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A.M. Costa Rica
Your daily English-language news source Monday through Friday

 
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(506) 2223-1327                         Published Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013, in Vol. 13, No. 211                 Email us
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Cascata del Bosco



tamales
Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud photos
A buckets of tamales                                       An invasion of mascaradas
Aserrí hosts a double dose of culture this weekend
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There is a double feature this weekend in the town of Aserrí. Starting Friday there is the three-day Feria de Tamal, featuring the traditional Costa Rican dish.

Then Sunday the community expects some 800 masked visitors from all over the country for the  Encuentro Nacional de Mascaradas. Organizers said there will be representation from at least 22 groups.

The gathering of marchers wearing the giant papier mâché masks is Costa Rica' answer to the cultural invasion of North America's Halloween. These giant masks have been with the Latin culture since at least the early Middle Ages and perhaps before.

Aserrí is the cultural home of the tamal and also the mascaradas. For the uninformed, a tamal is a mass of dough in which meat, some vegetables and condiments are placed. The whole thing is wrapped up in banana leaves with string, baked and then boiled. Typically they are sold in pairs, a piña.
Aserrí has several firms that make tamales by the truckload. They are a traditional Christmas food.

The Asociación Cívico Cultural Aqueserrí, the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud and the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo are organizers.

Much of the activity will be at the central park in the community, which is uphill and just south of Desamparado.

As with similar events there will be crafts and foods for sale as well as music and fireworks, organizers said.

A 10 a.m. parade Sunday will have all the mascaradas as participants as well as the traditional street bands, the cimarronas.  However, the loud activities start early, at 4 a.m., organizers said.

Oct. 31, Thursday, is the official Día Nacional de la Mascarada Tradicional Costarricense, but the event Sunday takes advantage of the weekend.


New Correos stamp issue opposes discrimination
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Correos de Costa Rica has come out with a stamp against discrimination.

new issue
First-day cover features stamps, slogan and photo
The new issue marks World Postal Day Oct. 9 and is part of an initiative of the Unión Postal de las Américas, España y Portugal.

The postal service had 15,000 stamps printed and put together 500 first-day covers for collectors. The stamp shows the hands of children forming a circle. The first-day cover includes a photo of children's feet.

The stamp has a face value of 300 colons, about 60 U.S. cents.

The stamp symbolizes the union and inclusion of different cultures, ethnicities, ideologies and opinions, Correos said. The stamps, designed by Cristian Ramírez Vargas were printed by Gozaka, S.A. of La Uruca.


State-run convention center gets approval for loans
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The tourism institute has taken another step toward getting a $12 million loan to build a national convention center.

The site is in Barreal de Heredia along the General Cañas autopista.

The La Gaceta offical newspaper on the Web contained an authorization by the Banco Central de Costa Rica. The Instituto Costarricense de Turismo sought the central bank's blessing last year and now plans to negotiate loans with Banco Nacional and Banco de Costa Rica, it said.

The central bank became involved because a loan of that magnitude might affect the balance of payments.

The proposed facility would hold 4,500 persons and contain associated rooms, restaurants, kitchens and 
open air exhibition areas.

The proposal has been in the works for years, and at one time the country expected the government of Taiwan to come up with the money for the project.

But when then-president Óscar Arias Sánchez broke with Taiwan in favor of the People's Republic of China, the project was left a financial orphan.

The center comes at a time when the number of convention goers in the United States has dropped significantly. At the same time, the number of convention centers have mushroomed.

Cities and states see convention centers as a way to tap income from visitors with a lot of disposable     income who require no long-term public services.
The tourism institute repeated Wednesday its hope that the convention center would stimulate more tourism traffic for the country.

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Berkley
A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday,  Oct. 24, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 211

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


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Real estate agents and services

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Legal services

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explosion
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo  
There's more where these came from.

Law enforcement has fun
blowing up seized fireworks

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The event was New Year's and July 4 rolled into one. Even though citizens cannot have explosive fireworks, law enforcement has the job of blowing up confiscated material.

That is what happened Wednesday at Los Sitios de Moravia when the security minister, Mario Zamora Cordero, sent the current that ignited the pile of fireworks. In all, there were 771,153 separate firecrackers, bombs and rockets that went up in smoke. They had been confiscated from November to March.

The security ministry noted that this period is the high season for fireworks.

The blast was in the hands of the Dirección General de Armamento of the ministry.

Some of the merchandise came from shops that were not authorized to sell them, said officials

fireworks
                                                          two
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo  
This is some of the confiscated material.

New trial in Las Olas case
begins in January, lawyer says

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A new criminal trial in the case of the U.S. developer of the Las Olas condominium project in Esterillos Oeste will begin the second week of January.

That was the report Wednesday from Nestor Morera, the Heredia lawyer representing David Richard Aven of New Castle, Pennsylvania, the developer.

Morera said the Sept. 6 start of the trial was postponed that day because he was ill. Then the trial was postponed a second time in the second week of that month because the judge became ill, he added. A news story Friday reported incorrectly that the delay was because Aven had been ill, said the lawyer.

New York lawyers for Aven have threatened to take Costa Rica to arbitration under the free trade treaty with the United States.

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

The criminal trial has been plagued with illness.

The New York lawyers claim that the prosecutor engineered a delay when it appeared he would lose the case. Then a judge, whom Morera identified as Rafael Solís Gullock, became sick and the trial has to be repeated. The New York lawyers consider this double jeopardy. Costa Rica law provides for a new trial if there is a delay of 10 working days for a reason like the illness of the judge. That took place in December 2012 and January this year, said Morera.

The law firm threatening arbitration is King & Spalding LLP of New York City. The Costa Rican lawyer, Morera of the Bufete Morera & Morera, noted in a telephone call Wednesday that both abortive trials represent significant expense to the developer, who was present.


Red Sox takes first game
from Cardinals 8 to 1


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Boston Red Sox trounced the visiting St. Louis Cardinals 8-1 Wednesday in the first game of Major League Baseball's 2013 World Series.

The American League champion Red Sox jumped out to an early lead over the National League champion Cardinals when Mike Napoli hit a bases-loaded double in the first inning. Napoli's hit came after the umpires reversed an earlier call that St. Louis infielder Pete Kozma had tagged a Red Sox runner out at second base, although it was clear he did not cleanly catch the ball from teammate Matt Carpenter.

Boston slugger David Ortiz drove in three runs, including a towering two-run home run in the seventh inning. Ortiz nearly hit a grand slam in the second inning, but St. Louis outfielder Carlos Beltran made the catch right at the wall. Beltran suffered a rib injury on the play and was taken to a hospital for tests.

Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester kept the Cardinals scoreless over seven-plus innings, giving up just five hits while posting eight strikeouts. St. Louis's only run came from Matt Holliday's home run in the ninth inning off reliever Ryan Dempster.

Game two of the best-of-seven series is set for Thursday at Boston's Fenway Park.


Flu shot might protect
against heart ills and stroke


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The flu season is just beginning in the Northern Hemisphere and doctors are urging anyone older than six months to get immunized. A new study also suggests the vaccine may do more than ward off the flu.

Medical experts say there is nothing that kills as many people as the flu. Doctors say heart patients who get the flu seem to have a higher risk of heart attack, heart failure or stroke.

Researchers believe as bodies fight the disease, inflammation and plaque in arteries become more unstable and may form clots and blockages. It appears the flu vaccine, though, may help protect even healthy people from heart attack and stroke.

Jacob Udell at Women's College Hospital in Toronto analyzed data from previous studies involving nearly 7,000 patients. 

“Overall there was about a 33 percent reduction in risk for heart attacks, strokes and other major cardiovascular events in those who received the flu shot, compared to those who’d received a placebo or just the standard of care,” said Udell.

For people who'd recently had a heart attack, getting a flu shot cut their risk of having another one by 50 percent. So Udell says getting the vaccine is a no brainer.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday,  Oct. 24, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 211
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Visitors report they documented cases of illegal fishing here
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A marine conservation organization said it spent many days and nights observing and filming fishing activities around the marine protected areas in Costa Rica. It said it turned video footage of suspected illegal fishing to authorities.

The organization is Earthrace, and the organization's team members used radar, night vision goggles and other equipment to keep an eye on commercial fishing boats over three months, it said.

In a release Wednesday, the organization said it was also able to obtain proof on film from on board several other fishing vessels believed to be acting beyond the law, including a 70-foot (21-meter) long line trawler. The organization said it was hosted by the Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía,

In one case, the team aboard a small boat said they watched a Costa Rican shrimper slip into a protected area off Guanacaste at night, the organization said.

"Once it was dark, the trawler was observed traveling at 8 knots into the marine protected area, where it turned off its lights, stopped and spent 40 minutes preparing its trawl gear," the organization said. "For the next seven hours, the trawler traversed in the same area at around 2 to 3 knots.  It was deliberately operating within the protected area and at daybreak, he pulled in the trawl nets at which point the Earthrace team boarded the vessel."

Pete Bethune, who headed up the team, agreed in an email that the organization has no authority to board vessels unless they are invited.  He said they simply ask the captains to come aboard and talk and keep their eyes open.
Earthrace
Earthrace photo
This is the small craft the team used.

The captain of the trawler vessel maintained there was only a marine protected area in the south of the region, not in the north where he was, that he was not inside the north marine protected area at all and that there was no way of proving that the organization's GPS was working correctly, Earthrace said.

Bethune appears to be optimistic that the efforts of his team would lead to criminal prosecutions. The organization said he plans on returning with more evidence.

“Illegal fishing may not be as much on the public’s radar as some other issues," he was quoted as saying.  "However, I believe it is the most dangerous and damaging practice going on around the world today in terms of our oceans. The pressure on populations of fish and other marine animals from illegal fishing fleets that don’t give a damn about what they catch, how much, and how they catch it means there is no longer plenty more in the sea.”


Popular herbicide atrazine linked to global deaths of frogs
By the University of South Florida news service

The combination of the herbicide atrazine and a fungal disease is particularly deadly to frogs, new research shows. The report comes from a University of South Florida laboratory, which has been investigating the global demise of amphibian populations.

Jason Rohr, a biologist said the new findings show that early-life exposure to atrazine increases frog mortality but only when the frogs were challenged with a chytrid fungus, a pathogen implicated in worldwide amphibian declines. The research is published in the new edition of Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

“Understanding how stressors cause enduring health effects is important because these stressors might then be avoided or mitigated during formative developmental stages to prevent lasting increases in disease susceptibility,” Rohr said.

The experiments showed that a six-day exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations of atrazine, one of the most common herbicides in the world, increased frog mortality 46 days after the atrazine exposure, but only when frogs were challenged with the chytrid fungus. This increase in mortality was driven by a reduction in the frogs’ tolerance of the infection.

Moreover, Rohr and fellow researchers found no evidence of recovery from the atrazine exposure and the atrazine-induced
increase in disease susceptibility was independent of when the atrazine exposure occurred during tadpole development.

“These findings are important because they suggest that amphibians might need to be exposed only to atrazine briefly as larvae for atrazine to cause persistent increases in their risk of chytri-induced mortality,” Rohr said. “Our findings suggest that reducing early-life exposure of amphibians to atrazine could reduce lasting increases in the risk of mortality from a disease associated with worldwide amphibian declines.”

Until this study, scientists knew little about how early-life exposure to stressors affected the risk of infectious diseases for amphibians later in life.

”Identifying which, when, and how stressors cause enduring effects on disease risk could facilitate disease prevention in wildlife and humans, an approach that is often more cost-effective and efficient than reactive medicine,” Rohr said.

The findings are also the latest chapter in research Rohr and his lab has conducted on the impact of atrazine on amphibians.

These findings are consistent with earlier studies that concluded that, while the chemical typically does not directly kill amphibians and fish, there is consistent scientific evidence that it negatively impacts their biology by affecting their growth and immune and endocrine systems.

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday,  Oct. 24, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 211
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Health effect of e-cigarettes is still an open question, Mayo Clinic says
By the Mayo Clinic news staff

E-cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular and widely available as the use of regular cigarettes drops. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that e-cigarette use by children doubled from 2011 to 2012.

The health effects of e-cigarettes have not been effectively studied and the ingredients have little or no regulation, said the Mayo Clinic's Nicotine Dependence Center.

Electronic cigarettes, often called e-cigarettes, are battery-operated devices that provide inhaled doses of a vaporized solution of either propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin along with liquid nicotine. An atomizer heats the solution into a vapor that can be inhaled. The process, referred to as vaping, creates a vapor cloud that resembles cigarette smoke. Some liquids contain flavoring, making them more appealing to users.

"As of right now, there is no long-term safety data showing the impact of repeated inhalation of propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin on lung tissue," cautions Jon Ebbert, associate director at Mayo Clinic's Nicotine Dependence Center. "There is some short-term data suggesting that e-cigarettes may cause airway irritation, but until we have long-term safety data, we are not recommending e-cigarettes for use among cigarette smokers to help people stop smoking."
So, what is known about electronic cigarettes?

* Manufacturers claim that electronic cigarettes are a safe alternative to conventional cigarettes.

* The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has questioned the safety of these products.

* Food and Drug's analysis of two popular brands found variable amounts of nicotine and traces of toxic chemicals, including known cancer-causing substances.

* Food and Drug has issued a warning about potential health risks associated with electronic cigarettes, but is not yet regulating their use or standards of manufacture.

"It's an amazing thing to watch a new product like that just kind of appear. There's no quality control," says Richard Hurt, director of Mayo Clinic's Nicotine Dependence Center. "Many of them are manufactured in China under no control conditions, so the story is yet to be completely told."

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) will host a press conference about e-cigarettes and their health effects on Tuesday in National Harbor, Maryland.

 
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Christopher Howard's Award-winning Combination Relocation/Retirement Tour. NO other retirement tour offers MORE options...MORE areas visited, MORE information, MORE people just like you who have made the move and a LONGER
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Christ Howard with Max
retiring in Costa Rica,  and who has personally helped over 10,000 people with ALL BUDGETS relocate SUCCESSFULLY over the last 35 years. CUSTOM TAILOR-MADE TOURS are also available for people with special needs or who can’t take one of our fixed-date tours. ALL tours include EXTENSIVE touring and a highly informative SEMINAR by the country’s most renowned EXPERTS in their respective fields. Also visit: Live in Costa Rica to check out our NEW tour prices and specials.  Customer satisfaction 100% guaranteed! MY REFERENCES.

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7964-6/9/13

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VacationsCostaRica.com offers customized, upscale vacations to Costa Rica, planned by our team of in-country travel experts. Call us Toll Free: 1-800-606-1860 or locally in San Jose: 2296-7715.  We also offer trips to Panama, visit: VacationToPanama.com. Are you a fisherman? Our local experts will help arrange fishing trips to Costa Rica, just click HERE!
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A.M. Costa Rica
Real estate rentals
Real estate rental agents
Real estate for rent
Business
wanted
Real estate wanted

Real estate rental services (paid category)

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

Real estate for rent (paid category)

Palmares


Homes for rent in Palmares, Alajuela

See our Web page: palmarescostarica.us
8109-11/10/13

Unfurnished 2-bedroom 2-bathroom house.. One large room for living room, dining room and kitchen. Separate bath.  2 bedrooms with bath on second floor. Washroom. Large 3-bay garage with bathroom, secure  for warehousing and storage. Located  approximately 6 miles east of San José and 1 mile west of Concepcion Tres Rios.  Map on request.  Telephone installed, cable and Internet available.  $250 a month plus utilities. 6 months minimum lease, deposit. Available after Oct. 15.  Tel. 2256-9426 bobbyruf@ice.co.cr 
8100-11/3/13

COMPLETELY and nicely furnished apartments
apartment view
in San José. Fast Internet, cable TV, hot water. Large American appliances including washer and dryer. Both convenient locations. No pets. $600 per month. Contact: rentnowcr@gmail.com or call 8555-9819.
8106-11/21/13

prime
                                    properties
ATTENTION EXPATS:
 
We have many prime properties available for long-term rentals.
Rohrmoser
Escazú
Santa Ana
 

  rentals.sanjose@gmail.com
8104-11/21/13

Lovely cottage on private coffee farm
One spacious bedroom, one bath, office room/spare room with high speed DSL internet, fully equipped kitchen, phone line,
Sarchi cottage
balcony with beautiful view, especially at night with the far off lights of San José. Farm is gated and guarded, private and peaceful, owner on-site. Sarchi is a quiet small town about 30-40 min from the airport, a perfect base to explore from and also get a
feel for normal, day-to-day Tico life. Rental is $575 per month, 3 months minimum. All utilities included. Shorter stays at $45 per night, 2 nights minimum. $225 per week, and $30 per additional night. Sorry, no pets.  Contact jogya345@yahoo.com or 8308-7732.
8093-10/16/13

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 
tropical
of Costa Rica. We are offering homes for every budget and every need. Please visit our Web page at www.tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or contact us at rentals@tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or call at (506) 2654-5442.
8054-2/16/14

Barrio Escalante, totally furnished, 1 BR apartment for single, responsible person. $35 daily, weekly rates. Contact 8385-2542, celigar53@gmail.com.
8018-8/24/13

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

Villas Casa Loma has everything you are looking for.  Best vistas, climate, value.  Four unique homes in a secure private compound on a ridge near Alajuela overlooking the entire Central Valley.  Two are available fully furnished and equipped, each a complete home accommodating 4 persons in two bedrooms with ensuite baths.  Pool, rancho, mirador, other features.  Ask about part-month rates.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at gerrybuilt2000@yahoo.com.  See virtual tour of accommodations HERE!
Get to know the real Costa Rica – you may want to live here someday.
7968-7/17/13
7875-4/11/13

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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday,  Oct. 24, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 211
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Cafetales



Pacific Estates

DNA can measure the age
of human body, study says


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Those searching for the fountain of youth, you might find it in their DNA. That’s according to a new study that sheds light on the biological clock ticking in the human genomes, why bodies age and how the process can be slowed down.

University of California genetics professor Steve Horvath has created a new tool that can accurately measure the aging body.

“Basically I developed a way of predicting age based on DNA," Horvath said. "To achieve this goal I identified 353 markers on the DNA which measure DNA methylation levels.”

Methylation is a naturally occurring epigenetic or gene altering process that chemically modifies the DNA and is critical in the development of every organism. Horvath and his colleagues gleaned information from 8,000 samples to chart methylation in healthy and diseased organs, tissues and cells from fetuses to centenarians.

“For one thing, I find that this epigenetic clock ticks fastest during development, and after age 20 it slows down to a constant ticking rate," he said. "But also I find that cancer tissue is on average 36 years older than healthy tissue, and I observed that effect in all 20 cancer types that I studied.”  

In other words, some cells age faster than others.

Horvath notes that while most biological samples matched their chronological age, some diverged significantly. The average human heart, for example, appears to be 12 years younger than its chronological age, and a woman’s healthy breast tissue ages faster than the rest of her body.   

“So it is possible that the cancer that is adjacent to this tissue accelerates the age," he said. "Having said this, I had one data set that was composed of truly healthy breast tissue and even there I observed a significant age acceleration.”

The results may explain why breast cancer is the most common cancer in women.

Remarkably, Horvath says the clock kept reliable time across the human anatomy, irrespective of where the DNA came from.

“This new epigenetic clock really frees us up from focusing on one tissue at a time because it really works in most tissues and organs and cell types, and the great advantage is that we now can compare the ages of different tissues and organs from the same individual,” he said.

Horvath says the work holds promise for studying human development, aging and disease, but also shows potential for rejuvenating tissues.

"Of course it has been a long-standing hope to find therapies or compounds that keep us young, and if this epigenetic clock measures a process that causes aging, then we will have a tool that allows us to evaluate compounds that keep us young,” he said


White House accepts health
from health insurance firms


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The White House is teaming up with some of the country's top health insurance companies to fix the technical problems that have been plaguing the Obamacare Web site.

Thousands of people who have tried to log on to the site since Oct. 1 have run into problems preventing them from signing up for the new health insurance program. Some users complain of long wait times. Others have their passwords rejected, and some users say they are being given conflicting prices for the same health plan.

The White House said Wednesday it is working 24 hours a day with experts to fix the technical issues.

Spokesman Jay Carney said the Obama administration anticipated there would be some problems with the Web site, but did not expect the scale of these problems.

Republicans opponents to the Affordable Health Care Act say the computer problems illustrate their demands that the law is not ready and must be delayed.

Under the new law, people without private health insurance can sign up for government subsidized insurance through the Web site. Those who fail to have any insurance would pay a penalty. Some Democrats are demanding the administration postpone those penalties for the uninsured because of the problems with the Web site.

 
Facebook establishes rules
for beheading photographs


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Facebook is caught in the middle of a controversy over free expression, and the popular social media Internet site is trying to determine which videos of beheadings it should allow.

Facebook, with more than a billion users worldwide, banned beheading videos in May as psychologically damaging for many of its young viewers. But the U.S.-based company recently ended the prohibition, saying it was reversing its policy so that users could share news about world events, including terrorist attacks and human rights abuses.

But as soon as it had confirmed the policy switch, Facebook drew new criticism over a video showing the bloody decapitation of a woman believed to be caught up in Mexican drug violence.

British Prime Minister David Cameron joined the attacks against Facebook. He said the company was irresponsible for allowing the gory video to be posted, especially without a warning that some viewers might find it offensive.

By late Tuesday, Facebook pulled the video of the woman and sought to clarify its policy on posting violent images. It said that posting such videos is acceptable if they are of public interest or concern, with users often condemning the perpetrators of the violence.

One U.S. social media expert, Fordham University Professor Paul Levinson, said in an interview that Facebook was certainly legally free to decide what videos can be posted on its site, including beheadings. But he questioned whether the public needs to see such graphic images in order to understand what happened in a specific circumstance.

"I don't think we need to see a picture of a beheading to know that it's something that should be condemned. But, that said, I think it's up to Facebook to decide. Nobody has to look at them. If people get some kind of sick thrill from looking at them, that's their business," said Levinson.

Facebook says it will continue to remove videos that are posted for sadistic pleasure or to celebrate violence.

Facebook administrators often face conflicting pressure from various interest groups seeking to impose their own form of censorship. Women's rights groups want the company to ban misogynistic content, while others have criticized Facebook's ban on nudity. Religious groups have sought a prohibition on what they perceive as blasphemous content, while others have complained about Facebook's censorship of critical comments about various religions. 

Levinson said the express purpose of Facebook and other social media sites is "that you, the consumer, create the content." But he said even that freedom of speech has its limits.

"No one would think, and nobody would argue, that you should be able to put up on Facebook some kind of criminal plan to rob a bank with the exact details," he said.


White House adviser shown
to be secret Twitter critic


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The White House has fired a national security adviser who anonymously posted hundreds of comments on Twitter highly critical of U.S. foreign policy and key aides to President Barack Obama.

The adviser, Jofi Joseph, was fired last week after investigators spent months trying to identify the person making the comments under the pseudonym @natsecwonk.

Joseph was the nuclear non-proliferation director at the National Security Council and was involved in recent negotiations on Iran's nuclear weapons program.  He also worked at the State Department, which has given no details on what his job was.

Joseph told the Politico news Web site that he takes responsibility for the tweets and apologizes "to everyone I insulted."  Joseph said he originally intended his comments as a parody of life in highly politicized Washington, but said they evolved into "a series of inappropriate and mean-spirited comments."

Joseph spared few officials in U.S. national security circles.  He criticized Secretary of State John Kerry and his predecessor Hillary Clinton, as well as White House adviser Ben Rhodes. 

He questioned the official account of how four U.S. diplomats were killed in Benghazi, Libya, last year.  Joseph also attacked top Republicans including Sarah Palin, the party's 2008 vice presidential candidate.


Laser device beams data
at astronomical speeds

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Nation Aeronautics and Space Administration has set a new speed record for data transmission in space. The agency beamed  information to and from a probe some 380,000 kilometers away in lunar orbit. NASA downloaded data at a rate of 622 megabits per second (Mbps) using a pulsed laser beam.

For comparison’s sake, Akamai technologies says that the average Internet user has a connection speed of 3.3 Mbps.  In the United States, the average connection speed is 8.7 Mbps.

Aboard the probe, the Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration is NASA’s first system for two-way communication using a laser instead of radio waves. It also has demonstrated an error-free data upload rate of 20 Mbps transmitted from the primary ground station in New Mexico to the spacecraft currently orbiting the moon.

Since NASA first ventured into space, it has relied on radio frequency communication. However, radio is reaching its limit as demand for more data capacity continues to increase. The development and deployment of laser communications will enable NASA to extend communication capabilities such as increased image resolution and 3-D video transmission from deep space. The system demonstrated speeds five times faster than NASA currently has.


Concern over Resistant TB
continued by World Health


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The World Health Organization says millions fewer people are dying and falling ill from tuberculosis due to successful diagnostic and treatment programs.

Published Wednesday, the U.N. group's "Global Tuberculosis Report 2013" warns that many of these gains risk being lost if multi-drug resistant TB is not brought under control.
 
While 8.6 million people fell ill with tuberculosis in 2012, of whom 1.3 million died — including 320,000 deaths who were HIV-positive — World Health considers these numbers to be too high, but notes they indicate steady progress in the fight to control TB.
 
According to the report, the number of people dying from this infectious, airborne disease has been reduced by 45 percent since 1990, and treatments have saved more than 22 million people since 1995, putting the world on track to meet the U.N. Millennium Development Goal of cutting TB deaths by half in 2015.
 
Despite the good news, however, WHO warns that the world stands to lose all gains made in TB control if it does not address the growing problem of multi-drug resistant TB.
 
Karin Weyer, coordinator of laboratories, diagnostics and drug resistance in World Health's Global TB Program, says a second challenge is to find roughly three million people with TB who were missed by health systems, either because they were not diagnosed or their cases went unreported.
 
Since multi-drug resistant TB is an airborne disease, if  health workers fail to detect and treat these cases, it has, serious consequences for patients, but also for societies and communities, she says, explaining that three-quarters of the estimated 450,000 resistant TB cases are going undiagnosed annually.

World Health says China, India and the Russian Federation have the highest burden of multi-drug resistant TB, followed by 24 other countries. Many patients are discouraged from following the 24-month course of treatment because it is very lengthy, costly and has a number of bad side effects.
 
The report finds 22 high TB burden countries account for about 80 percent of the world’s TB cases. It also says seven of these countries have met all 2015 Millennium Development targets for reducing the incidence, prevalence and mortality in TB, while four others are on track to do so by 2015.
 
Ms. Weyer says Africa is one of the regions not on track to meet the 2015 MDG targets.
 
“I think if Africa can manage to get the TB problem under control and prevent drug-resistant TB, we can prevent a situation similar to that in Eastern Europe," she says.
 
The World Health Organization says it is at a crucial point in its global TB control program. It is urging the international community to provide $2 billion to close the funding gap needed to fight this disease and prevent a reversal of all the gains made in the fight against TB.


South Korea thinks North
put malware in game data


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

South Korean law enforcement is warning computer users against downloading uncertified online gaming programs, according to local media.

The national police agency said Tuesday that some of the games may have been developed in North Korea and could contain malware that could be used in a cyber attack against the South.

The malware may collect location data and IP addresses and transmit them. The infected computers could also be used to launch distributed denial of service attacks, which use multiple computers to make millions of requests to Web sites and networks in attempt to overwhelm their capacity to distribute information.

Matthew Aid, an independent intelligence analyst, called the reports incredible.

“What the North Koreans are doing is something akin to a honey trap for techno-crazed South Koreans,” he said. “No teen will ever pass up an offer for free games online.”

A study conducted in 2009 by the Korea Creative Content Agency concluded that about 7 percent of the nation's primary and secondary schoolchildren are addicted to computer games.

Aid added that it was concerning that “Norton Anti-Virus or the other forms of computer security systems in use in South Korea apparently are not detecting the presence of malware in the game programs being downloaded.”

“I wonder how that is possible. Are the North Korean viruses that sophisticated, or is the current generation of commercial computer security software that far behind the threat?” he said. “The answer may be both, which is really scary.”

North Korea has successfully used games to distribute malware. In June of last year, infected games delivered malware to computers which then launched a denial of service attack on Incheon Airport.

"The use of game applications to carry a malicious payload is not new, criminal entities do this regularly. North Korea can acquire it from any number of criminal entities or roll-their-own," said Christopher Burgess, CEO of Prevendra, Inc., a privacy, intelligence and security entity. "South Korea commercial or government entities have every reason to be wary of a DDOS attack and/or malicious code attempting to exfiltrate commercial or governmental secrets. The bar to entry is not high for any entity, let alone an entity such as North Korea who can devote significant resources to buy or build."

Last March, Seoul also blamed North Korea's military spy agency for a cyber attack that affected 48,000 computers and servers, stalling operations at three top South Korean broadcasters and hampering financial services at banks for several days. Another attack in July was also blamed on Pyongyang.

North Korea is believed to have an elite cyber warfare unit that was suspected of being behind computer attacks on South Korean government agencies and financial institutions in 2009 and 2011.

Pyongyang denies the accusations. It accused the U.S. and South Korea of shutting down some of its own Web sites in March.


Psychologist stress their role
in preventing war, violence

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Throughout human history, war has taken countless lives, cost untold sums of money and brought great cities to ruin. But despite the long list of conflicts from ancient times to modern day, psychologists say war is not inevitable.

Much research has focused on the causes of war and how to deal with its aftermath. But three political psychologists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst say a better understanding of the psychological roots of war “can increase the likelihood of avoiding violence as a way to resolve conflicts with others.”

Bernhard Leidner, Linda Tropp and Brian Lickel presented their views in the peace psychology issue of American Psychologist.

Leidner, lead author, said “Mostly psychology, when it comes to war, focuses obviously on human tendencies to be aggressive, to be violent. So, it’s a lot of focus generally on the more negative end – problematic side – but not as much focus on either the positive side or how to actually prevent those problems in the first place.”

Research shows, he said, that those who tend to “glorify their country,” a kind of nationalism, are more likely to choose a violent solution.

“It’s not everything that you think about your country that has bad impacts. It’s usually only this aspect of glorifying your country. That you perceive other countries as more threatening. That you are more likely to be aggressive to them. On the other hand, if you’re just committed to your country in a more healthy way then you actually do not show these tendencies.”

How do you know if someone is glorifying their country? Leidner says just ask a few questions.

“How much do you think that your country would be superior to other countries? That’s one aspect. Basically thinking that my country is a more moral country -- a better country – more successful country in whatever domain. And also how much do you believe criticism of your own country is allowed? People sometimes believe that criticism of your own country is actually being disloyal to your country. This kind of unconditional loyalty,” he said.

The authors said that conflict and violence allow some people to “address psychological needs for identity, safety, security and power.” They said non-violence has received much less media attention.

“Even if you look at normal human interactions, most of them are non-violent. It’s just that the violent interactions stand out so much that often times we also just get this wrong idea of this is like how we are, although that’s not quite true,” said Leidner.

Leidner added that it’s important for political leaders to explain there may be different paths to crisis resolution – conflict on the one hand, and diplomacy on the other. He says when polls are taken asking people whether they prefer a violent or diplomatic solution – instead of just asking whether they favor an attack or not – there is great support for diplomacy.

“There are examples like Nelson Mandela in South Africa, whose rhetoric was very cooperative. And by that he also step by step changed the view of citizens in his country that it’s better to cooperate and live together in peace.”

Mandela said, “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”

Leidner compares that with rhetoric heard in the U.S. after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He says it became harsher toward Muslim-Americans as time went on.

“Since all these attitudes and behavioral tendencies of people are very malleable, obviously the media and also politicians can actually gear them in a good or bad way, so to speak.”

Leidner and his co-authors said leaders should place more emphasis on increasing empathy and understanding of others. They write, “It is our contention that psychology can and should be applied to promote peace, not war.



Real estate-related services (paid category)

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

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

Our primary goal is to assist our clients with a smooth transition to occupancy while providing highly personalized and distinctive services. We have refined the process to be a hassle free experience, especially valuable for clients who live abroad. We customize to suit each client’s personal taste, lifestyle and budget.
Serving region for 10 years.
We regularly exceed client expectations. We guarantee it.
Email: info@casadelpacifico.com
Cell phone: (506) - 8707-8008
Office phone: (506) - 2288-5644
Web: www.casadelpacifico.com
8070-2/14/13


Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)


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

For those looking for quality properties and service at quality prices. Central Valley Rentals. Offering honesty, experience and knowledge. Your Villa Real Expert. Call us now  Toll Free (877) 845-4533. In Costa Rica 2228-5961 or 8339-2112. www.costaricarealtyone.com
8091-12/11/13

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.
7949-11/15/13

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

Check with our Web site at www.moranlakearenal.com
Contact us at the office: (506) 2694-0088
Cell (506) 8880-8888
Phone number from the U.S. (305) 307-0088
Email: moranrealestate@gmail.com
Moran logo
8119-4/16/14



Costa Rica,

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





Visit our Web Site:
 www.greciarealestate.com




English: (Cristian Arce)
(506) 8309-0173  
English:  (Luis Arce)
(506) 7100-8489  
 Español: (Luis G. Jiménez)
  (506) 8707-4016  
Grecia 794
This is the BIGGEST DEAL of the month now at $850.000: HERE!
30,000 square meters of land and 750 square-meters of construction.
Grecia 768
1,000 square meters of land and 350 square meters of construction. HERE!
Grecia 807
  18,000 square meters of land and 300 square meters of construction. HERE!
  Send us your request to our email: info@greciarealestate.com
8068-11/9/13

Real estate for sale (paid category)


beach scenes
Established Hotel/Resort -Great Business Opportunity:
The owner/manager of a successful hotel on the Gold Coast of Costa Rica has listed their property with us. It is a successful and ongoing concern. The property and buildings are well built and maintained. The property has a history of repeat clients. To protect the business for the current and future owners, detailed information of the listing will only be shared after an expression of interest and a non-disclosure confidentiality agreement is executed. It is located about one hour of Liberia airport and less than 500 meters to beach. The land is over 1 hectare allowing room for expansion. There are 18 bedrooms in a variety of apartments, cabinas and houses, A/C, bar restaurant and shop. Near golf, horses, tennis, world class surf and more. Listing Price of $US2.4 million. Mary or Jerre West, maryandjerre@aol.com, 8879-0235 or (303) 317-6603
8123-4/22/2104

San Mateo pool

BEAUTIFUL PROPERTY IN SAN MATEO, ALAJUELA 3,528 m2

Includes 4-bedroom, 2-bath, 2-story house built to American standards with a balcony overlooking full-sized swimming pool and rancho with a bathroom and a shower room, and landscaped tropical gardens.  There are two large storage buildings, a carport and electric-gate access to the enclosed property.  It is a short drive to the highways to San José and the beaches.  Owner financing available.  Please call: +506 2446-4901
8116-11/15/13

montage
For sale is a beautiful 50-acre property located in Los Alpes, just 15 minutes outside of San Ramon. At about 4,000 feet above sea level, this finca provides gorgeous views of the Central Valley as well as the Pacific Ocean in the distance while also offering a wonderful climate year around. The main house is two stories with three bedrooms and two full baths. High quality construction using exotic hardwoods such as almond, which covers the ceilings throughout the entire house. There are also two corrals and a small casita on the property. This location is perfect for a farm-style home or for beginning an agricultural business. This truly is a rare piece of property and is available for $399,999. Price is somewhat negotiable and we will be happy to work with the buyer to make it work! Please call 8816-2478 or e-mail bmcart3@gmail.com for more information ¡y se habla español!
8097-xxx

Pacific Estates

Pacific Estates is divided into three distinct sections called Pacific Landings, Pacific Hills and Pacific Acres. Pacific Landings includes unique 2 & 3 bedroom homes incorporating pole house construction, cathedral ceilings, balconies on both the front and back of the house and eco-friendly elements. The homes also include granite counter tops, state-of-the-art stainless steel kitchen appliances, washer & dryer hook ups, internet connectivity and zone controlled A/C. These homes feature 1,290 square feet under A/C space and 1,537 square feet under A/C space with an optional Loft. To learn more about Pacific Estates, schedule a No Obligation Free Virtual Tour today by clicking here!
8087-10/18/13

Samara church and lot
Commercial lot with great visibility in heart of Playa Sámara commercial district. Located alongside town's largest church, bank, hardware store/lumber yard, mini shopping plaza, and Pali (Sámara's largest supermarket). This lot has a large elevated building platform shaded with mature treees. All this makes for many commercial options.  One block from stunning "blue flag" beach. This is a perfect location for a eco/boutique hotel, restaurant/catering, apartments, or condominium. All utilities to this property. Lot size 1,414m2. Price 325K. Email: mwk350@yahoo.com
8082-10/9/13

Nicoya
                                views
Maui, 50 years ago!
One acre with all services located on the Nicoya Peninsula at about 2,400 feet below cloud level with the most intriguing panoramic views to the picturesque gulf, mountains and valleys, as well as sunset over the Pacific. 60,000 USD, axelspecial@gmail.com    Cell 8916-5550.
8061-xxxxx

Five bedroom home
Five bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths plus guest house
Price reduced $100,000 for quick sale. Features include out door BBQ, swimming pool, plus on the beach. The home is completely furnished with U.S. products. Each room is individually air conditioned.  Hot water in bathrooms, kitchen and laundry room.  Fully furnished. Includes TV’s, refrigerator/freezer, dish washer, microwave, electric stove/oven, washer & dryer and many “as seen on TV” appliances.  To see more, go to YouTube
http://www.youtube.com/user/CasaDelSolCostaRica
Asking  $250,000.    Call Gary 8784-2945 or email combrokers@aol.com
88059-xxxx

humming bird nest

Bed & Breakfast for sale and personal home with 2 houses on property of 3/4 acre (3,030 m2) and buildings w/verandas & carport approximately 350 m2. One house at entrance is central to village w/gated parking lot and a 3-bedroom house for rental or employees/family w/carport/yard/gardens. A 50-meter sendero winds to the top among lush gardens where the main house is situated w/2 buildings attached by verandas & stairway to second floor.  There are 2 bedrooms, sala, 4 baths, large kitchen, laundry rooms, work bodega, storage bodega and hot tub on veranda w/tiled shower room.  Home is surrounded by tropical gardens, views of Arenal Volcano, panoramic views of Lake Arenal, private w/school owned property on one side, pasture land on back side and connecting entry gate on other side to Cabinas El Castillo & Fusion Restaurant.  A bird watcher's paradise w/hummingbirds, Montezuma, toucans, butterflies and visits from howler monkeys.  The B&B is listed four consecutive editions of Lonely Planet and the first established B&B in this area.  Photos can be viewed on the Web site: www.hummingbirdnestbb.com.  Make your dream come true with a slice of paradise in a quiet, private setting. Call Ellen Neely at  8835-8711.  Email: nidocolibri@hotmail.com
8058-11/15/13

Naranjo views

NARANJO VIEW PROPERTY READY TO BUILD: ALL PERMISSIONS

4254 msq. 1.2 acres - $59,000.00
• 10 minutes to the autopista and Naranjo centro
• Tranquil and Quiet
• Landscaped with fruit trees and flowering plants, and coffee#
• Incredible views - The Central Valley and nature reserve
• Close to public transportation - paved main road
• Building pad prepared and soil tested
• Survey/topo
• All services in place and underground - water/electricity/phone
Email monicacal@mac.com
8034-8/19/13

Guiones retreat
SURFERS PARADISE on PLAYA GUIONES, NOSARA
Approximately half acre on the beach with private path to the surf. Very private three-home complex with pool, spacious patios with two wet bars, barbeque and yoga area. Featuring a three-bedroom ranch style home plus a two story Mexican villa style home with two master suites, large kitchen and living area with ocean views and breezes upstairs and a garden apartment downstairs with separate entrance. A caretaker's or teenager's cottage and lots of space for expansion. PRICED FOR QUICK SALE: $899,000.  Call 506 8867-8883 or heidebob2@gmail.com
8027-1/12/14

Beautiful fully renovated house in Bello Horizonte, Escazu, 446 sq. meters. Four bedrooms; four baths. Price includes all furniture and fixtures - ready to move in! Light, bright and airy....$550,000 USD. Telephone 2288.6451. More details HERE!
8010-7/28/13

Flamingo
                            view
Condo for sale in Flamingo

Ocean view 3-bedroom, 3 1/2-bathroom condo. Designer furnished 1,800 square feet, gated community. Only six units. Huge pool and balcony, pet friendly, parking, walking distance to Flamingo beach, banks, grocery store, farmacia, etc. New building. $349,000 asking. Ask for photos. 8705-0056. or 1-800-536-2322.
7986-8/6/13

Guaancaate condos
Little Dreams La Colina Magnolias

Great Guanacaste Beach Condos Available

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

$75,000 Magnolias 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath townhome just 1 minute's walk from Coco beach and the 2 beach clubs in Coco. Nicely furnished, walk to town, 67 m2, perfect location.
Find out more information on these and other condos at my website WendyLovesCostaRica.com. All 3 of these condos are about 35 minutes away from Liberia Intl. airport, no need to drive a long way to get to your condo.  Call for more information, 1-415-670-9382 or 011-506-826-1211. Or email Wendy@WendyLovesCostaRica.com.
7971-6/23/13

NOW REDUCED TO $680,000
ALAJUELA – PRIVATE COMPOUND OF 4 HOMES - $850,000 TURNKEY
Spectacular view property on a ridge near Alajuela.  Large home and 3 rental homes totaling 7,300 square feet (678 square meters) live-in construction.  Property area is 3,376 square meters (0.83 acres) including a vacant lot for expansion options.  In total there are 10 bedrooms, each with an ensuite bath.  Property has pool, rancho, mirador, courtyard and covered parking.  Homes have romantic fireplaces, built-ins, storage, other luxury features.  Turnkey sale includes all appliances, furniture, fixtures, equipment.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at gerrybuilt2000@yahoo.com.  See property video here:

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:
7967-7/17/13

Nicoya views
Property with ocean and gulf view for sale
Tranquil million dollar view, 5,000-sq.meter property with 3/2 home built to American standards, artistically designed and decorated, 16-foot ceilings of mango and tamarindo, appliances, plunge pool, rancho, caretaker apartment, workshop, covered parking, views of Gulf of Nicoya and ocean, in countryside near San José to Caldera highway. Near the lovely town of Esparza. Can provide extra income from bed and breakfast room rental and stellar Tripadvisor reviews. www.oasisbytheseabandb.com $180,000 506-8869-9274.
7882-4/15/13

For Sale By Owner
1 lot (1.5 acres)  at SIBU (8 lots total) amongst 50 acres of protected jungle gardens with sunset ocean views of Playa Nosara. Underground electric and water.13 minutes from Playa Guiones. Gated. In house financing available. Home of SIBU Sanctuary. jungalow@gmail.com.
7845-8/18/13

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

Business for sale or lease (paid category)71

beach scenes
Established Hotel/Resort -Great Business Opportunity:
The owner/manager of a successful hotel on the Gold Coast of Costa Rica has listed their property with us. It is a successful and ongoing concern. The property and buildings are well built and maintained. The property has a history of repeat clients. To protect the business for the current and future owners, detailed information of the listing will only be shared after an expression of interest and a non-disclosure confidentiality agreement is executed. It is located about one hour of Liberia airport and less than 500 meters to beach. The land is over 1 hectare allowing room for expansion. There are 18 bedrooms in a variety of apartments, cabinas and houses, A/C, bar restaurant and shop. Near golf, horses, tennis, world class surf and more. Listing Price of $US2.4 million. Mary or Jerre West, maryandjerre@aol.com, 8879-0235 or (303) 317-6603
8123-4/22/2
11

A successful, local, long-running business for sale.
In the nine years of operation, this company has grown to cover the entire Southern Pacific Zone, and opened the door to further penetration in San Jose,  Manuel Antonio and Osa Peninsula areas.  And it is the only one of its kind with no comparable competition. With the extensive ground-work that has already been achieved, the business is now poised to expand into a new level of success. Operating since 2005, the owner retiring to another Latin American country. It is now time to turn the business over to a new owner who could expand it to  even greater success.  Details on the business, its history, a strategic analysis of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, as well as a Pro-Forma Income Statement from 2008 through to 2013 are available upon request to aha_jm@yahoo.com
8115-11/18/13

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

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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page


San José, Costa Rica, Thursday,  Oct. 24, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 211
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News from the BBC up to the minute



























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Hike in minimum wages
set at 3.78 percent for Jan. 1

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Consejo de Salarios decided Wednesday afternoon that minimum salaries will be raised 3.78 percent as of Jan. 1.

This is the semi-annual setting of salaries based on inflation and other factors. The Consejo accepted the government's proposal that was advanced by Olman Segura Bonilla, the minister of Trabajo.

Representatives of unions wanted a bit more, and private employers wanted slightly less.

Nearly 1.3 million employees are in the private sector, and many work for the minimum wage.

The Consejo is using a new formula based on economic data so opinion does not intrude heavily into the wage setting.

A cashier now making 291,516.18 colons a month (about $583) minimum wage will see a bit more than 11,000 colons a month extra, some $22.

A university grad making 413,168.14 colons a month about ($825) will see a 15,617-colon raise, about $31.

Boat sunk during WW II
moves toward historical status

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Lawmakers have given initial approval to make a boat sunk in the Puntarenas harbor a national historical site.

The boat is the "Fella," an Italian vessel that became trapped when World War II broke out.

The boat has had protective status for a year after officials found that locals were diving and removing metal objects for sale.

A second vote is necessary and then the measure will go to President Laura Chinchilla for her signature. The designation has not engendered controversy. Most lawmakers and officials see the wreck as a valuable reef.

The "Fella" arrived in Costa Rica June 5, 1940, from Colón, Panamá.. The Italian ship carried passengers, marble and other merchandise. The boats were frozen there by the outbreak of war, and the crew and the crew of a German ship, the "Eisenach" were basically on parole.

Rumors began to circulate about both vessels, Some said they carried explosives. Costa Rican officials confiscated radio equipment.

Then an investigation was launched at the order of then-president Rafael Ángel Calderón Guardia, But both captains set their ships on fire, presumably at the order of the owners in Europe. Both vessels sunk. That was April 2, 1941.

The German ship eventually was refloated. But attempts to raise the Fella failed. The superstructure can be seen at low tide now.


Animal protection group
plans charity event Nov. 10


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An animal protection organization, Stop Animal Suffering Yes!, plans its annual charity dinner and sale at the Sheraton Hotel-Escazu Nov. 10 from noon to 4 p.m.

The organization says the event is "an international tasting experience featuring local restaurants and chic shopping with items generously donated by SASY! supporters. Live music, food, beer, wine and friendship, benefiting SASY! spay and neuter campaigns."

Tickets are 15.000 colons and available by calling 8882-4646 or by email to sasyanimals@gmail.com, the organization said.





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From Page 7:


Blame for outage shifts to Nicaragua

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Officials at the state power company said that the cause of a 15-minute outage Monday was in Nicaragua.

The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad said that the regional electrical system shut down automatically shortly after 11 a.m. when a power line between Los Brasiles and Sandino in Nicaragua became disconnected.  That divided Nicaragua's power grid in two with the southern half still being connected with Costa Rica and Panamá. The situation caused what the company called low frequency in the grid, and the automatic shutdown took effect.

Originally the company blamed Honduras for the initial problem.

The firm said that there are many similar events each day but that the robust system usually handles them without a shutdown.

The firm said that there was a second problem about noon Monday but it did not affect consumers.


Travel firm opens new facility

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Viajes Colón, the travel agency that has been in business here since 1976, has opened a new office in Heredia's Centro Comercial Paseo de las Flores.

The firm continues to have offices in San José, Desamparados, Cartago, Alajuela, Limón and San Carlos, it said.

The company will be inaugurating the new facility this morning, it said.