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(506) 2223-1327                                Published Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014, in  Vol. 14, No. 200                         Email us
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Rock Construction

Government acts to shake up, restructure agencies
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The central government has taken strong action against three major institutions.

Casa Presidencial said Wednesday that the current board of directors for the southern zone development agency has been sacked and new persons from that area were named to fill the vacant seats. This is the  Junta de Desarrollo Regional de la Zona Sur, which also operates the Depósito Libre Comercial in Golfito.

Casa Presidencial also announced the creation of a new entity, the  Instituto Nacional de Infraestructura, which would eliminate the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad, the road agency, and the Consejo de  Concesiones, the entity that oversees and approved private concessions of public property like the Caldera highway.

President Luis Gullermo Solís promised to eliminate the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad during his campaign.

The board of the southern zone development agency has been under fire for some time. There have been negative reports from the Contraloria
General de la República, the budget watchdog, and a special committee set up to study the situation.

The central government said it was making sure that the Depósito Libre Comercial was not seriously affected by the decision.

This is the place where many Costa Ricans and expats go to get tax-free and low-tax big ticket items, like appliances. Christmas is a big season. The Deposito was designed to bring cash to the southern zone after banana operations closed down.

The development agency is involved with the cantons of  Corredores, Osa, Buenos Aires, Coto Brus and Golfito

The  Instituto Nacional de Infraestructura will be the subject of a proposed law presented to the legislature early next year, said Casa Presidencial. The new agency would be headed by a vice minister in the Ministerio de Obras Pública y Transportes.

Both the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad and the Consejo de  Concesiones have been the subject of much criticism. The presidential action is seem as a way to improve the structure and streamline the agencies.

slide
Consejo Nacional de Vialidad photo




Slides like this were common Wednesday, and they probably will be the same today. The rain also made highway work dificult. This slide is on Ruta 739 near the bridge over the  Río Balsa in Bajo los Rodríguez. There was a similar scene on Rute 2  at Lagunilla de Pérez Zeledón.


Rainy season delivers a small dose of its power
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Wednesday was a typical rainy season day with 120 homes flooded, trees falling and four roadways and two bridges out of service.

The  Instituto Meteorológico Nacional said that the low pressure system that caused all this has moved into Nicaragua and weakened, but forecasters expect the system to strengthen again once it starts to pass over the Pacific Ocean.

There was much more rain through 7 a.m. Wednesday than afterwards, although there were showers in places most of the day in the Central Valley. Escazú got 77 millimeters between 7 a.m. Tuesday and 7 a.m. Wednesday. That's a bit more 
than three inches. But the rainfall was just 10 millimeters since 7 a.m. Wednesday.

The bulk of the flooding was in the usual spots with Puntarenas Centro leading the way. The national emergency commission said that 19 cantons had places where there were problems. These may have been nothing more than storm sewers backing up and low spot in the highway filled with water.

The problems were not unexpected because the low pressure system was over the Caribbean and moving east Sunday.

The weather institute said that forecasters expected the low pressure system to move into the Pacific and relax its grip on Costa Rica by early Friday.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 200

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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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Remodelling and Construction


Real estate agents and services

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Our reader's opinion
Key elements of marijuana study missed

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:


Your report of Wayne Hall's recent review of marijuana use fails to adequately describe the "regular" users for whom he discusses risks. Nowhere do you say what percent of all users are included in "regular" users, nor do you say what percent of all users fall into the "regular" category.
 
For him to say that "regular adolescent cannabis users have lower educational attainment" sounds scary to those who do not know that the he defines "regular" users as those who might smoke three to five joints a day, typically smoking every day. They do not represent the majority of all users, by far.
 
Crucial too, is the question of what percent of all users are ever regular users. By the American Psychiatric Society's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders criteria for dependence, the author says that 9 percent of those who ever use marijuana will at some time be "dependent" on it. He only mentions in passing that 15 percent of those who have ever used alcohol will at sometime be dependent on alcohol.

No one versed in the epidemiology and risk assessment of cannabis will claim that it is without risk. But at the same time, the professional literature is fraught with exaggeration regarding marijuana use, starting as far back as Harry Anslinger's fanaticism and the classic movie, "Reefer Madness."
 
If A.M. Costa Rica is to publish this side of the issue, then please, to prevent bias, tell us about the horrendous criminal sanctions imposed on thousands of people whose only crime has been possessing and using this drug. Tell us how Black and Latino users go to prison, while white male adolescents get sent to forced treatment, which which most of them do not need. Tell us about the enormity of the correctional system in the United States, the force behind criminalizing health problems.
 
Be fair, A.M. Costa Rica.
John French
Heredia

Court officials denounce budget cuts

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Poder Judicial has launched a campaign to protect its proposed budget.

Magistrates of the Corte Suprema de Justicia held a press conference Wednesday to protest a motion in a legislative committee that chopped 4.7 billion colons from the 2015 budget. That is about $8.7 million.

The budget cut was by the  Comisión Permanente de Asuntos Hacendarios.

Zarela Villanueva Monge, the president of the court, said that the cuts involve budget areas that already have been established by prior contracts and that if the Poder Judicial does not adhere to the agreement, there will be much more money spent in damages.

Some of the cuts involve budget lines such as security of judicial structures, repair of communication equipment, the medical examiners, and transport of prisoners, officials said.

 Francisco Segura, director of the Judicial Investigating Organization, said that the cuts give an advantage to criminals

The Poder Judicial not only includes the courts and the prosecutors, but  it also includes public defenders, investigators, programs for victims, protection for witnesses and even food for inmates who are temporarily in custody.

The Poder Judicial has been under fire for the pensions retirees receive and also the way nearly all employees almost always get merit raises.


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AIM
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 200
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Another effort seeks to promote the unique cuisine of Costa Rica
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Even food is not out of the reach of the central government. The Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio announced Wednesday what it calls the  Plan Nacional de Gastronomía Sostenible y Saludable. The ministry did so at a meeting of the  Cámara Costarricense de Restaurantes y Afines.

The ministry said that it was seeking a Costa Rican gastronomy based on national products and to rescue cooking traditions, Also sought was promoting community development and protecting the environment.

The ministry said that other agencies and private organizations were supporting the initiative.  One of them is the  Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud, which already runs contest to promote traditional dishes and to collect the recipes.

The ministry also sees this as strengthening small and medium enterprises. There are some 90 food producers already listed with the ministry's small business program, including restaurants, drink manufacturers, mobile food providers and food producers.

The ministry initiative also includes setting standards for the food industry and a multitude of other specifics. Some seem hard to swallow, such as reducing cost and increasing productivity and profitability. And finally to increase the quality of life in the country.

So what should be a traditional Costa Rican dinner?

Not all these ideas are traditional, but they do include local foods.
There are some beneficial aspects, too.

Lion fish, an invasive species, are cleaning out other sea creatures in the Caribbean. The best way to catch them is with spears, as is done at Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. Putting them on the commercial menu would create another industry and help  clean up the ocean.
lion fishLion fish

A really traditional food here is the paca (Cuniculus paca) also
Pejibayes
Pejibayes
known as a tepezcuintle. This forest rodent was a main course long before Columbus. They now are farm-reared, but many individuals still have an aversion to a main course of rodent. So beef, also a traditional food, was selected instead.

The dinner would start with  creamed peach palm soup (pejibayes) served with cassava or yuca flour buns.
This would be accompanied by a guaro martini, shaken not stirred!
An appetizer of pickled veggies called escabeche also would be served.

A simple salad  consists of lettuce and tomatoes with an optional sugar cane and vinegar dressing.

The fish course will be that Puerto Viejo lion fish in a coconut butter sauce laced with Santa Ana onions..

The main course provides a choice of either farm-reared tilapia drenched in salsa or a traditional grilled beef, Some might argue that beef is not a sustainable food. And some folks
guaro
No need for vermouth
are pushing lion fish burgers to help eliminate the invasive species. But you can't beat beef.

Chayote. Cartago potatoes and perhaps rice with a side of beans
cafe rica
Cafe Rica
comes with the main course.

Beverages include atole de avena, the oatmeal and milk drink, or  tapa de dulce, a mixture made from raw sugar.

There is local local beer and maybe another belt of a guaro martini. Leave the car keys with the host.

The selected dessert is chorreadas flambé in the style of a crêpe suzette, except with the traditional base of the Costa Rican corn
pancake. A 100-proof Costa Rican rum  would provide the flames, and the fruit and sugar are local.

Cafe Rica, the coffee liquor, comes with a separate serving of expresso.
Would if be politically incorrect to offer Puriscal cigars in the drawing room?

If anything, Costa Rican cooks under estimate what is available.  What about bananas or platanos. Avocados, perhaps? Although the best ones seem to come from California.

A strange fact is that Costa Rica produces little wine, and some that is offered as a national product comes from imported powder. Jocote producers are reported to have developed an alcoholic drink similar to wine using the little green fruits.

Any other suggestions?


President launches high-level commission to make country competitive
By the A.M.. Costa Rica staff

The president initiated the work Wednesday of  a commission designed to improve the competitivity of the country. 

It is the   Consejo Presidencial de Competitividad, Innovación y Talento Humano The work will be in three parts.

The first, headed by First Vice President Helio Fallas, is the  Consejo de Competitividad This includes the ministers of  Agricultura y Ganadería, Economía, Industria y Comercio, Comercio Exterior, Obras Públicas y Transportes, Ambiente y Energía and Turismo. There also are two representatives from industry and one each from the Consejo Privado de Competitividad and the Cámara de Exportadores.

The Consejo de Innovación y Talento Humano will be directed by Second Vice President Ana Helena Chacón and include the ministers of  Ciencia y Tecnología, Educación Pública, Trabajo, and Comercio
Exterior. There will be representatives from the Instituto Nacional de
Aprendizaje, the Consejo Privado de la Competitividad, the Consejo Nacional de Rectores, the Unión de Rectores de Universidades Privadas, the Asociación de Empresarios para el Desarrollo, private industry and the Coalición Costarricense de Inciativas de Desarrollo.

Also created is the Alianza para el Desarrollo Productivo y el Empleo, headed by the Ministerio de Trabajo.

The umbrella presidential commission will meet twice a month, and the individual consejos will meet once a month, said Casa Presidencial. The groups are supposed to identify the vision and the objective principles that the country should reach in the medium and long term to be more competitive. They are supposed to suggest programs, priorities and policies involving the various ministries with the same goals.

Also announced Wednesday was that President Luis Guillermo Solís will travel to Canada at the end of the month seeking investors.

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, Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 200
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Mangroves found to provide protection for various types of coral
By the U.S. Geological Survey news staff

Certain types of corals, invertebrates of the sea that have been on Earth for millions of years, appear to have found a way to survive some of their most destructive threats by attaching to and growing under mangrove roots.

Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey and Eckerd College published research on a newly discovered refuge for reef-building corals in mangrove habitats of the U.S. Virgin Islands. More than 30 species of reef corals were found growing in Hurricane Hole, a mangrove habitat within the Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument in St. John.

Corals are animals that grow in colonies, forming reefs over time as old corals die and young corals grow upon the calcium carbonate or limestone skeletons of the old corals. Coral reefs make up some of the most biologically diverse habitats on Earth, and face many threats such as coastal pollution, dredging and disease. However, some of their most widespread threats involve warming ocean temperatures, solar radiation and increased ocean acidification.

It is from these threats that corals are finding refuge under the red mangroves of Hurricane Hole. Red mangroves, subtropical or tropical trees that colonize coastlines and brackish water habitats, have networks of prop roots that extend down toward the sea floor, and corals are growing on and under these roots.

How does it work?

Mangroves and their associated habitats and biological processes protect corals in a variety of ways.

* The shade provided by mangroves protects the corals from high levels of solar radiation. This in turn, may reduce some of the stress caused by warming ocean waters.

* A combination of chemical, biological and physical conditions around the mangrove habitats helps protect the corals by keeping acidity in the water below harmful levels. With oceans becoming more acidic due to the increased amount of carbon dioxide absorbed from the atmosphere, ocean animals like corals are threatened by rising acidity levels, which can slow coral growth and impact reef structure.

* The shade provided by the mangroves helps deter coral bleaching, a condition that essentially starves coral and can, in prolonged cases,

coral
U.S. Geological Survey /Caroline Rogers
Beneath these trees, protected by the roots, coral flourishes

result in their death. Coral bleaching episodes are becoming more frequent around the world.

Bleaching occurs when corals lose their symbiotic algae. Most corals contain algae called zooxanthellae within their cells. The coral protects the algae and provides the algae with the compounds they need for photosynthesis. The algae, in turn, produce oxygen, help the coral to remove waste products, and, most importantly, provide the coral with compounds the coral needs for everyday survival. When corals are under prolonged physiological stress, they may expel the algae, leading to the condition called bleaching.

When examining corals for this study, researchers found evidence of some species thriving under the mangroves while bleaching in unshaded areas outside of the mangroves.  Boulder brain corals, for example, were found in abundance under the mangroves and were healthy, while many of those in unshaded areas a short distance away were bleaching.

Organisms throughout the world are threatened as climate and other conditions change. It is not known how many other mangrove areas in the world harbor such a high diversity of corals, as most people do not look for corals growing in these areas. No coral reefs have been identified to date that protect from rising ocean temperatures, acidification and increased solar radiation like these mangrove habitats in St. John.

Vacation, travel and hospitality


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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
 *HIGHEST SUCCESS RATE
OF RELOCATION*

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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.

Meet many Expats who are willing to share their experiences and how the tour has value long after the “lust” wears off.
See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!
http://www.vimeo.com/5656822

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

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

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

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

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

Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for your stay in this beautiful part of Costa Rica.
tropical
We are offering homes for every budget and every need.
Please visit our Web page at www.tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or contact us at rentals@tropicalhomesofcostarica.com
or call at (506) 2654-5442.
8441-2/17/15

ALAJUELA – SERENE LIVING
MONTHLY $800 TO $1,200

Villas Casa Loma has everything you are looking for.  Best vistas, climate, value.  Four unique homes in a secure private compound on a ridge near Alajuela overlooking the entire Central Valley.  Two are available fully furnished and equipped, each a complete home accommodating 4 persons in two bedrooms with ensuite baths.  Pool, rancho, mirador, other features.  Ask about part-month rates.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at gerrybuilt2000@yahoo.com.  See virtual tour of accommodations HERE!
Get to know the real Costa Rica – you may want to live here someday.
8423-9/15/14

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

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




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cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 200
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U.S., Navajo Nation make
deal to settle trustee faults

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A record multi-million-dollar settlement between the United States government and the Navajo Nation has been seen as a turning point in relations between the federal government and the entire Indian nation. It is the largest sum ever paid by the U.S. government to a single Indian tribe.

Within the territory of the United States are 562 nations, ethnically-, culturally- and linguistically-diverse Native American tribes recognized by the United States as sovereign governments. The largest is the Navajo Nation, whose territory stretches more than 70,000 square kilometers across three western states.

While the tribal governments enforce laws on their territory and license and regulate activities, the federal government holds the vast majority of Indian lands, money and resources in trust for the tribes, and is required to manage them in a way that benefits the tribes and individual Native Americans.

The Navajo Nation sued the federal government in 2006 and sought $900 million in damages for mismanagement of resources and trust accounts since at least 1946.

The claims in the case involved essentially three things: one, the federal government as trustee was responsible for negotiating a contract for the extraction of natural resources for the Navajo Nation’s property; two, the government was responsible for monitoring the performance under the contract to make sure that the Navajo Nation was paid the royalties due; and three, as trustee the United States was obligated to invest the proceeds in a commercially appropriate way.

Andrew Sandler, who represented the Navajo Nation in the suit, said the settlement for $554 million is an equitable deal for both parties. It comes at a time when the Navajo Nation needs significant investment in several areas -- from education to housing -- and he said it will go a long way toward addressing those needs.

“The Navajo Nation is plagued by an unemployment rate as high as 50 percent. It is in desperate need for educational resources, for infrastructure resources, for roads, for water, and many other things," said Sandler. "This $500-plus million will go a long, long way to improving the quality of life for the Navajo people.”

The signing ceremony took place late last month in Window Rock, Arizona, which serves as the capital of the Navajo Nation. Navajo official Rick Abasta said that there were compromises on both sides.

“There was a little bit of compromise on the Nation’s part in accepting this $554 million settlement. But I think the bigger picture was to end the litigation against the federal government, because of course that has a cost as well, and move forward with improving the Nation and utilizing these funds,” he said.

In various public statements, U.S. officials had acknowledged that the federal government had failed in its obligation as trustee. However, the deal reflects Washington's commitment to upholding its trust responsibility to Indian Country and to building strong, prosperous and resilient tribal communities.

Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly said the agreement was symbolic of the evolving relationship between the Navajo Nation and the U.S. government.

“The $554 million represented in this settlement is more than just the end of a legal battle. It is not just fulfilling the trust responsibility of our trustee, nor is it full compensation for the loss of revenue and the harm caused by the federal government’s actions over decades," he said. "This settlement marks a turning point in our relationship with the federal government, and I'm hoping to see that before Obama leaves.”

U.S. tribes have filed more than 100 lawsuits against the federal government. Since early 2012, the government has resolved about 80 of them, amounting to $2.5 billion.


Feb policy makers seeking
better way to communicate

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Officials of the U.S. central bank are looking for better ways to tell markets they are not going to raise interest rates abruptly or soon, even though many economic indicators are improving.

When to raise interest rates and how to warn markets that this economic change is on the way was a key part of the debate at September's meeting of top Fed policy makers.  Many analysts predict the Fed will begin raising rates to more normal levels in the middle of next year.

Notes from that gathering were published Wednesday after the Fed's customary delay of several weeks.

The U.S. Federal Reserve cut interest rates to record lows during the recession to encourage economic growth.  But now, the economy is growing, unemployment has fallen sharply and inflation remains below the 2 percent level many economists say is healthy for the economy.

The minutes of the Sept. 16-17 meeting revealed an underlying concern that expectations of financial markets are slightly out of sync with Fed expectations, and that dropping the current policy language could send unintended signals.
       
Some Fed officials cited disappointing growth and inflation in the eurozone, while several said "slower economic growth in China or Japan or unanticipated events in the Middle East or Ukraine might pose a similar risk," the minutes show.

Investors and others watch Fed discussions closely, and stock market prices rose shortly after the notes were published.  The notes show Fed officials expressing concern that markets might misinterpret the Fed's guidance on interest rates and perhaps cause a panicky sell off of stocks.

Fed officials also worried that slowing growth in other nations might crimp the U.S. recovery, and a strengthening dollar might complicate efforts to move inflation closer to the bank's 2 percent target.


artificial hand that feels
Case Western Reserve University photo
This is the hand that can feel sensations.

Independent teams devise
nearly human prosthetics

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Life-like artificial limbs are on the way. Two independent teams of researchers have developed prosthetic devices that behave and feel sensation just like real arms and hands. One device, implanted into the remaining bone, gives amputees a full range of movement using electrical impulses from the brain. The other invention restores the sense of touch.

Artificial hands that look real have been on the market for some time. Now, researchers are creating prosthetic devices that have the sense of touch and exhibit a full range of motion like the missing appendage.

One prosthetic, an artificial arm developed by Swedish researchers, is attached to the remaining bone within the amputated limb of the wearer. Electrodes implanted under the skin receive motor impulses and translate them into movement.
 
Biomedical engineer Max Ortiz Catalan of Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, helped develop the life-like artificial arm.

“Some of those muscles are still there. The nerve cells still there," said Catalan. "So we can pick up those signals coming down from the brain and use them to tell the prosthesis what to do.”

Catalan and co-researchers describe the mind-controlled artificial arm implanted in a male patient, a truck driver who lost his arm a decade ago, in Science Translational Medicine. Before the implant, the man controlled the prosthesis, imperfectly, through electrodes placed on his skin.

But now, Catalan said, the man has complete, stable movement and use of the arm. 

“The patient is using it on his in activities of ... daily living, and playing with his kids, and doing stuff at his home and working. So, he went from working from  50 percent to working 100 percent, and he can wear the prosthesis all day.”

Catalan says researchers plan to start implanting the device in patients with amputated arms beginning next year. 

In a second paper in the journal, Dustin Tyler and colleagues at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, describe how they used implanted electrodes to stimulate sensation in an entire prosthetic limb.

“They have an artificial hand, but what they feel is as though it is their hand. And so we are applying electrical stimulation techniques directly to the nerves that used to go to the sensors in the real hand. And so by activating those, their perception is that it is their real hand,” he said.

The experimental device that creates sensation in a prosthetic hand sits in a box on a desk in the laboratory, much to the disappointment of the two men who have been part of the experiment for some two years.

“You know, one of our subjects basically said when he leaves he has to leave his hand behind because he can not have the sensation outside of the lab," Tyler said. "So, the feeling of their hand back is so powerful, they would like to have this continually.”

Tyler said the goal now is to make the device portable by implanting a controller, possibly in the chest. He said it would be possible to integrate the technology into the mind-controlled prosthetic arm developed by Swedish researchers to make the artificial hand even more like a real one.


Small village felt brunt
of the ebola outbreak

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

In Sierra Leone's Darru district, the remote village of Njallah Geima is one of the worst hit by ebola. Since May, more than half of the 200 people who live there have been infected with ebola, killing 61 of them in just eight weeks.

The remote village sits on a single road. James Bayone is a social worker from Darru who now helps support what is left of this devastated community. He said Ebola wiped out entire families.

“You have a lot of orphans here, a lot of orphans. They are now just left with foster parents. All these children they are left with their grandfather, their mothers died and other relatives, they all are left with their grandfather,” he explained.

Sixty-five year old Arabic teacher Foday Konneh has been left to care for 31 children, 18 are orphans.

“The children many of them are here to learn Arabic, but some of the children are victims of this ebola, their parents died. They were here with me when there parents died, now they have no other place to go," Konneh said.

"So I had to embrace them, to take care of them and cater for them. But to earn a living, it is really difficult sometimes, it is hard,” Konneh said.

With a failing health system, many people like Konneh are left with little support.

Bayone said when ebola struck the village, they were cut off, nobody came to help.

"Everybody abandoned them. As long as you said you were from Njallah Geima, everybody would abandon you," he said. "So it's a little bit easy for them."

Solomon Jauad lives with his family on the edge of the village.  He survived ebola, but lost many family members.

“He says the whole house, if you are looking at the whole house, it was 14 people who died and three ... were brothers,” Bayone said.

This room has been locked since his twin brother's death. Solomon said he was afraid to go for treatment.

The room is all but untouched. Pictures of family still hang on the walls. Cigarettes his brother sold sit on a shelf.

Solomon said he was the last person to die in the village.

Bayone said ebola has touched every part of this community.

“There is not a house in this town that was not affected, whether direct or indirectly that was affected," he said.

When ebola came to Njallah, many people ran away, frightened of those infected. 

Baby Bandu was found locked in an empty house with her sister who later died of ebola.

Veronica Kamara said Bandu is just 18 months old.

“They were in the village both of them, herself and her elder sister who was 7 years old, they were abandoned in the village in a house where there were only two of them in that house, and they were brought here by contract tracers to this center," she stated.

Veronica said she has tracked down relatives of the child, but they rejected her.


Study says smoking joints
fails to boost user creativity


By the Universiteit of  Leiden news service

People often think that smoking cannabis makes them more creative. However, research by Leiden psychologists Lorenza Colzato and Mikael Kowal shows that the opposite is true. They published their findings in Psychopharmacology.

The findings show that cannabis with a high concentration of the psychoactive ingredient THC does not improve creativity. Smokers who ingested a low dose of THC, or none at all (they were given a placebo), performed best in the thinking tasks that the test candidates had to carry out.  A high dose of THC was actually shown to have a negative effect on the ability to quickly come up with as many solutions as possible to a given problem.

The research findings contradict the claims of people who say that their thinking changes and becomes more original after smoking a joint. There’s no sign of any increased creativity in their actual performance, according to researcher Colzato. ‘The improved creativity that they believe they experience is an illusion.’

Ms. Colzato: ‘If you want to overcome writer’s block or any other creative gap, lighting up a joint isn’t the best solution. Smoking several joints one after the other can even be counterproductive to creative thinking.’ 

Ms. Colzato and her Ph.D. candidate Kowal were the first researchers to study the effects of cannabis use on creative thinking. For ethical reasons, only cannabis users were selected for this study. The test candidates were divided into three groups of 18. One group was given cannabis with a high THC content (22 mg), the second group was given a low dose (5.5 mg) and the third group was given a placebo. The high dose was equivalent to three joints and the low dose was equal to a single joint. Obviously, none of the test candidates knew what they were being given. The cannabis was administered via a vaporizer. The test candidates then had to carry out cognitive tasks that were testing for two types of creative thinking:

* Divergent thinking: generating rapid solutions for a given problem, such as: “Think of as many uses as you can for a pen?”

* Convergent thinking: Finding the only right answer to a question, such as: “What is the link between the words ‘time’, ‘hair’ and ‘stretching.’  (The answer is ‘long’.)
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
8502-4/20/15




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)


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 Karen@remax-ocr.com  or call Nate @ 8635-9320.
From the US call 209-482-1788.
Top floor unit: $649,000   Second floor unit: $675,000  Garden unit: $589,000
8500-1/3/15

Newly available in Roca Verde
Atenas
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: http://www.atenasrealty.com/fotos%20H326.html 2446-5587. ldrock@gmail.com
8499-q11/3/14

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

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

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

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

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A.M. Costa Rica's
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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 200
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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
Palmares bridge
Municipalidad de Palmares photo 
 A pedestrian bridge is now in service in Palamares between  Santiago and
 Rincón de Zaragoza. The bridge mostly will benefit school children. At the
 same time work is underway to put in the foundation for a new vehicle
 bridge.



Driving skills can be important

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some folks just are not cut out for the jobs they choose.

Such is the case with two hijackers who confronted a truck driver and locked him in the body of the vehicle.

That was about the time they figured out they did not know how to start the vehicle.

Police spotted the delivery truck in Rohrmoser and quickly recognized the individual at the wheel. He was a well-known Pavas resident.

The pair were detained and eventually were presented to a judge who sent them away for four and six years.


Juvenile crocodile sentenced to Tárcoles

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Fuerza Pública officers encountered another crocodile in San Jerónimo de Orotina. This is at least the third misplaced croc this season.

The young croc appeared to have become used to sunning itself on a bridge in the community.  Officials were worried because the sunbathing location is on a route traversed by students each day.

Police grabbed the critter Tuesday and took it to he Río Tárcoles, which is more or less crocodile central.

Other captures of much bigger critters were in Jacó and Quepos. This is the season mature crocs go courting.


Pet adoption fair is Saturday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Asociación Animales de Asís will host a pet adoption fair Saturday fr, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Heredia Walmart.  The animals, cats and dogs, puppies and kittens, are castrated and vaccinated. A donation is sought.



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From Page 7:

Regional travel fair begins today

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The regional Feria Centroamérica Travel Market opens today for a two-day run at the Centro de Eventos Pedregal. in Belén

Organizers said that some 108 tourism wholesalers will be represented and there will be 180 Central American vendors there, too.

Tourism officials said they hoped for a good turnout of European wholesalers and tourism operators  There were some 300,000 Europeans who visited the country last year, an increase of 5.6 percent, said the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo.