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(506) 2223-1327                          Published Friday, Oct. 18, 2013, in Vol. 13, No. 207                 Email us
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Cascata del Bosco

Assassination attempt alleged
Pacific project investors turn to CAFTA for relief
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Investors and the developer of a residential and hotel project in Esterillos Oeste are threatening to take Costa Rica to arbitration under the free trade treaty with the United States.

The project is Condominio Horizontal Residencial Las Olas, and a warning letter sent by New York lawyers to the Ministerio de Comercio Exterior Sept. 17 alleges official corruption, perjury, inaction by criminal investigators, misstatements and inequitable treatment in a criminal court case.

The lawyers also say that the principal developer, David Richard Aven of New Castle, Pennsylvania,
was the target of an attempted assassination while he drove with another investor in Costa Rica.  A man on a motorcycle fired five shots at the car, the letter said.

A resident near the project site contends that the lawyers' allegations are not as clear cut as they seem to be. The resident has followed the project closely and has taken photos of what he
David Richard Aven
considers to be environmental damage.

The Las Olas project is on 39 hectares, a bit more than 96 acres, on the Pacific coast. Included in this total is a 2.2 hectare maritime concession. Plans call for 300 villas, a hotel and a beach club, the letter noted.

The Central American Free Trade Treaty contains a number of obligations that Costa Rica and other signatories have toward foreign investors. The treaty also provides for arbitration of complaints.

The lawyers claim that the project had all the proper permits but that environmental inspectors closed it down because the project infringed on wetlands that do not exist. The lawyer letter said that the local head of the environmental ministry and also workers of the Municipalidad de Parrita solicited bribes unsuccessfully and that the latter attempt was taped. The letter denies that any wetlands are involved.  Aven reported the bribe attempts but prosecutors in Quepos ignored the case, the letter said.

The Tribunal Ambiental Administrativo of the environmental ministry froze the project. due to alleged environmental damage. That was in April 2011. And a prosecutor,  Luis Martinez, brought  Aven and an employee, Jovan Damjanac, into criminal court.

The lawyers claim that the prosecutor engineered a
land work
A bulldozer works on the Las Olas site. The resident who took the photo said that Richard Aven was driving even after officials ordered the project shut down.

 delay when it appeared he would lose the case. Then a judge became sick and the trial has to be repeated. The New York lawyers consider this double jeopardy.

"The municipal court and the appellate and supreme courts gave the environmental prosecutor, a government agent, a chance to resuscitate a case that should have resulted in the acquittal of Mr. Aven following the prosecutor’s failure to prove any liability," said the letter.  "This type of harassment is outlawed in Costa Rica and in any rule of law system," it added.

The Esterillos Oeste resident said that the project workers destroyed 12 hectares of wetlands and cut 400 trees without permission. He also alleged that the workers set large fires to get rid of trees and vegetation and that these fires killed and scattered local wildlife. The expat resident, who has contacted A.M. Costa Rica with complaints for at least a year, said that streams were covered and that the mangroves were contaminated. These are basically the same allegations put forth by the prosecutor.

The expat said that residents have been signing petitions against Las Olas since 2010 and that they have been forwarded to government representatives.

A new trial on the criminal allegations was supposed to start in September, but it was postponed because Aven did not appear. He is believed to be out of the country and may be ill.

The lawyer letter lists eight corporations that were involved in the development of the project as well as a 49 percent interest by the investors in another corporation.

The letter does not specify an amount in money that the investors would be seeking. The law firm is King & Spalding LLP of New York City. The letter lists seven investors in addition to Aven who are pressing the claim. They are from Georgia, Pennsylvania, Florida and upstate New York.

Editor's note: This news story has been amplified by a subsequent article HERE!

Roundtables set up to explore country's financial woes
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Finance ministry technical staffers already have conducted about 60 meetings to try to figure out how to solve the government's financial problem.

Now citizens are being invited to discussion sessions to consider the five principal financial topics.

An opinion . . . HERE!

This is the Ministerio de Hacienda's national dialogue on fiscal policy.

Edgar Ayales, the minister, outlined the procedure Thursday and said that the roundtables will identify the actions necessary to insure the economic integrity of the state.

He said that he was not speaking of a proposal but rather an analysis and a sharing of opinions. He said a solution is something that cannot be delayed  
and that the country cannot allow the unbalanced financial situation to become chronic.

The first set of session is Oct. 25 in the Auditorio Nacional in the Museo de los Niños. They are open to the public.

The minister said there were three steps involved in the process of designing a strategy, The first was meetings and consultations of a technical nature. This already has taken place.

The national dialogue is the second. Then and only then will the third phase, the submission of proposed new tax laws take place, he said.

The minster outlined five topics that will be discussed  separately. They are fiscal governability, strengthen the administrative and legal system of taxes and customs fees, the level and quality of public spending, debt and investment, and fiscal policy and environmental sustainability.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday,  Oct. 18, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 207

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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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A.M. Costa Rica/Barry Hovland of 10 Degrees Above    
Residents are adopting traditional and tropical costumes.

Limón Centro springing to life
as mood turned to Carnaval

By: Kimberly A. Beck
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Limon Centro is starting to pulsate. The streets like veins have continual motion. People have waited an entire year since last Carnaval and are now getting restless. A few days ago the mascaradas could not be found. Mascaradas are people who wear masks or giant heads along with colorful costumes and run through the streets chasing children. Now after midday, people are looking up from their cell phones and to their surprise directly into the chest of a colorful giant.

Chatter on the corners involves plans for the next day’s activities as young women carry colorful outfits and high heeled boots underneath their arms as they hurry down the street.

The food vendors have stepped up their game offering yuplons covered in salt and chilis, fresh squeezed orange juice and healthy servings of hiel, a sugar cane ginger drink sometimes known in other areas of Costa Rica as Agua de Sapo.

The schedule of Carnaval 2013 events is as follows:

Every day:
Noon – Fireworks to signal the start of the day

12 to 6 p.m. - Mascaradas running through the main streets and vendors selling handmade crafts and furniture

6 p.m. – Cultural Activities such as music, dancing and art displays

8 p.m. – Fireworks Display

9 a.m. – Intercultural Day parade by the College of Limón, Parque Vargas

3 p.m. – Largest Rice-n-Beans

1 p.m. - Grand Carnaval which starts in Jamaica Town and winds through the streets until it dumps party goers in and around the post office near Parque Vargas

7 p.m. - Public Concert

10 p.m. – The grand fireworks display, Vargas Park

9 a.m. - 5k marathon and walk to benefit Aldea S.O.S. starting from Asis Esna Park in Barrio Trinidad

1 p.m. – Mascarades in the streets

2 p.m. – Basketball game at Playa Los Banos

Midnight – Fireworks to signal the end of Carnaval 2013

The information office is now open and is located in the green building at the southwest corner of Parque Vargas.

Two arrests made in murder
of businessman in Santa Cruz

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial agents quickly detained two men in their 30s who are the principal suspects in the murder and robbery of a man who died in a Santa Cruz cabina early Thursday.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that one of the suspects was a business associate of the slain man, identified by the last name of Murillo. He was 67.

Judicial agents said that the victim frequently traveled from his home near Ciudad Quesada and engaged a local man there as a driver. In the most recent trip he stayed in a cabina also occupied by the man.

The victim died from blows to the head and elsewhere, agents said initially. His room was in disorder as if there had been a fight.

Agents began the search for Murillo's car and found it in Playas del Coco and detained the driver who is now one of the two suspects. Agents said they found money in the car.

Murillo was known to have withdrawn 2 million colons during his trip. That's about $4,000. He was a moneylender.

Agents then searched a cabina near the murder scene and found other evidence, they said.

Second center for autopsies
will be in San Carlos hospital

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

For those who say they would not be caught dead in Heredia, there now will be another option.

The Poder Judicial says it will enter into an agreement today with the Caja Costarricense de Segruo Social to house a forensic medical lab in San Carlos. The site will be in the Hospital de San Carlos.

Until now, anyone who was the victim of a violent death or unnatural death went to the judicial forensic lab in San Joaquín de Flores, Heredia, for an autopsy.

The central location presented a hardship for some survivors who have to travel long distances to complete paperwork and claim the body. Such facilities are expensive because they need to have top-quality equipment and staff for potential criminal cases and court testimonies.

Country continues to have
highest prices for gasoline

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica continues to have the highest gasoline prices in Central America, according to a study reported by

Super gasoline was $5.38 a gallon during the week of Oct. 5 to 12, the business news service said.  Nicaragua was second highest with a gallon price of $4.72. Prices ranged down to $3.94 in Panamá, said the Web site.

Plus gas in Costa Rica, called regular elsewhere, was $5.24 a gallon here and  $4.51 in Nicaragua. Prices ranged down to  $3.72 in Panamá.

Diesel, $ 4.85 in Costa Rica, ranged down to $ 3.71, again in Panamá.

Panamá had the highest liquid natural gas price at $3.03 a gallon. Costa Rica's price was $2.89.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday,  Oct. 18, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 207
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Dog recruits ready to begin their training with police
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Fuerza Pública needs a few good dogs. 17, to be exact.

The animals participated in a review Thursday as they were about to begin their three months of training.

The dogs have been donated by organizations and individuals.  They will end up sniffing out explosives, drugs or contraband. They will become members of the Unidad Canina (K-9).

The races of dogs range from the expected German shepherd to beagle. Training will be by Colombian experts and members of the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas, officers now assigned to the K-9 unit and other experts.

Eventually the dogs will be assigned to ports and airports to strengthen security there or they will be asked to patrol schools, big events and other activities where their heightened senses can help police and control crowds.
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo
New dogs participate in their first formal ceremony

Tourism chamber captures the ears of presidential candidates
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Cámera Nacional de Turismo sat down with presidential candidates Thursday to promote its vision of tourism. Present

Cámera Nacional de Turismo photo
Luis Guillermo Solís, Otto Guevara and Rodolfo Piza
 were Luis Guillermo Solís of Partido Acción Ciudadana, Otto Guevara of Movimiento Libertario and Rodolfo Piza the new nominee of the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana.

Representing Johnny Araya Monge, the candidate of the Partido Liberación Nacional, was Walter Coto.

The chamber has created a plan for tourism that came from discussions with those involved in the industry all over the country.

The challenges that have been identified include approval of a new tourism law, increased spending for promotion, involvement in the dollar exchange rate, promotion of tourism education, development of infrastructure, security, continuity between presidential administration, access to finances and additional incentives.

The chamber is expected to continue its discussion of a long-range plan for several months more to include other aspects, such as how competitive Costa Rica is in the world market.

What the country needs is a balanced budget amendment
A drunken sailor in port on leave has a more stable financial situation than Costa Rica.

The central government is spending about twice as much as it brings in. Now the finance ministry is setting up roundtables so that the public can have a chance to comment.

Few of the public will attend, and the sessions will be dominated by special interests. After all, how many citizens can talk intelligently on national fiscal policy and national debt?

There is no secret to solving the governments problem. Officials must spend less, reduce the state workforce and encourage private enterprise. Unfortunately, just like in Washington, these are not words politicians want to hear. They want to continue handing out somebody else's money to get votes.

What Costa Rica and the United States need are balanced budget amendments. The amendment should say that spending cannot exceed income. Some U.S. states have this, and the state lawmakers know that if they fail they could face criminal charges.

That is not what the various special interest want. There are so many boards, panels and such that probably even Edgar Ayales, the minister, knows where the money is going.

We have said in the past that every colon spent should be listed in a Web site with the name of the recipient and the reason for the expense. That is called transparency, which is esteemed more in principal than practice. The technology to do this is here now with the Internet.

In the short-run Costa Rica (and the United States) have some hard decisions. They must divest unneeded government property. What ever happened to the inventory of state-owned property that was ordered here three years ago?

Consider how many mostly empty pretty buildings the Costa Rica government owns. And they keep buying and fixing up more.

Many politicians pay lip service to the phrase that those who have more should pay more. That is a justification for

Jo Stuart, the A.M. Costa Rica columnist,
is on vacation this week.
She will return next Friday.

The Friday column.

By Jay Brodell, editor

 progressive taxation. Why is this true? We suspect that these politicians have been hanging around Europe too long where the socialist states are in full bloom.

How about some of these measures:

• Require every patient who visits the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social for medical care, hospital or clinic, to pay 1,000 colons, about $2.

• Revisit the nation's environmental policy and consider again the benefits of gold, oil and natural gas production.

• Get that dry canal running from Limón to Caldera on the national rail line. Unload ships in Limón and put the cargo on another boat in Caldera. This is cheaper than going through the Panamá Canal.

• Eliminate aguinaldos, the Christmas bonus, from part-time board positions and other administrative posts that are not real jobs.

• Do a complete inventory of state-owned vehicles to see which are necessary. Too many officials are being driven to lunch in state vehicles.

• Mandate that any new spending bills here or in Washington to include a statement as to from where the money is coming.

• Give corrupt politicians real prison sentences instead of a couple of years suspended.

• Reduce the number of ministries as well as the number of employees. Does Costa Rica really need a sports ministry?

• Consider some sting operations as a reader suggested Thursday to catch evaders.

• Eliminate the dedicated taxes that tie the hands of central government budget writers

We wonder how many of these obvious actions will show up in the final proposed tax laws the finance ministry comes up with.

Del Rey HOtel

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, Friday,  Oct. 18, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 207
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50 U.S. senators sign letter opposing arms treaty supported by Costa Ricans
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Fifty U.S. senators, half of the Senate’s membership, say they will not ratify a U.N. Arms Trade Treaty that was proposed and agreed to by Costa Rica.

The United States signed the treaty but Senate confirmation is required. Their opposition to the treaty was expressed in a letter to President Barack Obama.

The legally-binding treaty sets international standards to regulate the import, export and transfer of conventional weapons from battle tanks, warships and attack helicopters to small arms and light weapons.

Ann MacDonald, head of arms control for the humanitarian group Oxfam, said the treaty also covers ammunition.

“That is really important” she said “because while arms are often recirculated time and time again, and we see this particularly in conflicts in Africa, without ammunition, they are a lot less lethal.  We have seen in some conflicts that the supply of ammunition is literally the fuel that keeps the conflict going,” said Ms. MacDonald.

The Arms Trade Treaty was passed by the United Nations last April by a vote of 154 to three with 23 abstentions. Only Iran, North Korea and Syria voted against the pact.

Daryl Kimball, head of the Arms Control Association, said the pact tries to plug many holes in the international system regulating the conventional arms trade.

“Many countries don’t have export controls. Many countries that have laws don’t have the ability to enforce.  And then there is the illicit trade, the black market that goes below the radar, below these export control systems of the national governments,” said Kimball. “So the treaty is necessary in order to establish global standards that apply to all states, so that irresponsible arms suppliers and buyers can’t exploit the holes in the national laws.”
Oxfam's MacDonald said the treaty has an important human rights provision. “For the first time, it sets up a global system that requires governments to assess every arms transfer that is leaving their country, coming into their country or passing through it,” said MacDonald. “They have to assess that transfer against the risk that arms will be used for human rights violations or violations of humanitarian law. And if those risks are very substantial, they must deny the arms transfer.”

More than 110 countries, including the United States, have signed the treaty since it was open for signature in June. But only seven have ratified it.
In the United States, the National Rifle Association, a powerful gun lobby group, has expressed its opposition to the treaty, as well as 50 U.S. Senators, half of the membership of the upper house. For a treaty to be ratified, it must gain the approval of 67 Senators.

Opponents of the pact argue that the Arms Trade Treaty infringes on the rights of Americans to bear arms under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It is part of the Bill of Rights guaranteeing individual freedoms.

Ms. MacDonald said the treaty is “not about domestic arms control, however, it’s about international transfers. And that’s an important message for senators to really hear, as well, because sometimes there is misinformation going around that this is a treaty that somehow will have an affect on domestic U.S. gun ownership issues, which it isn’t, because it has to do with international transfers,” she said. “The United States will not need to change its legislation to implement this treaty. The existing U.S. legislation is compatible in many areas with the provisions in the Arms Trade Treaty.”

Kimball said in the final analysis, U.S. approval of the treaty is not crucial.

“Ratification is something that this treaty deserves, eventually. But U.S. ratification is not essential or even necessary for the treaty to enter into force. It just takes 50 states, any 50 states, for the treaty to legally enter into force,” he said.

Many analysts say proponents of the treaty will have an uphill battle convincing a majority of U.S. senators to vote for ratification.

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

Howard Spanish cover


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

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

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

Real estate rental services (paid category)

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

Real estate for rent (paid category)


Homes for rent in Palmares, Alajuela

See our Web page:

Unfurnished 2-bedroom 2-bathroom house.. One large room for living room, dining room and kitchen. Separate bath.  2 bedrooms with bath on second floor. Washroom. Large 3-bay garage with bathroom, secure  for warehousing and storage. Located  approximately 6 miles east of San José and 1 mile west of Concepcion Tres Rios.  Map on request.  Telephone installed, cable and Internet available.  $250 a month plus utilities. 6 months minimum lease, deposit. Available after Oct. 15.  Tel. 2256-9426 

COMPLETELY and nicely furnished apartments
apartment view
in San José. Fast Internet, cable TV, hot water. Large American appliances including washer and dryer. Both convenient locations. No pets. $600 per month. Contact: or call 8555-9819.

We have many prime properties available for long-term rentals.
Santa Ana

Lovely cottage on private coffee farm
One spacious bedroom, one bath, office room/spare room with high speed DSL internet, fully equipped kitchen, phone line,
Sarchi cottage
balcony with beautiful view, especially at night with the far off lights of San José. Farm is gated and guarded, private and peaceful, owner on-site. Sarchi is a quiet small town about 30-40 min from the airport, a perfect base to explore from and also get a
feel for normal, day-to-day Tico life. Rental is $575 per month, 3 months minimum. All utilities included. Shorter stays at $45 per night, 2 nights minimum. $225 per week, and $30 per additional night. Sorry, no pets.  Contact or 8308-7732.

house for rent
House for rent on a large property surrounded by fruit trees and garden on a bus line. Fully furnished, complete laundry room, two bedrooms plus extra room for office, security, electric gate, Internet available.  Located in Monte de la Cruz, San Rafael de Heredia. $475 monthly. Call 2267-6306  Or email:

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

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

MONTHLY $800 TO $1,200

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

Real Estate
About us
What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2013 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Friday,  Oct. 18, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 207
Real Estate
About us


Pacific Estates

Observers doubtful Congress
can craft budget compromise

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. government is open for business again after budget bickering in Congress closed many government operations for 16 days.  But the budget deal is just temporary.  Congress has set up a group to quickly forge a broad, long-term budget agreement. But the two parties remain far apart on spending and savings priorities, and experts say similar efforts to work out a budget deal have failed in the past. 

President Barack Obama says the U.S. Congress cannot govern by lurching from crisis to crisis.  Speaking Thursday, he said lawmakers must change the way they have been doing business and work out a budget deal.

“And we shouldn't approach this process of creating a budget as an ideological exercise, just cutting for the sake of cutting.  The issue is not growth versus fiscal responsibility. We need both.  We need a budget that deals with the issues that most Americans are focused on: creating more good jobs that pay better wages," said Obama.

The deal was worked out at the last minute to avert a debt default and reopen large parts of the federal government.  The agreement requires House and Senate Democrats and Republicans to appoint members to a conference committee, which is supposed to negotiate a comprehensive budget deal.  Such an agreement has eluded Congress for the past three years. 

The group met for breakfast Thursday.  Republican House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said just meeting and talking is a sign of progress.

“This is how the founders envisioned the Constitution working.  And so we want to get back to that.  We haven’t had a budget conference since 2009, and so we think it’s high time that we start talking together trying to reconcile our differences," said Ryan.

Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, a Democrat, also voiced optimism.

“We believe there is common ground in showing the American people that as a Congress we can work and make sure that our economy is growing and that people are back to work," said Murray.

Despite the positive start, analysts point out that Democrats and Republicans have very different positions on government's role and size.  Stuart Rothenberg of the Rothenberg Political Report:

“The Democrats want additional revenue and additional spending.  The Republicans want to hold the line on taxes and to shrink government," said Rothenberg.

Republicans traditionally oppose raising taxes and support deep cuts to the social programs that Democrats defend.  Democrats traditionally want higher taxes on corporations to pay for higher investments in education and social welfare programs. 

Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi blamed Republicans for triggering the government shutdown by linking a funding bill to a measure to derail President Obama’s signature health care law, the Affordable Care Act.

“They may not like government, the Republicans, but they are here to govern, and to legislate, which means you have to make compromises and choose, instead of going from manufactured crisis to manufactured crisis," said Ms. Pelosi.

Opinion polls show that Republicans get more blame than Democrats for the partial government shutdown and debt standoff.  Rothenberg says that makes it less likely we will see a repeat of the bitter standoff over the health care measure, known as Obamacare.

“Well, I think they learned a lesson about Obamacare, that they are not going to change that," he said.

The conference committee has until Dec. 13 to craft an agreement. 

The bill passed by the House and Senate late Wednesday only funds the government until mid-January and extends the debt ceiling until early February, so the budget conference committee and Congress must act or risk going to the brink of economic disaster again.

Snowden affirms he did not
give China secret documents

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The former U.S. intelligence contractor who disclosed that the National Security Agency spied on citizens says there is a zero percent chance Russia or China has classified NSA documents.

In a New York Times interview published Thursday, Edward Snowden said he gave all such documents in his possession to journalists in Hong Kong.

Snowden said taking the files with him when he fled to Moscow would not have served the public interest.

The former contractor also said he was highly familiar with Chinese cyber-counterintelligence and that the NSA knows he protected the classified information from China's spies.

Snowden revealed earlier this year that the NSA collected records of communications by U.S. citizens.

Snowden said he decided to speak out after discovering an internal NSA report, on wiretapping by the Bush administration, without court orders. Snowden said the program skirted the existing surveillance laws.

He told The Times that if the highest officials in government can break the law without punishment, then secret powers become tremendously dangerous.

Snowden fled to Hong Kong and then to Moscow after disclosing the NSA spy program. Russian President Vladimir Putin granted him a year's asylum, angering the United States which wants to put him on trial.

The NSA has not commented on Snowden's remarks to The New York Times, but has defended its surveillance program, saying it helped foil several major terrorist plots.

Obama again presses Congress
for action on immigration

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Barack Obama urged a renewed bipartisan commitment to confront the nation’s challenges Thursday and signaled he will press Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform.

Earlier this year, the Senate approved an overhaul of America’s often-criticized immigration system. The bill would strengthen U.S. border security and provide a long and arduous path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants.

But the initiative has languished in the Republican-led House of Representatives, where many members view legalization of the undocumented as amnesty for law-breakers.

Thursday Obama said immigration reform remains a priority.

“We should finish the job of fixing our broken immigration system," he said. "The majority of Americans think this is the right thing to do. And it is sitting there waiting for the House to pass it.”

Despite Washington’s recent focus on fiscal matters, proponents of immigration reform have kept up efforts to rally public opinion and pressure lawmakers. Conventional wisdom holds that Congress must act this year if reform is to succeed, since lawmakers will shy from casting politically-charged votes before next year’s midterm elections.

Reform advocate Frank Sharry says time is of the essence. He said, “I think it is going to be critical that the House of Representatives begins to address this issue, has votes.  I think it is critical that we see action this year."

Sharry adds that plenty of time remains on the House calendar between now and December, if Republican leaders choose to bring legislation forward.

Opponents of the Senate bill say it faces stiff opposition in the House of Representatives. The head of the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, Mark Krikorian, says House lawmakers may consider something that falls short of full citizenship for the undocumented.

“They would simply give those 11 million illegal immigrants work visas," he said." A work visa would make you legal, but you would not have any option to become a citizen.”

Immigration reform advocates, including Obama, reject any proposal that does not contain a path to citizenship.  Even so, on Thursday Obama said an eventual House bill need not be identical to the Senate version.

“If the House has ideas on how to improve the Senate bill, let us hear them," he said. "Let us start the negotiations.”

After the president spoke, House Democrats issued a statement echoing his call for action. But Krikorian says the Republican-led House and Democratic-led Senate have different visions for immigration reform, and he doubts they can be reconciled.

“The House is going to pass some targeted bills, and they are not going to be able to agree with the Senate on a common bill that they would send to the White House, and so nothing is going to end up on the president’s desk,” he said.

If immigration reform fails this year, Krikorian says the outcome of next year’s congressional elections will determine the initiative’s chances in 2015.

U.S. subsidies employees
at fast food jobs, study says

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

That burger at the fast-food restaurant may be cheap, but that low price could come at a high cost to taxpayers.

More than half of the fast-food workers in the United States receive some kind of public assistance at a cost of nearly $7 billion annually to taxpayers, according to a report by the University of California at Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education.

“The taxpayer costs we discovered were staggering,” said Ken Jacobs, chair of the center and coauthor of the report. “People who work in fast-food jobs are paid so little that having to rely on public assistance is the rule, rather than the exception, even for those working 40 hours or more a week.”

Earlier this year, fast-food workers in 60 cities went on strike calling for higher pay so they could survive without having to rely on public assistance.

The report said fast food is a $200 billion-a-year industry, but the median wage for core front-line workers at fast-food restaurants nationally is $8.69 an hour. Only 13 percent of the jobs provide health benefits, according to the report.

The low wages and lack of health benefits contributed to an increased reliance on programs such as Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and food stamps, the report said. Adding to the cost is nearly $2 billion of earned income tax credits for fast-food workers. The earned income tax credit is a refundable tax credit predominantly for low to medium income families with children.

The report added that fast-food workers enrolled in public assistance at more than twice the rate of the overall workforce.

“This is the public cost of low-wage jobs in America,” said Berkeley economist Sylvia Allegretto, co-chairwoman of the Center for Wage and Employment Dynamics. “The cost is public because taxpayers bear it. Yet it remains hidden in national policy debates about poverty, employment and public spending.”

Scott DeFife, executive vice president of policy and government affairs for the National Restaurant Association, the largest lobby group in the food services industry, called the report misleading.

“The majority of lower-wage employees works part-time to supplement a family income. Moreover, 40 percent of line staff workers in restaurants, the primary focus of the reports, are students,” he said. “The inclusion of the Earned Income Tax Credit shows just how misleading these efforts are, as it is a tax credit specifically designed for working families, not public assistance, and is used to inflate their numbers.”

But Marc Doussard, one of the Berkeley report’s coauthors and an assistant professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said the report helps dispel the myth of fast-food workers as largely untrained teenagers.

“More than two-thirds of core frontline fast-food workers across the country are over the age of 20, and 68 percent are the main wage earners in their families,” Doussard said. “And more than a quarter of Americans working in fast-food restaurants are parents, raising at least one child.”

DeFife said fast-food jobs can serve as stepping stones to higher paying jobs.

“America’s restaurant industry provides opportunities for millions of Americans, women and men from all backgrounds, to move up the ladder and succeed. In addition to providing more than 13 million job opportunities, the restaurant industry is one of the best paths to achieving the American dream, with 80 percent of restaurant owners having started their careers in entry-level positions. In fact, nine out of 10 salaried employees started as hourly workers.”

The Berkeley report was funded by Fast Food Forward, a coalition of workers and labor, religious and community groups campaigning for higher wages and rights on the job for New York City fast-food workers.

New index on slavery calls
Mauritania worlds's worse

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Australian-based Walk Free Foundation has released its first-ever Global Slavery Index, a ranking of 162 countries by their prevalence of modern slavery. The index found that tens of millions of people worldwide are living in slave-like conditions, most of them in Asia.

Speaking from London, index researcher Kevin Bales said Walk Free Foundation wants to raise awareness of the plight of modern slaves.  He painted a chilling picture of the life of a slave in 2013.
“I suppose if you’re going to say, what’s the most common type of slave today, I would probably point to two. One would be a type of hereditary slavery in South Asia, where families are born into slavery, they die in slavery, where one family belongs to another family and has for generations," he explained.  "All you know is slavery. You expect to be assaulted. You expect to be raped. You expect no other life except that of a slave.

"The other, I think most common type of slavery today would be the person who’s an economic hopeful migrant," he continued. "Someone who’s looking for a way to better their lives, or the lives of their family and their children. And so they’re looking for a place of safety, they’re looking for a place of employment, and there are criminals who take advantage of that desire for safety and employment and lure people into situations outside their countries, their own country, where they can then be enslaved.”
Mauritania came in as the nation with the highest prevalence of modern slavery. The West African nation has a long history of hereditary slavery based on ethnicity. The index estimated that it holds as many as 160,000 slaves among a population of just 3.8 million people. Mauritania’s government has repeatedly tried and failed to abolish the practice most recently in 2007.
Bales acknowledged that some of the estimates in the index are conservative. In coming years, he says, the index will be able to further refine its figures.

The Walk Free Foundation has compiled an index ranking 162 countries by their prevalence of modern slavery. The following countries are on the list after Mauritania, by prevalence of population.

2. Haiti: High poverty contributes to restavek, poor children sent to work for wealthier families.

3. Pakistan: Weak economy, deteriorating security and growing population contribute to an increase in enslaved children and bonded laborers.

4. India: Problems include inter-generational bonded labor, child labor, sexual exploitation and forced marriages.

5. Nepal: Primarily forced labor and forced sex work. Country is transit point and destination for modern slavery.

Chinese police detain
two more Internet figures

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police in China have arrested an influential blogger and are holding a cartoonist in a widening crackdown on online rumor-mongering, friends and a lawyer for one of them said Thursday.

Hundreds of people have been detained since August, say Chinese media and rights groups, as the government has stepped up its campaign to banish rumors. Most have been released, but some are still being held on criminal charges.
The latest moves targeting the bloggers appear to suggest the new government, led by President Xi Jinping, is expanding its crackdown on dissent, although some critics have warned the move could backfire on Communist Party leaders.
“The use of these dictatorship tools to combat the criticism and grievances within civil society could be counterproductive,” said Zhang Lifan, a historian, adding that it could fuel mistrust. “It may not be beneficial for maintaining the regime.”
Dong Rubin, 51, who runs an Internet consulting company, has been arrested in southwestern Kunming on suspicion of falsely declaring the capital in his company's registration, state news agency Xinhua said late Wednesday.
Dong was also suspected of illegal business operations and the crime of creating disturbances, Xinhua added.
Dong, who was previously invited by officials in southern Nanjing to speak about being an online opinion leader, is well known for participating in a 2009 online probe into the sudden death of a man in a detention house in Yunnan province.
State broadcaster CCTV showed images of Dong admitting to exaggeration and selectively publishing information to benefit clients. In September, state media also aired a confession by Chinese-American venture capitalist, Charles Xue, one of China's best known online commentators.
In Beijing, the capital, cartoonist Wang Liming was taken into custody at midnight Wednesday and has not yet been freed, his friend, Wu Gan, said by telephone.
Wu said police told Wang's girlfriend they summoned him for forwarding a microblog post about a stranded mother holding a baby who had starved to death in the flood-hit eastern city of Yuyao.
“Suppression of this kind by the Chinese government is of no use,” Wu said. “Rumors arise because there's no freedom to communicate on the Internet. Arresting people will not solve the problem because the problem does not lie with the people, but with the government.”

Real estate-related services (paid category)

Project completion specialists
Casa del pacifico logo
Pacifica living
A turnkey home and project completion agency devoted to creative vision and flawless execution. We provide a single, solid and dedicated point of contact for the duration of your real estate project, specializing in:

                      • Building completion services
                      • Interior design & decoration
                      • Custom furniture design & manufacturing.

Our primary goal is to assist our clients with a smooth transition to occupancy while providing highly personalized and distinctive services. We have refined the process to be a hassle free experience, especially valuable for clients who live abroad. We customize to suit each client’s personal taste, lifestyle and budget.
Serving region for 10 years.
We regularly exceed client expectations. We guarantee it.
Cell phone: (506) - 8707-8008
Office phone: (506) - 2288-5644

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

Swimming pool at night
A Buyer’s Broker offering the best
of Costa Rica Real Estate.

For those looking for quality properties and service at quality prices. Central Valley Rentals. Offering honesty, experience and knowledge. Your Villa Real Expert. Call us now  Toll Free (877) 845-4533. In Costa Rica 2228-5961 or 8339-2112.

Re/Max, the Pacific coast expert
Re/Max offers comprehensive Costa Rica Real Estate, vacation rental and relocation services. Our award-winning team is the largest in the country, and can show you the best lifestyle and financial investment properties in the most desirable locations including prime real estate in Tamarindo, Langosta, Conchal, Flamingo, Pinilla, Coco, Hermosa and Playa Panama.  Give us a call in Costa Rica at 506-2653-0073, or toll free from the U.S. and Canada 1-800-385-5930. Re/Max, the name you trust for the finest real estate services in Costa Rica.

Moran Arenal
Lake Arenal, Costa Rica
The undiscovered jewel of Central America, 35 square miles of blue, pristine, clear water ideal for fishing, swimming, boating, Real estate values still low.
Great lake front, river front land, farms, homes, condos and commercial property. Some with owner financing
This is far and away the most beautiful place in all Central America — cool climate. Try our two-day, all-inclusive discovery tour for $299.

Check with our Web site at
Contact us at the office: (506) 2694-0088
Cell (506) 8880-8888
Phone number from the U.S. (305) 307-0088
Moran logo

Costa Rica,

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

Visit our Web Site:

English: (Cristian Arce)
(506) 8309-0173  
English:  (Luis Arce)
(506) 7100-8489  
 Español: (Luis G. Jiménez)
  (506) 8707-4016  
Grecia 794
This is the BIGGEST DEAL of the month now at $850.000: HERE!
30,000 square meters of land and 750 square-meters of construction.
Grecia 768
1,000 square meters of land and 350 square meters of construction. HERE!
Grecia 807
  18,000 square meters of land and 300 square meters of construction. HERE!
  Send us your request to our email:

Real estate for sale (paid category)

San Mateo pool


Includes 4-bedroom, 2-bath, 2-story house built to American standards with a balcony overlooking full-sized swimming pool and rancho with a bathroom and a shower room, and landscaped tropical gardens.  There are two large storage buildings, a carport and electric-gate access to the enclosed property.  It is a short drive to the highways to San José and the beaches.  Owner financing available.  Please call: +506 2446-4901

For sale is a beautiful 50-acre property located in Los Alpes, just 15 minutes outside of San Ramon. At about 4,000 feet above sea level, this finca provides gorgeous views of the Central Valley as well as the Pacific Ocean in the distance while also offering a wonderful climate year around. The main house is two stories with three bedrooms and two full baths. High quality construction using exotic hardwoods such as almond, which covers the ceilings throughout the entire house. There are also two corrals and a small casita on the property. This location is perfect for a farm-style home or for beginning an agricultural business. This truly is a rare piece of property and is available for $399,999. Price is somewhat negotiable and we will be happy to work with the buyer to make it work! Please call 8816-2478 or e-mail for more information ¡y se habla español!

Pacific Estates

Pacific Estates is divided into three distinct sections called Pacific Landings, Pacific Hills and Pacific Acres. Pacific Landings includes unique 2 & 3 bedroom homes incorporating pole house construction, cathedral ceilings, balconies on both the front and back of the house and eco-friendly elements. The homes also include granite counter tops, state-of-the-art stainless steel kitchen appliances, washer & dryer hook ups, internet connectivity and zone controlled A/C. These homes feature 1,290 square feet under A/C space and 1,537 square feet under A/C space with an optional Loft. To learn more about Pacific Estates, schedule a No Obligation Free Virtual Tour today by clicking here!

Samara church and lot
Commercial lot with great visibility in heart of Playa Sámara commercial district. Located alongside town's largest church, bank, hardware store/lumber yard, mini shopping plaza, and Pali (Sámara's largest supermarket). This lot has a large elevated building platform shaded with mature treees. All this makes for many commercial options.  One block from stunning "blue flag" beach. This is a perfect location for a eco/boutique hotel, restaurant/catering, apartments, or condominium. All utilities to this property. Lot size 1,414m2. Price 325K. Email:

Maui, 50 years ago!
One acre with all services located on the Nicoya Peninsula at about 2,400 feet below cloud level with the most intriguing panoramic views to the picturesque gulf, mountains and valleys, as well as sunset over the Pacific. 60,000 USD,    Cell 8916-5550.

Five bedroom home
Five bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths plus guest house
Price reduced $100,000 for quick sale. Features include out door BBQ, swimming pool, plus on the beach. The home is completely furnished with U.S. products. Each room is individually air conditioned.  Hot water in bathrooms, kitchen and laundry room.  Fully furnished. Includes TV’s, refrigerator/freezer, dish washer, microwave, electric stove/oven, washer & dryer and many “as seen on TV” appliances.  To see more, go to YouTube
Asking  $250,000.    Call Gary 8784-2945 or email

humming bird nest

Bed & Breakfast for sale and personal home with 2 houses on property of 3/4 acre (3,030 m2) and buildings w/verandas & carport approximately 350 m2. One house at entrance is central to village w/gated parking lot and a 3-bedroom house for rental or employees/family w/carport/yard/gardens. A 50-meter sendero winds to the top among lush gardens where the main house is situated w/2 buildings attached by verandas & stairway to second floor.  There are 2 bedrooms, sala, 4 baths, large kitchen, laundry rooms, work bodega, storage bodega and hot tub on veranda w/tiled shower room.  Home is surrounded by tropical gardens, views of Arenal Volcano, panoramic views of Lake Arenal, private w/school owned property on one side, pasture land on back side and connecting entry gate on other side to Cabinas El Castillo & Fusion Restaurant.  A bird watcher's paradise w/hummingbirds, Montezuma, toucans, butterflies and visits from howler monkeys.  The B&B is listed four consecutive editions of Lonely Planet and the first established B&B in this area.  Photos can be viewed on the Web site:  Make your dream come true with a slice of paradise in a quiet, private setting. Call Ellen Neely at  8835-8711.  Email:

Naranjo views


4254 msq. 1.2 acres - $59,000.00
• 10 minutes to the autopista and Naranjo centro
• Tranquil and Quiet
• Landscaped with fruit trees and flowering plants, and coffee#
• Incredible views - The Central Valley and nature reserve
• Close to public transportation - paved main road
• Building pad prepared and soil tested
• Survey/topo
• All services in place and underground - water/electricity/phone

Guiones retreat
Approximately half acre on the beach with private path to the surf. Very private three-home complex with pool, spacious patios with two wet bars, barbeque and yoga area. Featuring a three-bedroom ranch style home plus a two story Mexican villa style home with two master suites, large kitchen and living area with ocean views and breezes upstairs and a garden apartment downstairs with separate entrance. A caretaker's or teenager's cottage and lots of space for expansion. PRICED FOR QUICK SALE: $899,000.  Call 506 8867-8883 or

Beautiful fully renovated house in Bello Horizonte, Escazu, 446 sq. meters. Four bedrooms; four baths. Price includes all furniture and fixtures - ready to move in! Light, bright and airy....$550,000 USD. Telephone 2288.6451. More details HERE!

Condo for sale in Flamingo

Ocean view 3-bedroom, 3 1/2-bathroom condo. Designer furnished 1,800 square feet, gated community. Only six units. Huge pool and balcony, pet friendly, parking, walking distance to Flamingo beach, banks, grocery store, farmacia, etc. New building. $349,000 asking. Ask for photos. 8705-0056. or 1-800-536-2322.

Guaancaate condos
Little Dreams La Colina Magnolias

Great Guanacaste Beach Condos Available

$28,500 - Little Dreams - Ocotal beach studio condo, furnished upper floor condo in great complex just 1 mile from Ocotal beach, 2 miles from Coco beach, great price for this complex.
$70,000 - La Colina - another Ocotal beach 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo, 80 m2 and fully furnished with upgraded kitchen, complex has Infinity pool, mountain views.

$75,000 Magnolias 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath townhome just 1 minute's walk from Coco beach and the 2 beach clubs in Coco. Nicely furnished, walk to town, 67 m2, perfect location.
Find out more information on these and other condos at my website All 3 of these condos are about 35 minutes away from Liberia Intl. airport, no need to drive a long way to get to your condo.  Call for more information, 1-415-670-9382 or 011-506-826-1211. Or email

Spectacular view property on a ridge near Alajuela.  Large home and 3 rental homes totaling 7,300 square feet (678 square meters) live-in construction.  Property area is 3,376 square meters (0.83 acres) including a vacant lot for expansion options.  In total there are 10 bedrooms, each with an ensuite bath.  Property has pool, rancho, mirador, courtyard and covered parking.  Homes have romantic fireplaces, built-ins, storage, other luxury features.  Turnkey sale includes all appliances, furniture, fixtures, equipment.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at  See property video here:

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:

Nicoya views
Property with ocean and gulf view for sale
Tranquil million dollar view, 5,000-sq.meter property with 3/2 home built to American standards, artistically designed and decorated, 16-foot ceilings of mango and tamarindo, appliances, plunge pool, rancho, caretaker apartment, workshop, covered parking, views of Gulf of Nicoya and ocean, in countryside near San José to Caldera highway. Near the lovely town of Esparza. Can provide extra income from bed and breakfast room rental and stellar Tripadvisor reviews. $180,000 506-8869-9274.

For Sale By Owner
1 lot (1.5 acres)  at SIBU (8 lots total) amongst 50 acres of protected jungle gardens with sunset ocean views of Playa Nosara. Underground electric and water.13 minutes from Playa Guiones. Gated. In house financing available. Home of SIBU Sanctuary.

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Business for sale or lease (paid category)7115-12/16/11
A successful, local, long-running business for sale.
In the nine years of operation, this company has grown to cover the entire Southern Pacific Zone, and opened the door to further penetration in San Jose,  Manuel Antonio and Osa Peninsula areas.  And it is the only one of its kind with no comparable competition. With the extensive ground-work that has already been achieved, the business is now poised to expand into a new level of success. Operating since 2005, the owner retiring to another Latin American country. It is now time to turn the business over to a new owner who could expand it to  even greater success.  Details on the business, its history, a strategic analysis of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, as well as a Pro-Forma Income Statement from 2008 through to 2013 are available upon request to

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

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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Friday,  Oct. 18, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 207
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News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are siabled on archived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute

Air pollution linked to cancer
in World Health report

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Air pollution causes cancer, according to a new report issued by the World Health Organization.

The report said there is sufficient evidence that exposure to outdoor air pollution causes lung cancer. The report also associated bladder cancer with air pollution.

It is the first time that experts have classified outdoor air pollution as a cause of cancer.

“The air we breathe has become polluted with a mixture of cancer-causing substances,” says Kurt Straif, Head of World Health's International Agency for Research on Cancer Monographs Section. “We now know that outdoor air pollution is not only a major risk to health in general, but also a leading environmental cause of cancer deaths.”

The report also cited particulate matter, a major component of air pollution that was evaluated separately, as a carcinogen associated with an increased risk of lung cancer. The report said that while the composition of air pollution and levels of exposure can vary depending on location, the conclusions apply to all regions of the world.

The conclusions were reached after an independent review of more than 1,000 scientific papers from studies on five continents. The reviewed studies analyze the carcinogenicity of various pollutants present in outdoor air pollution, especially particulate matter and transportation-related pollution.

The predominant sources of outdoor air pollution are transportation, stationary power generation, industrial and agricultural emissions, and residential heating and cooking. Some air pollutants have natural sources as well.

Air pollution has already been linked to respiratory and heart diseases, but as levels rise, particularly in rapidly industrializing countries with large populations, more people are being exposed.

World Health said that in 2010 there were 223,000 deaths worldwide from lung cancer caused by air pollution.

“Our task was to evaluate the air everyone breathes rather than focus on specific air pollutants,” said Dr. Dana Loomis, Deputy Head of the Monographs Section. “The results from the reviewed studies point in the same direction: the risk of developing lung cancer is significantly increased in people exposed to air pollution.”

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From Page 7:

Chase rule change prompts fears here

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The U.S. central government is moving to seize private bank accounts and send those who object to concentration camps in Utah, according to some conspiracy theories making the rounds.

The panic, mainly among those who were anti-government in the first place, stems from a change in banking rules by JPMorgan Chase. The bank sent out a notice Oct. 9 that said certain business customers would not be able to send international wire transfers after Nov. 17. The change affects those with the lowest level of business account.

The letter came from Donna Vieira, identified as a senior vice president of Chase online banking.

Some expats in Costa Rica quickly feared that this could mean there were to be no wire transfers from any bank,  The fact that U.S. government finances are at least shaky made the account seizure rumor even more believable.

What Chase appears to be doing is reducing its legal exposure by restricting accounts that seldom send any overseas wire transfers. The letter said that the recipients probably would not be affected based on the history of their account.

Banks face big penalties if they do not keep a tight grip on accounts to avoid money laundering.

Chase also instituted a $50,000 monthly activity limit on these same accounts.

However, as Forbes Magazine online noted, by paying $20 a month to upgrade these accounts a customer is spared the new restrictions.

Some small credit unions and similar financial institutions also might be affected by these rules if they run their wire transfers through Chase.