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(506) 2223-1327                          Published Friday, Sept. 20, 2013, in Vol. 13, No. 187                 Email us
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Jo Stuart
Cascata del Bosco

FBI being asked to clear U.S. residency applicants
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Another wrinkle has developed that may delay even further the lengthy processes for U.S. expats to obtain residency in Costa Rica.

At least in some cases, the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería demands a criminal history report generated by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. This became known to Javier Zavaleta of Residency in Costa Rica when a client failed to obtain an expected approval of pensionado status. A processor at the immigration office said FBI clearance is required, Zavaleta said in an email.

The pensionado applicant already provided a police clearance letter from the State of Florida, but that was not good enough for the immigration agency. Until now, U.S. residency applicants provided a police clearance letter from their municipality, county or state. 

Of course, under the U.S. federal system that left a big gap in information. An individual could provide a clean police report from one city while having had convictions for serious crimes in another.

Zavaleta said he does not object to the change, but he worries about how the new requirement will be put into practice.

The FBI maintains its criminal justice division in West Virginia. There is an established system for getting a federal criminal history or rap sheet. The FBI requires a standard fingerprint form FD-258.  The details are set out on the FBI Web site. The fee is $18 payable by credit card.

The FBI says that processing may take five to six weeks. Documents submitted to immigration here have a short life span after which the agency rejects them. So waiting for the FBI report might cause problems with the application.

Zavaleta said he has that base covered.
He said he thinks his U.S. clients will have a two- to three-week delay and that he may use private companies that specialize in getting these reports from the FBI.

"My concern is for those clients who are already in Costa Rica, some of which we have not yet filed their applications pending fingerprinting or the arrival of other key documents," he said.

But he wonders about what expat applicants already in Costa Rica could do to get their fingerprint cards to be submitted to the FBI and what additional procedures would be required.

A U.S. Embassy spokesman had no additional information immediately.

For years applicants for the various forms of residency had their fingerprints taken at the security ministry in Barrio Córdoba in south San José. The prints are sent to the International Police Agency for a criminal history check. That still is done.

The immigration agency has made no formal announcement of the change in procedure. And the only real evidence is the official resolution issued Monday involving the case of the U.S. pensionado applicant.

The resolution also requires that the FBI report be provided in 10 working days along with a Spanish translation.

The new procedure is likely to involve more than just applicants for pensionado, rentista and inversionista residency, Requirements for missionary, volunteer and certain work visas also require fingerprinting and police reports.

Costa Rica, like many countries, has a central data base where criminal records of citizen are kept. Employers and other s routinely asked for such a document here. It is called an hoja de delincuencia and is available at the judicial archives and online.

Magical Christmas displays promised for downtown
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Organizers of San José Ciudad Luz are promising Christmas lighting and activities in the downtown on a scale never seen previously.

The full outline of the project will be given Wednesday, but an advance summary promises a treat for the eyes, the ears and the souls of Costa Ricans. Organizers, which include the Club Unión, said that one of the goals is to rescue the Christmas values and customs. They also promise angels flying in the air and other displays new and magical.

Each year the Municipalidad de San José organizes music and other events along the pedestrian walkway that used to be Avenida Central. The goal is to increase the number of shoppers downtown, and the yearly effort always appears to be successful.

Club Unión is in the center of the city just east of the Correos de Costa Rica main post office. Many of the members are in business.

Another of the organizers is Anayanci Quirós

Arce, who is director of the Opera de Cámara de Costa Rica and a noted soprano. Also listed is Aleyda Bonilla, a commercial real estate broker.

Even without this project, Christmas is magical in Costa Rica, a predominately Christian country where Catholicism is the official religion. Plus residents have more than 1,000 years of Christmas traditions imported from Spain and the rest of Europe. Governments are actively involved in the celebration, and most workers get a substantial Christmas bonus and at least a week's vacation between Christmas and New Year's. Christmas is on a Wednesday this year, so the period from  Dec. 20 until Jan. 6 will be dedicated to the holiday.

There also is the Fiestas de San José in Zapote that include carnival rides, food, the unique Costa Rican bull fighting and plenty of cheer.

Zoo operator wins delay in eviction by government
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The foundation that runs the San José zoo and a conservation center in Santa Ana has won a delay in an effort by the central government to evict it.

The Fundación Pro Zoológicos said that a temporary restraining order had been issued by a judge in the Tribunales de Justicia de lo Contencioso Administrativo. This is the judicial section that evaluates government actions.

The decision, issued by Paulo André Alonso Soto, keeps the Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía from taking any action until the case is decided on the facts by the same tribunals. No date was given for that trial.

The foundation said that the ministry acted too late in voiding its contract. It has said that the contract to
 manage Parque Zoológico y Jardín Botánico Nacional Simón Bolívar renewed automatically before officials decided to close down the zoo.

Such rulings are typical in freezing actions until a case is heard fully. The decision did not address the main facts in the case, which will be presented at trial.

The foundation argued that any action by the state to evict the foundation or close down the zoo would cause grave damage including to the 270 creatures that are housed there. The foundation also argued that the dispute has damaged its reputation, it said in a summary.

Ministry officials have spoken out about their dislike of zoos in general and on conditions at the zoo here. Their opinion is shared by many environmental activists who oppose keeping animals in cages.

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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Sept. 20, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 187

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


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Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto photo  
  There does not seem to be any doubt that Nicaragua is
  violating the preliminary decision of the World Court.  A
   dredge is pictured in the middle of a new channel made
   through Costa Rican territory to the Caribbean.

Officials try to construct
unified position on canal

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rican officials are trying to enlist all sides of the political spectrum in a unified position against the Nicaraguan invasion of the country.

Gioconda Ubeda, the vice foreign minister, held a series of meetings Thursday with individuals as diverse as Luis Guillermo Solís, the presidential candidate of the Partido Acción Ciudadana, and  Elizabeth Odio Benito, a former vice president and a former judge on the international criminal court. More meetings are planned.

Meanwhile, a photo of one of the channels believed constructed by Nicaragua shows it is about 200 meters long connecting the Río San Juan and the Caribbean. That is about 656 feet. The channel also appears to be between 20 and 30 meters wide, some 65 to 99 feet.

The whole area has been under a freeze ordered by the International Court of Justice as the jurists consider the original case brought by Costa Rica after Nicaraguan soldiers invaded a small piece of Costa Rica in October 2010.

Under a temporary order, Costa Rica was supposed to be able to send environmental workers into the area but Nicaragua was not supposed to do that.

The dredge that has been photographed from a private helicopter appears to be one of the same crafts that have been working in the river for nearly three years.

In one challenge to the central government, a lawmaker claimed officials obtained infrared photos of the area from Colombian intelligence services, Enrique Castillo the foreign minister, reported that the photos came from Geosolutions Consulting Inc., a Costa Rican firm.

Colombia also has an ax to grind with Nicaragua over disputed maritime territories that may contain petroleum. A reader raised the possibility that if Nicaragua managed to hang on to the small piece of Costa Rica that it has seized, the country to the north also will be able to claim a stretch of Caribbean maritime territory.

Events promoting peace
planned today and on weekend

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Saturday is the United Nation's International Day of Peace, and Costa Ricans will jump the gun by setting up a peace fair in the Plaza de la Cultura today.

Public institutions and members of the country's peace network will participate to show their efforts toward peace. Among other events there will be break dancing and magic acts.

Also today a community festival will be organized for peace in the Estadio Moreno Cartín in Barrio Cuba. The events will include a parade, cultural activities and sports and recreation, said organizers, the Ministerio de Justicia y Paz.

From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday there will be a forum at the Iglesia Senderos de Luz in Desamparados. The topics will be violence and citizen security.

Sunday at 10 a.m. there will be an exchange of computer equipment for firearms at the Asociación de Desarrollo de Guararí in Heredia.

Symphonic orchestra gives
eighth concert of season

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Invited conductor Toby Hoffman from the United States will lead the  Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional tonight and again Sunday morning in a concert featuring Ravel, Beethoven and Stravinsky.

The concert both at 8 p.m. today and at 10:30 a.m. Sunday will be in the Teatro Nacional.

Michael Thalmann is the invited pianist. Among the works will be "Rapsodie espagnole" by Maurice Ravel, which includes "Malagueña" and "Piano Concerto No.5, Op.73" by Ludwig van Beethoven. The Igor Stravinsky work will be "Petrouchka” from the ballet.

This is Thalmann's first performance with the orchestra but he has visited Costa Rica previously, said the Centro Nacional de la Música. He is from Switzerland.  This is the orchestra's eighth concert of the season.

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

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


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


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

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


A.M. Costa Rica

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Sept. 20, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 187
Real Estate
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National water company promises major improvements
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The country has at least 19 urban water systems that are not sufficient for local needs or are deteriorating, according to the national water company, the Instituto Nacional de Acueductos y Alcantarillados.

The institute plans to spend nearly $900 million to resolve the problems, and the first stage that focuses mainly on the metropolitan area just received and additional $35 million in credit from the Banco Centroamericano de Integración Económica. That brings the proposed loans by the bank to  $68.5 million.

Two storage tanks are in the works, one in the west and one in the northeast of San José. There also are plans to replace the underground pipes and improve the treatment plants.

Projects also are planned on the water services of Pérez Zeldón, Quepos and Manuel Antonio, San Ramón and Palmares and the area south of Limón.

Also planned and part of the reason the Central American bank
provides a credit line is a sewage system for the Puerto Viejo de Talamanca area.

Some residents of the Caribbean coast would prefer a water project instead of sewerage. There is water rationing, according to residents there, in Cocles and Playa Chiquita where the water comes from shallow local wells.

Private water delivery service is being used, according to correspondent Connie Foss.  Over the past several weeks, residents experienced sporadic cutoffs of the public water supply, and due to weeks of little or no rainfall, many wells are now dry and rainwater tanks are empty, she said.

Puerto Viejo and Manzanillo do not experience water shortages because their systems are connected to regular water sources in the Talamanca mountains.

A second round of projects includes improving the water storage capacities in Ciudad Cortés, Buenos Aires de  Puntarenas, Ciudad Neilly and Canoas, Palmar Norte, San Vito, Golfito, El Pasito de Alajuela, Atenas, Limón Centro, San Mateo, Jacó, Esparza, Nicoya and Liberia.

Just like everything else, the Devil is in the details of the plan
Some months ago I got a telephone call from a gentleman representing a health insurance company.  He said that for 25,000 colons a month, (about $50) which I could simply add to my Internet and cable bill with Tigo, I could have a consulto with any of several specialists at Clinica Biblica as often as I needed at no cost.  He assured me that all I had to do was call them, the insurance company, when I wanted my appointment and they would make it.  After a couple more calls from the gentleman, I agreed.  I have always liked the Clinica Biblica, at least the old Clinica Biblica, because two doctors there once saved my life. 

After about three months on the plan. I decided I should see a dermatologist about some disturbing mole-like spots.  I called the insurance company.

They told me I needed to see a general practitioner first.  I balked. They turned me over to a doctor in the company. and I explained that I did not need a doctor to tell me I needed to see a dermatologist.  He agreed.  And quickly I made an appointment.  How easy was that!

My appointment was made with a dermatologist in the new tower, and happily, in a section labeled Derma Laser.  I checked in with the receptionist, who knew all about my insurance coverage, and within 10 minutes I was in the doctor’s office.  How easy was that!

The doctor’s assistant took my medical history, of course.  And then the doctor came in and we shook hands.  He was charming and even spoke English.

I explained my problem and showed him two of the moles.  He looked and said they could be pre precancerous (I think he said that).  Then he took an instrument out and squirted the two spots, and I showed him another on my back and he squirted that.  I started to tell him that there were more, but he was putting away his machine.  He gave me a prescription to put on the spots he had treated, and I was dismissed.

I showed my prescription to the receptionist and started to explain that I had insurance for the appointment.  She smiled and said that the insurance covered the visit, but that the treatment was 40,000 colons.  “You mean the insurance just covered the handshake?” I said.  She did not respond.  Instead, she told me that the prescription was 3,000 colons.  Now, how easy was that -- for them?
Butterfly in the City
. . .  Musings from San José

By Jo Stuart

Jo Stuart

As I left the hospital I wondered how many of us have our medical histories in dozens of doctors’ files going nowhere, or are the files in the circular ones next to their desks? 

Once home I called the insurance agency and told them I would like to cancel my membership, please.  “No problem,” they said.”  I didn’t expect it to be that easy.  Ah, well, I didn’t send any money to a friend stranded in Africa and desperately needing my help.

I still have Caja, and I would rather sit with a book and wait for an appointment with a doctor who will either take the time to check out more than just the obvious, or if he or she doesn’t, at least I know it is not going to cost me any more than my monthly membership and I can go back for free.

Now that that is settled, I must add my two cents to the emerging Syrian sideshow: the dueling pens between President Putin of Russia and Sen. McCain of the U.S. 

After Putin’s remark in an editorial that thinking that one is exceptional is a bad idea, Senator McCain took pen in hand and writing to the Russian people, gave Mr. Putin a piece of his mind and a general run down of all of his past as well as present misdeeds, stressing the worst – that of Putin’s support for a dictator like President Assad of Syria who uses chemical weapons.

I just hope that Putin’s pen has run dry and he won’t be able to remind Sen. McCain that the U.S. supported Saddam Hussein and Iraq in their war against Iran, from 1982 until 1988, during which time Iraq used chemical weapons killing and crippling tens of thousands of Iranians. 

Sometimes, Senator, politicians should not dip their pens into the past.

Del Rey HOtel

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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

Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Sept. 20, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 187
Real Estate
About us

Unstable low pressure area seems to have gone with the wind
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
with wire service reports

The country had a day with little rain for the first time in a week Thursday. That gave road crews and other emergency workers time to fix what the heavy downpours did.

The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional said that the low pressure area that caused all the problems has move away and no longer would affect the nation's weather.

The prediction for today and the weekend is a return to normal September weather with hot, sunny mornings and some showers or downpours in the afternoon mainly on the Pacific coast and the Central Valley.

The weather institute predicted that daytime temperatures would increase over the next few days and evening temperatures would decrease.

There was less than a millimeter of rain in San Jose's downtown Thursday. There were some showers around the country but with amounts of five
millimeters or less. That amount is less than .2 of an inch.

Meanwhile in México the national civil protection coordinator said the death toll from days of floods and landslides stood at 97 after Hurricane Ingrid on the Gulf Coast and Tropical Storm Manuel on the Pacific coast triggered flooding and landslides throughout the country.

The death toll from the two storms does not include dozens of people missing after a landslide that devastated the village of La Pintada, west of the resort city of Acapulco.

In the far Pacific The Philippines, Taiwan and southern China are preparing for the arrival of rapidly intensifying super typhoon Usagi.

Typhoon Usagi is the Pacific's strongest storm on record this year, with wind gusts measured of up to 240 kilometers per hour, about 150 miles per hour.

It is expected to strengthen further as it moves toward the northern Philippines and then Taiwan before weakening and hitting China's southern coast.

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Christ Howard with Max
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Howard Spanish cover


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

Real estate rental services (paid category)

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

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

house for rent
House for rent on a large property surrounded by fruit trees and garden on a bus line. Fully furnished, complete laundry room, two bedrooms plus extra room for office, security, electric gate, Internet available.  Located in Monte de la Cruz, San Rafael de Heredia. $475 monthly. Call 2267-6306  Or email:

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

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

Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for your stay in this beautiful part 
of Costa Rica. We are offering homes for every budget and every need. Please visit our Web page at or contact us at or call at (506) 2654-5442.

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

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

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

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

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

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

MONTHLY $800 TO $1,200

Villas Casa Loma has everything you are looking for.  Best vistas, climate, value.  Four unique homes in a secure private compound on a ridge near Alajuela overlooking the entire Central Valley.  Two are available fully furnished and equipped, each a complete home accommodating 4 persons in two bedrooms with ensuite baths.  Pool, rancho, mirador, other features.  Ask about part-month rates.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at  See virtual tour of accommodations HERE!
Get to know the real Costa Rica – you may want to live here someday.

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

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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Sept. 20, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 187
Real Estate
About us

EU and Singapore agree
to comprehensive free trade

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The European Union and Singapore submitted for approval today one of the world's most comprehensive free trade agreements. For the E.U., the agreement is seen as a stepping stone towards a wider deal with southeast Asia.
The chief negotiators on both sides presented the entire text of the agreement today after initialing each page of the roughly 1,000-page document.
Subject to approval in Singapore, the 28 E.U. member states and the European Parliament, the agreement should come into force in late 2014 or early 2015.
Trade between the two topped 52 billion euros in goods in 2012 and 28 billion euros in services in 2011. Meanwhile, mutual investment has reached 190 billion euros.
The European Union sees a free trade deal as opening the door to a deal with other members of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations, known as ASEAN, which has set a goal of economic integration by 2015.
The E.U. and ASEAN launched free trade talks in 2007, but abandoned them two years later as the E.U. chose to instead conduct bilateral talks with individual members.
The European Commission is already negotiating free trade accords with Malaysia and Vietnam, and launched talks with Thailand in March.
Singapore has a population of just 5 million people, against some 600 million for the whole of ASEAN, but accounts for about a third of all E.U.-ASEAN trade and more than 60 percent of all investment between the two regions.
The deal goes beyond many other free trade accords in its commitment to opening up public procurement, an area where the EU has many leading suppliers. The pact also included agreements on technical standards in areas such as motor vehicles, electronics and green technologies.
The European Union gained better protection of geographical indications, for region-specific products such as Parma ham or champagne.
E.U. tariffs on virtually all items from Singapore will disappear over five years. Singapore has committed to its existing policy of zero tariffs on EU imports.
Singapore is likely to benefit from reduced tariffs for pharmaceutical and petrochemical products.
In services, particularly financial services, the agreement will ensure the right to sell directly or establish branches in each other's markets and promises to provide greater transparency over the award of licenses.

European politicians seeking
to close tech tax loopholes

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Every year, the eurozone loses an estimated one trillion euros in revenue from multinational companies that don’t pay taxes on their European profits. These companies, including tech giants like Apple, Amazon and Google, as well as coffee company Starbucks, take advantage of loopholes in the complicated international tax code system and move their profits around the world to dodge tax payments. But they are facing increasing scrutiny from cash-strapped European governments and criticism from consumers.

Paying the bills every month is a challenge for businessman Jalil Kidder, the owner of a security company and small restaurant in a suburb of Frankfurt. Among his highest costs, the long list of German taxes.  In addition to other taxes, Kidder pays the German government on average 30 percent of his profits in income tax.

In Frankfurt's financial district, a short drive from his restaurant, Starbucks's flagship store in the city has paid no profit tax since it opened its doors 10 years ago. This contradiction is at the heart of a recent debate in Germany and the European Union about tax avoidance by wealthy multinational corporations.

"There is a saying here that goes like this, the big ones are eating the small," Kidder said. "That’s exactly what we are experiencing in this situation in Germany: the big companies are getting richer and richer in this country while small businesses like mine are struggling, they’re going kaput."

Starbucks and Apple declined interview requests.  But a recent investigation by the U.S. Senate shows that between 2009 and 2012, Apple paid no tax on its reported $74 billion in overseas income.  Apple achieved this by legally opening a subsidiary, or affiliate, in Ireland and exploiting a loophole in the Irish tax code.

Companies like Facebook and Amazon employ similar tactics, using a complex network of affiliates in countries like Luxembourg, the Netherlands or Switzerland to dodge billions of euros in taxes.  Taxes that would otherwise go to Germany or France go instead to Luxembourg or Ireland, but at a discounted rate.

Hanno Kube, a professor of tax law at the University of Mainz, says these seemingly legal tactics are unethical and unfair to small local businesses.

"They have competitive advantage which is not acceptable. Because they use international structures is not a justification for not making them pay taxes. Also, they use infrastructure provided by the states, they use the streets, our banking system, our laws, so it’s only fair that they also pay taxes for the profits they make," Kube said.

And European governments are hoping this happens sooner rather than later. The EU recently asked the governments of Ireland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg to disclose their corporate tax arrangements with U.S. tech giants, while the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, or OECD, presented the G20 in St. Petersburg earlier this month with a 15-step plan to tackle international tax avoidance.

The OECD tax reform plan would require multinationals with overseas operations to pay taxes on any profits coming from sales in that particular country, basically, to play by the same rules that apply to local businesses. Consumers in Germany agree the change is long overdue.

The issue has also been getting attention in the United States, with Apple executives going in front of a U.S. Senate subcommittee in May to explain the company's tax practices in the U.S. and abroad.

Kube of the University of Mainz says it’s no surprise many of the biggest tax avoiders in Europe are U.S. tech companies. The United States uses a tax law that subsidizes multinational companies and eventually leads to lost revenues for European countries. Resolving this issue, he says, will be hard, but the U.S. is part of the solution.

"It needs the consensus of many nations because corporations will always find a small country which will attract them, a country which doesn’t cooperate," he said. "That’s a big problem in international tax law, but, in general, I do see a trend towards stricter international tax law and also towards more exchange of information between states, including Luxembourg and Switzerland, an exchange of information which we haven’t seen years ago. So the political pressure is increasing."

If adopted, the 15-point plan released earlier this month will overhaul the international tax system and eventually bring in billions of euros of much needed revenue to a region still grappling with debt and austerity measures. Most importantly, the plan will bring some relief to small businesses and ordinary taxpayers.

Flu shots protect more
but also are costing more

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Big drug makers are seeking a boost from new four-in-one influenza vaccines that will be available for the first time this flu season.
Offering more protection to patients, the new quadrivalent vaccines provide a route to premium pricing that could improve margins and profits in a highly competitive market.
Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca all have products ready to tap the new opportunity, while Novartis is lagging behind its rivals.
Until now, seasonal flu vaccines have only protected against three strains of flu, two strains of influenza A, which usually causes more cases and more severe illness, and one of influenza B, which is less common but also circulates in multiple forms.
The new vaccines include protection against a second strain of influenza B, which experts expect will prevent the vast majority of type B infections.
But extra protection comes at a price. French drug maker Sanofi, whose Sanofi Pasteur unit is the world's biggest supplier of flu vaccines, with sales of 884 million euros ($1.2 billion) in 2012, says it expects a premium of some 50 percent or more.
It reflects a determination by manufacturers to move up the value chain by developing more innovative and expensive vaccines, following the recent success of novel products such as HPV shots to protect girls against cervical cancer.
Contracts struck with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirm a hefty price jump for the new four-strain flu vaccine, with GSK's quadrivalent Fluarix, for example, costing $12.03 per dose against $8.08 for the standard version, according to the agency's Web site.
Those price premiums may feed through to higher revenues and accelerated growth in a global flu vaccine market that research group Datamonitor Healthcare estimates at around $3.7 billion a year.
“Over time, more and more shipped vaccine is likely to be switched to quadrivalent, so over a five-year period it could lift revenue growth from the low single digit to the mid-to-high single digit [percentage] range,” said Alistair Campbell, an industry analyst at Berenberg Bank.
Some U.S. doctors see a more rapid take-up, with Paul Offit, chief of infectious diseases at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, predicting that only four-strain vaccines will be available within two years.

Pope talks gently on gays
and other defining issues

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Pope Francis said the Catholic Church should not allow its bans on gay marriage, abortion and contraception to dominate its teachings but must be a more welcoming Church where priests are understanding pastors and not cold, dogmatic bureaucrats.

In a dramatically blunt interview with Civilta Cattolica, the Italian Jesuit monthly, Francis said the church had locked itself up in "small things, in small-minded rules." It must find a new balance between upholding rules and demonstrating mercy, "otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards..."

Francis, the first non-European pope in 1,300 years and the first from Latin America, did not hold out the prospect of any changes soon to such moral teachings.

In the long interview with the magazine's director, Jesuit Antonio Spadaro, he also said he envisioned a greater role for women in the 1.2 billion member church but suggested it would not include a change in the current ban on a female priesthood.

In a remarkable change from his predecessor Benedict, who said homosexuality was an intrinsic disorder, Francis said that when homosexuals told him they were always condemned by the church and felt socially wounded, he told them "the church does not want to do this."

He re-stated his comments first made on the plane returning from Brazil in July that he was not in a position to judge gays who are of good will and in search of God.

In the interview released on Thursday, he added: "By saying this, I said what the catechism says. Religion has the right to express its opinion in the service of the people, but God in creation has set us free: it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person."

The Church, he said, should see itself as a field hospital after a battle and try to heal the larger wounds of society and not be "obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently."

John Gehring, Catholic program director at Faith in Public Life, a liberal advocacy group in the United States, said: "This pope is rescuing the church from those who think that condemning gay people and opposing contraception define what it means to be a real Catholic. Francis is putting a message of mercy, justice and humility back at the center of the church's mission. It's a remarkable and refreshing change."

The interview of some 12,000 words took place over three sessions in August in his simple quarters in the Vatican and was released on Thursday simultaneously in translations by Jesuit journals around the world.

"We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that," said the pope.

"But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time," he said.

Speaking specifically of homosexuals, he said, "We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being. In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation. It is necessary to accompany them with mercy. When that happens, the Holy Spirit inspires the priest to say the right thing."

The Catholic Church teaches that homosexual tendencies are not sinful but homosexual acts are.

But in several parts of the interview, which took place in his simple quarters in a Vatican guest house where he has lived since his election instead of the spacious papal apartments, he stressed the need for mercy and understanding by priests.

"The confessional is not a torture chamber, but the place in which the Lord's mercy motivates us to do better," he said.

U.S. congressional leaders
continue their debt face off

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Less than two weeks before a threatened U.S. government shutdown, leaders of the House and Senate have each ruled out the other’s demands for a funding extension. America’s latest fiscal standoff revolves around funding for President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.

Put simply, a core group of House Republicans refuses to extend federal spending authority that funds the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Senate Democrats refuse to consider any spending bill that omits it.

Leaders of both chambers dug in their heels Thursday. House Speaker John Boehner announced the chamber would vote Friday to keep the government running without Obamacare.

“When it comes to the health care law, the debate in the House has been settled.  I think our position is very clear: The law is a train wreck, and it’s going to raise costs. It’s destroying American jobs, and it must go,” he said.

If passed, the House bill would go to the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid made this announcement, “Any bill that de-funds Obamacare is dead. Dead. It is a waste of time, as I have said before. In fact, I told the speaker that last week.”

The Senate is expected to pass a spending bill that sustains funding for Obamacare. Unless an identical measure passes both houses of Congress by the end of the month, a limited federal government shutdown will begin.

Obama and Democratic lawmakers said there would be no negotiations on Obamacare, or on raising America’s debt ceiling. The federal government will exhaust its ability to borrow sometime next month.

Sen. Charles Schumer said Democrats were united and will stand firm.

“We will not blink," he said. "Do not get it into your heads that we will. We will not!”

But Boehner said negotiations were needed, and that Obama’s stance on fiscal matters was indefensible, given his recently demonstrated willingness to strike deals with foreign leaders.

“So while the president is happy to negotiate with Vladimir Putin, he will not engage with the Congress on a plan that deals with the deficits that threaten our economy,” he said.

Democratic lawmakers said they were eager to find ways to improve America’s fiscal health, but insisted that a government shutdown or a debt default must not be used as bargaining chips.

The Affordable Care Act seeks to boost the number of Americans with health care insurance and to reduce health care costs overall. The law was passed in 2010, when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. Major components go into effect next month. Many Republicans see Obamacare as a damaging expansion of government power, and view looming fiscal deadlines as their last chance to derail the law.

U.S. House cuts food stamps
to send unemployed to work

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. House of Representatives has narrowly passed a bill to cut $4 billion a year from programs mainly aimed at preventing hunger. Projected savings over 10 years would amount to $40 billion.
Republican House leadership said the measure will restrain the explosive growth of the programs and encourage more people to go back to work. But Democratic opponents said it harms the neediest at a time when poverty levels are stubbornly high and jobs are hard to come by.
The largest part of the federal anti-hunger safety net is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. SNAP (formerly called the Food Stamp program) which helps people who fall below a certain income level to pay for groceries.
The number of people receiving SNAP benefits nearly doubled with the latest recession, from 28 million in 2008 to 47 million last year. Spending on the program doubled along with it, to $75 billion in 2012.
But Republican critics note that while the economy has improved somewhat in the last few years, SNAP enrollment has continued to grow.
“It is imperative that Congress takes steps to rein in this out-of-control entitlement, and I believe this bill does that,” said Kansas Republican Tim Huelskamp during debate on the bill in the House. Huelskamp led efforts to require that beneficiaries work in order to receive benefits.
“If you’re a healthy adult and don’t have somebody relying on you to care for them, you ought to earn the benefits you receive,” Huelskamp said. “You can no longer sit on your couch and expect the federal taxpayer to feed you.”
The bill requires recipients to work 20 hours per week, get job training or do community service.
Along with other tightened eligibility requirements, 3.8 million people would lose SNAP benefits.
The bill passed by a vote of 217 to 210 with no Democrats voting in favor. They objected that the tepid economic recovery has not reached lower-income people.
New data from the U.S. Census Bureau released this week shows 1 in 6 Americans, or 49 million people, live in poverty, and that rate has not dropped since 2006, even though the economy has recently improved somewhat.
The day before the House vote, the chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Michigan Democrat Debbie Stabenow, made it clear that the Senate has no intention of passing $40 billion in nutrition cuts.
“What the House Republicans are voting on is nothing more than an extremely divisive, extremely partisan political exercise that is, by the way, going nowhere,” she said.
President Obama has also threatened to veto the House version of the bill.

Real estate-related services (paid category)

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

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

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

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

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

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

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

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

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

The #1 Authority in Costa Rica Real Estate

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

Costa Rica,

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

Visit our Web Site:

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

Real estate for sale (paid category)

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

Pacific Estates

Pacific Estates is divided into three distinct sections called Pacific Landings, Pacific Hills and Pacific Acres. Pacific Landings includes unique 2 & 3 bedroom homes incorporating pole house construction, cathedral ceilings, balconies on both the front and back of the house and eco-friendly elements. The homes also include granite counter tops, state-of-the-art stainless steel kitchen appliances, washer & dryer hook ups, internet connectivity and zone controlled A/C. These homes feature 1,290 square feet under A/C space and 1,537 square feet under A/C space with an optional Loft. To learn more about Pacific Estates, schedule a No Obligation Free Virtual Tour today by clicking here!

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

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

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

humming bird nest

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

Liberia farm
Must Sell - Immediately
Guanacaste - Liberia Farm

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

Naranjo views


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

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

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

Condo for sale in Flamingo

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

Guaancaate condos
Little Dreams La Colina Magnolias

Great Guanacaste Beach Condos Available

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

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

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

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:

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

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

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

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

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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Sept. 20, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 187
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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

Colombia and rebels finish
another round of talks in Cuba

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Colombian government and left-wing rebels ended a 14th round of peace negotiations Thursday saying they had made progress on part of a six-point agenda, even as they accused each other of violating the principles underlying the talks.
A joint statement said the parties “continue advancing in developing and writing up accords ... around the second point of the agenda on political participation,” including rights and guarantees for the exercise of political opposition.
But Colombia's Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, known as FARC, accused the government of attempting to unilaterally impose conditions on any future peace agreement.
And the government said the talks were going too slowly and chided the rebels for using them as an opportunity to spout irrelevant rhetoric.
At issue for the rebels is a government initiative approved by the Colombian constitutional court in August that would allow for the prosecution of FARC leaders and a proposed referendum, currently before lawmakers, that would make any peace deal conditional on a popular vote set to occur during national elections next year.
A statement issued by the rebels said the government could not expect to act as both part of the conflict and then judge responsibility. It proposed a constitutional assembly, not a referendum, to ratify and enact a peace agreement.
“It is urgent to return to respecting the bilateral nature of the talks to inspire confidence and continue forward,” the FARC statement said.
The end game of any agreement and compensation to war victims are two of the points on the agenda both parties agreed to negotiate before the talks began 10 months ago.
The Colombian government wants a peace accord by the November start of a national electoral cycle, a deadline both parties and observers now say will not be met and may complicate the talks. That process concludes with a presidential vote in May, 2014.
President Juan Manuel Santos, who is expected to run for a second term, has staked his legacy on bringing an end to the conflict.
The government's lead negotiator, former vice president Humberto de la Calle, accused the FARC of “excessive rhetoric over the most diverse aspects of the nation's life, that have nothing to do with the agenda.”
He said the slow pace of the talks contravened the original agreement to negotiate “in an expedited manner and as quickly as possible,” and that he expected a quicker pace at the next round.
The war, which has raged for 50 years and is the last major guerilla conflict in Latin America, has taken the lives of more than 200,000 Colombians, mostly civilians, displaced millions and weighed down the fourth-largest economy in the region.
The FARC, the larger of two guerrilla groups, with some 8,000 troops, has repeatedly stated that an agreement cannot include prison time for any of its leaders.
The government has been working toward negotiations with the second group, the Colombian National Liberation Army, with about 3,000 members.
The talks recess every few weeks, then resume, with the next round set to begin Oct. 3. They are being facilitated by Cuba and Norway and hosted in Havana even as fighting continues in Colombia.
Earlier in the talks the two sides settled on a partial accord on agrarian reform. Along with political participation, they still have before them the issues of reparations to war victims, the narcotics trade, ceasing hostilities and implementing the agreement.

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From Page 7:

AT&T links up with American Movil

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Multinational companies operating in Latin America now have expanded reach and local depth in the region, the U.S. and globally thanks to enhanced network connections between AT&T and America Movil, the firms said.

This is a major milestone in the alliance between AT&T and the America Movil group of companies — which include Telmex, Embratel and Claro, among others — to deliver global advanced enterprise solutions to multinational companies. Building on the existing capabilities and interconnections for the U.S., Mexico and Brazil, the new enhancements will allow broader regional coverage with deeper in-country reach:

* Interconnection to America Movil's group of companies' networks provides AT&T customers access to 15 markets in Latin America, covering: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.

* More than 91,000 miles of America Movil group of companies' fiber optic network installed throughout the region, and 12 data centers in Latin America.

* Six markets with enhanced Ethernet availability via America Movil in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. 

Additionally, interconnection to the AT&T global backbone network enables America Movil  to reach 163 countries over 3,800 service nodes and 38 on-net data centers across the globe.

AT&T is a major shareholder in America Movil.

"AT&T's goal is to provide delivery of a consistent global experience for our customers who continue to expand internationally, and especially in Latin America," said Roman Pacewicz, AT&T business solutions senior vice president of marketing and global strategy. "The long-standing relationship with the America Movil group of companies is a key pillar of our global strategy. The enhanced regional interconnection will allow us to provide deeper in-country reach in the entire region to match our client's expanding presence in Latin America."

AT&T offers enhanced VPN services and solutions to multinational companies doing business in or with operations throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. The IP-based AT&T Global Network allows the delivery of services, such as unified communications and managed security, among others, around the world with consistent global standards of quality, reliability and security.

With a global network that reaches countries that represent 99 percent of the world's economy, AT&T combines its breadth of services, next generation technologies and skilled experts to enable the transformation of its customers' communications needs.

America Movil is the leading provider of wireless services in Latin America. As of June 30, it had 262 million wireless subscribers and 67 million fixed revenue generating units in the Americas. America Movil has operations in 18 countries in the Americas, more than 30 million fixed lines, 18 million fixed broadband accesses and more than 17 million television subscribers. America Movil has more than 2.3 million data circuits across the region and its submarine cable has capacity of more than 90 terabytes.