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(506) 2223-1327                           Published Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, in Vol. 14, No. 183                       Email us
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Sea Shepherd says it is going on beach patrol
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society said Monday it has joined with a Caribbean organization protecting sea turtles to prevent poaching.

Sea Shepherd is not known for being subtle.

The other organization is Latin American Sea Turtles, which formerly was  WIDECAST-Costa Rica. The man poachers killed May 31, 2013, Jairo Mora Sandoval, was a WIDECAST volunteer.

A Sea Shepherd announcement said that representatives of Latin American Sea Turtles contacted it because volunteer numbers are declining steadily. Sea Shepherd said it would work to increase awareness of the local crises and recruit volunteers from its vast network of dedicated activists to protect green, hawksbill and leatherback sea turtles, which all frequent the beaches to nest on a yearly basis.

Sea Shepherd and Latin American Sea Turtles volunteers are actively patrolling Playa Pacuare coastline to locate and protect sea turtle nests, as well as the turtles, the organization said.

The beach is on the northern Caribbean coast south to Tortugero and north of Matina.

Sea Shepherd said that marine biologists predict that September is likely to be the peak nesting month for green sea turtles. Thus, members of the organization suspect an increase in poaching activity to occur during this time.

Said Sea Shepherd:

"Despite the fact that activist Jairo Mora Sandoval was killed by poachers on nearby Moín Beach in 2013, turtle slaughter and egg poaching remain relatively unexposed by the media as Costa Rica is often portrayed as an eco-touristic safe haven for animal species.

"Turtle slaughter and egg poaching is just the tip of the iceberg on Moín Beach, which is a hotbed for crime and illegal drug-trafficking activities. Despite its natural beauty and wildlife, this 17-kilometer stretch of coastline is unsafe without police escorts and thus, more risky to protect."
turtle eggs
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo
A typical haul: These are 442 turtle eggs police confiscated in Moín last month.

The organization also claimed that an unspoken law exists in this area, where the first person to approach a turtle gets the nest. This rather primitive law is generally respected and reduces the chance of disputes, Sea Shepherd said, adding:

"Therefore, the basic strategy to protect these turtles is a game of numbers — the more volunteers patrolling the beaches and laying claim to turtles before poachers, the fewer eggs poached and resulting dead turtles. Preliminary field reports show one volunteer to every three poachers; thus, more volunteer recruits are desperately needed to keep the nesting turtles out of harm’s way."

Sea Shepherd noted that about 200 persons live in the Pacuare area, and that there are few possibilities for economic activity.

“Economic desperation is not a valid excuse to murder these gentle creatures and export their eggs to foreign markets," said Susan Hartland.. "A sea turtle is worth far more alive than dead to all of us, poachers included. Poaching and other human activities are wiping out sea turtles at alarming rates. Many species are close to permanently vanishing from the oceans." She is Sea Shepherd U.S.A. executive director

Sea Shepherd is known for harrying the Japanese whaling fleet and for confronting those who would kill seals and dolphin.

Capt. Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd founder, still is a wanted man in Costa Rica on what appears to be trumped up charges of attacking a Costa Rican shark fishing boat. Although the confrontation was filmed and supports Watson's narrative, local prosecutors continue to press the case.

An A.M. Costa Rica editorial
Shall we just shoot ourselves in the foot again?

A bill in legislative committee seeks to establish a moratorium on the use of genetically modified organisms in Costa Rica.

The bill is flawed and is more of an attack on multinational corporations than a measure to protect the health of Costa Ricans.

If lawmakers really had a concern about the safety of genetically modified crops in food, they would ban them. Of course that would mean no imported snack food because 90 percent of the U.S. corn crop is grown from modified seeds.

The crops are modified to protect itself when farmers use herbicides to put down the weeds. Most of the legislature probably never spent a hot August day hoeing the corn rows. That's why farmers buy the seed, yes, from Monsanto.

Costa Rica has a real need for genetic modifications. Coffee, banana and orange diseases might soon be thwarted by certain gene transplants. Scientists even see a time when humans will live longer because of genetic modifications.

Does Costa Rica want to shoot itself in the foot again by avoiding these lines of research?

The minister of Agricultura y Gandería, Luis
 Felipe Arauz Cavallini, supported a three-year moratorium because he said the crops have not been shown to be harmless. Despite his hope that scientists will prove a negative, the minister needs but to look around and see all the Costa Ricans who have been consuming genetically modified crops for years. Even most dog food is made from U.S. corn.

There are several bogus studies that purport to show that genetically modified products are dangerous. These articles are published in offbeat outlets without review by scientific peers. Some of these publications still fight against the fluoridation of water. The summary of the bill is filled with these suspect studies.

The minister even cited one discredited study in his presentation to a legislative committee.

The worst that any real scientist has ever said about modified crops is that they sometimes can cause an allergic reaction if the consumer is already allergic to the plant that was the source of the modified gene. Just like with peanut butter.

The minister, a distinguished agronomist, needs to take a closer look at some of the studies. And the lawmakers should differentiate between an attack on international corporations and their intellectual property rights and public health.


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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 183

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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.

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Concern diminished over blocked river

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The danger of any kind of temporary dam in the Río Sarapiquí appears to have vanished.

The national emergency commission said that a slide that blocked part of the river has been eroded considerably, according to air photos.

The slide took place Aug. 21 near the community of  Ujarrás.  Emergency officials worried that if the slide blocked the river completely, water would build up for possible release as a flood.

The Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias said although conditions have returned to normal, the region still is unstable and those using the river should be alert for impact from heavy rains.

Investigators probe park deaths

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The men appeared to be dozing on a bench in the Parque de Alajuelita. The man with the gray stubble had his head on the shoulder of his companion.

Around them were various plastic containers. The scene appeared to be two men sleeping off a Sunday drinking spree. In this case, the hangover was permanent.

Police determined that both men were dead. Now the investigation seeks to find out why.

The men were well known in the park by other homeless and semi-homeless individuals. They were reported to have been used to mixing alcohol with other substances. But judicial investigators are not sure why they died.

The autopsy, of course, will find the chemical evidence. Then the question arises were the deaths accidents or murder?

Marijuana craft escapes to Panamá

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A U.S. spotter aircraft crew alerted Costa Rican authorities Friday morning to the presence of a small boat heading toward Limón.

The Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas and the Servicio de Vigilancia Aérea responded, but the small boat fled into Panamanian waters, said the security ministry.

However, the crew of the small boat dumped packages of marijuana into the sea, which were collected by Costa Rican law officers, the ministry said.

The action took place about 40 miles east of the Caribbean coast. Officials said that bad weather kept officials from following the small boat.

Oriens says it is merging with Tico firm

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Oriens Travel & Hotel Management Corp. says it is merging with an unidentified Costa Rican company.

The Las Vegas, Nevada,-based firm said that this was decided at a board meeting last week.

The firm has announced several projects, but the company president, Ken Chua, has resigned to comply with a British Columbia security commission order because of unregistered stock sales.

The merger does not seem to be complete.

"The merger prospect, with more than 10 years of operations, develops online traffic-driving solutions; in addition to acquiring, selling, managing and renting residential, commercial, condominium and hotel units," said a quote in an announcement from a public relations firm and attributed to a senior board member.

The firm said that the person designated to take the job vacated by Chua, is the head of this unnamed corporation, which currently is in the process of completing a sizable real estate transaction, the announcement said.

The firm said that this new entity had found a $5 million bridge loan for Oriens to complete some unspecified real estate transaction.

Weekend road toll at least 26

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Traffic police report an astounding 26 and perhaps 27 road deaths over the holiday weekend. The totals were boosted by a multiple-vehicle crash that claimed the life of six members of the same family in Guanacaste Saturday morning.

Dates set for international guitar festival

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The 20th edition of the Festival Internacional de Guitarra will run from Sept. 24 to 28 at the Teatro Nacional. Organizers are expected to announce more details this week. The annual event involves hundreds of musicians, including some top international artists.

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A.M. Costa Rica

Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 183
Real Estate
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Tourism institute fights against possible massive cut in its annual budget
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Organizations in the business are rallying around the tourism institute because lawmakers appear to be ready to cut the budget in half.

Wilhelm Von Breymann,  the minister of Turismo, was before the Comisión Permanente de Ambiente last week and said that the repercussions for tourism would be devastating if the current budget bill is approved.

Lawmakers want to take half of the $15 tax on each incoming air ticket and divide the income with the Sistema Nacional de Áreas de Conservación.

Von Breymann told lawmakers that doing this would be the technical closure of the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo. He said
that the budget for promotion of tourism activities would be cut in half.

He told lawmakers that the Sistema Nacional de Áreas de Conservación has been inefficient and that it has run a surplus in past years.

The goal of lawmakers is to establish permanent financing for the national parks.

Also supporting the tourism institute is the Cámara Costarricense de Hoteles, which said although it supported protection for national parks it could not support an action that would destabilize tourism. The chamber said that legislative action to cut the tourism budget would jeopardize the proposed national convention center.

The $15 tax was put in place in lieu of a tax on hospitality. Officials at the time wanted to obtain taxes from persons who were not staying in traditional hotels.

weigh stations
Consejo Nacional de Vialidad photos
The weigh station at Ochomogo has been demolished, and the one in Esparza is clearly out of service.
Two new, modern weigh stations planned to catch overloaded trucks
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

One reason roadways become rough is because overweight trucks can damage the pavement.

The highway authorities said work has started on a new and modern weigh station on the Autopista Florencio del Castillo, between San José and Cartago at Ochomogo.

In addition the agency, the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad, said it expected to award bids for the remodeling of a station in Esparza.
That location is on the Interamericana.

Both jobs are expected to be finished by the middle of next year. The investment is 660 million colons or about $1.2 million.

According to the Consejo, both stations will be fairly high tech to measure precisely trucks and their loads.

There is an additional weigh station in service now at Búfalo on Ruta 31, the highway to Limón.  That route is traveled heavily by trucks going to and coming from the Caribbean docks.

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, Sept. 16, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 183
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Genetic mutation years ago may have given humans the ability to talk
By the Massachusetts Institute of Technology news staff

Neuroscientists have found that a gene mutation that arose more than half a million years ago may be key to humans’ unique ability to produce and understand speech.

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute  of Technology and several European universities have shown that the human version of a gene called Foxp2 makes it easier to transform new experiences into routine procedures. When they engineered mice to express humanized Foxp2, the mice learned to run a maze much more quickly than normal mice.

The findings suggest that Foxp2 may help humans with a key component of learning language — transforming experiences, such as hearing the word “glass” when a subject is shown a glass of water, into a nearly automatic association of that word with objects that look and function like glasses, says Ann Graybiel, a member of the university's McGovern Institute for Brain Research, and a senior author of the study.

“This really is an important brick in the wall saying that the form of the gene that allowed us to speak may have something to do with a special kind of learning, which takes us from having to make conscious associations in order to act to a nearly automatic-pilot way of acting based on the cues around us,” Professor Graybiel says.

All animal species communicate with each other, but humans have a unique ability to generate and comprehend language. Foxp2 is one of several genes that scientists believe may have contributed to the development of these linguistic skills. The gene was first identified in a group of family members who had severe difficulties in speaking and understanding speech, and who were found to carry a mutated version of the Foxp2 gene.

In 2009, Svante Pääbo, director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, and his team engineered mice to express
the human form of the Foxp2 gene, which encodes a protein that differs from the mouse version by only two amino acids. His team found that these mice had longer dendrites — the slender extensions that neurons use to communicate with each other — in the part of the brain implicated in habit formation. They were also better at forming new synapses, or connections between neurons.

Pääbo, who is also an author of the new paper, and Wolfgang Enard, a professor of anthropology and human genetics at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Germany, enlisted Professor Graybiel. They found that the mice with humanized Foxp2 were better at learning to run a T-shaped maze, in which the mice must decide whether to turn left or right at a junction, based on the texture of the maze floor, to earn a food reward.

The first phase of this type of learning requires using declarative memory, or memory for events and places. Over time, these memory cues become embedded as habits and are encoded through procedural memory — the type of memory necessary for routine tasks, such as driving to work every day or hitting a tennis forehand after thousands of practice strokes.

Using another type of maze called a cross-maze, researchers were able to test the mice’s ability in each of type of memory alone, as well as the interaction of the two types. They found that the mice with humanized Foxp2 performed the same as normal mice when just one type of memory was needed, but their performance was superior when the learning task required them to convert declarative memories into habitual routines. The key finding was therefore that the humanized Foxp2 gene makes it easier to turn mindful actions into behavioral routines.

The protein produced by Foxp2 is a transcription factor, meaning that it turns other genes on and off. In this study, the researchers found that Foxp2 appears to turn on genes involved in the regulation of synaptic connections between neurons. They also found enhanced dopamine activity.

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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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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Organic farm home
$800 plus utilities.
Two-bedroom, two-bath house, fully furnished, Internet included, cable TV available. Inside organic farm, safe and secure. In the country but close to town. Santa Bárbara de Heredia, Email for more info and pictures. Long term, NO DOGS.

San Ramon
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya.7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamerica highway. 3,200 ft. elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 baths, frig, dishwasher, washer, dryer, TV, DVD player, high-speed internet, direct TV via sling box on Internet. rent is $750 plus electricity & water. free Internet. Prefer 3 months or more. Available Nov. 1. Contact   Check out slide show HERE!

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.
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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, Sept. 16, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 183
Real Estate
About us

Famous New Orleans mayor
is a study in fraud, corruption

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Late August, 2005.  The city of New Orleans is battered, then drowned, by Hurricane Katrina, taking more than 1,800 lives.

In the aftermath of that historic storm, the city’s mayor, Democrat Ray Nagin, 58, became the man who would lead the city’s rebuilding over the next several years. His face became known worldwide as an icon of his city and its revival.

Only later, did Nagin’s dirty inside story become known to federal investigators and then revealed in the courts.

Nagin was brought to trial and convicted in February on 20 out of 21 counts of bribery, fraud and money laundering.

Federal officials say Nagin took at least $500,000 in under-the-table money in exchange for several contractors getting millions of dollars’ worth of city contracts. Now, the former mayor claims he’s penniless, his family subsisting on public assistance.

Last week, the man who led the city of New Orleans through and after Katrina until leaving office in 2010, took on a new identity: federal prison inmate 32751-034. His new residence for the next 10 years is the minimum-security federal prison in Texarkana, Texas.

Despite the overwhelming number of convictions against him, Nagin told the public that he’s innocent – and these charges have been fabricated.

“I’ve been targeted, smeared, and tarnished,” Nagin told WDSU television. And, he added “for some reason, some of the stances that I took after Katrina didn’t sit well with some very powerful people. So now, I’m paying the price for that.”

Nagin has tried to refute the evidence used to convict him saying, “The prosecutors were fairly magical in their ability to take something that supposedly happened and paint it as reality when it didn't really happen.”

Court testimony during Nagin’s trial refuted the ex-mayor’s claim that the prosecution came up with so-called fairy tales. So did the testimony given in the trials of others connected to Nagin during his eight years as mayor.

Nagin’s chief technology officer, Greg Meffert, was arraigned on 63 felony counts in 2009 in what was described as a lucrative kickback scheme, though he ultimately plead guilty to only two counts: conspiracy to commit wire fraud and filing a false tax return.

The New Orleans Times Picayune newspaper reported that year that Meffert and Nagin took a Hawaii vacation in 2004, the latter’s ticket paid for by a city contractor.

The newspaper also reported in April 2009 that Nagin took a number of trips paid for by NetMethods, a vendor to the city owned by Nagin campaign contributor Mark St. Pierre.

When Nagin was indicted in January 2013, the counts spelled out more than $200,000 in bribes paid to the mayor.

Other charges included private jet travel, first-class airfare to Jamaica, and other gratuities for himself and his family. The indictments say that in return, businesses that did favors for Nagin won more than $5 million in municipal contracts.

During Nagin’s trial, a succession of people who had already plead guilty to engaging in bribery with the ex-mayor were put on the stand by the prosecution.

Court-watchers said that made the case against Nagin nearly airtight.

Federal Judge Helen Ginger Berrigan could have sentenced Nagin to 20 years in prison.

Observers said that one reason why the judge didn’t give the ex-mayor the maximum sentence was that Nagin appeared to be the beneficiary, rather than the instigator, of the corruption. In other words, contractors and others approached the mayor with cash and gratuities rather than Nagin demanding that others give him what he wanted.

Over the years, the state of Louisiana has had a long tradition of political figures going from their gilded offices to jail cells.

New Orleans City Council member Oliver Thomas was given a 37-month sentence in 2007 for taking $50,000 in kickbacks.

U.S. House of Representatives member William Jefferson drew 13 years in prison in 2009 for taking bribes in connection with businesses in Nigeria. Betty Jefferson, his older sister, drew a 15-month sentence for directing $1 million in public money to charities she was involved with.

Ex-governor Edwin Edwards was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2002 for extorting some $3 million in payoffs connected to the granting of gambling licenses.

When Nagin took office in 2002, he launched an anti-corruption campaign.

Among the targets of his clean-up was the city’s Taxicab Bureau and Utilities Department. One of the persons involved was Nagin’s own cousin. When asked what should be done about him, Nagin quipped “If he’s guilty, arrest him!”

U.N. experts cite cases
of thousands of disappeareds

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United Nations says tens of thousands of cases of enforced disappearances remain unsolved. The U.N. Working Group on Enforced Disappearances says this heinous practice continues unabated in every region of the world. The group has submitted its latest report to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The working group reports more than 43,000 cases from 88 countries still remain to be clarified.  While many of these cases are of recent vintage, the chair of the Working Group, Ariel Dulitsky, said many date back decades. 

“We consider that enforced disappearances are a continuous crime until the fate of the person who disappeared is established. The crimes continue to happen,” said Dulitsky.

The Working Group was established in 1980, largely as a consequence of Argentina’s Dirty War when many political dissidents were abducted or illegally detained in secret prisons.  More than 3,200 cases from that period remain unsolved.

The cases remain open because enforced disappearances are considered a crime against humanity.  So, it is not subject to the statute of limitations. 

The U.N. defines an enforced disappearance as when a government or people acting with consent of that government abduct a person and then refuse to disclose that person's fate or whereabouts, in effect placing the person outside the protection of the law.

During the latest period of review, from November 2012 to May 2014, the Working Group has made known 418 new cases of enforced disappearances to 42 states, including 93 under the group's urgent action procedure. 

The report notes Iraq has the largest number of disappearances, with more than 16,400 reported cases. Sri Lanka has more than 5,700 cases, Algeria more than 3,000 and El Salvador, Guatemala, and Peru each have more than 2,000 unresolved cases of enforced disappearances.

Dulitsky said new strategies are needed to combat the changing situation of enforced disappearances. In the past, he notes this practice was used to quell political opposition or ethnic conflict. Now, he said it increasingly is being used in anti-terrorism operations and to combat drug trafficking and organized crime.

"We see also that new technologies that could allow to identify missing persons and disappeared persons are not being used. The DNA tests worldwide are not being used. The use of other technological improvement are not being used, information is not being shared between countries. So, we call all the states to develop new strategies,” said Dulitsky.

Dulitsky said the Working Group has started a new procedure this past year in investigating enforced disappearances that happen in the context of crimes against humanity. In the last several months, he said the group asked the U.N. Security Council to refer both North Korea and Syria to the International Criminal Court. Regrettably, he said the council has failed to act on this demand.

Philippine volcano seems
ready to become violent

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Philippines has begun a forced evacuation of residents near the country's most active volcano, which officials warn is glowing red and could soon erupt.

Authorities said Tuesday a recent increase in volcanic earthquakes and rockfalls at Mount Mayon means there could be a hazardous eruption within weeks.

Anyone living within six kilometers of the volcano is being evacuated. Soldiers are preventing those who have left from returning to their homes.

The 2,460-meter Mount Mayon, which is located about 340 kilometers south of Manila in Albay province, is known for its picturesque conical shape.

It has erupted dozens of times in the last several hundred years. The most violent eruption occurred in 1814, when lava buried the town of Cagsawa, killing 1,200 people.

In May 2013, five climbers were killed near the summit after the volcano spewed ash on them.

Obama outlines today
his plan against ebola

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Barack Obama is set to outline his plan to boost the U.S. response to the ebola outbreak that has killed more than 2,400 people in West Africa. The president travels to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta today for a briefing with health experts leading American efforts to stem the outbreak.

The president’s visit to the centers comes amid calls from West African leaders and international health officials for the United States to do more to assist nations that are struggling to keep up with an epidemic that the center’s director, Tom Frieden, recently said is spiraling out of control.

Near daily images of patients lying on the ground and left to die are coming out of countries like Liberia.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters in Washington Monday that because of its capabilities, the United States had a unique responsibility to step up in the midst of this international crisis.

“Our doctors and scientists are some of the best in the world, and we are going to deploy their knowledge and resources to try to help some of the governments in Africa meet the needs of their people and try to confront this very difficult challenge,” he said.

Earnest would not give details on President Obama’s announcement Tuesday to increase the U.S.  response to ebola. But The Wall Street Journal on Monday quoted officials who said the president was considering sending more portable hospitals, doctors, supplies and experts to train health care workers in Liberia and other affected countries.

So far, the United States has committed $100 million towards the fight since March, with the centers also sending 100 of its workers to the region, among the largest such deployments in the U.S. agency’s history.

Earnest said the United States must do more.

“Making an investment here early is critical to trying to snuff out this problem before it becomes a much more widespread problem. And that is the strategy that we are trying to implement here is to try to invest early,” he said.

In a recent interview with NBC-TV's Meet the Press, President Obama said while ebola did not pose an imminent threat to Americans, containing the outbreak was a top national security priority.

“If we don’t make that effort now, and this spreads not just through Africa, but other parts of the world, there is the prospect that the virus mutates. It becomes more easily transmittable. And then it could be a serious danger to the United States,” he said.

In that interview, President Obama went on to say that the U.S. military would be helping set up isolation units and equipment, while providing security for international aid workers dealing with the crisis on the ground.

Baja hurricane weaker
and moving into mainland

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Forecasters predict Hurricane Odile will weaken to a tropical storm Tuesday but is still a serious threat as it moves across Baja California and into mainland Mexico.

The National Hurricane Center says Odile could drench the peninsula with as much as 46 centimeters of rain by Friday.

Tropical storm warnings are out for parts of the east and west coasts of southern Baja and the northern coast of Mexico along the Gulf of California.

Odile made landfall in Baja Sunday as a powerful Category Three storm, tearing through the resort town of Los Cabos.

Massive waves and 205 kilometer per hour winds destroyed stores and homes and knocked out power as tourists and residents trembled in hotels and shelters. 

No deaths or serious injuries are reported

Microsoft to buy firm
that invented Minecraft

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Microsoft has agreed to buy the company that developed the hit video game Minecraft for $2.5 billion.

Microsoft is a huge technology company known for selling business software.  Minecraft creator Mojang is a much smaller firm based in Sweden that has sold more than 50 million copies of the game for use on personal computers, smartphones, and game consoles like Microsoft's X-box.

Minecraft is the largest selling paid application on Apple, Google, and Android systems, but Mojang has not made a version for Microsoft's poorly-selling smart phones.

Analysts quoted in the financial press say the acquisition might help Microsoft improve its performance in the highly competitive smart phone arena, as well as give a boost to sales of its game console business.

NASA said to be weak
in spotting nearby asteroids

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. space agency's inspector general says NASA is failing in its congressionally-ordered mission to find 90 percent of potentially dangerous asteroids flying close to Earth.

The official, Paul Martin, Monday criticized the agency's Near Earth Object program as being understaffed and badly managed.

In his report, he says the program has so far found just 10 percent of asteroids and other objects bigger than 140 meters across and flying 45 million kilometers from Earth.

The program is tasked with finding 90 percent of these objects. The inspector general's report says the program likely will miss its 2020 deadline.

Most near-Earth objects harmlessly disintegrate before striking the planet.

But a relatively small asteroid exploded over Chelyabinsk in southern Russia last year with the force of 30 atomic bombs. More than 1,000 people were injured by flying debris.

"Recent research suggests that Chelyabinsk-type events occur every 30 to 40 years," the Office of Inspector General report said, adding that most impacts would occur in the ocean rather than in populated areas.

Historians believe a 10-kilometer-wide object hit the Earth about 66 million years ago in what is now Mexico, killing nearly all life on the planet and causing dinosaurs to become extinct.

Since 1998, NASA has spent about $100 million on programs to find, assess and mitigate potentially threatening space neighbors.

The report made five recommendations for beefing up NASA's asteroid  detection efforts, including adding at least four to six employees to help manage the program and coordinating projects with other U.S. and international agencies and with privately-funded initiatives.

NASA's associate administrator for science, John Grunsfeld, said in a letter to Martin he expects a new program to be in place by Sept. 1, 2015.

Real estate-related services (paid category)

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

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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 4030-5480 or 8339-2112.

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

Moran Arenal
Lake Arenal, Costa Rica
The undiscovered jewel of Central America, 35 square miles of blue, pristine, clear water ideal for fishing, swimming, boating, Real estate values still low.
Great lake front, river front land, farms, homes, condos and commercial property. Some with owner financing
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
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Costa Rica,

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

Visit our Web Site:

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

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

Real estate for sale (paid category)

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

Two lovely homes on one big lot in Esterillos Oeste, (Central Pacific)
Located on a breezy hill just 4 minutes walk to the beach, surf and tide-pools, only 20 minutes drive north to Jacó nightlife and shopping or south to the rural town of Parrita.

First, a 2-storey, 2-bedroom (sleeps 4), 1½-bathroom house with big kitchen and living room.  Full-width verandah with eating and sitting areas, overlooking lawn, pool and gazebo. Sitting balcony at upper, bedroom level.  Carport. and laundry. 

Second, a completely private single-storey. 2-bedroom (sleeps 4), 1-bathroom home with big back yard at a lower level on the same, big fully titled 1,100M2 lot.. Full security bars at all doors and windows, plus locking vehicle access and pedestrian gates at the street. In a very safe neighborhood, with private and natural surroundings

Well maintained, fully and tastefully furnished and equipped, hot water, local phone, cable TV/DVD and high speed wireless internet   The houses have been rented for both long-term and vacation for $100/$80 per day and $1,500/$1,200 per month respectively. See this place, you will love it! Then make an offer. E-mail or call (506) 8386-8825.  Rodney, asking $350,000.

house 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!

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 $279,000, negotiable. Must see to appreciate,  Contact: Wayne Winstead,, 8820-1501/8379-7947

Farm montage

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


Beach Front Home - Central Pacific Coast
Pristine condition, recently renovated. The best surfing and boogie boarding in the country. The most magnificent ocean and sunset view. New 20-year, fully registered concession on one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. Easy access from San José (1 hour 25 minutes) located between Jacó and Manuel Antonio, in Esterillos Oeste.  2 or 3 bedrooms. Center room can be living room. House with 2 1/2 baths. Separated rancho with kitchen and large entertainment patio. Landscaped garden with no water shortage. Has both municipal and well water with automatic watering system. Direct access to the beach as no road is in front of property. Protected land on one side of the property for additional privacy.  Alarm system and complete shutters for security while away. Lot approximately 1,725 square meters, Asking price: $385.000.  Contact to Paul at local phone 506- 2637-8858  Cell phone 506- 8823-8550 .  US Mobile 908-400-9772  Emails:  and

New 5,000-sq. ft. home in the middle of coffee plantation
Four bedrooms and five baths. 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.


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:

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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Gorgeous 2-bedroom, 2-bath condo with private terrace offering spectacular ocean views and built energy green. This condo is located in a gated community with low HOA dues and offers amenities including a pool & rancho.  It is located close to a beautiful white, sandy beach. Only 20 minutes to the resort town Tamarindo and an hour from Liberia airport.  Luxury finishings: Pella double pane windows, AC & ceiling fans, Frigidaire stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, marble bathroom vanities, custom cabinets. Contact or email 
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Casa de Eden is  2,600 square feet with 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath, outdoor shower, private outdoor terrace and pool located only minutes from Playa Conchal.  The home is in a private, secure, gated community surrounded by nature and close to the resort town of Tamarindo, only an hour from Liberia airport.  The home is being offered fully furnished with: AC & ceiling fans, Frigidaire Professional series stainless steel appliances, granite kitchen countertops, marble bathroom vanities, custom wood cabinetry, internet, cable. 
Contact  U.S. (732) 984-7549
or CR (506) 8349-2025.

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13 work stations, good equipment, good location, Rohrmoser, two blocks from Plaza Mayor. $4.000 per month. Call Kevin 8366-6861.

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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 183
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News from the BBC up to the minute

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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Police shootings studied for racial aspects

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Last month's fatal shooting of an unarmed African American teen by a white police officer after a street confrontation in Ferguson, Missouri, has drawn a new focus on other such cases throughout the U.S., amid protests and demands by civil rights leaders for investigation of racial bias in aggressive policing.

Barely a week after Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, police in nearby St. Louis shot and killed Kajieme Powell, a mentally disturbed 25-year-old black man who held a small steak knife. Two police officers fired within 15 seconds of arriving at the scene where Powell was walking around, seemingly aimlessly, with his hands at his side. 

In Utah, a 22-year-old black man was shot dead Sept. 10 by police in Saratoga Springs. He had been carrying on his back a one meter-long souvenir Samurai sword he had bought in a gift shop, and some witnesses said he appeared distressed. His family says he was shot in the back while running away.

In New York, marchers demanded justice for Eric Garner, a 43-year-old African American man who died two months ago after police used a chokehold on him while arresting him for a misdemeanor. A grand jury is investigating the role of the banned chokehold in Garner’s death.

Family members of two other black men killed in local police shootings in 2011 and 2012 held rallies outside the federal courthouse in lower Manhattan, calling for the U.S. Justice Department to finish its investigations into those deaths.

Constance Malcolm’s 18-year-old son, Ramarley Graham, was shot and killed in 2012 by a narcotics unit police officer who chased him into his home in the Bronx, breaking down the door, and into an upstairs bathroom. Officer Richard Haste reportedly said he fired when he thought he saw Graham reaching for a gun in his waistband. No gun was found, though a small amount of marijuana was in the toilet.

Graham’s grandmother and 6-year-old brother were present. Malcolm recently took a petition with 33,000 signatures demanding action from federal prosecutors."We have to put a stop to police brutality. Our kids matter. Our black and Latino boys matter. You can't just shoot them down and pretend they're target practice, because they're not,” she said.

There is no national database of police-involved deaths. The FBI says that most of the U.S.’s 18,000 local police departments voluntarily report a total of about 400 justified killings by police per year, including many in exchanges of gunfire. But the FBI does not verify the accuracy of the reports, and police killings that are deemed unjustifiable are not included. All the available evidence suggests that even police officers accused in unjustified killings are rarely indicted or convicted. An estimated 25 percent of those killed are African American, double their representation in the population. About half of all those killed, according to some estimates, are mentally ill.

Kenneth Chamberlain’s 68-year-old father, Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr., a retired Marine, lived alone in White Plains, New York, and suffered from heart disease and emphysema. He was fearful and held a knife through a crack in the door when police were called to his home after he accidentally triggered his medical alarm pendant.

“I know I’m going to get hurt,” he yelled, refusing to open the door all the way. Police pulled the knife through the crack in the door, but continued to demand entrance. Much of the 2011 incident was recorded by the medical-alarm service and by a camera on a police Taser.

“Go away!  I’m okay,” an agitated Chamberlain shouted, over and over. Police refused, called him “Mr. Chamberlain” at times, and “Kenny” at others. “You’re a grown-ass man, Kenny,” one said to him. Another addressed him at one point with a racial slur. Chamberlain grew more confused, calling out to someone named Lynette, and invoking the names of other elders in his church. He also cried out, “They’re breaking through, Mr. President, they’re breaking through! I’m outnumbered!”

Police declined the offer of a niece who lived in the same building to help calm her uncle, as well as a suggestion to call his son, who lived nearby. After an hour, they took the door off the hinges, Tasered and shot beanbags at Chamberlain, and then two live shots. One fatally wounded Chamberlain in the chest.

“I’ve challenged anyone to listen to that audio and tell me that you don’t come back with a fact-based conclusion that this was misconduct and murder,” said his son, Kenneth Chamberlain, Jr.  He has filed a wrongful death suit and is awaiting the results of a Justice Department investigation begun in May 2012.

A grand jury declined to return an indictment against the police officer who shot Kenneth Chamberlain, after the first indictment was dismissed by a judge due to prosecutorial error. The officer who used the racial slur at the scene was later dismissed. A two-page report by outside experts commissioned by the White Plains police department found the shooting to be “totally justified,” saying that “negotiations and all non-lethal means were unsuccessful, and Mr. Chamberlain came at a police sergeant with a knife.” 

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From Page 7:

Southwest to begin air service in March

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Southwest Airlines said Friday that it has filed an application with the U.S. Department of
Transportation to add its first destination in Central America with daily round-trip service between Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall 
International Airport and Juan Santamaria airport in Alajuela, beginning March 7.  The service would link the countries' capital regions.

"We're ready to add the adventure and beauty of Costa Rica to a growing horizon of international possibility available to the more than 100 million customers who fly with us each year," said Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines chairman, president and CEO. He spoke before a breakfast meeting of the Greater Washington Board of Trade in Washington. "Our People and policies bring unique value to the travel experience and we have big plans to extend that value to international destinations where our Customers want to go. Our substantial presence in Baltimore/Washington is a natural place to do that by bringing nonstop access to new, international markets."

"Costa Ricans share an essence of friendliness and hospitality for which Southwest Airlines is also known," said Wilhelm von Breymann Barquero, minister of Turismo. "We look forward to offering the nature, culture, history, cuisine, adventure, peace and prosperity of Costa Rica to even more visitors from the United States."

Costa Rica will be the sixth near-international country served by Southwest Airlines from its U.S. gateway cities and the first new destination in the carrier's network after the integration of wholly owned subsidiary AirTran Airways is completed by the end of this year. Service to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and Mexico City begins Nov. 2, as Southwest converts existing AirTran service in those destinations. Southwest began service this summer to Aruba, The Bahamas, Jamaica, and both Cancun and San Jose del Cabo/Los Cabos, Mexico. Tickets to San José, Costa Rica, will be available for sale as soon as the necessary Department of Transportation approvals are secured.

Southwest Airlines began service from Baltimore/Washington in September 1993, with 10 flights offering scheduled service through nonstop destinations Chicago (Midway) and Cleveland.

Based on the U.S. Department of Transportation's most recent data, Southwest Airlines is the nation's largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded. The company operates the largest fleet of Boeing aircraft in the world, a majority of which are equipped with satellite-based WiFi connectivity while over the United States that enables video-on-demand and a free, live TV offering of 13 channels compliments of DISH.