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(506) 2223-1327                          Published Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, in Vol. 13, No. 181                 Email us
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Jo Stuart
Cascata del Bosco

Burden of highway mess falling on motorists
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The public will again pay the price for deficiencies in highway maintenance. The impact of closing a section of the Circunvalación for two months will mean more metro traffic jams, changed work hours for some public employees and more hours when passenger cars are forbidden on the roads.

The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes said Wednesday afternoon that the washout between Hatillo 8 and the Pavas exit on the four-lane road was too unstable to allow traffic.

This is the spot where the ministry's Consejo Nacional de Vialidad installed four bailey bridges to carry the traffic. Motorists had to live with a week of lane restrictions on the key highway.

Tuesday's rain cause the Río María Aguilar to swell. That river eroded the road. The washout became larger, and experts from the Universidad de Costa Rica said that the bailey bridges were unsafe. The road was closed temporarily Tuesday and permanently Wednesday.

The ministry said that the bridges will be removed and the soil beneath shored up. Workers are expected to install pilings. Then the bridges will be replaced. Officials estimated that this will take two months. Then work will continue rebuilding the spillway under the road. That was what washed out originally causing the erosion.

Officials also are examining other spillways on the highway. Most were constructed of large-diameter corrugated pipes, which are at the end of their useful life.

In addition to traffic jams and difficulties navigating the metro area, motorists also will face additional restrictions based on their license plate. Each personal vehicle already is prohibited from traveling in the metro area one day a week,  based on the last digit of the l icense plate. Now officials want to extend that
A.M. Costa Rica graphic 
  Here is a map showing how to avoid the traffic
  jams today.

 prohibition to  another weekday when the vehicles will be barred during peak traffic hours in the morning and evening.

The ministry is sending 120 traffic officers into the streets today to enforce the prohibitions and direct traffic. Fuerza Pública officers also have been asked to  help.

In another effort to reduce rush hour traffic, the ministry said that public employees no longer will start work at 7 a.m. Instead they will arrive a 9 a.m. That comment has not been supported yet by official action by the Presidencia, but the Ministerio de Educación Pública said school times will remain as they are, normally 7 a.m.

The ministry also has not officially released details on the second day of vehicle prohibition. The Circunvalación is a major bypass route that runs from la Uruca to San Pedro along the southern edge of the metro area.

September and October are rainy months, so the weather may change the ministry's plans.

Four Canadians held in debit card fraud investigation
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial police picked up four Canadians Wednesday and said that they were in Costa Rica engaging in fraud with cloned credit cards, mainly from Canadian victims.

Investigators had been following the four for five days after being tipped to a possible problem by  local bank workers.

The Canadian debit cards were being used in automatic tellers in Escazú, San José, Tibás and Santa Ana, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

The bank workers became suspicious when a number of credit cards were retained by the machines, agents said.

The judicial agency said that nearly $48,000 in cash was in the vehicle when agents stopped it about 1 p.m. in La Sabana. The men were between 25 and 36 years of age, the agency added.

Agents also found cloned debit cards, they said.
cloned cards
Judicial Investigating Organization photo
Cloned cards like these do not have to be pretty. They just need the right information embeded.

Agents make arrest in an electronic bank robbery
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
(Posted at 2:55 p.m.)
Judicial agents said today that a band of tech-savvy crooks breached the security of a private bank's computer system and systematically drew out quantities of money over seven months.

The gang leaders enlisted others to receive the money in their own accounts, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.  The name of the bank was not released immediately.

The judicial agency said that the money came from
the principal accounts of the bank and not form the accounts of customers. The amount stolen may be as much as 110 million colons (about $220,000) and $200,000 in dollars.

Agents detained five individuals earlier today in the homes in Heredia Centro, La Uruca, Mercedez Norte, San Rafael de Alajuela and Barva,

The thefts were discovered by bank security, the agency said. One of the men involved as a suspect is an expert in computer systems, said the agency. A report said there may be more arrests.

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The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2013 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission.
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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 181

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


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Next year will be named
for Juan Rafael Mora Porras

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Next year is about to be declared the bicentennial year of Juan Rafael Mora Porras.

He was the president that organized and personally led a Costa Rican force into Nicaragua to defeat the forces of filibusterer William Walker is 1856.

Lawmakers are close to a final vote on dedicating the year to him as liberador. He already has been named a national hero.

Under terms of the bill that already received an initial favorable vote in the legislature, public schools will be obligated to include the story of his life in the civic curriculum.

Despite his victory in the Nicaraguan campaign, Mora was overthrown and had to flee the country. When he returned in an effort to regain power, he was captured and shot in Puntarenas.

Arrest made in murder
of Sarapiquí woman, 72

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Investigators have made an arrest in the Aug. 31 murder of a 72-year-old women in Virgen de Sarapiquí. The suspect is a man with the last name of Zamora who lived about 500 meters from the woman's home, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

The woman, identified by the last name of Álvarez, was found by a family member. Her husband had traveled to San José on business, agents said at the time.

The suspect is 23. The judicial agency was careful to say that he is accused of participating in the murder, suggesting that there might be more arrests.

Agents said that the apparent motive was the belief in the area that the woman kept a large sum of money at home because she had just sold some property. The woman appeared to have been strangled or smothered, they said.

The Poder Judicial said the man was jailed for four months of preventative detention while the investigation continues.

Coordinator hired for rust

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The United States says it has hired a regional coordinator housed at the regional Guatemalan coffee association, to provide regional emergency coordination and disseminate best practices to combat coffee rust. Coffee rust is a destructive fungus that infects a coffee plant’s leaves, causing them to yellow and drop prematurely, thereby reducing yields and bean quality, the government said.

Much of Central America is experiencing s serious outbreak of the fungus, which is expected to reduce crop yields at least 8 percent, according to the International Coffee Organization

Outsourcing session in December

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The International Association of Outsourcing Professionals plans its third outsourcing summit Dec. 3 to 5 in the Hotel Real InterContinental in Escazú. The event is being backed by the Costa Rican promotional organizations. The summit is designed to educate those interested in outsourcing solutions in Latin America on the opportunities, trends and best practices, it said.

Bandits invade Escazú condo

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Armed men staged a bold condo invasion Wednesday in Jaboncillo de Escazú. They got the drop on a guard and tied him up, then entered a condo and threatened four adults and a minor who were there. The Judicial Investigating Organization said that they managed to steal a safe. The location is north of the Costa Rican Country Club.

Our reader's opinion
Tico soccer achievement
impressive for small nation

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

You have to appreciate the team and national effort of Costa Rica as it enters the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Yes, fútbol or soccer is not a game many Americans follow, but I assure you that in this country EVERY eye was glued to the television set last night, including mine.

What is really impressive is the country only has 4.6 million people yet beat out Mexico (whose population in Mexico City alone is almost four times the size of Costa Rica). Costa Rica finished second behind the United States after leading the division. They were tied last night in the last minute of their game. The United States, with a population approaching 400 million, has an excellent team, but when you considered the numbers, Costa Rica's team is really impressive.

So, this Gringo is GO Tico's.
Ken Beedle      

Have you seen these stories?
From A.M. Costa Rica

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Old pages

Each day someone complains via e-mail that the newspages are from yesterday or the day before. A.M. Costa Rica staffers check every page and every link when the newspaper is made available at 2 a.m. each week day.

So the problem is with the browser in each reader's computer. Particularly when the connection with the server is slow, a computer will look to the latest page in its internal memory and serve up that page.

Readers should refresh the page and, if necessary, dump the cache of their computer, if this problem persists. Readers in Costa Rica have this problem frequently because the local Internet provider has continual problems.


The A.M. Costa Rica search page has a list of all previous editions by date and a space to search for specific words and phrases. The search will return links to archived pages.


A typical edition will consist of a front page and six other newspages. Each of these pages can be reached by links near the top and bottom of the pages.


Classified pages are updated daily. Employment listings are free, as are listings for accommodations wanted, articles for sale and articles wanted. The tourism page and the real estate sales and real estate rentals are updated daily.

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The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2013 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details


A.M. Costa Rica

Third News Page
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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 181
Real Estate
About us

An estimated 20,000 schoolkids will carry independence torch
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The education ministry said Wednesday that about 20,000 students will participate in carrying the Antorcha de la Independencia from Peñas Blancas to Cartago over two days, starting Friday. 

That is a distance of 386 kilometers, some 240 miles.

The youngsters in groups will carry the torch an average of about 200 meters, said the Ministerio de Educación Pública. This is an annual event.

The torch ends up in Cartago Saturday at an 8 p.m. session of the president's cabinet. There are stops along the way.

The torch signifies the route that the news of independence took in 1821.

Abril Morales Ceciliano, 14, of the Liceo Experimental Bilingüe de La Cruz has been named to be the first Costa Rican student to carry the torch as it arrives at the border about 9 a.m. Friday.

One of the first stops will be in La Cruz at the tomb of  Marcelino García Flamenco. He is not well known to expats, but he was the man whose death triggered an uprising in 1919 that eliminated the Tinoco family from power. Federico Alberto Tinoco Granados, a general, became president in a coup. 

García, who was a school teacher in Osa, ended up becoming involved in a firefight with Tinoco supporters.

He was gravely wounded with machetes and than taken nearly the entire length of the country to La Cruz where he was doused with fuel and set afire.

The torch will be there about 12:30 p.m.
Here are the other stops:


Parque Central de Liberia,, 5:30 p.m.
Parque Central de Bagaces, 8:15 p.m.
Parque Central de Cañas, 10:55 p.m.

Parque Central de Esparza, 4:50 a.m.
Escuela Carlos María Jiménez, 6:30 a.m.
Parque Central de San Ramón, 8:10 a.m.
Parque Central de Palmares, 9:20 a.m.
Parque Central de Naranjo, 10:45 a.m.
Plaza de Deportes, Sarchí, 11:35 a.m.
Parque Central de Grecia, 12:55 p.m.
Parque Central de Alajuela, 2:45 p.m.
Parque Central de Heredia, 4:15 p.m.
Parque Central de San José, 5:59 p.m.
Parque Central de Tres Ríos, 7:10 p.m.

The reception in San José coincides with the 6 p.m. singing of the national anthem. Officials will ignite a caldron from the torch.

We would appreciate it if you didn't steal this news story, too
By Jay Brodell
editor of A.M. Costa Rica

Reading some Web sites and some expat discussion lists is, as Yogi Berra said, déjà vu all over again.

Staring out of the computer are articles that appeared in A.M. Costa Rica that have been copied and posted without permission elsewhere.

A 2011 presidential decree pretty well eliminated the liability of Web site service providers for any stolen material that is posted. So the responsibility rests completely with the individual who copies and reposts someone else's work.

A recent post on the Yahoo discussion list called Costa Rica Living handled an A.M. Costa Rica news story in just the right way. The poster mentioned the story, briefly summarized the main point and then provided a link back to the original. He also made some personal comments about the article.

Other times, posters will copy and post the entire story, which is a gross violation of intellectual property rights.

The Huffington Post in the United States has been criticized for taking information from other news sources. Taking information from another news source is shoddy, but still short of simply copying another person's work.

Some expats think that they can freely post material as long as they attribute the news story to the source. That is incorrect and similar to saying one can take someone else's car as long as the owner's name is written on the side door.

Obtaining news costs time, resources and money.  Editors who want good news stories should do what A.M. Costa Rica reporters do, and that is go out in the driving rain, visit police stations, news conferences and the legislature to get the facts.

To publish a news story that says "as La Nación" reported is equivalent to saying "I am just too lazy to be a reporter, so I stole these facts." That is unless La Nación is writing about itself because the company is some way involved in making news.

CRHoy, an excellent Spanish-language news site, frequently is victim of this kind of appropriation. Some editorial crooks also steal the photos.

The free trade treaty with the United States and Central American countries requires each nation to pass laws 

protecting intellectual property. Costa Rica has done so, but online news articles have a low priority. Prosecutors are more interested in counterfeit CDs and name brand clothing when they have time.

At one point La Nación tried the hale an online publisher into court for stealing the company's news stories and running them through a Google translator and then posting them.

Foreign language rights usually are owed by the original publisher, too. But the offending publisher had hidden himself so well that process servers could not find him.

A.M. Costa Rica operated the Costa Rica Report site which contained a brief summary of daily news stories from the Spanish language press and links to the original story on the newspapers' Web sites. That was a legal and ethical approach.

Editors at A.M. Costa Rica will step up their monitoring of low-budget news sites to protect the content.

Del Rey HOtel

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2013 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 181
Real Estate
About us

After 14 years, press group still urges action in attack on Mexican editor
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The Inter American Press Association expressed Wednesday to the Mexican government its serious concerns regarding the lack of resolution of an attack 14 years ago on journalist Jesús Blancornelas.

Friday the press organization said it became aware of a ruling by the sixth district criminal court of Mexico State exonerating Marco Antonio Quiñones of the Nov. 27, 1997 attack in which Blancornelas was injured and his bodyguard, Luis Valero, was killed.

Quiñones was identified by the Mexican attorney general’s office as one of the hitmen working for the Arellano Félix brothers’ drug cartel (known as the Tijuana Cartel) and a member of the Mexican mafia who was hired to kill Blancornelas, editor of the weekly Zeta.

Quiñones, who is currently serving a 12-year and nine-month prison sentence on an organized crime charge as a member of the Tijuana Cartel, is due to be released in October 2016. The authorities identified 10 hitmen as having participated in Blancornelas’ attack, alleging the leaders of the cartel group are the masterminds.

Zeta has been one of the Mexican media outlets to suffer the most direct attacks in recent years. They have received the support of the Inter American Press Association, which has documented and denounced these attacks to the Mexican government and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The Inter American Press Association has also denounced the cases of Héctor Félix Miranda, murdered in 1988, and Francisco Ortiz Franco, murdered in 2004, both Zeta executives and journalists.

All these attacks continue to go unpunished.

The chairman of the association's Impunity Committee, Juan Francisco Ealy Ortiz, lamented that a federal judge has not found sufficient evidence to sentence even the perpetrator identified by the Mexican Attorney general’s office in 2004.
Ealy Ortiz, president of the Mexican newspaper El Universal, added that “for the IAPA this is proof that the government has not carried out its duty to prevent this case, and many others, from going unpunished.”

In this regard, the Inter American Press Association called on the attorney general’s office to review the case and take the necessary legal steps to charge and convict those involved. The organization also declared that the government should comply with a resolution from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights regarding the Félix Miranda case, in which the authorities are called upon to investigate and determine who is the mastermind behind the attack.

In the attack on Blancornelas the attorney general’s office cited and identified in the case file Benjamín Arellano Félix and Ramón Arellano Félix as the masterminds. Ramón has since died.

The association identified three interesting facts regarding Zeta:

Francisco Ortiz Franco, the Zeta publisher and lawyer, collaborated with the association in the review of the Félix Miranda case file, where the rights court acted as intermediary. Shortly afterwards, on June 22, 2004, Ortiz Franco was gunned down by unidentified assailants who shot him with AK-47 sub-machine guns in front of his 8- and 10-year-old children.

In 2002 the Inter American Press Association awarded Jesús Blancornelas its Press Freedom Grand Prize. He died on Nov. 23, 2006, from illness.

In November 2009 the Inter American Press Association produced and distributed El Crujir de las Palabras ("The Crunching of Words"), a documentary that thoroughly analyzes Ortiz Franco’s murder, exhibits the inconsistencies with the investigation carried out by the authorities, and their lack of interest in prosecuting those responsible. It also displays the multiple attacks on journalists that remain unpunished in Mexico.

More on  Blancornelas can be found HERE! and HERE!.

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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.
Geroge's view
An evening View
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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
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Christ Howard with Max
retiring in Costa Rica,  and who has personally helped over 10,000 people with ALL BUDGETS relocate SUCCESSFULLY over the last 35 years. CUSTOM TAILOR-MADE TOURS are also available for people with special needs or who can’t take one of our fixed-date tours. ALL tours include EXTENSIVE touring and a highly informative SEMINAR by the country’s most renowned EXPERTS in their respective fields. Also visit: Live in Costa Rica to check out our NEW tour prices and specials.  Customer satisfaction 100% guaranteed! MY REFERENCES.

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Howard Spanish cover


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A.M. Costa Rica
Real estate rentals
Real estate rental agents
Real estate for rent
Real estate wanted

Real estate rental services (paid category)

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

Real estate for rent (paid category)

Cute rental house
Beautiful and cozy mountain cottages
in San Rafael de Heredia.
Surrounded by nature. Bus line service. Security.
One or two bedrooms, one or two baths.
$500 or $425, monthly with furniture.
$325 or $250 without furniture. No bills included.
MORE INFO:  (506) 8739-0638.

COMPLETELY and nicely furnished apartments
apartment view
in San José, and one condo in Escazú. Fast Internet, cable TV, hot water. Large American appliances including washer and dryer. Both convenient locations. No pets. $600 per month. Contact: or call 8555-9819.

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.

We have many prime properties available for long-term rentals.
Santa Ana

Lovely cottage on private coffee farm
One spacious bedroom, one bath, office room/spare room with high speed DSL internet, fully equipped kitchen, phone line,
Sarchi cottage
balcony with beautiful view, especially at night with the far off lights of San José. Farm is gated and guarded, private and peaceful, owner on-site. Sarchi is a quiet small town about 30-40 min from the airport, a perfect base to explore from and also get a
feel for normal, day-to-day Tico life. Rental is $575 per month, 3 months minimum. All utilities included. Shorter stays at $45 per night, 2 nights minimum. $225 per week, and $30 per additional night. Sorry, no pets.  Contact or 8308-7732.

Barrio Escalante, totally furnished, 1 BR apartment for single, responsible person. $35 daily, weekly rates. Contact 8385-2542,

1 bedroom with private bath. Rooms in large, 3.000 sq ft. historical mansion in heart of Barrio Amón.  Prices starting at $350. for long-term. Smoking ok in common areas. Includes electricity, water, commercial kitchen use, laundry, high-speed internet. 7078-6985. More info HERE!

COMPLETELY and nicely furnished apartments
apartment view
in San José, and one condo in Escazú. Fast Internet, cable TV, hot water. Large American appliances including washer and dryer. Both convenient locations. No pets. $600 per month. Contact: or call 8555-9819.

We have many prime properties available for long-term rentals.
Santa Ana

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.

Beautiful Golfito house for rent in Costa Rica: $300/month
Available now and please see the video!
New construction includes some wooden stairs to the main gate and a small pavilion above the house overlooking the village. The distance to Golfito harbor/downtown is 7 kms and you can get there by car, taxi or bus. The sale price is $72,000 which is negotiable and includes the property lot of 26,000 sq, ft, for more houses. The rent is $300/month, which is very reasonable for those who want to live near sea and Panamá in an inexpensive lifestyle. It was so nice to live near Panamá where people can shop for much lower prices including for groceries. Please contact me at for more details. Thank you.

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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 181
Real Estate
About us

University of Arizona photo
A portion of the asteroidal Sutter's Mill meteorite.

Organic molecules discovered
inside California meteorite

By the University of Arizona news staff

A discovery has been made concerning the possible inventory of molecules available to the early Earth.

Scientists led by Sandra Pizzarello, a research professor at Arizona State University, found that the Sutter’s Mill meteorite, which exploded in a blazing fireball over California last year, contains organic molecules not previously found in any meteorites. These findings suggest a far greater availability of extraterrestrial organic molecules than previously thought possible, an inventory that could indeed have been important in molecular evolution and life itself.

The work is being published in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Coincidentally, Sutter’s Mill is also the gold discovery site that led to the 1849 California Gold Rush. Detection of the falling meteor by doppler weather radar allowed for rapid recovery so that scientists could study for the first time a primitive meteorite with little exposure to the elements, providing the most pristine look yet at the surface of primitive asteroids.

“The analyses of meteorites never cease to surprise you ... and make you wonder,” explains Ms. Pizzarello. The Solar System processes that lead to its alteration seem also to have brought about novel and complex molecules of definite interest, she said.

Ms. Pizzarello and her team heated fragments of the meteorite and then detected the compounds released by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.

Lizard fossil is evidence
of convergent evolution

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The lizard had a shark-like fin. That’s what Swedish researchers have discovered about the fearsome mosasaur prognathodon, which lived in the seas of the Cretaceous Period about 70 million years ago.

The discovery was based on a fossil found in Jordan in 2008. Researcher Johan Lindgren, of Lund University in Sweden, traveled to Jordan in 2011 and discovered that imprints of soft tissue had been preserved around the creature’s tail fin, which ultimately led to the conclusion about its shape. The fossil proved to be the first one of its kind that revealed the tail fin contour in its entirety. But unlike a shark fin, the mosasaur’s fin faced downward.

“After trying to reconstruct the tail fin for years, with only the skeleton to go by, I was suddenly standing in front of the definitive answer”, said Lindgren, who lead the international group of Jordanian and American researchers involved in the discovery. “It was a fantastic feeling of euphoria.”

The mosasaur, which could grow up to 17 meters in length, was previously thought to have a long, rectilinear body and a straight, elongated tail. Instead, it has a streamlined, fish-like body with a fluked tail. This is more in line with other big marine creatures, such as the extinct ichthyosaurs (250-94 million years ago) and today’s sharks and whales.

“These characteristics demonstrate in an outstanding way how organisms living in similar environments develop similar features, in a process known as convergent evolution,” said Lindgren.

He points out that the mosasaur’s evolutionary history – not just this discovery but in general – is one of the best examples of large-scale evolution and how animals change appearance in order to adapt to a new environment. In this case, mosasaurs adapted to a marine life following life on land.

Sept. 11 attack remembered
in multiple U.S. ceremonies

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Americans gathered to mark the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.  Solemn ceremonies have taken place near the sites of the attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

With music and prayers, friends and loved ones remembered those who perished when hijacked planes hit the towers of New York's World Trade Center.  They gathered at the site for what has become an annual event, reading of the names of the victims.

For some readers, emotions were still raw, 12 years after the attacks.

"You were more than just my daddy.  You were my best friend, and I love you more than anything.  You will be in my heart always," the daughter of a 9/11 victim said after reading the name of her father.

In Washington, President Barack Obama paid tribute to the victims.

After a bell tolled, the president, vice president and other dignitaries on the White House lawn bowed their heads for a moment of silence.

Later, the president took part in a ceremony at the Pentagon for family members of the more than 100 people killed when a jetliner struck the U.S. military headquarters.   He told the families of victims that he admired their courage.

"In the quiet moments we have spent together, and from the stories that you have shared, I am amazed at the will that you have summoned in your lives to lift yourselves up and to carry on and to live and love and laugh again," the president said.  "Even more than memorials of stone and water, your lives are the greatest tribute to those that we lost, for their legacy shines on in you."

Another observance was held in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed, killing 33 passengers and seven crew.

Participants stood near a memorial honoring the victims as the names of those who perished on the flight were read.
The plane crashed as passengers attempted to regain control from hijackers, who were believed to be flying toward Washington.

Relatives of the victims joined the National Park Service Tuesday in a groundbreaking ceremony for a visitor center at the Flight 93 Memorial.

Wednesday also is the first anniversary of the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.  Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed.

Chinese censors turn out
to be recent college grads

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

In a modern office building on the outskirts of the Chinese city of Tianjin, rows of censors stare at computer screens. Their mission: delete any post on Sina Weibo, China's version of Twitter, deemed offensive or politically unacceptable.
But the people behind the censorship of China's most popular microblogging site are not aging Communist Party apparatchiks. Instead, they are new college graduates. Ambivalent about deleting posts, they grumble loudly about the workload and pay.
Managing the Internet is a major challenge for China. The ruling Communist Party sees censorship as key to maintaining its grip on power. Indeed, new measures unveiled on Monday threaten jail time for spreading rumors online.
At the same time, China wants to give people a way to blow off steam when other forms of political protest are restricted.
Four former censors at Sina Weibo, who all quit at various times this year, agreed to interviews. All declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the work they once did.
“People are often torn when they start, but later they go numb and just do the job,” said one former censor, who left because he felt the career prospects were poor. “One thing I can tell you is that we are worked very hard and paid very little.”
Sina Corp, one of China's biggest Internet firms, runs the microblogging site, which has 500 million registered users. It also employs the censors.
The company did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
The Sina Weibo censorship office in Tianjin is half an hour from Beijing by high-speed train.
A dozen employees, all men, could be seen through locked glass doors from a publicly-accessible corridor, sitting in cramped cubicles separated by yellow dividers, staring at large monitors.
They more closely resembled Little Brothers than the Orwellian image of an omniscient and fearsome Big Brother.
“Our job prevents Weibo from being shut down and that gives people a big platform to speak from. It's not an ideally free one, but it still lets people vent,” said a second former censor.
The former censors said the office was staffed 24 hours a day by about 150 male college graduates in total. They said women shunned the work because of the night shifts and constant exposure to offensive material.
The Sina Weibo censors are a small part of the tens of thousands of censors employed in China to control content in traditional media and on the Internet.
Most Sina Weibo censors are in their 20s and earn about 3,000 yuan ($490) a month, the former censors said, roughly the same as jobs posted in Tianjin for carpenters or staff in real estate firms. Many took the job after graduating from local universities.
“People leave because it's a stressful dead-end job for most of us,” said a third former censor.
Sina's computer system scans each microblog before they are published. Only a fraction are marked as sensitive and need to be read by a censor, who will decide whether to spare or delete it. Over an average 24-hour period, censors process about three million posts.
A small number of posts with so-called must kill words such as references to the banned spiritual group Falun Gong are first blocked and then manually deleted. Censors also have to update lists of sensitive words with new references and creative expressions bloggers use to evade scrutiny.
For most posts deemed sensitive, censors often use a subtle tactic in which a published comment remains visible to its author but is blocked for others, leaving the blogger unaware his post has effectively been taken down, the former censors said. Censors can also punish users by temporarily blocking their ability to make comments or shutting their accounts in extreme cases.
“We saw a fairly sophisticated system, where human power is amplified by computer automation, that is capable of removing sensitive posts within minutes,” said Jedidiah Crandall of the University of New Mexico, part of a team which did recent research on the speed of Weibo censorship.
If a sensitive post gets missed and spreads widely, government agencies can put pressure on Sina Corp to remove the post and occasionally punish the censor responsible with fines or dismissal, the former censors said.
On an average day, about 40 censors work 12-hour shifts. Each worker must sift through at least 3,000 posts an hour, the former censors said.
The busiest times are during sensitive anniversaries such as the Tiananmen Square crackdown on pro-democracy protesters which took place on June 4, 1989, and major political events.
The censors shifted into high gear during the downfall last year of former high-flying politician Bo Xilai, who faced trial last month on charges of bribery, graft and abuse of power. A verdict may come this month.
“It was really stressful, about 100 people worked non-stop for 24 hours,” the first censor said, referring to when Bo was stripped of his posts and later expelled from the Party.
The Communist Party keeps an iron grip on newspapers and television but has grappled to control information on social-networking platforms.
Internet firms are required to work with the party's propaganda apparatus to censor user-generated content.
Lu Wei, director of the State Internet Information Office, said in a speech this week that freedom means order and that freedom without order does not exist.
State media has reported dozens of detentions in recent weeks as the new government of President Xi Jinping cracks down on the spreading of rumors.
China's top court and prosecutor said people would be charged with defamation if online rumors they created were visited by 5,000 Internet users or reposted more than 500 times.
That could lead to three years in jail, state media reported Monday. China says it has a genuine need to stop the spread of irresponsible rumors.
When rumors that former president Jiang Zemin had died went viral on Weibo, the seemingly irrelevant words “frog” and “toad,” most likely referring to Jiang's peculiar glasses, were used to refer to Jiang and later banned.
Censors are told what kinds of comments are off limits.
“The most frequently deleted posts are the political ones, especially those criticizing the government, but Sina grants relatively more room for discussions on democracy and constitutionalism because there are leaders who want to keep the debate going,” said the first former censor.
“But there hasn't been any sign of loosening control on social media since Xi Jinping took power,” he added. “Not from what we could feel at work.”

U.N. food agency reporting
waste totals 1.3 billion tons

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A new study says 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted or lost every year, causing significant harm to both the environment and the economy. The food losses occur as an estimated 870 million people go hungry every day.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization says it has released the first study to “analyze the impacts of global food wastage from an environmental perspective.”

The report differentiates between food loss and food waste. Food loss is due to such things as poor harvesting, inadequate storage and transportation. It’s more of a supply side issue. Food waste, meanwhile, comes on the demand-side during processing, distribution and consumption.

Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva said, “Every day, consumers, especially in the rich countries, waste almost as much food as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa. The implication of this massive food waste for food security and sustainability is huge. If we reduce food loss and waste, we have more food available without the need to produce more and putting less pressure on natural resources.”

The report, "Food Wastage Footprint: Impacts on Natural Resources." says the amount of food that is produced, but not eaten, “guzzles up a volume of water equivalent to the annual flow of Russia’s Volga River.” That unconsumed food, it says, is also responsible for 3.3 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

“Developing countries suffer more food losses during agriculture production. But in high income regions, food waste at the retail and consumer level tends to be higher. Up to 40 percent of total wastage compared with only 4 to 16 percent in low income regions,” he said.

Graziano da Silva added there’s also the economic cost.

“The food wastage means $750 billion every year. This impressive figure is the equivalent of the GDP of Switzerland.”

Joining in the release of the new report is Achim Steiner, executive director of the U.N. Environment Program. He called the $750 billion figure an extraordinary wake-up call for those thinking about food security and agriculture.

“In that figure we may not even capture many of the more indirect impacts that are associated with degradation of natural resources. The impacts on climate change. The drivers that will cost perhaps not today’s consumers of food, but tomorrow’s children and grandchildren, who have to run our economies and mange these impacts in ways that are economically not yet fully captured,” said Steiner.

He emphasized the losses and waste do not only occur on land.

“We again have phenomena where in many fishing fleets – sometimes 20, 30, 50 percent of the catch is thrown back into the sea. But it is not as if fish will happily continue to swim. Many of them will be dead and essentially no longer available either for consumption or indeed for maintaining the fish stocks of the world. So, we are really trying to address a phenomenon here today that concerns each and every one of us on the planet,” he said.

More than 300 billionaires
reported to be Chinese

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A Beijing-based publication says the number of billionaires in China has risen to more than 300 in the last year.
The Hurun Report's 2013 China Rich List says there are now 315 billionaires in the country, the first time the number has surpassed 300.
Rupert Hoogewerf, who publishes the Hurun Report, said the trend is impressive, considering China is going through an economic slowdown.
"If the economy takes off properly again, which by all intents and purposes we're hearing it might do at the end of next year, then I expect you can see these numbers grow even further," said Hoogewerf.
The publication said the biggest source of wealth on this year's list was the real estate industry, where prices have recently soared.
Highlighting that trend, the magazine named real estate developer Wang Jianlin as China's richest person, with a fortune of $22 billion.
Wang's company, the Dalian Wanda Group, runs hotels, movie theaters and department stores. Last year it purchased the U.S. theater chain AMC.
The magazine said over half of China's wealthiest 1,000 people saw their wealth grow in the past year.

Aesthetic dental patients need
psychological aid, study says

By the British Psychological Society news service

Dentists need the support of health psychologists to enhance patients’ satisfaction with their appearance before they embark on aesthetic dental procedures.

These are the findings of a study by Sharmila Sarin, supervised by Koula Asimakopoulou, and colleagues from King’s College London that was to be presented at the British Psychological Society’s Division of Health Psychology annual conference Wednesday in Brighton.

In the study 60 participants completed the Slade Body Satisfaction Scale and a Visual Analogue Scale assessing satisfaction with their appearance before and after their dental work. They also completed a short version of the Big Five personality test before their operation.

Irrespective of the dental procedure performed, people who were happiest about their appearance before receiving aesthetic dental treatment were those that were the happiest after treatment; dissatisfaction with one’s appearance seen in those high on neuroticism persisted after aesthetic dental work.

“We wanted to establish whether personality and the views that people have about their appearance before receiving aesthetic dental treatment would influence satisfaction with the outcomes of aesthetic dental procedures,” the researchers said.

“We found that it is in the patients’ and dentists’ interest to ensure that patients receiving aesthetic dental work start from as high a point of satisfaction with current appearance as possible. This will enhance the chances that they will be satisfied with the results of aesthetic dental treatment. Neuroticism is also likely to interfere with satisfaction with aesthetic dental work.”
Real estate-related services (paid category)

Project completion specialists
Casa del pacifico logo
Pacifica living
A turnkey home and project completion agency devoted to creative vision and flawless execution. We provide a single, solid and dedicated point of contact for the duration of your real estate project, specializing in:

                      • Building completion services
                      • Interior design & decoration
                      • Custom furniture design & manufacturing.

Our primary goal is to assist our clients with a smooth transition to occupancy while providing highly personalized and distinctive services. We have refined the process to be a hassle free experience, especially valuable for clients who live abroad. We customize to suit each client’s personal taste, lifestyle and budget.
Serving region for 10 years.
We regularly exceed client expectations. We guarantee it.
Cell phone: (506) - 8707-8008
Office phone: (506) - 2288-5644

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

Swimming pool at night
A Buyer’s Broker offering the best
of Costa Rica Real Estate.

For those looking for quality properties and service at quality prices. Central Valley Rentals. Offering honesty, experience and knowledge. Your Villa Real Expert. Call us now  Toll Free (877) 845-4533. In Costa Rica 2228-5961 or 8339-2112.

Re/Max, the Pacific coast expert
Re/Max offers comprehensive Costa Rica Real Estate, vacation rental and relocation services. Our award-winning team is the largest in the country, and can show you the best lifestyle and financial investment properties in the most desirable locations including prime real estate in Tamarindo, Langosta, Conchal, Flamingo, Pinilla, Coco, Hermosa and Playa Panama.  Give us a call in Costa Rica at 506-2653-0073, or toll free from the U.S. and Canada 1-800-385-5930. Re/Max, the name you trust for the finest real estate services in Costa Rica.

Moran Arenal
Lake Arenal, Costa Rica
The undiscovered jewel of Central America, 35 square miles of blue, pristine, clear water ideal for fishing, swimming, boating, Real estate values still low.
Great lake front, river front land, farms, homes, condos and commercial property. Some with owner financing
This is far and away the most beautiful place in all Central America — cool climate. Try our two-day, all-inclusive discovery tour for $299.

Check with our Web site at
Contact us at the office: (506) 2694-0088
Cell (506) 8880-8888
Phone number from the U.S. (305) 307-0088
Moran logo

The #1 Authority in Costa Rica Real Estate

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

Costa Rica,

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

Visit our Web Site:

English: (Cristian Arce)
(506) 8309-0173  
English:  (Luis Arce)
(506) 7100-8489  
 Español: (Luis G. Jiménez)
  (506) 8707-4016  
Grecia 794
This is the BIGGEST DEAL of the month now at $850.000: HERE!
30,000 square meters of land and 750 square-meters of construction.
Grecia 803
5,000 square meters of land and 175 square-meters of construction. HERE!
2,000 square meters of land and 200 square-meters of construction.  HERE!
  Send us your request to our email:

Real estate for sale (paid category)

Samara church and lot
Commercial lot with great visibility in heart of Playa Sámara commercial district. Located alongside town's largest church, bank, hardware store/lumber yard, mini shopping plaza, and Pali (Sámara's largest supermarket). This lot has a large elevated building platform shaded with mature treees. All this makes for many commercial options.  One block from stunning "blue flag" beach. This is a perfect location for a eco/boutique hotel, restaurant/catering, apartments, or condominium. All utilities to this property. Lot size 1,414m2. Price 325K. Email:

sunset view
FREE FULL-DAY TOUR and property viewing – San Ramón! 
Come visit us in San Ramón and not only will we show you some great properties but we’ll also give you a FREE day-long tour of this terrific town with a relocation expert who has lived here for many years. Since 2006, CRC has been the area’s leading creator of socially-responsible communities for foreign retirees/investors and locals. “Easy access” to San Ramón does not mean living many miles outside of town, but less than 2 miles from everything you’ll need. Live near town but in an area that only feels a world away. None of our competitors have built a school, donated a water well and completed numerous projects for the community. A few stunning, direct ocean-view home sites of 1.25 acres to nearly 4 acres from only $55,000 remain in one of San Ramón’s most desirable residential communities. Please visit us at or email us at to request a property showing AND your free full-day tour. Overnight accommodations can be arranged. Limited availability so please contact us today referencing “Free Tour” in your email:

Maui, 50 years ago!
One acre with all services located on the Nicoya Peninsula at about 2,400 feet below cloud level with the most intriguing panoramic views to the picturesque gulf, mountains and valleys, as well as sunset over the Pacific. 60,000 USD,    Cell 8916-5550.

Five bedroom home
Five bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths plus guest house
Price reduced $100,000 for quick sale. Features include out door BBQ, swimming pool, plus on the beach. The home is completely furnished with U.S. products. Each room is individually air conditioned.  Hot water in bathrooms, kitchen and laundry room.  Fully furnished. Includes TV’s, refrigerator/freezer, dish washer, microwave, electric stove/oven, washer & dryer and many “as seen on TV” appliances.  To see more, go to YouTube
Asking  $250,000.    Call Gary 8784-2945 or email

humming bird nest

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

Liberia farm
Must Sell - Immediately
Guanacaste - Liberia Farm

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

Naranjo views


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

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

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

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

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

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

Condo for sale in Flamingo

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

Guaancaate condos
Little Dreams La Colina Magnolias

Great Guanacaste Beach Condos Available

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

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

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:

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

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

Real estate services
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Businesses for sale

Business for sale or lease (paid category)7115-12/16/11
A successful, local, long-running business for sale.
In the nine years of operation, this company has grown to cover the entire Southern Pacific Zone, and opened the door to further penetration in San Jose,  Manuel Antonio and Osa Peninsula areas.  And it is the only one of its kind with no comparable competition. With the extensive ground-work that has already been achieved, the business is now poised to expand into a new level of success. Operating since 2005, the owner retiring to another Latin American country. It is now time to turn the business over to a new owner who could expand it to  even greater success.  Details on the business, its history, a strategic analysis of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, as well as a Pro-Forma Income Statement from 2008 through to 2013 are available upon request to

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
Businesses for sale

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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 181
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News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC neews feeds are disabled on archived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute

Looking back 4,300 years
shows El Niño varied

 By the University of New South Wales news staff

Global warming could impact the El Niño Southern Oscillation, altering the cycles of El Niño and La Niña events that bring extreme drought and flooding to many Pacific-rim countries, including Costa Rica.

New research published in Nature Geoscience using coral samples has revealed how the cycle has changed over the past 4,300 years. This research suggests that external changes have an impact on the strength and timing of El Niño events.

“Our research has showed that while the development of La Niña and El Niño events is chaotic and hard to predict, the strength of these events can change over long time spans due to changes in the global climate,” said one of the paper’s authors, Steven Phipps.

“For instance, we found that the ENSO cycle was much weaker 4,300 years ago than it is today. This weaker cycle persisted for almost two centuries.”

The researchers determined that natural influences on the Earth's climate, such as those caused by variations in its orbit around the sun, could affect the strength of El Niño events.

Although small, these natural influences altered seasonal trade winds across the Eastern Pacific and affected the development of El Niño events. Interestingly, the research also showed that El Niño events in the past started later in the year and were often less intense.

“We found there was a small strengthening of the regular seasonal trade winds in the Eastern Pacific in response to natural warming cycles in the Earth’s orbit around the sun. Remarkably this acted in a big way to stop El Niño events from forming and growing,” said lead author Helen McGregor from the University of Wollongong.

“This shows us that external factors can influence the . . .  process and that it may have a sustained response to future greenhouse gas changes. Currently 20th Century observations are too short to confirm whether this is occurring now.”

“Currently, climate models do not agree on how El Niño may change under future global warming scenarios,” said  Phipps.

“With these new observations we can determine which models reproduce the most accurate response to changes in the global climate,"  he said.

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From Page 7:

All companies to be formed online now

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Starting next week, all new corporations and limited liability firms will be created online, and paper documents will not be accepted, said the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio.

The ministry is involved in management of, a Web site where notaries go to present the request. The Web site is part of the government's effort to speed up the process.

The electronic documents go to the Registro Nacional, which keep track of  sociedades anónimas and sociedades de de responsabilidad limitada. The first is like a corporation and the second is like an LLC.

The ministry announced that the change means good-bye to paper. The procedure has the blessing of the Colegio de Abogados and the Instituto Costarricense de Derecho Notarial. The Web site is part of the Gobierno Digital program.

The ministry notes that this process will save paper and travel time. In the past, the documents had to be presented in person at an office of the Registro.

The system uses a digital signature. That is a credit card-size plastic card that positively identifies the user. The card is inserted into a small device that is hooked up to a computer. The card is issued by the Sistema Nacional de Firma Digital.

Just about every notary has a digital signature card because a lot of other legal filings are being done online now.

Non-notaries, such as company representatives, also can consult parts of the site if they, too, have a digital signature card.