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A.M. Costa Rica
Your daily English-language news source Monday through Friday

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(506) 2223-1327                         Published Monday, Sept. 30, 2013, in Vol. 13, No. 193                 Email us
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Jo Stuart
Cascata del Bosco

Even expats have to understand tax laws here as well
By Garland M. Baker
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Today is the end of fiscal year 2012-2013. This is important for Costa Ricans and expats alike doing business in this country.  It is also noteworthy for individuals and retired persons who are not in the Costa Rica tax system.  There are more tax collectors beating the streets, making phone calls and performing audits like no time in Costa Rican history.  Fines have increased dramatically too, making it very expensive not to follow the rules.

Businesses must complete their accounting for the fiscal year that started on Oct. 1, 2012, to prepare their income tax returns, form D-101, due on Dec. 16.  Usually, the tax filing date is Dec. 15, but this year that day falls on a Sunday.  They must also begin accumulating the totals to file their D-151 reports, which will be due Dec. 2.  This form is normally due Nov. 30, but this year that date falls on a Saturday. The D-151 is an informational form used to report sales and purchases to the tax department.  It is used to cross check information and the key in finding tax cheats.

The days of the tax department’s Web site not being helpful and of disorganized tax collections are over.  Fiscal transparency, collaboration between government agencies, lotteries and better computer systems have improved Costa Rica’s tax collection system many-fold.

Kevin Chavarria of KCPATAX, a bilingual certified public accountant, said in an interview he is impressed by the progress of the Dirección General de Tributación in its tax collection practices.  This entity is a department of the Ministerio de Hacienda and is usually referred to by most as Tributación Directa.  Sergio Rojas, a private accountant working in Cartago, confirmed the assertions.

Many countries, including the United States, have been assisting Costa Rica in improving its tax structure.  Agreements between countries have also been negotiated to share tax information.

Chavarria and Rojas outlined the ways tax dodgers are caught.  They said that not filing the required tax forms is a sure way to send up red flags because of the check and balance system designed into informational forms like the D-151.  The tax department analyses gross and net profit margins and changes in owners’ equity that do not match with taxes paid against profits to find companies that are not paying their taxes fairly, they said.  Random audits are also always a possibility as well, they added.

The Costa Rican tax department is somewhat lenient for those who fess up and want to go straight.  Voluntary disclosure of tax sins have reduced fines up to 80 percent.  Fines are based on a Costa Rican base salary because these amounts change periodically due to inflation.  Today, a base salary is equal to 379,400 colons or $767 U.S..  Not signing up with the tax department is a fine of three base salaries or $2,301.  Not filing a D-151 is two base salaries or $1,534.  A full list of the sanctions, reductions and base salaries due to voluntary disclosures can be found on the Dirección General de Tributación’s Web site.

Why is this important to people like retired expats not in the tax system?  Because they can be audited and fined too.  Here is an example. Mr. and Mrs. Retired Expat contract the remodeling of their house.  The suppliers of materials and contractor services for the remodeling put Mr. and Mrs. Expat on their D-151 declaration forms. However, the retired couple do not file the forms because they are not in the Costa Rican tax system.
The tax department calls them on the telephone and asks why they are spending money because they were reported.  Mr. and Mrs. Retired Expat have to prove where their money came from outside the country and that it was not taxable or they will be severely fined.

Both accountants interviewed have had to go to bat for expats to justify to the tax department expenses for things like, remodeling, large electric and phone bills, and professional services payment to attorneys and accountants.

In some cases, rents were being received and not reported to the local tax authorities which is tax evasion.  They were caught because of the information form D-151.  Some expats forget that making money in Costa Rica on any activity like work, rents, leases, lending money or any profitable activity is taxable. 

What to do to sleep at night so the men in black are not knocking at the door? Find a licensed public or private accountant who speaks English when one does not speak Spanish, who has extensive experience working with foreigners and who knows their unique tax requirements.

The statues of limitations for tax sins is five years.  If fraud is proven, it is longer, and convictions include jail time.  In the past, it was somewhat easy to get away with shoddy reporting, non-filing and hiding income earned in Costa Rica.  It is not anymore, and it is going to get worse.  Every year over the past several years, the government has passed decree after decree to tighten up its tax structure.  It must do so, because the countries of the world want to see Costa Rica doing its best to get tax revenue before they lend Costa Rica more money.

There are more forms to file than the D-101 and the D-151, including but not limited to sales tax and withholding forms. The list is long, but these two are the key forms used to catch the majority of tax dodgers. 

Unexperienced accountants are a dime a dozen in this country like inexperienced attorneys. Expats need to find one who knows what he or she is doing.  They should get references, call them, and find one who has a good reputation in the local community.  They need to read up and stay up-to-date on the country’s new tax rules. That makes for a more peaceful life.

Garland M. Baker is a 42-year resident and naturalized citizen of Costa Rica who provides multidisciplinary professional services to the international community.  Reach him at  Baker has undertaken the research leading to these series of articles in conjunction with A.M. Costa Rica.  Find the collection at, a complimentary reprint is available at the end of each article.  Copyright 2004-2013, use without permission prohibited.

La Paz waterfall bridge to be open three hours a day
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Despite reports to the contrary last week, the nation's road agency now says that the temporary bridge installed at the La Paz waterfall will be open to traffic three hours a day starting today.

The times are 7 a.m., noon, and 5 p.m., each period for an hour.

This is the road where flooding water destroyed a bridge in the middle of the month.
The waterfall is north of Heredia, and Ruta 126 is often traveled for its natural beauty. The road is between Vara Blanca and San Miguel de Sarapiquí.

The Consejo Nacional de Vialidad, said last week that although the bridge would be in place over the weekend, traffic would not be permitted for two more weeks. The road agency has been under pressure from tourism operators in the north who feel that they have been cut off from their customers. The Consejo still is encouraging motorists to use Ruta 32 instead. It is the main highway north.

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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Monday,  Sept. 30, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 193

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With over a decade of experience in the fields of:
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U.S. Tax International
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Washington University in St. Louis /Travis Mohrman   
 A green frog, Rana (Lithobates) clamitans, in a pond at
 Washington University’s Tyson Research Center. In Missouri,
 this frog’s tadpoles are often infected with the fungus but
 rarely sickened by it.

Clues in decline of amphibians
come as surprise in Missouri

By the Washington University in St. Louis news staff

The skin fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, also known as amphibian chytrid, first made its presence felt in 1993 when dead and dying frogs began turning up in Queensland, Australia. Since then it has sickened and killed frogs, toads, salamanders and other amphibians worldwide, driving hundreds of species to extinction.

The fungus is blamed for major declines in the Costa Rican amphibian population, too.

As a postdoctoral researcher Kevin Smith studied the fungus in South Africa, home to the African clawed frog, a suspected vector for the fungus. When he took a position at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, at the Tyson Research Center, he worked on other problems.

But whenever he visited a pond, he collected tadpoles and checked their mouth parts, often a fungal hot spot, under the microscope, just out of curiosity.

He found the fungus in about a third of the ponds whose tadpoles he checked. The obvious questions were: Why only a third? Why didn’t it occur in all amphibian populations in a region where it is found?

The amphibians and the fungus have reached an evolutionary truce in Missouri, where the chytrid is endemic rather than epidemic. Because there was no pressure to rescue an amphibian population, Smith had the time and the opportunity to look more broadly and to study the entire pond ecosystem.

Together with an undergraduate student Smith collected physical and chemical data and surveyed the species living in 29 ponds in east central Missouri. The results of this study are published in PLOS ONE.

Somewhat to Smith’s surprise, it was statistically possible to distinguish infected from non-infected ponds, a finding he likens to being able to predict that influenza will circulate in some cities but not others.

“We don’t know exactly what the key factors are but just knowing that not every pond appears to be suitable for chytrid in a given year is a very big step,” he said.

The study also suggested that patterns of fungus infection might be an indirect effect of variations in invertebrate communities. What this meant was unclear, since chytrid was thought to be an amphibian specialist.

But while the pond study was underway, other researchers announced that crayfish and nematodes can be infected with chytrid, raising the possibility that invertebrates act as alternative hosts or biological reservoirs for the fungus.

“Alternative hosts and reservoirs have been a key missing piece in our understanding of chytrid epidemiology,” Smith said. The fungus, like any pathogen, cannot be effectively controlled unless all its hiding places are known.

Chytrid, or more properly amphibian chytrid, since there are about 1,000 species of fungus in the class Chytridiomycetes, specializes on keratin, a structural protein found in the skin, hair, nails and similar tissues of vertebrates.

In amphibians, chytrid infects and damages the skin, which amphibians use to breathe and absorb water. Once the fungus takes hold, it causes a disease called chytridiomycosis, which is usually fatal.

“You can sometimes tell when a frog is infected,” Smith said, “by the way it walks. It is slow and spraddles its legs, as though its skin is painful or chafed. When we grabbed frogs like those in South Africa and took samples, they were always heavily infected with the fungus,” he said.

Unlike more familiar fungi such as mushrooms, which release spores that drift through the air, chytrids, among the earliest fungi to evolve, are aquatic and release flagellated zoospores that swim through the water.

“Laboratory studies suggest the zoospores can live independently only about a day or so. They’re considered to be very fragile,” Smith said. “They get expunged from the fungal cell inside the amphibian skin, they swim around for about a day, and if they don’t infect something with keratin, they’re no longer viable. That’s what’s generally thought."

“That’s why we focused on the aquatic habitat,” Smith said.

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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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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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San José, Costa Rica, Monday,  Sept. 30, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 193
Real Estate
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U.S. government checks to continue even after Oct. 1 deadline
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Expats who receive Social Security or veterans' checks need to relax over the impasse in the U.S. Congress. The U.S. government faces a shutdown Tuesday if both houses of Congress cannot agree on extending federal funding authority.

But the shutdown is not absolute, and essential services, like mailing or depositing checks, will continue. The Social Security Administration reports that procedures like application for benefits, changes of addresses and tracking non-receipts of payments will continue.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has an extensive report on what the shutdown will mean on its Web site. All  VA medical facilities will remain fully operational and payments will continue to be made, it said.

But the Veterans Affairs Department and the American Association of Retired Persons agrees that processing for benefit claims will be delayed.

There is, however, another deadline looming, and the consequences may not be as modest. The U.S. government will run out of cash Oct. 17 unless Congress acts to raise the borrowing limit.

President Barack Obama referred to the possible shutdown in his weekly media address. He said Oct. 1 is the day a group of far-right Republicans in Congress might choose to shut down the government and potentially damage the U.S. economy "just because they don't like the law." He was referring to Obamacare, a portion of which goes into effect the same day,
the start of the government's fiscal year. That is the day that Americans are supposed to be able to buy low-cost health insurance.

The American Association of Retired Persons notes that the Oct. 17 date is more crucial because the means that the U.S. Treasury would be unable to borrow more money, could no longer pay all of its obligations and reaches the point of default. Raising the debt limit also requires congressional action. Federal officials will be shuffling money around to meet outstanding obligations like debt and benefit checks, but that cannot go on for very long.

The organization also notes that five days after the congressional session ends, perhaps as late as mid-January, the second round of so-called sequesters goes into effect. That automatic process cuts the new federal budget by about $85 billion, just as it did this year. Where the cuts will take place if Congress does not act has not been determined.

Peter D. Spencer, the deputy commissioner of Social Security, said in a letter to Congress that even with a so-called shutdown Oct. 1, his agency still would process hearing requests, applications, change of address, Supplemental Security Income living arrangement changes, non-citizen verification and changes, direct deposit, death inputs and payee changes and maintain critical information technology support for daily processing activities.

But, he said, the agency would not issue original and replacement Social Security cards or Medicare cards, verify benefits, process requests from third parties or process, among other items, freedom of information requests.

More information is available on Page 5 today.

Drug suspects detained along with $624,920 in cash
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Anti-drug agents rolled up Friday what they described as a dispersed international cocaine smuggling ring based at an appliance store in Desamparados.

Agents made arrests in Guachipelín de Escazú, San Rafael Abajo de Desamparados, La Aurora de Alajuelita and San Francisco de Heredia.

The confiscated $624,920 in U.S. dollars and about 4 million colons, about $8,000. They also found 74 kilos of cocaine. Also confiscated were six luxury vehicles and other items, they said.

Agents said the case grew from an anonymous tip in October and the arrest in August of a taxi driver carrying 15 kilos of cocaine in his vehicle.

The organization would obtain drugs in Panamá, bring the merchandise to the Central Valley and then ship the drugs north with other vehicles

Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo
These are stacks of dollar bills, not drugs.

The Policía Control de Drogas said the arrests bring to 83 the drug organizations broken up this year.

The money was in a home in Guachipelín occupied by a 19-year-old Colombian, agents said. That property also was used to store drugs, they said.

Del Rey HOtel

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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, Monday,  Sept. 30, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 193
Real Estate
About us

Five murders took place over the weekend, and there were four traffic deaths
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There were five murders between Friday and Sunday.

Neighbors found the body of a Panamanian man, identified by the last name of Wilson, about 7 a.m. Friday, the Judicial Investigating organization said. The scene was in Valle la Estrella, Limón. The body was in a ditch alongside  the road. Agents said the man had been stabbed in the neck.

Saturday judicial agents and Fuerza Pública officers caught up with a man suspected of killing a woman who rejected him. A homeowner found the body of the woman, an employee, when he returned to his residence in Liberia. The woman, identified by the last name of Sánchez, was 23 and died of multiple stab wounds, agents said.

A short time later they located in Barrio Moracia in Liberia the principal suspect, a man who had been rejected by the woman, agents said.

In Guararí, Heredia, gunmen shot down a 19-year-old man, identified by the last name of Carmona, while he still was inside his home, judicial agents said. The gunman or gunmen fired from the public street, agents added.

 In Paraíso de Cartago late Saturday a 23-year-old man, identified by the last name of Gomez, died from a knife wound, agents said. He was wounded in a dispute and was pronounce dead on arrival at Hospital Max Peralta. A 19-year-old man, who also suffered a knife wound, was detained in the case at the same hospital.

In Upala two men suffered bullet wounds, one fatally, when they were riding on a motorcycle abut 6 p.m. Saturday. The gunfire came from another vehicle, agents said. Dead was a 58-year-old man with the last name of Tijerino. His 45-year-old companion was hospitalized.
Some individuals who suffered wounds were luckier.

About 2:30 a.m. Saturday a security guard from a fast food restaurant in Curridabat suffered a bullet wound to the back when he struggled with a man who had pulled a gun. Agents reported that the gunman tried to rob the guard of his cell telephone. The guard was treated at Hospital Calderón Guardia.

In Escazú a 24-year-old man with the last name of Alvarado, said he was walking along a public street about 8:30 p.m. when a man and a woman rushed at him from the bushes with the goal of robbing him.

The man suffered a wound in the subsequent struggle, and the assailants fled, said agents.

In another weekend death, a 64-year-old man with the last name of Pérez died when his bicycle was struck by a public bus in Barrio Nájera, Cariari de Pococí,

Judicial agents said that the passenger on a motorcycle died Sunday morning when the vehicle went out of control on the highway from San Isidro to Cajón de Pérez Zeledón. The man was identified by the last name of Rodríguez. He was 24, agents said, and appeared to have been riding the motorcycle without a helmet. He suffered head injuries.

The driver was not hurt seriously, agents said.

About 3:30 a.m. in Dulce Nombre de Tres Ríos a car carrying four persons went out of control. Dead was a 35-year-old man identified by the last name of Torres. The other occupants went to Hospital Calderón Guardia, said agents.

In Santa Ana early Saturday a 37-year-old man identified by the last name of Muñoz died when he was hit by a vehicle whose driver fled the scene.

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The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

 (as reported by the moving companies)
Visit many rental options to actually experience the price/amenity options available in more of the areas chosen by Expats for security, comfort, and quality of life.
Bird near window
One of many awesome birds that feast 15 feet from our living room couch.
Meet many Expats who are willing to share their experiences and how the tour has value long after the “lust” wears off.
See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!

Ask the others what you get for your money, and then compare the quality of accommodations, quality, quantity and variety of food and drink to measure the best value for your money.  Learn how others “talk the talk” and learn who really can “walk the walk
Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
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Steve and Debbie Legg
Toll Free: 1-888-828-9245       In Costa Rica: (506)-2478-0023 or 8333-6863

Our Vision at Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat is to create the perfect blend of Adventure, Discovery and Tranquility for each guest.  Plan an Adventure zooming along a zip line high in the canopy or horseback riding though forests, farms and rivers. Discover the magical wonders of the flora and fauna of Costa Rica. Experience Tranquility in one of our cabins tucked in our 26 acres. Located in Monterrey, San Carlos, in the mountains above Fortuna, we enjoy spectacular, panoramic views of the Arenal Volcano and its lava flow. Please see our Web site for more information. or e-mail us at

Costa Rica’s #1 Time –Tested Relocation/Retirement Tours
Christopher Howard's Award-winning Combination Relocation/Retirement Tour. NO other retirement tour offers MORE options...MORE areas visited, MORE information, MORE people just like you who have made the move and a LONGER
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Christ Howard with Max
retiring in Costa Rica,  and who has personally helped over 10,000 people with ALL BUDGETS relocate SUCCESSFULLY over the last 35 years. CUSTOM TAILOR-MADE TOURS are also available for people with special needs or who can’t take one of our fixed-date tours. ALL tours include EXTENSIVE touring and a highly informative SEMINAR by the country’s most renowned EXPERTS in their respective fields. Also visit: Live in Costa Rica to check out our NEW tour prices and specials.  Customer satisfaction 100% guaranteed! MY REFERENCES.

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*FREE BONUS all people who sign up for the tour receive a FREE copy of the 16th edition of  the bestseller “New Golden Door to Retirement and Living in Costa Rica. At the conclusion of the tour they also receive FREE eBook copies of Christopher Howard’s other one-of-a-kind  bestsellers “Official Guide to Costa Rican Spanish,” “The Official Guide to Real Estate In Costa Rica” and “The Official Guide to Costa Rica’s Legal System for Tontos (dumbells).” Almost 2,000 pages of INVALUABLE material in all!

Howard Spanish cover


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Ready For a Vacation to Costa Rica? offers customized, upscale vacations to Costa Rica, planned by our team of in-country travel experts. Call us Toll Free: 1-800-606-1860 or locally in San Jose: 2296-7715.  We also offer trips to Panama, visit: Are you a fisherman? Our local experts will help arrange fishing trips to Costa Rica, just click HERE!

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Costa Rica's world class medical specialists are at your command. Get the top care for much less than U.S. prices. It is really a great way to spend a vacation. See our list of recommended professionals HERE!amcr-prom

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

Real estate rental services (paid category)

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

Real estate for rent (paid category)
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

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.

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.

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

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.

Real Estate
About us
What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
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's
Fifth news page
Cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Monday,  Sept. 30, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 193
Real Estate
About us

Ray charles
Proof of the new stamp

Ray Charles being honored
with stamp and new CD

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

This week, marking what would have been Ray Charles 83rd birthday, the U.S. Postal Service honors the singer with a new postage stamp. And, there’s also a new CD and DVD collection featuring great Ray Charles performances.

“Ray Charles Forever” opens with a newly remastered version of fellow piano man Leon Russell’s “A Song For You.”  It's one of a dozen tunes on the CD in the collection.

The president of the Ray Charles Foundation, Valerie Ervin, said that while fans of the singer and pianist may already have most of this music, there are extras that make this set special. 

“We released some DVD footage, some of that has never been seen or put out in many, many years," she said. "Some of it was shot over in Europe. It was a live show, so we are releasing that to DVD. That will be bonus footage for everyone to enjoy. And a lot of the tracks were remastered, so the sound comes up to today’s quality of sound, if you will.”

But there is one never-before-released recording on “Ray Charles Forever.”

“They Can’t Take That Away From Me” is a song that Ray always performed in his live shows, but it’s never been put out on record," Ms. Ervin said. "So, a lot of people are going to get this track for the very first time and hear it for the very first time.”

We often think of Charles as a great rhythm and blues singer, so hearing a swinging version of a George and Ira Gershwin classic — or his country songs — is a good reminder that he sang all kinds of American popular music.

Valerie Ervin explains that Charles believed singing was another form of storytelling.

“It heals people, it helps people, no matter what genre you’re singing," she said. "So, for him to take an old gospel song and sing it and bring it to life, everyone gravitates to it. You go ‘I never heard that song before.’ But when he puts his stamp on it, you thought that it really happened to him. And that’s what music is all about.” 

The 20-minute DVD portion of the package includes songs recorded during some mid-1990s festivals and interviews from the 1980s. A music-only version of “Ray Charles Forever” is available for download, as well.

Bilinguals with head injuries
have advantage, study reports

By the Montreal Geriatrics Institute news staff

In the era of globalization, bilingualism is becoming more and more frequent, and it is considered a plus. However, can this skill turn into a disadvantage when someone acquires aphasia?

If a bilingual person suffers brain damage, a stroke, head trauma, dementia, and this results in a language impairment called aphasia, then the two languages can be disrupted, thus increasing the challenge of language rehabilitation.

According to Ana Inés Ansaldo, researcher at the research centre of the Montreal Geriatrics Institute,  and a professor at the University of Montreal, research evidence suggests that bilingualism can be a lever — and not an obstacle — to aphasia recovery. A recent critical literature review conducted by Ms. Ansaldo and Ladan Ghazi Saidi, a doctoral student, points to three interventional avenues to promote cross-linguistic effects of language therapy, the natural transfer effects that relearning one language has on the other language.

It is important for speech-language pathologists to clearly identify a patient's mastery of either language before and after aphasia onset in order to decide which language to stimulate to achieve better results, according to the research. Overall, the studies reviewed show that training the less proficient language before or after aphasia onset — and not the dominant language — results in bigger transfer effects on the untreated language.

Moreover, similarities between the two languages, at the levels of syntax, phonology, vocabulary, and meaning, will also facilitate language transfer. Specifically, working on cognates or similar words in both languages facilitates cross-linguistic transfer of therapy effects. For example, stimulating the word “table” in French will also help the retrieval of  the word “table” in English, as these words have the same meaning and similar sounds in French and English. However, training non-cognates, words that sound alike  but do not share the same meanings, can be confusing for the bilingual person with aphasia.

U.S. shutdown approaches
with no compromise in sight

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. government is one day away from a partial shutdown, with no signs of compromise among lawmakers on a formula to extend federal spending authority. Absent a last-minute deal, non-essential government services will halt and hundreds of thousands of federal workers will be idled at midnight Monday.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives and the Democratic-controlled Senate remain at odds over a government funding extension.

Last week, the House passed a spending bill that cut funds for President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.  Friday, the Senate restored funding for the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, and sent the measure back to the House.

Just after midnight Saturday, the House passed another spending bill seeking a one-year delay in the implementation of a core component of Obamacare. That bill is now before the Senate once again. Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin predicted the next move on the CBS "Face the Nation" television program.

"We know what is going to happen," he said Sunday. "Tomorrow the Senate will come in session. The House position is going to be rejected again, and we are going to face the prospect of the government shutting down.”

Appearing on Fox News also Sunday, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a Republican, predicted yet another round of legislative ping pong once the Senate acts.

“I think the House will get back together in enough time, send another provision not to shut the government down, but to fund it, and it will have a few other options for the Senate to look at again,” he said.

What Does a U.S. Government Shutdown Mean?

- Large parts of the federal government need to be funded each year to operate

- If Congress cannot agree on how to fund them, those parts of the government shut down

- During a shutdown, federal workers are separated into excepted and non-excepted employees

- Excepted must continue to work, and will be paid when Congress funds the government again

- Non-excepted are furloughed and not guaranteed to receive back-pay

- Parts of the government dealing with national security and public safety and those with independent funding like the Postal Service continue to operate

- Other parts shut down, including National Parks, the Environmental Protection Agency and the processing of visa and passport applications

The last government shutdown lasted 21 days and ended on Jan. 6, 1996.

But Senate Democrats and the president have pledged to oppose all Republican attempts to tie their legislative agenda to what would normally be a routine bill to keep the government running.  Durbin says Democrats would welcome talks with Republicans on Obamacare, or any other facet of government operations once a shutdown is averted.

“Let us sit down in a bipartisan and calm way," he said. "Not with the prospect of shutting down the government or shutting down the economy.”

But Republicans say it is Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress who are being unreasonable.

“The president is the one who is saying, ‘I will shut down government if you do not give me everything I want on Obamacare.’ That to me is the president being intransigent,” said Sen. Rand Paul, a possible Republican presidential candidate who also spoke on "Face the Nation."

Democrats point out that the Affordable Care Act already is law, and that Obama won reelection last year while defending Obamacare. Democrats also note that they are not demanding any of their legislative priorities in return for agreeing to fund the government, such as immigration reform or gun control, and are urging Republicans to show similar restraint.

Polls show Americans have deep concerns about Obamacare, but that the public does not favor a government shutdown. A temporary halt in non-essential government services will begin unless a spending bill passes both houses of Congress and is signed into law by Obama by midnight Monday.

NASA photo
Cygnus spacecraft is attached to an arm of the International Space Station.

Second firm's private craft
reaches international station

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A privately-owned spacecraft named Cygnus successfully docked with the International Space Station Sunday, becoming the second such private craft to do so.  The docking came a week later than planned in part due to a software issue and traffic at the orbiting station.
The unmanned Cygnus spacecraft was drifting near the International Space Station, as planned, when Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency used the space station's robotic Canada-arm to grab the cargo capsule. Astronauts then used the Canada-arm to connect the capsule to the orbiting lab.  And with that, Virginia-based Orbital Sciences became the second U.S. company to show it can resupply the space station.

It's a feat that had only been accomplished by a handful of governments until just last year, when the California-based company SpaceX made history by docking its Dragon spacecraft.  Orbital now joins SpaceX as a private provider of cargo resupply services.

"Today we delivered more cargo on a commercial basis than has ever been delivered to the space station, 700 kilograms," said a former NASA astronaut and executive vice president of Orbital Sciences, Frank Culbertson, who spoke at a NASA briefing later Sunday.  "And I know the crew is going to be very happy when they get the hatch open and get a chance to see all the things that are in there and obviously the things that will keep their mission going."   

Cargo included food, clothing and science experiments.

It wasn't always smooth sailing for this mission, even though the Cygnus spacecraft launched atop Orbital's Antares rocket with a picture perfect liftoff from the mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virginia Sept. 18.  The rendezvous with the space station had to be postponed when a data formatting issue between the Cygnus and the space station emerged and required a software patch.  The delay was extended due to traffic congestion because a Russian spacecraft carrying astronauts was set to reach the station on Sept. 25.    

The United States is relying on private industry to ferry cargo to the station while NASA focuses on developing the next generation of spacecraft that can go to an asteroid or Mars.  The U.S. space agency acted as a lead investor in Orbital Sciences and SpaceX as they developed their crafts.    

NASA's Alan Lindenmoyer, manager of the commercial crew and cargo program, praised the public-private partnership.  He said the goals were to use NASA investments to kickstart the commercial space industry, and also to spur reliable, cost-effective access to low-Earth orbit and the space station.    

"And the third was to become a customer for these services once they emerged," he said. "I think we can say today conclusively that we've added another partner to the list that helped us achieve these goals 100 percent." 

NASA has awarded Orbital a $1.9 billion contract for resupply missions, the first of which is planned for December.  SpaceX already has started fulfilling its $1.6 billion contract.   

It's crucial for the U.S. to be able to reach the space station, says Orbital's Culbertson, something it has not been able to do since NASA retired its aging space shuttle fleet in 2011.  

"We know and understand and accept the responsibility this is critical to the continuation of the station and the continuation of U.S. leadership in space, as well as an international partnership that I think is a shining example of how nations can work together when they have the ability to let their engineers, their scientists, their operators and their professionals work together and get politics out of the way," he said.

Orbital's Cygnus spacecraft is designed to be filled with the station's trash and to burn up upon re-entering Earth's atmosphere.  Its planned undocking is set for Oct. 22.

Falcon rocket with new motors
blasts off in California test

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

An unmanned Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from California on Sunday to test upgrades before commercial satellite launch services begin later this year.
The 22-story rocket, built and flown by Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, soared off a newly refurbished, leased launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Station.
The Falcon 9 blazed through clear blue skies out over the Pacific Ocean, its water vapor trail visible even as the rocket left the atmosphere.
“It went better than expected. It was incredibly smooth,” SpaceX founder and Chief Executive Elon Musk said after the launch.
Nestled inside the rocket's new 17-foot (5-meter) diameter nose cone was a small Canadian science satellite called Cassiope. Cassiope had initially been scheduled to fly on SpaceX's now-discontinued Falcon 1 launcher in 2008.
“It's certainly a huge relief to have successfully delivered Cassiope to orbit. It's been weighing on me quite heavily,” Musk said.
Cassiope, which is designed to monitor the space environment around Earth and serve as a communications satellite, and five secondary payloads were delivered into their intended orbits, Musk told reporters on a conference call.
As an experiment, both of the rocket's two stages were restarted during flight.
Musk is particularly interested in developing the technology to fly the Falcon's first stage back to the launch site or have it gently splash down in the water so its motors can be recovered, refurbished and flown again. Currently, after delivering their payloads into orbit, the boosters tumble back toward Earth and essentially explode mid-air before crashing into the sea.
“The most revolutionary thing about the new Falcon 9 is the potential ability to recover the boost phase, which is almost three-quarters of the cost of the rocket,” Musk said.
Neither engine restart test went perfectly, but engineers were able to get enough data to plan on a demonstration flight next year.
“The most important thing is we now believe we have all the pieces of the puzzle,” Musk said.
The upgraded Falcon 9 v1.1 has engines that are 60 percent more powerful than previous versions, longer fuel tanks, new avionics and software and other features intended to boost lift capacity and simplify operations for commercial service.
Privately-owned SpaceX has contracts for more than 50 launches of its new Falcon 9 and planned Falcon Heavy rockets.
Ten of those missions are to fly cargo to the International Space Station for NASA. The other customers are non-U.S. government agencies and commercial satellite operators.
SpaceX also has two contracts for small U.S. Air Force satellites but is looking to break the monopoly that United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing, has on flying big military satellites as well.
SpaceX has already flown three Dragon capsules to the station and made two other successful test flights with older versions of the Falcon.
Falcon 9's next mission is to put a communications satellite into orbit for SES World Skies. The launch is targeted for next month and will take place at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
“We accomplished a lot today,” Musk said. “We have a little bit of work to do obviously, but all-in-all I think it's been a great day.”

Brazil's president is gaining
in public opinion, polls show

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Dilma Rousseff continues to recover popularity lost after the massive protests that shook Brazil in June, bolstering her chances of re-election next year, two polls published Friday showed.
The polls confirm the results of other recent public opinion surveys showing Ms. Rousseff has overcome the dramatic drop in support she suffered after the protests, which targeted all of Brazil's political elite, including her ruling Workers' Party.
The number of Brazilians who consider Ms. Rousseff's government excellent or good rose to 37 percent in late September from 31 percent in July, according to an Ibope opinion poll commissioned by the National Industry Confederation.
That is still below the 55 percent level she polled in June before hundreds of thousands of angry Brazilians took to the streets to protest against corruption and poor public services. Ms. Rousseff responded with pledges to improve health and education and reform proposals to make politicians more accountable.
Ms. Rousseff's personal approval rating has risen to 54 percent from 45 percent since July, the poll said, while the number of Brazilians who trust her stewardship of the nation climbed to 52 percent from 45 percent.

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

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)

For sale is a beautiful 24-hectare property located in Los Alpes, just 15 minutes outside of San Ramøon. At about 4,000 feet above sea level, this finca provides gorgeous views of the Central Valley as well as the Pacific Ocean in the distance while also offering a wonderful climate year around. The main house is two stories with three bedrooms and to full baths. High quality construction using exotic hardwoods such as almond, which covers the ceilings throughout the entire house. There are also two corrals and a small casita on the property. This location is perfect for a farm-style home or for beginning an agricultural business. This truly is a rare piece of property and is available for $399,999. Price is somewhat negotiable and we will be happy to work with the buyer to make it work! Please call 8816-2478 or e-mail for more information ¡y se habla español!

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:

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:

Real estate services
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A.M. Costa Rica's
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San José, Costa Rica, Monday,  Sept. 30, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 193
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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

Dominican Republic ruling
strips citizenship of kids

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Dominican Republic's top court has handed down a decision stripping citizenship from anyone born to migrants who came to the Dominican Republic illegally, an action that overwhelmingly affects Haitians.

The ruling by the constitutional court this week is final and cannot be appealed. The decision applies to anyone born after 1929.

Dominican officials said it would take no more than two years to decide who would be excluded from citizenship.

The ruling potentially affects tens of thousands of Haitian Dominicans, leaving them stateless and facing mass deportation to Haiti, a place where many of them have no ties or citizenship.

David Abraham, a law professor at the University of Miami, said "the fear of the Dominican Republic, of being pulled down to the level of Haiti economically and the blackening of the country has been an obsession of Dominican politicians for well over a century."

Haiti is one of the world's poorest countries.

Meanwhile, the Dominican military announced it has deported 47,700 Haitians caught entering the country in the past year, more than double the nearly 21,000 deported in the previous year.

Spanish-speaking Dominicans and Creole-speaking Haitians share the Caribbean island of Hispaniola and have a long history of conflict and tense relations.

Cuba will let top athletes
work abroad in new ruling

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Cuban athletes will be allowed to work abroad and have been granted significant wage increases and larger bonuses for their performance, official media said Friday, in hopes of stemming a decline in the country's performance in international competitions.
The government's decision comes even as athletes, in particular baseball players, are defecting in record numbers, with 21 currently contracted by the U.S. major leagues, some earning multi-million dollar salaries.
Just this week, a promising young Cuban pitcher, Raicel Iglesias, 23, failed to show up for training and was widely believed to have left the island, which would make him the latest talented prospect to seek a lucrative Major League Baseball contract in the United States.
Cuba's famed boxing team suffered a similar series of defections in recent years, lowering its performance at the Olympics, world championships and other international events.
The exodus of athletes is mainly due to wages equivalent to $20 per month, in sharp contrast to their potential earnings abroad.
The measure is the latest reform of the Soviet-style system under President Raúl Castro, who replaced ailing brother Fidel in 2008 with a call to update the country's economic and social system to the 21st century.
“The Council of Ministers deemed just the decision to perfect the compensation system of athletes, trainers and specialists,” Granma, the Communist Party daily, said.  “Other measures will progressively go into effect to update practices so they are more in sync, from our perspective, with the world and thus contribute to achieving better results in sports.”
The Cuban government has repeatedly denounced what it calls the theft of its talent, charging it is part of U.S. efforts to undermine socialism and part and parcel of sanctions that do not allow contracts with Cuban athletes who maintain their residence on the island.
The new measures, approved by the government last week, allow athletes to sign contracts with professional leagues abroad, breaking with a policy established soon after the 1959 revolution, which shunned professional sports as exploitative.
The athletes will still have to meet their obligations to national teams, Granma said, including in international competitions, and will have to go through the state's sports institute for approval.
It was unclear from the official announcement if the ruling would apply to the Cubans currently playing in the U.S. major leagues.
Oakland Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, winner of this year's Home Run Derby, the popular competition the day before the annual All-Star Game, defected in 2011 and signed a $36 million, four-year contract.
Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, who left Cuba in 2012, signed a seven-year, $42 million contract. Puig made his Major League debut on June 3 and has emerged as one of the top contenders for the Rookie of the Year title.

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From Page 7:

A.M. Costa Rica photo
Chef Klaus Thalau has his team assembled for the buffet

Another successful casino birthday bash

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Casino Club Colonial marked its 31st birthday Saturday with another elaborate dinner and diversion from mimes to magicians.

The evening extravaganzas are becoming more elaborate when compared with the
Shelby McAdams
A.M. Costa Rica photo
Shelby McAdams is torn between the Greek and tossed salads.
30th anniversary last year as the business honed its image as an upscale venue.

Once again. owner Shelby McAdams opened up the line to a five-star buffet to all the casino customers, and the menu contained items that most Costa Ricans have not seen, such as salmon and a chicken dish accented with maracuyá.

The casino holds the Restaurante Magnolia, which is open to the public even if they do not gamble. Restaurant boss Adrián Vera  brought in the well-known German chef Klaus Thalau, to assist.  Thalau of Cartago is best known for his culinary efforts at swank venues in Manuel Antonio.

The celebration was not confined to the
restaurant as costumed characters circulated through the casino handing out small gifts. A combo serenaded those playing dice and mechanical roulette.

McAdams is the pioneer casino operator who started with the Colonial in 1982. He circulated all night accepting congratulations from his guests.

Lincoln Plaza gets new hamburger outlet

By the A.M. Costa Rica Staff

The country is getting another U.S. fast food brand. It is Johnny Rockets, a hamburger outlet that has the look of a 1940s to 1950s malt shop but said that it is "Not confined to any decade or era, Johnny Rockets combines the best elements from a century of American dining history to create an experience and menu that are relevant today."

The location is in the new Lincoln Plaza, and the franchise holder was identified as Maria Eugenia Handal Canahuati. The firm also has outlets in Honduras and Panamá.

Ms. Handal is the owner of Desarrollos Gastronomicos Internacionales Corp.

The firm describes its outlets this way: "An international restaurant chain that offers the food, fun and friendliness of timeless, feel-good Americana. Johnny Rockets restaurants serve a variety of traditional favorites that include hamburgers, American Fries served with a ketchup smiley face, classic sandwiches and hand-spun shakes and malts."

Johnny Rocket is based in Aliso Viejo, California, and said that the name comes from combining the Johnny Appleseed story with the classic Oldsmobile Rocket 88.

'Breaking Bad' finale to be aired

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Teatro Expresivo in the Centro Comercial Momentum Pinares in Curridabat, will be showing the finale of "Breaking Bad," the popular and complex television series. The theater calls the television show the most addictive of 2013.

The event is at 6 p.m. and admission is free. More information is available at 2277-7373 or by emailing