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(506) 2223-1327                                 Published Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014, in Vol. 14, No. 208                           Email us
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Casa Presidencial working to prevent dock strike
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Casa Presidencial is working hard to prevent a walkout at the Limón docks.

Dock worker union leaders were at Casa Presidencial Monday but they were told that nothing is certain. The proposed $1 billion container handling concession still has to pass muster with the Secretaria Técnica Nacional Ambiental, which already had a long list of what it considers deficiencies.

In addition, union leaders were counseled to wait to read the full decision by the Sala Primera that seemed to remove another obstacle for the Dutch firm that has been designated to build the facility.

Only a summary was released by the Poder Judicial.

The  Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Junta de Administración Portuaria y de Desarrollo Económico de la Vertiente Atlántica has been fighting aggressively against the project even
though most officials and business leaders think the new facility will be an important step forward for Costa Rica.

Despite the conciliatory words from Casa Presidencial, union leaders still are contemplating a strike. That wold be a disaster for the banana and pineapple growers as will as other exporters.

Government officials said they told the union leaders that APM Terminals, the concession holder, has agreed to pay additional money to finance social development in the province of Limón. The union leaders were accompanied by friendly lawmakers. Frente Amplio, one political party, opposes concessions on philosophical grounds. Plus some do not like the fact that foreigners would be running the operation.

Many union members thought that President Luis Guillermo Solís would pull the plug on the concession project. They would prefer that more government money be poured into the existing docks to make them more efficient. Solís certainly is receiving pressure from the business sector.

Parque Zoológico y Jardín Botánico Nacional Simón Bolívar

Not everyone approves of zoos, but this cat came from Tortuguero as a 4-week-old cub and probably could not cope in the wilds.

Automatic cameras will keep a close eye on jungle
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Monday was a good day for big cats in Costa Rica.

The  Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad outlined the way automatic cameras will keep track of wildlife in the vicinity of the Proyecto Hidroeléctrico Reventazón in what is known as the  Barbilla-Destierro Biological Subcorridor and also called the Paso del Jaguar.

The international organization Panthera is setting  up the project, finance by the Inter-American Development Bank. Some 80 of the heat- and movement-sensitive cameras are distributed around the jungle. Some of these are online so they can transmit immediately whatever photo has been taken.

For animal fans, the most recent photos are available on the Panthera Web site. Monday night there were photos of an anteater, an ocelot. an armadillo and a skunk. Even confirmed jungle hands might never see some of these in the wilds. And most probably would not want to confront the latter.

The big cat monitoring is part of the environmental management plan for the hydro project, which is about 80 percent completed. It
will provide power for 525,000 households. Panthera noted that the Path of the Jaguar is a critical area for connecting populations of this wild cat and other species, between the  Cordillera de Talamanca and the Cordillera Volcánica Central.

The objective of this monitoring project is to help lay the foundation for prioritizing and protecting the critical connectivity habitats for the Paso del Jaguar and its biodiversity, the organization said.

Also planned are some detailed scientific studies including animal genetics.

Also Monday the zoo in San José said that cats there will be getting new homes.

The zoo has one jaguar (Panthera onca) that arrived a a cub in 1996. Such animals can live up to 22 years in captivity, noted an announcement. The second and smaller cat is a jaguarundi (Puma yagouaroundi) that has been at the zoo since 2009.

The zoo, correctly called the  Parque Zoológico y Jardín Botánico Nacional Simón Bolívar and its foundation, spent 25 million colons (about $46,000) to erect new housing for both cats, an announcement said. Included is an area where visitors can watch the cats through glass.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 208

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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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Real estate agents and services

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CR Beach Investment Real Estate Broker-Owner
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Reason #1:  SJO Int’l Airport and S.J. suburbs are little more than one hour away.
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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!

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Rey Curré festival is this weekend

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The residents of Rey Curré are planning a big party Thursday through Saturday at the community in southwestern Costa Rica.

The event is the  XXII Festival Cultural Indígena Rey Curré 2014. The Museo Nacional is even loaning three of those famous stone spheres for the  gathering, which will be steeped in Boruca culture.

The ancestors of the Boruca are presumed to be the fabricators of the spheres, which are believed to have been used for status purposes.

The community is 32 kilometers south of  Buenos Aires de Puntarenas on the Interamerican Sur. Rey Curré is the most accessible Boruca community.

Thursday locals will be making a bull costume to participate in the Danza del diablitos, a traditional Boruca vs. Spanish theme. Usually the community holds the Diablito event in the first days of January. But for this festival there is a special abbreviated showing of the dance and interplay of forces Saturday at 1 p.m.

The spheres are supposed to arrive about 3 p.m. Thursday. For the rest of the weekend there is food, cultural activities, dancing and music.

Oktoberfest is Saturday in San Ramón

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Community Action Alliance in San Ramón plans its Oktoberfest Saturday at La Colina From 1 to 5 p.m.

The service organization promises homemade bratwurst, sauerkraut, German potato salad, dessert, and German music. There is an admission and prior reservations are requested to Proceeds will go to the organization's  Gift of Love project supporting local social action causes, the organization said.

Sabana area to lose power today

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Government agencies are warning that the power company will be cutting electricity in Sabana Sur, Este and Oeste today for most of the day. The Departamento de Control de Armas y Explosivos of the security ministry is closed for that reason as is the economics ministry. The Museo de Arte Costarricense also said it would be closed.

The  Compañía Nacional de Fuerza y Luz has said the outage will be from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Drill today to affect 1,200 workers

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The  Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad says it will be having a drill today at 9 a.m. at one of its buildings in  Mata Redonda. Some 1,200 persons are supposed to be affected by the drill. They have to evacuate the 16-floor building.

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A.M. Costa Rica

Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 208
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Church speaker

I cuda been a contender!

To give the fatal blow
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photos
Bird raisers take their work serious and compete for trophies
Police bust up Atenas cockfight with 1,000 spectators
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Fuerza Pública officers and the  Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal staged another raid over the weekend in Atenas as part of the continuing effort to crack down on cock fighting.

Officers said they found about 150 fighting birds and about 1,000 persons watching the competitions. Officer also said they confiscated alcohol, including beer. One woman spectator had a babe in arms.

The location was at a rural home, a quinta, in Barrio Mercedes de Atenas.
Two persons were found to be carrying firearms, and they were detained, said officers.

Police said they conducted a surprise raid, but with 1,000 persons in attendance, the location must have been common knowledge.

There is a long tradition in Latin countries and even in the United States for this type of blood sport.

The fighting birds are the main attractions but there is ample betting.

The sport is outlawed in most progressive jurisdictions.

Turnout is minimal for union march against 2015 budget cuts
By the A.M. Coda Rica staff

A march by union members against budget cuts Monday was a bit of a bust with an estimated gathering of from 150 to 200 persons.

Still the Asociación Nacional de Empleados Públicos y Privados, backed by a handful of other unions, presented grievances to the  Asamblea Legislativa.

One of the problems of the protesters was the lack of specifics in what the budget cuts will do. The legislative budget committee chopped 3.8 percent from the executive branch's 2015 budget. But the cuts are fairly abstract.

The public employees union suggests that salaries will be cut, but that is not part of the legislative action. In fact, nothing is certain because the full legislature has yet to act.
Even when it does, the cuts would be amounts of money in certain categories. Then it would be up to the executive branch to allocate the cuts.

Still the pubic employees union said the cuts were irresponsible and lacked reflection and objective analysis over the direct impacts.

The statement also came very close to saying that the nation's debt should be ignored in favor of salaries and governmental operations. The deficit is due to debt, the statement said, noting the the amount due in 2015 is 1.7 trillion colons in debt service. That is about $3.1 billion. The union statement also asked who ran up this debt in the first place.

The unions also blamed tax evasion and predicted failures of private firms and social unrest. The statement continued to push for what was called transforming the tax structure. That basically means more taxes on corporations and high earners.

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, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 208
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Researchers find antibiotic residue in samples of farm-raised fish
By the University of Arizona news service

Antibiotics — one of modernity’s great success stories — are charms that come with a curse. Their overuse in human and animal populations can lead to the development of resistant microbial strains, posing a dire threat to global health.

In a new study, Hansa Done, a doctoral candidate, and Rolf Halden, researchers at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute, examine antibiotic use in the rapidly expanding world of global aquaculture.

Ms. Done and Halden measured the presence of antibiotics in shrimp, salmon, catfish, trout, tilapia and swai, originating from 11 countries. Data showed traces of 5 of the 47 antibiotics evaluated.

The research findings and a discussion of their implications appear in the current issue of the Journal of Hazardous Materials.

The menace of germs bearing resistance to the  best medical defenses is reaching crisis proportions. Each year, resistant microbes sicken some 2 million people in the U.S.  alone and kill about 23, 000, according to the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

Sept. 18. President Obama proposed the first governmental steps to address the problem, establishing a task force to be co-chaired by the secretaries of Health and Human Services, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Agriculture.

The new initiative to rein in antibiotic overuse has been welcomed in the medical community, though many believe that much more needs to be done to safeguard society. The chief complaint is that the proposed measures largely ignore the largest consumers of antibiotics — animals farmed for human consumption, including fish.

“The threat of living in a post-antibiotic era cannot be avoided without revising current practices in the use of antibiotics in animal husbandry, including in aquaculture,” says Halden.

Halden, who directs the Biodesign Institute’s Center for Environmental Security, is a leading authority on the human and environmental impact of chemicals, particularly their fate once their useful life has ended.  In previous research, he has explored the intricate pathways from production to post consumption fate of anti microbials and the risks posed.

The new study examines the persistence of antibiotics in seafood raised by modern aquaculture. The research area is largely unexplored, as the primary focus of studies of antibiotics has been on drugs used in human medicine. The current research is the first to evaluate previously unmonitored antibiotics. It represents the largest reconnaissance conducted to date on antibiotics present in seafood.

Aquaculture has undergone rapid growth to meet the burgeoning global demand, nearly tripling over the past 20 years to an estimated 83 million metric tons in 2013. The large increase has led to widespread antibiotic use, applied both to prevent and treat pathogens known to infect fish. The broad effects on health and the environment associated with these practices remain speculative.
Several natural mechanisms exist to help pathogenic microbes evade immune responses or develop drug resistance over time.  The overuse of antibiotics, whether for human ingestion in hospitals or for agricultural or aquacultural use, can seriously exacerbate this problem, enriching microbes that bear particular genetic mutations, rendering them antibiotic resistant. In a biological arms race, antibiotics applied to combat disease run the risk of producing multi-drug resistant organisms that are increasingly difficult to kill.

In the new study, 27 seafood samples were examined for the presence of antibiotics. The samples represent five of the top 10 most consumed seafood varieties in the U.S.: shrimp, tilapia, catfish, swai, and Atlantic salmon. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration acquired the samples from stores in Arizona and California.

Five antibiotics were present in detectable amounts: oxytetracycline in wild shrimp, farmed tilapia, farmed salmon and farmed trout; 4-epioxytetracycline in farmed salmon, sulfadimethoxine in farmed shrimp, ormetoprim in farmed salmon, and virginiamycin in farmed salmon that had been marketed as antibiotic-free.

Oxytetracycline, the most commonly used antibiotic in aquaculture, was the most prevalent in the study samples.  Surprisingly, the study also detected this antibiotic in wild-caught shrimp imported from Mexico, which the authors suggest may be due to mislabeling, coastal pollution from sewage contamination or cross-contamination during handling and processing.

On the bright side, all seafood analyzed was found to be in compliance with U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration regulations.
Antibiotics also have the potential to affect the animals themselves, producing alterations in how genes are turned on or off and physiological anomalies.

Proper monitoring of antibiotic residues in seafood is particularly critical, due to the fact that many antibiotics used in aquaculture are also used in human medicine, for example amoxicillin and ampicillin, common therapeutics for the treatment of bacterial infections, including pneumonia and gastroenteritis.

The use of antibiotics in aquaculture can produce a variety of unintended consequences in addition to antibiotic resistance, including antibiotic dissemination into the surrounding environment, residual concentrations remaining in seafood, and high antibiotic exposure for personnel working in aquaculture facilities.

Changes in aquaculture are needed to ensure the practice can be carried out on a large scale in a sustainable manner, the researchers concluded. Currently, massive aquaculture operations threaten the health of seas, due to large volumes of fish waste emitted, containing excess nutrients, large amounts of pathogens, and drug resistance genes.

The current study offers a warning that antibiotics present at levels well below regulatory limits can still promote the development of drug-resistant microorganisms.

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

cat trees
 San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 208
Real Estate
About us

Health workers are uneasy
with ebola care procedures

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Although there have only been three cases of ebola diagnosed in the United States, unease about contracting the disease has spread across the country. At the same time, nurses are asking President Obama to mandate uniform procedures for dealing with ebola in all U.S. hospitals, where they say preparations are, for the most part, far from adequate. Public officials are supporting these requests.

Houston's U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee came together with doctors and nurses demanding all U.S. hospitals provide adequate protective clothing for healthcare workers who may encounter ebola.

“This is the type of equipment that should be utilized by any medical professionals, including nurses and others that are dealing with the bodily fluids, to assure that they have the ability to be protected,” said Rep. Lee.

The congresswoman said she supported the call for President Obama to use his executive authority to set uniform ebola procedures nationwide

National Nurses United called for better training and equipment.

“Even today, in the hospitals, nurses have not been trained on how to use this equipment and, in some hospitals, do not have this equipment,” said Melinda Markowitz, the union group's vice president.

Her organization blames sloppy procedures at the Dallas hospital that treated the first ebola patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, who infected two nurses who treated him.

Ms. Markowitz said National Nurses United has been asking for better preparation since the ebola outbreak began in West Africa in March.

“We have been going to the hospitals and saying, ‘This is happening in Africa, what are you doing to prepare the healthcare providers and the nurses if this should come to the United States?’” said Ms. Markowitz. And how did they respond? “Well, ‘Oh, we are prepared; we are prepared for any infection.’ And we know that is not true,” Ms. Markowitz recalled.

A recent National Nurses United survey showed that 85 percent of U.S. hospitals have inadequate ebola training and many lack proper equipment and waste disposal systems.

Nurse Gwendolyn Agbatekwe who works at a hospital in Austin, Texas, said it is unacceptable that the nurses in Dallas became infected while doing their job.

“I am grievously saddened by these two nurses contracting the ebola virus and I know that they were doing the best that they could do to work with their patients,” said Ms. Agbatekwe.

Nurse Kelly Miller stressed the need for teamwork when using protective suits that become unbearably hot to wear for more than half an hour.

She said at least two people are also needed to avoid dangerous mistakes.

“The reason you work in teams is to have the other person help you with the protocol to make sure you haven’t missed something,” said Ms. Miller.

The other matter that healthcare professionals say needs to be addressed is public education about ebola, which Rep. Lee said could prevent unnecessary panic and help save lives.

'Sit down, have a coffee,
and let's talk about death'

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

It’s hard to imagine that death was once an intimate part of American life.

That was the case during the Civil War, this nation’s bloodiest, which killed more than 600,000 people. Grainy, black-and-white photos of 1860s battlefields littered with corpses give a glimpse of the scale of death. Proportionately, it would be like losing 7 million, or 2.5 percent, of the country’s current 319 million residents.

"Almost everyone lost a loved one or knew someone who lost a loved one," historian and Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust said last year at a commemoration of the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg. "People saw death with an intensity and a scale that had been unimaginable previously."

But in modern America, death is a topic to be avoided.

"Many of us have bought into the truth that a conversation about death is about as impolite as sexual dysfunction," said Theresa Gale of the Kittamaqundi Community Church in Columbia, Maryland, which recently hosted a Discussion on Death.

It’s a simple idea: A group of people get together in a coffee shop, a restaurant, a church, or even a cemetery, and talk about death and dying. The hope is that talking about these taboo topics will make the final moment less terrifying to face.  

The so-called death cafe movement started several years ago in London by Jon Underwood, who was inspired by the writings of Swiss sociologist Bernard  Crettaz.

Since then, more than 1,100 cafes have been held, mainly in Europe and Anglophone countries, according to Underwood’s Death Café Web site. He’s planning to open a permanent death café in the British capital.

At the Kittamaqundi church, in a suburb between Baltimore and Washington, the gathering was called a Discussion on Death. The participants, sitting in a circle and sampling tea and cake, talked about why they came.

"I’d like to have control over my own death," said one woman.

"I would like to be more accepting of however, whatever happens," said another.

Then they passed the microphone to Ruth Anne  Celtnicks.

"I would like some pointers as to how I can go out saying, ‘Bye-bye!' " she said, laughing.

Ms. Celtnicks’ smiling optimism was surprising, given that she was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer.

"You start dying from the moment you are born," she said in an interview afterward. "I’m 72 year’s old. Good lord, how long do I need" to go on living?

Most of the discussion centered around the feeling that much of what people do in life falls far short of preparing them for death.

"Death is the one thing promised to us," said Pat Cochran Engelbach, the meeting's organizer and author of "Last Rights: Taking Care of Your Final Journey."

"I think that for this culture, especially, we have so many distancers between ourselves and death," Ms. Engelbach said. "We’re too successful, we’re too good-looking, we have too many toys. These are all distancers between ourselves and the earth."

She blames in part the funeral industry, which emerged to help Americans deal with the carnage of the Civil War. Embalming, mainly practiced by doctors until then, made it possible for thousands of the corpses to be preserved so they could be sent back to their families.

Caleb Wilde, a sixth-generation funeral director in Pennsylvania, says his profession helped remove death from the home.

"I think the funeral industry has been responsible for the American death denial," he said. "We have taken the responsibilities away from the community, from families, and we’ve been paid to be the shield from the reality of death."

Wilde has attracted national attention by doing something rather unusual in his trade: writing a blog. Many of his posts have been self-critical, but he also believes that Americans need to take more responsibility over their own demise.

"Here in America, we like to think that we’re immortal. We stand on top of the pinnacle of the world and we’ve pursued … wealth or status and we like to think that we will continue to live on indefinitely," he said.

"We all die and we haven’t given much thought to that."

Ex-Nazis still getting benefits
from the other type of SS

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Suspected Nazi war criminals collected millions of dollars in U.S. Social Security benefits after being forced to leave the United States, according to the Associated Press.

Among those receiving Social Security were armed SS guards of Nazi concentration camps where millions of Jews perished, a rocket scientist who used slave labor to advanced his research, and a Nazi collaborator who masterminded the arrest and execution of thousands of Jews in Poland.  
The AP says the payments were distributed as part of a deal used by the Justice Department’s Nazi-hunting unit, the Office of Special Investigation, which was created in 1979 to circumvent lengthy deportation hearings.  Reportedly, the condition was that if the accused voluntarily left the country or fled before deportation, they could keep receiving their Socials Security benefits. 

Government records reveal heated objections from the State Department and Social Security Administration over the deal with Nazi suspects, who would lose their citizenship and voluntarily leave the United States to keep their Social Security benefits.
Subsequently, the practice known as Nazi dumping was suspended, but the benefits loophole was not closed.

U.S. lawmakers have been working to close the loophole.

Since 1979, at least 38 of 66 suspected Nazi war criminals were forced to leave the United States.

World Series starts tonight
with Giants facing Royals

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Baseball's World Series, sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic, begins  tonight with the American League champion Kansas City Royals hosting the National League champion San Francisco Giants.

It's a best-of-seven game series, with the first two in Kansas City before the teams travel west to San Francisco for games three, four and, if necessary, five. If a game six or seven is needed, they would be back in Kansas City.

The Royals get the home field advantage because the American League won this season's All-Star game against the National League.

Kansas City has only been to the World Series twice since it joined Major League Baseball in 1969. The last appearance for the Royals was in 1985, when they won their only championship.

San Francisco has won two recent World Series, in 2010 and 2012, and the Giants have eight current players who were on both of those championship teams.

Both teams finished the regular season as wild card playoff teams, finishing with one of the two best records after the three divisions winners in each league. So they needed success in three playoff rounds just to reach the World Series.

In one-game playoffs against the other wild card teams, Kansas City rallied to beat the Oakland Athletics in 12 innings, 9-8, and San Francisco shut out the Pittsburgh Pirates, 8-0.

Both then upset the teams in their respective leagues with the best regular season records - the Royals swept the Los Angeles Angels in their best-of-five division series, 3-0, and the Giants knocked off the Washington Nationals, 3-1. Then in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series, Kansas City swept the Baltimore Orioles, 4-0, and San Francisco beat the St. Louis Cardinals, four games to one.

Now to open the 110th World Series, before their home fans, the Kansas City Royals will take on the San Francisco Giants and try to extend the Major League record eight-game winning streak they set to begin this season's playoffs.

Oscar de la Renta leaves
a legacy of dressing well

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Iconic designer Oscar de la Renta died Monday, leaving behind a legendary career as one of the most recognized names in fashion. He was 82.

Spanish-language television network Univision reported that de la Renta died after a 10-year battle with cancer.

The designer, who was born in the Dominican Republic, rose to international prominence in the 1960s dressing first lady Jacqueline Kennedy.

In the decades since, his fashion house was best known for voluptuous gowns that made their way from the runway to the red carpet.

Most recently, de la Renta was credited with designing the gown that lawyer Amal Alamuddin Clooney wore to marry actor George Clooney in Italy last month.

In a 2013 interview with Britain’s The Telegraph, de la Renta said style is "a discipline."

The designer added, "if you don't dress well every day, you lose the habit. It's not about what you wear, but about how you live your life."

De la Renta is survived by wife Annette Engelhard and an adopted son, Moises, as well as stepchildren and step-grandchildren.

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A Buyer’s Broker offering the best
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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: 
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(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.

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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
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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 208
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News from the BBC up to the minute

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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
More downpours expected for today

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Another round of afternoon downpours is predicted for today, and weather experts are saying this is typical for October.

The skies really opened up Monday with the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional reporting totals of 50 millimeters (2 inches) or more in many areas.

The lights went out in a section of Escazú due to lighting strikes, residents there said.

A compounding factor Monday night was fog that began to gather after suppertime and gave the lighted streets a Londonish look.

The heaviest rain is predicted for Guanacaste today, also the northern part of the Central Valley and the northern zone.

More fog is predicted for tonight.

In a 7 p.m. bulletin, the weather institute predicted more rain overnight on the Caribbean coast.

Public bus overturns on route to Tilarán

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

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

The Cruz Roja said that three passengers were hospitalized in guarded 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.

López case concerns U.N. rights official

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, expressed serious concern Monday at the continued detention of Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López, as well as more than 69 other people who were arrested in the context of public protests that took place across Venezuela over several months starting in February this year.

"The prolonged and arbitrary detention of political opponents and protestors in Venezuela is causing more and more concern internationally," Zeid said. "It is only exacerbating the tensions in the country."

According to information received by the U.N. Human Rights Office, over 3,300 people, including minors, were detained for brief periods between February and June, and more than 150 cases of ill-treatment, many of them torture, were reported. At least 43 people were killed during the protests, including one public prosecutor and nine members of the security forces. Journalists and human rights defenders have also reported threats, attacks and intimidation.

Last month, the Working Group on arbitrary detention stated its opinion that the detention of Leopoldo López, as well as that of former mayor of San Cristobal Daniel Ceballos, was arbitrary.

The high commissioner met Leopoldo López's wife, Lilian Tintori, in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, and discussed the situation of all the detainees and their families. He said he deplored the continued reports of threats and intimidation directed at people working to defend human rights in Venezuela, and urged that they be allowed to pursue their work and speak up without fear for their safety. “My office is extremely concerned about the current situation, and we will continue to monitor it very closely,” he added.

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From Page 7:

European bank secrecy will be history soon

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money.  The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes.  But, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.

In countries like Luxembourg, where bank secrecy used to be the norm, Europe’s top tax official, Algirdas Semeta, says depositors will no longer be able to hide their money from the prying eyes of governments.

“The revised directive promises full and lasting tax transparency in Europe," he said. "Bank secrecy is dead, and automatic exchange of information will be applied in its widest form.”

Luxembourg agreed to share bank information with member countries starting in 2017 with Austria signaling similar intentions by 2018. 

Analyst Jacob Kirkegaard at the Peterson Institute for International Economics calls the agreement a milestone in global efforts to stop tax evasion.

“This is a very significant development and it’s really the culmination of what at least in the EU has been a decade-long struggle by some governments - in France, Italy and Germany - to really curb this longstanding practice of anonymous, offshore, if you like, bank accounts in other EU countries," he said.

Decades of bank secrecy helped establish Luxembourg as one of Europe’s biggest financial centers where bank deposits are currently valued at more than 10 times the nation’s annual GDP.  Switzerland, once among the world’s largest tax havens, ended bank secrecy last year, after intense legal pressure from Europe and the United States. 

While tax cheats still can hide their money in less-developed countries where regulations are less stringent, Kirkegaard says the options and the benefits for doing so are shrinking.

“Well, you can go to places like Dubai, some have mentioned Singapore, but Singapore has also recently joined these efforts, so it becomes increasingly difficult to keep your money at a place at which they are readily available,” he said.

Some economists estimate that as much as 8 percent of the world's financial wealth, more than $7 trillion, may be hidden in tax haven countries. If all this illegal money were properly reported, conservative estimates say global tax revenues would grow by more than $200 billion a year.