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Cocal for Jan. 20

(506) 2223-1327                              Published Monday, Oct. 20, 2014, in Vol. 14, No. 207                      Email us
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Museo Nacional photo
is a winner

Museo Nacional officials are thrilled that the  Festival de las Esferas has taken seventh place in a museum competition in Portugal.  There were 130 entries from around the world.

The 8-year-old festival drew 8,000 visitors this year to the canton of Osa where they saw the famous stone spheres and examples of  Boruca culture, such as the Danza de los Diablitos between the bull draped in rough cloth and a masked devil wearing vegetation, left

Bloodhound helps police catch murder suspect
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Law officers are crediting a 4-year-old bloodhound named  Bratt for capturing a multiple murder suspect in southeastern Costa Rica and putting an end to a massive manhunt.

The suspect is  Florentino Elizondo Ríos, 41, who had been hiding in the jungle since Thursday night. He was encountered in a banana plantation in Pueblo Civil de Laguna 20 between Bribri and Sixaola.

More than 100 police officers and judicial investigators had been seeking him since law officers learned of the grisly murders of two local young men. In addition to the murders in Sixaola,  Elizondo was being sought for five more, said the Fuerza Pública.

Two of his companions, both 18,  were detained by police Thursday night after a brief firefight, but a man believed to have been Elizondo fled into the countryside.

The security ministry's  Servicio de Vigilancia Aérea  and the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas also were involved in the search. Officers feared that the suspect would cross the Río Sixaola and flee into Panamá.

Elizondo was in a field with meter-high banana plants when he was spotted about 6 a.m. Sunday, said police. He tried to leave that location but the field had been surrounded by police, officers said.
The fugitive is the subject of an arrest warrant involving an unrelated murder near Guåpiles, said officers.

The motive for the murders in Sixaola is not yet clear. Law enforcement officers are expected to give more detailed this morning.

One of the dead men is  José García García, 23, who was identified by the Cuerpo de Bomberos because he was a volunteer firefighter for nearly two years. The second victim was identified as  José Torres Torres. 21. Both were buried
door to door
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo
Police went door to door seeking suspect.

Saturday amid an outpouring of community sympathy and an escort of firefighters.

The bodies were found in  Paraíso de Sixaola in a section called Parcelas, That was where the pair had farmland. They were last seen Monday when they left to tend their land.

The owner of an adjacent parcel of land had a strange story Wednesday evening.

The man presented himself to judicial agents about 6:30 p.m. and said that he had been abducted by three men who took him to the spot where the two victims were tied to a tree. The victims already showed signs of stab wounds. The man told agents that his abductors wanted him to kill García and Torres, but he declined  and watched as one of the abductors killed both with a blade to the throats and then buried them.  The man told agents he was able to flee. He was held as a witness, and it is he who is believed to have directed police to the graves.

An earlier story is HERE!

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Oct. 20, 2014, Vol. 14, 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.

Residency experts

Residency in Costa Rica
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Legal services

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Phone number: (506) 8853-0000


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DR. Cavallini
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Remodelling and Construction

Real estate agents and services

CR Beach
Jaco Beach Central Pacific Real Estate
CR Beach Investment Real Estate Broker-Owner
Jeff Fisher invites you to see why this 20-year resident of Costa Rica believes the Central Pacific areas of Jacó Beach-Playa Hermosa-Los Suenos Marina & Golf and Esterillos-Bejuco Beaches are the best place to live and invest.
Reason #1:  SJO Int’l Airport and S.J. suburbs are little more than one hour away.
#2: Jaco has everything you need, from tourist attractions to government offices.
#3: Amazingly, it’s still a BUYERS’ MARKET and our “brutally honest” agents will help you find your perfect property-
See why Jeff and Colin Miller (12 years here), Frances Winborne (more than 23 years), and Junior Diaz (Jacó born & bred) chose the Central Pacific!

Member of the N.A.R., the Costa Rican Real Estate Board CRGAR and the Central Pacific Chamber of Commerce.
Toll Free: 1-888-782-1119 OR  2643-4334, 2643-3672
Office: IL Galeone Center, Jacó Beach, Costa Rica

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   • Specialized in the Central and South Pacific.
   • Great network of realtors, to find your dream
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* There are 88 clear titled lots.
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* Electricity and water to each of 79 clear0titled lots.
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* 25 minutes to the Liberia Hospital
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Contact Jim Day
or Phone:  001 517 484-3675.
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solar panels
Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo S.A. photo            
The national petroleum monopoly, Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo S.A., says it is saving $5,000 a month with these solar panels
on its adminstrative building in Limón. The project cost $430,000, so the company expects to break even in five or six years.

Fallen servicemen to be honored Nov. 9

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Fallen servicemen will be remembered Nov. 9 with a ceremony at the International Baptist Church in Guachepelín, Escazú.

Organizers said that everyone is invited to attended, especially all former British Commonwealth country military veterans and all U.S. military veterans, their families and widows, and children of veterans. The purpose of this day is to honor all living veterans and to commemorate the sacrifices of members of the armed forces and of civilians in time of war. they said.

Nov. 11, a Tuesday, is the official  Remembrance Day and Veterans Day, which used to be called Armistice Day to mark the end of World War I.

Pastor Stacey Steck will conduct the 5 p.m. ceremony. The church is a mile west of Multiplaza on the Caldera highway, Ruta 27, at the  Guachepelin–Lindora exit.

Trial set in murder of turtle defender

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A week from today has been set as the time for the trial of seven men in the death of an
environmentalist who was defending the turtles on the Caribbean coast.

The environmentalist, Jairo Mora Sandoval., was among a group that was stopped on their way to a turtle rescue center on the Moín beach. Mora was separated from the others and then killed.

The judiciary has set the period Oct. 27 to Nov. 5 for the trial in the  Tribunal Penal de Limón.

Two of the suspects have the last name of Salmón. The rest have the last names of  Rivas, Martinez, Cubillo, López and Delgado

The case received strong international interest.

Use of public credit card alleged

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial police detained a 35-year-old public employee in Liberia over the weekend on the allegation that he has used a public agency credit card to fill the gas tank of his private vehicle and others.

The Judicial Investigating Organization did not name the individual or say in what agency he was employed, but they did say he was an engineer.

The loss to the government was estimated at 2 million colons or about $3,700. Judicial agents said that the credit crd was used to fill the tanks of third parties' vehicles, too, and that the license plate numbers written on the receipts were of vehicles that were out of service.

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A.M. Costa Rica

Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Oct. 20, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 207
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Church speaker

Solís defends his original budget on eve of march by unions
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Public employees will be marching today to protest and restore the 3.8 percent cuts that a legislative budget committee chopped from the 7.9 trillion-colon 2015 national budget.

Within the legislature, the Frente Amplio political party has promised to do likewise.

President Luis Guillermo Solís went on television Sunday night to defend his budget and said that it should not be mutilated. And, he said, although important, the fiscal deficit is not the most important challenge facing government. The defict can be handled in the long-term, he said, as he decried possible setbacks in health, education and security.

The president said he hoped that the full legislature would not be tied up by a small group of legislators. He was referring to the eight lawmakers on the budget committee who voted in favor of the 3.8 percent cuts.

The approved budget is 7.6 trillion colons, about $14 billion. The amount trimmed from the executive branch budget was 297.8 billion colons or about $546 million.

The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transporte, the Poder Judicial, the  Ministerio de Educación Publica and the Ministerio de la Presidencia sustained the bulk of the cuts, according to a legislative summary.

Solís in his Sunday talk, said that the government had made cut of 21 billion colons and improved tax collection an equal amount, which is about $38.5 million.

The march by union members today is not so much a protest of specific budget cuts but a show of force to challenge the executive
budget cut

branch. Solís submitted a budget proposal 19 percent higher than the previous year. Even with the legislative cuts, the proposed budget still is 15 percent higher than the 2014 version.

In addition to the Asociación Nacional de Empleado Públicos y Privados, the march today is being supported by Frente Amplio, which is pushing for much higher taxes on businesses and those they see as being rich. Also marching will be the Asociación Nacional de Profesionales en Investigación Criminalística, which will be specifically protesting cuts to the Poder Judicial budget.

Albino Vargas Barrantes. secretary general of  the  Asociación Nacional de Empleado Públicos y Privados, is calling for a transformation of the tax structure.

Why should resident expats even care about the national budget battle?
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Among journalists, budget is spelled ho hum! Whether in a small town in Iowa or the U.S. capital hardly anyone except those involved follow budget making.

That is why there is so much self-dealing among officials.

So the question is, why should expats care about the Costa Rican budget? A lot depends on the expat's circumstances.

A perpetual tourist with no financial links to the country can always find another beach. But a snowbird with a Pacific condo or an expat resident with property and investments share the fate of the country.

Expats already felt the pinch of the fiscal deficit when the country passed a luxury home tax. Whether owners or renters, many expats live in dwellings that fall into the luxury home category, so they either paid the tax or did so indirectly with rent.

Now expat residents are expressing concern as the finance ministry plans some form of a global tax of all income regardless of the source.

Then there is the proposal for a value-added tax. Officials may deny
it, but a value-added tax collects a lot more money than a straight 13 percent sales tax. The food marketer chamber just expressed fears that the government may actually jack up the percentage on any value added tax.

Regardless, the tax is likely to cover more categories that the existing tax, which means expats will pay more. Just ask the tourism industry which has been included administratively in the existing sales tax starting Jan. 1, 2016. And a lot of expats are involved in the tourism business, so there goes their 2016 pay raises.

Some expats may be surprised to earn that the national budget of $14 billion just approved by s legislative committee, averaged out to slightly more than $3,000 for every resident here. That is unsustainable  considering that many Costa Ricans are below the tax-paying threshold and that half the budget is borrowed money anyway.

The Greek government is a good example. Officials there were unable to borrow more money when the 2008 financial crisis hit, and there was talk of a general default. Costa Rican's international debt has just been categorized as junk status.

Such problems do not make for happy countries, which is why Costa Rica needs to chart a reasonable course out of its mess. And individual expats need to pay attention to avoid being blindsided.

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, Monday, Oct. 20, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 207
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Surprising number of Latins in U.S. opt for conversion to Islam
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion.

According to the organization, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino.

And according to Latino American Dawah Organization , a group that promotes Latino conversions, a little more than half of new converts are female.

Greisa Torres arrived in Miami four years ago from Cuba.

While she sasid she felt at home in the Florida city, where two out of the three residents are Hispanic, Ms. Torres says she lost her identity in the move and found it in the Prophet Muhammad.

While she was pregnant with her second son, Mahdi, Torres converted to Islam.

“It was very hard for me because we do not have family here, just my husband and my kids. On this day, my baby -- Mahdi -- he was going to be born. That is why I convert to Islam because I was scared," Torres says.

According to some estimates, there are 3,000 Hispanic Muslims in Miami and more than 40,000 nationwide.

Stephanie Londono has a master's degree from Florida International University and has published a study about religious conversions by Latinas.

Londono says some women turn to Islam because they are repelled by Western values of success -- as measured by careers, schooling or wealth.  She says they are more comfortable with traditional gender roles.

On any Friday afternoon, juma prayers are held at Masjid MiamiGardens  -- the local Islamic mosque.

The men listen to the imam speak downstairs. The women are separated and watch upstairs, through a glass barrier at the front or on a monitor mounted in the upper corner of the expansive carpeted room.

Londono says her research found that some people might view Islam as giving women less freedom, but the converting Latinas see it as a positive change.

“It defines their world on a clear grid of what’s permitted or 'halal,' and what’s prohibited which is 'haram.' So they know exactly where they stand," Londono says. "So the Koran becomes this guidebook that tells you exactly what to wear, what to eat, how to wash, how to behave, when to pray.”

While feminist Muslims might avoid the hijab, many Latinas embrace it. Londono says they purposely speak Spanish while wearing the scarf to take a stand as a representative of Islam.

Ms. Torres agrees, saying, “When people see you with the hijab, they respect you first. Second, it’s the emotion you feel because you are different. You believe in something. It’s amazing.”

Also, going out in public with the hijab breaks traditional stereotypes that all Arabs are Muslim and all Hispanics are Catholic.

In her transition from Jesus to Muhammed, Ms. Torres also discovered similarities in the cultures, such as about 4,000 Spanish words have their roots in Arabic -- virtually all words starting with the letters “a-l.” This dates back to the Moorish occupation of Spain in the Middle Ages.

Ms. Torres finds that useful, because some of what she's learning about Islam is taught in Arabic.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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

Will Costa Rica Retirement Work For You?
Find out for yourself on Live In Costa Rica Tours

When you visit Costa Rica, you'll want to discover what you need to know to  make the right choice about moving to this tropical paradise.  Our familiarization tours have won hard-earned credentials that prove general excellence and the right focus.  These are the only retirement tours that are licensed and approved by the Costa Rican government and tourism institute  (ICT). In 2006 we were featured on the NBC Today Show and World News.  In 2010, we won the  prestigious Latin America-Asia Travel Excellence Award for the Best and Most Unique Tour in Latin America.

   * Discover how to make the right choices about moving here
   * Find out how to live affordably
   * See how other expats live. Meet other expats who have made
          the move.
   * Access the country's affordable health care system
   * Informative two-day seminar given by local experts in their
          relevant fields.
   * Tours led by Christopher Howard, 34-year resident, citizen,
          and the author of "The New Golden Door to Retirement
          and  Living in Costa Rica – the Official Guide to Relocation”
Click HERE  to learn all about our Association of Residents (ARCR)  approved tours at

Anywhere Costa Rica plans custom vacations, and has the most comprehensive travel services in the country including travel guides, resorts and vacation homesCosta Rica tours
and car rentals.  
Call 1-888.456.3212 or 2479-8811 locally.

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

The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is a great place to find quality remembrances of Costa Rica to take home or to decorate your home or office in Costa Rica.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever.  With more than 60 artists on exhibit and fine art in 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we are easy to locate just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport. Visit our Web site at
or contact us by email:   
Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tel. 2667-0592 / 8386-6872; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073. International shipping available.

Click photo for another video

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

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

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

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

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

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


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.

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Maneul Antonio
The vacation homes at Manuel Antonio Estates offers luxury, comfort and peace of mind. We have numerous homes to chose from, all within walking distance of the town’s shops and restaurants and just a few minutes to the best beaches and the famous national park. While the homes are secluded and hidden among the rainforest, the surrounding area offers adventures like zip lines, white water rafting, mangrove kayaking and many more. All of the homes are available for short-term rentals, have easily accessible parking, cable TV, and Internet and are fully furnished. We are happy to assist with all your need for the perfect Costa Rican vacation.
Manuel Antonio Estates        TOLL FREE: 1800 346 9724
011 (506) 2777.3339

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:

Beautiful fully furnished two floor house for rent
in La Guacima

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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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 A.M. Costa Ltda. 2014 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

A.M. Costa Rica's   Fifth news page
Family home

cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Oct. 20, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 207
Real Estate
About us

Epidemic of ebola fears
sweeps over United States

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

For Americans, ebola started out as a disease in a far away continent, but then a man from Liberia died from ebola in a Dallas hospital, and things changed.

Ebola was on American soil. Fears heightened, and they spiked even more when two nurses who treated that ebola patient contracted the disease.

These new cases have prompted an epidemic of fear.

One of the nurses, Nina Pham, was transferred from a Dallas hospital to the clinical studies unit at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

A top official there, Anthony Fauci, sought to allay fears at a news conference .

"We fully intend to have this patient walk out of this hospital. And we intend to do everything we can to make that happen," Fauci said.

The other nurse, Amber Vinson, has been moved to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.

Despite assurances from America's top doctors, more than 80 percent of Americans believe ebola can be spread by many ways, including by sneezing and coughing. Those are the results of a new poll by Harvard University.

Infectious disease experts say the virus can only be spread by contact with bodily fluids from someone who has the disease.

The poll also shows that more than half of adults are concerned that there will be a large outbreak of ebola inside the U.S. within the next 12 months.

Nurses and doctors are also raising their concerns.

Nurses' groups say they haven't been trained to care for ebola patients and that they don't have proper equipment to protect them from catching the virus. Randi Weingarten heads one of the nurses unions.

"Frontline providers, who are key to containing ebola, must have a voice and be involved in the development and implementation of plans," Ms. Weingarten said.

Saturday, President Barack Obama used his weekly address to tell Americans keep the situation in perspective and not to give in to ebola hysteria or fear.

Many Americans are calling for a ban on travel to the U.S. from West African nations affected by ebola until the virus is under control.

But that would prevent the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from screening and tracking these visitors. That's what Centers head Thomas Frieden, told a congressional hearing on Thursday. 

"Borders can be porous. We won't be able to check them for fever when they leave. We won't be able to check them for fever when they arrive. When they arrive we wouldn't be able to impose quarantine," Frieden told members of a House subcommittee.

Still, a plane that one of the infected nurses flew on is now being disinfected, and schools in Ohio and Texas closed their doors because some students or staff shared an airplane with the nurse, unnecessary procedures prompted by fear because experts say you can only get ebola from a sick person's bodily fluids.

Health official doubts
every hospital is ready

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A top U.S. health official says it is unrealistic to expect every hospital in America to be able to care for an ebola patient, but that health care facilities must be vigilant for possible cases and be ready to isolate anyone infected with the virus for transport to specialized treatment centers. The Director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, spoke one day after President Barack Obama warned against mass-panic over the disease.

A collective sigh of relief could be felt aboard a cruise ship that docked in Texas after a passenger tested negative for ebola.  A Coast Guard helicopter was dispatched to collect a blood sample from a woman who had handled specimens from America’s first ebola patient, Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan, who died earlier this month in Dallas.

The episode points to mounting fears and evolving health protocols to deal with the virus.  Last week, America’s third ebola patient, Dallas nurse Nina Pham, was transferred to the nation's premier health research facility, the National Institutes of Health near Washington, for treatment.  Infectious disease specialist Fauci says it’s important to remain realistic.

“I think this idea that every single hospital can take care of a seriously-ill ebola patient right now is not true.  We do not want people to think that any community hospital is totally equipped to care for a patient,” said Fauci, speaking on ABC’s This Week program.

Earlier, President Barack Obama attempted to calm an increasingly-alarmed American public.

“This is a serious disease, but we cannot give in to hysteria or fear.  Now, even one infection is too many.  At the same time, we have to keep this in perspective.  As our public health experts point out, every year thousands of Americans die from the flu,” said Obama.

But a growing chorus of critics, including some Republican and Democrat lawmakers, want stronger measures to isolate the United States from African nations where ebola has killed more than 4,500 people. Rep. Fred Upton is among them.

“I am going to encourage the president to really put in a no-fly zone from that region of the world, particularly for folks trying to travel here on a visa,” said Upton.

President Obama said stopping flights to and from West Africa could make the situation worse by disrupting the flow of supplies and health workers to affected regions and causing passengers to go through third countries and possibly evade screening for Ebola.

Oxfam seeks more support
and calls ebola a disaster

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The international aid agency Oxfam is appealing to European Union foreign ministers to do more to fight ebola; a disease Oxfam said could be the definitive humanitarian disaster of our generation.

The chief of the British charity, Mark Goldring, called for more troops, funding and medical staff to be sent to Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, the countries hit hardest by the epidemic.

Goldring said countries that fail to make a commitment to fight ebola "are in danger of costing lives."

Echoing that comment, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said, in an open letter to the BBC Sunday, that the fight against ebola is one in which the whole world has a stake.

President Sirleaf said, "It is the duty of all, as global citizens, to send a message that they will not leave millions of West Africans to fend for themselves."

She added that the disease was unleashing an economic catastrophe that will leave a “lost generation” of young West Africans.

Meanwhile, a Pentagon spokesman said U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the creation of a 30-member expeditionary medical support team to be able to provide emergency help in the event of an ebola crisis in the United States.

The plan would be for a team of five doctors, 20 nurses and five trainers to be able to respond on short notice to help civilian medical professionals, a statement from Rear Admiral John Kirby said.

The U.S. will also issue new guidelines for health workers treating ebola patients that will include using protective gear with no skin showing.

The guidelines are expected to set a firmer standard than before, calling for full-body suits and hoods that protect workers' necks, setting rigorous rules for removal of equipment and disinfection of hands, and calling for a site manager to supervise the putting on and taking off of equipment.

Kirby called the team “an added, prudent measure to ensure our nation is ready to respond quickly, effectively and safely in the event of additional ebola cases. ... They will not be sent to West Africa or elsewhere overseas and will be called upon domestically only if deemed prudent by our public health professionals,” the statement said.

Some of the dozens of people who are being watched for possible exposure to ebola in the United States are expected to be cleared through today, potentially easing concerns about the spread of the disease after two nurses were infected.

They would include Duncan's fiancee, Louise Troh, her 13-year-old son and two other people who have been in mandatory quarantine at an undisclosed location in Dallas.

Also, a Dallas lab worker who spent much of a Caribbean holiday cruise in isolation tested negative for the deadly virus and left the Carnival Magic liner with other passengers after it docked at Galveston, Texas, early Sunday.

However, there are still 75 health workers in Dallas who have isolated themselves and are being monitored.

In a public letter on Saturday night, Texas Health Resources Chief Executive Barclay Berdan acknowledged that Texas Health Presbyterian, where Duncan first went, made mistakes, including initially not diagnosing ebola.

Berdan said aggressive actions since then ensured that the hospital was a safe place, and that outside experts would be consulted to determine how two nurses became infected.

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, said the Caribbean island nation will gladly cooperate with the U.S. in the fight against ebola in West Africa. 

Writing in the state media Saturday, the 88-year-old Castro said the cooperation would be in the interest of peace in the world, and is not an attempt to resolve issues between the U.S. and Cuba.

"We will gladly cooperate with American personnel in that task and not in search for peace between the two states that have been adversaries for so many years, but in any case, for peace in the world, a goal that can and should be attempted," a Cuban television broadcaster read Castro's remarks on the air.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry praised Cuba's efforts Friday for its impressive response to the ebola crisis, saying "Cuba - a country of just 11 million people - has sent 165 health professionals and it plans to send nearly 300 more" to hard-hit West Africa.

Cuba has a history of sending its doctors to emergencies around the world.

U.S. High Court permits
Texas to check voter IDs

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed the state of Texas to enforce its strict new voter identification law in November polls, despite a lower court's ruling that it threatened to block many minorities from casting ballots.

The court ruling, released early Saturday, was unsigned and contained no reasoning.

The 2011 law forces voters to present photo identification before casting ballots. Texas officials, who say the legislation aims to prevent voter fraud, Saturday voiced strong support for the court ruling.

However, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in a six-page dissent, said the ruling may block as many as 600,000 registered Texans from voting, a figure state officials have disputed. 

Justice Ginsburg said a sharply disproportionate percentage of blocked voters are African-American or Hispanic, and noted, in her words, that "racial discrimination in elections in Texas is no historical artifact."

Ginsburg also noted that many rural Texans seeking a required form of identification ahead of November polls face round-trip travel times of three hours or more to the nearest government facility issuing such documents. Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan also dissented.

The Supreme Court order is the fourth such ruling in recent weeks on states seeking to determine whether election law changes approved by Republican-controlled state legislatures can be applied to crucial mid-term elections.

Election law changes were upheld in the states of North Carolina and Ohio, while new rules in Wisconsin were blocked.

The High Court majorities in each case did not give reasoning for their decisions.

Swedish military is seeking
disabled Russian submarine

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Sweden's military is searching its waters near Stockholm after detecting foreign underwater activity, possibly a Russian submarine in distress.

The non-aligned Nordic country has deployed more than 200 men, stealth ships, minesweepers and helicopters to look for a man-made object signals from which it detected Friday.

Sweden has described the search 50 kilometers east of its capital as an intelligence operation, with the mobilization one of the country's biggest since the Cold War.

Russia denied Sunday that any of its submarines are involved in the incident.

But the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet reported that a distressed Russian submarine is the focus of the search.

The newspaper said Swedish military intelligence intercepted radio signals off the coast of Sweden to Kaliningrad, home to much of Russia's Baltic Sea naval fleet, and that they were transmitted on a special emergency frequency.

Broco's Peyton Manning
sets NFL passing record

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning set a new U.S. National Football League record for career touchdown passes in the Broncos' 42-17 rout of the visiting San Francisco 49ers Sunday night.

Manning's short touchdown pass to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas late in the second quarter gave him 509 career touchdown passes, breaking the record held by Brett Favre, a future member of the NFL's Hall of Fame.

Manning — himself assured to become a Hall of Famer — tied Favre's record earlier in the game with a 39-yard pass to receiver Wes Welker.

His historic night comes just three years after being forced to miss the entire 2011 season after undergoing a series of surgeries to repair his injured neck that put his career in doubt.

The son of a former NFL quarterback, Archie, the 38-year-old Manning has been named most valuable player five times in his 16-year career; four of them while a member of the Indianapolis Colts. He led the Colts to numerous appearances in the postseason, including a win in the 2007 Super Bowl against the Chicago Bears.

Public bus overturns
on its route to Tilarán

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
Posted Monday at 1:50 p.m.

The Cruz Roja said that 27 passengers on a Tilarán-bound bus suffered some form of injury when the bus overturned earl today.

The Cruz Roja said that three passengers were hospitalized in critical condition in the  Hospital de Cañas. Five other persons also were hospitalized. The remainder suffered bruises or nervous distress from the mishap, said the rescue agency. Some were in the  Clínica de Tilarán.

The accident was in a location known as  Tanque de Oxilación about 6:50 a.m.. The bus trip originated in  Parcelas de Quebrada Azul.
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A Buyer’s Broker offering the best
of Costa Rica Real Estate.
For those looking for quality properties and service at quality prices. Central Valley Rentals. Offering honesty, experience and knowledge. Your Villa Real Expert. Call us now  Toll Free (877) 845-4533. In Costa Rica 4030-5480 or 8339-2112.

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Re/Max, 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
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Costa Rica,

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

Visit our Web Site:

English calls: (Cristian Arce) Phone: 
(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:

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Maneul Antonio
Manuel Antonio Estates focuses on building vacation homes for clients within Manuel Antonio Estates and Palmas Pacifica. We take care of the details from permits and design to supervision of construction and management of the rentals, if needed. We provide privacy and security, and our gated community offers shared common recreational facilities, beautiful landscaping and parking areas. Our homes and lots are located just minutes from the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. If you've ever considered buying a second home, just minutes from the beach, do not hesitate, if you have any questions or would like to request more information please take full advantage of our Costa Rica real estate services and contact us today!
Manuel Antonio Estates    1 800 346-9724  (506) 8815-9606.

Ciudad Colon
Great Deal!! Apartment in condo with pool and extensive green areas:
Ciudad Colón, San José $112,000
The apartment has a master bedroom with a large ensuite bathroom with bath tub, and a smaller second bedroom/office  with air conditioning. It has a second full bathroom, living/dining room, laundry room with hot water tank and storage area. The kitchen comes with granite countertops, a breakfast bar and new dishwasher. It has 82 m2 of construction. 2 balconies with beautiful views of the river and mountains. Private parking for one car. Elevator and a well presented reception area. Located in a very quiet and private neighborhood just 400 meters from the centre of Ciudad Colón. Within minutes to all major amenities in Santa Ana and Escazú. Easy access to the beach (less than 1.5 hrs).  24-hour security, visitor parking, pool, extensive and lush green areas, BBQ area, children’s playground and its own water treatment plant. Contact (506) 6022-9294 or 6022-9967, for further info or to arrange a viewing.

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

Located in the private Bay Residence enclave overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Los Sueños Resort and Marina, there are three gorgeous units available at unbelievable bargain pricing from $589,000.  All of these beautiful units are three bedrooms and two baths, 2,200 square feet, fully furnished and ready to move in.  Development includes a gym, access to 3 pools, jacuzzis, BBQ areas and the Beach Club.  If you’ve always wanted to own in Los Sueños, now is the time!  Contact  or call Nate @ 8635-9320.
From the US call 209-482-1788.
Top floor unit: $649,000   Second floor unit: $675,000  Garden unit: $589,000

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

San Ramon
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya.7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 ft. elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 baths, appliances included. High-speed internet iinstalled, Direct TV via sling box on Internet. $199,000 Contact   Check out slide show HERE!

Condo montage
Cariari luxury condo for sale
This is not an ordinary condo.
Completed one year ago, a $45,000 renovating made it an exquisite dwelling. As soon as you walk in you know it is a special home. No detail has been overlooked, even minuscule ones. The owner has a need to move on, and someone lucky will be the beneficiary of the fine detailed work. The home itself has three bedrooms, two and half bathrooms plus a maid’s quarters with its own bathroom. Also, it has a living room, dining room and a gorgeous kitchen with a kitchenette. There’s also a small outdoor patio. Being the end unit of this four-home condo complex, there’s parking space for three vehicles.  Approximately 240 sq. meters. All this near the Cariari Golf and Country Club and its renowned Tom Facio golf course. The club also has amenities such as a fitness centre, exercise room, Olympic swimming pool, sauna, 12 tennis courts and many other benefits. Tel:  8384-9608 or 2293-9054  Price $214,500.

Two lovely homes on one big lot in Esterillos Oeste, (Central Pacific)
Located on a breezy hill just 4 minutes walk to the beach, surf and tide-pools, only 20 minutes drive north to Jacó nightlife and shopping or south to the rural town of Parrita.

First, a 2-story, 2-bedroom (sleeps 4), 1½-bathroom house with big kitchen and living room.  Full-width verandah with eating and sitting areas, overlooking lawn, pool and gazebo. Sitting balcony at upper, bedroom level.  Carport and laundry. 

Second, a completely private single-story 2-bedroom (sleeps 4), 1-bathroom home with big back yard at a lower level on the same, big fully titled 1,100M2 lot. Full security bars at all doors and windows, plus locking vehicle access and pedestrian gates at the street. In a very safe neighborhood, with private and natural surroundings

Well maintained, fully and tastefully furnished and equipped, hot water, local phone, cable TV/DVD and high speed wireless internet.   The houses have been rented for both long-term and vacation for $100/$80 per day and $1,500/$1,200 per month respectively. See this place, you will love it! Then make an offer. E-mail or call (506) 8386-8825.  Rodney, asking $350,000.

house photo
More photos HERE!
Another 'live in the view' home in Puriscal
$179,900 includes:
Lot on river, concrete road, custom kitchen & bath with granite counter tops, PEX plumbing, 2” Styrofoam, sandwiched in steel roof, 4” concrete/recycled Styrofoam & steel walls, laminated, bronzed windows, custom wood doors, appliances and all transfer taxes, and fees.

2, 900 sq feet under roof, 1,250 sq feet inside walls, 2 bedroom, 2 ½ baths, laundry room, three separate patio areas, covered carport, shade trees, in upscale, secure project.  This project has river with protected areas & walkways. It is only 10 minutes on all paved roads to Santiago de Puriscal, 45 minutes to La Plaza Mall/Hospital CIMA and SJO airport, and 1 ½ hours to Pacific Beaches. It has recently upgraded public water supply and dependable ICE electric and high-speed internet.
Please come visit our projects and meet four new homeowners who have recently moved into their new “live in the view” homes to verify how happy they are and that they all came in under budget. CONTACT: George Lundquist  Home phone: 2417-1041 Cell phone: 8888 4543 Skype glundquist.
To see more Photos of this house, click HERE!


Beach Front Home - Central Pacific Coast
Pristine condition, recently renovated. The best surfing and boogie boarding in the country. The most magnificent ocean and sunset view. New 20-year, fully registered concession on one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. Easy access from San José (1 hour 25 minutes) located between Jacó and Manuel Antonio, in Esterillos Oeste.  2 or 3 bedrooms. Center room can be living room. House with 2 1/2 baths. Separated rancho with kitchen and large entertainment patio. Landscaped garden with no water shortage. Has both municipal and well water with automatic watering system. Direct access to the beach as no road is in front of property. Protected land on one side of the property for additional privacy.  Alarm system and complete shutters for security while away. Lot approximately 1,725 square meters, Asking price: $385.000.  Contact to Paul at local phone 506- 2637-8858  Cell phone 506- 8823-8550 .  US Mobile 908-400-9772  Emails:  and


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

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:

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

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

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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.

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, Monday, Oct. 20, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 207
Real Estate
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News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are disabled on archived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Things that go woosh in the night

There are times when I just can’t sleep.  Maybe I’m not tired enough or maybe I am a little stiff from working in the garden.  Sometimes I wonder if it’s not just the way night falls in the tropics.  We were in
Victoria torley
Montana once for the 4th of July when the fireworks started as soon as it was dark – around midnight.   Even back in Ohio, we had long slow twilights, and we used to walk the dog at 10. No flashlight needed to find the way.  But here in the tropics, night doesn’t creep up on you all slow and steady-like, night falls; it crashes down.  One minute you’re
pulling up weeds and the next minute – bang!  It’s dark.  

Alright, so that may be a little extreme, but that is how it feels to me.  Or maybe twilight starts at three in the afternoon and I just missed it somehow.  Whatever it is, after a few hours of darkness, I find myself disinterested in being awake but not sleepy enough to actually go to sleep.  A strange situation.

Still, this sudden night does give me a chance to meet some of my favorite pollinators – moths.  Moths are the reason that the angel trumpet flowers outside my window smell so wonderful in the evening and, as much as I dislike the damage that moth caterpillars can do to my plants, I do love the flowers the moths pollinate.

And they do love those trumpet shaped flowers.  One species of hawkmoth, and we have several types in Costa Rica, has a tongue that can be 10 cm long (4 inches), reach nectar deep in the flower. 

The night air would be less rich without moths.  Jasmine is beautifully fragrant and often visited by moths.  And moths are not just night flyers. They can be seen in the morning and evening as well, which leads us to another plant pollinated by moths. It’s called the Four O’clock (Mirabilis jalapa).  Originally a native of Perú, this flower opens its petals at, well, 4 p.m. to catch the early flying moths.  Each flower lives only one night and, because they compete for pollinators, they produce a strong sweet fragrance.

And then there are the less fragrant flowers and shrubs that are garden favorites.  The brunfelsia pauciflora, or ‘yesterday, today, tomorrow’ and heliotrope are also moth pollinated.  The yucca and its pollinator have a very special symbiotic relationship.  The pollinating moth lays its eggs inside the yucca flower and the young caterpillars eat some of the seeds when they first hatch leaving the rest to produce new plants.

So, the next time you are a little wakeful, shine a light into the flower bed and see if you can catch one of our pollinators a work.  They may not have the color of our day flyers, but they enrich our gardens.

Plant of the Day

The torch ginger, Etlingera elatior, in shades of red and pink, is a spectacular plant that can grow to 5 meters (17 feet) with flowers 15-30 cm tall (6-12 inches).  They love full sun and need protection from heavy winds.   Parts of the plant are edible but so far, not to leaf-cutter ants.
A.M. Costa Rica/Victoria Torley

 If you would like to suggest a topic for this column, simply send a letter to the editor.  And, for more garden tips, visit the Arenal Gardners Web site.

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From Page 7:

Falling oil prices have major impact

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Global oil prices are falling drastically, and a new World Bank study says they may remain low for a year or more. Lower energy costs can often help boost economic growth. Low prices might also increase political tensions and hurt investments in key energy sectors.

The oil market is seeing a production surge from the United States as new techniques dramatically increase oil output, according to La Salle University economic and political expert Edward Turzanski.

“Transforming the world energy market and also playing a consequential role in geopolitics, " said Turzanski.

That transformation comes as economists say slowing economic growth in Europe and Asia is cutting energy demand at a time of plentiful oil supplies. That combination is driving down oil prices.

Less money spent on energy leaves families more money to buy other goods and services, boosting economic growth for many nations.

But low oil prices can weaken the economies and the political power of oil exporters like Saudi Arabia, Iran and Russia. 

Russia’s economy already is facing economic sanctions to punish Moscow for its role in Ukraine.

An analyst at Strategic Energy and Economic Research said long term low oil prices will complicate Russian President Vladimir Putin's efforts to maintain domestic political power. He is Michael Lynch.

“Longer term, the combination of sanctions and weaker oil prices are going to put pressure on him,” said Lynch.

Rising oil production is due to techniques like fracking that collect oil that is missed by other methods, but does so at a higher cost -- between $50 and $80 per barrel of oil.
High costs and low prices may make these techniques unprofitable, according to Standard & Poor's analyst Peter Rigby.

“U.S. oil production could fall if prices drop below break-even levels for expensive shale oil production, causing drillers to stop drilling,” said Rigby.

Renewable energy alternatives to oil also will find it harder to compete for investment dollars if oil prices drop low and stay there.

Lynch said we may be entering a new era of lower energy costs, while S&P's Rigby says oil prices will remain volatile and vulnerable to global economic and financial changes.