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(506) 2223-1327                            Published Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, in Vol. 14, No. 157                       Email us
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New decree resurrects 13%  tourism sales taxes
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Just when tourism operators thought that President Luis Guillermo Solís cut them a break on taxation, the tax agency came out with a new decree.

The result: There will be no sales tax collected on admissions to national parks and other reserved areas, but many tourism operators will have to collect taxes on their activities.

The collection agency, the Dirección General de Tributación, changed the rules in parallel to a presidential decree and expanded its interpretation of the law.

This is a case that will end up in court. The national tourism chamber, the Cámara Nacional de Turismo, promised as much in a statement Friday.

According to the new interpretation by the  Dirección General de Tributación, any tourism operation that has what is described as a center will have to collect sales tax on its activities. A center is defined as even just bathroom facilities for customers.

The tax collector is basing its argument on a reinterpretation of a 2006 tax law that said sales tax should be paid by those using recreational centers.

The bulk of the recreational services exists in a definite place and involves activities of relaxation and entertainment which normally have an open or closed infrastructure in which are found reception offices, ticket booths, bathrooms for visitors and signage and, depending on the type of activity, some trails that facilitate hiking as well as attractions of diverse nature, said the tax agency in its decree.

In this sense these services can be carried out or not in the open air and from part of a bigger infrastructure such as is the case with hotels, restaurants and similar, it added.

Specifically subject to the tax are canopy tours, spas, hiking trails, bird watching, bungee jumping and zoos. The new decree, over the name of Carlos Vargas Durán, director general,  specifically exempts scuba diving, snorkling, rafting, paragliding, surfboarding, water skiing and balloon and aircraft flights as long as those offering these activities do not have a fixed office,

At such recreation centers sales tax is collected for all activities within even if they are provided by different vendors, said the tax agency.

In a Friday statement, the tourism chamber called the reinterpretation of the 2006 law illegal and said that the legislature is the only body that can assess tax.

The section of the law that calls for taxing activities at centros de recreo y similares fails to define what that is and neither do the regulations that were drawn up to implement the law.

The sales tax measure was one of the last actions of the Laura Chinchilla administration. The thrust of the Chinchilla decree that appeared in the La Gaceta April 30 listed increased admission fees to national parks and other protected areas. Then in a single short paragraph at the end of the lengthy decree the new fees are made subject to the country's existing sales tax.
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The tourism chamber quickly pointed out that sales tax is being assessed on these admission prices for the first time. And it appears that the sales tax also would be assessed on tourism activities at least within such parks and protected areas.

There was an outcry even within the walls of the legislature that the tourism industry was being kicked while it was down. One lawmaker said that tourism operators were facing retroactive tax collections for 384 months.

Then Wednesday the environmental ministry provided reporters with a decree that was prepared the week before. In it, President Solís and Edgar Gutiérrez Espeleta, the environmental minister,  suspended the April 30 measure that imposed the 13 percent levy on park admissions.

Many figured that the presidential decree returned the situation to where it was before April 30. That is, there would be no sales tax on tourism activities.

Not known is whether Solís knew about the tax agency's decree, but both Casa Presidencial and the  Dirección General de Tributación have been tight lipped about their decrees, and the public usually learns what is going on when the documents show up in the La Gaceta official newspaper. In fact, the new decree in the hands of reporters came from the tourism chamber and not the Dirección General de Tributación, which is an agency of the Ministerio de Hacienda.

The newest decree is DGT-CI-06-14, and Vargas appears to have signed it the same day Solís was eliminating the tax on park admissions. The decree makes heavy use of the prestigious Diccionario de la Real Academia de la Lengua Española to define such terms as recreación and similar. The decree also anticipates a court case and says that the Sala IV constitutional court in a 2001 decision validated the agency's expansion of sale tax to similar activities.

The tax agency decree says nothing about retroactivity.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 157

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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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Latin movie speaking roles said to be few

By Michael Krumholtz
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Though Latino viewers make up a substantial portion of box office sales, their representation in central Hollywood roles is almost invisible in comparison.

A recent study by the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism revealed that although Hispanic customers make up a quarter of all movie ticket purchasers in the United States, they are continually the most underrepresented group on the big screen.

A mere 4.9 percent of characters with speaking roles in 2013 were Hispanic, the study said, compared to nearly 75 percent of all speaking roles given to white actors. Marc Choueiti, who helped to author the study, said there is a concerning gap between the reality of U.S. demographics and the white-washed movies churned out by Hollywood.

“Hispanics and Latinos are one of the fastest-growing groups in the U.S.,” Choueiti said. “If popular films were the only way to gauge diversity, viewers would be completely unaware of this. Individuals from this group are almost invisible on screen.”

Costa Rican actors in particular have had a difficult time climbing up the show-business ladder. Two of the biggest names in acting for Costa Rica are Harry Shrum Jr. and Giannia Facio, who has minor roles in movies produced by her longtime partner Ridley Scott. In the Academy Award-winning film “Gladiator,” for instance, Ms. Facio played the wife of Maximus in a non-speaking role.

The study further concludes that Hispanic females were the most common group of women to be shown as naked or partially naked in 2013. Though researchers said there was no discernible variation in parental or relationship status based on ethnicity, the hyper-sexualized take on Latina actresses in Hollywood was found by measuring which female characters exposed skin in the high upper thigh or mid chest regions.

In analyzing the data, researchers looked at the 100 top-grossing films of 2013. They compared those to numbers from each of the five years prior dating back to 2007. With speaking roles measured from 600 of the most popular movies, numbers showed that no strides have been made since 2007 to include more minority voices in film, they said.

“No meaningful change has been observed in the frequency of any racial/ethnic group on screen in popular films between 2007 and 2013,” the study reports.

As well as Latino characters, the study also stated that black speaking roles remained severely limited despite a perceived boost.

Popular movies like “12 Years a Slave,” “42” and “The Butler” provided audiences with black protagonists and key characters this past year, and director Steven McQueen became the first black director to win an Oscar for best picture. Despite the success of these big-hit films centered on African-American characters and themes, the study's authors said overall speaking roles for black characters did not significantly exceed those of years past.

New exhibit shows women's fight for vote

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Women who changed the course of Costa Rican history by successfully fighting for the right to vote are being commemorated with an exhibition at the Archivo Nacional.

Titled “Citizens in movement, the conquest of suffrage (1888-1953),” the historical piece looks back at the figures and circumstances that lead to women first being able to vote at the local level on July 30,1950. Three years later females entered ballots for the national elections for the first time in the country's history.

In those elections, five female counselors and three legislators became the first publicly elected female leaders. The barrier-breaking legislators, all from Partido Liberación Nacional, were María Teresa Obregón, Ana Rosa Chacón, and Estela Quesada.

The exhibition is organized on three tiers. The presentation shows a historical timeline of events that lead up to those initial votes. Secondly, the display analyzes the feminist battle against the era's power structure. And the last level there are a series of visual metaphors that further interprets the historic win for women's rights in Costa Rica.

“Different institutional spaces and symbols are explained through the perspective of these women,” said Raabe Cercone, an art curator at the Universidad de Costa Rica's museum. “So, too, are the events that permitted them to slowly enter the political realm.”

The university has teamed up with Archivo Nacional and the Centro de Investigación en Identidad y Cultura to host the exhibit. Set in the Sala León Fernández Bonilla del Archivo Nacional, the display will be up until Sept. 12 and is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Our reader's opinion
In-country visa renewal supported

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I have lived in Costa Rica for six years, have residente permanente and have donated my body to Universidad de Ciencias Medicas when I die.  I read as much as I can about the state of affairs in Cost Rica.  One thing has always baffled me though.  The government is in constant need of more money, but continue to let tourists leave the country every 90 days on a short trip to Panamá or Nicaragua and then give them another 90-day tourist visa.

It seems to me that it would be much more beneficial to allow a one-time renewal of the tourist visa for a fixed price, let's say $150.00.  This could be done as follows and would accomplish a number of things.

First, set up an office at Migration to collect the fee and issue the new visa.  This would require a minimum amount of space and manpower.  Also, only issue 15-day visa's to those returning from a short trip to Panamá or Nicaragua. This would solve a number of issues.

1. It would provide substantial, additional income to the government with very little investment.

2. It would keep the money that these people spend going to Panamá and Nicaragua in Costa Rica.

3. It would provide an easy way for those tourists who spend four or five months here in the winter to renew their visa once without leaving the country.

4. It would give Immigration better control over those people in Costa Rica on a tourist visa.

5. It would encourage only those expats who are serious about moving to Costa Rica and becoming residents to actually do so.

In addition, I suspect that many of the current perpetual tourist's are unsavory characters who could be weeded out using this system.  This all seems very simple and logical to me.  I would be interested in hearing other views on the subject.
William E Boyd
Lourdes de Montes de Oca

EDITOR'S NOTE: When the lawmakers passed the current immigration, we thought there was a provision for just that. We had encouraged lawmakers to support that idea. Then officials realized that a $100 renewal of a visa only was legal for someone who had not received a 90-day visa. In current practice, persons from countries whose residents can obtain a 90-day visa are prohibited from in-country renewal.

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A.M. Costa Rica

Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 157
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Prosecutor seeks dismissal of allegations against Villalobos family
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Quietly and with no publicity former investors in the Brothers Villalobos high interest scheme have been trying to hail members of the family into court.

The rationale was that the family members and close associates shared in the benefits of the money generated by the operations that the investors now consider a fraud. This is the case that has been spearheaded by investor Derk Van Dyk.

A number of participants in the case are those who believed that Luis Enrique Villalobos Camacho would return from his self-imposed exile and pay off his creditors. Many held that view even as the brother Oswaldo Villalobos Camacho was detained, tried and sentenced to 18 years for aggravated fraud.

Other investors recuperated some money because they joined in the case against Oswaldo.

Now Van Dyk is reporting to his following of investors that a new prosecutor, Eida Solis Loria, is asking that a judge dismiss the case. The reason is the lack of proof and the expiration of the 10-year limit on prosecution, according to her filings.

The collapse of the Villalobos organization began July 4, 2002, when investigators raided the various offices and some private homes.

Van Dyk told his fellow plaintiffs that a judge may accept the prosecutor's interpretation or may reject it. If the judge rejects it, he said the private investors' case against the family members would continue. This is allowed under Costa Rican law.

A lawyer working for the investors has filed a brief contesting the prosecutor's determination.

This is the last of a series of cases against the Villalobos organization. He was the leading figure in high interest organizations in the 1990s and early 2000s in which investors  
earned up to 3 percent a month on deposits of $10,000 or more.

There even was an unsuccessful effort to bring Costa Rica into the World Bank's arbitration system for its failure to regulate the high-interest operation.

The prosecutor, in her filing, provided a detailed study of the case and described efforts by the Villalobos brothers to transfer funds to Europe and also to corporations in Panamá. She also provides a list of many investors and the amounts they gave the brothers, who were using the corporation name of Ofinter.

The prosecutor's filing also disclosed that the Villalobos operation had some $305 million in U.S. banks at one time.

Compounding factors are that Oswaldo already has been convicted and that his brother, Luis Enrique, is still absent.

Many investors rolled over their monthly interest payments. and A.M. Costa Rica once estimated that the loss amounted to some $1 billion when Luis Enrique closed the offices and left in November 2002.

Many investors were impressed by the religious tone of Luis Enrique and that he made substantial donations to churches. They believed he had been targeted by Costa Rican banking interests or government officials. They nurtured the hope that he would return to pay them off.

Some investors still believe that.

The raid on the Ofinter operation was the beginning of the collapse of a string of high-interest operations in the Central Valley. Some, like The Vault, operated by Roy Taylor, accepted money from customers and invested with Villalobos for a slightly higher return, according to a copy of his financial books in the hands of A.M. Costa Rica.

A survivor in all this is Luis Milanes, who operated Savings Unlimited. He vanished about the same time that Luis Enrique did. But he returned to Costa Rica to face his investors in 2008. The result has been a complex web of legal proceedings seemingly endless, and Milanes remains free.

Pair of exotic birds left in a car raises concern of Pérez Zeledón residents
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police in Pérez Zeledón helped confiscate two pet birds from a U.S. citizen who left them in his car on a hot day.

The Fuerza Pública said that one was an African grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus) and the other was some type of cockatoo.

The vehicle containing the birds was in a bank parking lot while the owner was inside conducting business, said the police agency.

Passers-by made the call that brought police because they thought the birds were in danger from the heat, police said.

Workers form the Ministero de Ambiente y Energía arrived to confiscate both birds, the Fuerza Pública said.

The owner of the birds told police he was unaware that keeping such birds was against the law, they said. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the grey parrot as vulnerable. It is not native to Costa Rica. The birds were placed in a refugee.
Ministerio de Gobernación Policía
y Seguirdad Pública photos
These are the two rescued birds.

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 157
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Peruvian study shows scientists are way off base understanding El Niño
By the University of Washington news service

The planet’s largest and most powerful driver of climate changes from one year to the next, the El Niño Southern Oscillation in the tropical Pacific Ocean, was widely thought to have been weaker in ancient times because of a different configuration of the Earth’s orbit. But scientists analyzing 25-foot piles of ancient shells have found that the El Niños 10,000 years ago were as strong and frequent as the ones we experience today.

The results from the University of Washington and University of Montpellier question how well computer models can reproduce historical El Niño cycles or predict how they could change under future climates. The paper is now online and will appear in an upcoming issue of Science.

“We thought we understood what influences the El Niño mode of climate variation, and we’ve been able to show that we actually don’t understand it very well,” said Julian Sachs, a University of Washington professor of oceanography.

The ancient shellfish feasts also upend a widely held interpretation of past climate.

“Our data contradicts the hypothesis that El Niño activity was very reduced 10,000 years ago, and then slowly increased since then,” said first author Matthieu Carré, who did the research as a postdoctoral researcher and now holds a faculty position at the University of Montpellier in France.

In 2007, while at the University of Washington, Carré accompanied archaeologists to seven sites in coastal Peru. Together they sampled 25-foot-tall piles of shells from Mesodesma donacium clams eaten and then discarded over centuries into piles that archaeologists call middens.

While in graduate school, Carré had developed a technique to analyze shell layers to get ocean temperatures, using carbon dating of charcoal from fires to get the year, and the ratio of oxygen isotopes in the growth layers to get the water temperatures as the shell was forming.

The shells provide 1- to 3-year-long records of monthly temperature of the Pacific Ocean along the coast of Peru. Combining layers of shells from each site gives water temperatures for intervals spanning 100 to 1,000 years during the past 10,000 years.

The middens are ancient dumping sites that typically contain a mix of mollusk shells, fish and bird bones, ceramics, cloth, charcoal, maize and other plants.

The new record shows that 10,000 years ago the El Niño cycles were strong, contradicting the current leading interpretations. Roughly 7,000 years ago the shells show a shift to the central Pacific of the most severe El Niño impacts, followed by a lull in the
University of Montpellier/Matthieu Carré
A large shell midden from the Inca period in Peru’s Ica Valley. The climate here is so dry that even wooden structures are preserved.

strength and occurrence of El Niño from about 6,000 to 4,000 years ago.

One possible explanation for the surprising finding of a strong El Niño 10,000 years ago was that some other factor was compensating for the dampening effect expected from cyclical changes in Earth’s orbit around the sun during that period.

“The best candidate is the polar ice sheet, which was melting very fast in this period and may have increased El Niño activity by changing ocean currents,” Carré said.

Around 6,000 years ago most of the ice age floes would have finished melting, so the effect of Earth’s orbital geometry might have taken over then to cause the period of weak El Niños.

In previous studies, warm-water shells and evidence of flooding in Andean lakes had been interpreted as signs of a much weaker El Niño around 10,000 years ago.

The new data is more reliable, Carré said, for three reasons: the Peruvian coast is strongly affected by El Niño; the shells record ocean temperature, which is the most important parameter for the El Niño cycles; and the ability to record seasonal changes, the timescale at which El Niño can be observed.

“Climate models and a variety of data sets had concluded that El Niños were essentially nonexistent, did not occur, before 6,000 to 8,000 years ago,” Sachs said. “Our results very clearly show that this is not the case, and suggest that current understanding of the El Niño system is incomplete.”

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

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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.
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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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We are offering homes for every budget and every need.
Please visit our Web page at or contact us at
or call at (506) 2654-5442.

eredia home
Beautiful house for rent in Heredia
On a large property surrounded by fruit trees and garden and on bus line. Fully furnished, complete laundry room, two bedrooms, plus extra room for office.  Security, electric gate,  Internet available.  Located in Monte de la Cruz, San Rafael de Heredia. $500 monthly.  Call Leda (506) 2267-6306   Email

MONTHLY $800 TO $1,200

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

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.

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.

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.

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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cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 157
Real Estate
About us

More U.S. air strikes target
extremist positions in Iraq

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United States carried out a new round of air strikes against Islamic State militants in northern Iraq Sunday.

The Pentagon said fighter jets and drone aircraft destroyed an armed truck that was firing on Kurdish forces near Irbil and then followed up with four more attacks on other armed trucks and a mortar position.

It was the fourth set of U.S. air strikes since President Barack Obama last week authorized the country's first campaign in Iraq since he withdrew all U.S. forces at the end of 2011 after nearly a decade of American involvement.

U.S. forces are attempting to blunt an offensive by the extremist Islamic State group that threatens to overrun Irbil, the capital of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region. U.S. and British aircraft also are supplying humanitarian aid for thousands of displaced Christians, Yazidis and other religious minorities trapped in the area.

Late Sunday, the U.S. State Department said it has temporarily removed some staff from the U.S. consulate in Irbil.

A statement said some of the personnel were dispatched to the southern city of Basra, and others to the Jordanian capital, Amman. It said the move was made out of an abundance of caution rather than any one specific threat.

​Iraq's Human Rights Minister Mohammed Shia al Sudani said that Islamic State militants executed at least 500 Yazidis after seizing the town of Sinjar, and that some of the victims had been buried alive.

The U.S. military made three airdrops with more than 52,000 meals and thousands of liters of fresh drinking water for the displaced people on Mount Sinjar.  British forces made their first humanitarian airdrop to the region Sunday and France said it would supply several tons of aid.

Obama said Saturday the U.S. military's air strikes in Iraq have successfully destroyed arms and equipment that Islamic State militants could have used against Irbil.  He said the problem posed by the group will not be solved in weeks and is going to take some time.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he is deeply concerned about the evolving humanitarian and security situation in Iraq.  The U.N. chief called for reason and wisdom to prevail.  He urged all Iraqi leaders to form a broad-based government that is acceptable to all components of Iraqi society.

Pope Francis on Sunday urged the international community to find a solution to the problems in Iraq, where he said the situation leaves him in disbelief.

Sunday French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius arrived in Iraq for talks in Baghdad and Irbil. He urged Iraqi leaders to form a broad-based unity government.

At a press conference with Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani in the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan he said that Islamic State militants were extremists who cannot accept those with different beliefs.

He said that people are suffering because the Islamic State group, which he called the Caliphate of Hate, wants to kill or enslave all those who do not believe as they do.

For his part, Barzani thanked the U.S. and France for their assistance and indicated the Kurds were not demanding that their allies fight for them, but help by giving needed weaponry and air support to the Peshmerga fighters to defend themselves.

The International Organization for Migration says the number of internally displaced people in Iraq now totals more than 1 million.

Islamic State extremists, most of whom are Sunni Muslims, have captured significant amounts of military hardware that U.S. troops turned over to Iraq's Shi'ite-led government and to Kurdish Peshmerga fighters before the U.S. military withdrawal in 2011.

The Islamic State group, known for particularly brutal tactics, currently controls a large swath of eastern Syria and northwestern Iraq.  It has declared the area a caliphate, and is actively recruiting other fighters to join the group.

Meanwhile, Kurdish fighters known as Peshmerga say they have regained control of a district near Irbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan region.

A Peshmerga fighter said Sunday his forces repelled an attack on Makhmur district from fighters of the Islamic State group.

The fighter, Saber Ismael, said that there were no more gunshots inside Makhmour city and that the Daesh, as Kurds refer to Islamic State militants, have fled.

He said local people now feel safe from an immediate threat by the radical group of Sunni fighters that have taken control of several areas of Iraq.

Speaking from Duhok, another town in the Kurdish region of Iraq, a reporter said U.S. air strikes against Islamic State fighters are proving effective.

“People in the area are relieved and highly motivated because they now see that Peshmerga fighters are now being backed up by U.S. air strikes against the militants of Islamic State fighters,” said Salam Balayi of the Voice of America Kurdish service.

Two risk consultants get
prison sentences in China

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A Shanghai court has sentenced two foreign risk consultants to prison on charges of illegally obtaining personal information about Chinese citizens. The sentences came after a one-day trial that is part of a high-profile corruption probe targeting GlaxoSmithKline, the giant international pharmaceutical and health care firm.

The Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People's Court announced the verdict late Friday through its official microblog: Yu Yingzeng and Peter Humphrey, partners in business and marriage, were sentenced to two years and two and a half years.

The presiding judge said Humphrey could be deported, but did not say whether the same fate awaits Ms. Yu, an American citizen born in China.

The couple ran a risk consultancy firm called ChinaWhys, specializing in corporate fraud.

Prosecutors accused the couple of breaking China's privacy laws, which ban the purchase and sale of personal data such as residency information, phone records and overseas travel records.

In court, Humphrey and Yu admitted they bought personal information about Chinese citizens from three Chinese companies. But they insisted the information was used to prove fraud and embezzlement, and made up only a small part of the reports they compiled for their clients.

“The most important part of those reports was investigation and analysis,” Humphrey said in court, according to official proceedings issued live on the microblog.

Both defendants said they investigated mergers, did background checks on partners or potential hires, and looked into corrupt practices on behalf of their clients.

Their arrests last year coincided with a corruption probe of one of the couple's newest clients, British-based GlaxoSmithKline. The company was not mentioned directly during the Humphrey-Yu trial, however.

In his closing argument, Humphrey maintained that the couple's actions were in accord with the Chinese government's own campaign against corruption.

“Humphrey did put up a very spirited and effective self-defense, going so far to say that his career in China is comparable to the graft busters, the anti-corruption operation launched by the party and government,” said Willy Lam, an adjunct professor at the University of Hong Kong's China Studies Center.

Lam said it was clear from the start that the couple's line of defense would not avert a guilty verdict, though they both have been very cooperative with the authorities from the start.

“There is also the fact that they are foreigners,” Lam added. “So even though the Chinese have insisted on the independence of the judiciary in China, they do take into consideration China's relations with other countries.”

Humphrey and Yu have 10 days to appeal their conviction, but any reversal by the court is considered unlikely.

Nagasaki residents mark
anniversary of nuclear bomb

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

In Japan, tens of thousands of people turned out on Saturday to mark the 69th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki.

Thousands of aging survivors, government officials and others attended a ceremony in the city's Peace Park. Delegates representing 51 other countries included U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy.

In remarks to the crowd, Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue urged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government to listen to the people and not abandon Japan's pacifist stance.

Attendees stood for a minute of silence at 11:02 a.m., marking the time Aug. 9, 1945, when the United States dropped a bomb on the city. It killed at least 70,000 people and, along with the bombing of Hiroshima three days earlier, brought about Japan's surrender and the end of World War II. 

Japan is divided over the government's decision to allow its military to defend foreign countries and to play greater roles overseas.

More than half the public opposes such a move, according to opinion polls. Their aversion stems from witnessing the war's devastation, among other things.

Coordinated effort sought
to reduce spread of ebola

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The World Health Organization has declared the ebola outbreak in West Africa to be a public health emergency of international concern.  A committee of experts is calling for a coordinated international response to stop this deadly disease at its source and prevent it from spreading to other countries. 
After sifting through a mountain of information and evidence over the past two days, the emergency committee unanimously declared that the ebola outbreak in West Africa constitutes an extraordinary event, which demands extraordinary measures to bring it under control.
The director-general of the World Health Organization, Margaret Chan, says recommendations issued by the committee aim to contain existing outbreaks in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia and to prevent further international spread.

"The declaration of a public health emergency of international concern alerts the world to the need for high vigilance for possible cases of ebola virus disease, but by no means implies that all countries or even many countries will see ebola cases.  Only a small part of the African continent is currently affected," she said.
The ebola outbreak in West Africa is the largest and worst in history.  Latest World Health figures put the number of cases at more than 1,700, including 932 deaths.  The disease has spread to Nigeria, where two people have died, and possibly to Saudi Arabia, where one person suspected of having the disease has died.  Two U.S. aid workers infected in Liberia are being treated in the United States.
World Health notes it is particularly difficult to bring the disease under control because the three heavily infected West African countries are all emerging from civil conflicts that have left them with weak, fragile health systems.
The World Health assistant director-general, Keiji Fukuda, says it is important to stop the chain of transmission and this depends on identifying everyone that has the ebola infection, tracing people with whom they have come in contact and making sure those who are ill receive the right treatment.
He says the committee recommends that countries where the disease is spreading declare a national emergency. 

He says the movement of people should be stopped in the so-called hot spot for the disease, the cross-border area of Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia.
But, he adds, these people must be given quality care, and measures such as quarantine should be used only when considered necessary.
Regarding other countries, Fukuda says the emergency committee does not recommend a general ban on travel or trade.  
"... But it does have the proviso that if you are infected or if you are a contact, these people should not travel… The countries should make sure these are countries that do not have cases should have good surveillance that can pick up suspect ebola cases," he said. "We know in a globalized world, that people can travel anywhere, so all countries should be prepared to identify potential cases.  And, they should also make sure that they have access to proper laboratory, diagnostic laboratory testing."  

The committee recommends the screening of all people at international airports, seaports and major land crossings for unexplained fevers consistent with ebola infection. 

It says countries infected with the virus should not hold mass gatherings, such as football matches, until the disease is under control.
The ebola virus is spread through the direct contact with infected blood and bodily fluids.  Many people become infected when they touch the bodies of dead loved ones during burial ceremonials.  It is for this reason the committee recommends well-trained personnel conduct funerals and burials.

North Carolina sets rules
for returning health workers

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The southern U.S. state of North Carolina is stepping up efforts to guard against the possible spread of the ebola virus to the United States.

Sunday, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said anyone returning from Africa who worked with ebola patients will be put into quarantine.

That precautionary measure will mean isolation for three weeks after a person’s last contact with an ebola-infected person.

Two missionaries from North Carolina-based aid organizations contracted the deadly virus working at a clinic in Liberia with ebola-infected patients.

The missionaries, one from SIM USA and the other from Samaritan’s Purse, are being treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.

The current ebola outbreak in West Africa is on pace to infect more people than all previous outbreaks of the virus combined.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has activated its emergency operation center at the highest level.

James Brady's death ruled
murder by medical examiner

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A medical examiner in the U.S. State of Virginia has ruled the death of former White House press secretary James Brady a homicide after determining that his 1981 gunshot wound led to his death earlier this week.

Brady was shot and suffered a devastating head wound in the assassination attempt on then-U.S. president Ronald Reagan.

Friday's determination by a Northern Virginia medical examiner means that more charges could potentially be filed against John Hinckley, Jr., who has been at a psychiatric facility since being found not guilty by reason of insanity at a trial for the shooting.

Brady died Monday at the age of 73 from what his family described as a series of health issues.

Brady was near Reagan outside a Washington hotel when Hinckley opened fire in an unsuccessful attempt to kill the president. Reagan was hit twice but recovered, while Brady was left paralyzed and permanently disabled.

Brady went on to conduct a lifelong campaign for tighter U.S. gun controls. A U.S. law requiring background checks on gun buyers bears his name, and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is named after him.

After the attack on March 30, 1981, just two months into Reagan's presidency, Brady returned to the White House only briefly. He was allowed to keep the title of presidential press secretary and his salary until Reagan left office in early 1989. The White House press briefing room is named after him.

Hinckley is now 59 and remains in U.S. custody at a psychiatric institution in Washington.

Astronauts have problem
getting good night's sleep

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Despite the allure of floating in a weightless environment, outer space may not be the best place to take a snooze, according to new research.

Over the course of a 10-year study of astronauts’ sleeping patterns, researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital  Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders, Harvard Medical School, and the University of Colorado found the astronauts suffer considerable sleep deficiency in the weeks leading up to and during space flight.

“Sleep deficiency is pervasive among crew members,” stated Laura K. Barger, associate physiologist in the  Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders, and lead study author in a statement. “It’s clear that more effective measures are needed to promote adequate sleep in crew members, both during training and space flight, as sleep deficiency has been associated with performance decrements in numerous laboratory and field-based studies.”

Researchers tallied the sleeping patterns of 85 astronauts over more than 4,000 nights on Earth and more than 4,200 nights in space during 80 space shuttle missions and missions to the International Space Station.

The conclusion of the research was that “more effective countermeasures to promote sleep during space flight are needed in order to optimize human performance.”

While the U.S. space agency NASA allocates 8.5 hours of sleep per night during missions, the study revealed astronauts were only sleeping an average of less than six hours on shuttle missions and just over 6 hours in International Space Station missions.

Very few space sleep sessions lasted over seven hours, researchers found.

But it wasn’t just in space where the astronauts slept poorly. Sleep deficiency began as much as three months before launch, with astronauts sleeping just 6.5 hours a night during pre-mission training.

The study revealed that astronauts were aware of being sleep deprived and turned to sleeping pills for help.

Three out of four ISS crew members reported using medication at some point during the mission, while roughly the same amount of shuttle crew members reported using medication more than half the nights they were in space.

Barger called the high rate of sleeping pill use concerning.

“The ability for a crew member to optimally perform if awakened from sleep by an emergency alarm may be jeopardized by the use of sleep-promoting pharmaceuticals,” said Barger, adding that most sleeping pills come with warnings about engaging in hazardous occupations while under the influence.

“This consideration is especially important because all crew members on a given mission may be under the influence of a sleep promoting medication at the same time,” she said.
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.

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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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  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

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

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 157
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Quakes take place to the east and west

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Sunday saw earthquakes on both sides of the country.

At 9:59 a.m. a quake with the magnitude of 4.3 took place in the gulf of Nicoya offshore from the Nicoya peninsula and 17.1 kilometers east southeast of Tambor. That's about 10.5 miles. This is a location of frequent quakes on a fault in the gulf.

Both the Laboratorio de Ingeniería Sísmica at the Universidad de Costa Rica and the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica at Universidad Nacional in Heredia agreed  on the magnitude. There was a replica quake in the same spot about 10:13 p.m. with a magnitude of 2.9.

Then at 2:38 p.m. there was a 3.6-magnitude quake just inland from the Caribbean and some 4.8 kilometers east of Matin Centro in Limón province. The distance is about 2.5 miles. Both reporting agencies also agreed on the magnitude.

Access change planned for Sabana Oesta

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Traffic workers will be closing the entrance to Ruta 27, the Caldera highway at Sabana Oeste Tuesday from 8 a.m. to noon.

The workers will be putting in a yield marker for traffic turning from the northbound land. This is the access to the Caldera highway that is just south of the new Estadio Nacional.

Vehicles turning onto the Caldera access ramp from the southbound lane of Ruta 104 will be required to yield. Now this traffic has the right-of-way. Ruta 104 is the street that runs in front of  Teletica.

The Dirección General de Ingeniería de Tránsito said that the reason for the change is to eliminate the line of cars that sometimes are backed up on Ruta 104 trying to get on the Caldera highway.

New IBM chip mimics human brain

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

An important advance in the quest for artificial intelligence was announced Thursday by the U.S. computer giant IBM: the creation of a microprocessor modeled after the human brain.

The new, postage-stamp-sized neurosynaptic chip, called TrueNorth, contains 5.4 billion interconnected transistors to mimic human brain’s neurons and synapses. All of its 1 million neurons and 256 million synapses are programmable.

Although the human brain contains 100 billion neurons and up to 150 trillion synapses, IBM says it will be possible to program the new chip to understand the ambiguity of problems and solve them in real time, taking account of the context.

IBM also says the new chip is very power-efficient, requiring only 70 milliwatts of power.

It is still in its experimental phase but IBM says it could be on the market in two to three years.

The True North chip could be used as a brain for search-and-rescue robots, for controlling sophisticated wheelchairs, or for creating transcripts of discussions involving several people.

Vehicles collide on Caldera highway

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Traffic police were at the scene Sunday night of a multi-vehicle accident that caused delays on Ruta 27, the Caldera highway near Atenas. One of the vehicles involved was reported to be an ambulance. Two persons were taken to the Hospital de Alajuela in critical condition. Seven others suffered lesser injuries.

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