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(506) 2223-1327                                 Published Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, in Vol. 14, No. 167                        Email us
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San Ramón
Festejos al Santo Patrono photo
Cart carrying figure of  San Ramón Nonato moves through the community that bears his name.
Oxcart parade in San Ramón honors patron saint
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

About 240 teams of oxen paraded through San Ramón de Alajuela Sunday as part of the festival for the community's patron saint. Organizers said the oxen, the carts and their handlers came from all over the country.

This is an annual event around the Aug. 31 feast day of the 13th century Spanish saint, San Ramón Nonato. Residents of the community may not know it but the word Ramón is a contraction of the Spanish phrase meaning protected by God. The saint demonstrated that he had a lot of protection.
First he was plucked from his dead mother by Caesarian and thereby earned the epithet Nonato, meaning never having been born.

Then as a priest sent to Africa to ransom Christians being held by Muslims he, himself, was rescued after he exchanged himself for hostages when his money ran out.

His suffering in captivity included having his lips punctured to accommodate a lock so he would not discuss Catholicism, according to Catholic references on the Internet. Later  Pope Gregorio IX named him a cardinal.

CBS says its experts back Ann Bender's testimony
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

CBS News promises a full report on the John Bender murder case in its fall television season.

The television network has been following closely the Costa Rican case and the acquittal and subsequent conviction of Bender's wife, Ann.

The network just reported that a husband and wife team of forensic experts have raised serious doubt about the investigation and the evidence that was used to convict the woman.

Bender, a multi-millionaire and a U.S. citizen, died Jan, 8, 2010, from a single gunshot wound to the head, and investigators charged his wife, also a U.S. citizen. Agents claimed at the time there were inconsistencies in the death scene that led them to characterize the case as a murder.

The Benders lived at a 5,000-acre  private wildlife refuge in La Florida de Barú de Pérez Zeledón in a  five-story 8,000-square-foot glass-walled showplace home.

A trial court Jan. 21, 2013, gave the benefit of the doubt to Mrs. Bender. She was set free because judges said that there was not sufficient evidence that she had killed her husband.

Bender was said to be bipolar and had attempted suicide once before. However, prosecutors appealed the decision.

In May a new trial panel in Peréz Zeledón convicted the woman and imposed a sentence of 22 years and remanded her to prison for nine months until a higher court reviews the case. An appeal has not been resolved.

In the Costa Rica judicial system, an acquittal on a criminal charge is not final. Neither is a
conviction. There are many ways to appeal.

The case hinges on the testimony of Mrs. Bender and the conclusions reached by investigators after piecing together the death.

Mrs. Bender said that her husband fired the fatal shot into his head while she struggled to prevent him from doing so.

CBS News said that its "48 Hours" television show  hired Richard and Selma Eikelenboom, the experts, to review the case and conduct tests at the couple's mansion. The pair concluded that the evidence supports Mrs. Bender's account of the death more than it supports the prosecutor's case.

At no point have prosecutors come up with a motive as to why Mrs. Bender would kill her husband. She also suffers from depression.

Prosecutors based much of their case on the location where the bullet entered the head and that this would have been difficult for a left-handed person.

Those close to the case note that Bender could use both hands well and that there is a photo showing him wearing a pistol holster on his right side. They also question the testimony of Gretchen Flores Sandí, a medical examiner, and said that she changed her testimony between the two trials. The transcript of the second trial shows that Dr. Flores relied on word of mouths from someone she does not remember to conclude that Bender was left-handed.

These are points that most likely figure in the appeal.

So, too, may be some of the issues raised by the CBS experts. They said that investigators also failed to photograph the scene correctly, test the blood stains on the bed sheets or even fingerprint the gun.


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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 167

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

Lucinda Gray, Ph.D.
California Licensed Psychologist
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Attorneys at Law and real estate brokers
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Remodelling and Construction


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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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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.
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Tel: (323) 255-6116

Plane with cocaine and money grounded

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police discovered a plane loaded with 400 kilograms of cocaine Sunday in Guanacaste's Bebedero de Cañas. Police detained six persons, including a Mexican who was piloting the plane and a Costa Rican co-pilot. Two more suspects are on the run, according to a spokeswoman from the Judicial Investigating Organization.

Authorities also found a large sum of cash in a box and a sack aboard the aircraft that they expect could exceed $1 million, though a spokeswoman said no exact figure was known.

An initial report from the Fuerza Pública said police found the car of the two men who fled near the entrance to the Llanos de Cortéz waterfall in Bagaces. Local forces flew a helicopter over the area to search for the suspects.

Judicial investigators from the Cañas branch said that a surveillance team saw that the plane was coming from Guatemala Sunday morning to deliver the cocaine. The aircraft was found on a farm with a private runway near the energy plant Ingenio Taboga, the spokeswoman said. The runway was used to shuttle in planes, which were then loaded with drugs and refueled for their delivery.

Officials said it's presumed that the plane was going to return to Guatemala and then go to Mexico.

A report from the judicial agency said this investigation had lasted for more than two months, and authorities conducted surveillance operations to gather more evidence.

New organic market planned for Zapote

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Central Valley shoppers will have a new organic farmers market to visit Sept. 13 and thereafter.

The Asociación de Productores y Consumidores Orgánicos de Costa Rica said that the retail firm CEMACO has provided space for the event twice a month at the firm's location in Zapote.

The association said it expected at least 20 producers to be present for the 1 p.m. inaugural. They come from San José, Alajuela y Cartago.

This is a second Feria Orgánica El Trueque, which now is in Barrio El Carmen de Paso Ancho. The market has been in operation since 1999. Organizers said that all the products will be certified as organic.

Farmers markets with the emphasis on organic have blossomed in the last five years. Of course, all food products are organic, but the term generally means production without agrochemicals and pesticides.

The Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería has established standards with regulation 29782, and those at the new market will comply, said organizers.

Three-day weekend for Labor Day

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Next weekend will be a three-day one in the United States. Monday is being celebrated as labor Day, the traditional end to the Northern Hemisphere summer.

The day also provides a wake up call to tourism operators to prepare for high season, which starts in mid-December.

The U.S. Embassy will be closed Monday, and expats here might find that companies and individuals with whom they do business in the north will not be in their offices that day. The holiday is not recognized in Costa Rica, where May Day is the time to honor workers.

Police said the brownies contain marijuana

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police at Juan Santamaría Airport detained an American man after they said they found bags of pot brownies in his luggage.

Once police dogs alerted them to a suspicious smell, airport security officers found 365 grams of marijuana within the brownies, a Fuerza Pública report said. They detained the 58-year-old American identified by the last name Salladay. The police said the man has legal residency in Costa Rica.

The arrest happened after the man had taken two internal flights from Nosara and Quepos, the report said.

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A.M. Costa Rica

Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 167
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Gang invades and plunders small community near lake Arenal
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A gang of up to 14 armed men descended on the community of Nuevo Arenal, cut the power to part of the town and began to plunder.

The gunmen overwhelmed a service station attendant and two security guards. The victims were tied up and put in the lubrication pit of the service station. The crime happened at 3:30 a.m. Saturday.

The technique appears to be a new one and suggests that the raiders had knowledge of the community.

A local security guard who responded to the crime suffered a blow to his head with an iron bar but his motorcycle helmet sustained most of the blow. He was quoted on a community discussion list saying "Thank God I'm fine. My materials are lost [motorcycle and gun] and I achieved at least a little calm that the crooks did not do more damage and we have no one dead. I will continue working for the safety of my people and hope to God this will help that the organization of our people is achieved."
He is Andrey Corrales, and he is being praised for his bravery. When he arrived he tangled with two of the criminals but was overwhelmed when others appeared.

The raiders pistol whipped another man, a guard at the El Colono hardware store, and he required hospital care.

The local Importadora Monge store was burglarized.

Community residents are criticizing the lack of response by the Fuerza Pública.  There are stations in Tilarán and La Fortuna. The Nuevo Arenal station has been closed because it is in disrepair.

Residents say they are collecting money to repair the structure with the hope that police again will be stationed there.

Nuevo Arenal is on the northeast side of the lake of the same name. Like other small communities it is vulnerable to a heavily armed group of  crooks. Community members are hoping that some security cameras will give clues to the identity of the raiders.

Slide from canyon wall
partly blocks Río Sarapiquí

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some 5,000 cubic meters of rock and soil slid from a canyon wall and into the Río Sarapiquí Thursday, but the nation's emergency commission said that the river was not blocked completely.

Had the river been blocked, a large quantity of water would have backed up behind the slide and threatened locations downstream with an unexpected breakthrough.

The Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias said it was continuing to monitor the slide area, which is near Ujarrás.

The river there flows through a tree-covered canyon with steep sides.  The emergency commission said that the slide covered about 100 meters, more than 300 feet, of the river.

Geologists did a flyover to study the location. The committee said that the nearest community downstream was La Virgen de Sarapiquí about 20 kilometers from the slide location.  That's about 12.5 miles.

The committee noted that there are 16 monitoring stations along the river.

As a result of the slide, the downstream portion of the river will be muddy as the river carries away much of the material.

The commission said that recreational activities on the river should be avoided.  They cited rafting, and fishing among others.

There are about 6,539 cubic yards in 5,000 cubic meters.

Comisión Nacional de Prevención
de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias photo
This is where the wall of the river canyon collapsed.

Wacky Islamic State rumor shows up as an online news story here
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An online newspaper with close ties to the political party of President Luis Guillermo Solís uncritically reported Friday that the United States, Britain and Israel conspired to create the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. This is one of those Internet rumors that has been making the rounds for the last month.

The newspaper, Informa-Tico, attributed these startling revelations to Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency leaker who now is in Russia.

The news article drew two comments from readers who seem to have thought the story was true.
The Internet is full of reports about how this rumor had its roots in a Tehran Times article earlier this year that also said that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the reclusive leader of the Islamic State, was really a Jewish guy named Simon Elliot who was working for the Israeli security service.

In fact, some Internet sources claim that former secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Central Intelligence Agency created the Al- Qaeda offshoot that has swept brutally across Iraq.

Of course, the Mideast is so chaotic that there is plenty of room for bizarre rumors. The surprise is that an established political outlet in San Francisco de Dos Rios would uncritically publish such an article when there is plenty of real evidence on the Internet that the tale is a fake.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 167
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President downgraded tourism industry with new decree, chambers say
By Michael Krumholtz
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Tourism leaders continue to clash with government officials over public policy decisions. The head of Costa Rica's tourism chamber says he is disappointed in President Luis Guillermo Solís' approval of a proposal that includes the category of tourism under the economic ministry.

“The president's reaction disappoints us and we hope that this is not one of the things that ends up hindering the tourism industry's development,” said Pablo Heriberto Abarca, president of the Cámara Nacional de Turismo. “There's an urgent need for the implementation of public policy that oversees the growth of this industry.”

Abarca said this shift shows that the government has thrown tourism into the background, ignoring its substantial contribution to Costa Rica's economy. Now under the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio, the tourism sector essentially loses its autonomy and becomes a sub sector of the economy, Abarca said.

Numbers from the chamber show that tourism accounts for 500,000 jobs across the country and that 20 percent of Costa Rica's exports every year come directly from tourist operations.

Abarca said such a sizable contribution to the country's stability deserves to stand independently.
“When a sector reports data of 2 million annual visitors and the creation of more than $2 billion, that means its a totally revitalizing activity,” Abarca said. “We inconveniently believe the principal driver of Costa Rica's economy should be treated this way.”

A chamber-wide analysis of tourism's addition to the economic ministry has expressed worries that economists and politicians who design plans, programs, and policies for the industry will not be as effective as tourism leaders because their focus is dispersed into other areas. Abarca and the chamber leaders say they worry that the tourism industry's future policy makers know very little about how the sector operates.

Abarca called on President Solís to make future decisions that will best promote the industry's boom.

“I am making a respectful but vehement call that you, as the government's leader, address the tourism sector and reassure, as you yourself have reiterated, support for the industry and allow its growth,” Abarca said.

The Cámera de Hotels also said in a release that it was unhappy that tourism was listed as an economic sub-sector instead of sector. The hotel chamber cited a presidential decree Wednesday that basically placed the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo under the economics ministry. The statement urged the government to correct what the chamber called a grave error.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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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.

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

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

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The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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oranic farm
$800 plus utilities, 2-bedroom, 2-bath house, fully furnished, 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, Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 167
Real Estate
About us

Man said to be reporter freed
by al-Qaida affiliate in Syria

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Islamic rebels in Syria have freed an American journalist they have held since 2012, just days after another American reporter was beheaded.

Kidnappers turned over Peter Theo Curtis to a United Nations representative Sunday, although the circumstances of his release were not immediately known.  He was believed to be held by the al-Nusra Front, an al-Qaida affiliate in Syria.

In a video that surfaced during his captivity, Curtis said he was a journalist from Boston, Massachusetts, and was being well cared for.

The U.S.-based Committee to Protect Journalists said that Curtis was among about 20 journalists believed to be missing in Syria.

In a statement, the White House said President Obama "shares in the joy and relief that we all feel now that Theo is out of Syria and safe. But we continue to hold in our thoughts and prayers the Americans who remain in captivity in Syria, and we will continue to use all of the tools at our disposal to see that the remaining American hostages are freed."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry praised the release of Curtis and said the United States is using its widespread diplomatic, military and intelligence contacts to free other Americans held hostage in Syria. He said he is relieved to know that Curtis is coming home after being held by Jabhat Al-Nusra.

In a statement released by the U.S. State Department, Curtis's family expressed gratitude to the U.S. and Qatar governments and others who helped secure his release.

"My heart is full at the extraordinary, dedicated, incredible people, too many to name individually, who have become my friends and have tirelessly helped us over these many months," said Curtis' mother, Nancy Curtis, of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Meanwhile, Britain said it is close to identifying a man, thought to be British, as the Islamic State fighter who beheaded American journalist James Foley as a protest against U.S. airstrikes against the militants in Iraq.

The British ambassador to the United States, Peter Westmacott, told the CNN television news network that Britain is using sophisticated technologies and voice identification to track down the hooded killer shown in a video standing next to Foley before decapitating him.

The Sunday Times newspaper reported British intelligence agencies have identified the jihadist, but its sources did not divulge his name.

Lawmakers express concern
over situation in Mideast

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Congress is in recess and members are scattered across the country in their home districts. 

But a number of congressional leaders appeared on Sunday talk shows to voice alarm about the threat posed by the Islamic State militant group in the wake of the brutal murder of American journalist James Foley.

The Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Michael McCaul, said that the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, presents the greatest threat the world has seen since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks of 2001.

"This has been festering for the past year, and now it is culminating with the killing and beheading of an American journalist, which I think is a turning point for the American people," McCaul said on ABC's This Week.  "It has sort of opened their eyes to what ISIS really is."

The Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Rogers, agreed.  Rogers told NBC’s Meet the Press that some fighters from Europe and the United States who have gone to the Middle East to join the terrorist network could travel easily back to the West.

“They are one plane ticket away from U.S. shores and that’s why we’re so concerned about it," he said.

Retired U.S. Marine Gen. John Allen agreed on the seriousness of the threat, and said the United States needs to take a regional approach, working with its allies.

“It's going to require a comprehensive approach," Allen said on This Week. "It's got to be more than simple pinpoint attacks on key ISIS locations that are just security locations in and around dams.”

President Obama has tried to limit the new military campaign in Iraq to protecting civilians under dire threat and American diplomats.  But he also said America will be relentless and do whatever it takes to protect U.S. citizens.

Members of Congress reacted with strong emotions to the execution of James Foley, but some have cautioned that the U.S. should not be provoked into sending combat troops back into Iraq.  A Democratic congresswoman, Donna Edwards, said Congress needs to debate any military escalation when members return in September.

"But we need to have the debate. I think that is really important," she said.  "I don't think the president can continue beyond the War Powers authorization without an authorization from Congress."

Analysts say the president will likely weigh the consequences of expanding U.S. military action against the extremist group in the coming days.

Quake in Napa, California,
brings emergency declaration

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for portions of the state, following the biggest earthquake to shake the San Francisco Bay area in 25 years.

The 6.0 magnitude quake struck in the middle of the night Sunday, jolting people out of bed and knocking merchandise off store shelves.

More than 100 people were reported injured.

The quake was centered between San Francisco and Sacramento. Most of the damage is in and around the town of Napa, in northern California's picturesque wine-making region.

A number of buildings were damaged and several burned to the ground when gas pipes were split. Bricks, debris and crushed cars littered the streets, and power, water and gas lines were cut following the temblor.

Napa Fire Department Operations Chief John Callanan said the city has exhausted its resources extinguishing six fires, transporting injured residents, searching homes for anyone who might be trapped, and answering calls about gas leaks, water main breaks and downed power lines.

The city reported the area has sustained breaks in 50 gas lines and leaks in 30 water mains.

Queen of the Valley hospital in Napa said at least 80 people sought treatment for minor injuries following the quake.

The quake's epicenter was 80 kilometers southwest of Sacramento, and numerous small aftershocks have occurred in the Napa wine country, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

It said up to 70 aftershocks are expected during the next week.

The last earthquake of this size to strike the region was the 6.9-magnitude Loma Prieta earthquake, which struck on Oct. 17, 1989.

It lasted just seconds, but was destructive: 63 people were killed, nearly 3,800 were injured, and more than 28,000 homes and businesses were damaged. The Loma Prieta earthquake caused $6 billion in damages.

The upper deck of a section of Oakland’s Interstate 880 collapsed, crushing cars and people on the lanes below. A section of the San Francisco Bay Bridge was also damaged.

There were also more than 62,000 baseball fans at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park for the third game of the 1989 World Series. They were shaken but unharmed by the quake.

The cities of Santa Cruz and Watsonville, California, and the San Francisco Bay area were especially hard hit.

Obama seeks federal review
of giving cops military gear

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Barack Obama, responding to days of racial violence in Ferguson, Missouri has ordered a review of the government practice of providing military hardware to state and local police.

Senior administration officials, speaking Saturday, said the White House will review whether the government should continue providing such equipment, and how some weapons, including automatic rifles and mine-resistant vehicles, are deployed by local agencies.

Photos and video footage of police in armored vehicles wielding military equipment while facing Ferguson protesters have alarmed many U.S. citizens and some lawmakers.  The protests erupted Aug. 9, after an unarmed black teenager was shot and killed by a white police officer during a confrontation.  Days of rioting ensued.

Officials say the president wants to know whether federal grants allowing such hardware transfers are appropriate, and whether local police are properly trained with the equipment.

They also said the review, first mentioned by the president on Monday, will  take place in close coordination with the U.S. Congress.

The push to upgrade state and local police capabilities came in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on New York and Washington.

In his comments, Obama said he wanted to know that such military hardware was actually needed.  He also said he wanted to ensure that the mandates of American police agencies and the U.S. military do not become blurred.

Demographic change blamed
for tensions in Ferguson

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

After nights of relative calm in the Missouri suburb of Ferguson, where a white policeman fatally shot an unarmed black teenager nearly two weeks ago, it appears tensions between protesters and the police are waning.

Friday, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon ordered the state National Guard to withdraw, and there have been no reports of clashes during daily demonstrations sparked by the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown. But the apparent easing of tensions hasn’t silenced debate about the deep racial divide that Brown's death thrust into the international spotlight.

To some observers, the incident and surrounding controversy over the so-called militarization of Ferguson's police department and its heavy-handed tactics towards African-Americans, come as no surprise.  Population shifts in American communities over the past two decades created the kind of smoldering racial tensions that erupted in Missouri, said Sam Fulwood III, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.

"What had been going on in Ferguson as well as in many, many, many other communities all across the country is demographic change, which has been uneven and has been perceived, particularly by people of color in those communities as disadvantageous to them," Fulwood said during a radio appearance. "That has bred a long sense of grievance and frustration and anger that is often most exhibited by interactions between youth and police."

And so as Ferguson, a community of 21,000, slowly morphed from majority white to majority black, those who held power remain the same.

"In 1980, 80 percent of the population in Ferguson was white. In 2010, the population was 85 percent black. So you can see the dramatic changing," Fulwood said. As Ferguson became ever more populated by communities of color, it also became poorer because, Fulwood said, it lost its economic base.

Suburbanization in the United States has historically been defined by whites moving from cities and their poor, minority communities, taking their economic dominance with them, so-called white flight. But that narrative no longer applies.

"We've seen a reversal across the country in recent years across the country, not just in Ferguson in St. Louis of the suburbs becoming increasing black and minority populations, communities of color. But they've become poorer," Fulwood said.

And that trend plays out in local politics, leading to situations like Ferguson, where the vast majority of elected officials are white in the majority black community, argues Anthony E. Cook, a law professor at Georgetown University, who also appeared on Encounter.

"When you look at the practices with regard to disenfranchisement, you see common practices throughout the nation," he said. "A lot of the local elections are not held during election year in November, they are held in April, in off months when voter turnout is going to be very difficult anyway."

Cook said voter turnout in the past few elections in Ferguson has been as low as 2 to 5 percent, and those kinds of electoral barriers show that racism, while not enshrined into American law, has nonetheless become institutionalized.

"You're not using race-specific classifications or one may be having laws that say no blacks can vote or no blacks can be employed on the school board, but yet the very process by which you have structured the voting system and the means of selecting officers results in disproportionate numbers of blacks being excluded from the process, and marginalized in that process," he said.

From there, both Fulwood and Cook said it's not hard to connect the dots and see how a Ferguson shooting can happen.

Out of the tragedy of Brown's killing, Cook said, there lies a rare opportunity for Americans

"We have the possibility here of creating a multi-cultural, multi-racial, multi-ideological bi-partisan approach to dealing with this problem. I see Libertarians that are upset with the militarization of the police force...I see Liberals that are upset that you've got a situation where black minority poor communities are being disproportionately impacted by this brutality," he said.

"This may be an opportunity to raise that to a level of national discourse."
Real estate-related services (paid category)

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Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

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Costa Rica,

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

Visit our Web Site:

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

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

Real estate for sale (paid category)

Beautiful home and separate apartment
The land is 289 square meters with  329 square meters of construction. Three bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, 2 floors, covered parking, with room for  a second parking space. A first floor patio and a second floor balcony with view. Attached apartment rented for $500 per month. Live free. House valued, @ $330,000. asking price with agents is $295,000. With no agent, asking $280,000, negotiable. Must see to appreciate,  Contact: Wayne Winstead,, 8820-1501/8379-7947

Farm montage

Guanacaste, Liberia Farm
$64,000 NEGOTIABLE and owner financing available.
9 hectares (24 acres). Riverfront property and amazing views of 3 volcanoes.


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

New 5,000-sq. ft. home in the middle of coffee plantation
Superb mountain views and privacy. 3.3-acre property on top of mountain. 15 minutes from local shopping. One hour from all San José has to offer. Two hours from the beaches and attractions at Quepos. Balconies for each bedroom, two large decks with stunning mountain views, octagonal gazebo, extensive rock walls and landscaping. Surrounded by trees. New home never lived in. Very quiet mountain location in exclusive coffee farm area. Two-story open dining and living room with guest bath. Spiral staircase leads to common area for parties, etc. Has room with bar and another spiral staircase leads to the skydeck. This is a balcony high up above the house that has extensive mountain views. All ceilings are wood accented with large beams. Balconies are tile and the decks are stained teak. Decks have balustrades. The second floor balcony and common area have custom wrought iron. All services available from satellite Sky TV, to high-speed Internet. All block and steel construction. Many hiking trails and rainforest zone a few miles away. If nature, quiet life and privacy is your thing, this could be for you. Juan Santamaria SJO Airport 1 hour 15 minutes away. $470,000. Picture gallery emailed on request to serious inquiries. Contact Jim Alfaro,   Cell 8714-8274.

Escazú condo
Spectacular furnished luxury 3-bedroom condo in Escazú
Turnkey unit has 2.5 baths, 2 balconies, 2 parking spaces, 1 bodega. A STEAL @ $250,000. Community Amenities include pool, jacuzzi, gym, sauna, racquetball, 24/7 security, concierge. No car needed: walk to supermarkets, banks, restaurants, shopping. INVESTORS: Possible long-term tenant For photos and how to contact us, go to:

Jaco condo
JACÓ BEACH - House in gated beachfront community
Titled, fully furnished turnkey single home, security 24/7. REDUCED TO $325,000. Casa Mariposa is 2100 SF with 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 1-car garage Private back yard, central A/C, kid friendly, pet friendly community This is the ONLY gated beachfront development of houses on Jacó Beach. For photos & contact information, go to:

Condo montage
Cariari luxury condo for sale
This is not an ordinary condo.
Completed one year ago, a $45,000 renovating made it an exquisite dwelling. As soon as you walk in you know it is a special home. No detail has been overlooked, even minuscule ones. The owner has a need to move on, and someone lucky will be the beneficiary of the fine detailed work. The home itself has three bedrooms, two and half bathrooms plus a maid’s quarters with its own bathroom. Also, it has a living room, dining room and a gorgeous kitchen with a kitchenette. There’s also a small outdoor patio. Being the end unit of this four-home condo complex, there’s parking space for three vehicles.  Approximately 240 sq. meters. All this near the Cariari Golf and Country Club and its renowned Tom Facio golf course. The club also has amenities such as a fitness centre, exercise room, Olympic swimming pool, sauna, 12 tennis courts and many other benefits. Tel:  8384-9608 or 2293-9054  Price $214,500.


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

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:

A perfect ranch in Cariari, Guápiles
Fertile 42.5 hectares (about 105 acres) with a clean river and a natural spring of good water. Perfect for cattle or horses. Property faces a main road and contains corral and living quarters. Special price: $200,000 for a quick sale.. Call (506) 8383-3104 or write

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

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

Twice the Security & Prestige for Half the Cost

The only private guarded development in El Castillo
• 50% off for limited time only   • $26/square meter
• Neighbors are $80/square meter  • Incredible view
Clubhouse, pool, equestrian, country club
Only 2 remaining
Secure a spot in a million dollar neighborhood for under $100k
 Free architecture services
•  Full commission paid to brokers   • Financing available
Email or call the 24-hour recorded message for full info   CR: 4000-1983 (English/Español)
USA: 619-800-8550 (English only)

Tiliran property
Turnkey commercial/apartment building for sale in San Luis, Tilaran, Guanacaste. In a corporation. 100 percent occupancy and all permits in place. Great opportunity to gain investor status residency. New construction - 2012. Consists of three studio apartments upstairs with lake view and 4 storefronts on ground level, including laundry service, soda, consignment store. Comes with purchase or start your own business while you live in one of the apartments. $308,000. Please email

Ad three graphics
Tropical lots located walking distance to a beautiful white sandy beach
Only $49,999 with interest-free financing
These lots are located in a gated, private community with low HOA dues and offer amenities including a pool & rancho.  It is located close to Playa Conchal and Pirates beaches.  And only 20 minutes to the resort town of Tamarindo and an hour from Liberia International airport. Reserve your lot with only a $1,500 deposit.  We are offering Interest-free financing for 5 years for a limited time only. Contact: Christian 
U.S. (732) 962-6525 or CR (506) 8349-2025

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For Sale: Fully Furnished OCEAN VIEW CONDOMINIUM
Reduced $199,999
Gorgeous 2-bedroom, 2-bath condo with private terrace offering spectacular ocean views and built energy green. This condo is located in a gated community with low HOA dues and offers amenities including a pool & rancho.  It is located close to a beautiful white, sandy beach. Only 20 minutes to the resort town Tamarindo and an hour from Liberia airport.  Luxury finishings: Pella double pane windows, AC & ceiling fans, Frigidaire stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, marble bathroom vanities, custom cabinets. Contact or email 
U.S. (732) 962-6525 or CR (506) 8349-2025

Ad one grpahics
For Sale by Owner: Playa Conchal ocean view home reduced $339,999

Casa de Eden is  2,600 square feet with 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath, outdoor shower, private outdoor terrace and pool located only minutes from Playa Conchal.  The home is in a private, secure, gated community surrounded by nature and close to the resort town of Tamarindo, only an hour from Liberia airport.  The home is being offered fully furnished with: AC & ceiling fans, Frigidaire Professional series stainless steel appliances, granite kitchen countertops, marble bathroom vanities, custom wood cabinetry, internet, cable. 
Contact  U.S. (732) 984-7549
or CR (506) 8349-2025.

Lundquist photo
More photos HERE!
Another 'live in the view' home in Puriscal
$179,900 includes:
Lot on river, concrete road, custom kitchen & bath with granite counter tops, PEX plumbing, 2” Styrofoam, sandwiched in steel roof, 4” concrete/recycled Styrofoam & steel walls, laminated, bronzed windows, custom wood doors, appliances and all transfer taxes, and fees.

2, 900 sq feet under roof, 1,250 sq feet inside walls, 2 bedroom, 2 ½ baths, laundry room, three separate patio areas, covered carport, shade trees, in upscale, secure project.  This project has river with protected areas & walkways. It is only 10 minutes on all paved roads to Santiago de Puriscal, 45 minutes to La Plaza Mall/Hospital CIMA and SJO airport, and 1 ½ hours to Pacific Beaches. It has recently upgraded public water supply and dependable ICE electric and high-speed internet.
Please come visit our projects and meet four new homeowners who have recently moved into their new “live in the view” homes to verify how happy they are and that they all came in under budget. CONTACT: George Lundquist  Home phone: 2417-1041 Cell phone: 8888 4543 Skype glundquist.
To see more Photos of this house, click HERE!

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

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 167
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News from the BBC up to the minute

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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Granmama just loved plants, too

There is nothing in the world like a little roadside vivaro.  You can pass them in the blink of an eye.

“Wait!  Stop, go back.”  That’s me, on the way to Liberia.  In the

Ms. torley
background, if you listen closely, you can hear my husband muttering under his breath.  “OK, turn here,” when here is a gravel path that looks a little like the entrance to a nursery.  But there it is, a path and gate through a worn fence.  And there they are, the flowers and plants that someone’s grandmother thought worth saving.  The air is full
of  fragrance and pollinators are busy at all the flowers. There is a hummingbird. No, not one, there are three zipping overhead.  One is quite indignant that I am here, close to the food source. 

There is shade cloth over many of the plants. Others are soaking up rays like bathers at Playas del Coco.  I have to run my hand over them. I need to feel the crispness of the leaves.  Near the house (there is usually a house) a little girl watches me and smiles.  She is used to having visitors but scoots back inside when her mother comes out to see who is here.  “Buenos dias,” my best Spanish.  “Me gusta este flor.”  And I do like the shrub.  Its flowers are all yellows and orange and would look perfect near the lower door.  “¿Cuánto?”   The shrub is too good to pass up so we load it in the car.  “Muchas gracias,” and I smile at the little girl who smiles back shyly.

That is the way of the roadside vivaro.  It’s just a little family business that sprang up because grandma wouldn’t stop growing flowers. 

We have a wonderful corner vivaro in Nuevo Arenal.  A small house on a corner right in town.  You could drive by a hundred times and not know that someone had a business there, but go through the gate, call out “Hola” and the proprietor appears.  She has the face of a happy grandmother with plenty of smile lines around her eyes.  She has been growing things for years, and many of her plants are unusual.  She will chat you up in Spanish and not care that you don’t understand. It’s her way with visitors.  The plants cover the ground next to the path.  They laden the shelves and hang from hooks.  Cacti have their own special place.  Prices are so low you feel as if you are stealing. Most of the regulars never ask for change.

There are bigger vivaros, of course.  I love La Garita and the attendant smaller vivaros that spill over and down the surrounding streets.  But there is nothing like grandma’s vivaro, tucked away around the corner or just down the road.

Plant for Today

There are 23 species of gongora orchids and many are scented.  The one blooming in my shade garden smells like cloves.  These orchids are epiphytic, so attach them to a piece of wood or let them drape from a basket.  Keep them out of direct sunlight and be careful not to overwater.  

And remember – in Costa Rica, orchids
plant of the day
can only be harvested from fallen trees.  All other collection is illegal.

If you would like to suggest a topic for this column, simply send a letter to the editor.  And, for more garden tips, visit the
Arenal Gardeners Web site.

Costa Rican News
Retire NOW in Costa Rica
Fine Dining in Costa Rica
The CAFTA Report
Fish fabulous Costa Rica

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From Page 7:

Steel wire firm will employe 200 in Orotina

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A firm based in Belgium has opened a new plant in La Ceiba de Orotina to manufacture steel fibers for concrete. The firm is Bekaert, operating here as Bekaert Costa Rica S.A.

The company will export its product, which is under the Dramix trademark to the rest of Latin America.

Government officials said they were happy to see investment going to a location outside the metro area.

The facility is 10,200 square meters, nearly 110,000 square feet, and includes the ArcelorMittal operation that was purchased by Bekaert. Some 200 people will work at the location. The expansion included participation by ArcelorMittal, and the facility was renamed BIA Alambres Costa Rica S.A.

The objective is to better serve customers from various sectors in the region with a broader steel wire product portfolio in the construction, mining, oil & gas, agricultural, fencing and industrial markets, said Bekaert.

The firm employes about 8,000 persons in Latin America and 27,000 worldwide.