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(506) 2223-1327                            Published Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, in Vol. 14, No. 188                         Email us
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Rock Construction


croc
Ministerio de Gobernación, Polieia y Seguridad Pública photo


Trussed up

aquatic suitor


Fuerza Pública officers and a local lifeguard were responsible for collaring this 300-kilo (660-pound) crocodile at Plaza Claritas in Jacó. The animal had been seen for several days and represented a danger, said police.


The croc went to a new home in distant Guancaste.

University DNA studies have shown that crocs leave their own river mouth to seek out mates elsewhere. So seeing one in the open ocean is not unusual.





Lawmakers unimpressed by budget and tax plan
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

President Luis Guillermo Solís is coming under fire for failing to present a frugal national budget for 2015, and the criticism extends to his decision to seek a value-added tax later this year.

Lawmakers Monday unanimously voted to ask for a briefing by Helio Fallas, the first vice president and minister of Hacienda, the budget ministry.

Meanwhile, such powerful lawmakers as Antonio Álvarez Desanti, head of the Partido Liberación Nacional delegation in the Asamblea Legislative, were skeptical of new taxes.  Álvarez told fellow lawmakers that he and his party will not approve any fiscal reform or create any new tax until they learn what the government plans for public expenditure.

Solís has been criticized roundly for submitting a budget that is 19 percent higher in expenditures than the previous year.

Even La Nación, a newspaper that generally supports the government, produced a scathing editorial Monday directed at Fallas and Solís. The newspaper questioned why universities got a 14 percent increase in their budgets and why there were big raises for public employees who already earn two or three times more than their private sector counterparts.

The newspaper even accused the president of patear la bola para adelante. The Spanish phrase, which means "kick the ball down the road," has been used repeatedly to describe government budgets for the last six years. Presidents can only serve four-year terms.

Both Solís and Fallas have said that the current administration has inherited many financial problems from the previous ones. The government has taken some steps to cut
spending.  For example, the administration is seeking to put a reasonable cap on pensions. Various news media have shown that former legislative deputies and former ministers receive pensions that sometimes are as much as $12,000 a month.

Fallas has been before the Comisión Permanente de Asuntos Hacendarios twice to explain the status of the nation's finances. No date was set for his next visit to the legislature.

The ministry headed by Fallas reported Monday that the budget deficit was reduced in August due to better tax collection and cuts in spending.  Still the reported annual deficit accumulated through August is 956.8  trillion colons.  That is about  $1.7 billion.

Solís also has come under fire for going back on an election pledge to avoid new taxes for the first two years of his administration. However, even when he said that repeatedly many were skeptical considering the financial state of the country.

Solís may have been motivated to announce a value-added tax on television Sunday night because international rating agencies have downgraded the country's debt. He was in New York Monday trying to attract investors to Costa Rica. He is expected to argue that instituting the 13 percent value-added tax to replace the exiting 13 percent sales tax is not really a new levy. He did say that the value-added tax will generate 300 billion colons more in taxes.

That is about $550 million.

His plan for a global tax, another proposal offered Sunday in his television speech, would be presented to lawmakers in 2015, he said.

Passing such measures will require lengthy deliberations in the legislature, and even the president's own party, Partido Acción Ciudadana, may not support him.

Democrats 
 

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 188

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


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Real estate agents and services

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8316-9/13/14


Guitar festival begins Wednesday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Wednesday is the first day of the XX Festival Internacional de Guitarra in the Teatro Nacional.  The festival runs through Sunday and features seven invited international performers and 80 invited Costa Ricans.

The festival is dedicated to Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo, who created the famous "Concierto de Aranjuez." He died in 1999.

Each night there is a different theme and different artists. Admission is from 8,000 to 15,000 colons.

Many student groups are among the performers, including those from the  Escuela de Artes Musicales of the Universidad de Costa Rica and the Orquesta de Guitarras of the Universidad Nacional.

Naturally the first evening, Wednesday will feature the "Concierto Andaluz,"

Met opera performances begin Oct. 11

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The opera season begins Oct. 11 with the presentation of Giuseppe Verdi's "Macbeth" direct from the Metropolitan Opera.

The signal is received at the Centro Cultural Costarricense-Norteamericano for display in the center's Eugene O´Neill Theater in high definition.

There are a total of 10 operas that will be shown in the Los Yoses center, including five new productions. They include "The Merry Widow," "The Marriage of Figaro" and "The Lady of the Lake."

The presentations run through April 25, and all begin in the late morning.

Reporter says Sala IV will hear his appeal

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A constitutional complaint against Ottón Solís has been accepted for consideration by the Sala IV constitutional court, according to the complainant, José Rodolfo Ibarra, a reporter.

Solís is chairman of the legislative budget committee, and Sept. 10 he ejected from the hearing room reporters, photographers and video crews during consideration of the 2015 budget.

Ibarra, a former president of the Colegio de Periodistas, considers this a violation of freedom of the press.

The session that followed the ejection was not secret because reporters could hear the session via a speaker.

Ibarra also is asking the court to order Solís to abstain from doing the same thing again, the reporter said in a press release.

Our reader's opinion
Solís proposal is regressive tax

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

In your coverage of President Solis’ tax proposals (a value-added tax plus taxation of worldwide income) you mentioned that the value-added tax comes under criticism for the extra paperwork it entails and for the perceived negative impact upon production. What you failed to mention is the most damning consequence of a value-added tax, or any flat tax, upon people of limited financial means.

While any flat tax impacts equally (in percentage terms alone) upon everyone, such a tax leaves those with few resources with less to live on post-taxation.

Imagine a family with an annual income of (say) $12,000 who pays 10 percent of that in taxes. They would be left with $10,800 to meet their living expenses.  Imagine a second family with an annual income of (say) $120,000 who pays the same tax rate. They would be left with $108,000 to meet their expenses.

Clearly, the poor suffer more under any flat tax system and that is not consistent with Costa Rica’s general public policy.
David C. Murray
Grecia, Alajuela


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A.M. Costa Rica

Third News Page
AIM
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 188
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Talamanca benefit will give a glimpse of Bribri and Cabécar life
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The local radio station is putting on a festival this weekend in one of the more remote communities in the Talamancas. The location is  Amubri, the home of  La Voz de Talamanca, which can be found on 88.3 FM broadcasting along the southern Caribbean coast and into the high Talamancas.

The Festival Cultural Ák Wàwok – La Molida en Piedra begins Thursday and runs through Sunday.

The staff of the radio station promise a candid look into the culture of both the Bribri and the Cabécar who live in the areas. The community is east of the regional commercial center of Bribri and even further past Suretka.

"We are organizing this event with the desire to share with the whole national community a part of the traditions of the Talamanca area that correspond to our most authentic roots and that, although being the base of our identity and our own culture, are, in general, little known," said an invitation.

The festival name has to do with the grinding of corn with a stone.

The staff said that traditional songs and dance will be presented as well as demonstrations of traditional activities such as weaving. There also will be bow and arrow demonstrations and a big selection of traditional foods. For those who wish to stay overnight, there will be lodging with members of the community, the radio staff said.

One of the goals of the event is to raise money for the radio station which provides support for the community, the announcement said. The event has the support of a group of Universidad de Costa Rica students.

The native peoples of the Talamancas fought aggressively against the Spanish. Even today there are many monolingual residents, and many are in small distant villages.
pictographs
Talamancan pictographs from the announcement.


Government will get letter backing moratorium on incineration
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Environmental activists are supporting a government moratorium on incinerators.

The movement “Hacia Basura Cero” said that it will send to the Ministerio de Ambiente, Energía y Mares a letter signed by more than 100 representatives of international organizations, national groups and citizens in defense of the moratorium.

That moratorium was in a decree that was issued June 27. The
decree says the moratorium stays in effect until there exists scientific and technical certainty that incineration causes no injury to health or the environment.

The organization, which stands for toward zero garbage, would prefer an extensive system of selection and recycling, which it calls an integral management of waste.

Some municipalities have been studying the use of incinerators to end their garbage problem. There are international firms that say they also can produce energy with the burning of the trash.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 188
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Chinese bottled water study shows plastic can give off toxic chemicals
By the University of Florida news service

Americans can take a warning from a University of Florida study of bottled water in China ─ don’t drink the liquid if you’ve left it somewhere warm for a long time.

Plastic water bottles are made from polyethylene terephthalate. When heated, the material releases the chemicals antimony and bisphenol A, commonly called BPA.

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said BPA is not a major concern at low levels found in beverage containers, it continues to study the chemical’s impacts. Some health officials, including those at the Mayo Clinic, say the chemical can cause negative effects on children’s health.

And antimony is considered a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization.

A soil and water science professor, Lena Ma, led a research team that studied chemicals released in 16 brands of bottled water kept at 158 degrees F. for four weeks, what researchers deemed a worst-case scenario for human consumption.

Of the 16 brands, only one exceeded the EPA standard for antimony and BPA. Based on the study, storage at warm temperatures would seem to not be a big problem, Professor Ma said. But she said more research is needed to know if other brands are safe.

Ma’s study found that as bottles warmed over the four-week period, antimony and BPA levels increased.

“If you store the water long enough, there may be a concern,” said Professor Ma, who has a research program at Nanjing University in China.

The scientist warned against leaving bottled water in a hot garage for weeks on end or in a car all day during the summer.

Because of what Professor Ma calls cultural differences and because Chinese citizens have less faith in their tap water, some leave bottled water in their car trunks for weeks. China consumed 9.6 billion gallons of bottled water in 2011, making that country the commodity’s largest market.

By comparison, Americans drank 9.1 billion gallons of bottled water that year, according to the International Bottled Water Association. While most Americans don’t store bottled water in their cars for
water bottle
University of Florida photo
There may be more than water inside

extended periods, they often keep it there for a day or two. Drinking that water occasionally won’t be dangerous, but doing so regularly could cause health issues, the professor said. And it’s not just water containers that merit more study, she said.

“More attention should be given to other drinks packaged with polyethylene terephthalate plastic, such as milk, coffee and acidic juice,” she said. “We only tested the pure water. If it is acidic juice, the story may be different.”

Although not part of the study, Professor Ma touts tap water over bottled water. Both are regulated by the federal government

Vacation, travel and hospitality


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

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

   * Discover how to make the right choices about moving here
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Hidden
Garden
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:
HiddenGarden@TheVanStoneGroup.com.   
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.
8199-4/6/14

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Click photo for another video

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the
 *HIGHEST SUCCESS RATE
OF RELOCATION*

 (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!
http://www.vimeo.com/5656822

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. lundquistgeorge@gmail.com

8390-10/2/14

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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Real estate rentals
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Real estate rental services (paid category)

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

Real estate for rent (paid category)

Beautiful fully furnished two floor house for rent
in La Guacima

Guacima montage
La Guacima, Alajuela. 20 minutes from airport, San José or Alajuela Centro and 30 minutes from Heredia. Near highway 27. $1,200 a month. All services included (Internet, water, electricity, security). Very private, very quiet, green areas, fully furnished. Must like animals (we have three gentle dogs), look at high resolution pics HERE! U.S. citizens or Europeans preferred. No children. Call to inquiry and for appointment to visit. Available for rent in December. Contact phone number:  (506)  8839-4315.
8489-10/23/14


Organic farm home
$800 plus utilities.
Two-bedroom, two-bath house, fully furnished, Internet included, cable TV available. Inside organic farm, safe and secure. In the country but close to town. Santa Bárbara de Heredia, Email for more info and pictures. Long term, NO DOGS. laurelfanderson@gmail.com
8484-10/16/14

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.
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We are offering homes for every budget and every need.
Please visit our Web page at www.tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or contact us at rentals@tropicalhomesofcostarica.com
or call at (506) 2654-5442.
8441-2/17/15

ALAJUELA – SERENE LIVING
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 gerrybuilt2000@yahoo.com.  See virtual tour of accommodations HERE!
Get to know the real Costa Rica – you may want to live here someday.
8423-9/15/14

HP Cattle rentals
Mountain homes or farm for rent
Barva volcano, Heredia province
We offer for rent a gorgeous two-bedroom mountain chalet and a one-bedroom mountain home located on the slopes of the Barva Volcano, Heredia Province. The homes are situated at 7,300 feet altitude and within a working horse ranch just three kilometers from the Braulio Carrillo National Park entrance. From our homes one can hike to the Barva volcano crater-lake.  Enjoy a spacious living room, kitchen, fireplace and breathtaking views of the Irazú volcano and the Central Valley. Observe dozens of cloud forest bird species to include the resplendent quetzal.  The homes are incomparable in beauty and attention to detail within the Barva highland area.  We are only 35-55 minutes from Costa Rica’s three principal cities (Heredia, Alajuela, and San José), less than two hours from the central Pacific beaches, and three hours from the Caribbean beaches. Enjoy the tranquility of the mountains while maintaining quick access to the conveniences of the city and rapid access to other eco-tourist destinations in Costa Rica. Additionally, we can board your horses at a reasonable fee.  We can also offer our clients rental of a small and fully functional farm complete with stables, pasture, and office space.
Mountain chalet: $750.  Basic mountain home: $400.
Boutique mountain home: One-bedroom $850. Two-bedroom $1,000.
Small Farm that includes a chalet, basic mountain home, stables, and 8,000m2 of pasture/green areas: $1,500.
Contact:  HPCattleCR@aol.com
8425-8/17/14

Apartments Lemur
Apartment Lemur for rent
San Francisco de Dos Rios, El Bosque, furnished, 2-bedroom, 1-bath apartment, quiet area, free cable TV, WiFi. large patio area, swimming pool, parking, security. Close to San José. $440/month. Retired persons preferred. Call 8375-6838.
Email: jorge.jorgejim@gmail.com.
8431-10/4/14

Beautiful 2-bedroom 2-bathroom American-style apartments with an elevator to your front door in a secure building located in Gringo Gulch the American Section of downtown San José. Costa Rica. Located between the Hotel Del Rey, the Hotel Mona Lisa and the Sportsman's Lodge and The Zona Blue (AKA) Little Habana across the street from Harry's Poas Bar, and next to the Holiday Inn.
apartment view
 There are 15 restaurants and American- style bars on this block and four supermarkets within a few blocks. There are 5 casinos within 2 blocks and dozens of hotels around this apartment. Included in your rental price, fast Internet, the best they have in Costa Rica, cable TV with 80 stations, water, washer
 and dryer. All you pay extra for is electricity. You have your own meter and receive a bill from the electric company every month.  This apartment has a American-style hot water system, hot water in both bathrooms and the kitchen. There is a 25-foot balcony to sit on and watch the people in San José walk by. The neighborhood Barrio Amón is the safest in San José For photos and more information contact:  rentnowcr@gmail.com.
8431-7/30/14




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A.M. Costa Rica's   Fifth news page


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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 188
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U.S. and other war planes
target militants in Syria


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United States and partner nations are carrying out the first air strikes against Islamic State targets in Syria, the Pentagon said Monday, in ongoing operations that mark the opening of a new, far more complicated front in battle against the militants.

“I can confirm that U.S. military and partner nation forces are undertaking military action against ISIL terrorists in Syria using a mix of fighter, bomber and Tomahawk land attack missiles,” Rear Admiral John Kirby, Pentagon press secretary, said in a statement.

“Given that these operations are ongoing, we are not in a position to provide additional details at this time,” he said.

The Pentagon did not specify which nations are involved in the air strikes.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have been pressing countries to join a U.S.-led coalition to fight the Islamic State group.

U.S. officials have warned the Syrian government not to interfere with any U.S. air action against the militants.

Obama announced in a speech on Sept. 10 that he had authorized the expanded use of air strikes against the Islamic State, including in Syria.

The air strikes that first began in Iraq in August have helped Iraqi and Kurdish forces push back against the militants, who took control of large areas in northern and western Iraq as well as eastern Syria.

In the past week, the advance by the Islamic State has also included Kurdish areas in northern Syria, along the Turkish border, leading to more than 130,000 people crossing into Turkey to escape the militants.

Earlier Monday, Hadi al-Bahra, the leader of Syria's main opposition coalition called for immediate air strikes against Islamic State fighters in Syria.

"We must begin air strikes in Syria immediately. As we speak, hundreds of thousands of civilians in northern Syria -- in Kobane area, in the al-Arab area -- are trapped in a brutal siege by ISIS. Time is of the essence to avert catastrophe," he said.

Protecting civilians threatened by the Islamic State in Iraq was the initial justification for U.S. air strikes there, and Syrian opposition leaders have been hoping Obama would move quickly to expand attacks across the border where opposition forces are fighting both the Islamic State and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the strength of Islamic State finances and the size of the area under its control make it a more dangerous threat than al-Qaida. In an interview with MSNBC television Monday, he said the Obama administration is determined to prevent that threat from reaching the United States.

"We learned with al-Qaida you cannot leave this extremist cultism ungoverned spaces to plot what they want. They are dangerous to every country in the region, and you cannot have a challenge to the norms of international behavior, the rule of law, to states and leave it unchallenged," he said.

U.S. air strikes in support of a ground offensive by Iraqi forces are pushing Islamic State fighters back toward Syria.  Kerry told MSNBC there are no plans for such U.S. ground forces in Iraq as "this is a fight for the region."

"Every country in the region is deeply threatened by this. And that includes Iran, includes Lebanon, includes all of the neighborhood," Kerry said. " And it is absolutely fair and appropriate for the world to expect that that region will fight for itself."

Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani Monday told the group's followers to attack citizens of the United States, France, and any other countries that join a coalition against the militants.

Kerry is in New York to continue building that coalition after traveling last week to Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt.

He discussed those efforts Sunday in separate talks with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif as well as Monday in meetings with U.K. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal.


3 Afghan officers detained
after skipping U.S. training


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Three Afghan military officers who went missing during a training exercise at a U.S. military base in the U.S. northeastern state of Massachusetts were detained by the Canadian Border Patrol as they tried to cross into Canada.

U.S. authorities say the members of the Afghanistan national army were taken into custody around Noon Monday near Niagara Falls, New York, along the northeastern border with Canada.

The three soldiers were identified as Maj. Jan Mohammad Arash, Capt. Mohammad Nasir Askarzada and Capt. Noorullah Aminyar.

U.S. Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, says the U.S. is still working with Canadian and Afghan authorities to determine the next steps in dealing with the runaway Afghans.

Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman General Zahir Azimi said earlier in the day he hoped officials would return the three to Afghanistan and deny any asylum request they might make.

Authorities at Joint Base Cape Cod reported the three missing Saturday. They were last seen at a shopping mall in Hyannis, Massachusetts.

Pentagon spokesman Warren said the military was not concerned the three might hurt civilians during their disappearance.

“We believe based on the extensive vetting that we did prior to them deploying to United States that they posed no threat. The State Department, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and U.S. forces participated in the vetting process,” he said.

Massachusetts National Guard officials say the three did not have access to weapons as part of the training exercise, that involves about 200 soldiers from six countries, including 15 others from Afghanistan.

A Pentagon official describes the exercise as tabletop training, in which the participants sit at computer terminals and coordinate on various presented scenarios.

The United States has conducted the annual training sessions since 2004 as a way to promote better military coordination with other countries.

The week-long exercise is scheduled to end on Wednesday.


Patent office teleworkers
are said to be teleloafers


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A unit of the U. S. Government, the United States Patent and Trademark Office, is under scrutiny both by Congress and the news media for alleged fraud perpetrated by employees teleworking from home.

Roughly 3,800 of the agency's 8,300 patent examiners work from home full-time. Some 2,700 more telecommute part-time.

Investigators have been looking into reports that some of these teleworkers did little or no work but got paid their full salaries. And, the allegations claim supervisors not only knew about it, but also, acted to cover up the situation.

While there have been comments for years within the patent community about these irregularities, a formal probe was launched in 2012 by Commerce Department Inspector General Todd Zinser. His investigation started with the complaints of four internal whistleblowers. He then audited various units of the patent office for possible fraud.

Within the agency's Patent and Trial Appeal Board. 19 new paralegal specialists were hired in 2009 despite a reported lack of work for them. Zinser’s report says management knew about this but instructed the paralegals to put down hours watching TV and other personal activities as other time so they would get full pay.

According to a story published in August in Government Executive, Zinser’s report said “One senior manager described that billing code as the ‘I don’t have work, but I’m going to get paid’ code.”

“Our investigation uncovered substantial, pervasive waste at the PTAB that endured for more than four years, and resulted in the misuse of federal resources totaling at least $5.09 million,” the report said.

The patent office fraud story has, in recent months, been the subject of investigative reporting by the Washington Post newspaper. And, the story has also caught the eye of U.S. Rep. Darryl Issa, the chairman of the House of Representatives’ Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

In August, Issa’s committee held hearings on the patent office and the teleworking fraud.  Aug. 19, the committee sent Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker a formal letter citing the newspaper’s reports, and requesting documents on points raised in those stories.

“According to the Post, patent examiners ‘repeatedly lied about the hours they were putting in, and many were receiving bonuses for work they didn’t do.’ In one instance, an examiner received full pay despite missing 304 hours of work,” the letter said. “The employee was caught twice for cheating but not fired. Another employee racked up $12,533 in salary while showing no evidence of working.”

“According to one manager, an examiner used a ‘mouse-mover’ program to create the appearance that he was working,” the letter said. “While the manger reported the incident to a top official, no disciplinary action was taken.”

Even more damaging was the contention in the committee’s letter that the report from the patent office to Inspector General Zinser was substantially altered from its original form.

According to the Washington Post, patent  "officials removed damaging information from an internal report to avoid disclosure of abuses in the telework program. The internal report ‘describes a culture of fraud that is overlooked by senior leaders, lax enforcement of the rules, and the resulting frustration of many front-line supervisors.’”

This month, Commerce Department and patent office officials met with the staffs of the House Oversight and Government Reform and the House Judiciary Committees to discuss the points raised by Issa’s letter.

Afterward, patent office spokesman Todd Elmer countered allegations of selectively editing the Inspector General’s report.

The Post says that Elmer stated that many of the conclusions contained in the original report, which Elmer referred to as a draft, were “partial and unsupported by the facts and record of the investigation.”

“Since the anonymous complaints at issue were first raised two years ago, we have implemented new requirements for all teleworkers, and provided new policies for supervisors so they can identify any potential abuse and take appropriate actions,” Elmer said in a statement.

Joining Elmer in countering the report and the Post’s stories is the head of the union that represents federal patent examiners. He is Robert Budens, and he put out an e-mail to examiners saying the union finds the report contains unfounded allegations, ridiculous on their face.

Budens says his union is making an effort to set the record straight regarding claims of telework abuse. He says his examiners “are highly educated professionals who have helped this agency turn the tide,” which he called “The top of the ‘Best Places to Work in the Federal Government.’”


White House fence jumper
has ammunition in his car

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A federal prosecutor in Washington said more than 800 rounds of ammunition, a machete and two hatchets were found in the car of the knife-carrying man accused of jumping the fence at the White House last week and dashing into the presidential mansion before being apprehended.

The prosecutor Monday outlined the government's case against Omar Gonzalez, the U.S. military veteran accused in Friday's incident, as he made his first court appearance.

This also was not his first run-in with law enforcement.

Prosecutors said Gonzalez was stopped, but not arrested, in August, after he walked past the White House with a hatchet in his waistband. And he was arrested in July after state police found weapons in his car following a high-speed chase in nearby Virginia.

Security at the White House, the residence for U.S. presidents for more than two centuries, was more visible Monday in the aftermath of the unsettling incident.

Secret Service agents patrolled with dogs on the sidewalk outside the White House, while other agents could be seen on the rooftop.

Secret Service chief Julia Pierson ordered the extra patrols and increased surveillance along the black fence surrounding the White House. The presidential security agency is investigating how the intruder was able to scale the fence and run through the mansion's front door before being stopped.

Inside the presidential building Monday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters the Secret Service has launched a review of the Friday 19 incident and has taken a number of immediate steps to ramp up security.

Earnest said providing security is a challenging task for the Secret Service, which must balance the need to protect the president and his family while ensuring that the White House continues to remain the people’s house.
 
The press secretary said President Barack Obama was concerned by the incident but has complete confidence in the Secret Service, remarks the commander-in-chief later reinforced to reporters following the signing of the America’s Promise Summit Declaration to benefit the country’s youth.
 
“The Secret Service does a great job. I am grateful for the sacrifices they make on my behalf and on my family’s behalf,” he said.
 
The White House is one of the most secure buildings in the U.S., but in the wake of the intrusion, the Secret Service is now considering whether to establish new checkpoints to screen tourists even before they approach the residence.

For now, in addition to increased Secret Service patrols, the White House says it is taking the simple step of making sure the front door -- used by thousands of tourists and staff each day -- is locked when not in use.

Gonzalez faces charges of unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

After being apprehended, Gonzalez, a retired Army sergeant who served in Iraq, told a Secret Service agent that “he was concerned that the atmosphere was collapsing and needed to get the information to the president of the United States so that he could get the word out to the people,” according to an affidavit released by prosecutors.
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8448-2/21/15




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





Visit our Web Site:
 www.greciarealestate.com


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

Español calls: (Luis G. Jiménez)  Phone:   
(506) 8707-4016
 
house 865
Beautiful chalet in Grecia, with the best fresh natural weather, 1.040 m2 of land, Price $135.000. Click HERE!
House 868
Beautiful house  in Grecia, with the best fresh natural weather, 810 m2 of land, Price $178.000. Click HERE!
House 866
Beautiful large house  in Grecia, with the best fresh natural weather,1.006 m2 of land, Price $290.000.  HERE!
  Send us your request to our email: info@greciarealestate.com
8446-11/14/14

Real estate for sale (paid category)


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 ft. 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 iinstalled, Direct TV via sling box on Internet. $199,000 Contact mmpeace@hotmail.com   Check out slide show HERE!
8482-2/11/15


Condo montage
Cariari luxury condo for sale
This is not an ordinary condo.
Completed one year ago, a $45,000 renovating made it an exquisite dwelling. As soon as you walk in you know it is a special home. No detail has been overlooked, even minuscule ones. The owner has a need to move on, and someone lucky will be the beneficiary of the fine detailed work. The home itself has three bedrooms, two and half bathrooms plus a maid’s quarters with its own bathroom. Also, it has a living room, dining room and a gorgeous kitchen with a kitchenette. There’s also a small outdoor patio. Being the end unit of this four-home condo complex, there’s parking space for three vehicles.  Approximately 240 sq. meters. All this near the Cariari Golf and Country Club and its renowned Tom Facio golf course. The club also has amenities such as a fitness centre, exercise room, Olympic swimming pool, sauna, 12 tennis courts and many other benefits. Tel:  8384-9608 or 2293-9054  Price $214,500.
8483-10/1/14

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

First, a 2-story, 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-story 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 azucarb@racsa.co.cr or call (506) 8386-8825.  Rodney, asking $350,000.
8480-10/9/14


house photo
More photos HERE!
Another 'live in the view' home in Puriscal
$179,900 includes:
Lot on river, concrete road, custom kitchen & bath with granite counter tops, PEX plumbing, 2” Styrofoam, sandwiched in steel roof, 4” concrete/recycled Styrofoam & steel walls, laminated, bronzed windows, custom wood doors, appliances and all transfer taxes, and fees.

2, 900 sq feet under roof, 1,250 sq feet inside walls, 2 bedroom, 2 ½ baths, laundry room, three separate patio areas, covered carport, shade trees, in upscale, secure project.  This project has river with protected areas & walkways. It is only 10 minutes on all paved roads to Santiago de Puriscal, 45 minutes to La Plaza Mall/Hospital CIMA and SJO airport, and 1 ½ hours to Pacific Beaches. It has recently upgraded public water supply and dependable ICE electric and high-speed internet.
Please come visit our projects and meet four new homeowners who have recently moved into their new “live in the view” homes to verify how happy they are and that they all came in under budget. CONTACT: George Lundquist www.costaricaretireonss.com  Home phone: 2417-1041 Cell phone: 8888 4543 Skype glundquist.
To see more Photos of this house, click HERE!
8310-7/1/

rollover
Beautiful home and separate apartment
The land is 289 square meters with  329 square meters of construction. Three bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, 2 floors, covered parking, with room for  a second parking space. A first floor patio and a second floor balcony with view. Attached apartment rented for $500 per month. Live free. House valued, @ $330,000. asking price with agents is $295,000. With no agent, asking $279,000, negotiable. Must see to appreciate,  Contact: Wayne Winstead, burgbord@aol.com, 8820-1501/8379-7947
8462-9/25/14

Farm montage

Guanacaste, Liberia Farm
$64,000 NEGOTIABLE and owner financing available.
9 hectares (24 acres). Riverfront property and amazing views of 3 volcanoes.
 Contact: marinakuperman@gmail.com
8459-9/20/14

Esterillos

Beach Front Home - Central Pacific Coast
Pristine condition, recently renovated. The best surfing and boogie boarding in the country. The most magnificent ocean and sunset view. New 20-year, fully registered concession on one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. Easy access from San José (1 hour 25 minutes) located between Jacó and Manuel Antonio, in Esterillos Oeste.  2 or 3 bedrooms. Center room can be living room. House with 2 1/2 baths. Separated rancho with kitchen and large entertainment patio. Landscaped garden with no water shortage. Has both municipal and well water with automatic watering system. Direct access to the beach as no road is in front of property. Protected land on one side of the property for additional privacy.  Alarm system and complete shutters for security while away. Lot approximately 1,725 square meters, Asking price: $385.000.  Contact to Paul at local phone 506- 2637-8858  Cell phone 506- 8823-8550 .  US Mobile 908-400-9772  Emails: edumace64@yahoo.es  and pdvartanian@aol.com.
8458-3/2/15

mansion
New 5,000-sq. ft. home in the middle of coffee plantation
Four bedrooms and five baths. Superb mountain views and privacy. 3.3-acre property on top of mountain. 15 minutes from local shopping. One hour from all San José has to offer. Two hours from the beaches and attractions at Quepos. Balconies for each bedroom, two large decks with stunning mountain views, octagonal gazebo, extensive rock walls and landscaping. Surrounded by trees. New home never lived in. Very quiet mountain location in exclusive coffee farm area. Two-story open dining and living room with guest bath. Spiral staircase leads to common area for parties, etc. Has room with bar and another spiral staircase leads to the skydeck. This is a balcony high up above the house that has extensive mountain views. All ceilings are wood accented with large beams. Balconies are tile and the decks are stained teak. Decks have balustrades. The second floor balcony and common area have custom wrought iron. All services available from satellite Sky TV, to high-speed Internet. All block and steel construction. Many hiking trails and rainforest zone a few miles away. If nature, quiet life and privacy is your thing, this could be for you. Juan Santamaria SJO Airport 1 hour 15 minutes away. $470,000. Picture gallery emailed on request to serious inquiries. Contact Jim Alfaro, jimalfaro@gmail.com   Cell 8714-8274.
8457-9/18/14

NOW REDUCED TO $595,000
ALAJUELA – PRIVATE COMPOUND OF 4 HOMES
TURNKEY

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 gerrybuilt2000@yahoo.com.  See property video here:

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:
8422-9/15/14

ARenal property
Location: Near Arenal        Price: $2.7 million
Size: 113 acres
Web site: costaricalandsales.com
email: kim@costaricalandsales.com

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.
8406-8/2/14

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8372-8/23/14

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For Sale: Fully Furnished OCEAN VIEW CONDOMINIUM
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Gorgeous 2-bedroom, 2-bath condo with private terrace offering spectacular ocean views and built energy green. This condo is located in a gated community with low HOA dues and offers amenities including a pool & rancho.  It is located close to a beautiful white, sandy beach. Only 20 minutes to the resort town Tamarindo and an hour from Liberia airport.  Luxury finishings: Pella double pane windows, AC & ceiling fans, Frigidaire stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, marble bathroom vanities, custom cabinets. Contact www.puntaplayavistas.com or email info@puntaplayavistas.com 
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8271-8/23/14

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For Sale by Owner: Playa Conchal ocean view home reduced $339,999

Casa de Eden is  2,600 square feet with 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath, outdoor shower, private outdoor terrace and pool located only minutes from Playa Conchal.  The home is in a private, secure, gated community surrounded by nature and close to the resort town of Tamarindo, only an hour from Liberia airport.  The home is being offered fully furnished with: AC & ceiling fans, Frigidaire Professional series stainless steel appliances, granite kitchen countertops, marble bathroom vanities, custom wood cabinetry, internet, cable. 
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or CR (506) 8349-2025.
8370-8/3/14

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call center
Call center for rent ready to go !
13 work stations, good equipment, good location, Rohrmoser, two blocks from Plaza Mayor. $4.000 per month. Call Kevin 8366-6861.
8481-11/11/14

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: manager@crbusiness.biz.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 188
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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
zrrests
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo
 Fuerza Pública officers captured these three suspects and confiscated two
 firearms. They said the trio were suspects of robbing pedestrians in
 Siquirres.



Police say man created false documents

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Immigration police have detained a man called one of the biggest providers of false identity documents.

The man was detained near Hospital México in La Uruca. He was in the act of delivering a fake work permit, said the Policía Profesional de Migración. This is the second time that the man, identified by the last names of  Castillo Barquero, has been detained on the same charge.

In 2012 police raided the man's home where they found equipment for making fake documents.

The main customers for the documents were Nicaraguans and others who were seeking work in Costa Rica. The immigration police said that the detained man told his customers that the documents were legitimate. He charged 30,000 colons or about $55 for a work permit and 70,000 colons (nearly $130) for a cédula de residencia known as a DIMEX, said police.

Those who would buy the documents were located at Parque de la Merced and outside the immigration offices in La Uruca, said police. 

Job seekers have to show such documents to potential employers are part of the hiring process.



Off-duty police officer dies in crash

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A police officer died Monday when he was involved in a vehicle crash while on his way to work, said the security ministry

The officer was identified as José Andrés Blanco Pereira, 28. He was riding a motorcycle that collided with a truck about 4:10 p.m. near Cahuita. He was assigned to the Tuba Creek police station.

Blanco lived in Amubri and had served in the Fuerza Pública for six years, said the ministry.



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From Page 7:

Tico firms seeking tourists in Paris

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The tourism institute said that it is participating with 11 Costa Rican companies at the International French Travel Market Top Resa in Paris starting today.

The show, which is considered a major business to business exposition, ends Friday.

Wilhelm von Breymann, the minister of Turismo, noted that France is the third ranking source of European tourists after Germany and Spain. There were  39,728 French tourists in 2013, said the institute, the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo. French tourism in general is predicted to increase 14 percent this year.

Abut 88 percent of the visitors to the expo are French, and the rest come from many other countries, said the institute.