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(506) 2223-1327                                 Published Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014, in Vol. 14, No. 168                        Email us
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Crackdown coming on destruction of mangroves
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation's environmental court says it will announce a string of cases today that involve the destruction of 400 hectares of mangroves in the province of Puntarenas. That's nearly 1,000 acres.

The agency, Tribunal Ambiental Administrativo. is part of the Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía. and has the power to levy fines and other sanctions.

The Tribunal Ambiental said resolutions and actions taken also would be revealed. The announcement noted that some 95 percent of the species in the gulf of Nicoya depend on mangroves one way or another

José Lino Chavez López is the chief judge of the Tribunal, and he has been aggressive for years in countering destructions on both coasts. He has targeted many developers for intrusions into the mangroves around their projects and also outlined how creeping urbanism has taken over land that once had been mangroves.

The Tribunal did not give a list of sites that will be hailed into environmental court, but it is expected to do so today. Some of the destruction has risen to the level of action in the penal courts.

An important natural resource extends from the Puntarenas estuary to Chomes.

In 2010 the Tribunal cracked down on some violators. Investigators found land invasions by
Tribunal Ambiental Administrativo photo
Burning for agricultural land is rampant

 squatters, trees being burned to create more agricultural land and even a large backhoe extracting sand from a watercourse.

The mangroves get the outflow from the ríos Aranjuez, Naranjo, Ciruelas, Seco, Guacimal and Lagarto, the Tribunal noted.

In all there are about 2,500 hectares, nearly 6,200 acres, of mangroves. In 2010 the Tribunal said that in the 1970s there was a strip of mangrove about four kilometers wide. That was about 2.5 miles.

Then the strip was between 200 and 500 meters, about 650 to 1,640 feet, the agency said.

First cruise ship of season docks at Puntarenas
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Cruise season has officially hit Costa Rica's Pacific shores. The Instituto Costarricense de Turismo has marked the season's beginning with the arrival of Carnival Legend Sunday, which brought nearly 3,000 tourists to Puntarenas.

Tourism Minister Wilhelm von Breymann said sector leaders have tried to make improvements across the board to have Costa Rica be a focal destination on cruise liner's maps.

“With the arrival of this prestigious ship we begin cruise season on the Pearl of the Pacific,” he said. “Now begin the actions that we've implemented to ensure the country's position as a cruise destination with high-quality service.”

Last week, von Breymann announced the creation of a committee that would tweak infrastructure problems and train local tourism businesses with the ultimate goal of heightening the number of cruise arrivals in coming years. Compared to 2010, institute numbers show there were 200,000 fewer travelers who arrived into the country via cruise ships last year.

As part of their strategy, von Breymann and fellow tourism leaders have put an emphasis on cultural projects that show off the port town's unique gastronomy, art, and music, among other focuses. A tourism institute report said that these
Legend passengers
Instituto Costarricense de Turismo photo
Legend passengers arrive.

projects that reflect Costa Rica's identity can provide an immediate economical payoff to local businesses and workers.

Data from the tourism institute shows that the vast majority of cruise passengers arrive in pairs and each spend an average of $63 in Puntarenas.

Most come from the United States and Canada.

The Carnival Legend came from Cartagena, Colombia, and will make its way towards San Lucas, Mexico, after departing Puntarenas. The 960-foot ship is carrying 2,680 passengers and 930 crew members.


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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 168

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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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Real estate agents and services

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Motor fuel prices will decline

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Don't fill that tank yet. The price regulating agency said that the pump cost of super gasoline will go down 36 colons per liter and that plus grade will decline by 30 colons.

The agency, the Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos, said the decrease was due to the lower world price of petroleum despite a slight bump in the dollar exchange rate.

Lately an $80 fill up is not unusual with gas prices above the $5 a gallon mark.

The new super prices will be 774 colons a liter (2,929.91 colons per U.S. gallon). That's $5.38 a gallon.

Plus will be 752 colons a liter  (2,846.63 colons per U.S. gallon). That's $5.22.

Diesel declined just a colon, and the anticipated price is 666 colons per liter or 2,521.08 colons a gallon. That's $4.63,

Liquid petroleum gas also declined slightly by 4 colons a liter.

When the new prices go into effect, there probably is not a reason for a big shopping spree. The per liter reduction for super is just 7 U.S. cents. Plus declined 6 U.S. cents per liter. Still that's about 25 U.S. cents less for super and 21 U.S. cents less per gallon for plus.

Museum to close exhibit with dances

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A festive dance at Museo Nacional will mark the end of the museum's seasonal exhibit called “A Tres Bandas: Mestizaje, sincretismo, e hibridación en el espacio sonoro iberoamericano.”

Featuring the sounds and choreography of historic Latin American shows, the series of dances called “Bailando a Tres Bandas” is meant to compliment the exhibit's visual aspects with this historic style of music. Both the exhibit and the dance cover Latin American music from the 17th to 20th centuries.

The event is free for citizens and begins this Sunday at 9 a.m. in the museum's central patio and continues until 1 p.m. Sunday also is the last day museum goers can see the “A Tres Bandas” exhibition. This schedule begins with a swing workshop, then includes a performance from the national dance company, and then from the Cradle of Swing organization. A concert from the concert band of San José will round out the event at 11:30 a.m.

Food and drink vendors from Escazú will also be on hand.

Law school to have Latin certification

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The University of Pennsylvania Law School has established a certificate of study in Latin American and Latino studies.

The Philadelphia Ivy League school said it did this in recognition of the mounting importance of Latin America as both a rapidly growing global legal market and the hub of much U.S. immigration debate.

In collaboration with Penn’s Latin American and Latino studies program, the new certificate will enable Penn law students to enrich their legal educations by gaining knowledge of the social, cultural, and political issues facing Latinos and Latin Americans, while also affording opportunities for students to develop greater fluency in the legal landscapes, history, and languages of the region, said the university. Students will be able to participate in the program at the start of the 2014-15 academic year, it added.

The practice of law has become increasingly global. and 26 U.S. firms have offices in Latin America, and together those offices employ nearly 1,000 lawyers, according to the university announcement.

To earn the certificate, students must complete five courses in the area of Latin American and Latino studies. Two of these courses are taken at Penn Law, and the remaining three courses are taken in Penn’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Course offerings within the law school include Public International law, international business transactions, refugee law, and international trade regulation. Non-law courses cover topics ranging from Latin American political economy to international migration.

Students must also demonstrate proficiency in Spanish, French, Portuguese, or a less commonly taught language such as Yucatec Maya, Quechua, or Haitian Creole.

Insurance workers plant trees in La Uruca

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

In recognition of its 90 years of existence, volunteers from the Instituto Nacional de Seguros planted 90 trees in La Uruca.

The insurance company project was in conjunction with the Municipalidad de San José,and it took place near the institute's medical facility in La Uruca. The native trees are part of a rehabilitation project for the Corredor Biológico Interurbano Río Torres.

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A.M. Costa Rica

Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 168
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Confiscated horses appear to be waiting patiently for any kind of food from the police who are in charge.

Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo

Nicaraguan horse herd in deplorable condition intercepted by police
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police officers encountered a sad herd of horses Saturday not far from the Nicaraguan border. Officers speculated that the animals were being brought to Costa Rica to be slaughter as food for humans.

The animals appeared to have suffered. Some were covered with ticks. Others had worms, bruises, bloody cuts and infections. Some were blind. The animals also were starved, and bones were protruding.
Police characterized the herd of 62 horses and four mules as extremely unhealthy.

They arrested the man who appeared to have charge of the horses due to paperwork that may be faked.

The Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal will conduct an investigation. That agency has taken charge of the animals. Obviously some horses will have to be put down. Police encountered the horses in Pocosol de San Carlos.

French professor accepts appointment to Infinito arbitration panel
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Brigitte Stern, a French professor, has accepted appointment as one of three persons who will serve on an arbitration panel in a case between Costa Rica and Infinito Gold Ltd.

Professor Stern taught international law at the University of Paris. She is a frequent member of arbitration panels. She was Costa Rica's choice, and she speaks English.

No panel member has yet accepted an appointment from Infinito, according to the records on line with the World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. After Infinto's arbitrator is selected, he or she and Professor Stern will choose a third member of the panel.

Infinito filed its claim March 4. The Canadian firm is seeking $97 million because Costa Rica shut down its Las Crucitas open pit gold mining project in Cutris de San Carlos.

The Canadian firm of Torys LLP, headquartered in Toronto, will represent Infinito. The firm is one of the so-called Seven Sisters, law
firms identified as the top seven in Canada.

Costa Rica is represented by Arnold & Porter in Washington. The Ministerio de Comercio Exterior handles such claims.

Originally Infinito considered seeking $1 billion as an arbitration award.

Infinito began working here in 1993 through a local subsidiary. Since then the price of gold has skyrocketed. The firm also has been the victim of politics. In his first press conference as president, Abel Pacheco said he was ordering a moratorium on open pit mining. He said that even though Infinito had a valid contract.

Eventually the courts backed the gold mining company.

After additional hearings and court cases, the Tribunal Contencioso Administrativo ordered the mining permit to be invalidated.

The mine project was opposed vigorously by some environmentalists.

The case will be argued and considered under an investment treaty between Costa Rica and Canada.

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, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 168
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New gluten-free product lupin may have the same punch as peanuts
By the Kansas State University news staff

A popular new ingredient in gluten-free products could be causing an allergic reaction, according to a Kansas State University food safety specialist.

Lupin, a legume belonging to the same plant family as peanuts, is showing up as a wheat replacement in an increasing number of gluten-free products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is now issuing an alert, urging consumers with peanut and soybean allergies to read labels before buying these products.

"Lupin is a yellow-colored bean that's very popular in Europe, Mediterranean countries, Australia and New Zealand," said Karen Blakeslee, Kansas State University extension specialist in food science and coordinator of the Rapid Response Center. "However, it is new to the United States and because of that, many consumers have never heard of it and may not realize that lupin has the same protein that
causes allergic reactions to peanuts and soybeans."

Allergic reactions can have various symptoms, including hives, swelling of the lips, vomiting, breathing difficulties and anaphylactic shock. Even those without allergies to legume products need to be aware of the ingredient.

"You can become allergic to something at any point in your life," Ms. Blakeslee said. "If you do start seeing any symptoms of an allergic reaction, stop eating the food immediately and contact your doctor."

The FDA expects lupin to become a popular product in the gluten-free arena because of its many health qualities. It is high in protein and in dietary fiber, which helps lower cholesterol, and is low in fat.

Manufacturers are required to list lupin on the food label. The FDA is actively monitoring complaints of lupin allergies by U.S. consumers.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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

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

   * Discover how to make the right choices about moving here
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Anywhere Costa Rica plans custom vacations, and has the most comprehensive travel services in the country including travel guides, resorts and vacation homesCosta Rica tours
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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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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, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 168
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Obama authorizes flights
to keep an eye on terrorists

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A senior White House official says President Barack Obama has authorized surveillance flights over Syria.

The official said late Monday that Obama has not approved any military action, but that the U.S. is preparing military options for combating the Islamic State fighters who have taken over large areas in eastern Syria and northern and western Iraq.

U.S. planes have been carrying out air strikes in Iraq, helping Iraqi and Kurdish forces take back territory from the militants, including a dam in Mosul that is key to providing power to many in Iraq.

Pentagon officials have expressed the need to go after the Islamic State group on both sides of the border.

The operation is complicated by the ongoing civil war in Syria.  White House officials say Obama does not want U.S. action to be seen as aiding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has repeatedly blamed terrorists for the conflict that has raged in his country for more than three years.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest described the situation Monday as having a lot of cross pressures.

"We're not interested in trying to help the Assad regime. In fact, we have been calling for a number of years now for the Assad regime to step down," said Earnest.

Earlier Monday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said Syria is open to working with the international community, including the United States and Britain, but that any attacks should be coordinated with the government in Damascus.

He warned that any unilateral U.S. action inside Syria would be an act of aggression that could result in Syrian air defenses attempting to shoot down American warplanes.

Rapper being considered
as beheader of journalist

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The hunt for the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist Jim Foley is focusing on British jihadists, including a one-time British rapper known as L Jinny.

The Islamic State group has attracted hundreds of Western followers, including some 500 Britons and 100 Americans.

L Jinny, whose real name is Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, is believed to be one of them.

His father, Adel Abdel Bary, thought to have been a close associate of Osama bin Laden, was extradited on terrorism charges to the United States.

Photos of L Jinny posted on social media sites show a skinny young man sporting a goatee.

British intelligence agencies have been working around the clock to identify the man with a British accent who took a knife to Foley's throat in a video the extremist group released last week.

Although the killer's face was masked with a black hood on the video, his voice and British accent can clearly be heard. Intelligence agencies are said to be using sophisticated voice recognition and surveillance technology to identify the killer.

A German rapper known as Deso Dogg also is believed to have joined the extremist group.

Virginia corruption trial
features claim of infidelity

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The corruption trial of a former governor of an American state who was once a serious White House contender is captivating the nation with tales of excess and lurid details of a broken marriage.
Bob and Maureen McDonnell are on trial in Virginia’s capital, Richmond, facing 14 charges, including accepting bribes and obstructing an investigation. If convicted, both could face up to 20 years in prison.
The government asserted that the ex-governor and his wife took $120,000 in loans and $50,000 in gifts from Richmond businessman Jonnnie Williams.
Prosecutors say Williams was hoping to get the governor and Virginia’s first lady to provide state assistance and personal endorsements to Williams’ company Star Scientific, which was selling dietary supplements.
The prosecution’s case detailed, among other things, expensive shopping sprees for Maureen McDonnell and substantial cash loans to the couple to help them recover from several soured real estate investments, Williams allegedly picked up the tab for the McDonnell’s daughter’s wedding and provided the governor with a Rolex watch with a special inscription.
To increase the pressure on the McDonnells, the government granted Jonnie Williams immunity from prosecution in exchange for his cooperation.
“If he did not have immunity, he would very likely be in the same boat as the McDonnells because he has as much as admitted that he showered the McDonnells with gifts in order to get benefits from the governor,” said a University of Richmond law professor, Henry Chambers. “That he appears to have been unsuccessful does not matter.”
Williams told the court that Maureen McDonnell never told him that his gifts were excessive or inappropriate. The businessman also testified that he was never told by the governor to stop showering them with gifts and favors.
In late 2013, as the pre-indictment investigation into the McDonnells was underway, the couple said it repaid Williams for the wedding expenses and the loans. They said they also returned the Rolex watch. But to federal investigators, those actions did not cancel out acts they considered to be criminal.

The McDonnells’ defense team has come up with a strategy that plays to the weakness of Virginia’s official ethics laws. They assert that it was Maureen McDonnell, not the ex-governor, who was responsible for the actions connected to Jonnie Williams. They say Virginia regulations on behavior by officials don’t apply to spouses.
“The most important point is to focus on the notion that Maureen McDonnell did not conspire with Bob McDonnell, and that Jonnie Williams got nothing more than any motivated Virginia businessman should get from a governor – help promoting a Virginia product that the governor appeared to believe in,” Chambers said.
To try to make that more convincing, the ex-governor’s lawyers have portrayed Maureen McDonnell as a cold, difficult, even unstable person who had lost her affection for her husband. She turned instead to an infatuation with Williams, who allegedly responded with money and gifts.
But on the witness stand, Williams threw cold water on that story, saying “I didn’t know she had any interest in me until this past week. No, I’ve never had any contact with Mrs. McDonnell, any physical contact. Period.”
However, evidence indicates that Maureen McDonnell and Williams had a close personal relationship, having been seen together numerous times at events and elsewhere. And the court was told that the two of them made more than 1,200 phone calls and text messages to each other between April 2011 and February 2013.
As part of that estranged, unstable wife legal positioning, the ex-governor testified that he moved out of their house in July, shortly before the trial began.
"I didn’t want to go home,” he told the court. “I didn’t have the emotional capacity to go home.” 
The ex-governor’s lawyers said that if he did assist Williams, it was only part of his role as Virginia’s chief executive to promote jobs and economic growth in the state.

The case has yet to go to the jury, which is made up of 12 citizens picked before the trial began.
And that jury selection process will matter greatly when those dozen people soon decide whether Robert, or Maureen McDonnell – or both of them – are guilty of the federal charges against them.
“The prosecution,” Attorney Jacob Frenkel told Fox News, “wants jurors who are going to be offended by graft, who are offended by people who have their hand out.”
But Frenkel added, “On the other hand, what the defense wants are jurors who are going to be sympathetic, view the McDonnells as popular, effective public officials.”

Internet addiction declared
clinical disorder in China

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

They call it “electronic heroin,” and China feels it’s the biggest threat to its teenagers.

In 2008, China, which has over 20 million Internet addicts, became one of the first countries to declare the affliction a clinical disorder. Internet addiction has spawned the creation of over 250 camps within China designed to treat addicted youth.

The addiction problem, and China's attempts to treat it, has attracted the attention of Israeli filmmakers Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia, who released the documentary "Web Junkie" earlier this month.

According to the 2008 report that defined the disorder, people who spend more than six hours online doing something other than work or study, and who feel bad when unable to access a computer, have what they call Internet addiction disorder.

Gaming appears to be the most addictive Internet behavior, with some gamers donning diapers so as to avoid bathroom breaks.

The trend has Chinese parents worried.

“I think China and especially Chinese parents take education very seriously,” said Eric Harwit, professor of Asian studies at the University of Hawaii.  “They saw a lot of teenagers, especially young male students, start to lose interest in school and devote much of their time to Internet gaming.”

Harwit said the parents of Internet-addicted youth are desperate to cure their offspring. Some even resort to drugging their kids to take them to the camps.

“They look to the camps as a kind of last resort for reforming their children, especially if it’s one child, the only child that they have, and giving them a chance to break their addiction to Internet games and hopefully then return to school and become more academically capable,” he said.

The military-style camps are situated throughout China, and are designed to force the country’s youth away from obsessive Internet surfing and video gaming. Typically, kids can spend three to four months at a camp receiving treatment.

Filmmakers Shlam and Ms. Medalia were granted access to the Daxing Boot Camp in Beijing, the first Internet addiction camp, which opened in 2005.

“Most of the kids were forced to come there, they didn’t know where they were going,” said Ms. Medalia, co-director of "Web Junkie." “Some of them were drugged, one of our kids thought he was going skiing and found himself behind bars at the center.”

Once there, the patients are required to participate in rigorous exercises, medication and therapy. Sometimes patients are also placed in isolation for as long as 10 days. The living conditions are Spartan, according to Ms. Medalia.

“There are no showers, and they wake up very early in the morning, it’s like a boot camp in many ways and they’re doing military training,” she said. “In the winter it’s extremely cold in Beijing, and in the summer it’s extremely hot.”

But Ms. Medalia said camp officials believe the harsh conditions provide a discipline that the patients need. The center encourages parents to stay at the camps, and families often participate in consultations with authorities there. The Daxing treatment center claimed 70 percent success in helping patients overcome Internet addiction. It has since closed, but relocated to another facility not connected to the military.

But some of the disciplinary measures at the camps have become overly harsh, and deaths have been reported. According to a 2012 Xinhua story, “instructors who resort to violence while treating addicts at Internet addiction rehabilitation centers will be disqualified from continuing their job.”

That same report said that in 2010 two camp instructors beat a 15-year-old to death. The two received up to 10 years in prison, according to the report.

And the deaths continue.

In June, a 19-year-old girl died after being repeatedly dropped on the ground by instructors at a camp in Henan province. Another girl apparently died after being forced to do extreme exercises on a cold floor for two hours.

The true test of the camps’ success comes when the participants leave the camps and return to their homes or schools where the Internet is always waiting.

“Once they return to society, they’re not supposed to then play games, but they still have to use the Internet,” said Harwit, noting that much academic research is now done online. “How do you say this part of the Internet is good, but this part you should avoid?”

China is not the only country grappling with Internet addiction.

The New York Times reported that “up to 30 percent of South Koreans under 18, or about 2.4 million people, are at risk of Internet addiction.” South Korea also has opened well over 100 rehabilitation centers for those suffering from addiction.

Albinos in Africa are hunted
for their magical body parts

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

United Nations human rights officials report a spike in ritual attacks and killings of people with albinism in Tanzania.  They are calling for greater protection for these people who face a dire situation and are extremely vulnerable. 

The U.N. Human Rights Office reports five new attacks against people with albinism occurred over an 11-day period in Tanzania this month.  This, it says, brings the number of attacks since 2000 to 151, including 74 murders.

Albinism is a genetically inherited condition, in which people lack pigmentation.  While it is very rare in most parts of the world, affecting one in 20,000 people, it is quite common in sub-Saharan Africa.  In Tanzania, one in 1,400 people are born with this condition.

U.N. human rights official Alicia Loudono, who has just returned from a mission to Tanzania, says she is very concerned by the marginalization, discrimination and persecution to which people with albinism are subjected in Africa.  She says they are portrayed as ghosts, as devils, as people who bring bad luck, death or sickness.

“The worst form of discrimination is the ritual attacks.  These are rooted in superstition….Body parts of persons with albinism are used for witchcraft purposes.  There is this belief in certain countries that body parts have magical powers and if used in potions produced by witch doctors it will bring wealth and power," said Ms. Loudono.

As a result, people with albinism are mutilated for their body parts.  Ms. Loudono says a limb can fetch thousands of dollars on the black market.  She says a person who has had an arm or a leg cut off is usually left unattended and bleeds to death.   

Victims who survive usually receive no communal support or legal assistance. 

Non-governmental organizations have documented 328 attacks in 24 different countries since 2000.  They include Burundi, Ivory Coast and Swaziland.  Most attacks occur in rural areas.

Early in 2013, there was a spike in the number of these ritual attacks.  Ms. Loudono says on her trip to Tanzania, everyone linked the recent attacks to the presidential election set for October 2015.

“There is this common knowledge of people with albinism, that attacks increase when there is an election.  One of the reasons they say is that there are some politicians that use witchcraft for gaining power.  This is part of their belief…for winning elections, for being more rich, etc," she said.

While in Tanzania, Ms. Loudono visited several centers for children with special needs where children with albinism are warehoused.  She says these centers were originally intended as temporary, but have now become a long-term solution.

She says the conditions in which these children are kept are appalling.  They are overcrowded and unhygienic, and the children are subject to corporal punishment, threats and sexual abuse.

The worst aspect of these centers, she says, is that these children lose all contact with their families. 

Instead of segregating these children from their communities, she says, the Tanzanian authorities should make every effort to integrate them back into their homes and societies. 
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Visit our Web Site:

English calls: (Cristian Arce) Phone: 
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(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!
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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

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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:

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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.

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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

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Tropical lots located walking distance to a beautiful white sandy beach
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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 
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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. 
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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!

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

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 168
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Floral offering
Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto photo
Marking the 189th anniversary of his country's independence,  the ambassador of Uruguay, Fernando Daniel Marr Merello, places a floral offering at the Monumental Nacional. Also there is Marco Vinicio Vargas, who has been Costa Rica's ambassador to Uruguay. Costa Rica's independence day is Sept. 15.

Government pulls plug on Mer-Link

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica for years has had two purchasing systems. There was Mer-Link and Compre-Red. Each was digital, and government agencies would put their needs on the Web sites to solicit bids from vendors. This process was supposed to increase transparency. Some agencies used Mer-Link. Others used Compre-Red.

Having two competing systems seems to be silly, so President Laura Chinchilla decreed more than a year ago that Compre-Red, operated by the Ministerio de Hacienda, would be shut down and all purchasing would go through Mer-Link.

But then the government changed. Vice President Helio Fallas is in charge of the ministry now, and he likes Compre-Red.

In one of those directives that seldom get attention, it appears he has chosen to shut down Mer-Link instead.

That drew a comment Monday from Antonio Alvarez Desanti of the Partido Liberación Nacional lawmaker. He said that when both purchasing organizations made presentations to lawmakers, Mer-Link appeared to be the most professional.

He said he was concerned by the decision made by Fallas.

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From Page 7:

Starting shoe import firm took nearly a year

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

American expat Wayne Winstead began a small sporting shoe business after nearly a year of maneuvering through Costa Rica's nightmarish red tape procedures. For the past four months his company, Blue Goose, has sold running footwear imported from China.

He started the licensing process last August before having to register his company with the Registro Nacional. Winstead said it took a few months for the registration to be processed but when it was finalized no state authority alerted him that his document was ready. Then he went to China to find a factory and hire a producer. Production time combined with shipping from the factory takes about 100 days, he said.

“It's just a lot of waiting time more than anything,” said Winstead about starting a small business in the country. He added that there is an excessive amount of red tape and notorious tax rates.

Currently, Winstead says his shoes are in the process of getting the green light to go through Costa Rican customs. He has to pay a 13 percent tax on his imports ahead of time, he said.

The Chinese factory that supplies the brightly designed sports shoes is located just outside Fuzhou, a port city on the country's southeast.

Winstead plans to start selling soccer shoes at the beginning of September.

With prices for the running shoes listed at 32,000 colons, or $59, its a cheaper option locally than brand name counterparts like Nike or Adidas. “You can buy two of ours plus have lunch,” Winstead said.

The small business owner who's headquartered in San José said he plans to branch out into Colombia and Nicaragua in the future. He added that he is working on securing a deal with a retailer, but that his operation benefits from not having to pay a distributor or house a large office full of workers.