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(506) 2223-1327                              Published Friday, Oct. 3, 2014, in Vol. 14, No. 196                          Email us
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Costa Rica steps up health surveillance at airports
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
with wire service reports

Health officials said that there is extra surveillance at airports and travelers from Africa are being registered as a first step in protecting the country from the ebola virus.

The Ministerio de Salud said that no health alert has been issued, but officials outlined the steps the country is taking after a man came down with the virus in Texas.

Meanwhile, tourism operators are wringing their hands and hoping that the disease stays in Africa.  They remember the swine flu scare in 2009 that resulted in some tourists wearing surgical masks during their stay in the country. There are no firm estimates of the financial hit the country took because of that disease.

Another story on ebola

The health ministry said that a handful of hospitals in the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, has been designated for priority training so staffers could handle an ebola case. The preparation extends to hospital laboratories.

In Dallas, Texas, health officials have quarantined family members of the ailing man, identified as Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan. Days before he left Liberia, Duncan had helped carry to a taxi a pregnant woman who later died of ebola, according to neighbors, said the A.M. Costa Rica wire services. Her illness at the time was believed to be pregnancy-related.

Up to 100 people may have had direct or indirect contact with the first person to be diagnosed with the deadly ebola virus in the United States, officials there said. Less than 20 had direct contact, and they have had contact with many others, said officials.

Erikka Neroes, a spokeswoman for the Dallas County Health Department, said none of those being monitored was showing symptoms of the disease, which include fever, uncontrollable bleeding, vomiting and diarrhea and spreads through contact with bodily fluids such as blood or saliva.
Japanese tourists
A.M. Costa Rica file photo
Remember when? In 2009 foreign tourists sometimes wore surgical masks for protection.

In Africa, airline passengers are being checked for a high temperature as part of the arrival process. Costa Rica has not started to do that yet.

Still the country had direct and daily air links to Texas. The only swine flu fatality in Costa Rica picked up the disease in México

Costa Rica has an additional problem that Texas does not. Monkeys are susceptible to ebola, and any widespread infection would find hosts among these animals.

Costa Rica does share with Texas the problem of illegal immigrants. Fuerza Pública officers picked up more citizens of Nepal late Wednesday in a southern part of the country. That was the second day in a row that Asians were detained.

In the past there have been illegal immigrants from West Africa.

Coastal towns jeopardized by appeal, chambers say
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Three organizations related to tourism are opposing an appeal of a law covering the coastal zones of the country. If the appeal is accepted by the constitutional court, communities like Puerto Viejo on the south Caribbean coast will face demolition, they say.

The organizations are the Cámara de Turismo del Caribe Sur, the Cámera Nacional de Turismo and the Cámera  Costarricense de Hoteles.

Article 8 of Ley N° 9221 appears to grandfather in property rights of homeowners and business
operators in the 50 meters above high tide line. This is the article being challenged in a Sala IV appeal.

And this is the appeal that the chambers hope the court will not accept. They are seeking to file parallel briefs against the appeal.

If the court accepts the appeal and throws out that section of the law, all the infrastructure in that zone, which is most of Puerto Viejo, will have to be destroyed, said the national tourism chamber.

The chamber also wants those affected to be heard by the court.


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


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shark fins
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo               
Despite the law, publicity and environmental pleas, the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas caught a Puntarenas fishing boat, Tormenta del Pacífico I,
about 57 miles off Quepos with these fresh shark fins aboard. The operator
faces a steep fine and perhaps loss of fishing rights.

Protection sought for silky shark species

 Special to A.M. Costa Rica

A leading environmental organization is asking its supporters to sign a petition urging Costa Rica's environmental minister, Edgar Gutiérrez, to support an international proposal to better manage and conserve global populations of silky sharks (Carcharhinus falciformis).

The initiative is being led by Egypt and its proposal to include silkies in Appendix II of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals. The proposal will be voted on in Quito, Ecuador Nov. 4 to 9. Approval would require the convention's member states to develop conservation instruments that address the species' declining population trends.

The environmental organization is the Programa Restauración de Tiburones y Tortugas Marinas.

The silky shark's population throughout the Eastern Pacific and in Costa Rican national waters has declined an estimated 80 percent over the last few decades. Despite being the most heavily exploited shark species in Costa Rica by commercial fisheries, the country has yet to publicly state whether or not it will support Egypt's proposal during the November meeting

According to Andy Bystrom, a consultant to the Programa, silky shark biology makes the species susceptible to overfishing. "It takes an individual 10 years to reach reproductive maturity, and females only give birth to an average of 6 pups after a year-long gestation period. This being the case, the species cannot support much more industrialized fishing pressures at their current levels," said Bystrom.

"Despite the threats, silkies are commonly observed around Costa Rica's Cocos Island where the emblematic hammerhead shark is also commonly seen," said Randall Arauz of the organization. "Costa Rica and Ecuador have jointly submitted a proposal to include two species of hammerheads, Sphyrna lewini and Sphyrna mokarran, in the Convention on the Conservation, and we feel that it is time for the country to also show this same level of concern for silky sharks.

Animals offered for adoption Saturday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Volunteers from the Asociación Animales de Asís will be at the Escazú Walmart Saturday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. to offer cats and dogs for adoption.

The Feria de Adopción offers vaccinated and castrated puppies and dogs in exchange for a 10,000-colon donation. Also available are castrated cats and kittens.

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A.M. Costa Rica

Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 196
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Government commission created to aid smaller tourism operations
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The central government has created a commission to help small and medium tourism operations. Private tourism organizations have a majority of the seats.

Wilhelm von Breymann, the minister of Turismo, will be the chairman, The goal is to help smaller tourism operations. The idea for the commission came out of a discussion Tuesday between Breymann and Melvin Jiménez, the minister of the Presidencia. The commission will help with such needs as infrastructure, training, business know-how, access to credit and financial aid.

The commission is called formally the Comisión de Apoyo a las Mipymes Turísticas. One member will be from the Presidencia, but others will come from the Cámara Costarricense de Hoteles, the Cámara Nacional de Turismo and the Asociación para la Protección del Turismo en Costa Rica.

A goal will be to improve the competitivity of the smaller tourism enterprises.

This was a week also when legislators and tourism figures presented a video that seems to support minimal development on the Pacific coast. The video is titled La gallina de los huevos de oro: Turismo en la costa Pacifica de Costa Rica. A reasonable translation would be
"The Chicken That Lays the Golden Eggs: Tourism on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica." The fable with that title sometimes refers to a goose.

A summary of the video says that it compares the costs and benefits of big tourism centers with those of a small scale on the Osa Peninsula.

The economic downturn has had a devastating impact on the tourism industry. A major Heredia hotel became the latest to lay off the bulk of its staff this week. The hotel management had gotten behind on its payments to the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social.

Many of the independent operations simply cannot compete with chains that have extensive marketing networks. Costa Rica tourism also benefited from years of short supply of hotel rooms.

That situation now has reversed and there is an oversupply plus many more international chains.

In addition there has been a geographical shift with the development of the Daniel Oduber airport in Liberia. In the past nearly all air arrivals passed through San José. That is not the case now.

The tourism institute also seems to be addicted to flashy, expensive marketing campaigns with unmeasured outcomes rather than steady, continuous advertising. Independent operators seem to rely on the institute to do the marketing.

Judicial agents raid another location they say was a brothel
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial agents Wednesday afternoon raided another bar they said was a brothel. This time the raid was in Las Llanuras del Gaspar de Sarapiquí.

The Judicial Investigation Organization said that a man, 63 and a woman, 36 were detained on pimping charges.

There also are human trafficking charges because agents alleged that Nicaraguan women were smuggled across the border to perform sexual services in the bar and adjacent home.
Agents also located three unregistered firearms, they said.

Agents said they received a tip that there were girls as young as 15 working at the establishment, but they did not report finding any underage individuals during their raid.

The bar appeared to have been fairly upscale because agents said that the usual price for a sexual encounter was 50,000 colons. That is much higher than similar ventures in the area.

There have been several such raids in the last month. Agents seem to be targeting locations where they believe minors are employed.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 196
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Non-profit seeks to channel more foundation money to native groups
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

There are thousands of native cultures around the world.  Relatively few of them, however, have the visibility and know-how needed to get the funding required to sustain their traditional ways of life, especially in light of increasing globalization and corporate acquisitiveness. But Evelyn Arce of International Funders for Indigenous Peoples is trying to change all that.

Smiling broadly, as she looked out at the colorfully dressed activists and their prospective funders at the World Summit on Indigenous Philanthropy that her small San Francisco-based non-profit had organized, Ms. Arce speaks with passion of building bridges between native peoples, donors and environmental groups.

“In the U.S., approximately 80,000 foundations give $27 billion a year to all kinds of projects,” she says. “But do you know how much goes to indigenous communities? Three-tenths of one percent. We know that 80 percent of the remaining biodiversity on Mother Earth is on indigenous territories.  So if we care about environmental conservation and biodiversity, we need to bring indigenous peoples to the table,” says Ms. Arce.

The complex and artful patterning etched on Patricia Gualinga’s face identifies her as a Kichwa leader of her 1,200-member Sarayaku community in a remote region of the Amazon rainforest.  The group is famous in Ecuador for its legal victory against oil companies that had been awarded a government concession to drill on native land.

Through an interpreter with Amazon Watch, an environmental group that helps support her work, Ms. Gualinga explained that more funds are needed to continue her people’s continued resistance.

“We have marches, we have mobilizations,” says she, adding that the Sarayaku also need funds for infrastructure.

“We could improve the conditions of our houses.  We can improve the conditions of our pathways between communities, for example, alternative development projects.”

Pearl Gottschalk of Lush Cosmetics says she is constantly inspired by indigenous leaders like Patricia Gualinga who her company helps to support.  Moments earlier, she complimented Ms. Gualinga on her long shiny black hair, which the leader then credited to a traditional ointment made from two local rainforest plants. Ms. Gualinga told her that her people call the plants "brother and sister" and that they were put on Earth and in her culture “to spread beauty.”

“And I thought, ‘that is exactly how we want to honor and respect the traditions of our first peoples around the world and how they view the plants,” says Ms. Gottschalk, “and how our company wants to bring that beauty to a modern world and to market to make the
Palm production
Voice of America photo
A Sarayaku man creates decorations out of palms in his village in Ecuador.

world smell and feel and look better. So we give money to them through charitable giving to help support their projects. That’s their voice, making solutions in their communities,” says Ms. Gottschalk.

The view that native peoples, not outsiders, should decide their funding priorities echoes the philosophy of most funders at the summit.  But it was the desire for political know-how as well as funding that brought Khun Kham Kaung, a leader from Myanmar’s Democracy for Ethnic Minorities Organization, to a Brooklyn hotel conference hall, where the World Summit on Indigenous Philanthropy was held. 

"We have a lot of land grabbing issues and mega-projects, and mining projects and… a lot of our people are suffering from… negative impacts. Nobody helps us. That’s why I’m here. To try to understand the international community, how they can help,” said Kaung.

When asked what his organization would do with funding, Kaung is unequivocal.

"Our people in Myanmar, in Burma, are very uneducated, very illiterate. They don’t have the knowledge of politics and they don’t know democracy and they don't know human rights, [so] … it is very difficult for us to have their participation in activities. We will use the money training the people, to organize them," says Kaung.

The number of causes represented at the summit — from education to female empowerment and entrepreneurship, infrastructure improvement, maternal health and land tenure rights — were almost as diverse as the peoples themselves.  As one observer remarked, “This is a small world, but with lots of big worlds inside.”

Vacation, travel and hospitality

La Fortuna
Comfort of your home in the campo, 5 minutes from Fortuna Centro of San Carlos, in the shadow of Volcano Arenal, Flat screen TV, AC, refrigerator, free coffee. Local area activities like four-wheeling, horse riding, zip lining, hot springs, jungle walking tours. Bring your camera for great photos of nature, fishing and swimming, canyoning and more. Call for reservations  (506) 2479-8670   and (506) 8682-9219  Email:

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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.

   * Discover how to make the right choices about moving here
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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:   
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.

Click photo for another video

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

 (as reported by the moving companies)
Visit many rental options to actually experience the price/amenity options available in more of the areas chosen by Expats for security, comfort, and quality of life.

Meet many Expats who are willing to share their experiences and how the tour has value long after the “lust” wears off.
See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!

Ask the others what you get for your money, and then compare the quality of accommodations, quality, quantity and variety of food and drink to measure the best value for your money. 

Learn how others “talk the talk” and learn who really can “walk the walk”

Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
George Lundquist, retirement, relocation columnist, Guide & Developer/Builder.


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

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Beautiful fully furnished two floor house for rent
in La Guacima

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

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

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
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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.

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.

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.

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:

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A.M. Costa Rica's   Fifth news page

cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 196
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Up to 100 persons in Texas
identified as ebola contacts

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Up to 100 people may have had direct or indirect contact with the first person to be diagnosed with the deadly ebola virus in the United States, and four of his relatives have been quarantined in their homes as a precaution, Texas health officials said Thursday.

Dallas County officials said 12 to 18 people had direct contact with the Texas patient,who has been identified as Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan, and they in turn had contact with scores of others.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden said most of the 100 people have been interviewed and the Centers identified only a handful of individuals so far who may really have been exposed to ebola and therefore will be monitored.

Erikka Neroes, a spokeswoman for the Dallas County Health Department, said none of those being monitored was showing symptoms of the disease, which include fever, uncontrollable bleeding, vomiting and diarrhea and spreads through contact with bodily fluids such as blood or saliva.

Duncan was diagnosed with the Ebola virus on Sunday.  He is in isolation at a Dallas hospital, where his condition is listed as serious but stable.

Also Thursday, Liberian authorities said Duncan will be prosecuted when he returns home for lying on his airport screening questionnaire.
With an Ebola epidemic raging in West Africa, passengers leaving Liberia are being screened for fever and are asked if they have had contact with anyone infected.

On the form obtained by The Associated Press and confirmed by a government official, Duncan answered no to questions about whether he had cared for an ebola patient or touched the body of someone who had died in an area affected by ebola.

Days before he left Liberia, Duncan had helped carry to a taxi a pregnant woman who later died of ebola, according to neighbors and reported by AP. Her illness at the time was believed to be pregnancy-related.

Public health authorities have been calling on U.S. health care workers to screen patients for signs of illness, question patients about their travel history and rule out ebola for those who have been to West Africa, where more than 3,000 people have died in the epidemic.

“Unfortunately, that did not happen in this case,” said Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “We just need to put that behind us and look ahead and make sure that in the future that doesn't happen again.”

Duncan flew to Texas from Liberia via Brussels and Washington. He arrived in the United States Sept. 20, and five days later went to the hospital with a low-grade fever and abdominal pain.

CNN reported that a Dallas woman who had a child with Duncan said he had sweated profusely in the bed they shared at her apartment. She said the sheets were still on the bed.

Hospital officials said Duncan told an emergency room nurse he had come from Liberia, but admitted his travel information had not been shared with other staff who were treating him.

Duncan was sent home with antibiotics but returned two days later.

Also on Thursday, Britain made a plea for international help to deal with the world's worst ebola outbreak at the start of a conference in London, with one charity warning that five people are being infected with the virus every hour in Sierra Leone.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond called for decisive action to fight the ebola outbreak in West Africa, urging countries to increase financial aid as well as provide other vital help including medical expertise, transport and supplies.

Hammond told the Defeating Ebola conference Thursday in London that such action could save hundreds of thousands of lives and prevent the crisis from getting further out of control.

“We’re at a tipping point in the management of this ebola outbreak, we've got more than 20 countries coming together here and we’re hoping that the commitments and the pledges that are made today will allow us to make a step change in our response, get ahead of the curve so that we can contain and then beat this disease," he said.

Sierra Leone's President Ernest Bai Koroma, due to attend Thursday's conference, had to cancel because of technical problems with his plane.

Ebola has killed at least 3,338 in West Africa - mainly in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia - out of 7,178 cases as of Sept. 28, the World Health Organization said, and cases have been recorded elsewhere.

Even with the rise in reported cases, Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said the ebola crisis is stabilizing in her country and new data will soon prove that warnings from U.S. and U.N. experts of tens of thousands of cases were simply wrong.

The comments, made to France 24's English news channel late on Wednesday, follow forecasts that 20,000 people could be infected with ebola by early November.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has warned of hundreds of thousands of cases if swift action is not taken.

“We are beginning to see a stabilization - even in Monrovia, which has been hit the hardest,” President Johnson Sirleaf said, referring to Liberia's capital city.

Liberia has recorded the most deaths - nearly 2,000 - and aid agencies said they still need hundreds of beds for ebola patients in the capital.

The lack of beds means ebola patients are being turned away and sent back to their communities, further spreading the infection.

However, the president rejected the negative warnings.

“I am waiting for the next projections and I hope they will admit that they've just been simply wrong, that all of our countries are getting this thing under control,” she said.

Although World Health said the total number of new cases had fallen for a second week, it warned of under-reporting and said there were few signs of the epidemic being brought under control.

“Transmission remains persistent and widespread in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, with strong evidence of increasing case incidence in several districts,” the agency said.

Wage talks in Cambodia seen
affecting First World prices

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

As a new round of Cambodian wage negotiations approaches this month, major U.S. and European retailers who source from the country say they will be watching the talks carefully and want to see fair pay for workers.

Representatives of the brands like Gap, Levi Strauss, and Columbia say they want a proper wage that affords Cambodian workers adequate food, housing, clothing, medical care and social services.

In an email, Amber Rensen, a spokeswoman for Levi Strauss & Co., said “To this end, we encourage governments to establish inclusive and transparent processes for regular minimum wage setting to ensure workers’ needs are met in the growing economies in which we source our products."

Many Cambodian workers have begun midday strikes in support of a wage increase to $177 per month, an amount that factories have said they cannot afford.

Union leaders, factory representatives and government officials met Sept. 26 to negotiate a wage increase, but talks failed after factories said they could only increase wages to $110 per month, a slight increase over the current $100 per month.

Ms. Rensen said that when a new wage is set, Levi Strauss will make sure suppliers provide workers the new rate, “as well as required overtime premiums and benefits.”

The Gap, too, said it wants to see positive changes in Cambodia’s industrial sector, a major driver of the economy and employer of up to 600,000 people that did $4.4 billion in trade in 2013.

“We’ve urged the Cambodian government to address worker unrest and wage concerns, as well as the establishment of a regular dialogue between garment workers, factory owners and the Cambodian government to resolve future wage disputes,” said The Gap spokeswoman Laura Wilkinson.

76 million at JP Morgan
had their accounts hacked

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. banking giant JP Morgan Chase has revealed that more than 76 million customer and business accounts were exposed by one of the biggest cyber security attacks in history.

The bank had said this past summer that customer data was compromised and only revealed the extent of the attack Thursday.

But bank officials say they have not seen unusual customer fraud since the attack.  They are assuring those who do business with the bank that their money is safe.

The Wall Street Journal reports security experts believe the information hacked is tied more to JP Morgan's marketing operations rather than banking.

One expert likened it to a bank robbery in which the thieves broke into the wrong building.

Other recent U.S. cyber attacks where credit information on tens of millions customers was stolen include the Home Depot hardware store chain and Target department stores.

Monetary Fund chief says
recovery is still disappointing

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The chief of the International Monetary Fund says the world economy is still dealing with the legacies of the severe downturn several years ago, with a disappointing global recovery.

Christine Lagarde, Fund managing director, called Thursday on governments across the world to adopt policies to aim higher to promote economic growth, including labor market reforms and increased spending on major construction projects to improve basic infrastructures.

She outlined world economic trends in a Washington speech ahead of next week's Fund and World Bank meetings.  Ms. Lagarde said she sees a somewhat negative outlook for the world economy - the new mediocre - that stems from the global recession in 2008 and 2009, even as economic fortunes in some parts of the world have improved.

Ms. Lagarde said the economic downturn several years ago has led to much higher governmental and corporate debt levels and unemployment that is a major, major difficulty in many countries.

"The global economy is weaker than we had hoped only six months ago. So there is recovery, don't get me wrong. But it's weaker than what we had hoped," she said.

She said the Monetary Fund is forecasting a modest pickup in 2015,  but that economic advances will be uneven across the world.

World oil prices plunge
to lowest level in a year

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

World oil prices dropped to their lowest levels in more than a year Thursday as Saudi Arabia, one of the world's largest oil producers, showed no signs of cutting its production to ease the glut in the global supply.

Riyadh earlier in the week cut its official crude oil selling price for the fourth month in a row, signaling it is looking to keep its world market share and compete on pricing with other big producers.

The price for Brent crude from the North Sea fell to as low as $91.55 a barrel, its lowest point since June 2012, before recovering by more than $2 a barrel.

A sweet grade of oil traded in the United States, West Texas Intermediate, dropped below $90 a barrel, its lowest point since April 2013, although it marginally recovered in later trading on November contracts.

Analysts predict oil prices could fall further as long as production in major drilling areas across the world is not trimmed.

World oil prices have been falling for several months as Libyan oil production has resumed and the value of the U.S. dollar is at a four-year high against other currencies. The strong U.S. dollar makes oil more expensive for weaker currencies, which in turn cuts demand for oil.

Two men from Burma held
in murders of Thai tourists

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Police in Thailand say two men from Myanmar have confessed to last month's gruesome murder of a British couple who were vacationing on a southern island.

The bodies of 23-year-old Hanna Witheridge and 24-year-old David Miller were found in September on Koh Tao island, about 410 kilometers south of Bangkok.

Police Friday said two migrant workers from Myanmar, also known as Burma, admitted to the killing. They say DNA from both men was found in Witheridge's body.

It is not clear what exactly led to the murder. The two suspects are in custody and are expected to soon face formal arrest warrants and charges.

The double-murder rattled Thailand's normally thriving tourism industry, which was already struggling following a May military coup and subsequent marital law.

Thai authorities were initially criticized for mishandling the murder investigation. Junta chief Prayuth Chan-ocha was also forced to apologize after suggesting tourists in bikinis were making themselves more vulnerable to attack.

Common virus gets stronger,
and new mutation is feared

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Some 500 people in more than 40 states and the District of Columbia currently have respiratory illnesses caused by the enterovirus D-68. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says EV-D68 is a very common virus, affecting about 15 million people each year in the United States, it may have mysteriously turned deadly.

Ten-year-old Emily Otrando died last week from an infection associated with the enterovirus D68. Health officials in her home state of Rhode Island say, although the cause of death was staphylococcus aureus sepsis, cultures also showed the presence of EV-D68. But it's not clear what role, if any, the virus played in her death. Speaking at a news conference this week, Michael Fine, director of the state's Department of Health, says Miss Otrando's condition deteriorated rapidly in just 24 hours.

“She got a little short of breath. Her parents didn't think much about it, took her to the hospital, and really by the time she got to the hospital, everything fell apart," said Fine.

Meanwhile, doctors in Colorado are trying to determine if enterovirus D68 is to blame for at least 10 cases of paralysis-like symptoms in young patients with respiratory illnesses there. In Boston, four patients exhibiting polio-like symptoms are also being tested for EV-D68 virus. The virus causes fever, coughing and other symptoms, and can lead to severe breathing troubles, especially among people who suffer from asthma.

Florida physician John Young has been talking with his patients about the outbreak. He said that while EV-D68 is a lot like the common cold virus, causing a runny nose and cough, something seems to be different this time... and it is worrisome.

“It seems to attack other parts of the body. What we are seeing is it can cause inflammation within the brain. It’s attacking the muscles, nerves, causing hopefully some temporary paralysis. It seems to be a more aggressive form of some of these viruses we’ve treated in the past," said Young.

Young says it’s not unusual for viruses to mutate over time.

“What’s scary about this one is that people who are immune compromised - and that can mean anyone with any chronic illness and genetic problems, lung problems - these people seem to be much more susceptible to this virus," he said.

Rhode Island health official Fine says that Emily Otrando's death was an isolated case. It’s not something he expects to see again soon. In the meantime, he recommends additional precautions.

“Make sure your kids are washing their hands five or six times a day. Make sure that anybody with asthma has their asthma under good control," he said.

Young goes even further. He says people have to strengthen their immune systems, getting plenty of rest, and lots of vitamin D, which helps the body fight infections.
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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.

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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
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Costa Rica,

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

Visit our Web Site:

English calls: (Cristian Arce) Phone: 
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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:

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Suenos montage
Outrageous blowout prices on oceanfront condos in Los Sueños!

Located in the private Bay Residence enclave overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Los Sueños Resort and Marina, there are three gorgeous units available at unbelievable bargain pricing from $589,000.  All of these beautiful units are three bedrooms and two baths, 2,200 square feet, fully furnished and ready to move in.  Development includes a gym, access to 3 pools, jacuzzis, BBQ areas and the Beach Club.  If you’ve always wanted to own in Los Sueños, now is the time!  Contact or call 8702-0778.  From the US call 209-473-3574.
Top floor unit: $649,000   Second floor unit: $675,000  Garden unit: $589,000

Newly available in Roca Verde
Well-built home of 215 m2, 3 bedrooms, two bath on 1,150 m2 of lot, with attractive rock retaining wall, carport, and a pool. Indoors there are high, vaulted hardwood ceiling, bright rooms, a laundry room.  The floor is ceramic tile in pastel shades. $247,000. Photos: 2446-5587.

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   Check out slide show HERE!

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.

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 or call (506) 8386-8825.  Rodney, asking $350,000.

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  Home phone: 2417-1041 Cell phone: 8888 4543 Skype glundquist.
To see more Photos of this house, click HERE!

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,, 8820-1501/8379-7947

Farm montage

Guanacaste, Liberia Farm
$64,000 NEGOTIABLE and owner financing available.
9 hectares (24 acres). Riverfront property and amazing views of 3 volcanoes.


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:  and


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:

ARenal property
Location: Near Arenal        Price: $2.7 million
Size: 113 acres
Web site:

The farm is at the highest point on a stunning ridge bordered by pristine Costa Rican primary forest on all sides of the property, with active wildlife all throughout the area. On each of its gently rolling terraced lomas you get a glimpse of Volcán Arenal from a distance. This property has four different lagunas, a working organic farm and nursery, mature fruit trees, sheep corral, ideal for grazing horses with stunning views from all the hillsides. The Northern Zone of Costa Rica is the country's best kept secret, providing a perfect home base location to travel the country's many destinations while still maintaining the best climate at 400 meters above sea level.

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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 
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Gorgeous 2-bedroom, 2-bath condo with private terrace offering spectacular ocean views and built energy green. This condo is located in a gated community with low HOA dues and offers amenities including a pool & rancho.  It is located close to a beautiful white, sandy beach. Only 20 minutes to the resort town Tamarindo and an hour from Liberia airport.  Luxury finishings: Pella double pane windows, AC & ceiling fans, Frigidaire stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, marble bathroom vanities, custom cabinets. Contact or email 
U.S. (732) 962-6525 or CR (506) 8349-2025

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

Casa de Eden is  2,600 square feet with 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath, outdoor shower, private outdoor terrace and pool located only minutes from Playa Conchal.  The home is in a private, secure, gated community surrounded by nature and close to the resort town of Tamarindo, only an hour from Liberia airport.  The home is being offered fully furnished with: AC & ceiling fans, Frigidaire Professional series stainless steel appliances, granite kitchen countertops, marble bathroom vanities, custom wood cabinetry, internet, cable. 
Contact  U.S. (732) 984-7549
or CR (506) 8349-2025.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 196
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Pulsed light shown to make peanuts safer

By the University of Florida news service

A University of Florida scientist has moved one step closer to his goal of eliminating 99.9 percent of peanut allergens by removing 80 percent of them in whole peanuts.

Scientists must eliminate peanut allergens below a certain threshold for patients to be safe, said Wade Yang, an assistant professor in food science and human nutrition and member of university's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

If Yang can cut the allergens from 150 milligrams of protein per peanut to below 1.5 milligrams, 95 percent of those with peanut allergies would be safe. It’s challenging to eliminate all peanut allergens, he said, because doing so may risk destroying peanut texture, color, flavor and nutrition. But he said he’s using novel methods like pulsed light to reach an allergen level that will protect most people.

Yang, whose study is published online in the journal Food and Bioprocess Technology, cautioned that he has done peanut allergen experiments only in a laboratory setting so far. He hopes to eventually conduct clinical trials on animals and humans.

Shih-Wen Huang, professor emeritus in the Department of Pediatrics and Head of the Pediatric Allergy Clinic at the university, is familiar with the research. Huang outlined more steps in the peanut allergen research.

The first is to see if the allergic antibody in the serum of peanut allergy patients will still bind with the residual allergy protein from the refined peanut products. The second is to see if the refined peanut extract would elicit skin-test reactions in peanut allergy patients.

The third step would be to conduct a double blind, placebo-controlled test to see if patients develop allergy symptoms after eating the refined products.

“I am pleased to see their work is progressing well,” Huang said. “However, more challenges are waiting until the final products are accepted from the public, especially the patients with peanut allergies.”

Two years ago, Yang was using his technique on peanut extract. He’s now testing it on the peanut itself. In his 2012 study, he removed up to 90 percent of the allergic potential from peanut protein extracts.

“This process proves that pulsed light can inactivate the peanut allergenic proteins and indicates that pulsed light has a great potential in peanut allergen mitigation,” Yang said.

About 1.9 million people, or 0.06 percent of U.S. residents, are allergic to peanuts, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health.

Reactions can range from skin rashes to anaphylaxis, which can be fatal. Currently, the best way for those allergic to peanuts to stay safe is to avoid them, according to the National Institutes of Health. Many people carry epinephrine injectors that help offset their allergy symptoms until they reach a hospital.

In the latest study, Yang and his colleagues applied the pulsed ultraviolet light technology to whole peanuts. That makes the findings more useful, because peanut processing usually starts from whole-peanut roasting, and roasted peanuts are then packaged to sell as whole peanuts or made into peanut butter, he said.

“The latest study moves one step closer to the actual production,” Yang said.

For the study, Yang used a pulsating light system – two lamps filled with xenon, two cooling blowers, one treatment chamber with a conveyor belt and a control module ─ to direct concentrated bursts of light to modify the peanut allergenic proteins. That way, human antibodies can’t recognize them as allergens and begin to release histamines.

Histamines create allergy symptoms such as itching, rashes and wheezing.

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From Page 7:

Fruit with chemical residue destroyed

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Food safety officials say they destroyed three shipments totaling 5,700 kilos of peaches and a shipment of nectarines because the fruits showed too much fungicide residue.

The fruit came from California, said the Servicio Fitosanitario del Estado. The fungicide is propiconazole, said the agency.

The shipment arrived in Caldera over the last month, said the agency. All four shipments came from the same exporter, said the agency.