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(506) 2223-1327                                  Published Friday, Sept. 18, 2015, in Vol. 16, No. 185                               Email us
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Peace festival

Youngsters lend a hand with a colorful banner at the Palmares Festival de Paz that began Thursday and will run through Saturday on the community's boulevard. There is dancing, movies and other artistic presentations. The idea is to foster a culture of peace.
peace festival
Ministerio de Justicia y Paz photo

Measure is least controversial in fiscal package
Legislative committee approves bill to attack tax fraud

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A legislative committee approved Thursday night a substitute text for the anti-tax fraud bill presented by the central government more than a year ago.

The bill is designed to close loopholes. The vote by the Comisión de Asuntos Hacendarios mean that the measure now goes to the full legislature for passage.

The bill is the least controversial of those presented by the Luis Guillermo Solís administration as a financial package. A lot of the requirements appear reasonable. For example, those offering a service would be obligated to accept credit or debit cards as payment. The tax collectors like this because they can check with the credit card companies to estimate income.

The legislative staff said there were about 20 key points to the bill. There were some changes made to the document that lawmakers said have been approved by consensus of the political parties represented on the committee.
The bill also requires persons doing business with the state to be up to date with tax payments.

Municipalities would be required to check with the Dirección General de Tributación, the tax agency, before issuing a business license to make sure that the firm or individual was listed as a taxpayer.

Deductions would be forbidden for expenses incurred in countries considered tax paradises, and there would be similar restrictions on some aspects of creative accounting to reduce tax liability.

Financial institutions would be fined for failing to provide information needed by the tax authorities on clients.

Also established are limits on deductions for interest expenses.

Lawmakers on the committee said they were giving the government the tools it needed to collect more money to confront the current fiscal crisis.

Operators would need pilot training
Extensive regulations are proposed for drones

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The aviation authorities are creating a bureaucracy to control drones, and the rules are expected to be in place by the beginning of next year.

Once the rules are in place, every drone must be registered and have a license plate or placa. The operator must have completed pilot training, presumably just for drones, from an aviation school or instructor that is approved by the Dirección General de Aviation Civil. The aviation agency will be the entity actually issuing the license.

Drones that will be used for commerce, such as taking air photos, will be subject to a certification fee of $1,874.02. Even then, if the operator plans to fly the drone above a gathering of people, a risk analysis must be approved beforehand by the aviation agency, according to the proposal.

And all drones will have to be covered by liability insurance.

Drones will be restricted to an altitude of 400 feet or less, said the agency.

Operators will have to respect restricted zones, and flights would be prohibited within 8 kilometers of airports. Some drones have geopositioning systems installed, and

A.M. Costa Rica photo  
A typical small drone and camera.

these can be programed to avoid certain areas.

The agency has not yet determined fines for violations, although the threat is that the flying certificate will be revoked.

The agency said it was basing its rules on those of the International Civil Aviation Organization, a U.N. agency.

There has been limited use of drones in Costa Rica, although some have been used for air photography. Amazon, of course, is experimenting with using large drones as delivery vehicles.

Some concerns have been raised about intrusive photography.

Military drones elsewhere carry weaponry and can be lethal.

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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.


Marco Cavallini & Associates
Dental Implants and Crowns

Dr. Marco A. Muñoz Cavallini has placed and
DR. Cavallini
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Del Valle Visual Eyes Optometry
In San Isidro de El General
Dr. Vargas
Dr. Allan Mora Vargas
Our experience in primary eye care, now makes yourexperience unmatched.
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Dr. Gray
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Insurance professionals

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Residency experts

Residency in Costa Rica
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Ms. Summers
Marlene B. Summers
U.S. Income Tax Services
Marlene B. Summers
Tax Accountant
File your FBAR for current or past due years
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pecializing in all matters of concern to U.S. taxpayers residing abroad including:
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Telephone 8305-3149 or 2256-8620

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Experts in fine art restoration and conservation for the tropics. We clean mildew, mold, etc; repair, restore and offer art expert and curatorial services.

Legal services

Valdivieco header
Lic. Eduardo Valdivieso
your legal adviser for criminal, civil,
commercial, and family law.  
Phone: ( 506 ) 8839-5010 
Address:  150 meters southwest from
the Goicoechea court, San José.

Real Estate Closing Services
Lic Matta

Lic. Pablo Mata Ferreto, MBA

Legal – Financial Adviser

Real Estate and Business Transactions

Avoid Real Estate scams, get independent advice and have due diligence performed before signing or making a deposit.

Phone number: (506) 8853-0000

Land surveying services

René Sánchez Quirós
30+ years of experience in:

Mr. Sanchez
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Calculations of terrain

Call me:
CR phone number:   +506-2290-4573
CR Cell phone number: +506-8383-0083

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Taxi driver is ruled an employee

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The owner of a taxi suffered a reverse when the Sala Segunda, the labor section of the Corte Suprema de Justicia, determined that a driver was an employee and not a renter of the vehicle.

The decision has implications for many employers.

The driver said he began work in 2007 and continued through 2012 when he was fired. He sought a litany of money for damages, including overtime, vacations, the aguinaldo Christmas bonus, payment for night hours, holiday pay, pay for his dismissal and money for the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social in his name.

The man said he worked for 320,000 colons a month, roughly $640 depending on the exchange rate, and that he had a daily income quota established by the taxi owner.

The court said that there clearly was an employer-employee relationship. That had been determined in lower courts, but appeals brought the case to the Sala Segunda.

A lower court ordered payment of some 5 million colons to the driver and reported the taxi owner to the Caja for action there. The Sala Segunda basically upheld that ruling.

Garland Baker has written extensively in A.M. Costa Rica about the employee relationship as they relate to expats. One such article is HERE!

Aarhus University photo         
The Chimborazo volcano was the site of the vegetation study.

Tropical plants found moving higher

By the Aarhus University news staff

The plants on the highest mountain in Ecuador have migrated more than 500 meters to higher altitudes during the last two centuries. This is determined in a new study, in which Aarhus University researchers compared 1802 data from famed naturalist Alexander von Humboldt with current conditions.

Although most of the world’s species diversity is found in tropical areas, there are very few studies that have examined whether tropical mountain species are affected by climate change to the same extent as temperate species. A new study has now determined that major changes have taken place during the last two centuries.

By comparing the migration of plant communities on the Chimborazo volcano in Ecuador researchers found the entire vegetation boundary has moved upwards from 4,600 meters to almost 5,200 meters. The main explanation for this dramatic shift is climate change over the last 210 years, they said.

The German scientist Humboldt traveled to South and Central America around the 1800s to map the distribution of plants and to explore what determines the different vegetation boundaries. He collected plants over a period of many years, and his collections led to a better understanding of the link between climate and species distributions, which he described in several works. One of his most noteworthy works was the physical tableau, a cross-section of the Chimborazo inscribed with the names of the plants he found on the mountainside.

“Humboldt’s tableau and the accompanying descriptions make up the oldest known data set in the world of vegetation along elevation gradients. It provided us with a unique opportunity to study how plant distributions have changed in the tropics during the last two centuries,” says Jens-Christian Svenning of the Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, who is one of the authors of the study.

In summer 2012, the team of researchers followed in Humboldt’s footsteps to Chimborazo to map the current distribution of the plants. The fieldwork was carried out at an altitude of up to 5,200 meters.

“Right up at 5,185 metres, we found the last trace of vegetation. A defiant little plant belonging to the sunflower family and half covered in snow in full flower in spite of the cold conditions, the thin air, and the harsh wind,” says Naia Morueta-Holme, the lead author of the study. The fieldwork was carried out in connection with her doctoral studies at Aarhus University.

By comparing the two data sets, it became clear that not only the vegetation growth limit has moved, but also the vegetation zones defined by Humboldt. The individual plant species are now found more than 500 meters higher than they were 210 years ago. These changes in the vegetation are more than expected as a result of today’s warmer climate, the researchers said.

Other studies show that there is now less precipitation in the area, which has also contributed to the significant shrinkage of the glaciers covering the top of the volcano. In addition, the lower parts of the volcano have been intensively cultivated, and a number of species that were previously only found in the lowland near agricultural areas have been introduced by humans.

A combination of human-induced climate change and the direct impact on the plant communities via cultivation of the landscape around the volcano helps explain the large-scale vegetation shift, more than has been experienced in other regions outside the tropics.

The study shows how historical data sets can be used to demonstrate the way nature is already shifting in response to global and local environmental change. This provides insight into what to expect in the future, when climate change is forecast to be even more than witnessed in the last two centuries.

“Even though the plants have kept up on average until now, we see many individual species that are lagging behind, while others, especially common species that are good at spreading and living under many different conditions, are moving upslope. We can thus expect even more drastic changes in the vegetation in the future, and there are concerns about how the rare and specialized species will survive, particularly in the tropics, where most of them grow,” explained Ms. Morueta-Holme.

The results of the study can be used for purposes such as nature conservation by giving high priority to efforts to minimize the direct impact of landscape cultivation.

The study is featured in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.

Agents put end to kidnap scheme

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An 18-year-old woman and two men, 25 and 39, have been detained on an allegation that they held a man for ransom.

Judicial police detained them Thursday morning in Coronado when they were in the company of the hostage.

Family members told agents that the 31-year-old man had been grabbed Sunday and that those who held him wanted 1 million colons, about $1,900.

Agents said they detained the woman and a man when they accompanied the victim to his family member's home, purportedly to pick up the money. The second man was picked up in Coronado Centro based on a description, said agents.

Kidnappings like this have been a traditional way to collect debts in Costa Rica, but agents did not say if this was the case here.

News for the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Sept. 18, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 185
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Ambitious sweep of pawn shops turns up just six cell telephones
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Robbers do not really need a dozen cell telephones. What they need is a place to sell them.

In San José the usual place to dump stolen merchandise is in pawn shops. Some shops are more reputable than others.

Still some of the finest collections of quality cameras and lenses can be found in downtown San José. For investigators, the big problem is that tourists usually do not have the serial numbers of cameras and other goods that crooks take. And not all tourists report crimes.

Cell telephones are a little different. Each has a serial number on file with the telephone companies. So when agents swept through six pawn shops on Calle 8 Thursday, they were able to locate three cell phones that had been reported taken by robbers. They also found three with serial numbers removed.

The sweep was by a handful of police agencies. They are the  Unidad de Intervención Policial and the Unidad Canina of the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública, the Policía Municipal, the Policía Fiscal and the Judicial Investigating Organization.

Judicial investigators said that they were following up on a February heist at a cell phone outlet in Curridabat.

They said that some of the stolen phones had turned up, and those who had them said they obtained them at the stores that were inspected Thursday.

Curiously there are some pawn shops that are open 24 hours a day, and the suspicion is that the reason is to cater to thieves and robbers who also work 24 hours a day.

During the sweep Thursday police did encounter one man who was the subject of an arrest warrant alleging fraud. He was taken into custody.

Early morning death of U.S. citizen could have been work of an addict
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Much has been made of the murders that officials say are connected with wars among drug gangs. The bloodshed is such that the country probably will see a record number of murders this year.

Less has been said about what could be considered collateral damage. There has been a steady series of shootings of youngsters and others who appeared to be innocent third parties. The hard part is to link the fatal bullets to drug disputes.

The most recent victim of the drug culture may be Andrew Brooks, a dual national Costa Rican-U.S. citizen. His murder was overshadowed by the discovery of two assassinated men in a vehicle early Tuesday morning in Dos Cercas de Desamparados.

Brooks also died early Tuesday when he was on his way home from work. More information has emerged because the 32-year-old man was a friend of a member of the A.M. Costa Rica staff.

His death might well be attributed to drugs because he was confronted when he arrived home from his job at a call center by a vagrant who roams his neighborhood in the Monagua section of Moravia.

There appears to have been a dispute on the street, and when Brooks pulled his vehicle into his car port, the vagrant followed him and delivered three knife wounds.

Investigators still are seeking the assailant, but there is a high probability that the killer was seeking money for drugs at 3 a.m. when he confronted Brooks and killed him when
money was not forthcoming.
drug raid
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
The Policía de Control de Drogas detained these men in Villa Bonita, Alajuela, Thursday and said they were mainly involved in marketing crack cocaine in the area.

His friend said that Brooks was born in Brooklyn, New York, to a U.S. father and Costa Rican mother.  He went to school here and later split his time between Costa Rica and California where he worked for a skateboard company. He was an accomplished skateboarder, the friend said.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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In the automated future, new job skills will be needed, author says
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Robots can flip burgers, build cars and greet clients at a reception desk. And, as more and more robots take over jobs that used to be performed by people, human workers are becoming justifiably anxious.

In fact, almost half of U.S. jobs are likely to be automated within the next two decades, according to researchers at England's Oxford University, and it's a trend that's here to stay.

“What we've seen in the U.S. and maybe some of the more western industrialized countries over the last 25 years," said Boston-based business expert Nigel Dessau, "is the removal of entry-level jobs and the removal of the simple, repetitive manufacturing jobs."

He pointed to a line in a Sylvester Stallone movie set in the future.

"A character calls the police station and the person says ‘if you'd like to speak to a robot please press ‘one’ now. If you're OK still speaking to a person, stay on the line.’ And it’s sort of the way we're heading," Dessau said.

But he contends that robots are not taking over, and success in the new world of work is possible for mere humans.

The founder of a job mentoring Web site, Dessau says there are ways workers, especially the millennial generation that is now in their 20s and 30s, can adapt to this new reality, starting by making themselves stand out.

“The jobs that can be easily automated are easily replaced. When looking to build a career in this century, you have to think more about other sets of skills that you need to get," he said, listing the three skill sets he focuses on.

• Content: “So that’s, what do you know? What do you bring that a machine doesn't know?"
• Approach:  "How do you get to work with other people? How can you lead a team?"

• Network: “Who knows what you know, and what you can do?"

"So focus less on the processes because those are what gets automated. Focus more on the content and the ability to work as a team," Dessau emphasized. "That’s what will differentiate you and protect you from being replaced by a robot.”

The businesses that are most vulnerable to automation, according to Dessau, are the fast food industry and other labor-intensive businesses such as manufacturing.

But even those industries still need people, he insists, because being able to talk with and lead people from different backgrounds, cultures, and countries is a crucial skill in this global business environment, and something a robot cannot accomplish.

“Those restaurants where they're putting in fast food automated systems still need managers and they still need leaders and they need people to talk to customers. And those are the skills that people need to acquire."

In addition, Dessau said, millennials tend to have a particular mindset, which also sets them apart.

“When you talk to that generation, you say ‘what do you want for a job?,' what you see them talking about is they want jobs that they can be passionate about, jobs that fulfill some greater purpose,” he said.

Automation will help them do that, he predicted, "give us the ability to do better things with our lives; less boring, less redundant things and work on more meaningful things where we can help each other and help the community.”

His biggest piece of advice for millennials and anyone else entering the 21st century workplace?

"Don't delegate the responsibility for your success to something or somebody else. At the end of the day, it is your career. It is your life. And you must make the decisions to make your life successful and you can't blame robots and you can't blame automation."

Vacation, travel and hospitality

Recreo Verde
Declared by specialists in medical hydrology and hydrotherapy to be among the best thermo mineral waters in Costa Rica.
Health benefit: Renal system, skeletal system, digestive system, cardiovascular system, removes stress, improves
and makes skin more youthful.
Cabins, canopy, massage, restaurant, rain forest tour and more.
Located in Marsella, Venecia, San Carlos, Costa Rica.
Reservations (506) 2472-1020 or 2472-2270

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.


Osas montage
Adventures in Costa Rica are awaiting you.
Each of the five individual Villas  boasts its own unique charm with pleasant, moderately priced accommodations and all gives you the opportunity of taking in the sights and sounds of the jungle from your own private balcony which has views of the river bed and the ocean. If you’re up for an adventure  we can help you arrange it and choose from the many tour options available in our region. Ojochal has some of the most secluded and pristine beaches in all of Costa Rica, as well as some outstanding surfing opportunities. Enjoy our local attractions such as white water rafting, whale and dolphins tour, Corcovado national park tours, Osa canopy tour, San Buenas golf course, horseback ride to the beach and waterfalls,
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Contact us Now for reservations at: or  Or phone 506-2786-5170
Visit our Web page for more info:
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Mar de
Hotel Mar de Luz
Designed for families to provide peaceful & ecologically balanced environment, where all can enjoy healthy & pollution free stay. Built in harmony with nature & were used to reflect a subtropical atmosphere. Main source of energy is sunlight, converted by solar panels on the roofs. High quality services at a reasonable cost allowing guests to enjoy dream holiday at an attractive rate. Come and enjoy a great vacation. Comfortable accommodation, personalized services and quality amenities. Cosy rooms, breakfast, pools, architectural design, surrounded by lush vegetation in beautiful tropical gardens with coconut, almond, etc. Address : Jacó  beach, next to Subway Restaurant, Avenida Pastor Díaz, Costa Rica. Local phone (506) 2643-3000. Email:  Web page:

                        Playa Bejuco
Hotel Boutique Playa Bejuco
Cozy, opened in 2007 just 90 minutes from the capital, with good access. Go shopping or enjoy the evening entertainment. Hosting services, friendly, quality and comfortable, discreet under the concept of 100 percent family hotel, the reason we do not allow or endorse any activity related to prostitution or drugs. Natural beauty, recommended for tourists for a relaxing holiday. Nearby is Manuel Antonio National Park. Tours, canopy, fishing, rainforest, horseback riding, ATV, rafting, etc. 20 deluxe rooms equipped with 3 for disabled. All with air conditioning, cable TV, telephone, refrigerator, private bathroom, hot water, free wireless Internet, etc. Maximum 5 people. Main restaurant, pools (adults & children), jacuzzi, private parking, 24 hours security, pool bar, playground equipped. At front desk currency conversions, confirm your flight or coordinate tours. Address : Playa Bejuco, Esterillos, Costa Rica. Local phone (506) : 2779-2000. Email:   Web page

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* FAMILY VACATIONS. Our travels take into account the different ages of your family enjoy the most from your Family vacations. Click HERE!

* GROUP TOURS. Whether for a church group, couple of friends, Scout troop or a family group. We provide excellent quality service in your Group Tours. Click HERE!

* EDUCATIONAL TOURS. Tours for universities to schools to elementary schools. We have professionals to help you discover the secrets of Costa Rica in a fun way. Costa Rica Educational Tours. Click HERE!

* GUIDED TOURS. General holiday planning giving you the best value for your investment Costa Rica vacation Packages. Click HERE!

Contact Us:
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CR Local Phone: 011-506 -2274-3231

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  100% Personalized Vacation Planning Service.
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Howard book
Want to live in Costa Rica?
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Will Costa Rica Retirement Work For You?
Find out for yourself on Live In Costa Rica Tours

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

   * Discover how to make the right choices about moving here
   * Find out how to live affordably
   * See how other expats live. Meet other expats who have made
          the move.
   * Access the country's affordable health care system
   * Informative two-day seminar given by local experts in their
          relevant fields.
   * Tours led by Christopher Howard, 34-year resident, citizen,
          and the author of "The New Golden Door to Retirement
          and  Living in Costa Rica – the Official Guide to Relocation”
Click HERE  to learn all about our Association of Residents (ARCR)  approved tours at

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.

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

Real estate rental services (paid category)

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
tropical homes
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

The vacation homes at Manuel Antonio Estates offers luxury, comfort and peace of mind. We have numerous homes from 2 bedrooms to 8 bedrooms ocean view with private pool,  all within walking distance of the town’s shops and restaurants and just a few minutes to the best beaches and the famous Manuel Antonio national park. While the homes are secluded and hidden among the rainforest, the surrounding area offers adventures like zip lines, whitewater rafting, mangrove kayaking and many more. All of the homes are available for short-term rentals, Fully equipped, Pool, concierge,  parking, cable TV, and Internet. We are happy to assist with all your need for the perfect Costa Rican vacation, Call us for your family vacation package.
TOLL FREE: 1800 346=9724 or (506) 2777-3339

Real estate for rent

Oganic farm rental
2 bedroom, 1 bath, $700 includes electric, water, cable, Internet & WiFi. Fully furnished. Inside gated property close to town, Santa Bárbara de Heredia. No dogs please.

Escazu condo

Beautiful fully furnished apartment for rent
Perfect place for a retired family. Furnished condo for rent.  Two bedrooms, 2 complete bathrooms, living room & dinning room, laundry room. Great location: Escazú center, 5 minutes to San José, 10 minutes to Multiplaza, Hospital CIMA, PriceSmart. Very secure: gated, guard at gate 24/7  Pool & fitness center.  Monthly rate $1,100  Call Darling. Cell phone  8356-5486   or send me an email  or

Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
1- to 3-bedroom ocean and garden view timeshares available and most offer air conditioning, cable TV, fully equipped kitchens, and relaxing hammocks on private balconies. Enjoy the unique combination of seclusion and convenience as all resorts listed on our site are close to popular Costa Rican attractions and downtown 
centers, but are surrounded in lush, tropical forest. Villas are also available for sale in our inventory, so you can enjoy yearly vacations to this mesmerizing rainforest paradise. Please visit our rental inventory HERE!  or call us toll free at 877-815-4227, International: 603-516-0200.  Email:

Rental montage
 Unfurnished apartment with modern kitchen right on the beach
in Playa Junquillal. $500 month + electric. see to view a video or call 5004-3473. HERE's the video.

Playa del Coco
Hear the waves and walk to the beach
Villa with separate studio apartment in north Playas del Coco. Two bedrooms and two baths in the villa. Fully furnished.  Laundry facilities. Yard fenced in. Pets Ok. Large covered terrace with views. A/C, satellite TV. Surrounded by gardens, palms and other tropical trees frequented by monkeys. Rent villa for $1,300/month or both for $1,500. Contact owner Linda: 2670-0779 or 8347-4705.

montage of thre homes
Beautiful Cottages for rent
Cottages located in the mountains of Los Angeles, San Rafael, Heredia. Surrounded by trees and nature, beautiful gardens. 45 minutes from San José. Bus line service, security. Pets allowed.
    - 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 balcony, 1 ranch. $900 monthly
          + utilities.
    - 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom. $450 monthly + utilities.
    - 1 bedroom, 1 and 1/2 bathroom, 1 balcony. $500 monthly
         + utilities.
Phone: (506) 8739-0638, (506) 7019-9457, (506) 8993-5801

Beautiful cottage in San Rafael, Heredia

 Surrounded by nature.
One or two bedrooms, 1 or 1.5 bathrooms. Bus line service, security. Pets allowed. $450 and $500 monthly. Phone: (506) 7019-9457,  8739-0638, 8993-5801. Or

Heredia cottage

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 Interamericana highway. 3,200 foot elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 baths, appliances included. High-speed internet installed, Direct TV via sling box on Internet.  Rent per month $750 plus utilities with free internet.  Price for Sale $179,000   Contact Mike:  Check out slide show HERE!

Real Estate
About us
What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2015 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. 
Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Manuel Antonio
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Sept. 18, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 185
Real Estate
About us

U.S. considers increasing
number of Syrian immigrants

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Obama administration would like to further increase the number of Syrian refugees that it resettles in the United States, but it must balance that desire with the need to thoroughly check the backgrounds of those considered for admission, a top State Department official said Thursday.

The United States has committed to admitting at least 10,000 Syrian refugees during the next fiscal year, which begins in October. Previously, about 1,700 Syrians had been resettled in the U.S. since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011.

Anne Richard, assistant secretary of State for population, refugee and migration, said the U.S. was considering another increase in its Syrian resettlement numbers for fiscal 2017.  However, she said the 65,000 to 100,000 admissions that some refugee groups and lawmakers have called for is currently unattainable.

“We can not physically move that many people, that quickly, through the process to get here in order to reach those kinds of high aspirational numbers,” Ms. Richard said.

A primary reason the U.S. cannot physically move such a large number of people is stipulations in the vetting process for refugees required under U.S. policy. That process includes an in-person interview by a Department of Homeland Security official, security checks and a medical exam before the refugee is brought to the United States.

“At any given time, we are processing cases in 70 or more locations worldwide with a limited amount of resources,” a State Department official said.

“It currently takes anywhere from 18 to 24 months or even longer to process a case from referral or application to arrival in the United States,” the official said.

Ms. Richard said the Obama administration wants to make a big push in the coming months to see whether the lengthy process can be streamlined.

“But, again,” she said, “we only want to streamline it if it can be done without giving up on these important security pieces.”

More than 4 million people have fled Syria since the country’s civil unrest erupted in 2011. The vast majority of Syrian refugees have settled in neighboring Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

Without criticizing the U.S. decision to resettle about 10,000 Syrians next year, Laura Thompson of the International Organization for Migration urged every country to do as much as it can to help the refugees.

“Ten thousand obviously is not enough, or 140,000 that Europe is talking about is not enough when you have three countries that have around 3.5 million,” she said.

Migration Policy Institute co-founder Kathleen Newland said the U.S. and other world powers also should expand efforts to help the U.N. refugee agency, which has only about one-third of the funding it needs.

“They are having to cut food rations to refugees, and those refugees are getting really, really desperate. They are unable to feed their children, unable to pay rent,” Newland said.

She said world powers should consider broadening the types of programs available to help people relocate from troubled areas.

GM admits guilt in keeping
ignition defect a secret

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The biggest American automaker, General Motors, admitted guilt Thursday in hiding information from both the government and motorists about a deadly defect in its vehicle ignition switches that has been linked to at least 124 deaths in crashes.

GM, third largest in the world behind Germany's Volkswagen and Japan's Toyota Motor, agreed to a $900 million fine to settle criminal charges in the case.

In addition, the automaker agreed to pay another $575 million to resolve damage claims from 1,385 death and injury cases stemming from accidents caused by the faulty switches and to company shareholders who claimed that the actions of GM officials diminished the value of the company's stock.

In a statement, GM chief executive Mary Barra said, “The mistakes that led to the ignition-switch recall should never have happened. We have apologized, and we do so again today." 

According to the settlement of the case, GM knew about the faulty switches on some of its small-car models for more than a decade before finally disclosing the problem in 2013. With the defect, some cars stalled, preventing air bags from deploying in crashes.

U.N. weather agency reports
world temperature is at record

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Across the globe the heat is unrelenting, setting new temperature highs by the month that are unparalleled in 136 years of record-keeping, says the U.S. weather agency.

Last month was the hottest August on record, nearly a degree Celsius higher than the 20th century average of 15.6 degrees C, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The agency said the June-to-August average was also the highest dating back to 1880, when records were first kept, and also the highest ever for the first eight months of any year.

Scientists say the high temperatures are the result of a combination of human-caused climate change related to greenhouse gas emissions and a powerful natural El Niño weather system over the Pacific Ocean that adds heat to the atmosphere.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the higher temperatures have trimmed the extent of the Arctic ice pack to its fourth smallest size for August since these figures were first collected in 1979.

Jimmy Carter maintains pace
despite his cancer treatment

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

In August, former President Jimmy Carter announced he was battling cancer.  One treatment of radiation and two rounds of immunotherapy later, Carter, who turns 91 Oct. 1, shows no signs of slowing down.

Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, were on hand Tuesday for the kickoff of "Conversations at the Carter Center," an annual lecture series in Atlanta, and he spoke about his treatment before a packed auditorium.

"There's a new medicine that's been developed for my disease," he said. "It's called pembrolizumab. It took me three weeks to learn how to say it.”

He said there was also a learning curve to another part of his regimen: drinking enough fluids.

“Instead of getting productive work done, I spent a lot of time in the restroom," he said.

Carter is dealing with the most difficult health challenge of his life with humor and determination, and staff at the Carter Center say he is still a visible presence.

“He is here, working, a very, very busy schedule, and there’s no evidence of what I can see that he has slowed down,” said P. Craig Withers, acting director of health programs at the center.

His appearance at "Conversations at the Carter Center" was the latest in a series of public engagements on the former president’s calendar in Atlanta, which included the 34th Jimmy Carter Town Hall at Emory University.

The annual event draws thousands of students.

In good-natured fashion, he objected to having been "relegated to a position of illness, and infirmity, and age, and so, with the permission of the authorities behind me, I’m going to stand up instead of sit down to answer your questions,” he told the audience, winning applause.

"I'm in good spirits.  I'm prepared for anything that comes," he said. "My wife is a little less prepared than I've been, but she's getting on fine."

Rosalynn Carter said that "we’ve had an outpouring of support, and in spite of all that’s going on, it’s been incredible just to know that we’ve got that kind of support … and Jimmy's had a great attitude through it."

The Carters continue to spend about one week a month in Atlanta.  The rest of the time they are in Plains, Georgia.  There, visitors pouring in from around the world come to the small Maranatha Baptist Church most Sundays to see the ailing president continue to do what he has done since he was 18 years old: teach Sunday School lessons.

Loss of foods is different
based on type of country

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The statistic has been repeated so often, it might have lost its potency: up to half of the food the world produces is thrown out, rather than eaten.

But wasteful consumers in wealthy nations are not the only culprits. Poor countries, too, are tossing out perfectly good food, sometimes at the same scale, according to Elliot Woolley, lecturer in sustainable manufacturing at Loughborough University in Britain.

What’s notable, though, is that developed and developing countries have different causes and solutions for their waste, whether it’s food or any other items that could wind up in landfills.

In poor places like Chad, Woolley said, food is usually lost while still in the field or during storage and transportation, thanks to business inefficiencies. Once the produce is sold, families tend to eat everything they buy. That’s in contrast to British, American, and other consumers, who discard as much as half of their food purchases.

“I think this is a disgrace,” Woolley said Wednesday at the 13th annual Global Conference on Sustainable Manufacturing, this year hosted by the Vietnamese-German University.

Similarly, rich and poor nations have different ways of preventing waste -- in other words, recycling. Australia and Britain, for instance, recycle 30-40 percent of their garbage, compared with just 10-20 percent in Vietnam and Malaysia, said Brendan Moloney, a doctoral candidate in engineering at Australian National University.

And yet in the latter countries recyclers make far more money, Moloney said in a presentation at the conference, because infrastructure costs are lower, as are wages among the informal sector of trash pickers. Plus, some recyclables like glass and metals can fetch international prices, no matter the geography where they’re retrieved.

“You end up with a much more profitable industry in emerging markets,” Moloney said.

Such variation among countries calls for tailor-made solutions. Woolley’s answer to food waste? There’s an app for that. He built the Pantry App to help users track their groceries, which he said cut food waste by 34 percent.

The results were based on a very limited experiment, monitoring food over the course of one week. The app would inform people of how many groceries they bought, when they expired, and how to combine remaining ingredients through recipe tips.

But one person who attended the presentation said more should be done to prevent shoppers from buying so much food to begin with. Jeremy Bonvoisin, a postdoctoral candidate at the Technical University of Berlin, said customers are willing to squander food because they value it so little.

“The problem is that the inventory is becoming too big because the value of food is getting cheaper,” he said.

Bonvoisin said the Pantry App might help those who already want to make a change, though it could also encourage them to waste more because they no longer have to pay attention to how much food they buy. They outsource that to the app.

“I think at some point it may have some perverse effects,” he said.

As for recycling, Moloney said developing countries should improve health and safety conditions, while still benefiting from informal recyclers. Because trash pickers are separating their finds by hand, they can extract a greater variety of recyclables, such as textiles and different copper types, rather than just the traditional paper and plastic.

Advanced nations rely on machines, which can do basic categorizing by material type and color, whereas pickers can also sort by size and shape. Moloney said richer states can use economies of scale, that is, combine recycling in larger facilities, so they have the capacity for more sophisticated sorting.

Still, Moloney praised rich countries for recycling ever more materials because they have strong policies in place. He showed data for the United Kingdom, which now recycles more than 25 percent of trash, compared with 6 to 7 percent two decades ago. But he could not contrast that with developing countries, which he said tend not to keep such statistics.

Real estate-related services (paid category)

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Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

Rich Coast Rollover
Thinking of Buying a Vacation or Retirement Home
in Costa Rica?

Rich Coast Realty is a full-service real estate company with property listings in Escazú, Santa Ana, Jacó, Esterillos, Bejuco, Palo Seco, Manuel Antonio, and beyond. We offer efficient, personalized service always protecting our client’s interests. We work hard to find you the property of your dreams, and assist with legal advice, residency, starting corporations, opening bank accounts, etc. Contact us today with your questions about buying property in, and relocating to Costa Rica. With 11 years experience in Costa Rica real estate, we look forward to hearing from you.
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891

Penthouse condominium in Playa Langosta, Tamarindo
Photo montage of penthouse
Are you  tired of wasting time searching your home….. with no results?
If so, you should not miss this deal !!!

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Penthouse condominium in Playa Langosta, Tamarindo

* Located on 6th floor.
* Elevator.
* Security 24/7.
* Pool, BBQ area.
* 2 underground
        parking,  cellar.

* 3 bedrooms.
* 2 bathrooms.
* 2 terraces.
* Luxuriously
* Negotiable price.

* Enjoy the view,  CLICK HERE
Mafi Real Estate: Houses, lots and farms in Costa Rica
If you do not find, what are you looking for, contact us
WE HAVE A NETWORK OF OVER 500 brokers across the country to get what you are looking for.
English Calls: Miguel Fiatt Sauma or Paule Ortiz
Phone/Fax.+506 2238-5029
Cel. +506 8399-7000
Web Page:

Remax logo
Re/Max Ocean Surf and Sun:

The experts in buying property in Costa Rica, with more than 20 years experience and the largest networked team of agents in the country.  We can help you learn if investing in Costa Rica is right for you with our low-key, educational approach to sales. Our professional agents can tell you more about Costa Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and commercial real estate.  Call us: Ocean Surf and Sun Int. Realty Ldta at 011 (506) 2653-0073 or send us an email at:

Real estate for sale (paid category)

Beautiful house
in nature reserve
for sale
La Union
Sustainable design, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 parking spaces, surrounded by nature and overlooking La Carpintera reserve. Construction 180 m2, land 670 m2. Cartago, Tres Rios La Union. Residential Sierras de la Union. Great Price $250,000. For more information, please contact us at  Phone: (506)  8922-9413.

property montage
Lovely east coast property for sale
This is a huge property surrounded by beautiful tropical gardens. The house is about 85% built, but I will give you the property completely finished.  The whole land includes 7,886 m2 or 84,884 ft2 of forest and gardens in a mountain area of Cimarrones, Limón, east coast. Full house with large master bedroom plus bathroom. One extra guest bedroom. Large dining room. Large kitchen area. Another extra bathroom for guests. Large laundry room and two cellars (storage areas). The house has wide corridors where you will see a breathtaking view of large gardens and forest.  I am open to hear your offer. The full property and land price is $125,000. Call Harold Fonseca, Phone number (506) 8702-4217, Email:

Goetl in Palo Seco

Charming small oceanfront hotel for sale in Playa Palo Seco
Ideal oceanfront location with back up to a mangrove estuary. The
charming small hotel has a fully equipped kitchen, bar and restaurant and is exceptionnally well maintained. Located on a very private beach of the central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica 35 minutes north of Quepos-Manuel Antonio and 45 minutes south of  Playa Jacó. The main building is a two-storey house with 12 bedrooms. The lot measures 3,054 M2. Beautiful gardens around the large pool and exceptional flora and fauna. Well mentioned in tourist guides like Lonely Planet and Guide Ulysse. Offered at $999,000. USD
or call (506) 8707-1037  (506) 2778-8408

Big House for Sale in Playa Grande,
Santa Cruz, Guanacaste
834.62 square meters property with 326 square meters construction. Two-story house with front porch, entry lobby, living room, dinning room, large kitchen, breakfast room, large cupboard, 3 1⁄2 bathrooms, 3 large bedrooms.  The main bedroom includes jacuzzi and balcony. Playground, office, laundry area, garage for two cars, own and municipal potable water supply, electricity service, cable TV system, A/C. Located 700 meters from Las Colinas Golf Course, near the airport, Tamarindo Beach and the best beaches of the country. With an additional 2,866.33 square meters building lot with three terraces. Excellent construction and great details. Great Price $388,000 For more information, please contact us:
Email Phone (506) 2653-6417.
Cell (506) 8825-8942 / (506) 8916-0734.

For sale 5,200 m2 Escazú
Fantastic location for condo, hotel, restaurant.
Large lower lot, incredible views. Flexible zoning.
Easy to get liquor license. Low interest financing.
Toll free US phone 877-778-8515
In Costa Rica 8307-0164

private ranch home
Small private ranch for sale
This exceptional private ranch sits on a 9+ hectare lot and supports 15-20 horses. Only 2 hours south of San José, on the road to Puriscal. Roomy stalls all with drains, water hookup, lights and fans, grooming and shoeing área. Two-story house all furnished and cowboy house. Don't miss your chance on that turnkey operation.  Offered at $749,000.
E-mail:  or call (506) 8707-1037 
(506) 2778-8408 Web:

Ringle resort
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.

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 Interamericana highway. 3,200 foot elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, appliances included. High-speed internet installed, Price for sale $179,000    Contact Mike:   Check out slide show HERE!

A beautiful American style suburban home just reduced.

A beautiful American style suburban home, 2,700 sq ft of living space with 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, front and rear living rooms, laundry area, kitchen and small attached library nook, arched windows and doors and connected hallways, exotic wood interior ceilings and trim, tile floors thru-out.  The lot is 835 m2 with mature landscape and orchid nurseries surrounding the house. There is an enclosed workshop and BBQ area in the back yard with lots of storage under roof, plus a nursery for an herb/vegetable garden.  This is a very well-kept property with many upgrades, a private feel but yet only 5 minutes from the center of town.  Pérez Zeledón is the commercial hub of the southern zone and considered to be one of the best places to live in all of Costa Rica, the perfect size town, not too big and not too small.  The beach is 45 minutes to the west and a short drive to the cool mountains is to the east. In between, this large valley has a moderate climate.  Pérez has plenty of modern goods and services, an excellent farmers market, private schools, private doctors and clinics, all you need without having to go to the crazy madness of San José.    Just reduced to $199,000.  Call  Jeff: 8824-8113 or 8725-8176.  Email:

Aerial Ocean and Volcano Views with Boutique Coffee! 33 Acres $380,000. Click HERE!

For sale: Titled beachfront lot 1/2 acre (1,750m2) near Jacó $89,000. Just one hour drive from San José.
Panoramic ocean view lot 1.25 acres (5,000m2) 25 minutes from Tamarindo  $25,000.
Panoramic ocean view lot  5,400 sq. ft. (500m2)  $6,500. Financing available.
For rent two-bedroom house  five minute walk to water $350 a month.
Call 6261-7932 Or email See this Web site:

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.

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

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

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

Some of our other titles:
A.M. Panama
A.M. Colombia
A.M. Guatemala
A.M. Honduras
A.M. Cuba
A.M. Nicaragua
A.M. Venezuela
A.M. Central America
Dominican Republic

A.M. Ecuador A.M. El Salvador
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Real Estate
About us
What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2015 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. 
Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Sept. 18, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 185
Real Estate
About us

News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are disabled on archived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Caffeine can delay sleep, researchers say

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Researchers have discovered that caffeine can delay normal sleep times by as much as 40 minutes, if consumed three hours before anticipated bedtime.

The amount of caffeine associated with sleep disruption was equivalent to what is typically in two shots of espresso. Kenneth Wright, head of the Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory at the University of Colorado in Boulder, said some coffee shop brews typically contain more caffeine than that. 

Scientists have known for a long time that caffeine disrupts chemicals in the brain that affect wakefulness and block chemicals that promote sleep.

“This particular finding tells us that the timing of sleep and wakefulness will be pushed later because of an effect on the clock, not just promoting wakefulness chemicals in the brain,” Wright said.

This is important because the natural process of circadian rhythm also affects hormone production and cell regeneration in the human body.

Not getting enough sleep can affect mood.  It can also promote disorders like diabetes.

To look into caffeine’s effect on the circadian clock, researchers at the Colorado university and the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England, first noted the sleep-wake cycles of five healthy volunteers.

Over the course of a 49-day study, investigators gave the participants 200 milligrams of caffeine, the equivalent amount found in two shots of espresso, a few hours before bed and noted how long it took them to fall asleep. 

The volunteers were also exposed at night to bright light, which is known to disrupt sleep.

Caffeine did more than bright light in interrupting the circadian clock, and therefore patterns of sleep.

The researchers also looked at the biological function of a sleep hormone and found caffeine interrupted a core component of sleep at the cellular level.

Wright said adjusting one’s biological clock in this way could also be beneficial.

“Another example of an implication of our findings is we may be able to use caffeine to help shift our clocks westward when we’re traveling across many time zones," he said. "In this case here, caffeine may help us adapt to jet lag much faster.“

The findings, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, also suggest people who want to wake up earlier in the morning might consider giving up that nighttime cup of java.

Police helping to delivery food at night

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Fuerza Pública officers have begun accompanying workers of Asociación Amigos de la Calle to deliver food to those who live on the streets. Police officials said that the first time was Wednesday night, but that the effort would continue.

Police officials said those who would like to help can contact the association at, or in Facebook at Amigos de la Calle CR.

Officials said that the police officers were doing so out of a sense of community assistance. Officers said they met minors, teens and even a pregnant women during their efforts.

Some 50 homeless can be found in the vicinity of the old Cine Lebano on Paseo de la Vaca, which is at Avenida 7 and Calle 10.

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U.S. Federal Reserve board keeps low rates

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. central bank officials have decided to keep interest rates unchanged at the record low rate where they have been for several years.

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen says officials want more improvements in the labor market and need to see inflation rise to the 2 percent annual rate they think is best for the economy.

Ms. Yellen spoke to journalists in Washington Thursday at the end of two days of debate among top Fed officials about where to set rates.

This would have been the first rate increase in nearly a decade, and many officials say the Federal Reserve may raise rates a bit later this year. 

The central bank changes interest rates in an effort to steer the economy toward stable prices and full employment. 

The Fed cut the rates to a record low range between zero and a quarter of a percent during the financial crisis in a bid to support economic growth.  Economists say higher rates would tend to slow growth and make it less likely that inflation will rise sharply and harm the economy.

Since then, unemployment has improved, falling from 10 percent to just over 5 percent.  Inflation, however, has stayed below the 2 percent annual rate that Fed officials think works best for the economy.