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(506) 2223-1327                           Published Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, in Vol. 14, No. 163                     Email us
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Lawmaker says water woes may close Pacific hotels
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A lawmaker warned Monday that the shortage of water in Guanacaste might cause hotels to close in the next few weeks.

The domestic water crisis caused by a prolonged drought has been overshadowed in the news by the problems facing farmers and ranchers in the area.

But the lawmaker, Juan Marín, said that even a major hotel like the Barceló might be forced to close due to the lack of water. That would leave 250 employees without jobs, he said. 

The shortage has caused the hotel management to spend $55,000 during July just to bring in water, the lawmaker told the Asamblea Legislativa.
He blamed the Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados. However, there are many other smaller water systems in the area.

Marín said that today he and fellow lawmakers who represent that area will meet with the leadership of the national water company to seek solutions.

The dry spell is a result of the El Niño conditions in the Pacific. For months ranchers have been cutting their herds and moving animals to other locations so they could find forage. There has been a promise of an emergency decree.

Marín also said that the proliferation of drug sales on the beach was hurting tourism in Tamarindo as did the closing of the local airport due to asphalt breaking up on the runway

Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo
Fuerza Pública officers are intercepting quantities of illegally cut timber nearly every day. This might be a sign of the economic times.  The truck above contained 1,500 pieces of Melina (Gmelina arborea) and the trucker had
incomplete papers. Police found more wood Monday in northern Costa Rica, and they even rescued two pacas or tepezcuintles who appeared to have been designated for dinner.
Our story is HERE!

$100 exit fine directed at Nicaraguan workers
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some perpetual tourists in Costa Rica are verging on paranoia because they think they will be hit with a $100 fine if they are delayed in leaving the country to renew a visa.

The Nicaraguan domestic, construction and agricultural workers are the ones who should be paranoid. That's because the fine does not apply to tourists but only to those with expired residency and labor permits, according to the immigration agency.

The fine is one of those measures that has been on the books for four years and is just now coming into force.

The measure specifically targets the thousands of Nicaraguans who come to Costa Rica on 30-day visas seeking jobs and those who already are here on employment visas.

The Costa Rica government has been trying hard to learn the size of the Nicaraguan population here and get each the proper paperwork. Officials have established a series of amnesties. The period for the last residency amnesty ended July 31. About 10,000 persons in domestic employment, construction and agricultural work signed up.

The fine went into force Aug. 1, so Sept. 1 is the
first day the immigration officials will be collecting it at the border. In addition, those who have overstayed their permissions will have to remain outside the country for three times the period that they were here with expired paperwork, according to the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería.

Part of the confusion among perpetual tourists comes from statements over the years by officials. Some have said the fines would apply to everyone.

A spokesperson for the immigration agency said Monday that this is not the case and that tourists will not be affected.

Another pileup at the border is likely because those who overstayed have to pay their fine 48 hours earlier at Banco de Costa Rica.

Most of those affected do not know about the law although the newspapers in Managua have covered the situation in detail.

Perpetual tourists are those persons who live in Costa Rica, may even have jobs here and renew their tourism visa by leaving the country periodically. They usually are First World citizens who merit a 90-day visa.

The attitude of the current administration toward perpetual tourists has yet to be demonstrated.


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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
International Practice via the Web
Lucinda Gray
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Costa Rica: (506) 2228-2041


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Plus Costa Rican taxes, accounting, and legal services
Over 15 years in Costa Rica
(English Spoken)

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  U.S 786-206-9473
FAX: 2231-3300


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US Income Tax,  US GAAP Accounting
& Business Consulting

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• Associate of David Housman

Telephone 8305-3149 or 2256-8620

Legal services

Lic.Gregory Kearney Lawson.
Attorneys at Law and real estate brokers
Relocation services, Wedding Planning
Greg Kearney
*Investments  *Corporations
*Tax Shelters *Immigration
*Real Estate Sales in Costa Rica
*Name & Product registration
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*Family and Labor Law
*Locate People   *Private Investigations
Phone: 7157-9092

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Remodelling and Construction


Are you looking to buy property in Costa Rica. I am a professional builder with over 30 years experience in the remodel and construction business in the U.S. and C.R. I can inspect any building new or old meticulously and fix, remodel, do additions, whatever it needs or you want to add. I am very knowledgeable of all phases of construction and my rates are competitive.  Fully bilingual. Rainy season discounts. Contact:  Rodolfo Jimenez, Phone (506) 7129-3622  or (506) 8802-2176  Email :  
To see my work click HERE!


Architecture-Real Estate-Development

At Architect Orange we are inspired by the visions of each of our clients, and have worked diligently to embody those visions in our work.

We have locations in Atenas (servicing Central Valley/Beach areas)
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 (506) 2694-4712
Arenal office located at Agua Inn Spa


Real estate agents and services

CR Beach
Jaco Beach Central Pacific Real Estate
CR Beach Investment Real Estate Broker-Owner
Jeff Fisher invites you to see why this 20-year resident of Costa Rica believes the Central Pacific areas of Jacó Beach-Playa Hermosa-Los Suenos Marina & Golf and Esterillos-Bejuco Beaches are the best place to live and invest.
Reason #1:  SJO Int’l Airport and S.J. suburbs are little more than one hour away.
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See why Jeff and Colin Miller (12 years here), Frances Winborne (more than 23 years), and Junior Diaz (Jacó born & bred) chose the Central Pacific!

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Colinas del Sol is a fenced and gated project  in a quiet area. There are 88 clear titled lots, some in mountain areas with great views and the rest on gently sloping level areas ideal for hobby farms, gardening, fruit tree orchards, or just a quiet place to get away from the busy city and beach crowds.  All lots have gravel roads to them, water and electricity at each lot, and all lots are 5,000 sq. meters or larger, starting at only $35,000, and many can be combined for those wanting a larger area for their chosen passion be it a hobby horse farm or retirement haven.
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and 20 minutes to Liberia airport.
Please contact Jim Day at   or    Phone:  001 517 484-3675.

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Tel: (323) 255-6116

Country to host meeting on cluster bombs

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rican officials are calling on other nations to stop using cluster munitions. Manuel González Sanz, Costa Rica's foreign minister, said the nation stands opposed to these insidious weapons that will soon be subject to an international meeting.

“Before the grim aspect of production, possession, use, and transfer of cluster munitions and the failure to clean areas contaminated by these weapons, and the neglect on the individuals, families, and communities involved, no state dare violate the convention's principles,” González said.
These words come as a precursor to the Fifth Meeting of the State Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which the country will host from Sept. 1 to 5 in San José. More than 800 delegates from around the world are promised to be in attendance. Costa Rica will act as the official chair of the convention for the remainder of this year and up until the next year's convention meeting.

“We are now working to find more states to join this tool in guaranteeing success for one of the key elements of humanitarian disarmament,” González said.

The minister, President Luis Guillermo Solís, the Colegio de Periodistas and the Coalition against Cluster Munitions joined together to organize a workshop Monday called “Costa Rica in the Humanitarian Disarmament.” At the meeting, González decried the powerful weapons that he said directly conflict with international law and the rights of the international public.

“A lot of times this work falls on journalists to stigmatize the frequent use of these types of weapons,” the minister said. “We've been witnesses to their horrific and inhuman effects in recent conflicts in the last few years.”

According to the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, cluster munitions have claimed more than 100,000 victims in 23 countries. First used in World War II, they have been widely deployed in Gaza, among other modern war zones. Cluster bombs commonly refer to any explosive launched via air or ground that ejects thousands of submunitions or bomblets that can cover the area of a football field or two.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions is an international treaty adopted in 2008 that denounces the use of cluster munitions and establishes efforts to give aid to survivors of cluster bomb-related attacks and their families. It further aims to clear up contaminated areas and offer risk education on the subject. Cluster bomb remnants that remain unexploded can kill innocent people passing by in these contaminated zones.

Loan signed for geothermal projects

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A large chunk of change is coming the way of the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad to invest in geothermic energy. President Luis Guillermo Solís signed the deal with the Japan International Cooperation Agency that provides a loan of $550 million to the state electric institute.

The loan will go towards financing three large geothermic projects in the foothills of Rincón de la Vieja. It's estimated that these three plants will provide the country with an amount equivalent to what is produced at the geothermic production facilities in Miravalles I and Miravalles II, which combine to make 4 percent of Costa Rica's total energy.

According to a statement from Casa Presidencial, the loan must be paid off in a 40-year period at an interest rate of 0.6 percent. President Solís said he was excited about signing the deal and said the credit is favorable for Costa Rica.

“This loan coincides with our objective to commit to generating clean and sustainable energy and to transform the energy model of Costa Rica,” Solís said.

British lawmaker confronts anti-Semitism

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A British parliament member is visiting Costa Rica to speak out against discrimination on a global level. The visitor, John Mann, who is the head of Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating anti-Semitism, has come to get local policy makers to join in on his crusade against all classes of racism and maltreatment.

“Anti-Semitism exists all over the world, however we're happy to be in Costa Rica, which is characterized by its respect for minorities and all types of religion,” he said.

The coalition's strong network branches through 62 countries and is equally supported by political parties on the far right and the far left. It is not only comprised of representatives from the Jewish community, but by everyone interested in human rights issues. 

“We are committed to a cause that remains strong and one that has generated many deaths,” Mann said. “We believe that each government must do its part to combat all forms of discrimination and evil.”

International jurist to be honored

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Thomas Buergenthal, a one-time judge of the International Court of Justice, will receive an honorary doctorate Friday from Costa Rica's University for Peace.

The official ceremony will take place at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in San José, as the U.N.-sponsored school in Ciudad Colón will present him with its doctor honoris causa “for his outstanding career in international law, as well as for his leadership and commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights,” according to a release from the school.

His work has been especially influential in Latin America, as Buergenthal was a judge for the human rights court from 1979 to 1991, including a five-year stint as its president. He was instrumental in ending a rash of disappearances in Honduras and also in protecting human rights activists in Guatemala during that time.

Buergenthal is also slated to be a guest speaker at the inaugural international diploma in public law for human rights that will be offered at the University for Peace.

A Holocaust survivor who went through Auschwitz and Sachsenhausen, Buerguenthal penned the memoir “A Lucky Child” to describe his harrowing experience in the German concentration camps during World War II.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 163
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Ministerio de Gobernación. Policía y Seguridad Pública photo
The lumber at the camp was worth about $11,000 police said.
Forests are easy picking for those who cut lumber illegally
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

When times are tough, some Costa Ricans take their chain saws into the woods. Cutting trees without permits is illegal, but the jungle is vast.

Those with some money can even get a portable saw mill to reduce logs to chunks of lumber that can be shipped easier.

The most vulnerable time for the wood thieves is when the material is

Ministerio de Gobernación. Policía y Seguridad Pública photo
These two pacas will not see the stew pot.
being transported. Various methods have surfaced in the last six months, including simply putting the lumber in the back of a roofed pickup truck. A dump truck also has been used.

This is not chump change. The Fuerza Pública estimated Monday that a stash of lumber officers found on Isla Brava near the northern border  over the weekend was worth six million colons or about $11,000. That lumbering operation appears to have been in the Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Barra del Colorado.
Park guards from the Ministerio del Ambiente y Energía also were involved in the confiscation. What they and the Policía de Fronteras came across was a saw mill operation set up as a camp. Lumber was brought from elsewhere to be cut to size, said officials.

Two brothers were detained. The trees were of a number of species, said officers.

Also at the camp were two caged tepezcuintles or pacas (Cuniculus paca). These large rodents are good eating, and officials said the brothers appeared to be living off the land. The animals were eventually freed.

Last week Fuerza Pública officers intercepted a tractor trailer load of wood in southern Costa Rica. The origin of the wood was not known and it could have been shipped into the country. Police stopped the truck on the Interamericana at Guaycará de Golfito, they said.

Tons of mamón chinos exported

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Those prickly red golf balls are in season, and Costa Rican agricultural officials are quick to report that the country has exported 2,600 tons over the last five years.

The fruit is the rambután (Nephelium lappaceum) or mamón chino that is considered here as a non-traditional crop.

Agricultural officials began selecting for trees and seeds that would grow well here in 2004. Now there are some 380 farmers producing the fruit, which is a native of Malaysia and Indonesia. Most of the 900 planted hectares is in the southwestern part of the country.

As one A.M. Costa Rica article said about the fruit: It's like a crawfish: You just bite and suck.

The spiky, red or yellow fruit is held between the fingers and the top is bitten just enough to remove the hard outer shell. Inside is a sweet, pulpy mass surrounding a big seed.

The seed is edible but usually should be roasted first. It is the pulp that the casual nibbler seeks. Throughout the downtown and elsewhere in Costa Rica mamón chino-lovers can be seen walking along chomping at the fruit.

The fruit can be made into a syrup or canned, but most are eaten fresh.
mamon chinos
A.M. Costa Rica file photo
This pile will last only a few minutes!

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 163
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Wikileaks founder says he may leave his refuge at Ecuadorian embassy
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange says he may leave the embassy of Ecuador in London where he has sought political asylum for the past two years.

During a news conference with Ecuadoran Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino, Assange confirmed a Wikileaks spokesman's statement he would leave the embassy soon. Assange did not offer further details.

Assange sought refuge in the Ecuadoran embassy in 2012 when British courts said he could be extradited to Sweden for allegations of sexual misconduct there.

The Australian former journalist fears Sweden would hand him over to the United States, where he likely would face trial for one of the largest leaks of classified material in American history.

Assange and his Wikileaks team published hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. documents, including military documents on the Iraq war and U.S. embassy cables detailing its dealings with countries around the world. 

Wikileaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said "let us hope that he leaves the embassy very soon," but added Assange would only leave if the British authorities dropped their decision to extradite him.

The British government says it has spent $10 million policing the embassy to ensure Assange does not flee the country.

Patino said he hopes his government could meet with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond to discuss the situation.

WikiLeaks began releasing thousands of confidential U.S. documents
on the Internet in 2010. That embarrassed the United States, and some critics say it put national security and people's lives at risk.

Ecuador later granted Assange political asylum. But he was unable to leave Britain and has ended up living in the embassy's cramped quarters in central London.

His comments briefly raised the possibility of his leaving imminently. But Kristinn Hrafnsson, his spokesman, told reporters that he could only do so if the British government calls off the siege outside. Assange had no intention of handing himself over to the police, he added.

Ecuador's Patino said he would try to hold talks with his British counterpart to resolve the case.

Recent changes to British extradition laws may mean Assange would not be facing extradition if his case had just started.

Britain's Foreign Office said it remained as committed as ever to reaching a diplomatic solution to the problem, but it reiterated that Assange still needed to be extradited.

“As ever we look to Ecuador to help bring this difficult, and costly, situation to an end,” a spokeswoman said.

The Assange issue has put Britain and Ecuador at odds, with London angered by the decision of Ecuador's socialist President Rafael Correa to grant him asylum and Quito unhappy at the British refusal to allow him safe passage.

Asked about his health, Assange said anyone would be affected by spending two years in a building with no outside areas or direct sunlight, a complaint he has made several times before.

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
   * Find out how to live affordably
   * See how other expats live. Meet other expats who have made
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          relevant fields.
   * Tours led by Christopher Howard, 34-year resident, citizen,
          and the author of "The New Golden Door to Retirement
          and  Living in Costa Rica – the Official Guide to Relocation”
Click HERE  to learn all about our Association of Residents (ARCR)  approved tours at

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.

Click photo for another video

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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Real estate rentals
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Real estate rental services (paid category)

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

Real estate for rent (paid category)

oranic farm
$800 plus utilities, 2-bedroom, 2-bath house, fully furnished, elecricity and 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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A.M. Costa Rica's   Fifth news page

cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 163
Real Estate
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Protesters in Ferguson clash
again with police officers

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Protesters and police engaged in fresh clashes late Monday in Ferguson, Missouri, amid tensions linked to the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer.

Police in riot gear fired stun grenades and tear gas at protesters who gathered on the streets of Ferguson, which had descended into chaos following peaceful protests.

Molotov cocktails were thrown in the direction of heavily armored police, and gunshots were fired.

Many protesters seemed to be defying orders from police to disperse.  Authorities arrested protesters who refused to leave the scene.  Media were also ordered to disperse.

National Guard troops could be seen walking on the fringes of the gathering.  Those troops arrived in Ferguson earlier Monday to bolster police forces following days of violent protests.

The standoff occurred near the street where 18-year-old Michael Brown was fatally shot by a local police officer.

The latest clashes appeared to be less intense than those between police and demonstrators late Sunday, when police in body armor and gas masks, accompanied by armored vehicles, fired tear gas at protesters marching toward them. Police said at least two of the protesters were wounded by shots fired from within a crowd of demonstrators.

A curfew in Ferguson was lifted Monday after being enforced the previous two nights.

Monday, President Barack Obama said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will travel to Ferguson Wednesday to get an update on the federal probe into the shooting death of the black teenager, 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Obama said Holder will meet with Department of Justice and FBI officials on the federal, independent civil rights investigation into the killing of Brown. Holder will also meet with community leaders on efforts to restore peace and calm to the town outside the city of St. Louis.

The president said while a vast majority of people are protesting peacefully, he urged the "small minority" of demonstrators to "not give into anger by looting or carrying guns or attacking police." Obama said such actions only serve to heighten tensions and chaos and undermine "rather than advance justice."  He also said "there is no excuse for excessive force by police" or any action that denies the rights of those peacefully protesting.

U. N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Monday called on authorities in Ferguson to use restraint and uphold the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.

The appeal for calm came as an independent autopsy showed Brown was shot at least six times, including two bullets to the top of his head.

Attorneys for the family of Brown said Monday the preliminary autopsy shows the unarmed black teen was trying to surrender when Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot him in the middle of a Ferguson street.

Wilson is on paid administrative leave during the investigation.

Calling out National Guard
is unusual in United States

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

With violent protests continuing in Ferguson, Missouri, nine days after an unarmed black man was shot by a white police officer, the state’s governor Monday called in the National Guard.

Gov. Jay Nixon’s decision came as an unofficial autopsy report released by the family of Michael Brown found that Brown, 18, had at least six bullet wounds.

That shooting resulted in days of riots, looting and clashes with law enforcement, violence that prompted two nights of curfews over the weekend and widespread criticism of the police response. Police officials have said the officer, Darrell Wilson, shot Brown during a scuffle.

While Nixon’s decision indicated concern that violence was spiraling out of hand, National Guard deployments for civil unrest in the U.S. are uncommon.

It wasn’t immediately clear how many troops would be sent, nor what their exact duties would be, though Nixon did say that some would be protecting a police command center.

In the United States, around 460,000 so-called citizen soldiers serve in National Guard units across all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories, according to the National Guard Association of the United States, a lobbying group.  Around two-thirds serve in the Army National Guard; about 106,000 in the Air National Guard.

Typically, guard assignments range from supporting law enforcement to, more commonly, helping clean up after natural disasters.

In 2005, Louisiana and other Gulf Coast states called in National Guard units to help in the aftermath of deadly Hurricane Katrina and its flooding and mayhem. In drought-stricken Western states, they’re battling wildfires. In flood-prone areas, they fill and stack sandbags. 

Earlier this month, Texas Gov. Rick Perry called up about 1,000 National Guard troops to patrol the border with Mexico amid an influx of young child migrants.

National Guard units, however, are increasingly called up for national defense, as well. Several states’ Air National Guard wings helped patrol U.S. air space in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2011.

More than half of all guard members have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan – sometimes multiple times – as well as other foreign locations, according to John Goheen, spokesman for the National Guard Association.

“What the National Guard offers governors – in the case of Ferguson or fighting wildfires – is units of disciplined, uniformed personnel,” he said. They “can be quickly trained to do things, to carry out missions.”

There are federal law enforcement agencies: the FBI being the best known example. But, as Steven P. Bucci, a retired Army colonel who is currently an analyst at the Heritage Foundation, pointed out, the United States, unlike most countries around the world, doesn’t have a national police force.

Instead, he said, “we’ve given that power through our constitution to the governors and the mayors, all the way down.”

For now, the presence of the Missouri’s National Guard in Ferguson is strictly a state affair, authorized by the governor under state laws. That conceivably could change if the situation were to worsen.

“The use of the National Guard, even in state status, to quell civil disturbances is usually a last resort and not very common,” Charles J. Dunlap, a Duke University law professor, said in an email interview.

One extreme possibility—something, no one appears to be discussing at this moment— would be for the federal government to step in and take control of the guard.

At least one 19th century federal law provides the legal basis for that, along with the 1952 Armed Forces Reserve Act, which, among other things, enables the federal government to supersede a governor’s authority and take control of the National Guard for a specific mission – a relatively rare act.

Since World War II, presidents have federalized National Guard for domestic law enforcement missions 10 times. The most recent example came in 1992 when the acquittal of four white police officers, charged with brutally beating a black man in Los Angeles, California, sparked widespread riots and looting.

The decision to call in the Guard for law enforcement— state or federal—is fraught, given the constitutional and statutory restrictions that keep the U.S. armed forces from having domestic police duties.

“Although the U.S. military is generally prohibited from exercising domestic law enforcement authority, a state National Guard unit may do so unless it’s called to federal service,” said Dunlap, who is also a retired Air Force major and former deputy judge advocate general. State law defines its exact law enforcement authority.

Here, from the National Guard Bureau, are some notable examples of National Guard deployments in U.S. history that were later federalized.

1957-58 – Little Rock, Arkansas  President Dwight D. Eisenhower orders the takeover of National Guard troops that had been called up by Gov. Orval Faubus to keep black students from attending Little Rock’s all-white Central High School. Eisenhower also deployed U.S. marshals and paratroopers from the 101st Airborne Division to assist in maintaining order after rioting broke out.

1962 – Oxford, Mississippi  After the University of Mississippi in Oxford flouts a court order and bars a black student from attending classes there, President John F. Kennedy federalizes Mississippi National Guard troops to prevent violence toward the student, James Meredith, and rioting in the broader community.

1963 – Tuscaloosa, Alabama  A year after Oxford, Alabama Gov. George Wallace physically blocks black students from entering a University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa building, despite a court order. That prompts President Kennedy to take control of the Alabama National Guard to enforce the court order allowing black students to enroll.

1965 – Selma, Alabama President Lyndon B. Johnson federalizes the Alabama National Guard to protect peaceful protesters marching from Selma to Montgomery to protest racial discrimination. At an earlier march, protesters were brutally beaten by state police and deputies.

1968 – Detroit, Michigan; Chicago, Illinois; Washington, D.C.   Johnson orders deployment of thousands of National Guard units from those two states, and the federal district, to patrol streets and prevent rioting that erupted after the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.

1970 – New York City,   After thousands of postal workers walked off the job, President Richard M. Nixon orders thousands of National Guard troops to help deliver the mail in the city’s financial district. Others sort mail and keep picketers from interfering.

1992 – Los Angeles, California,  Rioting erupts in Los Angeles after four white police officers are acquitted in the brutal beating of Rodney King, a black man. President George H. W. Bush calls up more than 10,000 California National Guard troops to help quell the unrest.

Mutated polio virus blamed
for deadly outbreak in Congo

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A mutated polio virus that slipped through vaccine defenses caused an unusually lethal outbreak in the Republic of Congo in 2010, according to a new study.

An intensive vaccination campaign was able to stop the virus.

But the authors say their research shows new and dangerous strains may emerge as polio eradication nears, and high rates of vaccination are the best available protection.

Polio usually paralyzes its victims. It is not typically fatal. But in the Republic of Congo outbreak, nearly half of the 445 people who got sick with the virus died.

Health workers were especially concerned because about half of the patients remembered having been vaccinated.

“That made it even more bizarre, because if they had been vaccinated, they shouldn’t be sick,” said virologist Felix Drexler at the University of Bonn.

When Drexler and colleagues in Europe and Africa studied the virus, they found it had some never-before-seen mutations in a critical part of its outer coat. Those mutations were in the place where antibodies that fight the virus would normally attach.

“We thought, ‘Wow, maybe that could affect the ability of the antibodies in human blood to neutralize the virus,’” Drexler said.

It did. When they tested the virus in Germany against blood samples from people with better-than-average vaccination coverage, they found that 15 to 29 percent of them would not be protected from the mutant strain.

The research is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The Republic of Congo had been polio free before the outbreak. It took four nationwide immunization drives targeting every man, woman and child to stop the mutated virus.

Drexler said the effort worked because just about everyone got vaccinated with the most potent form of the vaccine.

The virus has not been seen since, though Drexler said it’s possible it’s still lurking out there somewhere. And, he added, there may be others that also can evade the vaccine's protection.

Experts say polio eradication is in its final stages. There have been fewer than 150 cases anywhere in the world this year, and the virus is found regularly in just three countries.

But, Drexler noted, “The question that the experts are asking is, 'Is the vaccine good enough to enable us to eradicate poliovirus?'”

Virologist Olen Kew with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it is. He was not involved with this study. He noted that the vaccine has eliminated the virus everywhere it has been used.

“What happened in Congo was, it hadn’t been used for quite a long period of time and a susceptible group opened up,” he said. Civil unrest disrupted vaccination campaigns in the 1990s and early 2000s. “And when the virus was introduced, it had devastating effects.”

Kew said the reason the virus was so deadly was because the susceptible group was young adults, not the children who are usually affected.

“It’s been known for a long time that older age groups, once they get infected, can have more severe disease than younger children,” he said.

Associate Director Walt Orenstein at the Emory Vaccine Center, who was also not involved in the study, said more potent vaccines would be helpful to protect against mutated viruses.

However, he added, “I think the most important message, to me, is, we need to push hard and push fast and terminate transmission as quickly as possible, in which case this becomes irrelevant.”

Nigeria may have stopped
spread of the ebola virus

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The health situation could be turning the corner in Nigeria, nearly a month after an ebola-infected air traveler from Liberia brought the disease to Lagos.

Four people have since died of the virus there, but the health ministry said Monday that five others now have completely recovered. There have been a total of 12 confirmed cases. Public health experts say Nigeria has acted fast to contain the situation, though they admit more can be done.

Meanwhile, fear of disease has spread even into the country's churches.

Talking about ebola, Simeon Uzih, a parishioner at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Oleh, said “for now, we just say 'the peace of the Lord be with you and also with you.' We just look at each other, but no hand shake just to prevent the spread of the disease.”

The deadly disease can be spread through contact with a sick person’s bodily fluids. Governments around the region are advising people not to shake hands or hug. Uzih said he's not taking any chances, not even at church.

Public health experts say this is no time for Nigeria to get complacent.

Nearly 200 people there remain under surveillance. Authorities believe they have found everyone who may have been exposed to ebola since that infected air traveler arrived in Lagos July 20.

The leader of the U.S. Center for Disease Control’s team in Lagos, John Vertefeuille, said Nigeria has “hit a stable period.”

“We’ve benefited from being able to trace every case that’s come in so far to that initial index case. We are using this period for preparedness, preparedness in case things did take a turn for the worse to make sure that the teams are in place to respond accordingly,” said Vertefeuille.

He said the contact-tracing team is more than doubling this week to 200 people.

Suspected ebola patients have been moved to a new, clinical ward in Lagos. It has 40 beds -- more than enough for the current caseload -- though the government has plans to expand it even further just in case they are needed.

The regional outbreak is far from over.

Experts say Nigeria should focus, in particular, on public education.

There is an ebola hotline, and the government is using Facebook and other media to get the word out. But misinformation continues. Text messages have been going around advertising false cures like drinking or bathing in salt water.

Chikwe Ihekweazu, an infectious disease expert who runs the Web site Nigeria HealthWatch,  said “These rumors need to be rebutted firmly, and quickly and they need to be in our faces.  I think they are not doing enough of it. Some of it has started happening but … at the moment it feels like rumors are two, three steps ahead of us and it takes three, four days for the government to respond to any of these.”

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country with more than 150 million people. It also is the biggest economy in the region.

The outbreak currently raging in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea is already unprecedented and out of control. Public health experts shudder to think what a large-scale outbreak in Nigeria could mean.

Lagos alone is a densely populated city of some 20 million people, where experts say the virus could spread rapidly if given the chance.
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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

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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:

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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.


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Location: Near Arenal        Price: $2.7 million
Size: 113 acres
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Tiliran property
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Lundquist photo
More photos HERE!
Another 'live in the view' home in Puriscal
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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.
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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. 
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First woman ambassador to lie in state

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Emilia Castro Silva de Barish, 98, the first woman appointed a career ambassador in Costa Rica, died Sunday.

She will lie in state in the Gold Room of the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores
y Culto from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. today prior to a noon Mass.

Ms. Castro de Barish entered the country's foreign service Dec. 9, 1949, the foreign ministry said Monday. She was the dean of the foreign service for many years, her family noted.

Ms. Castro de Barish entered when she was appointed to the Embassy of Costa Rica to the United States, in Washington, D.C. She re-entered the Costa Rican Foreign Service in May 1957 and was appointed first secretary to the permanent mission of Costa Rica to the United Nations, the family said. By the time she retired in 1999, she was the diplomat who had been accredited the longest continuous
Emilia Castro Silva de Barish
time to the U.N.

She was the rapporteaur of the U. N. Host Country Committee from 1978 to 1999. From 1970 to 1971, she was vice-chairman of the Third Committee of the General Assembly that deal with human rights.. Being an expert on International human rights, she was a key promoter of the U. N. program of action on a culture of peace, and she was instrumental to the establishment of the Office of the U. N. high commissioner for human rights, the family said.

The ministry said she was a key promoter of the University for Peace, which is a U.N. agency in Ciudad Colón.

In 1987 she was honored by the then secretary general Javier Pérez de Cuéllar with a medal for her service, said the ministry.

Manuel González Sanz called her a "brilliant example of service to the country, a notable woman and diplomat who always illuminated our way."

Travel expo planned for Thursday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica's 10th annual Travel Show Expo is set for Thursday at the Hotel Sleep Inn, located just east of Parque Morazán. The travel fair will feature free talks and conferences, as well as the chance to earn tours, vacation packages, and other awards through raffle, said organizers.

Each year the fair gives small- and medium-sized businesses in the tourism industry a chance to attract potential customers and build their brand. Many of the companies say they will be offering great rates on hotels and resorts for the high season.

This year's expo will pay recognition to three distinguished figures who have left their mark on the country's tourism sector, according to the event's organizer. Those three are Marjorie Washburn, Alfonso Acosta and Luis Villavicencio. The fair runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will be located in the hotel's Magnolia rooms.

Raising child continues to get more expensive

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

New parents in the United States will have to have to tighten their budgets, according to data released Monday, which shows the cost of raising a child is inching toward a quarter-million dollars.

Research by the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows middle-income parents will spend slightly more that $245,000 on a baby born in 2013 until the child turns 18, the age of legal adulthood in the U.S.

The largest expense for new parents is housing, which accounts for almost one-third of the projected cost. Child care, education, and food also top the list.

The 2013 figure marks an increase of nearly 2 percent over the previous year.

Adjusted for inflation, a child born in 1960 cost the average middle-income U.S. family roughly $199,000.

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From Page 7:

Oil boom creates jobs in North Dakota

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The state of North Dakota has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, thanks to a glut of jobs created by the oil boom in the western part of the state, which rests on one of the largest shale oil deposits in the country. The job market keeps growing as more businesses relocate to North Dakota, attracted by the promise of profits -- but not without challenges.

The once-sleepy town of Williston, North Dakota, is now a booming hub of business, thanks to new ways to extract oil from shale deposits in the region. And everyone wants a piece of the action.

“Williston right now is the fastest growing micropolitan in the nation -- that’s cities under 50,000,” said Shawn Wenko, the assistant director of the Williston Economic Development Office. He admitted his organization and the state of  North Dakota are having a hard time keeping up with the number of people and businesses pouring in to the region.

“You just see the construction that is going vertical is phenomenal. We’ve done over $1.2 billion in permit valuations in the last year in the city of Williston,” he said.

Vactor Manufacturing received one of those permits. The Illinois-based business makes large industrial vacuum systems mounted on trucks.

Typically used by municipalities as a way to clear out sewers and storm drains, Vactor’s equipment also can be used at oil rigs and storage tanks, increasing the demand for its products in North Dakota’s oil fields.

General Manager Sam Miceli said his company recently built a service center in Williston to maintain the trucks and equipment they’ve been selling to companies in the oil fields. “There’s probably 25-plus competitors in the marketplace, and all of them are trying to get into North Dakota.”

He said one of the biggest challenges, though, has been recruiting and retaining service center employees.

“You not only have to pay well, but you have to provide housing and you have to provide incentives to keep those guys on your job,” said Miceli.

Because of higher rates of pay for many jobs, North Dakota leads the nation in net migration. The state’s economy has grown five times faster than the national average over the last several years -- and the western part of North Dakota is expected to see a 50 percent population expansion over the next several decades as more companies try to cash in on the oil boom.

Which is why Shawn Wenko said Williston is planning for the long term. “We’re going to put $258 million into our roads. We’re looking at upgrading our waste-water treatment facility, upgrading our airport, upgrading our landfill, upgrading city government buildings, fire halls, police stations, everything that makes a city go round.”

That should help deal with two other factors that are growing, the need for social services, and the crime rate.