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(506) 2223-1327                             Published Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Vol. 14, No. 159                       Email us
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Push for secular state arriving at president's doorstep
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There is a growing movement to make Costa Rica a secular state.

Article 75 of the Costa Rican Constitution specifies the Roman Catholic faith as the state religion but also guarantees the free exercise of other religions.

Some critics estimate that this state support of the Catholic church could be nearly $3 million a year.

The secular movement received a boost with an endorsement of the concept by President Luis Guillermo Solís and some lawmakers. But what a proposed law would provide does not go far enough, according to some who want a strict separation between religion and government.

One group said it plans a demonstration at the home of Solís today at 5 p.m. This is the Movimiento de Invisibles which also supports in vitro fertilization and a number of other activities that would be frowned upon by Catholic Church officials.

This organization also opposes the bill N.º 19.099 that is titled Ley para la Libertad Religiosa y de Culto, loosely translated as the religious liberty law.

That proposed law received a review in a Diario Extra editorial Tuesday. The popular newspaper said that having a secular state does not mean removing God from everyday life. The editorial urged lawmakers to act.

Others are not so sure about the current bill. The measure would set up a new bureaucracy within the Ministerio de Justicia y Paz that would register congregations of religious faiths, register ministers and even issue fines if the church books were not kept in order.

The preface to the bill speaks much about freedom of thought and freedom of religion, but the bill itself says the measure does not apply to the Catholic Church and specifically excludes as religions witchcraft, spiritualism, astrology, Satanism, parapsychology, pantheism, shamanism and similar.

The original proposal was pushed by legislators in the last assembly term who were associated with evangelical political parties. Among them were Carlos Luis Avendaño Calvo of Renovación Costarricense, and Justo Orozco Álvarez, another evangelical pastor.

In addition to money from the government, the supporters of the bill seek extending certain rights now held by the Catholic Church to other denominations. For example, Catholic priests have the right to marry couples. There is no need for the couple to appear before a notary, as in the case of other couples.

In addition, Costa Rican children receive two
La Merced
A.M. Costa Rica archives
Restoration of the Iglesia de la Merced in San José involved public money and private donations. The result was stunning.

hours of Catholic religious instruction every week in the public schools. The bill would allow the children to receive instruction in the religions of their parents' choice.

Evangelical congregations sometimes are in trouble with neighbors because of the boisterous services, and health officials recently cracked down on nearly 1,000 of them for not having all the required permits.

The bill's preface says that 79 percent of Costa Ricans profess having a religion and 72 percent of this group say they are Catholic. Evangelicals were 15 percent in the cited 2013 survey, and those who said just Christian were 8 percent.

Many of those who will protest today want to go much further than the current bill would provide. Many favor same sex marriage, for example, or legal abortion.

Jaime Ordoñez of the 6-year-old Movimiento por un Estado Laico en Costa Rica, noted in a critique of the bill that Melvin Jiménez, the minister of the Presidencia, is a Lutheran bishop. He called the bill a step backwards and said that instead of a one-church country, the bill would create a country with many official churches.

He was the person that said the Roman Catholic Church received 840 million colons or a bit more than $1.7 million from the government in direct spending. He said that indirect payments to church schools, social programs and as investments in repairing church buildings could rise to as much as 1.5 billion colons or about $2.7 million a year.

The Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud provides money for repair of historic buildings as do municipalities.

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Second news page

San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 159

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Professional Directory
A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.

Lucinda Gray, Ph.D.
California Licensed Psychologist
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Legal services

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Remodelling and Construction


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Real estate agents and services

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New print paper targets the affluent

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

Grupo Nación, the country's Spanish-language media conglomerate, is experimenting with a new kind of business model through a recently
released newspaper called Ahora. In featuring shorter articles with overall lighter themes than its other papers like La Nación and El Financiero, the new product steers
towards service journalism.

The publication that launched in late July has print and online editions and is headed by Guiselly Moor, who was previously in charge of another Group Nación daily, La Tea. Ms. Mora recently told El Financiero that the paper's target demographics will be female and middle-class readers.

Published every day except Sundays, Ahora's 32-page print copies are only sold in the San José metropolitan area, allowing the company to cut back on distribution costs. The paper costs a reasonable 200 colons, less than 40 cents.

Though the news industry in Costa Rica has continued at a steadier pace than counterparts in other areas of the world, Grupo Nación's creation of Ahora mimics a wider shift towards content that blends news with commercial and retail advice. Heavy in themes of food, travel, and home, this type of news usually caters to more affluent crowds who are not only interested in chic vacation tips or the best restaurants, but can consistently afford them.

The newspaper's aim for short content pieces also mirrors a change that numerous hard news organizations, notably the USA Today and The Associated Press, have already set out for. With the assumption that readers' attention spans are narrowing more and more, news sites are looking for a higher quantity of stories and headlines with less text.

In the past month alone, numerous media giants have decided to divide their entertainment or broadcasting sectors from their publishing ends of business. Companies like Gannett, E.W. Scripps, and News Corp have isolated their print affiliates to cut future costs for their other companies.

Grupo Nación also is bucking the trend in starting a print edition at a time when many news organizations are dropping theirs in favor of the Web.

New test would spot junk fillers in coffee

By the American Chemical Society news service

Coffee drinkers beware: Surprise ingredients that are neither sweet nor flavorful may be hiding in coffee, and growing coffee shortages may increase the chance of having these fillers in coffee in the future. The
good news is that a highly accurate test is in the works to quickly find coffee containing unwanted fillers before the beverage reaches stores and restaurants.

These extra ingredients, though not harmful, make ground coffee go farther and increase profits for producers, according to researchers. Their report will be part of the 248th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society being held in San Francisco, California, through Thursday.

A test to detect counterfeit coffees is becoming more important in light of growing shortages in regions, such as Brazil, where droughts and plant
diseases have dramatically cut back
American Chemical Society graphic
  coffee supplies. “With a lower supply of coffee in the market, prices rise, and that favors fraud because of the economic gain,” says research team leader Suzana Lucy Nixdorf.

In 2012, a study from the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Environment stated that 70 percent of the world’s coffee supply might disappear by 2080 because of conditions caused by climate change. But shortages due to more immediate issues already are occurring. The coffee-rich country of Brazil typically produces 55 million bags of coffee each year. But according to some reports, the projected amount for 2014 will likely only reach 45 million bags after this January’s extensive drought. That’s about 42 billion fewer cups of coffee for this year.

Now, however, Ms. Nixdorf and her team at State University of Londrina in Brazil have developed a way to nip coffee counterfeiting in the bud.

“With our test, it is now possible to know with 95 percent accuracy if coffee is pure or has been tampered with, either with corn, barley, wheat, soybeans, rice, beans, acai seed, brown sugar or starch syrup,” she said. The problem, she explains, is that “after roasting and grinding the raw material, it becomes impossible to see any difference between grains of lower cost incorporated into the coffee, especially because of the dark color and oily texture of coffee.”

In new research, the team is now analyzing several fillers that are considered impurities rather than adulterants. These impurities can even be parts of the coffee plants, introduced at harvest, that are not really supposed to be in the final product. Wood, twigs, sticks, parchment, husks, whole coffee berries or even clumps of earth that are almost the same color as coffee have been found. Identifying them is essential because if there is a large amount of impurities, they were probably added purposefully — not by accident, as some producers claim, says Ms. Nixdorf.

Currently, tests to detect these unwanted additives require scientists to check the coffee, and those tests are subjective –– not quantitative, she said. With these tests, the scientists look at the coffee under a microscope or identify various additives by simply tasting the coffee. In contrast, the new test uses liquid chromatography and statistical tools. This gives her team a much closer look at the ingredients in an unbiased way, according to Ms. Nixdorf. Chromatography is a powerful analytical technique that is very sensitive and highly selective.

Because much of the coffee is composed of carbohydrates, researchers could develop a characteristic fingerprint when using chromatography that separates out the real coffee compounds, says Ms. Nixdorf. The added, unwanted grain fillers generate different levels of sugars than the natural ingredients, so they are easy to identify, she explains.

Rate hike for Cartago power rejected

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation's rate-setting agency has rejected a petition from the Cartago utility providers for a 12 percent raise in electricity.

The request was rejected because there were inconsistencies in the paperwork that was presented, said a report from the Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos.

Cartago has its own utility firm, the Junta Administrativa del Servicio Eléctrico Municipal de Cartago, which serves about 89,000 subscribers, said the price-setting agency.

The increase would have meant a 1,400-colon (about $2.60) increase for the average home user, said the agency. The junta most likely will revise its documents and make another application.

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A.M. Costa Rica

Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 159
Real Estate
About us
Teen gang used guns and knives
to threaten their Purral neighbors

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A band of young toughs, ages 13 to 16, terrorized Los Cuadros en Purral de Guadalupe by confronting pedestrians and even shooting at two.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that five youths detained in raids early Tuesday will face 15 allegations of attempted murder and aggravated threats.

The youngsters appear to be not after money. Instead, they were motivated by personal problems with the victims, said the agency.

The five are being handled as juveniles, said agents from the organization's Sección Penal Juvenil.

The crimes began in May and continued to this month, said the agency.

The gang worked form 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. according to the investigators. They would confront the victim with a firearm or perhaps a knife, agents said.

Agent conducted raids at eight locations Tuesday in order to make the arrests. They found an AK-47 rifle, and a pistol, they reported.

kid detained
Judicial Investigating Organization photo
One of the teens is being detained.

President refers ex-minister to prosecutors in conflict of interest case
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Following in his promises to increase transparency and root out political corruption, President Luis Guillermo Solís has put a former head of the transportation ministry in line for a possible investigation into ethical faults.

Tuesday he sent a report to prosecutors  that said former minister of Obras Públicas y Transportes, Pedro Luis Castro Fernández, disobeyed the impartiality legally required of a public official.

According to the report, Castro added himself to a vote in favor of awarding a bid to the Compañía Asesora de Construcción e
Ingenería. It said that Castro was associated with the construction company as a supervisor from 2003 to 2006. The winning contract bid went for 360 million colons, or some $665,000, the report showed.

The Procuraduría General de la Pública and the Procuraduría de la Ética Pública authored the report after an initial complaint was filed in April of 2013 under Laura Chinchilla's administration.

“The Procuraduría de la Ética Pública should not only carry out necessary administrative action, aimed at fighting corruption, it should also take every action to increase levels of ethics and transparency in the exercise of public function,” the report read.

Lawyer detained on allegation he faked paperwork to get paid
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A lawyer hired to collect overdue payments for the nation's health system has been accused of faking paperwork so he could be paid.

The specific charge is use of false documents. Judicial investigators conducted a raid Tuesday of the man's home under the direction of prosecutors. Coincidentally, while they were doing so investigators encountered archaeological pieces that experts from the Museo
Nacional determined were originals. So these were confiscated, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

The Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social had contracted with the lawyer to make collections from employers who were overdue on  their monthly payments, said agents. They said the amount that has been obtained fraudulently had not yet been computed.

The name of the lawyer has not yet been released officially.

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 159
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Scientists spot genetic changes caused by deadly frog fungus
By the Cornell University news service

Panamanian golden frogs have been driven to near extinction, largely from a deadly fungus and habitat loss, though intensive captive breeding projects in zoos are maintaining the species.

A deadly fungus has decimated certain populations of amphibians globally including in Costa Rica for the past few decades, but scientists remain unclear about the exact mechanisms that lead to its disease.

For example, while some species have become threatened or gone extinct, others appear unaffected, or the disease persists at reduced frequencies following an outbreak.

A new Cornell study, published in the July issue of the journal G3: Genes, Genomics, Genetics, teased out the mechanisms at play by examining which genes are turned on and off in the highly susceptible Panamanian golden frog (Atelopus zeteki) following infection of the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

The researchers found significant changes in thousands of genes of frogs infected with a virulent strain, compared with uninfected frogs and those that had been exposed to less virulent strains of the fungus and survived.

At the same time, the fungus also appeared to suppress immune genes related to pathogen-fighting T-cells in the spleens of infected frogs.

“T-cells are being suppressed by the fungus, and that could be a large part of why this fungus is devastating to certain species,” said Amy Ellison, the paper’s lead author, a postdoctoral research associate in the lab of Kelly Zamudio, the study’s senior author and a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology.

In the study, the researchers used adult golden frogs from the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore’s captive breeding program and divided them into three groups: control uninfected individuals; frogs that had been exposed to a less virulent strain of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, which survived that infection and were then re-infected with a virulent strain; and natïve, previously uninfected individuals that were then exposed to the virulent strain.

In the experiment, all of the frogs exposed to the virulent strain died. But when they compared infected frogs with the controls, there were thousands of changes in the genes, including a wide array of immune genes, between the two types.
golden frog
Cornell University/Brian Gratwicke
The golden frog survives through captive breeding programs.

For example, Ms. Ellison and colleagues discovered that genes that control inflammation in the frog’s skin were more active. “This is not necessarily a good thing, since severe inflammation may be pathological,” said Ms. Ellison.

In the spleen, there was a striking difference between frogs exposed for the first time compared with frogs that had been infected twice with the two Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis strains; the genes that control enzymes involved in breaking down chitin, one of the main components of fungal cell walls, were more active in the previously infected frogs.

So, while some immune genes were more active, important genes related to T-cells and immune defense were simultaneously suppressed, leading the authors to believe that susceptibility is not necessarily due to a lack of immune response but to a failure of those responses to be effective.

“This is the first time we have seen that susceptibility is not a lack of immune response . . .  but the fungus may be countering these immune responses,” which leads to infection, said Ms. Ellison.

In future studies, the researchers hope to do similar tests of resistant species to see which genes are switched on and off.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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

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

   * Discover how to make the right choices about moving here
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Anywhere Costa Rica plans custom vacations, and has the most comprehensive travel services in the country including travel guides, resorts and vacation homesCosta Rica tours
and car rentals.  
Call 1-888.456.3212 or 2479-8811 locally.

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

The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is a great place to find quality remembrances of Costa Rica to take home or to decorate your home or office in Costa Rica.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever.  With more than 60 artists on exhibit and fine art in 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we are easy to locate just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport. Visit our Web site at
or contact us by email:   
Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tel. 2667-0592 / 8386-6872; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073. International shipping available.

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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.


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

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

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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.

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

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.

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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The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by A.M. Costa Ltda. 2014 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

A.M. Costa Rica's   Fifth news page

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 159
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Unproven drugs given
green light in ebola battle

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The World Health Organization has given a green light for the use of unproven drugs to fight the deadly ebola outbreak in four West African countries. 

A panel of specialists agreed it is ethical to offer these treatments to try to curb the ebola epidemic, which is the largest ever seen. 

There have been a number of Ebola outbreaks in Eastern and Central Africa over the past 40 years. The World Health was able to stop those outbreaks by identifying and isolating all cases of the disease, tracing those who have come in contact with infected individuals and providing protective covering to health care workers.

But officials from the U.N. health agency acknowledge what has worked in the past is not working now. They say the outbreak in four West African countries, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria, continues to spread and appears unstoppable.

That's why the panel of experts who convened Monday unanimously agreed it is ethical to offer unproven medicines as potential treatments, according to World Health Assistant Director-General Marie-Paule Kieny.
“The magnitude and the spread of the outbreak makes it that we do not have enough people to use and to rely only, if I may say, on what has traditionally worked if we want to stop the outbreak as quickly as possible," Kieny said. "So, this is why in this particular circumstances the ethicists have felt that it was ethical to propose these treatments and these vaccines, although they have not been registered yet.”

West African health authorities report that more than 1,800 people have come down with ebola, and more than 1,000 have died.  There is no cure for this disease, which can kill up to 90 percent of its victims, and is spread through direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person.

Researchers have found some potential treatments and vaccines that could help bring ebola under control.  But, while a handful of these drugs have shown positive results in monkeys, they have not been clinically tested in humans to see whether they are safe and effective.

The health of two American aid workers who got infected with ebola in Liberia has improved since they were treated with an experimental drug known as Zmapp. This has raised hopes of other successful treatments by using this and other unproven drugs.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is urging the international community to respond to the shortage of doctors, nurses and equipment needed to fight the ebola disease raging in West Africa.

At a news conference Tuesday, Ban said an organized global response is key to controlling the worst-ever outbreak of the virus. He announced he has appointed U.N. public health expert David Nabarro to coordinate the United Nations effort to fight ebola.

The U.N. chief also called on the international community to avoid panic and fear, saying the ebola virus can be prevented.

While World Health has given the go-ahead for the use of untested treatments and vaccines, Kieny says certain ethical criteria must guide their use.  These include transparency of care, informed consent, freedom of choice, confidentiality and community involvement.
“The panel also emphasized that because we know so little about safety and efficacy in humans, whenever these treatments are provided for what we call compassionate use, which means it is defined as access to an unapproved drug outside of a clinical trial, then there is a moral obligation to collect and share all data generated,” Kieny said. 

The World Health Organization says it will push for the speedy start of clinical trials for ebola drugs that look promising.  It notes that trials for two vaccine candidates might begin by the end of September and information regarding their safety could be available by the end of the year.

More military advisers go
on ground in northern Iraq

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United States has deployed another 130 military advisers to northern Iraq to help find ways to assist displaced Iraqis who are trapped on a mountain by Sunni Muslim extremists.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel stressed Tuesday that the deployment to the city of Erbil is limited to advising Iraqi security forces.

"As the president has made very clear, we're not going back into Iraq, in any of the same combat mission dimensions that we once were in in Iraq. Very specifically this is not a combat boots on the ground operation. We're not going to have that kind of operation," said Hagel.

The Pentagon announced a similar deployment of up to 300 military advisers to Baghdad in June.

U.S. planes have been carrying out airdrops to get supplies to the thousands of civilians trapped on Mount Sinjar.

The military said late Tuesday it had conducted a sixth set of airdrops containing food and water, bringing the total amount of aid delivered so far to 100,000 meals and 27,000 gallons of water.

With the help of Kurdish forces in the region, more than 20,000 of the refugees have managed to escape Sinjar in the past few days.

In Brussels, the 28-member European Union failed to agree Tuesday on a deal to supply weapons to Iraqi Kurds battling militants from the Islamic State group.

But the EU said individual member countries can strike arms deals with Baghdad, as part of a push to blunt the militants' push in Iraq's north and west.

Earlier this week, Iraqi Kurdish President Massoud Barzani asked the international community for help in fighting the militants, whose far-reaching and brutal offensive against Kurds and other minorities has sent shock waves through world capitals.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday joined a chorus of world leaders in calling for international protection for minorities fleeing the militant onslaught. Ban said he is dismayed by the group's barbaric acts as it has seized towns and cities across eastern Syria and northwest Iraq.

In Baghdad, international backing grew Tuesday for Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi, picked Monday to form a new government in Baghdad.

Kurdish President Barzani told U.S. Vice President Joe Biden in a phone call that he is ready to work with Abadi to confront the nation's security threat.

The United States, NATO, Saudi Arabia and Iran have voiced support for Abadi, countering incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's push to extend his eight-year rule with a third term.

Maliki has rapidly lost the support of the international community, and is widely accused of failing to unite Iraq's various factions during his eight-year tenure.

A fleet of Royal Air Force (RAF) Tornados arrived in Cyprus Tuesday ahead of a humanitarian mission to northern Iraq to help Iraqis stranded by recent violence.

The Tornados will be able to leave for Iraq on short notice to provide intelligence and deliver to remote areas, the Ministry of Defense said.

A video released by the ministry said to show stranded Yazidis on Mount Sinjar collecting emergency aid dropped from C-130 transport aircraft.

The supplies included drinking water and solar lanterns which can be used to recharge mobile phones to help the members of the Yazidi religious minority, trapped on a mountainside in Sinjar, seeking shelter from the Islamic State militants, the Department for International Development said.

The ministry said that so far three consignments of aid provided by Department for International Development have been delivered to the area by Hercules C-130 aircraft.

Britain said Friday it will contribute eight million pounds ($13.4 million) worth of new spending for those displaced by the ongoing fighting in Iraq, but has indicated it will not intervene militarily.

Sale of Clippers final
with $2 billion price tag

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

It's official. Former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer is the new owner of the U.S. professional basketball team, the Los Angeles Clippers.

The team's $2 billion sale comes less than four months after the National Basketball Association banned previous owner Donald Sterling for racist remarks. Sterling had tried to fight the sale to Ballmer, but it went through after a California court found Sterling's estranged wife, Shelly, had the authority to sell the team.

The NBA's Board of Governors also approved the sale.

The league banned Donald Sterling for life after an audio recording emerged in which he told his then-girlfriend not to bring African American friends to Clippers games. The NBA also fined him $2.5 million.

The 80-year-old Sterling, who bought the Clippers for $12 million in 1981, had been the longest-tenured owner of any of the NBA's 30 teams.

Reacting to his newfound ownership, Ballmer, who retired from Microsoft in February, said he will be hardcore in giving the team, coach, staff and players the support they need. He thanked Clippers fans for remaining fiercely loyal to the franchise through what he described as some extraordinary times.

Quake hits near Quito,
and two reported dead

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has shaken Ecuador’s capital, Quito, and surrounding areas, leaving two people dead and eight others injured.

The country's national risk control agency said Tuesday on Twitter that firefighters were working to free three others who became trapped in landslides at quarries.

Landslides also made some roads impassable and a thick layer of dust around Quito forced the closure of the airport in the capital. The earthquake sent people running into the streets as high rise buildings swayed.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake was centered 23 kilometers northeast of Quito.

Life without passwords
is now considered possible

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Hackers around the world are getting better at stealing passwords, so computer scientists are trying to find a replacement for the next biggest computer nuisance after the system crash.

The U.S. Military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, responsible for the creation of the Internet, is financially backing several research projects aiming to send passwords into computer history.

Within the Active Authentication Project, scientists are looking to utilize some of the many hidden signs that characterize each person and cannot be repeated by anyone else.

For instance, the way someone handles a smartphone, the tremor of hands and movements manipulating phones, can be read by sensors. The phone could remember those signs, actively monitor them and automatically lock when someone else tries to use it.
Other teams of scientists are trying to teach computers and smartphones how to recognize styles of writing, words that are used, how sentences are constructed and errors that are made.

Still another concept will ask the owner to say a phrase instead of typing a password, sensing not only the words but also the subtle differences in tone and articulation.

Scientists say the projects have had very good results and that some of the largest computer and smartphone manufacturers have expressed interest in incorporating them into new devices.

Marijuana use by teens
can affect brain negatively

By the American Psychological Association
news service

Frequent marijuana use can have a significant negative effect on the brains of teenagers and young adults, including cognitive decline, poor attention and memory, and decreased IQ, according to psychologists discussing public health implications of marijuana legalization at the American Psychological Association’s 122nd Annual Convention.

“It needs to be emphasized that regular cannabis use, which we consider once a week, is not safe and may result in addiction and neurocognitive damage, especially in youth,” said Krista Lisdahl, director of the brain imaging and neuropsychology lab at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Marijuana use is increasing, according to Ms. Lisdahl, who pointed to a 2012 study showing that 6.5 percent of high school seniors reported smoking marijuana daily, up from 2.4 percent in 1993. Additionally, 31 percent of young adults (ages 18 to 25) reported using marijuana in the last month. People who have become addicted to marijuana can lose an average of six IQ points by adulthood, according to Ms. Lisdahl, referring to a 2012 longitudinal study of 1,037 participants who were followed from birth to age 38.

Brain imaging studies of regular marijuana users have shown significant changes in their brain structure, particularly among adolescents, she said. Abnormalities in the brain’s gray matter, which is associated with intelligence, have been found in 16- to 19-year-olds who increased their marijuana use in the past year, she said. These findings remained even after researchers controlled for major medical conditions, prenatal drug exposure, developmental delays and learning disabilities, she added.

“When considering legalization, policy makers need to address ways to prevent easy access to marijuana and provide additional treatment funding for adolescent and young adult users,” she said. She also recommended that legislators consider regulating levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the major psychoactive chemical in marijuana, in order to reduce potential neurocognitive effects.

Some legalized forms of marijuana have higher levels of THC than other strains, said Alan Budney of Dartmouth College. THC is responsible for most of marijuana's psychological effects. Some research has shown that frequent use of high potency THC can increase risk of acute and future problems with depression, anxiety and psychosis. “Recent studies suggest that this relationship between marijuana and mental illness may be moderated by how often marijuana is used and potency of the substance,” Budney said. “Unfortunately, much of what we know from earlier research is based on smoking marijuana with much lower doses of THC than are commonly used today.” Current treatments for marijuana addiction among adolescents, such as brief school interventions and outpatient counseling, can be helpful but more research is needed to develop more effective strategies and interventions, he added.

Additionally, people’s acceptance of legalized medical marijuana use appears to have an effect on adolescents’ perception of the drug’s risks, according to Bettina Friese of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation in California. She presented results from a 2013 study of 17,482 teenagers in Montana, which found marijuana use among teenagers was higher in counties where larger numbers of people voted to legalize medical marijuana in 2004. In addition, teens in counties with more votes for the legalization of medical marijuana perceived marijuana use to be less risky. The research findings suggest that a more accepting attitude toward medical marijuana may have a greater effect on marijuana use among teens than the actual number of medical marijuana licenses available, Ms. Friese 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

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)
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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Real estate for sale
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What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by A.M. Costa Ltda. 2014 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 159
Real Estate
About us

News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are disabled on archived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
New device can sniff out hidden bills

By the American Chemical Society news staff

Criminals are smuggling an estimated $30 billion in U.S. currency into Mexico each year from the United States, but help could be on the way for border guards.

The answer to the problem: a portable device that identifies specific vapors given off by U.S. paper money.

Scientists will present the new research today at the 248th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society being held in San Francisco, California, through Thursday.

In the past fiscal year, law enforcement officials say they uncovered more than $106 million in smuggled cash headed from the U.S. to Mexico. But this was only a small portion of the billions that made it across the border undetected — hidden among belongings, in clothing or elsewhere. The bulk of that currency is laundered drug money. Travelers crossing the U.S.-Mexico border are required to report cash or endorsed checks over $10,000. If they don’t declare larger sums, the money that is found can be seized.

“We’re developing a device that mimics the function of trained dogs sniffing out concealed money, but without the drawbacks, such as expensive training, sophisticated operators, down time and communication limitations,” says Suiqiong Li, a member of the research team. “The system would extract gas samples from the traveler or from bags, vehicles and shipping containers. It would detect the trace currency emission signature even in the presence of car exhaust, perfumes, food and a range of temperatures, atmospheric pressures and relative humidity.”

Li says the technique, known as the bulk currency detection system, should work effectively within the seconds or few minutes it takes for border inspections. It involves gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, a widely used analytical technique. Experts already use this method for analyzing vapors to detect drugs and explosives, as well as to investigate the causes of fires and identify unknown compounds. But the current way to uncover smuggled money depends on checks by guards or trained dogs without the benefit of any devices, according to Li.

The detectiion system is being designed to find the emissions signature of the currency despite the presence of strong background gases and contaminants. It would be an automated, hidden-money screening system, using gas chromatography plus solid-phase microextraction and a thermal desorption technique.

When developing the device, the researchers first had to figure out which gases money emits and how fast that happens. It turned out that the gases are a set of trace chemicals, including aldehydes, furans and organic acids.

“We have found that U.S. currency emits a wide range of volatile organic compounds that make up a possible fingerprint that we can identify in less than a minute,” explains Joseph Stetter, principal investigator for the study. He and Li are with KWJ Engineering, Inc. This is the first report of the feasibility of sampling emission rates with a practical, money-detecting device, he says. To capture the gases, which are specific to U.S. paper money, guards would pass a probe over clothing or into baggage. If the probe detects a high intensity of the gases, it will indicate that a large amount of money likely is present, he says.

The researchers say the device should lead to a significant improvement in detecting smuggled currency and have a strong economic impact for the United States. Stetter estimated that it would take from two to three years to develop the device for use by border guards.

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From Page 7:

Baker says real estate market growing again

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Garland M. Baker, the A.M. Costa Rica columnist who keeps expats aware of changes in the law and the real estate market, has expanded his business qualifications. He just achieved the
Certified International Property Specialist designation from the National Association of Realtors in the United States. This required extensive coursework and examinations.

Baker said he is adding global property sales to the work done by his company, Costa Rica Expertise Limited. In the
past, Baker provided consultancies to buyers and sellers of multi-million dollar properties but let the deal making up to others. In 2005 he predicted the crash of 2008.

He now feels the Costa Rican real estate market is growing again. He said he visualizes new opportunities from investors from all over the world, not just the United States and Canada.

Baker noted that property transactions are far more complex than the usual residential sale.  Buyers confront problems such as water rights, inappropriate soil composition, hidden easements, squatters and the multitude of Costa Rican legal requirements and permits requirements. Over the years, he has assembled a team, including legal, accounting, and property valuation experts, to meet these new international challenges.

"The world has contracted from 2008 to present because of the Internet, but opportunities have exploded for the same reason. Costa Rica is a great place to invest and worldwide buyers know it because the country is free from conflict, has a temperate climate, improving infrastructure, incomparable natural beauty and diversity." said Baker, a 44-year resident of Costa Rica and naturalized citizen.