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There are many native varieties for that valuable grain
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Last July 25 President Luis Guillermo Solís signed a decree establishing corn as a cultural heritage of the nation.

Environmentalists saw this as a way of protecting the native species. But Thursday the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud pointed out that there are between 80 and 100 varieties of local corn due to the cross pollination that has gone on for centuries.

The decree was important because of its cultural focus, according to Fernando González, an anthropologist with the ministry's Centro de Investigación y Conservación del Patrimonio Cultural. He noted that Costa Rica is geographically positioned to be a crossroads between North and South America. And that holds true for the varieties of corn, too, he said, according to a ministry summary.

The presidential decree did not seek to identify the heritage varieties but it was far broader than just the corn grain. It covered native and local traditions, the uses, the knowledge, the flavors and the colors associated with corn. Among these, of course, would be the traditional ways to prepare the grain, such as the mano and metate that grind it into flour and other grinding methods still used by the native peoples.

Worldwide there appears to be about 300 varieties of corn. The genome of one variety was sequenced in 2009, and researchers found that its genetic structure is nearly as big as that of a human.

The corn genome is a hodgepodge of some 32,000 genes crammed into just 10 chromosomes, according to researchers at the The Genome Center at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. In comparison, humans have 20,000 genes dispersed among 23 chromosomes, the researchers said..

Trying to identify genetically the heritage varieties in Costa Rica might be expensive. The 2009 effort at the Washington University School of Medicine cost $29.5 million and took four years and 150 scientists. The variety was B73, one that is familiar to many U.S. farmers.

Considering that as new varieties are developed elsewhere and that Costa Rican farmers may import then, keeping the existing varieties constant will be a problem. Corn is pollinated through the air.

The ministry noted that corn rises to the level of a religious object because both the Bribri and the  Cabécare native cultures believe that the god Sibú

Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería/Nevio Bonilla
Costa Rican corn is not just yellow.
Bri Bri
Centro de Investigación y Conservación
del Patrimonio Cultural/Fernando González
A Bribri woman prepares corn flour a traditional way.

created corn and made the grains in many colors to represent different clans.

Such respect for corn is not limited to the native cultures. Each year sees the lengthy festival of   Nuestra Señorita Virgen de Guadalupe that is based on corn or maize.  The event runs from Nov. 1 to Dec. 12 and already has been declared an intangible part of the cultural heritage of the country by the government.

Cooks use pre-Columbian metates and manos to grind the corn and then use Spanish-era techniques to cook it. They make chicheme, a traditional sweet corn drink; atol, another traditional drink, and maíz pujagua, a dish made from purple corn

Now at the advent of the rainy season is a good time to study corn because this is the traditional planting time. The current dry weather may have an impact on the harvest, but there is plenty of imported corn. Generally corn needs from 90 to 110 days to mature and produce edible ears. Sometimes the ears are left on the stalk to dry, although forest animals also like corn.

The plants that are grown today are offspring of wild grasses that may have been manipulated thousands of years ago.

Environmentalists see the Solís decree as prohibiting the planting of genetically modified corn in Costa Rica. The decree says nothing about that. The Sala IV constitutional court might. The court held a hearing Thursday in which plaintiffs seek to overturn the decision by the Comisión Técnica Nacional de Bioseguridad to allow Monsanto Co. to plant a small test plot. Opponents argue that a provision of the law that protects corporate secrets is unconstitutional. They also say that an environmental impact statement is required. There was no decision Thursday by the magistrates.

Monsanto has produced a corn that is resistant to certain herbicides. That means the farmer just has to spray and not hoe the corn rows to eliminate weeds. The resistant corn also produces pollen that may end up in seeds from other plots unless Monsanto clips the tassels.

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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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Book fair will feature works from U.S.

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

With the United States as this year's country of honor, the International Book Fair returns to Costa Rica. The free fair known locally as the Fería Internacional del Libro begins its 15th year on Friday, Aug. 22, and runs until Aug. 31 at the Antigua Aduana.

Elizabeth Fonseca, the minister of culture, said the U.S. spotlight will give Costa Rican readers a better understanding of not just the country's literature but a broader perspective on American reality.

“The United State's participation as the invited country will allow attendees a closer relationship with authors from there and also authors of other American countries that live in the U.S.,” Ms. Fonseca said.

The fair's special guest is Jennie Smith, an award-winning reporter and environmental writer who was born in New York. In 2011, Ms. Smith penned “Stolen World”, in which she garnered high accolades for her ability to scoop out a reptile trafficking scheme between zoos. Ms. Smith currently writes for the Wall Street Journal and lives in San Salvador, El Salvador.

Hundreds of other writers, speakers, artists, and scientists will also be on hand for the 10-day festival that features more than 300 activities. Both national and international books will be on sale throughout the fair.

A memorial will also be paid to Costa Rica's famed writer and politician Alberto Cañas who died this past March. Ms. Fonseca said a booth will be set up in Cañas' honor, reminding avid readers that the country's first ever minister of Cultura y Juventud had a goal of reading 100 books a year.

Luis Bernal Montes de Oca, the president of the local book group, said the idea surrounding the annual book fair is for people to fall in love with literature and reading. “The principal objective of the fair is to promote reading and provide a space where readers can find all their books in one space,” he said.

The Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud is slated to spend 65 million colons, or about $120,000, on the book fair. In late June, the current administration openly questioned the appropriation of funds from past ministry leaders on a series of annual programs, including the Festival Internacional del Libro. Ms. Fonseca said that from 2011 to 2014 spending on the cultural events tripled when compared to event expense reports from similar periods earlier.

Local tourism is target of new campaign

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The tourism institute will be investing hundreds of thousands of dollars to generate tourism by Costa Ricans and residents.

The institute, the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo, will be joined by other tourism organizations. The emphasis will be on social media.

This is the third year for the institute's efforts, using the Web site for contests and prizes. The Spanish means 'let's go touring."

Similar to its sloth promotion, the institute will be using social networks to generate interest., as well as Instagram where the use of self photographs will be encouraged, it said in a release.

The Web site has been active since June 2012. However at more than 4.7 million in its Alexa ranking, it appears to be infrequently visited. The lower the Alexa number the better. La Nación, for example,  is 5,599. A lookup of registration data for does not even show the institute as the owner of the domain.

The institute said that 9,000 persons a month visit the Web site and that they stay for an average of six minutes. The institute also said that its Facebook page has 150,000 followers.

Tax officials report closing 16 businesses

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The tax agency said that its investigators closed 16 businesses this week in Alajuela, Heredia and San Carlos.

The agency, the Dirección General de Tributación, said that 10 of the firms had not remitted sales tax during the proper interval. Six of the firms failed to provide comprobantes or official receipts to customers.

The businesses included bars, restaurants and even a hotel, the Hotel Arenal Vista Lodge in San Carlos.

Three of the firms were not registered with tax officials.

The other businesses were identified by tax officials as:

Bar y Restaurante Gonvich in Heredia; Cardys Bar y Restaurante, San Ramón; Celulares Dos Mil in Heredia; Euromueble in Palmares, an unregistered firm that sells aluminum windows and glass in Alajuela; Muebles Metálicos FH in San Ramón; Pañalera La Parada, Alajuela;  Pisos y Acabados Rústicos S.A. in Alajuela; Restaurante Mirador Aeropuerto in Alajuela; Restaurante Viejo Campeón in Heredia; Súper Bienvenidos in Heredia; Tienda El Regalón in San Carlos, and Tienda y zapatería Ileana in San Carlos. There also were a refrigeration company and a fabricating firm that were not registered and had no name.

Contraloría questions police firearm policy

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The police agencies under the security ministry are all carrying firearms illegally. And they do not have a schedule to practice.

These are the findings of surveyors from the Contraloría General de la República. The report, which covers part of 2012 and 2013, was released Thursday.

The report said that the law stipulates two years for a permit to carry a firearm, but police are carrying them for four years. In addition, the allocation of permits to police are outside the domain of the Departamento de Control de Armas y Explosivos of the Dirección General de Armamento, contrary to the law, it said.

The firearms training received by police are not consistent, and they should be, said the report.

The Escuela Nacional de Policía should set up an annual and multi-annual program for shooting practice by the various police units and agencies, the report said.

Motorcycles figure in more than a third of deaths

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Traffic officials say that 189 persons already have lost their life on the nation's highways this year. The number is 33 more than in the first six months of 2013. More than a third, some 68 persons died in accidents that took place while they were riding a motorcycle, said the Policía de Tránsito.

The death count considers only individuals who died at the scene of an accident and not those who die later in a hospital.

There were 26 traffic deaths in July, four more than in June.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 156
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The presence of a priest emphasizes the religious aspect of the San Ramón festival. Proceeds go to the Roman Catholic parish there. The bueyes and the oxcart are reminders of the large parade that will take place Aug. 24.

Los Festejos Patronales photo

San Ramón issues invitation to enjoy the Los Festejos Patronales
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A parade of oxcarts and faithful followers carrying a representation of San Ramón Nonato barreled through San José to announce the arrival of Los Festejos Patronales festival in the town of San Ramón. But that's only a taste of what's to come at the celebration known for having Costa Rica's largest herd of oxen with more than 240 brought from all over the country.

From Aug. 21 to Sept. 1, the town will celebrate its patron saint, San Ramón Nonato, through parades, music, and local food. The municipality expects thousands of visitors to pass through for the annual holiday.
“Our parties are family celebrations,” said Greivin Hidalgo, pastor of San Ramón. “We want more Costa Ricans to come and enjoy the unique characteristics of all our activities filled with warmth, fervor, and tradition.”

The oxen parade will be held on Aug. 24.

Another historical parade, which has existed for 160 years, is the Pasada de Mancho, in which the patron saint's image is taken through downtown streets amidst ceremonial gunfire, music, and dancing.

Funds raised from the festival will go to the parish and its various communities.

Government plans more extensive use of statistics to fight poverty
By Michael Krumholtz
by the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Together with Oxford University, the Costa Rican government is installing a tool designed to help politicians grapple with inequality and extreme poverty.

Oxford researchers developed a multidimensional index that proposes to improve ways in which states and institutions measure their poverty rates, according to a press statement from Casa Presidencial. The index takes into account people's access to public services and basic necessities like education, housing, employment and health.

This new measurement is expected to help focus resources and give more efficient aid to the 6 percent of Costa Ricans living in extreme poverty, the statement said. The president's office is working in conjunction with the Instituto Mixto de Ayuda Social, the Instituto Nacional de Estadística, and the Asociación Horizonte Positivo on mining and analyzing the data they retrieve.

“It's important to note that this effort isn't a diagnosis or a map where we have to start from scratch,” said President Luis Guillermo Solís. “This is an index that takes the information that has been
catalogued by IMAS and INEC for many years, but from here on it's utilized in order to better focus the government's actions in the fight against extreme poverty.”

Solís added that this instrument will prevent abusive practices by some public welfare programs in the country. This improved focus and avoidance of mismanagement allows them to better serve those most in need, he said.

“We will focus on the development of policies that get to those most desperate for support and guidance from the state,” the president said. “Welfare programs are important, but we need them to be more effective in their application and scope. This is something we are reviewing in full detail.”

Second Vice President Ana Helena Chacón is in charge of the president's social advisory council. She said the rate of poor people in Costa Rica has raised and that a third of the country's households are either considered to be in poverty or at risk of poverty. The social advisory council has joined with the Instituto Nacional de Estadística to create a map that points out places of high social interest. 

Chile and Uruguay are two other countries that have already implemented the Oxford index.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 156
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Lawmakers go to constitutional court over president's veto of a veto
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some 17 lawmakers have asked the Sala IV constitutional court to void a law that was resurrected by President Luis Guillemo Solís to save the mercado de artesanía.

This is another strange twist because a previous group of lawmakers passed the measure.

In what has to be unprecedented in Costa Rican government, Solís declared last week that a veto of the law by then-president Óscar Arias Sánchez had been repealed. In other words he vetoed the 2009 veto.

The law as originally passed would provide space for the tourist market on a public street just west of the Plaza de la Democracia. Stalls have been there for 20 years since vendors were chased away from the Plaza de la Cultura.
The Municipalidad de San José is trying to install them in another building several blocks away.

The presidential action did not sit well with some lawmakers, who complained that the president's action came much too late to comply with legislative rules. Usually proposed laws have four years to pass or fail. This one was filed in 2006.

In the court appeal, the lawmakers said the president's action was not constitutional. The case went to the constitutional court Thursday morning. The 16-page appeal said the action by Solís violates the autonomy of a municipality, and legislative rules.

All but one of the lawmakers is a member of the rival Partido Liberación Nacional.

The municipality is expected to file a similar appeal.

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The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

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

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

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

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

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


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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.
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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.
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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.

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:

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 156
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Obama approves air strikes
to protect trapped Iraqis

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Barack Obama says America is coming to help thousands of Iraqis who are trapped and threatened by Islamist militants and has authorized air strikes and humanitarian flights over northern Iraq.

President Obama spoke hours after U.S. military aircraft dropped relief supplies to help thousands of Iraqis stranded on Iraq's Mount Sinjar without food or water and surrounded by militants who are threatening to kill them.

“Today, America is coming to help,” said Obama.

The Iraqis are largely Christians or Yazidis, members of an ancient sect who the militants have been threatening to kill if they do not convert to Islam. Thousands have fled their homes as militants with the Islamist State in Iraq and the Levant sweep through northern Iraq, conducting a campaign of terror against non-Sunnis that has included abducting women and girls and conducting mass executions.

In an address late Thursday, the president announced he ordered the U.S. military to step in.

“We can act carefully and responsibly to prevent a potential act of genocide. That's what we're doing on that mountain. I've therefore targeted air strikes if necessary to help forces in Iraq as they fight to break the siege of Mount Sinjar and protect the civilians trapped there,” said Obama.

Secretary of State John Kerry also made the case for air strikes, saying militants' "grotesque and targeted acts of violence bear all the warning signs and hallmarks of genocide."

"For anyone who needed a wake-up call, this is it. ISIL is not fighting on behalf of Sunnis. ISIL is not fighting for a stronger Iraq. ISIL is fighting to divide and destroy Iraq – and ISIL is offering nothing to anyone except chaos, nihilism, and ruthless thuggery," said Kerry.

Facing public pressure to avoid new involvement in foreign conflicts, the president pledged to not send American troops back into combat in Iraq. U.S. officials say these operations will be of a limited scope and will not involve American ground forces.

Obama said this is a case where the United States should help.

“When we face a situation like we do on that mountain, with innocent people facing the prospect of violence on a horrific scale. When we have a mandate to help, in this case a request from the Iraqi government, and when we have the unique capabilities to help avert a massacre, then I believe the United States of America cannot turn a blind eye,” Obama said.

President Obama authorized air strikes against militant convoys if they move toward the northern Iraqi city of Irbil, where the U.S. has a consulate and has posted military advisors.

The president said he authorized strikes anywhere else in Iraq where the militants threaten American personnel and facilities. 

Snowden's revelations helped
change U.S.
spying policy

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

For more than a year, former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden has been living in Russia, having been granted asylum.

He is wanted in the United States on espionage charges after making public key intelligence documents dealing with the U.S. National Security Agency’s secret surveillance programs.

Russian media disclosed Thursday that Snowden has been granted a three-year residency permit. His lawyer told Russian news agencies that while Snowden has no plans to apply for asylum, he could see Russian citizenship in five years.

The Snowden affair continues to be a blight on the Obama administration, analysts say.

Richard Betts, a national security expert at Columbia University, said Snowden released “lots of information about the sorts of metadata the National Security Agency - or NSA - collects for U.S. intelligence, involving the destination of communications and the identities of people around the world who are talking to each other.

"And a lot of information about the procedures that the NSA uses in handling and dealing with that information,” he said.

Betts said that was very bad publicity for the U.S. government “because it had led to the revelation of many intelligence practices that are quite normal for any great power and that many other countries in the world practice themselves, but which can be embarrassing when they are revealed as we have seen in several cases when intelligence collecting activities in Brazil and Germany have been revealed.”

Ken Gude, with the Center for American Progress, sees Snowden’s documents in a different light.

“He took reportedly up to 1.7 million documents, the overwhelming majority of them have nothing to do with the spying activities of the NSA on Americans or citizens of other countries and much more to do with military communications and the way in which the NSA intercepts the communications of America’s recognized adversaries and enemies,” Gude said.

The U.S. Justice Department has filed criminal charges against Snowden including theft of government property and unauthorized communication of national defense information.

Snowden has consistently said one of the reasons he leaked the documents was to start a discussion about the U.S. government’s secret spying programs.

Analyst Gude said Snowden certainly achieved that.

“Here we are, more than a year on from the first revelations and it’s still a story capturing the attention of the American people, certainly competing with a lot of things going on in the world, but very rarely do stories last as long as this one,”  Gude said.

“And it is, of course, of great interest to not just Americans, but to people around the world as well,” he added.

Gude and other experts say as a result of the Snowden revelations, the Obama administration has changed the ways it collects intelligence in the United States and abroad.

“Probably the most significant change,” Gude said, “is they’ve put a prohibition on spying on the leaders of allied governments.

"They’ve instituted some changes in how they collect and store information on foreign citizens and the president has changed the way the NSA collects information on Americans,” he said.

There is also legislation before Congress to alter the way the NSA gathers information.

As for Snowden, he has kept a low profile in Russia.

“He is kept out of the news media by the Russian authorities except when it is useful to them," Gude said.

"And it is very clear’ that Russian President Putin and the Russian authorities that are controlling Mr. Snowden while he is in Russia, have been able to use him for their propaganda efforts on numerous occasions,” he added.

Gude said “both domestically and internationally, the presence of Snowden is a real political tool for President Putin as he aims to set Russia up against the United States and the West.”

Australia mourns victims
of Ukrainian plane crash

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Australia is observing an official day of mourning for the victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17.  More than 30 Australian citizens and residents were among the 298 passengers and crew who died when the airliner was shot down in eastern Ukraine.

A multi-faith service at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne was part of a day of mourning, when the country paused to remember an atrocity perpetrated so far away. 

Thirty-eight Australian citizens and residents were onboard the Boeing 777 that was shot down July 17 while en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.  They were doctors, teachers, a nun and children.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said those responsible for the crash would face justice.

The governor-general, Peter Cosgrove, said the nation was united in grief.

“Today, we gather to mourn those taken from us, to honor their lives, to support those in the midst of unrelenting grief,” Cosgrove said at the service. “Today, as a nation, we demonstrate to the world how highly we value life, how we come together to look after our own, and how we afford the departed the honor and the respect that they are due.” 

The search for the victims’ remains has been halted by the Dutch government because of clashes between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian forces.

The downing of flight MH-17 came just several months after another air tragedy for the Malaysia airline.  Malaysia Airlines flight MH-370 disappeared March 8 as it flew from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, carrying 239 people.

Australia announced Wednesday that a Dutch company had been chosen to carry out the underwater search for missing aircraft. The Dutch team will use two ships to search a part of the Indian Ocean stretching 60,000 square kilometers or 23,000 square miles.

An analysis of satellite data has indicated the plane crashed into remote waters west of the Australian city of Perth.

Ebola outbreak is destroying
West African medical system

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed more than 900 people across four countries. That includes dozens of health workers who caught the disease, 32 in Liberia alone. Many of that country’s health clinics and hospitals have shut down as nurses and doctors refuse to risk being exposed.

Melvin Korkor, a physician, said he has a pretty good idea how he got ebola, though it’s impossible to know for sure. 

A woman came into his facility, Phebe hospital in Bong County in central Liberia. The patient had no fever, but she was vomiting.

“She said she was from Bangha instead of Lofa, but the next day I was a little bit suspicious.  I said 'Well, I hope you are not from Lofa because there is every indication that you are suspect.'”

They later found out the woman lied. She had come from Lofa, an area at the Sierra Leone and Guinea borders that is at the center of this regional ebola outbreak.

Five nurses from Korkor’s hospital have since died of ebola. When he tested positive, he was taken to Monrovia and then to Lofa to an isolation ward.

“One of the patients had just died. They prepared the bed and I went in… my heart became hardened, and I said to myself I was going to make it, and I said to my wife 'bring me my Bible' and that is that, I’m going to go by,” said Korkor.

He forced himself to eat even though he did not want food. It was lonely. He tried to stay calm. He saw other patients growing despondent, hopeless and passing away.

He survived.

“It was like being reborn,” he said.

His hospital is now closed while health workers get trained on ebola.

The virus is transmitted through close contact with an ebola patient's bodily fluids. People caring for the sick are thus at especially high risk.

Many health workers in Liberia don’t have the necessary protective gear, the masks, the gowns, the eyewear.

As a result, health centers and hospitals around Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, are shutting their doors. The risk that any patient coming in the doors could have ebola is simply too great.

Nurse Timothy Walker said his clinic didn’t even have gloves.

“Our friends are dying. On a very serious note, we don’t want to die like a dog," said Walker. the government cannot provide protective gear, sorry, he and his colleagues are not coming to work, he said.

Residents standing outside the shuttered clinic say they are in an impossible situation.

“Because if we sick, we cannot go to native doctor," said Reanking Logan. "We’re not familiar with native doctor. We’ve got to go to the clinic, and all clinics are closed down. Pregnant women they need to go to clinic and they need medical facility. They don’t have it. So where we are today, we don’t know.”

Health workers who continue to work say they are afraid and that people outside the clinic are afraid of them.

Physician’s assistant McFarland Kerkulah said, “Whenever you are in uniform, people will shy away from you on grounds that you have been infected with the ebola virus. They don’t want to see you. They don’t want to ride in any car you are getting in.”

The dozens of health workers killed during this ebola outbreak include some who have had access to protective gear. Public health experts say errors are happening. This is the first time most West African doctors and nurses have dealt with ebola, and people are undertrained and overworked.

Wednesday, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf declared a state of emergency. She said not only does the country have more than 500 confirmed and suspected cases of ebola, but people are now also at risk of dying from treatable illnesses common during the rainy season, like malaria and typhoid, for lack of medical care.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has activated its emergency operation center at the highest level, in response to the world's worst ebola outbreak.

Centers' chief Thomas Frieden told a congressional hearing on ebola Thursday that the centers will soon have 50 disease experts in West Africa at the center of the crisis. He said he is confident no major outbreak in the U.S. will happen.

Nixon left the presidency
40 years ago amid scandal

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Forty years ago on Aug. 8, 1974, Richard Nixon became the only American president to resign from office.
His departure came because of his involvement in the Watergate scandal and subsequent cover-up, which began when Republican campaign operatives broke into Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate office building in Washington in June of 1972.
It is a scandal that left a huge impact on national politics, and some of the reforms enacted in its wake continue to reverberate today.

But none of that was apparent on the night of Aug. 8, when a high-stakes political drama was playing out in the White House that would end in Nixon waving goodbye the next day before stepping into a helicopter on the White House lawn.

It was on that night that Nixon went before television cameras in the Oval Office and announced he would resign the following day.
“I have never been a quitter,” he said. “To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body.  But as president, I must put the interests of America first.”
In an emotional speech to White House staff the next morning, Nixon seemed to touch on one of the reasons for his political downfall, though whether he knew it at the time remains open to interpretation.
“Always remember, others may hate you,” he said. “But those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them.  And then you destroy yourself.”

Shortly thereafter the new president, Gerald Ford, sought to reassure a nation that had just witnessed the first presidential resignation in history.
The words were simple but eloquent and a tribute to the enduring nature of American democracy.
“My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over,” he said. “Our Constitution works.  Our great republic is a government of laws and not of men.  Here, the people rule.”
Several Nixon aides went to jail for crimes and abuses of power committed during the Watergate scandal.  White House tape recordings implicated Nixon in the cover-up when he ordered aides to tell the CIA to lie to the FBI in an effort to thwart the Watergate investigation.
Ford would later pardon Nixon of any criminal culpability in a move that may have cost him the 1976 presidential election, won by Democrat Jimmy Carter.

American University presidential historian Allan Lichtman said the Watergate scandal remains an important turning point in U.S. political history.
“Watergate remains tremendously significant,” he explained. “It is still, to date, the most comprehensive attempt by a president and his administration to undermine the democratic process.”
The Watergate scandal unfolded over a two-year period, much of it first uncovered and documented by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.
Lichtman said journalists investigating Watergate and the president’s involvement in a political cover-up was crucial.
“Had it not been for the journalism of Woodward and Bernstein and their inside source, Nixon may well have gotten away with it,” he said. “So the system worked but it did work precariously and you know the lesson is you have got to be ever-vigilant.”

The Watergate scandal also led to congressional reform of the campaign finance system, though some of those reforms have been undone by recent Supreme Court decisions.
Watergate also ushered in a new, more divisive political era that has become even more polarized in recent years.
Norman Ornstein, a political analyst who took part in a recent panel discussion on the Watergate scandal at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington said, “We began to see the tensions increase, but they were nowhere near what we have now.  What I see now is a level of tribalism, not simply polarization, that is something we haven’t seen in the country pretty much since the period right around the Civil War.”
Americans have changed their minds about one aspect of the Watergate scandal.
In 1974, 59 percent opposed President Ford’s decision to pardon Richard Nixon. But by 2002, an ABC News survey found that 59 percent believed that Ford had done the right thing in granting the pardon as part of an effort to reunify the country in the wake of one of the worst political scandals in its history.
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: and then email or call (506) 2261-0287 or (506) 8383-3104.   

• Interior Design
• Custom Furniture Manufacturing
• Building Completion Services
Interior Design & Custom Furniture Manufacturing
“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”

Cell phone: (506) - 8707-8008
Office phone: (506) - 2288-5644

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

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.

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.

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
Moran logo

Costa Rica,

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

Visit our Web Site:

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

Español calls: (Luis G. Jiménez)  Phone:   
(506) 8707-4016
house 865
Beautiful chalet in Grecia, with the best fresh natural weather, 1.040 m2 of land, Price $135.000. Click HERE!
House 868
Beautiful house  in Grecia, with the best fresh natural weather, 810 m2 of land, Price $178.000. Click HERE!
House 866
Beautiful large house  in Grecia, with the best fresh natural weather,1.006 m2 of land, Price $290.000.  HERE!
  Send us your request to our email:

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:

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:

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.


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:

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

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

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


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:  and

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   CR: 4000-1983 (English/Español)
USA: 619-800-8550 (English only)

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

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 
U.S. (732) 962-6525 or CR (506) 8349-2025

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 or email 
U.S. (732) 962-6525 or CR (506) 8349-2025

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  U.S. (732) 984-7549
or CR (506) 8349-2025.

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, Local phone numbers: +506 8690-2325   or  +506  8673-0112.

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:  Email inquires to:

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  Home phone: 2417-1041 Cell phone: 8888 4543 Skype glundquist.
To see more Photos of this house, click HERE!

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

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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  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: 
Office phone: 506 2694-0088  Cell phone: 506 8880-8888 
USA # rings in Costa Rica:  305 307-0088

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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 156
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News from the BBC up to the minute

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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
México opens oil sector to foreigners

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Mexican lawmakers have approved legislation that will end the government's seven decade monopoly on the country's oil and gas sector.

The senate voted Wednesday on a bill aimed at attracting billions of dollars in new investments from foreign and private oil companies in an effort to boost Mexico's sluggish oil production, which has plunged over the last decade from 3.4 million barrels to 2.5 million barrels a day under state-owned Pemex.

Pemex has been a source of national pride since the late president Lazaro Cardenas nationalized Mexico's oil industry in 1938.

Lawmakers with the leftist Partido de la Revolución Democrática carried a life-sized portrait of Cardenas into the Senate chamber during Wednesday's debate and accused the ruling Partido Revolucionario Institucional of betraying the late president's legacy.

The legislation was part of a series of constitutional reforms pushed by President Enrique Peña Nieto involving Mexico's energy, telecommunications and banking sectors, which he says will revitalize Latin America's second-ranked economy.

Argentina trying to take U.S. to court

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Argentina sued the United States at the International Court of Justice Thursday, but for the suit to proceed the U.S. must grant jurisdiction to the court from which it withdrew in 1986.

The lawsuit concerns a U.S. judge blocking the Latin American country from making a scheduled payment to bondholders last month. Argentina says the ruling violated its sovereign decision to restructure its debt.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa blocked Argentina when it attempted to pay only bondholders who had accepted restructured bonds for 33 cents on the dollar.

The international court said it has asked the U.S. for jurisdiction in the matter.

This legal battle stems from several American hedge funds suing Argentina for repayment in full on bonds the country defaulted on in 2001.

Argentina says paying the hedge funds - which it calls vulture funds  - the entire $1.3 billion it owes them could trigger legal claims for equal treatment by creditors who had agreed to a 70 percent write-down in deals reached in 2005 and 2010.

Crooked Nigerian leaders' loot found

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United States has recovered more than $480 million hidden in bank accounts around the world by a former Nigerian dictator and his associates.

A Justice Department news release Thursday said the money represents a portion of the billions of dollars stolen from the people of Nigeria by former Nigerian president Sani Abacha, his son Mohammed Sani Abacha, their associate Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and other corrupt individuals.

The department says the money can be used for the benefit of the Nigerian people, but that the ultimate disposition of the funds depends on rulings in several foreign jurisdictions.

Approximately $303 million are in two bank accounts in the British dependency of Jersey, $144 million are in two bank accounts in France, and three other bank accounts in Britain and Ireland have at least $27 million.

Claims to an additional $148 million in four investment portfolios in Britain are pending. 

Gen. Abacha became president of Nigeria through a military coup in November 1993. He held the position until his death in 1998.

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From Page 7:

Expo begins today marking science month

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

August in Costa Rica is officially recognized as Science and Technology Month, meaning locals have a number of opportunities to attend science-related fairs and presentations.

The events kick off as Expo Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación starts today and continues until Sunday at the Casa del Cuño. There are expected to be more than 20 information stands that pertain to health, water and the environment and food technologies. These are meant to show Costa Ricans how science works within the scope of everyday life.

The Casa del Cuño is the glass structure just east of the Antigua Aduana on Calle 23 in east San Jose.

There will also be forums and exhibitions on video games, digital television in Costa Rica, Ipv6 Internet, and cyber-security.

Since health will be a major talking point at the expo, there will be a roundtable of experts who will discuss the dengue and Chikungunya diseases that pose a threat to the country. University researchers as well as the health ministry's surveillance director, Ethel Trejos, will take part in the open discussions in an effort to inform locals about the viruses transmitted through the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

A calendar of additional activities happening during Science and Technology Month is on the Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología y Telecomunicaciones Web site