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(506) 2223-1327                            Published  Friday, Aug. 1, 2014, in Vol. 14, No. 151                       Email us
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Changes in tax law to target evasion and avoidance
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation's tax collector said Thursday it is introducing legal reforms to reduce evasion as well as avoidance. Avoidance generally is defined as legal manipulations to reduce the tax bill.

The text of the bill is not available, but a summary said that one change would require that an individual or corporation that needs to conduct business with a public entity be current with tax obligations and with documents that should be presented to the Ministerio de Hacienda.

This could include the annual tax reform, quarterly tax reports, monthly sales tax reports, employee withholding reports and a multitude of other reports that are required.

The mechanism whereby these filings would be verified was not explained.

In addition, any person or corporation that seeks a patente or business license from a municipality would have to demonstrate a registration with the Dirección General de Tributación, the tax collecting agency within the ministry.

The summary also said that the sales tax would be levied on any rentals for less than a month in order to avoid the proliferation of tourist hospitality that competes with hotels and formal lodgings.

The action is aimed at condos and vacation homes that are rented short-term, frequently by absentee owners. Such transactions are supposed to generate sales tax now, but only infrequently is it paid. One argument is that the current law is too vague. The ministry probably will provide explicit
wording to cover such short-term arrangements.

The update also will require vendors to accept credit cards equal to cash. Those who do would receive a slight discount by a reduction on their sales tax bill to cover the paperwork. The tax agency likes credit and debit cards because the transactions can be tracked. Many transactions are done off the books now to avoid sales tax payments, the so-called resident discount.

The proposed legal changes also would require private and public banks to demand an income tax return as proof of income for loans and other financing. This means the applicant would have to have filed a return. Certification by private accountants would not be accepted.

Some of these changes already have been mentioned as the Luis Guillermo Solís administration seeks to reduce the annual government deficit, which now is at 2.5 percent of gross domestic product. The new president beefed up the power of the ministry by naming his first vice president, Helio Fallas, to head it.

Fallas said in a statement accompanying the summary that evasion and avoidance amount to about 60 percent of the tax money actually collected, according to a ministry study. He said that in 2012 fraud amounted to 7.75 percent of the gross domestic product.

Tributación is now involved in a dispute with the tourism sector over whether the law requires sales tax to be levied on admissions to national parks and tourism activities. Once again the law is vague and subject to interpretation. Presumably specifics on this point also will be submitted to lawmakers..


Cruz Roja gets ready for the flood of pilgrims today
By Michael Krumholtz
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

As pious Costa Ricans march in the many thousands towards the basilica in Cartago, local Red Cross officials are warning them to do so with caution. So far this year during the annual pilgrimage known as the romería, the aid organization provided care and first aid to more than 400 walkers and had to take a dozen to nearby hospitals, according to a Cruz Roja report.

Officials say the main ailments to look out for are dehydration, fatigue and muscle aches, among others.

More than 1,000 Cruz Roja workers and 120 ambulances will be available today with 25 different checkpoints scattered throughout the route's main roadways. There are doctors, nurses, psychologists, emergency technicians and first responders set up among numerous other types of volunteers.

Cruz Roja President Miguel Carmona said he has been impressed with his team of workers, who are spread throughout the country.

"These deployments of Cruz Roja workers are amazing," he said. "To see the charisma of hundreds of volunteers to make this operation happen in the best possible way benefits all those who require our services."

Workers have also been providing assistance for those making the long trek from the southern parts of Costa Rica. After more than five days of walking they said they hope to arrive at the basilica by this afternoon.

The Red Cross issued a list of precautions that should be taken into account before those making the trip leave their homes. The organization advises against doing the romería alone, be aware of the body's physical condition at all times, and to wear proper clothing, especially since it's the rainy season.

In all, around one million people are expected to converge upon the Basílica de Los Ángeles in Cartago for the holiday Saturday that celebrates the Virgen of Los Ángeles, the patroness of Costa Rica.
romeros
Cruz Roja photo
Some pilgrims walk for 10 hours or more.

For the fourth straight year, Cruz Roja authorities are promoting recycling efforts and have more than 70 specialty bins set up from Curridabat to the basilica. The project, called Ecoromería, encourages trash disposal and appropriate separation in order to minimize the holiday's environmental impact.

All money made from selling the recycled material will go towards funding environmental programs at the local municipalities along the route.

"It's important to note that the Ecoromería is a project that provides viable alternatives for the efficient management of waste that is generated on August First and Second," said Dennis Montiel, who is in charge of the recycling efforts.

Other mini pilgrimages are also taking place around the country in locations like La Fortuna, Cañas, Tilarán, and Guatuso.

The Virgen in Cartago is represented by a small, black, carved rock that is maintained atop the altar of the basilica. Pilgrims show their devotion by ending their trek by entering the basilica on their knees and traveling to the altar that way.

The Mass Saturday is at 10 a.m. It will be televised. Sunday there is another ceremony when the statue is moved mid great pomp from the basilica to the Catedral de Nuestra Señora de El Carmen, also in Cartago. That will be between 9 a.m. and noon.

The statue will stay there until Sept. 7.

Sunday there also is a fiesta outside the cathedral with traditional foods and artistic presentations.


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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Aug. 1, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 151

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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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.U.S. House failed to OK cash for illegals

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives are trying to resurrect a border funding bill they had abandoned Thursday after they failed to secure enough votes.  The $659 million supplemental would respond to the crisis of tens of thousands of children from Central America who have crossed the border into the United States.  After a chaotic day, House members were told to delay their five-week August recess to try to pass the border bill again today.

Another article HERE!


The plan was for the Republican-led House to vote on a border spending bill early Thursday afternoon, and then for members to head for the exits for their long break.  The House bill is much smaller than the $3.7 billion President Barack Obama has sought.  It also calls for policy changes to make it easier to deport the migrant children.  A rival bill in the Senate is bigger and does not make policy changes, but is not expected to pass before the recess.  House Republican leaders had changed their bill, directing two-thirds of the funding to border security and law enforcement to try to win the support of the most conservative members of their party.

House Democrats made it clear that they would not support the bill, saying it does not contain enough money to provide food and shelter for the children. 

“This is not a border security crisis." said Rep. David Price, a Democrat.  "This is a humanitarian crisis.  We don’t need to deploy the National Guard or surge our border capacity; because we are not failing to catch individuals as they cross, in fact these young people are turning themselves in," said Price.

After the debate, House leaders abruptly pulled the bill, leaving members in confusion and disarray.  First, they were told they could leave for the recess.  Rep. Joe Barton, a Republican, told reporters he was on his way to catch a plane and speculated

“Well, we will have to deal with it when it happens, and the president can shift money around, and I guess if we had to we could be called back for a dire emergency supplemental vote, for a day or two.  In my opinion it is too bad we did not do it today," said Barton.

Moments later, House members got word that there might be votes later in the day.  This was the angry and surprised reaction on the floor.

House Republicans met in the basement to try to find a path to an elusive majority.  Rep. Spencer Bachus, a Republican, said the House needs to find a bill members can agree on.

“We are going to stay here, I can tell you that.  We are going to stay here until we have the votes," said Bachus.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the White House would be glad if the House approved much needed border funding four weeks after the president asked for it.

“And the fact that House Republicans have waited literally until the very last day of their session to even consider taking a vote on this is an indication that they’re not operating with the best interests of the American people in mind, that’s for sure," said Earnest.

Now it looks like the House will have an extra last day today to make another attempt to pass a bill. 



Paso Ancho work scheduled to begin

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Work is scheduled to start next week on the Paso Ancho traffic circle on the Circunvalación. Eventually a bridge will replace the circle which now slows traffic.

The first step, according to highway officials is the destruction of some structures adjacent to the circle.

This is the circle that also is known as the Rotonda de la Guacamaya because the Guacamaya auto repair facility is on the south side.

MECO S.A, will be doing the work. Officials said they expect no problem with traffic while the demolition is taking place. The entire project is valued at $4.7 million.



Fines await motorists with '4' plates

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The process by which the government is changing license plates has not been well published since it began, but Thursday was the last day for those with plates that end in 4 to renew them.

If motorists are caught on the highway with such a plate, the fine is 21,000 colons. about $40.

The new plates are supposed to prevent fraud. They also include a window sticker plus special markings on the new plates.

The turnover of old plates for new is being run by the Registro Nacional. But post offices and some banks will make the change, too. The process will take more than a year.

Those with license plates ending in 5 have until Oct. 31 to exchange them.



Ant researcher
Smithsonian Tropical Research Center photo            
Max Adams delighted in climbing trees and playing with bugs when
he was a toddler in Louisiana. Two decades later not a lot has changed.

Ants that live in trees called understudied

By the Smithsonian Tropical Research Center news staff

Max Adams spends his days climbing 30 meters into the forest canopy on Panama’s Barro Colorado Nature Monument for a doctoral-level peek into the world of tropical canopy ants.

Unlike their terrestrial counterparts, canopy ants are relatively understudied. “Ants play such an important role on the ground but there are still many questions about what they do in the canopy,” said Adams while standing in the crown of a Dipteryx panamensis, the forest floor hidden by underbrush and the Panama Canal visible in the distance.

Adams is part of a research team led by Stephen Yanoviak of the University of Louisville. They look at the role lianas, or woody vines, play in maintaining canopy ant species richness. Some 20 species can nest in a single tree. Vines provide connectivity between trees. They may also increase available nest space and food resources for ants.

Adams’ trees are on experimental plots used by many scientists. Smithsonian staff scientist Joe Wright and research associate Stefan Schnitzer have shown lianas are increasing in abundance in the New World tropics. More lianas can decrease carbon uptake by forests but may be a boon to canopy ants.

“Preliminary findings indicate trees with more lianas have higher ant species richness,” said Adams. “If lianas are increasing, we may see increased canopy ant species diversity and community complexity.”



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A.M. Costa Rica

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Aug. 1, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 151
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Unveto by Solís will benefit small merchants who sell items to tourists
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Every expat knows that court cases are never finished. There are appeals after appeals.

In fact, a truth about Costa Rica is that there usually is a footnote to reverse or change just about any official action.

Now, it turns out, even a presidential veto is not final.

President Luis Guillermo Solís announced Thursday that he was unvetoing a measure that had been vetoed by Óscar Arias Sánchez when he was president in 2009.

The measure, which now become law, involved the mercado de artesanía on the west side of the Plaza de la Democracía. This is the string of stalls that are covered by a rusting steel roof. The market occupies Calle 13 bis, a public right-of-way, and runs from Avenida Central to Avenida Segunda.

For years officials have tried to shoo away the merchants to a newer facility some blocks distant. The merchants did not like this idea.

Some remember being shooed away from the Plaza de la Cultura some 20 years ago.

San José officials designated the street as the Calle Nacional de la Artesanía in 1995, but some local and national officials saw the stalls as an embarrassment and much too close to the new Museo de Jade.

The merchants there have real businesses. They have licenses and pay sales tax. Solís noted that about 200 families depend on income from the market.

The merchants there have waged petition campaigns and protests to keep their spots. That was why the legislature passed the measure that ended up on the desk of Arias.

Solís in a visit to the market said he was correcting an injustice so that the merchants will have a dignified place to show the goods. Most goods are products of Costa Rica.

The presidential action was not without criticism. At the legislature 
mercado
Casa Presidencial photo
Every tourist who visits San José knows the mercado.

Rolando González Ulloa, a member of Partido Liberación Nacional, the party of Arias, said the president was hurting municipal governance by taking this action.

He noted that the Municipalidad de San José will continue to try to evict the merchants. The matter probably will end up in court as the municipality challenges the presidential authority.


critters
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photos
Fish to be discarded, iguanas to be reintroduced and orchids to be salvaged
Police are busy with those who would sidestep plant and animal laws
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The time is long past when Costa Ricans can get away with taking souvenirs from the wild.

That includes orchids, iguanas and even fish.

Police in Upala have confiscated orchids believed to have been stolen from a protected zone in the country's north. More than 130 fish were also retrieved in a separate seizure Thursday in Alajuela's capital city, according to a Fuerza Pública report.

Officers detained a Nicaraguan man who they said had been transporting the fish in an illegal and unsanitary manner.

The report said police immediately threw out the fish, citing worries
for eventual consumers who could have bought the product.

Also in Upala, police found 26 various orchid plants inside a sack that a local was carrying through the street. Authorities said the orchids were taken from the Volcán Miravalles protected zone in northern Guanacaste.

The plants were handed over to officials from the environmental ministry who are responsible for putting them back into their natural habitat.

At a checkpoint in southern Costa Rica on the Interamericana highway officers found two young iguanas hidden in a shoebox in a car. They were confiscated, too, and the driver faces criminal charges.

Police pointed out that the Ley de Protección a la Vida Silvestre prohibits taking wild plants or wildlife from their habitats for home gardens or as pets.

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Aug. 1, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 151
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At least one TV station taken in by fake clipping from newspaper
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

At least one local television station has been hoaxed by a fake reprint critical of conditions at the Costa Rican consulate in Managua.

Someone emailed to news outlets what appears to be a copy of a page from the Nicaraguan newspaper La Prensa. The headline says there is disorder at the consulate and appears to have been written by the news agency ACAN-EFE. Three photos show a crush of persons, presumably Nicaraguans seeking Costa Rican visas.

Embassy officials in Nicaragua took the email seriously enough to call it an anonymous libel. In an email to news outlets, the embassy noted that both the newspaper La Prensa and the news agency disavowed the supposed news story. Included was a note from Luis Felipe Palacio of the news agency saying the supposed story was unprofessional and certainly was not written by his staffers or staffers of any other news agency in Nicaragua.

The photos also appear to have been taken at another activity elsewhere.

The embassy said that a Costa Rica television station aired the information without checking with the news agencies, La Prensa or Javier Sancho Bonilla, the Costa Rican ambassador.

The embassy statement said that there was disorder outside the installation but blamed local Nicaragua officials for permitting all sorts of street vendors, taxi drivers and others doing business. Inside, business was normal with some 900 visas being issued daily.
fake news story
The offending fake news clipping

The fake email certainly points out the ease with which someone can fake a news story or some other official document with Photoshop or some other type of graphic program. The embassy in Nicaragua sent its statement as a bitmapped graphic that could not be manipulated easily. Casa Presidencial puts its news releases and photos in a Google file that others can access only to download.

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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:
HiddenGarden@TheVanStoneGroup.com.   
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.
8199-4/6/14

diligence
Click photo for another video

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the
 *HIGHEST SUCCESS RATE
OF RELOCATION*

 (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!
http://www.vimeo.com/5656822

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. lundquistgeorge@gmail.com

8390-10/2/14

Here's reasonable medical care
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



Need a book about Costa Rica?


Check out our special selections available at Amazon logo

HERE!

A.M. Costa Rica
Real estate rentals
Real estate rental agents
Real estate for rent
Business
wanted
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)
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.
tropical
We are offering homes for every budget and every need.
Please visit our Web page at www.tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or contact us at rentals@tropicalhomesofcostarica.com
or call at (506) 2654-5442.
8267-8/17/14

ALAJUELA – SERENE LIVING
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 gerrybuilt2000@yahoo.com.  See virtual tour of accommodations HERE!
Get to know the real Costa Rica – you may want to live here someday.
8423-9/15/14

HP Cattle rentals
Mountain homes or farm for rent
Barva volcano, Heredia province
We offer for rent a gorgeous two-bedroom mountain chalet and a one-bedroom mountain home located on the slopes of the Barva Volcano, Heredia Province. The homes are situated at 7,300 feet altitude and within a working horse ranch just three kilometers from the Braulio Carrillo National Park entrance. From our homes one can hike to the Barva volcano crater-lake.  Enjoy a spacious living room, kitchen, fireplace and breathtaking views of the Irazú volcano and the Central Valley. Observe dozens of cloud forest bird species to include the resplendent quetzal.  The homes are incomparable in beauty and attention to detail within the Barva highland area.  We are only 35-55 minutes from Costa Rica’s three principal cities (Heredia, Alajuela, and San José), less than two hours from the central Pacific beaches, and three hours from the Caribbean beaches. Enjoy the tranquility of the mountains while maintaining quick access to the conveniences of the city and rapid access to other eco-tourist destinations in Costa Rica. Additionally, we can board your horses at a reasonable fee.  We can also offer our clients rental of a small and fully functional farm complete with stables, pasture, and office space.
Mountain chalet: $750.  Basic mountain home: $400.
Boutique mountain home: One-bedroom $850. Two-bedroom $1,000.
Small Farm that includes a chalet, basic mountain home, stables, and 8,000m2 of pasture/green areas: $1,500.
Contact:  HPCattleCR@aol.com
8425-8/17/14


oranic farm
$800 plus utilities, 2-bedroom, 2-bath house, fully furnished, Internet included, cable TV available. Inside organic farm, safe and secure. In the country but close to town. Santa Barbara de Heredia,  Email for more info and pictures. Long term, NO DOGS.
laurelfanderson@gmail.com
8414-8/2/14

Apartments Lemur
Apartment Lemur for rent
San Francisco de Dos Rios, 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 preferred. Call 8375-6838.
Email: jorge.jorgejim@gmail.com.
8431-10/4/14

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
 and dryer. All you pay extra for is electricity. You have your own meter and receive a bill from the electric company every month.  This apartment has a American-style hot water system, hot water in both bathrooms and the kitchen. There is a 25-foot balcony to sit on and watch the people in San José walk by. The neighborhood Barrio Amón is the safest in San José For photos and more information contact:  rentnowcr@gmail.com.
8431-7/30/14




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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Aug. 1, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 151
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Training center for kids
offers hope in Honduras

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Barack Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States.  One such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.

Carlos Lato walks the poor market district of Tegucigalpa, looking for children living on the street to make them an offer that seems too good to be true.  

“We will give you food, transportation. We will give you an education and your family won't have to pay any money," he said.

Lato is a recruiter for Casa Alianza, a  U.S.-based Catholic Church assistance organization.  It provides young people an alternative to a life of poverty, drug abuse and gang violence.  However, many of the children he encounters decline his offer.  Some, like one 12-year-old boy who works some days hauling trash, must help support their families.

“It's that I cannot go because it's my mother's decision whether I go or not," he said.

But those who do join find shelter and education.

“They protect us. They help us with everything we need, school, everything that we need," said Jesenia Chevez, who has been with the program for four years. "They help us and it's a better opportunity here."

In addition to traditional academic subjects, training coordinator Nelly Garcia says these former street kids also learn how to trust each other.

“Work as a team, collaborate, participate and show respect, these are the kinds of training we give them," said Garcia.

And they provide vocational training.  Nery Venagas was twice apprehended trying to cross into the U.S. before he came to Casa Alianza.  Here he learned a trade, cutting hair, and says now his future is in Honduras.

“I realized that if God was going to bless me, he would do it here in my country,' he said.  "I don't see traveling as something outside the law, but sometimes the experience is not the best."

Advocates for increased U.S. assistance to the region say the success of programs like the Casa Alianza helps demonstrate that the best way to end the surge of illegal immigrants to the U.S is to provide young people in Central America more opportunities for a better life at home.


Giant facility for batteries
planned by Tesla Motors


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors and the Japanese Panasonic Corp. agreed to build the world’s largest battery manufacturing plant.

According to a deal signed Thursday, the plant,  known as Gigafactory, will be built in the U.S. and managed by Tesla, while Panasonic will supply equipment for the mass production of lithium-ion cells. The finished products will be used in electric cars manufactured by Tesla Motors and for stationary storage of energy.

In Tesla’s view, the high price of batteries prevents electric cars from advancing to the mass market.

The company hopes it will be able to lower the cost of long-range battery packs by optimizing the manufacturing process and locating all aspects of production at one site.

Tesla says Gigafactory may employ as many as 6,500 people by 2020.


U.S. issues travel warning
for ebola outbreak areas

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United States has issued travel warnings for Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, the three countries hardest hit by the ongoing ebola outbreak.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging U.S. residents to avoid non-essential travel to the West African countries because of the outbreak, which it calls unprecedented.

In a Thursday statement, the Centers said there had been instances of violence against aid workers in the region, and that Liberia's public health infrastructure is being severely strained.

The U.S. health authority also said that at least three Americans had been infected, including two health care workers at an ebola clinic.

The overall death toll from the ebola outbreak has climbed to 729, including more than 50 new fatalities reported since last Friday.

The latest update from the World Health Organization came as officials in Sierra Leone and Liberia moved to enact intensive new measures to stop the ebola virus from spreading.

Sierra Leone's President Ernest Bai Koroma said the government will quarantine areas where the disease is found, restrict public meetings, search houses to find infected people and screen passengers at the country's main airport. 

In Liberia, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf announced the closure of schools, the shutdown of markets along border areas and said all public facilities would be disinfected and chlorinated today.

Guinea has the largest number of Ebola-related deaths at 339, followed by Sierra Leone at 233 and Liberia at 156.  Another man with U.S. and Liberian citizenship died in Nigeria last week soon after arriving on a flight that made stops in Ghana and Togo.

World Health says Nigerian authorities have identified 59 people who may have come into contact with the man before he died.

In another development, World Health said it is launching a $100 million response plan to deal with the ebola outbreak, which it also called unprecedented.

In a Thursday statement, the agency said World Health chief Margaret Chan will meet with the presidents of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea in Conakry today to discuss the plan. 

World Health said the new measure will focus on finding ways to stop the virus' transmission in the affected countries and preventing ebola from spreading to neighboring nations.

Doctors Without Borders is among the medical groups that have been trying to fight the spread of ebola in Sierra Leone. The group's Anja Wolz said it lacks the manpower to fully address the problem.

"We only have the possibility to work in the case management centers and we don't have the capacity to go outside. The situation is quite difficult. I would say, we are on the top of an iceberg in the moment because the contact tracing is not really functioning. This is one of the major issues what we have. Because, to find the patient as soon as possible and to refer them to the case management center, it's the basic for an ebola outbreak."

Meanwhile, two U.S. Peace Corps volunteers in Liberia have been isolated after potential exposure to ebola.

A spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday the two “had contact with an individual who later died of the ebola virus."

The Peace Corps is temporarily removing all of its volunteers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea as a precautionary measure.

There is no vaccine or cure for ebola, which can be fatal in up to 90 percent of cases. The disease is characterized by fever, vomiting, diarrhea, body aches, and unstoppable bleeding from areas such as the eyes, ears and nose.

The ebola virus is transmitted through contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person. Health officials are warning people to not touch ebola patients and to avoid burial rituals that require handling the body of an ebola fatality.


Resistance to malaria drugs
reported growing in Asia

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

From Vietnam to Burma, the leading drug against malaria is losing potency, according to a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

On the plus side, the same issue of the journal reports that a new antimalarial drug looks promising in an early test.

Artemisinin-based drugs have helped make dramatic gains against malaria worldwide.

“If we lose this class of drugs, it’s really going to be a global health catastrophe,” said Chris Plowe at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “There’s nothing on the shelf that’s ready to replace those.”

Plowe and colleagues studied resistance rates in seven Asian and three African countries. The worst problems were along the Thailand-Cambodia border, where the first artemisinin drug failures were reported. But they found significant resistance from southern Vietnam to central Burma.

The fact that it’s on the move in Southeast Asia “speaks to the possibility that from there it can jump into Africa, which is the big concern, ultimately,” said Columbia University microbiologist David Fidock, who was not involved in the research.

That’s what happened with resistance to previous malaria drugs, and it cost countless lives.

In fact, Plowe said that part of the world has proved to be a drug-resistant malaria hotspot.

“It’s happened again and again, with at least four different antimalarial drugs, where resistant parasites popped up along the border between Thailand and Cambodia,” he said.

It’s not clear why. It could be the quality of the drugs available, or how they are taken. Plowe doubts that, though, considering that both are issues elsewhere, too.

Or it may be something to do with the genetics of the parasite. Researchers are looking into that, too.

The good news is Plowe’s group did not find artemisinin resistance in Africa. And the drugs still work, although they take longer.

But he adds, “We don’t have very much time with the artemisinins based on the rate at which resistance appears to be emerging and spreading.”

In another study in the same issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, the pharmaceutical company Novartis reports its new drug spiroindolone quickly rid 21 patients of malaria parasites.

It is on track to be the first to take over when the artemisinin drugs fail.

“It’s very early days,” Plowe cautions. “This is a very small study. But the initial news is pretty good.”

Fidock notes, however, that the drug’s target is known to mutate quickly.

“It’s already to some degree susceptible to resistance,” he said.

Spiroindolone would be combined with at least one other drug to slow down resistance.

And other drugs are in the pipeline, racing to be ready for the day when artemisinin fails.


Test shows Earth fossils
could be found on moon


By the University of Kent news services

Kent physicists have tested what would happen if a piece of rock containing microscopic fossils from Earth was launched into space and hit the surface of the moon.

In order to do this, Mark Burchell and researchers from the University’s Centre for Astrophysics simulated the condition that fossilized diatoms – microscopic algae with detailed shells – might have faced if traveling from earth to the moon.

The team turned fossil-filled rock into powder which was mixed with water and frozen to replicate a meteoroid. The replica meteoroid was then fired into a bag of water using a large gas-powered gun to allow it to experience the impact of being launched into orbit, whilst the rapid deceleration and high pressure as it hit the water simulated how it might have smashed into the moon at high speed.

This suggests that if earth meteorites are ever found on the moon – in the same way that lunar meteorites are found on earth – then they may contain fossils from the Earth’s past.

Although this idea has existed for over a decade, the researchers have now shown by simulating the ‘explosion’ that it may be possible. This could then shed light on what life was like on Earth.

The research has been published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A.


E-cigarette research seen
as important regulator step


By the Queen Mary University of London
news staff

A major scientific review of available research on the use, content, and safety of e-cigarettes has concluded that – although long-term health effects of e-cigarette use are unknown – compared with conventional cigarettes they are likely to be much less harmful to users or bystanders.

The review of current evidence about e-cigarettes, carried out by Queen Mary University of London and published by the scientific journal Addiction, concludes that despite gaps in the knowledge which require further research, the current evidence about e-cigarettes does not justify regulating them more strictly than, or even as strictly as, conventional cigarettes. Regulatory decisions will provide the greatest public health benefit when they are proportional, based on evidence, and incorporate a rational appraisal of likely risks and benefits.

The scientific review was conducted by an international team of leading tobacco researchers led by Peter Hajek at the university

Hajek comments: “The evidence we currently have is clear: e-cigarettes should be allowed to compete against conventional cigarettes in the marketplace. Health care professionals may advise smokers who are unwilling to cease nicotine use to switch to e-cigarettes. Smokers who have not managed to stop with current treatments may also benefit from switching to e-cigarettes.”

Electronic cigarettes have gained considerable popularity over the past few years. While public health researchers investigate their potential harms (reducing motivation to stop smoking, providing a gateway to smoking) and benefits (giving smokers safer access to nicotine and reducing or even virtually eliminating cigarette use), regulatory bodies around the world are currently debating whether, and how heavily, to regulate e-cigarettes. Their verdicts likely will feature among the key public health decisions of the time.
Real estate-related services (paid category)

Best Kitchen
Best Kitchen Depot is the leading kitchen and bath company in the Central American market. We represent the most fast-growing American solid wood cabinet manufacturers. All our products boast the three major industry certifications: Carb2, KCMA environment stewardship and KCMA
construction certifications. We also have state-of-the-art design
capabilities and our delivery lead time is the best in the country.
Please visit our Web site at: www.bestkitchendepot.com and then email  info@bestkitchendepot.com or call (506) 2261-0287 or (506) 8383-3104.   
8418-8/15/14


• Interior Design
• Custom Furniture Manufacturing
• Building Completion Services
Interior Design & Custom Furniture Manufacturing
logo
“We regularly exceed client expectations.
We guarantee it.”
Customizing for your vision, lifestyle and budget.
 
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:
Our primary goal is to assist our clients with a smooth transition to occupancy while providing highly personalized and distinctive services. We have refined the process to be a hassle free experience, especially valuable for clients who live abroad.
Our custom furniture designs & manufacturing can be contracted independently.
“Serving the Region for 11 years”

Email: info@casadelpacifico.com
Cell phone: (506) - 8707-8008
Office phone: (506) - 2288-5644
Web: www.casadelpacifico.com

Rosa Monge
Rosa Monge


Real estate foreclosure specialist

Great deals available every week
Properties like this:

20.5 acres of pasture for as little as $2,400

Rosa Monge Alvarez
Please email for details
rosa_monge@racsa.co.cr
8409-6/25/14

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)


Swimming pool at night
A Buyer’s Broker offering the best
of Costa Rica Real Estate.
For those looking for quality properties and service at quality prices. Central Valley Rentals. Offering honesty, experience and knowledge. Your Villa Real Expert. Call us now  Toll Free (877) 845-4533. In Costa Rica 4030-5480 or 8339-2112. www.costaricarealtyone.com
8294-6/12/14

Remax logo
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.
8366-12/2/14

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

Check with our Web site at www.moranlakearenal.com
Contact us at the office: (506) 2694-0088
Cell (506) 8880-8888
Phone number from the U.S. (305) 307-0088
Email: moranrealestate@gmail.com
Moran logo
8321-10/17/14



Costa Rica,

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





Visit our Web Site:
 www.greciarealestate.com

English calls: (Cristian Arce) Phone: 
(506) 2494-0016  
 
English calls :  (Luis David) Phone: 
(506) 8331-5228

Español calls: (Luis G. Jiménez)  Phone:   
(506) 8707-4016
Grecia 794
This is the BIGGEST DEAL of the month now at $1,100,000: HERE!
30,000 square meters of land and 750 square-meters of construction.
Grecia home
1,000 square meters of land, 350 square meters of construction.  CLICK HERE
Grecia home
  1,900 square meters of land, 253 square meters of construction. Price $350.000. CLICK HERE
  Send us your request to our email: info@greciarealestate.com
8352-8/13/14

Real estate for sale (paid category)


Escazú condo
Spectacular furnished luxury 3-bedroom condo in Escazú
Turnkey unit has 2.5 baths, 2 balconies, 2 parking spaces, 1 bodega. A STEAL @ $250,000. Community Amenities include pool, jacuzzi, gym, sauna, racquetball, 24/7 security, concierge. No car needed: walk to supermarkets, banks, restaurants, shopping. INVESTORS: Possible long-term tenant For photos and how to contact us, go to: www.costaricapremierproperty.com.
8440-8/31/14

Jaco condo
JACÓ BEACH - House in gated beachfront community
Titled, fully furnished turnkey single home, security 24/7. REDUCED TO $325,000. Casa Mariposa is 2100 SF with 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 1-car garage Private back yard, central A/C, kid friendly, pet friendly community This is the ONLY gated beachfront development of houses on Jacó Beach. For photos & contact information, go to: costaricapremierproperty.com
8439-8/31/14

Condo montage
Cariari luxury condo for sale
This is not an ordinary condo.
Completed one year ago, a $45,000 renovating made it an exquisite dwelling. As soon as you walk in you know it is a special home. No detail has been overlooked, even minuscule ones. The owner has a need to move on, and someone lucky will be the beneficiary of the fine detailed work. The home itself has three bedrooms, two and half bathrooms plus a maid’s quarters with its own bathroom. Also, it has a living room, dining room and a gorgeous kitchen with a kitchenette. There’s also a small outdoor patio. Being the end unit of this four-home condo complex, there’s parking space for three vehicles.  Approximately 240 sq. meters. All this near the Cariari Golf and Country Club and its renowned Tom Facio golf course. The club also has amenities such as a fitness centre, exercise room, Olympic swimming pool, sauna, 12 tennis courts and many other benefits. Tel:  8384-9608 or 2293-9054  Price $214,500.
8438-8/313/14


NOW REDUCED TO $595,000
ALAJUELA – PRIVATE COMPOUND OF 4 HOMES
TURNKEY

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

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:
8422-9/15/14

Finca
A perfect ranch in Cariari, Guápiles
Fertile 42.5 hectares (about 105 acres) with a clean river and a natural spring of good water. Perfect for cattle or horses. Property faces a main road and contains corral and living quarters. Special price: $200,000 for a quick sale.. Call (506) 8383-3104 or write lindafinca@hotmail.com.
8420-8/11/14


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

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

Esterillos

Beach Front Home - Central Pacific Coast
Pristine condition, recently renovated. The best surfing and boogie boarding in the country. The most magnificent ocean and sunset view. New 20-year, fully registered concession on one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. Easy access from San José (1 hour 25 minutes) located between Jacó and Manuel Antonio, in Esterillos Oeste.  2 or 3 bedrooms. Center room can be living room. House with 2 1/2 baths. Separated rancho with kitchen and large entertainment patio. Landscaped garden with no water shortage. Has both municipal and well water with automatic watering system. Direct access to the beach as no road is in front of property. Protected land on one side of the property for additional privacy.  Alarm system and complete shutters for security while away. Lot approximately 1,725 square meters, Asking price: $385.000.  Contact to Paul at local phone 506- 2637-8858  Cell phone 506- 8823-8550 .  US Mobile 908-400-9772  Emails: edumace64@yahoo.es  and pdvartanian@aol.com.
8413-8/28/14

Castillo
Twice the Security & Prestige for Half the Cost

The only private guarded development in El Castillo
• 50% off for limited time only   • $26/square meter
• Neighbors are $80/square meter  • Incredible view
Clubhouse, pool, equestrian, country club
Only 2 remaining
Secure a spot in a million dollar neighborhood for under $100k
 Free architecture services
•  Full commission paid to brokers   • Financing available
Email or call the 24-hour recorded message for full info
mail@davidcollier.net   CR: 4000-1983 (English/Español)
USA: 619-800-8550 (English only)
8382-7/5/14

Tiliran property
Turnkey commercial/apartment building for sale in San Luis, Tilaran, Guanacaste. In a corporation. 100 percent occupancy and all permits in place. Great opportunity to gain investor status residency. New construction - 2012. Consists of three studio apartments upstairs with lake view and 4 storefronts on ground level, including laundry service, soda, consignment store. Comes with purchase or start your own business while you live in one of the apartments. $308,000. Please email tierrasmorenaslou@yahoo.com
8257-8/17/

Ad three graphics
Tropical lots located walking distance to a beautiful white sandy beach
Only $49,999 with interest-free financing
These lots are located in a gated, private community with low HOA dues and offer amenities including a pool & rancho.  It is located close to Playa Conchal and Pirates beaches.  And only 20 minutes to the resort town of Tamarindo and an hour from Liberia International airport. Reserve your lot with only a $1,500 deposit.  We are offering Interest-free financing for 5 years for a limited time only. Contact: Christian  info@puntaplayavistas.com 
U.S. (732) 962-6525 or CR (506) 8349-2025    www.puntaplayavistas.com
8372-8/23/14

ad two grpahic
For Sale: Fully Furnished OCEAN VIEW CONDOMINIUM
Reduced $199,999
Gorgeous 2-bedroom, 2-bath condo with private terrace offering spectacular ocean views and built energy green. This condo is located in a gated community with low HOA dues and offers amenities including a pool & rancho.  It is located close to a beautiful white, sandy beach. Only 20 minutes to the resort town Tamarindo and an hour from Liberia airport.  Luxury finishings: Pella double pane windows, AC & ceiling fans, Frigidaire stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, marble bathroom vanities, custom cabinets. Contact www.puntaplayavistas.com or email info@puntaplayavistas.com 
U.S. (732) 962-6525 or CR (506) 8349-2025
8271-8/23/14

Ad one grpahics
For Sale by Owner: Playa Conchal ocean view home reduced $339,999

Casa de Eden is  2,600 square feet with 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath, outdoor shower, private outdoor terrace and pool located only minutes from Playa Conchal.  The home is in a private, secure, gated community surrounded by nature and close to the resort town of Tamarindo, only an hour from Liberia airport.  The home is being offered fully furnished with: AC & ceiling fans, Frigidaire Professional series stainless steel appliances, granite kitchen countertops, marble bathroom vanities, custom wood cabinetry, internet, cable. 
Contact desmondproperties@gmail.com  U.S. (732) 984-7549
or CR (506) 8349-2025.
8370-8/3/14

Large estate on island with sea view !!!
Located on the Big Island and five minutes from the center of Golfito on boat.  The large land has three hills with forest in which there are many trees and animals such as parrots, parakeets and monkeys.!!   It has a beautiful view
island one
of downtown Golfito , mountains and sea. It has three entry beach options. Your own beach,  large land with fruit trees, livestock grazing.Mangrove front with lots of fish, snapper, etc. Also access to your own part of sea with full of  seafood: pianguas, cambutes, chuchecas, clams, etc. .  Natural beauty is a paradise to live, walking, diving, fishing, horse riding, climbing to the mountains, swimming in the creek or the sea, exploring
the land, animals and trees, etc.  Your paradise is here for you, your family or develop your own rain forest country club. This is  the place of your dreams !  The full land measures 119,284 m2. All legal papers and blueprints are ready to get a new owner.   Property has its own water and  ready to instal solar panel or electric  power plant.     It is Isla Grande - Segura, diagonal to grazing
 Puntarenitas Beach in Golfito for sale at $1.500.000 U.S. Further information contact : Raquel or Maria Ester at  rakell.leon6@gmail.com, Local phone numbers: +506 8690-2325   or  +506  8673-0112.
8361-8/15/14

Casa Fiesta
Caribbean Beachfront Home and Apartment  Puerto Viejo
 Right on the Beach!
Ranch style home with detached garage and apartment Air-conditioned home sleeps 4, apartment sleeps 2 ,  3 baths, hot water showers  Fenced-in property with pool, screened in patio  Turnkey....Everything is included with the sale!   Washer/dryer, furniture, appliances, tools, household items and linens, bicycles, and even a vehicle! Great income potential also  259,000 US Please visit our Web site for many more photos go to: http://www.casafiestacostarica.com  Email inquires to:   suez2cats@hotmail.com
8358-8/8/14

Lundquist photo
More photos HERE!
Another 'live in the view' home in Puriscal
$179,900 includes:
Lot on river, concrete road, custom kitchen & bath with granite counter tops, PEX plumbing, 2” Styrofoam, sandwiched in steel roof, 4” concrete/recycled Styrofoam & steel walls, laminated, bronzed windows, custom wood doors, appliances and all transfer taxes, and fees.

2, 900 sq feet under roof, 1,250 sq feet inside walls, 2 bedroom, 2 ½ baths, laundry room, three separate patio areas, covered carport, shade trees, in upscale, secure project.  This project has river with protected areas & walkways. It is only 10 minutes on all paved roads to Santiago de Puriscal, 45 minutes to La Plaza Mall/Hospital CIMA and SJO airport, and 1 ½ hours to Pacific Beaches. It has recently upgraded public water supply and dependable ICE electric and high-speed internet.
Please come visit our projects and meet four new homeowners who have recently moved into their new “live in the view” homes to verify how happy they are and that they all came in under budget. CONTACT: George Lundquist www.costaricaretireonss.com  Home phone: 2417-1041 Cell phone: 8888 4543 Skype glundquist.
To see more Photos of this house, click HERE!
8310-7/1/14

Five bedrooms
Puntarenas City, Puntarenas
Beach home central Pacific Ocean
Five bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths plus guest house
Features include out door BBQ, swimming pool, plus on the beach.  The home is completely furnished including all linens, kitchen cook ware, pots, pans, all dishes and much much more. Each room is individually air conditioned.  Office with all connections for WiFi,  Hot water in bathrooms, kitchen and laundry room.  Fully furnished. Includes all linens, TV’s, refrigerator/freezer, dish washer, microwave, electric stove/oven, washer & dryer and many “as seen on TV” appliances   Will consider trade for U.S. Property.  Asking  $250,000. 
Call Gary 8784-2945  English only, or email  combrokers@aol.com
8259-8/25/14

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Business for sale or lease (paid category)
Gingerbread Boutique Hotel and Fine Restaurant For Sale
botique hotel
A very  famous, highly regarded unique lake view themed boutique hotel consisting of three air conditioned suites with satellite TV and high speed Internet, two themed cottages with garden showers, one large super suite with kitchen and garden shower, managers apartment, restaurant rated one of the best restaurants in Costa Rica {see reviews} and the premier real estate office at Lake Arenal, which puts all its clients in to the hotel, plus room for additional lake view rooms and a pool, all less than a mile from Nuevo Arenal and the public park on the lake.  Go to the Web site for photos and complete information  at  www.gingerbreadarenal.com  This is the finest boutique hotel in Costa Rica in one of the fastest growing areas of all of Central America.  Sale opportunity $750,000.   Contact to :
Terry Moran, Owner Email: moranrealestate@gmail.com 
Office phone: 506 2694-0088  Cell phone: 506 8880-8888 
USA # rings in Costa Rica:  305 307-0088
8263-8/20/14

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

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Aug. 1, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 151
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Cocoa growers to benefit from grant

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Lutheran World Relief has won a $500,000 award from the Pathways to Prosperity Innovation Challenge to scale up its innovative cocoa programs in Central America.

The challenge, a region-wide competition conducted by the World Environment Center on behalf of the U.S. Department of State and the Pathways to Prosperity Initiative, sought to discover existing innovative, high-impact solutions that are helping create strong micro and small enterprises in Latin America and that have potential to be scaled up to larger populations and new geographies.

Twelve finalists, out of more than 600 entrants, pitched their solutions in person before a panel of judges and invited guests at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. Lutheran World Relief's program, Mobile Cocoa: Using Technology to Improve Farmers' Lives won in the Empowering Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise category.

This project represents the latest evolution in Lutheran World Relief's cocoa package for small-scale producers in Central America and will integrate the successes and lessons learned from previous work. Using the new Pathways funding, Lutheran World Relief will help 4,000 farm micro-enterprises in Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador with potential expansion to additional countries to improve their competitiveness in marketing cocoa.

The project will combine Lutheran World Relief's community agriculture extension model, existing printed Cocoa Toolkit, and the currently under-development Mobile Cocoa platform to assist farmers in growing better crops and accessing the global cocoa market.

"Cocoa farmers in Central America face a lot of challenges," said Jenny Wiegel, Lutheran World Relief's Nicaragua-based regional representative. "Cocoa originated here, but today the region isn't well known for cocoa production. However, we've seen that with the right training and access to resources, cocoa farming can be a viable livelihood -- and the global market is growing, so we want to be able to help more farmers tap into that potential. We believe that satisfying the growing demand for cocoa, and helping farmers, can and should go hand in hand."

Lutheran World Relief published a print version of its Cocoa Toolkit in 2013, and is now in the process of translating the content to a mobile platform to make it accessible to any farmer with a smartphone or tablet.

"We are so thrilled to win this competition," Ms. Wiegel said. "We are excited about the potential that cocoa farming holds for Central American farmers, and are so happy to have the opportunity to share our work with even more farmers."

The work in Central America is part of Lutheran World Relief's broader Ground Up initiative to improve the lives of coffee and cocoa farmers worldwide. Lutheran World Relief currently works with coffee and cocoa farmers in 10 countries to create linkages that benefit small farmers, contribute to environmental sustainability, and create profits for socially responsible businesses.








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From Page 7:

Construction chamber seeks a better Costa Rica

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The construction chamber is ready to roll out its 10th annual congressional meeting, called "A Route Towards Building a Better Costa Rica." The meeting will take place on Thursday and next Friday at the Hotel Real Intercontinental in Escazú.

A central theme for this year's congress centers upon the challenges facing the construction industry for the next four years. Marco Gonzalez, the head of the Cámara Costarricense de la Construcción, said committee members will focus on specific issues of water and sanitation infrastructure, procedures, housing, and environment.

"These issues will be analyzed by experts and proposals will be generated from the recommendation of the current government to take into account the problems we find in each topic," Gonzalez said.

The event's schedule has already been set, as the opening day will focus on talks about infrastructure and procedures. In infrastructure discussions, members will assess the current state of drinking water and sanitation in the country and create a proposal that could improve institutional planning on the matter.

For process talks, the congress will address the problem of paperwork and bureaucracy in terms of slowing down construction.

Aug. 8, attention will shift solely towards housing and environmental operations. With housing, the construction experts are looking to generate ways to improve efficiency in terms of financing and land management. The agenda says the congress is hoping to create a single governing body for housing systems.

Finally, in terms of environmental discussions on the docket, members are planning to analyze how to better incorporate sustainable urban development projects into Costa Rican cities.

The congress begins at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday.