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(506) 2223-1327                              Published Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014, in Vol. 14, No. 194                           Email us
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Some modest proposals for cutting the budget
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The legislature is considering up to a 5 percent cut in the proposed budget submitted by Casa Presidencial.

Lawmakers know that the borrow-and-spend philosophy that has dominated the nation's policies for years no longer is sustainable.

The big problem is that the Costa Rican Constitution and certain laws mandate certain expenses that make a big dent in the budget. Debt service of borrowed money is another big item.

The political apparatus has enriched itself at the expense of the people for so long that some say reform is impossible.

Early in the Laura Chinchilla administration officials promised an inventory of state-owned land that is not being used. That was the last heard of this idea, which still is valid.

Here are some other proposals:

1. How about asking public employees to forfeit their aguinaldo this Christmas. There is no reason to lavish a Christmas bonus on public employees when the country is broke.

2. While on the subject of aguinaldos, such payments, if they are made, should be restricted to full-time employees and not for part-time members of boards of directors and other sweet appointive jobs.

3. Officials should pay better attention to the private use of public vehicles. Just count how many ministry cars with yellow and black license plates show up in Walmart and Mas x Menos parking lots. Sometimes the public employee is bold enough to have kids in the car.

4. Speaking of vehicles, why does each legislative deputy rate a fancy sports utility vehicle?
budget pig

5. And how many limos and drivers are employed at the foreign ministry to take officials to lunch each day. And who is paying for the lunch?

6. The national pastime appears to be running red lights. Traffic police could bring in thousands of dollars a night just by stationing themselves at some key downtown intersections.

6. Do we really need a ministry of sports? There is a shadow ministry now awaiting approval of a bill in the legislature.

7. How many of the existing ministries does the government really need and why do they keep buying buildings?

Note the culture ministry purchased the decrepit Teatro Variedades on Calle 3 downtown last year for nearly $2 million and then chained it up because there was no budget to run it. A block north there is a mansion and a retail outlet that are vacant after being restored.

8. And could the Ministerio de Hacienda, the budget ministry, please turn off the multicolored lights on the headquarters building after hours?

Other ideas from readers would be welcomed: editor@amcostarica.com.

 
 

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 194

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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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mapache
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo                
Fuerza Pública officers confiscated this young raccoon from a lad in
Puntarenas Centro Tuesday because keeping wild animals as pets is
prohibited. The critter was turned over to environmental officials for
transport to a rescue center.



Emergency declares over El Niño drought

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The executive branch declared a national emergency due to the prolonged drought in northwestern Costa Rica Tuesday.

The declaration affects 11 cantons in Guanacaste:  Liberia, Tilarán, Nicoya, Santa Cruz, Bagaces, Carrillo, Cañas, Abangares, Nandayure, La Cruz and Hojancha. Also involved are five cantons in Puntarenas province: Aguirre, Garabito, Montes de Oro, Esparza and the central canton. Three Alajuela cantons also were included: Orotina, San Mateo and Atenas The declaration is an extension of an alert that has been in force since the middle of the year.

The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional reported Monday that there was more rain in September and additional moisture is expected in October, but the national emergency commission said that the effects of El Niño are likely to cause problems during the first part of next year as the dry season progresses.

There have been substantial loses in production, according to the Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería. There also has been loss of jobs. Ranchers have been hard hit with the loss of pasture land.

Government institutions are taking steps. For example, the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad is working to bring Lake Arenal to a high level in anticipation of electrical generating needs during the first months of the new year. The Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados will be drilling new wells, setting up storage tanks and planning for rationing when water becomes short.

The Ministerio de Salud is reported to be trying to identify the spread of any diseases as well as conducting education in handling water. The Sistema Nacional de Áreas de Conservación is getting ready to try to reduce the impact in protected areas where forest fires may be expected.


Our reader's opinion
Support for a longer stay for snowbirds

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I agree small tourism is better, but less tourism is worse. One big step is to increase the length of stay allowed for snowbirds from the north.

By allowing those who are escaping the winter in North America to stay six months (rather than 90 days) you will increase the number who come here and how much they spend.

The 90-day visa requires that the person leave, likely to Nicaragua or Panamá. They may just discover they like it better, and it is a consideration for staying.

The best part is they will spend in the local economy, renting a condo for six months means they will be buying locally. They will go to the local grocery store, they will try the farmers market, and they may even sign up for Spanish classes.

When they do small trips away from their temporary home base, they are more likely to stay at a little local hotel they heard about from another expat.  If they wish to take a tour, they will probably go to the tour booking office down the street, since they pass his shop nearly every day. If they travel a distance they  probably use the local transfer company or the local buses, because they have had time to get comfortable with the neighborhood.

The population is aging, and tourism has to look towards this potential income and accommodate for it. If the retired parents own or rent a house in Costa Rica, it is more likely that their children, grandchildren and friends will come to visit, thus more tourist dollars in the local areas rather than the big hotels.
Patti Fraser
Tamarindo

EDITOR'S NOTE: A.M. Costa Rica has supported editorially longer stays for snowbirds. The 2006 immigration act that is now law contained a provision for a $100 renewal of a tourist visa without leaving the country. That provision was voided based on the way the text was worded.



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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 194
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Pedestrians will be getting a lift at three major metro highways
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Highway officials say they expect to have elevators at three pedestrian bridges in service by December.

The bridges are at Hospital México in La Uruca over the Autopista General Cañas,  Tres Ríos de La Unión over the Autopista Florencio del Castillo and Quesada Durán over the Circunvalación.

The bridges went up before a law that provided accommodations for seniors, pregnant women, persons on crutches, or persons in wheelchairs, said the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad. The projects cost $1.3 million.

Engineers chose the elevators because in some cases there was not sufficient public land to put in ramps, the agency said.. The elevators will be under 24-hour surveillance by cameras. The bridge at Hospital México at least had been the scene of many robberies.
elevator
Consejo Nacional de Vialidad photo
This is the elevator at Tres Ríos de La Unión


Honors heaped on former president Mora on date of his 1860 execution
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Juan Rafael Mora Porras, the 19th century president is a real comeback kid.

Even though his political career ended in front of a firing squad in Puntarenas in 1860, Mora is getting elaborate praise this year, the 200th anniversary of his birth.

Present day politicians were out in force Tuesday to honor the man. Sept. 30 was the day he was executed in 1860. There even is an anthem written to honor him that has become part of the public school curriculum. It can be found HERE!

There seems to be a collective guilt, at least among politicians, over the death of Mora and that of his brother-in-law, José María Cañas, a few days later. Mora has been the subject of a plaza at the foreign ministry, among other honors.

He was the president that rallied the country to defeat the potential invasion by William Walker's forces in 1856. He also directed two other campaigns along the Río San Juan that eventually forced Walker to end his ambitions to be king of Central America.

Mora's forces received a lot of help from Cornelius Vanderbilt and the British.

Tuesday a statue of the man called liberator and national hero received floral offerings from President Luis Guillermo Solís; Henry Mora, the president of the Asamblea Legislativa; Sandra Garcia Pérez, the mayor of San José, and Zarela Villanueva, president of the Corte Suprema de Justicia.

Mora had been overthrown in a coup, and was captured when he returned to Costa Rica in an effort to regain power. The executions did have a beneficial result. After Cañas died the country eliminated the death penalty.
mora statue
Partido Liberación Nacional photo
Statue of Mora is decked with wreaths

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, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 194
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Jimmy Carter at 90 stills mixes Bible, effort for peace and diplomacy
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter celebrates his 90th birthday today. While not the oldest living president, Carter has set the record for the longest post-presidency of any former occupant of the White House, surpassing Herbert Hoover for the honor in 2012.

And he shows no signs of slowing down. His vice president, Walter Mondale, believes Jimmy Carter stands apart among former presidents. “He’s got this part of him, this focus, this commitment… he gets on to something he wants to get it done, and it’s impressive to watch,” Mondale said.

The former president and 2002 Nobel Peace Prize laureate leads an active life, centered around The Carter Center, an Atlanta-based non-profit organization that says it wages peace, fights disease and builds hope throughout the world. Being called one of the most accomplished ex-presidents of the U.S. is a term his wife of 68 years, Rosalynn, is not fond of hearing. “I don't like that. He was a great president. People are finding it out. I like them to say, well, he is the greatest ex-president, but he was a great president, too,” she said.

The accomplishments of Jimmy Carter’s presidency include normalizing relations with China, returning the Panamá Canal to Panamá and negotiating the Camp David Peace Accords between Egypt and Israel.

But those accomplishments tend to be overshadowed by the economic decline in the U.S. in the late 1970s and the Iran hostage crisis, which dominated much of his final years in office. "I think it's clear that his presidency was not the greatest,” said Joe Crespino, professor of 20th century American political history at Emory University. “That’s not all of his doing. That’s not all of his fault. A lot of that had to do with the circumstances he inherited. But I don’t think there’s shame in being called the ‘greatest ex-president.’”

Crespino said the path to the “greatest ex-presidency” began in the wake of Jimmy Carter’s unsuccessful bid for re-election in 1980.

U.S. presidents since Herbert Hoover have libraries that catalog their official and personal documents. After he left office in 1981, Carter wanted to create a different kind of presidential library and museum that could host conflict resolution, modeled after the successful Camp David Peace Accords. The Carter Center was founded in 1982.

“But it's grown enormously and one of our basic principles has been that we don't duplicate what other people are doing,” Carter said, “and so we have filled vacuums in the world, you might say, and over a period of 30 years or more now we've gone into areas of international politics and alleviation of suffering and promoting democracy that others had never done.”

The staff of the Carter Center has monitored more than 90 troubled elections, treated those suffering from neglected tropical diseases in many countries, and is on the verge of completely eradicating Guinea worm disease.

Many see Jimmy Carter as a valued negotiator. Others see him as meddlesome. “He’s been criticized for talking to leaders around the world, that he’ll go and talk to anyone,” said Emory Professor Crespino. “He always feels like the fundamental issue for him is to try to bring people together and have conversations about difficult problems.”

One issue that presently frustrates Carter is the unwillingness of the United States government to engage in direct talks with North Korea. After several visits to the closed Communist country, Carter said he is willing to go again to secure the release of three Americans detained there. But so far he has not been granted permission.

“There’s no need for me to go unless I can get a designation from the U.S. government that I am speaking officially for the U.S. government, which I cannot do. That’s the truth of the matter,” said Carter.

When Carter isn’t traveling the world or at his Atlanta headquarters, he may be found 160 miles south of of Atlanta, in the rural town of Plains, Georgia, Carter’s birthplace.

And it’s there that the former president of the United States becomes one of the world’s most famous Sunday school teachers. Jimmy Carter’s faith is a central part of his life, both before he entered the White House in 1977 and after he left.  He has taught some form of Sunday school since the age of 18. Now at age 90, his classroom is as big as ever, and more diverse.
carter
Voice of America photo
Jimmy Carter on a medical mission to Africa.

carter and wife
Voice of America photo
Mr. and Mrs. Carter at a Carter Center event.

U.S. Army Sgt. Sudhir Shrestha is a long way from his home country of Nepal to be among hundreds waiting in line to enter the Maranatha Baptist Church to hear Carter teach the Bible. “It’s really rewarding.  A life-changing experience. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Shrestha.

Maranatha is not the largest of the eight churches in this town of 766 people, but it is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Plains. Jan Williams, a Maranatha member, said visitors get more than just a recitation of bible verses.

“You get an up-to-date history lesson sometimes. I had never heard of the ISIS until one of his Sunday school lessons and maybe what action the United States should take,” said Williams.

There are about 150 members on the books at Maranatha Baptist Church. About 25 to 30 of them attend services on a given Sunday. But on weeks when President Carter is scheduled to teach Sunday school, it’s hard to find an empty pew. “When I teach, Plains prospers,” Carter acknowledged. “A lot of those people tell me they've never been in a church before in their life and they just come to hear a politician teach the Bible.”

“I just wanted the opportunity to see him in person, not just watch him on TV or read his writings or listen to the news, but actually get a chance to see what he has to say in person,” said Sgt. Shrestha.

Though he has traveled to more than 140 countries and continues to lead an active life as head of the Carter Center, Jimmy Carter still lives in the same small town where he was born 90 years ago. Visitors to Plains not only have a chance to see the place that shaped the man, but the man himself.

When he is not preparing for a Sunday school lesson, he might be behind an easel at his home in Plains creating his next painting. In addition to being a prolific artist, Jimmy Carter is also a best-selling author, currently working on his 29th book.

Looking back on 90 years, Carter is upbeat. “It's been a very exciting and challenging and unpredictable and adventurous, and I would say a very gratifying life.”

Vacation, travel and hospitality


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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.

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Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
Drop in to see some of Costa Rica's finest art
at the largest gallery in Guanacaste.

The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is a great place to find quality remembrances of Costa Rica to take home or to decorate your home or office in Costa Rica.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever.  With more than 60 artists on exhibit and fine art in 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we are easy to locate just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport. Visit our Web site at
or contact us by email:
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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.
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Click photo for another video

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the
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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.

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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

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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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Beautiful fully furnished two floor house for rent
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Guacima montage
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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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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, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 194
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Recently arrived Texan said
to be the victim of ebola


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Doctors in Dallas, Texas, say they have diagnosed the first case of ebola in the United States.  The patient, whose identity has not been revealed, arrived on a flight from Liberia earlier this month but showed no signs of illness until a few days later. 

The director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Thomas Frieden, says the patient infected with the ebola virus was healthy when he or she left Liberia and while on the flight to the United States.

"This individual left Liberia on the 19th of September, arrived in the U.S. on the 20th of September, had no symptoms when departing Liberia or entering this country, but four or five days later, around the 24th of September, began to develop symptoms," said Frieden.

Frieden stressed that until the symptoms appeared, the person posed no threat of infection to anyone else.  He said authorities are now trying to identify anyone who may have had contact with the infected person during the period when the symptoms first appeared to the time the patient went to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas for treatment.

Those people will be closely monitored for a few weeks to make sure they did not contract the disease.  A hospital spokesperson says the infected patient is in intensive care, but would not reveal any further information out of concern for the individual's privacy.

Doctors working on this case say ebola can be easily contained through good public health practices, immediate quarantine of anyone showing symptoms and monitoring of people with whom that person came into contact.  Frieden says the virus cannot be transmitted through the air, but only through direct contact with bodily fluids from an infected person manifesting symptoms.

“While we do not currently know how this individual became infected, they undoubtedly had contact with someone who was sick with ebola or who died from it," he said.

Early symptoms of ebola include fever, sore throat and muscle aches.  As the disease progresses, it produces hemorrhagic fever, which can cause bleeding and organ failure.

Although American health workers who were diagnosed in Africa were flown back to the U.S. for treatment, the Texas patient is the first to be diagnosed inside the United States.

Ebola has killed nearly 3,100 people and infected more than 6,500.  West Africa, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are the most affected countries.

The virus causes uncontrollable bleeding, vomiting and diarrhea. It is spread by direct contact with the body fluids of infected patients.

There is no specific treatment, but an American doctor diagnosed with the virus was found to be ebola-free after taking an experimental drug last month.

President Barack Obama has called ebola a national security priority for the United States. He has called on the rest of the world to also regard it as a threat.

The Pentagon said Tuesday it is sending 700 U.S. soldiers to Liberia to help that country handle the outbreak. Seven hundred Army engineers also will help build treatment centers. No U.S. military personnel will provide direct care to ebola patients.

Elsewhere in West Africa, the Centers for Disease Control said Tuesday it looks like the ebola outbreak in Nigeria has been contained. Officials said there have been no new cases since Aug. 31, and the 21-day monitoring period of those who came in contact with those infected ends Thursday. There were 19 confirmed ebola cases in Nigeria.

The Centers also said Senegal avoided an ebola epidemic when authorities there isolated that country's only ebola case in August.

Twelve other people in the U.S. have been tested for ebola since July 27. The Centers said all those tests came back negative.

The White House says President Obama discussed the Centers' stringent isolation procedures with Frieden, who noted that the agency was prepared for an ebola case in the U.S.

The illness has an average 8-10 day incubation period (although it ranges from 2 to 21 days). The Centers recommend monitoring exposed people for symptoms a complete 21 days. People are not contagious after exposure unless they develop symptoms.


Secret Service director gets
tough questions on intruder


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson came under sharp criticism from members of Congress, who pressed her to explain how an intruder was able to evade security and enter the main floor of the White House 10 days ago.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers expressed concern about the safety of President Barack Obama and his family while they are at home.

Democrats and Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee often argue bitterly with each other. On Tuesday, though, they turned their anger and frustration on Secret Service Director Pierson.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Republican, was outraged that Director Pierson praised what she said was the tremendous restraint Secret Service agents showed after the incident Sept. 19 when a man with a knife was able to run all the way into the East Room of the presidential mansion before he was apprehended.

“Tremendous restraint is not the goal and the objective. It sends a very mixed message. The message should be overwhelming force,” said Chaffetz.

Director Pierson promised a comprehensive investigation into the failures that allowed the intruder to jump a fence, cross the grounds and enter the White House, and said she would take action if needed.

“It is clear that our security plan was not properly executed. This is unacceptable, and I take full responsibility, and I will make sure that it does not happen again,” she stated.

Her response was not good enough for many of the lawmakers on the panel, including Stephen Lynch, a Democrat. “And I wish to God you protected the White House like you are protecting your reputation here today," he said. "I wish you spent that time and that effort to protect the American president.”

Lynch said he has serious questions about Director Pierson's leadership and that he fears for the safety of the president and the first family within the confines of the White House.

Washington, D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton pointed out that as the first African-American U.S. president, Obama faces even more danger.

“According to threat assessments, this president has had three times as many threats as his predecessors,” said Ms. Norton.

Director Pierson was also asked about another incident in 2011 when a man fired into the White House and it took several days for the Secret Service to realize that the building had been hit. 

Several lawmakers blamed her for sending mixed signals about whether agents could use lethal force if they felt the president is in danger.

Some said the height of the White House fence is not the problem, but that several layers of security failed to stop the fence-jumper until he had crossed the lawn, opened the door, and run through the main floor of the White House. 

The president and his daughters had left the building just minutes before the intruder came in.


Xbox hacker suspects face
aggressive U.S. responses

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. authorities have charged four members of a computer hacking ring with the theft of secret data used in American products, including Xbox games and training software for military helicopter pilots.

In a statement Tuesday, the Justice Department said two of the defendants have already pleaded guilty, including the one Canadian resident to be charged. The other three defendants reside in the U.S.

Leslie Caldwell, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Criminal Division who was quoted in the statement, said the guilty pleas show the U.S. will protect America's intellectual property from hackers, whether they hack from here or from abroad.

The four young men, ranging in age from 18 to 28, were indicted on charges including conspiracy to commit computer fraud, copyright infringement, identity theft and wire fraud.

The total value of the data they stole plus the costs associated with the theft is estimated at $100 to 200 million.

Making the announcement along with Caldwell and an agent from the FBI, U.S. Attorney Charles Oberly of Delaware said, electronic breaking and entering of computer networks and the digital looting of identities and intellectual property have become much too common.

These are not harmless crimes, and those who commit them should not believe they are safely beyond our reach, he said.

The indictment and other court records allege that from January 2011 to March 2014, the four men and others hacked into computer networks of the U.S. Army and several companies, including Microsoft, which makes Xbox. Once inside, they are accused of accessing and stealing unreleased software, secrets and copyrighted works. They allegedly conspired to use, share and sell the stolen information.

Specifically, the theft included data related to the then-unreleased Xbox One gaming console, Apache helicopter simulator software that Zombie Studios developed for the U.S. Army, and pre-release versions of "Gears of War" and "Call of Duty' games.

Australia has also charged one of its citizens for his alleged role in the case.

The Justice Department says the Canadian resident, 22-year-old David Pokora, is believed to be the first foreign-based individual convicted for hacking into U.S. businesses to steal trade secret information.


Four persons to be honored
for courageous reporting


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Committee to Protect Journalists is honoring correspondents from Burma, Iran, Russia, and South Africa for courageous reporting in the face of censorship, violence and possible imprisonment.

The committee says its 2014 International Press Freedom Awards will go to Irrawaddy newspaper founder and editor-in-chief Aung Zaw of Burma, formerly imprisoned freelance journalist Siamak Ghaderi of Iran, independent TV broadcaster Mikhail Zygar of Russia and City Press newspaper editor Ferial Haffajee of South Africa.

The organization said in a statement Tuesday the honorees are to be commended for taking risks to report the news at a time when journalists are confronting record levels of brutal violence and repression.  Executive Director Joel Simon said Zaw, Ghaderi, Zygar, and Haffajee are undeterred and unbowed and have risked all to report the news.

The organization is also planning to present a lifetime achievement award to Jorge Ramos, co-anchor of Univision News since 1986.

The organization says Ramos immigrated from Mexico to the United States to avoid government interference in his work, and that he is to be commended for championing the rights of journalists in Latin America who work under dangerous conditions.

The awards will be presented at a ceremony Nov. 25 in New York City.


Helicopter crash to test
use of composite materials


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

NASA engineers will purposely crash a retired U.S. Marine helicopter, retrofitted with various composite subfloors, to see how well an airframe of that material would protect anyone inside the cabin.

According to the space exploration agency there is growing interest in carbon airframes, but not a lot of safety testing has been done on a full-scale level to determine its crashworthiness.

Today’s experiment at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia will swing a CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter fuselage like a pendulum and then drop it from about 10 meters onto the soil below.

The helicopter will hit the ground at about 50 kilometers an hour. The impact condition represents a severe, but survivable, condition under both civilian and military requirements, according to NASA officials.

Inside the former Marine helicopter airframe will be crash test dummies, cameras and accelerometers. Almost 40 cameras inside and outside the helicopter will record how 13 crash test dummies and two manikins react before, during and after impact.

Lead test engineer Martin Annett said that one of the things that concerns people with carbon composites is how crashworthy they really are. He said this experiment will help to inform future aircraft design work.

A similar crash test was conducted last summer, although the composite material was not used. Officials say this test with a CH-46 Sea Knight is based, in part, on what they learned last year.

According to Annett, "the big difference in this year's experiment is that we are testing three energy absorbing composite subfloor concepts that should help some of the dummy occupants sustain fewer injuries than they did in the first test last August.”

NASA is collaborating with the U.S. Navy, Army and Federal Aviation Administration, as well as the German Aerospace Center and the Australian Cooperative Research Center for Advanced Composite Structures.


New test for colon cancer
avoids use of colonoscope


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

According to the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide and the fourth most common cause of death for both men and women. Survivability rises if it is diagnosed early enough. A new type of test promises to replace the dreaded colonoscopy as the most reliable method for doing that.

Doctors say the most reliable test for colon cancer is a colonoscopy -- looking inside the patient’s large intestine. With a special instrument, they can look for potentially deadly polyps and remove them on the spot.

But University of Miami oncologist Ike Akunyili said the procedure is not a popular one. “You have to put something through somebody's behind and lot of people don't like it.”

That is why many patients opt for the less invasive fecal occult blood test, which can be done at home, but is less reliable. It cannot detect polyps and even misses some cancers.

But a new way to test stool samples, called Cologuard, claims to be 94 percent accurate in identifying colorectal cancer.

Akunyili said this is especially good news for patients who avoid colonoscopies.

“It might increase uptake and make more people who are hesitant about getting screened get screened,” he said.

Patients can collect a stool sample at home and send it to a laboratory, where it is screened for three genetic markers associated with polyps or early stage tumors.

Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist David Alquist said the new test may lead to fewer colorectal cancer cases, just as the PAP smear test lowered the number of cervical cancer cases.

“There is no reason why application of Cologuard broadly through our population couldn't achieve the same thing for colon cancer. Our goal is to eradicate colon cancer,” said Alquist.

As screening for genetic markers becomes more sophisticated, doctors say the test soon may be able to identify other gastrointestinal cancers.
Real estate-related services (paid category)

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 4030-5480 or 8339-2112. www.costaricarealtyone.com
8451-12/13/14

Remax logo
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.
8366-12/2/14

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 www.moranlakearenal.com
Contact us at the office: (506) 2694-0088
Cell (506) 8880-8888
Phone number from the U.S. (305) 307-0088
Email: moranrealestate@gmail.com
Moran logo
8448-2/21/15




Costa Rica,

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

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

Ad three graphics
Tropical lots located walking distance to a beautiful white sandy beach
Only $49,999 with interest-free financing
These lots are located in a gated, private community with low HOA dues and offer amenities including a pool & rancho.  It is located close to Playa Conchal and Pirates beaches.  And only 20 minutes to the resort town of Tamarindo and an hour from Liberia International airport. Reserve your lot with only a $1,500 deposit.  We are offering Interest-free financing for 5 years for a limited time only. Contact: Christian  info@puntaplayavistas.com 
U.S. (732) 962-6525 or CR (506) 8349-2025    www.puntaplayavistas.com
8372-8/23/14

ad two grpahic
For Sale: Fully Furnished OCEAN VIEW CONDOMINIUM
Reduced $199,999
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 
U.S. (732) 962-6525 or CR (506) 8349-2025
8271-8/23/14

Ad one grpahics
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. 
Contact desmondproperties@gmail.com  U.S. (732) 984-7549
or CR (506) 8349-2025.
8370-8/3/14

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

Business for sale or lease (paid category)
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.

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

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The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by A.M. Costa Rica.com Ltda. 2014 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details


A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page


San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 194
Sports
Calendar
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Real Estate
Lifestyle
Food
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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
OAS seeks hosts for U.S. detainees

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Organization of American States is asking member countries to consider accepting some of the people detained at Guantanamo naval base in Cuba.

"I request respectfully that those countries that can do so, in a manner consistent with their national policies and their internal legal framework, consider receiving people currently detained in Guantanamo, in order to allow them to resume their lives following their prolonged detention," said Jose Miguel Insulza, the secretary general, in a release.

The Organization of American States has expressed its concern about the plight of the prisoners through cautionary measures, resolutions, examinations of cases, hearings and press releases, requesting for these people treatment in strict accordance with universal and regional norms regarding human rights, to which organization countries have adhered, it said.

In 2011 the organization noted that via a resolution it urged the United States to close the facility and arrange for trials or release of the prisoners. 

"More than half of the prisoners that remain in Guantanamo are in conditions to be freed, but have not been for the lack of a country that will receive them," said the Insulza statement. "These are people who have not been judged, nor will they be, for any crime, and the exhaustive evaluations that they have been submitted to by the authorities of the United States have determined that they do not present serious risks to the security of the country, nor to any that receives them."

The statement noted that there are 79 inmates who are ready to be freed but no country has stepped forward to accept them. Since 2009 18 countries have accepted 48 detainees and reduced the number of inmates to 149, the statement said.

The Guantanamo base added a high security prison in 2002 to accept individuals captured in Afghanistan, Iraq and a few other Mideast countries. President Barack Obama has been seeking to close the facility since he took office, but Congress has declined to provide the money to do so.

Slight reduction of gasoline OK'd

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The seesaw gasoline prices are going down 13 colons a liter for plus but only 2 colons a liter for super. Diesel is going down 11 colons.

The new prices were set by the Autoridad Reguladora de Servicios Públicos, and they will take effect upon publication, perhaps Friday or next week. The changes were attributed to the international marketplace.


Children's museum lighting is Dec. 3

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Museo de los Niños will illuminate the facade of the structure in the usual elaborate ceremony Dec. 3.

This is one of the big events in the Christmas season accompanied by fireworks, drama for youngsters and the gathering of thousands of persons.

The museum staff said the event will start at 6 p.m. This is a 14-year tradition.

The police forces usually close down streets and put many officers on duty in the area to give parents and their children safe passage.

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From Page 7:

Christopher Howard updates retirement guide

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The prolific expat author Christopher Howard has just released the 17th edition of his "New Golden Door to Retirement and Living in Costa Rica — the official guide to relocation."

The 708-page book will be sold through Amazon, and there is more information about it on that Web site HERE!.
 
The eBook version will be sold through Howard's Web site at
 www.costaricabooks.com

Howard has produced guide books to a number of Latin countries and also a guide to Costa Rican real estate, a guide to Costa Rican Spanish and a guide to the country's legal system, among others.