first judicial district are in the basement of the Trbunal de Justicia in the judicial complex downtown.

The judicial agency in a statement said that one of the jailers from Goicoechea became involved in an argument with the suspect outside a cell. A second jailer removed the handcuffs of the suspect, presumably to encourage a fight. The prisoner broke his left arm in the fight, the agency said.

The head of the agency is Francisco Segura Montero. The investigative unit has a special section for the transport and incarceration of prisoners mainly on a temporary basis for trials and interrogations.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, July 12, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 137

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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.


Dr. Vargas

Dental implants in Costa Rica

Call us: Within C.R.  2225-1189
From USA    1-866-7060-248
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Or email;

Dr. Vargas
Dr. Vargas

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Psychological Services

√ Individual, group and couple therapy.
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√ Adults, teenagers and children.
√ Consulting services in education.
√ Consulting services in
        organizational psychology.
√ Consulting services in sports
√ Diagnostic tests, weapon
        carrying permit and others.
Dr. Pablo Quirós, License #8486
We are located in Escazú Corporate Center, 6th floor. Phone number: (506) 2201-4718


Lucinda Gray, Ph.D.
California Licensed Psychologist
25 years experience
Dr. KLycinda
Lucinda Gray, Ph.D.
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Real estate agents and services

Clinas del
Jim Day, retirement specialist Representing Colinas del Sol del Pacifico, S. A
A fenced and gated project with the ex-pat hortaculturalist in mind. There are 88 clear-title hobby farms with water and electricity.  The layout is designed to provide ample space for your vegetable gardening ands fruit tree projects.
You can see more on our Web site:
 Libertad, Guanacaste, Costa Rica, 15 minutes to Playa del Coco or Playa Hermosa
and 20 minutes to Liberia airport.
Please contact Jim Day at   or    Phone:  001 517 484-3675.

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Grecia Real Estate
Here in Costa Rica, Central America , the most beautiful houses, lots and farms in Grecia,
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Great climate and safe communities.
Great deals for you!
Visit our Web site:
Contact Christian Arce in English:
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Contact Luis Arce in English: 
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Contact Luis G. Jiménez in Spanish:
Cell phone (506) 8707-4016
Send us your request to our email:

CR Beach

CR Beach Investment Real Estate
reminds you that Costa Rica’s #1 beachtown,“the new Jacó,” invites you to see the recent changes:  clean paved roads; more bilingual police; more trendy & tipico restaurants; new a/c movie 4plex & new theatrical-conference center; new central park with activities; more bargain priced properties for sale, and lower priced rentals…
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Project completion specialists

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A turnkey home and project completion agency devoted to creative vision and flawless execution. We provide a single, solid and dedicated point of contact for the duration of your real estate project, specializing in:

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Office phone: (506) - 2288-5644

Legal services


Arcelio Hernandez

Official English/Spanish translator and interpreter
Serving the international community  since 2001
Lic. Arcelio Hernandez Mussio, Jr.
With over a decade of experience in the fields of:
Family law, criminal & constitutional law, civil & commercial law

Visit the website at:
Cell: 8710-9827
Skype:  hernandez.mussio
Serving the Great Metropolitan Area, Central and South Pacific
Member of the Colegio de Abogados de Costa Rica
Lawyer ID number: 12.358

Lic.Gregory Kearney Lawson.
Attorneys at Law and real estate brokers
Relocation services, Wedding Planning
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*Investments  *Corporations
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  Phone:  7157-7092
 Phone: (506) 2232-1014

RE&B Attorneys S.A
Attorneys & Notaries
Tels: 2201-8012/2637-7640
USA phone number: (305) 748-4340
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Attorney At Law – CPA

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U.S. Tax International

Plus Costa Rican taxes, accounting, and legal services
Over 15 years in Costa Rica
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C.R. 2288-2201   U.S 786-206-9473
FAX: 2231-3300

U.S. Income Tax
David G. Housman Attorney & C.P.A
in Costa Rica 32 years.
Specializing in all matters of concern to U.S. taxpayers residing abroad, including all new passport and other
I.R.S.  filling requirements foreign income tax exclusion (to $95,100 per year) for all back years. Taxpayers filling past-due tax returns before I.R.S. notice do not face criminal sanctions
• Associate of James Brohl
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E mail:

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Telephone 8305-3149 or 2256-8620

Sex ring in Liberia raided
to free 15 women, judiciary says

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Three persons have been jailed after what the Poder Judicial characterizes as the dismemberment of a sexual exploitation ring.

The center of the activity was La Casa Rosada, a bar in Liberia.  The Judiciary said that this location was the target of a raid Thursday afternoon. The allegation is that 15 women were victims and that they were forced to have sexual relations with the clients of the bar.

Agents and prosecutors also raided the home of the women who was said to be the leader of the sex ring.

Victim advocates and the Policía de Migración participated in the law enforcement action.

The judicial said that the women were recruited and brought to the bar and then kept in captivity. They were forced to work 12 hours a day, said the judiciary.

Most of the women who are being considered victims are Dominican or Nicaraguan, said the judiciary.

Police to clear roads of trucks
for return of vacationers

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Law enforcement officers are gearing up for the end of the mid-year vacation.

Among other measures, the Policía de Tránsito said that heavy trucks will be banned from San José access roads from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Police are seeking to clear the highways for those who may be returning from vacation.

The routes involved are the Bernardo Soto, the General Cañas,  the Braulio Carrillo, the Florencio del Castillo and the Heredia radial.

In addition with the end of the two-week vacation period, the restrictions related to the last digit of a vehicle's license plate go back into force Monday. That day vehicles with the last digit of 1 or 2 will be prohibited from the metro area until 7 p.m.

Our readers' opinions
We misread our audience
by publishing U.S. news

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I totally agree with Tom Ploskina.  Sorry, but you are misreading your audience.

I read your publication because I cannot read La Nation and have no clue as to the news/weather of Costa Rica.
Find myself skipping it all when I see it is a rehash of U.S.A. news.

V. Johnson

Lower colon exchange rate
would benefit people living here

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Firstly, I read the piece by the letter writer complaining about the advertising and all the material on the U.S. and, what A.M. should cover. I'd say someone living here and claiming to have read amcostarica for that long must be blind.  Your team has done a wonderful job covering all those topics and quite comprehensively.
As someone who lives in Costa Rica and Panama I read A.M. Costa Rica ( 99 percent of the time way before the email ) and Panama papers first! Not all the U.S. stuff. Most times I skip the U.S. noise, but once again A.M. Costa Rica opines on the colon/USD exchange rate and seemed to say it us fixed. It is not fixed, but, collared and again! 95 percent of goods used in Costa Rica are imported, and the stronger the Colon, the cheaper everything would/will be! It is not the other way around.
It is 100 percent off base for the handful of Gringos pushing for the higher exchange rate. Note: Costa Rica has an official inflation rate amongst the highest in Latin America now!
Why suggest punishing the entire Tico population to attract tourists by a higher exchange rate. All goods and services quickly rise to match any move an 85 percent of the population suffer big time.
Over the many years and several articles an letters recently stated the problem with drug cartels and FARC. So much so a Costa Rica official made the Southern Zone comment. This is a horrible situation, but, the massive laundering of the illegal monies helps keep the colon as strong as it is, and one might see the removing of the collar and allowing the colon to go towards 400/UDS might work wonders and stop the runaway inflation.
Bob Shakerdge

Bigger selection of  local news
would be appreciated in Coco

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

As a long-time, permanent resident of Costa Rica and equally long-term reader of A.M. Costa Rica, I’m writing in response to and in support of Tom Ploskina’s letter to the editor of July 11.

Although I understand your motivations and your explanations, I agree with Tom that the once so informative A.M. Costa Rica has lost some of its luster due to the heavy ads (again, I understand the reasoning, even though I don’t even look at them on my way to the next news item) and the overdose on U.S.-oriented news. Sure, some of these articles touch Costa Rica, mostly in a very remote way, but again I agree with Tom that it is mainly U.S.-oriented news. News that most of the A.M. Costa Rica readers will already have read on different sources, online newspapers that they rely on for news from their home country/state, where there would be an even bigger selection of U.S. news. Today’s A.M. Costa Rica issue (July 11) is a welcome exception with more Costa Rica news than news from other countries. That’s why we read A.M. Costa Rica, to get news from —you guessed it: Costa Rica.

And like Tom says, even though most of your readers might be from the U.S., in this present economy it might be interesting to also look at other nations and nationalities, if you really want to publish a huge amount of international news articles (from Canada, but also Europe (which means more than just BBC) and Asia). A lot of what is happening there might also have an influence on Costa Rica, however remote. It would also support your argument for being heavy on the ads, that advertisers are looking for more exposure: an expanding market as tourism from Europe is usually stable year-round. Investors from Canada, Europe and Asia too might be interested in a more balanced internationally oriented news section and then might not be put off by the impression that Costa Rica is just another satellite state from the U.S. For me, personally, I would skip most of the international (even if it would be European) news anyway, as I get that information elsewhere. Unless your reporters would translate/explain the importance of the international news to how it directly affects Costa Rica, which would have added value. Otherwise I fail to see the relevance of re-reading the news I read elsewhere.

Again, we understand the need for advertising. It’s up to us to skip it if we want to, but we read A.M. Costa Rica to keep up to date with news from Costa Rica! A bigger selection of the latter would be highly appreciated by many!  We want our old A.M. Costa Rica back.

Odette Koster
Playas del Coco

Protection of whistleblowers
used to be the standard in U.S.

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Have we strayed to far this time? We elect senators, congressmen and presidents to protect our constitutional rights. Other than that, a government should only do things that the ordinary citizen can't do for themselves. Things such as federal highway systems and, alike.

When our elected officials take it upon themselves to set up their own secret courts to approve illegal or unconstitutional acts, then any contracts as a result of these illegal or unconstitutional acts should be considered to be unenforceable. We had laws on the books at one time to protect whistleblowers when their efforts were to protect citizens from this type of government subterfuge. Is it possible that impeachment should be looked into before an all-out effort is made to divert the public's attention from these real illegal and unconstitutional acts.

Is it possible that we are actually being led away from a democracy by the very leaders who are sworn to protect it?

Gordon L Balter

How to get U.S. government
to resume Social Security checks

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

This is about how to file form SSA 7162 if you are “of record” as living outside the U.S.A. while collecting U.S. Social Security benefits and get your benefits reinstated if they have been cut off because you didn’t file it.

I contacted the Social Security Administration International Desk and got the following information about how SS recipients living in Costa Rica can get their benefits restored as quickly as possible if the benefits are frozen because of failure to file the SS 7162 form every year, which is now the requirement:

VERY IMPORTANT:   make sure that you write your Social Security number on the form or it will not be processed.  Print carefully and legibly. 

There are four ways you can do this:

1.  You can fill out and sign the form and send/take it to the local embassy and they will forward it to the international desk.  However, although there is a paperless system wherein embassies can send this kind of document directly by (non public) fax number to the international desk, some of  the embassies do not use this system and prefer to use snail mail.  This can substantially delay the receipt of benefits. 

2.  You can mail the form to the SSA international desk using the address given on their Web site (or below) (the reliability of this depends solely on the reliability of mail in the country from which it is being sent).   (I certainly do not recommend this option...)

3.  You can send the signed form via FEDEX or DHL to their special non-PO box courier street address, which is:

    Social Security Administration
    Office of International Operations
    1718 Woodlawn  Drive
    Baltimore, Maryland 21207

    **NOTE:  If you choose this, you can also use a fast print-to-deliver service like

4.  You can FAX the form to the international desk using the following fax numbers:

    If the last 2 digits of your social security number is 00 to 16:    
    If the last 2 digits of your social security number is 17 to 32: 
    If the last 2 digits of your social security number is 33 to 49:    
    If the last 2 digits of your social security number is 50 to 66:  
    If the last 2 digits of your social security number is 57 to 82:   
    If the last 2 digits of your social security number is 83 to 99:  
    If none of these work:     410-965-6539

These fax numbers are not published anywhere, so print and save them.

How long does it take to get your benefits reinstated?   

Once the international desk has "received the form into the work flow" it will take approximately one month for the benefit deposits/checks to resume.  You will be paid retroactively whatever amounts were withheld once the deposits resume. 

NOTE that this 30-day period does not begin to run UNTIL THE FORM HAS BEEN RECEIVED AND ENTERED.  If you are sending it to the U.S. Embassy, you must add whatever time it takes them to get the form to the International desk in the U.S.A. 

Tom Branham
San José

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Judiciary says it is looking into Milanes' contact with prosecutor
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The judiciary has launched a formal investigation of facts contained in a La Nación news story Thursday that said a prosecutor in charge of the case had Internet contact with fraud suspect Luis Milanes.

In what it said was an urgent communication, the Poder Judicial press department said that the decision to investigate the case came from Zarela Villanueva Monge, president of the Corte Suprema de Justicia July 2. That was a few days after a La Nación reporter interviewed the prosecutor who was involved in the case. He is Alfredo Araya Vega, who now is a judge in the flagrancy court in San José.

The complaint in this case came from the former prosecutor, who alleged identity theft and what he called information sabotage in a formal complaint after the interview. So it appears in addition to investigating the conduct of the former prosecutor and the fraud suspect, the investigators from the  Inspección Judicial also will look at the source of the Internet messages and perhaps the way in which La Nación reporter David Delgado acquired them.

The La Nación news stories said that Araya denies having received or sent some of the messages, which are text sent through a chat program. They closely resemble emails. The online exchange would have taken place during a time that Milanes, the former operator of the Savings Unlimited high interest scheme, was seeking to firm up a conciliation agreement with former investors.  He was offering to turn over property so that the investors would not continue with a criminal fraud accusation. Such conciliations are not unusual in Costa Rica.

A.M. Costa Rica does not have copies of the Internet messages, although La Nación published some of them.

Contact between prosecutors and judges with some of the estimated 500 investors is not unusual.  A.M. Costa Rica has confirmed that some have sent repeated messages to judicial figures in the case. Some also have held face-to-face meetings. But the email messages always have gone to judicial inboxes. The messages to Araya went to a personal gmail account.

The Milanes case has had unusual aspects from the beginning. His Centro Colón office for Savings Unlimited resembled a small bank with a cashier's window and an elegant etched glass door. The joke was that MIlanes and Luis Enrique Villalbos
poder judicial

were involved in market segmentation.

Villaobos, who still is a fugitive, used to give his high interest investors Bibles and became known as a patron of a local church. Milanes, on the other hand, used to suggest that the money from investors would go to develop casinos or a firm that manufactured gambling devices. The office was staffed with beautiful foreign women.

Many expats had money with both operations, and they lost it all when they both collapsed in late 2002 and Milanes and Villalobos fled.

Milanes surfaced at an airport in 2008 in El Salvador. Officials there said he presented a false passport. Instead of arresting him for that crime, he was allowed to fly off to San José where he was met with investigators and prosecutors. Expats concluded that he had made a deal with Franciso Dall'Anesse, who then was the fiscal general or chief prosecutor.

Dall'Anese has been in Guatemala for three years where he served as head of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, which was set up by the United Nations to fight organized crime there. He is expected to return to Costa Rica because he just left that position.

Milanes spent just a night in jail before he was released in exchange for posting properties as security. Some of his associates had spent time in prison for pre-trial detention. They have since settled with the investors for a small amount of money and accepted conditional release. One close associate died. Another is in Europe. Since 2008 Milanes has been living well at the Hotel Europa downtown. He is escorted by bodyguards when he goes out in public.

Some of the expats said they doubt that they will release more than a small percent of the money they invested, but they would like a high judicial official to take a long and detailed look at the case.

Looking back 22 years, there are many similarities to today
I was looking back over my journals and came across an entry about my leaving Costa Rica after my third visit.  It was July 1991.

Hector, the taxista who gave me a wake-up call at 5 a.m. and picked me up at 5:20  to take me to the airport in Alajuela, shook my hand and said it had been a pleasure talking with me.  He gave me his card and told me to call him when I returned.  During the ride to the airport we had chatted about my moving here, and perhaps teaching English.

On the plane I met a young Tica, Lillian Valerin, who was studying English and visiting friends in the United States.  She said she would help me if I wanted to rent or buy a house or property, because “people give my family one price and you another.”  She shrugged apologetically as if to say, “That’s the way it is.”

We talked about differences between American and Costa Rican behavior and values.  Our conclusions:  Costa Ricans are cooperative and will do just about anything to maintain peace.  Americans are competitive and will fight to prove their point. Costa Ricans value peace over freedom. Americans value freedom over peace.  Costa Ricans stay close to their families, and children stay home until they marry.  American children move out as soon as possible.  Costa Ricans pride themselves in having no army.  Americans pride themselves on their willingness to go to war to defend what they think is right.

Those, back then, were the comparisons we made.  While I was waiting in the Los Angeles airport for my connecting flight to San Jose, California, I ordered a Millers Lite beer.  It cost $3.25.  In Costa Rica a beer, with service included, was 63 cents.  Of course, this was the airport and that was then.

In 1992 I spent a month in Chapala, Mexico with my friend Ann, who had insisted I test the water there.  I was not comfortable in Mexico. I felt as if violence was just under the surface, even in Chapala. So taking three bags and a carryon, I made my destination Costa Rica.

I had signed up for Spanish lessons at a school in San Pedro.  Marvin, who was giving me the placement exam, asked what I meant by “kitchen Spanish,”  which I had put on my application, and then said that, in fact, I could discuss many more topics, and he put me in an advanced class, where unfortunately, they were concentrating on the subjunctive. 

Out of class I noticed that not many people used the subjunctive, and never a command! I really needed the preterit, (and still do).

I suppose there is something positive about always living and thinking in the present, especially as one gets older.  But
Butterfly in the City
. . .  Musings from San José

By Jo Stuart

Jo Stuart

referring to the past in Spanish, I am dependent upon that wonderful auxiliary verb, haber, to have.

My first weeks in Costa Rica as a resident rather than a tourist made me think that it was much like being married after a romantic engagement.  I began seeing the drawbacks, the warts, if you will.   Much of San José, I found, was dirty and smelled from the traffic.  I was sure it was the noisiest city I had even been in, but the people and the weather were still great.

I immediately got the knack of riding the buses.  I managed to ask directions in Spanish of a young man, who turned out to be German.

On my first bus ride, an obviously poor man carrying a box boarded the bus and asked for our attention.  He talked at some length and then passed among us.  The teenager sitting next to me fished into his pocket for some change and bought what the man evidently was selling.  I looked at the small wrapped item. “Chocolate?”  I asked.  The boy opened it and tasted it and made a face.  I asked him what had transpired.

He said the man was poor and needed the money and that we should buy the candy, but not eat it.  (Vendors still board the buses with their tales of sickness and bad luck.  People continue to buy what they have, and so do I, if their story touches me.)

The bus was crowded but there was not the slightest odor of enclosed humanity that I would have expected from past experiences in other countries.  I rather wished they smelled a little bit of garlic.  The food so far has been pretty bland. I have since decided that Ticos shower and brush their teeth more than any other people in the world.

I found my way to the Banco Anglo, across the street from the Gran Hotel and the beautiful Teatro Nacional.  There I cashed $120.  I was soon to open a savings account there.  They were paying 10 percent on colons and 3 percent for dollars.  The exchange rate was 138 colons to a dollar.

The Banco Anglo has since closed in the midst of a scandal involving the officers.  I was sorry to see that because it made banking so easy for me.

But times change.

Del Rey HOtel

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, July 12, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 137
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U.N. session considers the demand of the middle class in Latin America
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

More than 20 social development ministers from Latin America gathered at the United Nations headquarters Thursday to discuss how to move beyond poverty reduction to further reduce inequality and address demands from the region’s rising middle class, such as better public services and more accountability.

Opening the Sixth Ministerial Forum for Development, a two-day meeting organized annually by U.N. Development Programme, Harvard University competitiveness expert Michael Porter, stressed that local businesses and multinational companies play a crucial role in further alleviating poverty and reducing inequality in Latin America if they offer goods and services that create profit while also boosting social and economic growth.

Programme Administrator Helen Clark praised Latin America’s success in lifting millions out of poverty, also recognizing governments’ efforts to make decision-making more transparent and responsive.

“Protests and events around the world remind us that citizens want a greater say in the decisions which impact on their lives,” she said. “Along with the movement out of poverty, people’s expectations of being heard, engaged, and having accessible and quality public service have grown.”

“The challenge is to enhance institutions so they can respond to a new level of high intensity citizenship,” added Heraldo Muñoz, U.N. assistant
secretary-general and programme director for Latin America and the Caribbean. “Many of the street protests in Latin America are sparked by a new middle class, increasingly indebted, who aspire for more and demand quality public services and decent treatment.”

To shed light on risks surrounding the new middle class in Latin America and to help map inequality in the region, Chile’s former minister of planning Clarisa Hardy presented a new study which shows that 38 percent of Latin Americans are in a vulnerable situation, living on $4 to 10 a day. They risk falling back into poverty particularly because of the quality of education, lack of access to basic health services and poor working conditions, she said.

The new report groups Latin American countries in terms of percentage of people in the middle class (living on $10 to $40 a day) and living in poverty (less than $4 a day and extreme poverty (less than $2.5 a day). Uruguay, Argentina and Chile rank as the countries with the proportionately lowest levels of poverty and the largest middle class. Costa Rica, Panama, Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia, Mexico, Venezuela and Ecuador are characterized by a proportionately medium-sized poor population and an emerging middle class. Finally, Paraguay, the Dominican Republic, Peru and El Salvador struggle with high levels of poverty and a proportionately weak middle class.

Overall, more than 30 percent of Latin Americans live under $4 a day with 16 percent of the population living under extreme poverty (less than $2.5 a day), according to the study. Only 2 percent of the population is classified as part of the upper class (living on more than $50 a day)

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

Real estate rental services (paid category)

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

Real estate for rent (paid category)

Lovely cottage on private coffee farm
One spacious bedroom, one bath, office room/spare room with high speed DSL internet, fully equipped kitchen, phone line,
Sarchi cottage
balcony with beautiful view, especially at night with the far off lights of San José. Farm is gated and guarded, private and peaceful, owner on-site. Sarchi is a quiet small town about 30-40 min from the airport, a perfect base to explore from and also get a
feel for normal, day-to-day Tico life. Rental is $575 per month, 3 months minimum. All utilities included. Shorter stays at $45 per night, 2 nights minimum. $225 per week, and $30 per additional night. Sorry, no pets.  Contact or 8308-7732.

Barrio Escalante, totally furnished, 1 BR apartment for single, responsible person. $35 daily, weekly rates. Contact 8385-2542,

1 bedroom with private bath. Rooms in large, 3.000 sq ft. historical mansion in heart of Barrio Amón.  Prices starting at $350. for long-term. Smoking ok in common areas. Includes electricity, water, commercial kitchen use, laundry, high-speed internet. 7078-6985. More info HERE!

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

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

cahuita beach house
Unique beach house for rent in Cahuita
$400 per month furnished. House is 150 yards from a beautiful beach in a jungle area. Next to our wildlife rescue center. Very safe, good water and electricity. One large bedroom, walk-in closet. Newly built and furnished. Must see. A tropical paradise. Contact: Todd at 2755-0014.

Attn: Bikers-Swimmers..House to Rent or to Share
Conveniently located  two-bedroom, two-bathroom house, new construction, wheelchair accessible to rent for $750/month or to share with owner (female).  Located on outskirts of San José metro area, 5 minute drive to Sta. Barbara de Heredia, 20-30 minutes from SJO International Airport, an easy drive to Alajuela
front gate
or Heredia.  Natural setting with a panoramic view of Central Valley on a 1/3 acre lot (1,200m2).  A beautiful, well-maintained public pool is a 10-minute walk and road in front of house is a popular bike route.  The house is 900 ft2 (90m2) plus there is a spacious terrace, two-car carport,
covered back porch and ample additional parking.  Vaulted natural wood ceilings in all rooms except in the two bedrooms, bathrooms and laundry room.  There is also a small office which can serve as a guest bedroom. The house is unfurnished and appliances not included except for built-in cooktop/oven (gas). Tankless instant hot water heater for bathrooms, kitchen and laundry.  Rental fee does not include utilities.  Alarm system,  cable TV and DSL internet connections are in place. The owner will rent to 2-3 people, pets are allowed with the approval of the owner, and security deposit of one month's rent is required.  Alternatively owner can share house with suitable roommate, prefer female (non-smoker) but will consider a male roommate.  E-mail me for more photos or with questions:

MONTHLY $800 TO $1,200

Villas Casa Loma has everything you are looking for.  Best vistas, climate, value.  Four unique homes in a secure private compound on a ridge near Alajuela overlooking the entire Central Valley.  Two are available fully furnished and equipped, each a complete home accommodating 4 persons in two bedrooms with ensuite baths.  Pool, rancho, mirador, other features.  Ask about part-month rates.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at  See virtual tour of accommodations HERE!
Get to know the real Costa Rica – you may want to live here someday.

Lovely cottage on private coffee farm
One spacious bedroom, one bath, office room/spare room with high speed DSL internet, fully equipped kitchen, phone line,
Sarchi cottage
balcony with beautiful view, especially at night with the far off lights of San José. Farm is gated and guarded, private and peaceful, owner on-site. Sarchi is a quiet small town about 30-40 min from the airport, a perfect base to explore from and also get a
feel for normal, day-to-day Tico life. Rental is $575 per month, 3 months minimum. All utilities included. Shorter stays at $45 per night, 2 nights minimum. $225 per week, and $30 per additional night. Sorry, no pets.  Contact or 8308-7732.

Beautiful Golfito house for rent in Costa Rica: $300/month
Available now and please see the video!
New construction includes some wooden stairs to the main gate and a small pavilion above the house overlooking the village. The distance to Golfito harbor/downtown is 7 kms and you can get there by car, taxi or bus. The sale price is $72,000 which is negotiable and includes the property lot of 26,000 sq, ft, for more houses. The rent is $300/month, which is very reasonable for those who want to live near sea and Panamá in an inexpensive lifestyle. It was so nice to live near Panamá where people can shop for much lower prices including for groceries. Please contact me at for more details. Thank you.

Available now $650 a month
This small but new and clean American-built house is settled on an organic farm a 10-minute walk from the center of town in Santa Bárbara de Heredia. Taxis are $1 to town and buses run to
Organic farm
Heredia and Alajuela, about 30 minutes each. There is parking for one car. NO DOGS please. Rent includes: Cable television, house phone, ICE ADSL internet, water, electricity, laundry facilities. We have a family living on the farm aside from myself,  the owner, and another renter, so there is always someone around. This 2-bedroom house is brand new, 
completely furnished. Large windows overlook the valley and the gardens, There are large trees. Surrounded by fruit trees and vegetable gardens, it has a beautiful view of the valley. The kitchen comes fully equipped, with large refrigerator, gas stove and oven, all accessories. The bathroom has a large shower; both kitchen and bath have hot water. A brand new extra firm queen-size bed is included. A breakfast bar separates the living area and kitchen and a porch overlooks the farm and valley. This house is for one or two people only. $300 deposit required to be returned when renters leave house. Email for photos and questions.

Heredia rental
Beautiful mountain chalet  for rent
Beautiful mountain chalet surrounded by nature, built with tropical hardwoods and  located on a  5,000 m2  (54,000 sq feet) lot  with two other cottages.  House has basic furniture and  kitchen  appliances.  Ground floor:  Very large living/ dinning room, kitchen, office (or guest bedroom), and 1 bathroom . Upstairs:  2 bedrooms (one with a balcony), and 1 bathroom. 140 m2 approximately  Great BBQ rancho outside. Plenty space for visitor parking. Pets are welcome.  Quiet place, rural, restaurants close by. Near El Castillo Country Club, Tirol and La Condesa mountain hotels.  Only 45 minutes by car from San José.  All public services available  More information call Liseth.  Phone: (506) 7158-1548. Or send me a email:

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

Perez  Zeledon:   Large studio home overlooking river with deck.  Elegant, ceramic floors, nice cabinets, walk-in closet.  Beautiful gardens and grounds.  Secure. Private. Only  10 minutes
River view home
to San Isidro de El General. Mountain town with everything!  Then, 40 minutes to Playa Dominical, 40 minutes to Chirripó National Park, and also near many other attractions, yet very private and secluded.  Listen to river sounds and sleep like a baby.   
Rare birds in abundance. Includes,  One  double bed and refrigerator, stove, juicer, sofa, tables,  dishes, pans, etc.  Plus, electric, (hot) water   Phone, TV connected, Internet cable connected, garbage and gardener. All included for $425. /month.  Looking for one good person, reliable, long-term.    Non-smoker.

Mountain cabin for rent
Sacramento, Barva de Heredia
We offer for rent three furnished, 2-bedroom mountain homes located on the slopes of Barva Volcano, Sacramento, Heredia. The cabin-style homes are adjacent to the Braulio Carillo National Park and walking distance to the Barva Volcano crater lake. Enjoy a spacious living room, kitchen, fireplace and garage. Take in breathtaking views of the Irazú Volcano and the Central Valley. Observe dozens of bird species, to include the occasional Resplendent Quetzal, and a pristine cloud forest. We can also offer you an occasional ride on one of our beautiful mares. Contact Allan or Cristina at, or or for more information HERE! $850 USD/month. We can also offer a weekend or short-stay package.

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

Looking 4 Costa Rica Villas?
Rent our all-inclusive, 7 bedroom rental home in Guanacaste.  Just 20 minutes from the Liberia airport, this deluxe ocean view mansion sleeps 6-22 guests.  Ideal for company events & Costa Rica weddings. With 3 meals served daily and a full-time staff to pamper guests, it's more than a Costa Rica vacation rental ...It's your own Private Resort!  Call toll free: 1-800-606-1860.

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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, July 12, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 137
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Torre del Lago

Earthquakes linked to plants
producing geothermal power

By the University of California, Santa Cruz, news staff

An analysis of earthquakes in the area around the Salton Sea Geothermal Field in southern California has found a strong correlation between seismic activity and operations for production of geothermal power, which involve pumping water into and out of an underground reservoir.

"We show that the earthquake rate in the Salton Sea tracks a combination of the volume of fluid removed from the ground for power generation and the volume of wastewater injected," said Emily Brodsky, a geophysicist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and lead author of the study, published online in Science.

"The findings show that we might be able to predict the earthquakes generated by human activities. To do this, we need to take a large view of the system and consider both the water coming in and out of the ground," said Ms. Brodsky, a professor of Earth and planetary sciences.

Ms. Brodsky and coauthor Lia Lajoie, who worked on the project as a graduate student, studied earthquake records for the region from 1981 through 2012. They compared earthquake activity with production data for the geothermal power plant, including records of fluid injection and extraction. The power plant is a flash-steam facility which pulls hot water out of the ground, flashes it to steam to run turbines, and recaptures as much water as possible for injection back into the ground. Due to evaporative losses, less water is pumped back in than is pulled out, so the net effect is fluid extraction.

During the period of relatively low-level geothermal operations before 1986, the rate of earthquakes in the region was also low. Seismicity increased as the operations expanded. After 2001, both geothermal operations and seismicity climbed steadily.

The researchers tracked the variation in net extraction over time and compared it to seismic activity. The relationship is complicated because earthquakes are naturally clustered due to local aftershocks, and it can be difficult to separate aftershocks from the direct influence of human activities. The researchers developed a statistical method to separate out the aftershocks, allowing them to measure the background rate of primary earthquakes over time.

"We found a good correlation between seismicity and net extraction," Ms. Brodsky said. "The correlation was even better when we used a combination of all the information we had on fluid injection and net extraction. The seismicity is clearly tracking the changes in fluid volume in the ground."

The vast majority of the induced earthquakes are small, and the same is true of earthquakes in general. The key question is what is the biggest earthquake that could occur in the area, Ms. Brodsky said. The largest earthquake in the region of the Salton Sea Geothermal Field during the 30-year study period was a magnitude 5.1 earthquake.

The nearby San Andreas fault, however, is capable of unleashing extremely destructive earthquakes of at least magnitude 8, Ms. Brodsky said. The location of the geothermal field at the southern end of the San Andreas fault is cause for concern due to the possibility of inducing a damaging earthquake.

"It's hard to draw a direct line from the geothermal field to effects on the San Andreas fault, but it seems plausible that they could interact," Ms. Brodsky said.

At its southern end, the San Andreas fault runs into the Salton Sea, and it's not clear what faults there might be beneath the water. A seismically active region known as the Brawley Seismic Zone extends from the southern end of the San Andreas fault to the northern end of the Imperial fault. The Salton Sea Geothermal Field, located on the southeastern edge of the Salton Sea, is one of four operating geothermal fields in the area.

Judge orders U.S. to terminate
intimate Guantanamo searches

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A U.S. federal judge has ordered the government to stop genital searches of prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention center, an act detainees’ lawyers say was aimed to break a hunger strike and discourage their clients from seeking legal counsel.

The decision by U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth Thursday would change the examinations detainees are subject to before and after any phone call or meeting they have with their counsel.

“Specifically, guards shall be limited to grasping the waistband of the detainee’s trousers and shaking the pants to dislodge any contraband,” Lambert wrote in his ruling.

Col. John Bogdan, who oversees the prison, ordered guards to begin the genital searches in May. He told the court his decision was based on an interest in the security of the detention facility.

He said he developed a phased approach in December 2012 to gradually implement the new search procedure following the suicide of detainee Adnan Farhan Abd Latif and the separate discovery of contraband when prisoners in Camp 6 were moved from communal living to single cell housing.

In response, Judge Lamberth said the court found that the new search procedures lack a valid, rational connection to the legitimate government interest, security, put forward to justify them.

Lamberth also asserted that Bogdan’s swiftness in implementing the new searches in May 2013 shows that linking the new searches to the death of Latif and the subsequent investigation was merely an afterthought.”

Defense Department spokesman Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale said the Pentagon is reviewing the decision.

“We’re aware of the judge’s ruling and we will continue to follow the law,” he said about an hour after receiving the court’s decision.

The government has not yet stated whether it will make an appeal.

Attorney David Remes, who represents five Guantanamo detainees who are hunger striking to protest their treatment, has described the frisking of detainees' genitals and buttocks as humiliating, especially for devout Muslim men.

He demanded Bogdan’s immediate replacement and called the court's ruling a disaster for the government.

"It's an unmistakable reminder that the court, not the government, is custodian of the legal rights of the detainees," Remes said.
Cori Crider of the British human rights group Reprieve said the judge’s decision was fantastic news.

“Those searches were clearly established to stop clients coming out to speak to attorneys and therefore the world outside,” she said, noting that many prisoners were refusing calls because they did not want to undergo the groping.

“I hope their being discontinued will convince the clients to come out and speak to lawyers again, so we can learn what is happening with the hunger strike more easily," she said.

Of the 166 men imprisoned at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, more than 100 are refusing to eat to protest their indefinite detention. The government is force-feeding 45 prisoners. The hunger strike began in February.

In a separate Guantanamo case Monday, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler said she did not have the jurisdiction to rule on a detainee's petition to stop the force feedings, which she called a painful, humiliating and degrading process. That action, she said, should be taken by U.S. President Barack Obama.

World population day focuses
on millions of teen pregnancies

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

World Population Day was Thursday and the focus this year is on adolescent pregnancy. It’s estimated that 16 million teenage girls give birth every year. Many are in African or other developing countries.

The United Nations says many teenage girls suffer from complications during child birth that lead to disability, sterility or even death. No one knows for sure how many terminated their pregnancies through unsafe abortions.

“The issue of teenage pregnancy is a major problem for us in Africa. Africa has a youthful population. About 60 percent of the population in Africa is below the age of 24, which means when we talk about pregnancy it’s going to be an issue within that age group," said Akinyele Dairo, senior program and technical advisor for women’s reproductive health at the U.N. Population Fund for the Africa Region.

He said there are several reasons for the high teen pregnancy rate in Africa.

“Number one, not enough comprehensive sexuality education in schools – either because the teachers are not prepared or because it’s not part of the curriculum. The second is that the parents are not well equipped and prepared to be able to train the young people on the issue of sexuality education. The third one is that those who are trained do not even have access to the services that will protect them from teenage pregnancy. And even where services are available in the health facilities the healthcare providers are not friendly enough to encourage the young people to come to the service delivery points,” he said.

Another reason for teenage pregnancy is early marriage.

In many of the countries in Africa, by age 18 about 20 to 40 percent of the females are already married. And these are countries like Mauritania, Mali, like Niger, Chad, even in Ethiopia and Eritrea, where the issue of literacy and education is low they tend to get married early, he said.

Many girls are even taken out of school early by their parents and forced to marry young.

When young girls become pregnant their bodies may not be ready for the many changes that follow. And during childbirth they are more vulnerable to infection or obstetric fistula, which is a hole or tear between the rectum and vagina. It can leave them incontinent and shunned by their community because of the odor.

Dairo said that there’s an unknown number of teenage girls who want to end their pregnancies. But their options are limited.

“In Africa, there are only two countries where abortion is legal. That is Tunisia and South Africa. These are two countries where a young person can go into a health facility to say that I don’t want this pregnancy. I just want it terminated,” he said.

Some African countries allow abortions when the mother’s life is at risk or in cases of rape or incest.

The U.N. Population Fund official said many girls may have what he calls back door abortions. These may be performed by unqualified people or take place in ill-equipped or unsanitary conditions. The result can be bleeding, which can lead to death, or serious infections that can prevent them from ever getting pregnant again.

Dairo said teens need to be much better informed about sexual health through youth-friendly health centers. He says they should be advised to delay sex until they are older or prepared to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. And, he said, they should stay in school.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon said when attention and resources are “devoted to the education, health and well-being of adolescent girls…they will become an even greater force for positive change in society” for generations to come.

U.S. residents appear to be split
over telephone surveillance

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

An Internet privacy group has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to look into the government’s surveillance of phone records over the past seven years. Polls show Americans are divided over this issue.
The American public is split over whether the National Security Agency, or NSA, should continue phone and email surveillance to stop terrorists.
Some say the concerns are overblown; others maintain that what people do in the privacy of their homes and on the Internet should be their business and nobody else's.
A recent Quinnipiac survey shows a reversal in public opinion. Three years ago, Americans overwhelmingly supported anti-terrorism actions over civil liberties. Pollster Peter Brown says a slight majority now think those efforts are eroding freedoms.
"That’s a really big change and it’s significant,” says Brown.
But other polls show a majority of Americans, 58 percent, support the government’s collection of telephone and Internet data. The basic questions are these: Is the surveillance relevant to a terrorist investigation? And, does the government monitor actual conversations and emails, or just look at who's involved?
Some argue it is not content but just metadata that is being collected by the government, and that it is not accurate to classify these activities as surveillance.
Others insist that people should decide for themselves whether to regard these efforts as surveillance or not.
Gary Schmitt studies security issues for the American Enterprise Institute. He supports NSA actions.
“It’s a difficult task because you have to collect an immense amount of data to stay ahead of the terrorist.”
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in Washington decides how far the government can go, and the NSA must first make its argument in this court before listening to phone calls involving an American.
This, says Schmitt, prevents overreach.

“There are these kinds of layers of scrutiny that they go forward and the court again has the final say into whether there’s enough info relevant to particular case to a particular person.”
But the Electronic Privacy Information Center says the court went too far when it made the Verizon Communications company provide its phone records on all Americans. EPIC filed an emergency petition to the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the NSA’s surveillance.
Alan Butler is EPIC’s attorney.
“Our contention is it’s not possible that all call records of all Americans held by Verizon are relevant to an investigation.”
It’s not known if the Supreme Court will take up the case.

Some health Web sites leak
search info to third parties

By the Journal of the American Medical Association
news staff
Patients who search on free health-related Web sites for information related to a medical condition may have the health information they provide leaked to third party tracking entities through code on those sites, according to a research letter by Marco D. Huesch of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

Between December 2012 and January 2013, using a sample of 20 popular health-related Web sites, Huesch used freely available privacy tools to detect third parties. Commercial interception software also was used to intercept hidden traffic from the researcher’s computer to the Web sites of third parties.

Huesch found that all 20 sites had at least one third-party element, with the average being six or seven. Thirteen of the 20 Web sites had one or more tracking element. No tracking elements were found on physician-oriented sites closely tied to professional groups. Five of the 13 sites that had tracker elements had also enabled social media button tracking. Using the interception tool, searches were leaked to third-party tracking entities by seven Web sites. Search terms were not leaked to third-party tracking sites when done on U.S. government sites or four of the five physician-oriented sites, according to the study results.

“Failure to address these concerns may diminish trust in health-related Web sites and reduce the willingness of some people to access health-related information online,” the study concludes.

House passes U.S. farm bill
that cuts certain subsidies

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A $5 billion-per-year subsidy program for U.S. farmers is a step closer to ending. The House of Representatives has passed its version of the Farm Bill, five-year, $100 billion legislation directing U.S. agriculture policy.

It cuts a subsidy called direct payments, which farmers received regardless of need and even went to people who no longer farmed, said House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, a Republican from Oklahoma.

“That thing that’s caused such great angst people getting money for not doing anything. That’s gone," said Lucas.

But the House put in place new programs providing more generous support to corn, wheat, cotton and other commodity farmers if prices for their products fall, says Montana State University economist Vince Smith.

“...which, truthfully, from an economic policy perspective, represents a ludicrous step backwards," said Smith.

Smith says increasing U.S. subsidies when prices are falling would hurt farmers in other countries who don’t get the same support. But he notes the House bill caps the amount paid to U.S. farmers.

The Senate passed its Farm Bill last month. It also eliminates direct payments, and adds a somewhat different price support program. Unlike the House version, it also includes a small measure intended to make international food aid more efficient.

The two chambers will now attempt to work out their differences.

The biggest difference is that the House removed all domestic food aid programs from its bill, a move that split the vote almost entirely along party lines. President Barack Obama has threatened to veto any bill that does not include nutrition assistance programs.

Computer shipments decline
in the face of newer tablets

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A technology research group says worldwide shipments of personal computers continue to decline as tablets replace the PC as many people's primary computing device.
The U.S.-based Gartner group says worldwide PC shipments dropped nearly 11 percent in the second quarter of 2013 from the same period last year. It said this is the fifth straight quarter of declining shipments — the longest in the PC market's history.
The report said that consumers worldwide are instead purchasing more affordable tablet devices. In emerging markets, it said inexpensive tablets have now become the first computing device for many.
The devices became popular following the release of Apple's iPad in 2010. Tablet prices have since tumbled, amid heated competition from manufacturers who have flooded the market with cheaper alternatives.
Meanwhile, Gartner's third quarter statistics show China's Lenovo overtaking U.S.-based Hewlett Packard as the world's top producer of personal computers. The figures show Lenovo accounted for 16.7 percent of worldwide PC shipments, compared to 16.3 percent for HP.
The research group said in October that Lenovo first passed HP as the world's top PC producer. Its more recent data has shown that HP narrowly retook the top spot. But this is the first quarter that data from both Gartner and its rival research firm, IDC, have put Lenovo at the top.

Continued monitoring sought
for possible dangerous viruses

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

It’s been several months since the H7N9 avian flu virus emerged in China, infecting an estimated 132 people and leaving at least 39 of them dead.   But while there have been no reported cases of the disease since the middle of June, infectious disease experts say it is not time to let down their guard.  

Writing in the journal mBio, Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says the lull in H7N9 infections in China is good news.  But he says this is no reason to think the virus could not reemerge, posing a future threat.

H7N9 can cause pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome and multiple organ failure.  

Fauci and two other leading infectious disease scientists at the institute note that H7N9 is not transmitted easily from chickens to humans or among people.  But H7 subtypes have been responsible for a number of devastating poultry outbreaks in Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands and Italy, which eventually affected people.

That’s because H7 viruses have the ability to mutate from a low-level infection in birds into a highly contagious avian pathogen, which Fauci says could lead to human exposure through poultry markets and large scale culling of diseased flocks.

“You always need to be concerned about the possibility that this virus or these viruses that can attain the capability of more efficient spread.  And if that happens, there will be a problem," said Fauci.

One cause for concern is H7N9-infected pigs.  Swine, which are physiologically more like humans than chickens, are considered a so-called mixing vessel for viruses, a place where viral DNA could mutate, making it easier for the pathogen to infect people.  That's what happened in 2009, with the H1N1 swine flu influenza pandemic.

Given the unknowns about H7N9, and the fact that it killed almost one-third of those who were infected in China, Fauci says the outbreak should prompt enhanced research efforts to better understand the mutation of avian and swine flu viruses into diseases that infect humans.

Premier in Quebec lashes out
at rail firm in tanker disaster

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Quebec Premier Pauline Marois lashed out Thursday at the railway boss whose runaway train leveled the center of a tiny Quebec town, as residents came to grips with the reality that 50 of their neighbors were likely dead.

“The behavior of the company and its president has been absolutely deplorable,” Ms. Marois said of the executive, Ed Burkhardt, and the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway, whose driverless train of tanker cars smashed into Lac Megantic early Saturday and exploded in a wall of fire.

The Quebec government is making a $58 million aid package available to the many people and businesses affected by the explosion.

The five-locomotive train was hauling 72 tanker cars of crude oil, part of a vast crude-by-rail expansion throughout North America as oil output soars in Canada and the U.S. state of North Dakota, and pipelines run out of space.

Police say they have recovered 20 bodies, with another 30 people still missing and now presumed dead.

Burkhardt said Wednesday he thought the engineer had not set enough handbrakes when he parked his train late on Friday at the end of his shift, and he apologized to residents of the town of 6,000.

The words of remorse came too late for many locals, who accuse Burkhardt of shirking responsibility. A chaotic news conference he gave Wednesday was interrupted by cries of “murderer” from angry residents.

“They still aren't taking the blame,” said one resident, who would give only her first name, Christiane.

More than 200 investigators are working day and night to sift through the charred wreckage in the center of the lakeside town in what authorities say is a crime scene. They have made no arrests.

A death toll of 50 would make the accident the worst rail crash in North America since 1989, and Canada's deadliest accident since in 1998, when a Swissair jet crashed into the Atlantic off the coast of Nova Scotia, killing 229 people.

But while the red zone in the center of town remains closed to all but investigators, some businesses have started to reopen and more than half of the 2,000 people evacuated from their homes on Saturday have been allowed to return.

Office supply shop owner Jean Dube, 54, said he was uncertain whether his insurance would cover his losses because of confusion over whether the building which lies near the blast site was damaged.

His shop will be off limits indefinitely as police and federal investigators sift through the area for bodies and clues to the cause of the crash. He said his store did not appear damaged, but emergency officials told him there was oil and toxic gas in his basement.

“There are details of our policy that we were not aware of. If the building is damaged, our lost revenue is covered for 12 months,” he said. “If there is no damage to the building, we get two weeks. This was shocking when we learned this. They told us that it is the same for other companies here as well.”

Real estate-related services (paid category)

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

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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.

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.

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
Contact us at the office: (506) 2694-0088
Cell (506) 8880-8888
Phone number from the U.S. (305) 307-0088
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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:

Costa Rica,

Central America
Houses, lots and farms in Grecia,
western Central Valley.
Great climate
and safe communities.
Grecia estate
This is the BIGGEST DEAL of the month now at $850.000: HERE!
Sarchi home
Modern three-bedroon home in San Rafael de Sarchí. Cick HERE!
 Great deals for you!
Visit our Web Site:
 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:

Real estate for sale (paid category)

Guiones retreat
Approximately half acre on the beach with private path to the surf. Very private three-home complex with pool, spacious patios with two wet bars, barbeque and yoga area. Featuring a three-bedroom ranch style home plus a two story Mexican villa style home with two master suites, large kitchen and living area with ocean views and breezes upstairs and a garden apartment downstairs with separate entrance. A caretaker's or teenager's cottage and lots of space for expansion. PRICED FOR QUICK SALE: $899,000.  Call 506 8867-8883 or

Monte Mar
Hacienda Monte Mar
Gated Community near the beach
located halfway between Jaco and Quepos/Manuel Antonio
 BEST DEAL in Costa Rica!!! Lots starting at just $18,500 with financing available.
 Lot/ House packages from around $60,000
Great Retirement, Vacation, or investment option!
Lots of wildlife on the property. Gated front entrance, caretakers on site,
security and lawn maintenance, no time limit to build. Absentee Owner Friendly.
Water and power on site.
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891

Puriscal home
$71,000 SUPER Central Valley view home for you to finish
2 bedrooms, 2 baths, on 2,200 M2 lot with creek on one side. This is another "live in the view" home ready to finish out including appliances, solar water heater, PEX water distribution, custom cabinets, granite counter tops, radiant energy barrier, and tempered, bronzed, reflective windows for an additional $59,000. So total for lot and beautifully finished home is under $130,000. This home is within 7 minutes of Santiago de Puriscal at elevation of 3,200 feet on new concrete public road.
Please contact: email  or call 2417-1041 or 8888-4543.

Beautiful fully renovated house in Bello Horizonte, Escazu, 446 sq. meters. Four bedrooms; four baths. Price includes all furniture and fixtures - ready to move in! Light, bright and airy....$550,000 USD. Telephone 2288.6451. More details HERE!

Heredia land
San Rafael, Heredia, great opportunity, 17,000m2 land for development,
US$600,000 or best offer.  email: or call 8385-2542.

Minimum bid starts @ $10,000.
 ½ acre to 4 acres.
Walk to San Juanillo Beaches.
1 day only -10 a.m. June 15
Phone: 506-2682-0185

music studio
Musicians dream!!!
Two-story house, 2,400 sq. ft. (223 sq. mt.) total with covered porches, 2-car covered parking, 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, open kitchen/living room, bodega, laundry room, upstairs sala. Separate 320-sq. ft. (29 sq. mt.) music studio that could be used as an art studio, workshop, or additional bedroom. Studio has a patio on top, partially covered with ozonated hot tub. Mature citrus trees, avocado, mango, pineapples, bananas, and many colorful flowers. Completely fenced, security system, Internet, cable TV, automatic gates, one-car additional secured gravel parking. Double lot, 7,320 sq ft (680 sq mt). Backs up to a large cafetal and looks up to Natural Reserve Madre Verde. Located in La Granja, Residencia Palma Real, Palmares, Alajuela. Walking distance to town, 5 minutes to pista, 35 minutes to airport, and close to bus service. Comes with kitchen appliances, washer and dryer, bed set in master bedroom, shoe cabinet just inside front door. Other furnishings negotiable. More pictures available upon request. House and property are in a corporation. $208,000.

Private Gated Paradise in Grecia 3/2 home with guest apartment, 5000m2 land. $99k-/best cash offer! River access,, Phone: (506)2495-0487.

Condo for sale in Flamingo

Ocean view 3-bedroom, 3 1/2-bathroom condo. Designer furnished 1,800 square feet, gated community. Only six units. Huge pool and balcony, pet friendly, parking, walking distance to Flamingo beach, banks, grocery store, farmacia, etc. New building. $349,000 asking. Ask for photos. 8705-0056. or 1-800-536-2322.

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

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

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. $185,000. Other furniture items may be available for purchase.
Call Bill   (English) C.R. Phone: (506) 6011-6987
U.S. Phone:  6630-886-4458  or   (305) 848- 5577
Spanish  phone number: (506) 8799 4041

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 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

Rich Coast Montage
Central Pacific Coast Real Estate, from Jaco to Quepos/Manuel Antonio
- 2 Bedroom House in Gated Community near the beach, $89,000!!
 - Beachfront Residential Lots from $58,000
- Coffee Shop/ Bakery, Coastal Town, Great Location, Real Estate Office Upstairs, Turnkey $85,000 Great ROI
- Lots in Gated Community near the beach from $18,500,
with Financing Available!!
- 3 Bedroom House in Gated Community, furnished, walk to the beach, $120k
 1.25 acre + lots in ECO Development $39,000
- 58 acre Oceanview Property subdividable, $169k
and much more....
USA Toll Free 1 866 833 4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718 9891

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

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:

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, - Cell Phone: 011 (506) 8819-2119, From US/Canada: (816) 987-7166.

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 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!

La Garita
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.  There is an 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.

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

Jacó compound
Located 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.

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

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.

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

Segregated into 9 lots, Excellent Development Potential!
20 minutes from the beach Central Pacific Coast, between Jacó and Quepos.
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005  CR Cell 8718-9891

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

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Six in California accused
of selling endangered species

Special to A.M. Costa Rica
An undercover operation dubbed Wild Web resulted Thursday in charges against six Southern California residents who are accused of selling endangered species and animal parts, including pelts taken from wild cats, through online auction sites such as Craigslist.

The charges contained in five criminal cases filed in U. S. District Court in Los Angeles stem from an investigation coordinated by the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service which involved investigators and prosecutors across the United States and in three southeast Asian countries.

Operation Wild Web was designed to disrupt the trafficking of illegal wildlife on the Internet. Across the United States, the Wild Web task force conducted more than 150 undercover purchases of endangered wildlife over the course of two weeks last August. Investigators posing as buyers focused on endangered or protected wildlife, as well as invasive species that threaten the native fish species in the United States.

The five cases filed in Los Angeles charge six defendants with violations of federal environmental laws. The defendants charged with selling a sumatran tiger skin on Craigslist for $8,000, with selling a jaguar skin for $15,000, for selling three migratory bird mounts, selling two migratory western scrub jays and for selling three Native American dolls, one said to be made of whale bone, and three bags, one made of seal fur, to an undercover agent.

As part of Operation Wild Web, state and federal prosecutors across the nation have filed well over 100 criminal cases, with most of the cases being filed in California, Texas and Florida. In addition to the animals and animal parts involved in the cases filed in federal court in Los Angeles, Operation Wild Web led to cases involving the illegal sale of a bear skin and a walking catfish that were filed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Other cases resulting from Operation Wild Web – involving native wildlife and invasive species, such as live piranha – were recently filed by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office, and the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office. Seven cases were charged in Thailand and Indonesia where animals and parts of animals, such as leopards, tigers, great hornbills and Javan eagles, were sold through the Internet.

Quarz disks can hold data
for more than million years

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

British scientists say they have discovered a method for storing and retrieving huge amounts of digital data that could last for over a million years.

Using extremely short and intense pulses of laser light, researchers at the University of Southampton assembled structures in fused quartz glass that can withstand temperatures up to 1,000 degrees C.

The data, written in three layers of nanometer sized structured dots, can be read by an optical microscope with polarized lenses. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter.

Scientists say the new method opens the possibility of creating memory discs with an unprecedented  memory capacity of up to 360 terabytes, with an almost unlimited lifetime.

Present long-time digital storage capacity based on hard-drive memory storage has to be updated every five to 10 years.

The new technology offers the possibility of preserving data forever.  

The discovery was presented at the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics, in San Jose, California.

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From Page 7:

Contract let to link rural areas in north

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
and wire service reports

Telecom officials have awarded the first bid to use public funds to improve the access to telephones and Internet. The beneficiaries will be some 4,000 residents and some 1,200 students in the communities of Waldeck, La Lucha, San Alberto, La Perla and Cultivezin the Pacuarito of Limón.

The money comes from the Fondo Nacional de Telecomunicaciones, which holds money paid by private companies to purchase a telecom concession in the country.

The successful bidder in this initial project is Telefónica de Costa Rica, said the Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones. The firm has six months to get the job done.

The action here is in contrast to an international study warned of decreasing interest of local governments and businesses in developing countries to provide public access to computers and Internet. This may may close a critical source of information for underprivileged groups, the study said. The study was by researchers at the University of Washington Information School in Seattle.

The study calls on governments and donor organizations to increase investment in public access to Internet and incorporate it into national initiatives. Researchers also say computer games are beneficial because they build technology skills, according to wire service reports.

Costa Rica included the process for providing Internet and telephone access to rural areas when the law opening telecommunications to private firms won approval.

The Superintendencia said that the initial project will provide service to 11 schools, too. Residents of the areas have waited up to 10 years for these services, the agency said. The projects also call for providing service to health centers and local public Internet access centers.

There are six more projects in the bidding stage that will bring services to Roxana de Pococí areas around Guatuso, Upala, Los Chiles, San Carlos and Sarapiquí, said the Superintendencia.

The projects, costing $26.7 million, will bring these services to some 200,000 persons by the end of the year.

Projects on the drawing board will provide service to the southern zone, the agency said.

The University of Washington study said that elsewhere as new technologies, such as smartphones and home computers become available, organizations are losing interest in providing access to public computers connected to the Internet. The trend is especially pronounced among development agencies, it said.

The five-year study surveyed 5,000 users of public computers and 2,000 non-users, as well as 1,250 operators of public access venues. Researchers say public access to the Internet was the only source of information for one-third of those surveyed and more than half said their use of computers will decrease if public access is shut.
The study conducted in eight developing countries concluded underemployed persons, women, rural residents and other often marginalized groups draw a lot of benefits from having access to computers in places such as Internet cafes, telecenters and public libraries.  According to researchers, the biggest benefits are seen in education, search for jobs and finding answers to health issues.