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(506) 2223-1327                          Published Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, in Vol. 13, No. 162                 Email us
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Jo Stuart
Cascata del Bosco

Slow-moving quakes may contain key to predictions
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Scientists at Penn State University think they have found a way to predict earthquakes particularly in areas like Guanacaste where so-called slow-moving or silient quakes take place.

Monitoring slow earthquakes may provide a basis for reliable prediction in areas where slow quakes 

slow slip
trigger  normal  earthquakes, according to the Penn State geoscientists, the university said in a summary.

"This has the potential
to change the game for earthquake monitoring and prediction because if it is right and you can make the right predictions, it could be big," the university quoted  Chris Marone, a professor of geophysics, as saying.

Costa Rica is one of the most earthquake-prone and volcanically active countries in the world. Just off the west coast is the Middle America Trench, where a section of the sea floor called the Cocos Plate dives beneath Central America, generating powerful earthquakes and feeding a string of active volcanoes, researchers have reported for years. This type of boundary between two converging plates of the earth's crust is called a subduction zone ― and such zones are notorious for generating the most powerful and destructive earthquakes.

The  University of California at Santa Cruz, local universities, the national emergency commission and other agencies maintain a host of monitoring stations on the Nicoya peninsula and on the sea floor.

One discovery is that the peninsula experiences what researchers call silent earthquakes or slow slips. A slow slip event involves the same fault motion as an earthquake, but it happens so slowly that the ground does not shake. It can be detected only with networks of modern instruments that use the Global Positioning System to measure precisely the movements of the earth's crust over time. The monitoring showed that in 2007 the peninsula
experienced the equivalent of a 6.9 magnitude earthquake over a period of 30 days instead of the usual 10 seconds for a quake to release the tension on the earth's crust.

At Penn State, Marone and Bryan Kaproth-Gerecht, a recent doctoral graduate, looked at the mechanisms behind slow earthquakes and found that 60 seconds before a slow slip began in their laboratory samples, a precursor signal appeared, the university reported.

Normal earthquakes typically move at a rate of three to 33 feet per second, but slow earthquakes, while they still stick and slip for movement, move at rates of about 0.004 inches per second taking months or more to rupture, said the university in a summary released Thursday. However, slow earthquakes often occur near traditional earthquake zones and may precipitate potentially devastating earthquakes, the summary added.

The researchers at Penn State conducted more than 50 experiments using serpentine under stress to simulate a slow earthquake. The signals that may provide a way to predict quakes comes from the seismic waves generated by the tension and movement.

The Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico of the Universidad Nacional is heavily involved in earthquake monitoring and efforts at predictions. Marino Protti there, who received his doctorate at Santa Cruz, is the leading Costa Rican expert on this topic.

Protti and colleagues have identified at least five slow-slip quakes in the area of the Cocos and Caribbean tectonic plates in the last decade. One seems to take place every 15 to 27 months, these researchers have estimated. This is still a new research area that many scientists hope will lead to earthquake predictions. The term slow earthquake was not even coined until 1992.

Slow slip quakes have been detected all over the world, including in Nicaragua, California, Italy and New Zealand. The Great East Japanese Quake is believed to have been caused by tension created by a previous slow-slip event.

Female police officer honored with quick decoration
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

President Laura Chinchilla rushed to honor a female police officer who exchanged shots with and eventually arrested two suspected hijackers. The president did not seem to be aware of the inconsistencies in her actions, which have been a trademark of a series of presidential administrations.

The president pinned a decoration for valor on the uniform of Sara Ortiz Esquivel Thursday less than two full days after the confrontation in Desamparados. Earlier in the week the president announced pardons for three female drug offenders and also signed a law reducing penalties for women who smuggle drugs into prisons.

The president's action added to the perception that the government and the law favors women. A number of male police officers have exchanged shots with criminals without notice from Casa Presidential.

An analysis of the news

Readers also pointed out the philosophical contradiction in the president's approval of the new law. The basic argument for reducing prison terms for female smugglers is that their jailed husband or partner made them do it. That opinion does not seem to reinforce the concept of independent women.

Ms. Ortiz, the mother of six and grandmother to 11, received the honor in part because the day was el Día de la Madre, a legal holiday.

The apparent bias toward women runs a lot deeper. For example, political parties have to balance their list of candidates to ensure a slate that approaches gender equality. Ms. Chinchilla, herself, was a beneficiary of this policy in that she served as vice president under Óscar Arias Sánchez, who was obligated to fill one of the two available vice presidential slots with a woman.

The rule assumed that there are as many women interested in politics as men, something that may not be true.

There even is the Instituto Nacional de las Mujeres, a government agency which fought vigorously to keep a runaway mom from the United States from being extradited there to face child abduction charges. A lawyer said he recently approached this organization for help to keep one of his clients from being extradited, but the agency said it would not help because the client was a man.

A.M. Costa Rica has published a number of stories about the ease with which a woman can get a male thrown out of a house with a simple allegation of domestic violence. Many of these allegations are false, but the courts usually side with the women and sometimes cause expats to lose a house to a woman who has just chosen a new lover.
police woman
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía
y Seguridad Pública photo
President Chinchilla has just pinned a medal to the uniform of Sara Ortiz in a ceremony Thursday.

The state bank, Banco Nacional, has even set up a Banca Mujer, which seems to do little business at its location near the Gran Hotel Costa Rica. The bank has special lines of credit for women and maintains business advisors online.

In Limón province, the Banca para el Desarrollo just announced a program called Adelante Mujeres!, coordinated by the Asociación Costa Rica Grameen, that has 1 billion colons, about $2 million, to provide credit to an estimated 7,900 women in under privileged circumstances.  Ms. Chinchilla just inaugurated the micro-financing program.

There seems to be disproportionate news coverage, too, in the murder of a woman. There was one Wednesday night in Guápiles where a boyfriend or husband appears to have stabbed a 49-year-old woman in the neck and then tried to kill himself. She was identified by the last name of García.

These are fairly rare instances. Last year there were five such cases, according to the Fuerza Pública, which credited its efforts and efforts of other police agencies for reducing the number from 12 the previous year. The Guápiles case makes the total six for 2013 so far. This figures only refer to women being killed by their legal partner. The death of women in robberies and other crimes is not counted.

The women's institute and others have been trying to jack up the penalties for such crimes, but a measure that had the backing of lawmakers found rejection in the Sala IV constitutional court because of the discriminatory approach. In an unusual move, one of the sitting Corte Suprema female magistrates joined a committee to iron out the kinks in the law.

Other aspects of the law remain, including a controversial section that provides prison for insulting or inflicting psychological stress on a female partner. Five men were convicted of this offense in 2011, sources said.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 162

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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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Real estate agents and services

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Puriscal man found murdered
 in his home by relative

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A public school administrator died Saturday or early Sunday in Puriscal. He was identified by the last name of Murillo and was 49.

A family member found his body about 7 a.m. in the living room of his home in  Mercedes Norte de Puriscal, said the Judicial Investigating Organization. The man has been active politically and briefly served as the municipal mayor several years ago.

Judicial agents said the body appeared to have three knife wounds. One was in the head. Another was in the side and a third was in the chest. Agents said that a motive was not clear immediately.

Film festival next weekend
in Manuel Antonio hotels

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The second annual Festival de Cine will be held in Manuel Antonio from Aug. 23 to 25.

The event has a roundtable scheduled on Costa Rican movies that will be held Aug. 23 in the Hotel San Bada  in the afternoon and evening. The discussions will be accompanied by the movies that are under discussion.

The festival moved to the Hotel Villas lirio for the last two days.

Science fiction also will be showcased with the showing of "Blade Runner," "Logan's Run" and the classic "Metropolis" among others, organizers said.

The festival is endorsed by the  Municipalidad de Aguirre, the  Ministerio de Cultura  y Juventud and the  Centro Costarricense de Producción Cinematográfica. More information is available on the festival Web site HERE!

Teacher in Turrialba wins
top tax collector lottery prize

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A teacher in Turrialba has been named the winner of the first lottery run by the tax collectors.

She is  Jeanina Arce V, who gets 25 million colons or about $50,000.

Whether they know it or not, anyone who shops with a credit or debit card are participants in the lottery. This one was the first of five raffles run by the Dirección General de Tributación,  The government agency said it gets the names from banks. Anyone who uses a credit card  or debit card issued in Costa Rica is automatically included, the agency said.

The reason for the lottery is to accumulate the payments so that Tributación can root out tax evaders.

For every 3,000 colons in purchases a card users gets a separate entry with the chance of winning one of seven prizes each month.

The second drawing will be in the middle of September, Tributación said.

Our reader's opinion
Runaway runoff jeopardizes
properties and water on coast

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I have a local gardener, and he cleans my yard really well.  Too well.  He picks up every leaf.  The consequence of all this neatness is erosion.  My top soil washes away with every rain.  The same thing is happening to the beaches on a larger scale.

No.  My gardener is not picking up leaves, but the properties above the beach are sending their water out to sea as fast as they can.  These deep drainage ditches are all dry now after several weeks of rain.  In their rapid rush to the sea, the water carried part of the beach with it.  In Manzanillo at the far east end of the ramshackle Puerto Viejo to Manzanillo road, there is a new inland strip lagoon of water adjacent to the sea.  It was carved out of the beach by the rapid run off of storm water.  As the rain stops, the inland lagoon does and will stink.

In the short walk from Playa Chiquita to Punta Uva, where there once was only two storm water outfalls, now there are many.  Some of these storm water outfalls converge to make little islands and undercut the coconut palms and the almond trees.   They fall in and the water creeps up higher into the forest and higher into the legally developed lots.  The first 200 meters from the beach has several restrictions to development.  The law says that if the water moves and puts your property into the 200-meter zone, “tough luck!”

Many of us did the research and were careful to build our homes outside of the zone.   But now with the increased development, the water is coming closer.  This means we may lose our homes to an act of nature…that really is the cumulative acts of our neighbors.  If there is no law in this environmentally sensitive area to control and manage storm water, there should be.  And if there is a law, then enforcement is long overdue.

Not only are we in danger of losing our land, but we are in peril of having salt water intrusion into our drinking wells.  The water table here is very shallow.  We have that water because water soaks into the ground and collects below.  These huge engineered canals dug with a ditch witch or backhoe are not giving the water time to soak in.  It really is not right that people move to a coastal wetlands and start drying it up.  It is especially not right when everything is connected and this wet environment is what gives us our special place in a tropical paradise.  There are ways to correctly manage storm water .  If there is a plan for this area, storm water management should be part of it!
Carol I. Meeds
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

NSA broke law repeatedly,
new document release says

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A prominent U.S. newspaper says it has obtained a National Security Agency internal audit and other top secret documents, showing that the agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority, thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008.

The Washington Post reported Thursday most of the infractions involve unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign intelligence targets in the U.S., both restricted by law and executive order.  The newspaper said the infractions range from significant violations of law to typographical errors resulting in the unintended interception of U.S. e-mails and telephone calls.

The Washington Post said NSA leaker Edward Snowden provided the newspaper with the documents weeks ago.  The report said the documents include a level of detail and analysis that is not routinely shared with Congress or the special court that oversees surveillance.

The newspaper cited an unidentified senior NSA official who said in an interview "we're a human-run agency operating in a complex environment with a number of different regulatory regimes, so at times we find ourselves on the wrong side of the line." 

According to the story, in one of the documents, NSA personnel are instructed to remove details and substitute more generic language in reports to the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

The Washington Post said the NSA decided it did not need to report the unintended surveillance of Americans.  The newspaper said a notable example in 2008 was the interception of a large number of calls placed from Washington.  The Post said a programming error confused Washington's telephone area code 202 for 20, the international dialing code for Egypt.  The newspaper said that, according to a "quality assurance" review, the NSA's oversight staff was not made aware of the interceptions.

The Post cited another case in which the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which has authority over some NSA operations, did not learn about a new collection method until it had been in operation for many months. The report says the court ruled the method unconstitutional.

The Washington Post said in the NSA audit, dated May, 2012, there were 2,776 "incidents" in the preceding 12 months of "unauthorized collection, storage, access to or distribution of legally protected communications."  The newspaper said most of the incidents were unintended, involving "failures of due diligence or violations of standard operating procedure."  The newspaper said the "most serious" incidents involved a violation of a court order and unauthorized use of data about more than 3,000 Americans and green card holders.

The Washington Post said there is "no reliable way" to calculate from the number of recorded compliance issues, how many American's have had their communications "improperly collected, stored or distributed by the NSA."

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 162
Real Estate
About us

There's some good highway news for Monteverde residents
By Shahrazad Encinias Vela
Special to a.M. Costa Rica

The walls of thick green forest and miles of mountainous vegetation distract from the bumpy and dusty road to the laid back cloud-forest town of Monteverde.

Founded by Quakers in the 1950s, Monteverde is one of the top tourist destinations in Costa Rica. More specifically, the main little town of Santa Elena is the first stop most tourists make. There are approximately 7,000 residents in the cloud forest, according to And approximately 180,000 visitors a year travel to the area, according to Danny Ramírez, president of the Cámara de Turismo Monteverde.

The main road, Ruta 606, leading from Puntarenas and up through Guacimal has a 17- kilometer stretch that has driven residents and business owners to work together to demand a better road.

Their efforts worked. Officials from Consejo Nacional de Vialidad confirmed road construction no later than the end of this month, said Rafa Eduardo Arguedes, resident and local activist. He said the confirmation was made during a meeting last week in San José. Officials from the road agency were called and emailed for interviews, but they didn’t reply.

The lack of tourism sparked business owners to seek a better road. And now residents have sided with the local entrepreneurs because of health and safety issues such as respiratory problems and vehicles falling off the edge.

“Monteverde wants and needs a new road,” said Arguedes.

There were eight collisions and five rollovers on the Guacimal road in 2012, according to the Cruz Roja in Monteverde.

The Facebook page of Foro de Monteverde confirmed that the road construction to a paved road will begin sometime this month. Arguedes said in November when the rain stops is when they can expect asphalt to be laid down. He added there are different steps for a full paved road but Monteverde will have a paved road soon.

The locals have put up with the gravel roads, the damaged vehicles caused by the road and the decrease in tourism. Susu Gray, resident, said the roads have to improve for development since Monteverde is dependent of tourism for iys economy. Ramírez said the roads aren’t wide enough for two buses to simultaneously be on the road. He added one has to fall back in order for the other to go through.

Ms. Gray said that the roads continue to get narrower because of erosion and this make her feel unsafe.

“I’m always very wary. I hold onto the steering wheel tighter and look over the edges,” said Ms, Gray.

In the past two months there have been protests that have raised national attention. Most recently a 500-plus people and a 150-vehicle caravan protest took to the Interamericana highway to demand a better road condition.

“The people feel an obligation,” said Arguedes. “The people can make an impact.”

The protestors demanded for the gravel road to be paved. The caravan drove through the 17-kilometer stretch at a slow pace, what Costa Rican’s referred to as tortuguismo, turtle-like. This caused traffic slowdowns.

“One of the biggest complaints we get here are about the roads, and they ask for a better route. That is definitely a main issue,” said Monica Arguedes Villalobos, employee of Sky Adventures.

Three different routes lead to Monteverde: Las Juntas,
highway map
Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transporte map
Ruta 606 goes north from Ruta 1, the Interamericana Norte, and passes through small communities on the way to Santa Elena and Monteverde.

Tilarán, and the Guacimal stretch. An approximate four-hour drive from San José, Ruta 606 is the road most taken by visitors.

“The tourists that come here are very valuable because they show interest in this area,” said Naomi Hall, who fields questions at the Cámara de Turismo Monteverde, located in a small cabin-like building on the corner of the main street next to the popular ice cream shop. “People that come here are valuable because they’re choosing to come here and take the extra effort to come to Monteverde regardless of the roads.”

Road improvements are needed, not just to attract more tourists, Arguedes said, but also for health and safety reasons. The unpaved roads kick up a lot of dust causing respiratory problems for the locals. He said there are no hospitals in the area, only clinics, so in case of emergencies the roads complicate residents's livelihoods, he said.

The roads have also caused cars to go off the side and roll down the mountain, said Ms. Gray. She added that there are no reports about such incidents because Monteverde doesn’t have a newspaper but that it does happen.

“It’s hard to pass other cars and busses… some cars have gone off before… it’s all word of mouth, but you do hear about it… It’s really kind of mysterious but it has happened,” said Ms. Gray.

The price of paved roads would be a one-time $16 million investment, in comparison to the now $1 million annual investment the government is supposed to spend to maintain the gravel roads once a year, Arguedes said. The roads should be maintained twice a year instead of once he added. And each repair costs approximately $200,000, said Ramírez.

The Guacimal stretch is a route that because of the topographic and environmental conditions the gravel doesn’t work, said Ramírez.

Jorge Arturo, a resident of Alajuela, believes the road should be paved. He wore a white bike short-suit covered in mud from his participation in Ecobike Monteverde, a 25-kilometer bike trail along the perimeter of Santa Elena. The bike riders trekked through two kilometers of the Guacimal route at the very end of the trail.

“The trek is very hard and pretty. it’s a beautiful zone . . . but the Guacimal should be asphalted,” Arturo said.

Confessions of a once and probably future pot head
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, brain surgeon and CNN contributor, has shown himself once again to be a true medical scientist who follows the evidence and facts and gives his opinion accordingly. After further investigation and without the mindset that pot is a dangerous and addictive drug with no medical value, Dr. Gupta has changed his mind about marijuana. 

After a year studying the research and by his observations of actual patients with actual results, he has come to the conclusion that there are some valuable medicinal uses for marijuana with fewer side effects than other prescribed medication.  A lot of the uses have positive effects on people suffering from conditions originating in the brain or to offset the side effects of other treatments.  I could not agree with him more.
Probably the worst thing I did for my health when I was young was to smoke cigarettes.  I was 18 and engaged, and my fiancé taught me to smoke and drink alcoholic cocktails and thus be more sophisticated.   So I dutifully practiced smoking until I got so good at it I became addicted. I never became good at drinking because I didn’t like the way people behaved when they were drunk, and I didn’t want to act like that. I finally kicked my smoking addiction going cold turkey, 24 years ago.  I knew a former heroin addict who told me that quitting smoking was more difficult than quitting heroin.

In 1954 I was living in Hollywood, California, and dating a movie stunt man.  He smoked pot and invited me to parties where they smoked pot.  Although I could never tell whether or not he was “high,” but being well indoctrinated, I refused, thinking I would become a dope fiend, as well as a smoker. 

By the 1960s life in California had changed, especially in San Francisco.  I met a lot of people who smoked pot but did not seem to be fiends about it.  Actually, I liked their behavior better than I did of people who drank.  Later I decided that alcohol lowers our inhibitions and pot lowers our defenses. I preferred a happy high rather than a belligerent one.

In 1977 while studying for my master's degree in social science and working in the women’s studies office at San Jose State, I was diagnosed with an aggressive type of breast cancer.  My Aunt Mary died of breast cancer when it eventually went to her brain. I was told I needed an operation and later radiation and chemotherapy.  After my operation, lying on the lab table soaking up the radiation was a dehumanizing experience.  Marijuana helped me to be more objective about it and also avoid the side effects. I opted out of chemotherapy after the first session, reading that its effectiveness on women my age was dubious but the listed side effects were not.

During six weeks of radiation I continued to smoke pot. I also continued to work in women’s studies, finish my degree, and teach two classes at two different colleges.

I stopped using marijuana when I took a full-time job on campus with the university

Some people (have you ever noticed how much press Some People and their opinions get?) say of anyone in favor of legalizing weed, “They just want to get high.” Some people
Butterfly in the City
. . .  Musings from San José

By Jo Stuart

Jo Stuart

could also say those who want to mix themselves a drink containing alcohol just want to get high.  The implication seems to be that taking a medication for whatever ails you should not make you actually feel good. It should just take away the pain.

When I first moved to Costa Rica I didn’t hear or see much about pot.  It was not legal, but there was never anything in the papers about pot arrests or the burning of pot plants. I heard that pot smoking was pretty widespread but not noticeable, except perhaps in the smile of pura vida.

Since the war on drugs has spread to Costa Rica, things have changed.  The U.S. had labeled marijuana as an illegal Schedule #1 drug: as dangerous and addictive as heroin and cocaine with no medical benefits and other countries are expected to act accordingly.

Considering that, it is perplexing that in October of 2008, the U.S. government obtained a patent (#6630507) on medical marijuana.  Is that just hedging your bets or hypocrisy?

Marijuana helped me through a very difficult medical emergency and recovery. During that time I took no other medication, and I did not become addicted.  If the time comes when again I feel I need it for medical reasons, I will probably go in search of it. It may even be legal by then.

U.S. tax

Del Rey HOtel

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Imaging does not support right-brain, left-brain popular culture theory
By the University of Utah news service

Chances are, you’ve heard the label of being a right-brained or left-brained thinker. Logical, detail-oriented and analytical? That’s left-brained behavior. Creative, thoughtful and subjective? Your brain’s right side functions stronger — or so long-held assumptions suggest.

But newly released research findings from University of Utah neuroscientists assert that there is no evidence within brain imaging that indicates some people are right-brained or left-brained.

For years in popular culture, the terms left-brained and right-brained have come to refer to personality types with an assumption that some people use the right side of their brain more while some use the left side more.

Following a two-year study, University of Utah researchers have debunked that myth through identifying specific networks in the left and right brain that process lateralized functions.

Lateralization of brain function means that there are certain mental processes that are mainly specialized to one of the brain’s left or right hemispheres. During the course of the study, researchers analyzed resting brain scans of 1,011 people between the ages of seven and 29. In each person, they studied functional lateralization of the brain measured for thousands of brain regions
 — finding no relationship that individuals preferentially use their left -brain network or right- brain network more often.

“It’s absolutely true that some brain functions occur in one or the other side of the brain. Language tends to be on the left, attention more on the right. But people don’t tend to have a stronger left- or right-sided brain network. It seems to be determined more connection by connection, ” said Jeff Anderson, lead author of the study, which is formally titled “An Evaluation of the Left-Brain vs. Right-Brain Hypothesis with Resting State Functional Connectivity Magnetic Resonance Imaging.” It is published in the journal PLOS ONE this month.

Researchers obtained brain scans for the population they studied from a database called Ithe International Neuroimaging Data-Sharing Initiative.  The participants’ scans were taken while a participant lay in a scanner for five to 10 minutes while their resting brain activity was analyzed.

By viewing brain activity, scientists can correlate brain activity in one region of the brain compared to another. In the study, researchers broke up the brain into 7,000 regions. They looked for connections — or all of the possible combinations of brain regions — and added up the number of connections for each brain region.

Results of the study are groundbreaking, as they may change the way people think about the old right-brain versus left-brain theory, he said.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 162
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Cost of TB in Europe reported
to be in the billions of euros

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Europe is facing a multi-billion-euro time bomb of rising costs to control tuberculosis as drug-resistant forms of the lung disease spread, a pioneering study found.
Often thought of as a disease of the past or one restricted to marginalized communities, TB is already inflicting annual direct costs of more than 500 million euros on the region and another 5.3 billion euros in productivity losses.
The study, by health economists based in Germany, also suggests the economic burden of TB far outweighs the likely costs of investing in much-needed research to develop more effective medicines and vaccines — something they said governments and the drug industry should do urgently.
"We know that new drugs and vaccines are very expensive, but if you take these costs into consideration, then everything is justified," said Roland Diel, a health economics professor at Germany's University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein in Kiel, who led the study.
The emergence of strains of that can't be treated with even the most powerful of drugs has turned TB into one of the world's most pressing health problems.
According to the World Health Organization, TB infected 8.7 million people worldwide in 2011 and killed 1.4 million. As many as two million people may have drug-resistant strains by 2015, the Geneva-based health agency says.
Treating even typical TB is a long process. Patients need to take a cocktail of antibiotics for six months and many fail to complete the treatment. That, alongside overuse and misuse of antibiotics, has fueled the emergence of multidrug-resistant TB  and extensively drug resistant strains.
For this study, published online in the European Respiratory Journal today and the first of its kind, researchers used a systematic review of literature and institutional Web sites for the 27 EU member states to summarize data on TB treatment costs in 2011.
They split the countries into two groups based on gross domestic product per person.
For the old EU 15 countries plus Cyprus, Malta and Slovenia, the average direct cost per case of typical TB was 10,282 euros ($13,600), but was more than 57,200 euros for multidrug-resistant cases and more than 170,700 euros for extensively drug resistant cases. For the remaining EU states, average costs were 3,427 euros for standard treatable TB and around 24,100 euros for drug-resistant cases.
The total treatment cost of all TB cases in 2011 was 536,890,315 euros ($712.26 million).
While the number of drug-resistant TB cases in Europe is currently only a tiny fraction of the total of around 70,000 cases per year, Diel said that would swiftly change.
"It's a time bomb in terms of drug-resistant cases," he said in a telephone interview. "They are just a small fraction right now, but that will increase... so the costs will also rise."
Beyond the direct costs, Diel's team also calculated TB's impact in terms of the monetary value of lost productivity.
Using disability-adjusted life years  — a measure of disease burden that looks at the number of years lost due to ill-health, disability or early death — they found the total years lost was 103,104 in 2011. In monetary terms, this amounted to more than 5.3 billion euros.
Diel said this was the figure that shocked him the most.
"People assume that in most parts of Europe, TB doesn't play much of a role in comparison to other diseases. But, in fact, the costs of it are very high," he said. "It's billions, and nobody realized that before."
Responding to the findings, Francesco Blasi, president of the European Respiratory Society, said they showed the huge burden of TB on both the economy and on society in Europe.
"It is critical that healthcare professionals and policy makers take note," he said in a statement.

Space agency ends effort
to fix space telescope wheels

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. space agency says it is ending its attempts to fix the Kepler space telescope after engineers failed to repair two of the spacecraft's four reaction wheels. One of the wheels broke down in July of last year, while the second malfunctioned this past May.
NASA made the announcement Thursday, saying it is looking into whether the instrument can be used in a different capacity.
The telescope was launched in 2009 on a search for Earth-size planets in what is known as the habitable zone, the region between a star and planet in which temperatures would permit liquid water and possibly life.
But after the two wheels failed, deputy project manager Charles Sobeck said NASA is ending its attempts to restore the spacecraft to full working order. The decision to call off the repair efforts followed a test last week. The wheels are used to precisely point the spacecraft.
"We’ve since recovered the spacecraft from safe mode back to its point rest state where we use thrusters in a very fuel-efficient manner to control the spacecraft, keep it power positive, keep the communications link open," he said. "But the results of that show what we expected to see, that the wheels are sufficiently damaged that they cannot sustain spacecraft pointing control for any extended period of time."
Kepler has discovered 135 exoplanets and more than 3,500 planet candidates with a wide range of sizes and orbital distances.
The Kepler team is now focusing on analyzing the data collected by the spacecraft over the past four years.
Although the spacecraft will no longer operate with its unparalleled precision pointing, scientists expect Kepler’s most interesting discoveries are still to come.

Solar panels again going
on a roof at White House

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The White House has started installing solar panels on the first family residence as part of an energy retrofit that will improve the efficiency of the building, a White House official said Thursday.
President Barack Obama in 2009 directed federal agencies to improve energy efficiency and increase the use of renewable energy, and in late 2010 pledged to put solar panels on the White House.
It is not the first time a solar system has been installed on the White House roof. President Jimmy Carter put panels up in 1979, but they were removed in 1986 during roof repairs made under President Ronald Reagan and never replaced.
A decade ago, President George W. Bush installed a small solar system on a maintenance shed that serves the White House grounds.
The official did not specify the manufacturer of the solar panels, but said they are American-made.

Backers of Syrian president
hack three news Web sites

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Web sites of three major U.S. news outlets have been hacked by supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Washington Post newspaper, CNN and Time magazine Thursday said hackers were redirecting certain news links to the Web site of the Syrian Electronic Army, a group that supports the Syrian president's regime. The media outlets say they have taken defensive measures and removed the offending module that caused their pages to be redirected.

The Syrian Electronic Army took credit for the attacks in a post on Twitter. Those who were hacked and the group that took credit say access to the sites was gained through hacking a recommendation service called Outbrain, which works closely with the news organizations.

Earlier this week, the Syrian Electronic Army hacked into the Facebook and Twitter accounts of the New York Post.

photo of woman
The woman in the image most likely was in her late teens or early 20s when her likeness was preserved on this copper plate with finely polished silver in the mid-19th century.

Scientists trying to preserve
19th century  daguerreotypes

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The introduction of the daguerreotype in the 19th century ushered in the era of modern photography. Instead of sitting long hours for an artist to paint a portrait, customers could sit for just a few minutes while their true likeness was captured in what is now known as a photograph. Research scientists at the Smithsonian Institution are teaming up with physicists at Argonne National Laboratory outside Chicago to study these earliest known photographs, which are in danger of being lost forever.

Daniel Weinberg, of the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop in Chicago, has handled many such daguerreotypes, which are popular with collectors and historians alike.

“It was the first time you could go into a studio and have your photograph taken, and you could put it up somewhere and show it off,” he said. “They’re luminous, and they’re almost three dimensional, and you almost want to step into one.”

Weinberg also said daguerreotypes were one of a kind, not meant to be reproduced like current photographs. And although invented by a Frenchman, Louis Daguerre, they changed the American landscape in the mid-1800s.

“America really took off with the daguerreotype, and a vast majority of them were American,” said Weinberg.

“It spread like wildfire in the United States. There were hundreds of thousands of daguerreotypes made over a 20-year time span,” said Ed Vicenzi, research scientist at the Smithsonian Institution.

Many of the most important images now reside at the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress, including the one of a mysterious young woman that research scientist Vicenzi whimsically calls “Clara,” although her real name is unknown.

“We don’t know her name, her family, the state she’s from,” he said.

What Vicenzi does know is the image from the past is in danger of being lost in the future unless something is done to stop the breakdown of its microscopic chemical makeup.

“So daguerreotypes are actually made up of a bunch of nanoparticles on the surface that scatter the light, and this is in some ways similar to the way technology devices are made today, so we’re also interested in what did 19th century photographers know about nanotechnology unwittingly,” he said.

Physicist Volker Rose is working with Vicenzi, at Argonne National Laboratory by focusing the intense X-rays of Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source at fragments of the daguerreotype.

“Those objects are almost 200 years old, and they were made at a time when the concept of nanotechnology, even the word at that time, didn’t exist,” he said.

“We can focus those X-rays down to very small spot sizes. This allows us to look very deep into material, but also get a lot of information on a very small length scale,” said Rose.

“The technology that’s available at the Advanced Photon Source will allow me to study the very early stages of degradation of daguerreotype plates. They corrode over time, but we need to learn the chemical mechanisms in order to understand how we can preserve these objects for the future,” said Vicenzi.

Vicenzi hopes his efforts at Argonne will provide the answers historians, preservationists and collectors seek to guide them in saving these images of the past - so future generations can study, understand and appreciate first-hand what life was like in the 19th century.

Small mammal in Andes
identified at last  by scientists

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Scientists say they have found a new species of carnivore in the cloud forests of the Andes mountains in South America, the first discovery of its kind in more than 30 years.

The one-kilogram olinguito has big eyes and orange-brown fur, and it resembles both a cat and a cuddly, stuffed toy bear. The tree-dwelling creature shares its family roots with raccoons and kinkajous. 

It turns out that the olinguito was known to people, but misidentified for more than 100 years as the similar, but larger, olingo.  A team of researchers studying olingo specimens in museums noticed a difference in the size and shape of the heads and teeth, leading them on a quest to determine if this was a previously undescribed animal.

A zoologist in Ecuador captured a few seconds of video that showed an olinguito and confirmed its existence.

Humans are encroaching on the olinguitos' habitat in the Andean cloud forests.  The research team estimates that 42 percent of historic olinguito habitat has already been developed.
The findings are published in the journal ZooKeys.

Excessive U.S. drinking cost
is put at $220 billion a year

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Excessive alcohol drinking costs Americans more than $220 billion a year, or almost $2 a drink. And the biggest costs come from a loss of worker productivity.
A new study used data from 2006 in a complicated analysis of different costs associated with excessive drinking. The researchers looked at results from around the United States and found a lot of variation in different parts of the country, but the numbers add up to a very expensive habit.
“The economic cost of excessive drinking was about $223.5 billion in 2006, which works out to be about $1.90 per drink, and over $700 per person,” says Robert Brewer, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a government public health agency.

Those alcohol-related costs include health care, the expense of prosecuting drinking-related crimes, and property damage from road accidents, for example. But Brewer says the biggest expense by far relates to lost productivity. People with a drinking problem tend to have lower-paying jobs, they may be absent more frequently and they may be less productive when they are at work.

“In addition to that, a number of people die of alcohol-attributable conditions,” Brewer explained in a telephone interview. “And many of those folks die in the prime of their life. So there’s the personal tragedy there. But there’s also a huge economic cost to somebody dying, for example, in an alcohol-related motor vehicle crash at age 35 which eliminates several decades of the victim’s working life."
It should be emphasized that this is a study of the costs of excessive alcohol use, not the occasional beer or a glass of wine with dinner. Most of the costs, Brewer says, stem from binge drinking.
Although this was a study of the economic impact of heavy drinking in the United States, Brewer says many other countries have problems with what the World Health Organization calls harmful use of alcohol. The exact dollar impact may be different.
“But I think that it is very reasonable to assume that harmful alcohol use is going to result in some of the same consequences in other countries, even if the costs associated with those consequences are different,” said Brewer.

Brewer's research on the economic costs of excessive alcohol use is published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Higher mortality in young men
linked to heavy coffee drinking

By the Mayo Clinic Proceedings news staff

Nearly 400 million cups of coffee are consumed every day in America. Drinking large amounts of coffee may be bad for under-55s, according to a new study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

A study of more than 40,000 individuals found a statistically significant 21 percent increased mortality in those drinking more than 28 cups of coffee a week and death from all causes, with a greater than 50 percent increased mortality risk in both men and women younger than 55 years of age. Investigators warn that younger people in particular may need to avoid heavy coffee consumption. No adverse effects were found in heavy coffee drinkers aged over 55.

Drinking coffee has become a normal daily routine for large numbers of people worldwide. According to the latest National Coffee Drinking Study from the National Coffee Association, more than 60 percent of American adults drink coffee every day, consuming on average just over three cups a day.

Coffee has long been suspected to contribute to a variety of chronic health conditions, although earlier studies on coffee consumption in relation to deaths from all causes and deaths from coronary heart disease are limited, and the results are often controversial.

A multicenter research team investigated the effect of coffee consumption on death from all causes and deaths from cardiovascular disease in the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study cohort, with an average follow-up period of 16 years and a relatively large sample size of over 40,000 men and women.

Between 1979 and 1998, nearly 45,000 individuals aged between 20 and 87 years old participated and returned a medical history questionnaire assessing lifestyle habits (including coffee consumption) and personal and family medical history. The investigators examined a total of 43,727 participants (33,900 men and 9,827 women) in their final analysis.

During the 17-year median follow-up period there were 2,512 deaths (men: 87.5 percent; women: 12.5 percent), 32% of these caused by cardiovascular disease. Those who consumed higher amounts of coffee (both men and women) were more likely to smoke and had lower levels of cardiorespiratory fitness.

All participants were followed from the baseline examination to date of death or until Dec. 31, 2003. Deaths from all causes and deaths from cardiovascular disease were identified through the National Death Index or by accessing death certificates.

Younger men had a trend towards higher mortality even at lower consumption, but this became significant at about 28 cups per week where there was a 56 percent increase in mortality from all causes. Younger women who consumed more than 28 cups of coffee per week also had a greater than two-fold higher risk of all-cause mortality than those who did not drink coffee.

Senior investigator Steven H. Blair of the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, emphasizes that “Significantly, the results did not demonstrate any association between coffee consumption and all-cause mortality among older men and women. It is also important to note that none of the doses of coffee in either men or women whether younger or older had any significant effects on cardiovascular mortality.”

Coffee is a complex mixture of chemicals consisting of thousands of components. Recent research has found that coffee is one of the major sources of antioxidants in the diet and has potential beneficial effects on inflammation and cognitive function. However, it is also well-known that coffee has potential adverse effects because of caffeine’s potential to stimulate the release of epinephrine, inhibit insulin activity, and increase blood pressure and levels of homocysteine.

“Thus, all of these mechanisms could counterbalance one another. Research also suggests that heavy coffee drinkers may experience additional risk through potential genetic mechanisms or because of confounding through the deleterious effects of other risk factors with which coffee drinking is associated,” say lead authors, Junxiu Liu, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, and Xuemei Sui, Department of Exercise Science, both at the Arnold School of Public Health. “Therefore, we hypothesize that the positive association between coffee and mortality may be due to the interaction of age and coffee consumption, combined with a component of genetic coffee addiction.”

The investigators suggest that younger people in particular should avoid heavy coffee consumption of more than 28 cups a week or four cups in a typical day. However, they emphasize that further studies are needed in different populations to assess details regarding the effects of long-term coffee consumption and changes in coffee consumption over time on all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality.

“There continues to be considerable debate about the health effects of caffeine, and coffee specifically, with some reports suggesting toxicity and some even suggesting beneficial effects, ” said Carl J. Lavie of the Department of Cardiovascular Diseases, Ochsner Medical Center, New Orleans, and a co-author of this study.


Real estate-related services (paid category)

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 2228-5961 or 8339-2112.

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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
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Check with our Web site at
Contact us at the office: (506) 2694-0088
Cell (506) 8880-8888
Phone number from the U.S. (305) 307-0088
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The #1 Authority in Costa Rica Real Estate

Costa Rica real estate
Since 1996, CRREC has been providing the most valuable resource for discovering real estate in Costa Rica. Our Costa Rica properties database contains some of the most exclusive and hard to find properties in the country. Not to mention how affordable some of our Costa Rica homes for sale are. So if you're in the market for Costa Rica real estate then we encourage you to
visit our Costa Rica MLS and discover for yourself why people call CRREC the #1 authority in Costa Rica real estate.
Call Today @ 506-2654-5507 (Costa Rica) or 1-888-414-1836 (Toll-Free) Email:

Costa Rica,

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

   (506) 8538-6186
   (506) 7100-8489
   (506) 8707-4016

  Send us your request to our email:

Real estate for sale (paid category)

humming bird nest

Bed & Breakfast for sale and personal home with 2 houses on property of 3/4 acre (3,030 m2) and buildings w/verandas & carport approximately 350 m2. One house at entrance is central to village w/gated parking lot and a 3-bedroom house for rental or employees/family w/carport/yard/gardens. A 50-meter sendero winds to the top among lush gardens where the main house is situated w/2 buildings attached by verandas & stairway to second floor.  There are 2 bedrooms, sala, 4 baths, large kitchen, laundry rooms, work bodega, storage bodega and hot tub on veranda w/tiled shower room.  Home is surrounded by tropical gardens, views of Arenal Volcano, panoramic views of Lake Arenal, private w/school owned property on one side, pasture land on back side and connecting entry gate on other side to Cabinas El Castillo & Fusion Restaurant.  A bird watcher's paradise w/hummingbirds, Montezuma, toucans, butterflies and visits from howler monkeys.  The B&B is listed four consecutive editions of Lonely Planet and the first established B&B in this area.  Photos can be viewed on the Web site:  Make your dream come true with a slice of paradise in a quiet, private setting. Call Ellen Neely at  8835-8711.  Email:

Liberia farm
Must Sell - Immediately
Guanacaste - Liberia Farm

9 hectares (24 acres)
$ 0.66 cents per square meter
Riverfront property and amazing views of 3 volcanoes
10 minutes from Liberia center
$59,500 plus all legal fees

Naranjo views


4254 msq. 1.2 acres - $59,000.00
• 10 minutes to the autopista and Naranjo centro
• Tranquil and Quiet
• Landscaped with fruit trees and flowering plants, and coffee#
• Incredible views - The Central Valley and nature reserve
• Close to public transportation - paved main road
• Building pad prepared and soil tested
• Survey/topo
• All services in place and underground - water/electricity/phone

Playa Palo Seco - Gorgeous beachfront 2-story home of roughly 2,000 square feet set on a half acre ocean front full of beautiful fruit and shade trees in Playa Palo Seco.
Playa Paol Seco
This home features two bedrooms, three full baths, high quality A/C units, huge front and backyard, and of course, a fantastic view of the Pacific Ocean just feet away from the front door! Playa Palo Seco is only minutes from  the tourist hot spot Jacó but far enough away to be quiet and tranquil. This is an incredible opportunity at $150,000! Owner financing is available! Visit for more information!

El Castillo - Up to 60-acre tract with breathtaking views of Volcán Arenal and Lake
Arenal are available. Multiple GORGEOUS home building sites are scattered throughout this area. This is definitely a one-of-a-kind piece of land that cannot be replicated. Perfectly suited for either real estate investment, homebuilding, or even a resort. Owner financing  is available! Please visit us at for more information!

San Ramon - Beautiful tracts of land of all shapes and sizes for sale in the San Ramón
San Ramon
area. Vista Rica Realty has been in the business for over 20 years which allows us to outcompete in not only selection, but also price. Oceanview homesites from only $30,000 with easy access to San Ramón. Up to 90-hectare fincas perfect for raising cattle or an off-the-grid project. Owner financing is available! Please visit us at for more information!

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

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

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

Condo for sale in Flamingo

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

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

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

San Pedro condo
Condo for Sale in Flor del Este
Lourdes, Montes de Oca San Jose

Located behind The Foundation Costa Rica Canada 500 meters north of Inglesia Lourdes. U Latina, UCR, and U Fieditas are located within 5 minutes.  Beautiful mountain view from roof covered 3rd floor terraza. Condo is a 3-story. Three/four-bedroom, three and half bath unit within a secure complex of 40 condos with high cement outside walls with only one entrance manned by an armed guard 24 hours per day. In addition, to security fencing, and electric wire, a recorded security camera system is monitored within the guard house. Residence has a telephone communication system to contact the guard house. In addition there is a green park area inside the complex for children to safely play and an outside parking area in from of guard house for visitors. Equipped with an independent wired security system in addition to iron bars on windows and patio doors. Equipped with circuit breaker box and 220-volt service for hot water heater, stove and dryer. Also has water storage tank under parking area and water pump to maintain high pressure on all three floors. American-style washer and electric dryer, Refrigerator, glass top stove, and kitchen cabinets included. $185,000. Other furniture items may be available for purchase.
Call Bill   (English) C.R. Phone: (506) 6011-6987
U.S. Phone:  6630-886-4458  or   (305) 848- 5577
Spanish  phone number: (506) 8799 4041

Guaancaate condos
Little Dreams La Colina Magnolias

Great Guanacaste Beach Condos Available

$28,500 - Little Dreams - Ocotal beach studio condo, furnished upper floor condo in great complex just 1 mile from Ocotal beach, 2 miles from Coco beach, great price for this complex.
$70,000 - La Colina - another Ocotal beach 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo, 80 m2 and fully furnished with upgraded kitchen, complex has Infinity pool, mountain views.

$75,000 Magnolias 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath townhome just 1 minute's walk from Coco beach and the 2 beach clubs in Coco. Nicely furnished, walk to town, 67 m2, perfect location.
Find out more information on these and other condos at my website All 3 of these condos are about 35 minutes away from Liberia Intl. airport, no need to drive a long way to get to your condo.  Call for more information, 1-415-670-9382 or 011-506-826-1211. Or email

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

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

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:

Playa Octal home
Playa Ocotal Beach Home
This home is located in a residential resort complex made up of 40 luxurious, fully furnished beachfront villas, plus a clubhouse complete with poolside bar and restaurant. Bahía Pez Vela is located in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, one kilometer from Playa Ocotal on the North Pacific coast and just 30 minutes drive from Liberia International Airport and three miles to downtown Playas Del Coco. From this home you can hear and see the waves crashing on the rocks of this pristine beach. See it HERE! This is the best priced beach home in Costa Rica! Price $225,000   Contact: Bruce Hummel, - Cell Phone: 011 (506) 8819-2119, From US/Canada: (816) 987-7166.

La Garita
This home was built by a California contractor with all the amenities expected in a 3,000-square foot home.  There is a little less than one acre of land.  There is an 800-square foot shop easily converted to a rental unit or studio.  Located in La Garita de Atenas, 15 minutes to the international airport and 30 minutes to San José.  $225,000. 2487-4500.

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

Jacó compound
Located in Jacó at Barrio Ricos y Famosos in Calle Europa, Casa Shangri La.
Main house: 3 bedrooms, 3 bath 270 square meters, 2 condominiums 2 bedrooms, one bath, 110 square meters, plus one small apartment. one bedroom, one bath. Huge pool, carport for five cars. plus double garage, rancho with pool bathroom,  gymnasium, laundry room, pool plumbing room, huge dog house in separate 500 square-meter garden with aviary for Guacamayas (we have three birds) 60 meters of river front of Río Copey with a 4 meter-high protective and retention stone wall. Eight surveillance camera CCTV system with Internet access from anywhere. Over 2 meter-high brick wall all around the property with two layers of razor wires on top, the safest place to be! Electronic entrance gate, door phone, five telephone lines, high-speed Internet wireless access everywhere. Beautiful gardens with many fruit trees. Price $ 1,350.000 negotiable. All fittings and furniture, included even a car. Owner financing available. German-built, excellent quality and well maintained. More photos on request.

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

For Sale By Owner
1 lot (1.5 acres)  at SIBU (8 lots total) amongst 50 acres of protected jungle gardens with sunset ocean views of Playa Nosara. Underground electric and water.13 minutes from Playa Guiones. Gated. In house financing available. Home of SIBU Sanctuary.

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

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

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
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Business for sale or lease (paid category)7115-12/16/11

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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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 162
Real Estate
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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

State of Press freedoms
in Guatemala deplored

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Press freedom is deteriorating in Guatemala, exemplified by two armed attacks during recent weeks that left a journalist injured and another one dead, said the Inter American Press Association. The organization also condemned the continued advertising discrimination made by the federal government against the newspaper elPeriódico.

The Inter American Press Association  also reproached the attacks against Fredy Rodas and asked that an in-depth investigation be put in place. Rodas, correspondent of Radio Sonora in Mazatenango, province of Suchitepéquez, was intercepted Monday evening  near his home by unidentified assailants who shot him three times in the face and in his back. He was rushed to the hospital, where he is currently in stable condition. The motive for the attack is still unknown.

Furthermore, the organization, standing by the complaints of elPeriódico’s editor José Rubén Zamora from recent months, reaffirmed its concerns regarding the practice of withholding official advertising and using government coercion against private sector advertisers as means of putting pressure on media outlets.

The tension caused by the denunciations of corruption against the public administration’s office, published in elPeriódico, are understood to have been the reasons behind the change in Zamora’s security protection, put in place in 2003 as precautionary measures requested by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights after Zamora was attacked.

In a paid announcement published Wednesday in elPeriódico, the Coordinating Committee of Executive Policy Regarding Human Rights Matters and the Interior Ministry explained that the editor’s protection was removed after an evaluation on the security measures was completed, a change that is affecting 28 other cases.

During this announcement, the government after pointing out the cost and details surrounding Zamora’s protection announced that “In effect, elPeriódico has the habit of publishing false, subjective and unfounded claims against government officials. However, in respect for and guarantee of the right to the free dissemination of thought, the publisher has in no way been intimidated or suppressed, nor restricted as the people have been led to believe.”

Alongside, the chairman of the Inter American Press Association's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Claudio Paolillo, expressed his discontent towards the contradiction expressed by the government. “The government cannot say it is respectful of press freedom and that it does not intimidate a media outlet when it is evident – and government officials have admitted it – that elPeriódico is being discriminated against through the reduction of official advertising budgets.

“The financial coercion,” added Paolillo, editor of the Montevideo, Uruguay, weekly Búsqueda, “shows a serious lack of freedom of the press and the public's right to information, as indicated in treaties like the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression and the Declaration of Chapultepec, as well as in rulings made by national and international courts regarding the issue.”

Zamora has denied the government’s accounts in an op-ed piece in his paper and has also referred to the different official reports concerning the argument happening outside his home last Friday and Saturday with agents of the Public Prosecutor’s Office. He said that it was an act of intimidation, while the government claims that it was an attempt to deliver correspondence referring to the changes in the parameters concerning his safety.

Zamora holds that the acts of intimidation are part of an orchestrated campaign lead by the government to discredit his newspaper and undermine the credibility of his denunciations of abuse, power and corruption.

The Inter American Press Association also urged the government to further investigate other acts of violence that have occurred in the country. In addition to Rojas’ attack, last week the radio announcer Luis de Jesús Lima was murdered in Zacapa. April 7 Luis Alberto Lemus Ruano wass murdered, and March 20 so was Napoleón Jarquín Duarte.

The Inter American Press Association is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 print publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere, including A.M. Costa Rica.

Clarinet festival beginning
Monday for five-day run

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The five-day festival of clarinets begins Monday in the Instituto Nacional de la Música in Moravia and in the Escuela de Artes Musicales of the Universidad de Costa Rica. The event is organized by  Lenín Izaguirre Cedeño, a teacher at the institute.

Musicians will be from Costa Rica and other countries. they include Antonio Saiote of Portugal,  Hernán Darío of  the  Universidad de Cladas in Colombia and  Carmen Borregales, of the Conversatorio Simón Bolívar in Venezuela

music students who wish to participate still have time to sign up today by emailing the organizers at

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From Page 7:

Unemployment claims in U.S. dip

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The number of American workers making first-time claims for unemployment compensation has fallen to a near six-year low. 

The U.S. government said Thursday that 320,000 workers filed for jobless benefits last week, down 15,000 from the previous week. It was the lowest total since October 2007.

Unemployment compensation claims indicate that employers are laying off fewer workers. Hiring in the world's largest economy has been sluggish, though, with an average of 192,000 jobs a month added this year.

The new jobs helped push the U.S. unemployment rate down to 7.4 percent in July, the lowest figure in almost five years. But the jobless rate remains well above the historical average of between 5 and 6 percent.

In a separate report, the Labor Department said U.S. consumer prices increased a modest two-tenths of a percent in July. In the past year, the country's consumer price index has edged up 2 percent, suggesting little inflationary pressure on the economy.

Policy makers at the U.S. central bank, the Federal Reserve, are watching both the employment and inflation numbers before deciding whether to curtail their monthly purchase of securities they have been making to pump more money into the economy.

Key U.S. stock indexes dropped more than 1 percent Thursday after the favorable jobless compensation figures were released. Analysts said investors sold stocks on fears that the Fed might soon cut back on its stimulus measures.