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(506) 2223-1327                                 Published  Oct. 24, 2014, in Vol. 14, No. 211                         Email us
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big boat

Police officers view the Liberian- registered Hommonia Pomerena container ship at dock in Móin. The 209-meter boat was built in 2007 and probably never has actually been to Liberia and its port city of Monrovia.

Approval for container terminal is a long way off
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Even though police have restored service at the Limón docks, the resolution of the conflict over a $1 billion container handling facility is a long way off.

The strike by dock workers purportedly is about a clause in the contract with APM Terminals, which the union claims bestows an illegal monopoly to handle shipping containers on the firm. President Luis Guillermo Solís defended the agreement and said in a statement  Thursday that the contract has been studied by a number of agencies and two branches of the Corte Suprema de Justicia.

Without a strong and evident commitment to the legal system, Costa Rica lacks the credibility necessary to attract inversions, the president said.

University professors and the  Federación Concervacionista are asking the Secretaría Técnica Nacional Ambiental  to annul the concession contract.

One of the professors is  Álvaro Sagot, who also is a lawyer. News files shows that he has opposed a number of major projects, including the Proyecto Hidroeléctrico Diquís, the concession for the highway to  San Ramón, the las Crucitas open pit gold mine and  even City Mall in Alajuela. The other professor is  Allan Astorga, a geologist.

Environmental approve is necessary for the construction of the container handling facility, which will be built on an artificial island in Moín harbor.

Project planners had hoped for environmental approval this year, but now, after the professors and the federation filed their objection, the environmental agency probably will spend much more time considering the case.

Specifically, the objections address 110 points of the environmental impact statement, including the procedures whereby the concession was granted
to APM Terminals the first place.

Curiously, one of the objections is that the environmental agency cut short a public hearing on the project in Limón before all who wanted spoke. That was the session where rowdy dock workers made so much of a ruckus that those administering the hearing saw no point in continuing. The courts ordered an addition hearing nevertheless.

The Fuerza Pública said that dock operations in both Moín and Limón were back in service by 9 a.m. Thursday. The police agency said that four highway blockade were broken up overnight. There are about 150 police officers providing security at the docks.

The Promotora del Comercio Exterior de Costa Rica said Thursday that about $12.7 million in exports pass through the Limón ports each day. The bulk of the exports are bananas and pineapples. The organization estimated that some  693 20-foot containers are shipped out each day and said that any slow down results in additional costs. Strikers walked out Wednesday morning.

Members of the striking  Sindicato de Trabajadores de Japdeva y Afines Portuarios said they are expecting outside support from other labor unions and hinted at sympathy strikes elsewhere.

Casa Presidential said that union leaders met Thursday with government minsters at the requests of some legislators.

Victor Morales Mora, minister of Trabajo y Seguridad Social, said the government reaffirmed its position that the contract clause cited by the union is not a subject of negotiations. He also said that the government is seeking more development in the Limón area to improve living conditions.

Public opinion seems to side with the government, Even the opposition Partido Liberación Nacional issued a statement backing Solís and said that the strike by dockworkers should not have taken place.

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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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CR Beach
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CR Beach Investment Real Estate Broker & INT’L
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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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           *$179,900 Hermosa Beachfront Community with Ocean Views !
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Toll Free: 1-888-782-1119 or  2643-4334, 2643-3672
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Palmares plans Yule parade Dec. 6

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The folks in Palmares want the country to know that the municipality has a lot of activities for Christmas, including a parade called  "Una luz en Navidad" Dec. 6.

The Municipalidad de Palmares said that some 20 bands are expected. There also will be floats.  The parade is a week before the one in San José.

One float will contain members of the  Club de Leones de Palmares, the Comité Tutelar de la Niñez de Calle Vargas and the Equipo de Rugby. They will be collecting gifts for disadvantages children.

The municipality also is planning a big dance Dec. 31 with fireworks to welcome the new year.

Postal service to handle apostilles

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Correos de Costa Rica will set up a kiosk in the foreign ministry to handle rapidly the mailing of documents that require an  apostille or signature validation.

Costa Rica adopted an international convention on apostilles in 2011. Since then the  Departamento de Autenticaciones of the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriories y Culto has issued  182,621.

The proximity of the postal service representative is expected to speed the process, said the general manager of Correos, Alvaro Coghi.

The apostille process requires fewer signatures than the former system. For expats seeking residency, the process validates incoming documents with just two signatures instead of the chain of signatures that use to include a Costa Rican consul.

Two London Theater shows planned

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Teatro Eugene O´Neill plans to show the London National Theater production of "A Streetcar Named Desire" tonight at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 11 a.m. This is the  Tennessee Williams masterpiece that will be subtitled in Spanish, said the Centro Cultural Costarricense Norteamericano.

Appropriately, the centro is showing Mary Shelly's "Frankenstein" the night of Oct. 31, Halloween, at 7 p,.m. and the following day, Saturday, at the same time. This also is a London Theater production with well-known actors.

The centro and the theater are in Los Yoses.

Art exposition inaugurated tonight

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The  Museo de Arte Costarricense and the Teatro Popular Melico Salazar are inaugurating tonight “Catarsis” by artist  Ricardo Alvarado in the Galería Dinorah Bolandi, at 7 p.m. The gallery is on the second floor of the theater.

The artist is presenting 14 works, and the exposition will run until Nov. 30, said an announcement

Mother clueless why son shot soldier

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The mother of a man who Canadian police say killed a soldier in Ottawa Wednesday before shooting up the halls of Parliament said she has no explanation to offer for what her estranged son did.

Susan Bibeau told the Associated Press that part of her wants to hate Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32. Authorities identified the Montreal native as the lone gunman who carried out a rampage in the capital before a security officer fatally shot him.  In an email, Susan Bibeau said "I am mad at our son."

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Thursday that Zehaf-Bibeau arrived in Ottawa from Vancouver earlier this month to sort out a passport issue. Police said he wanted to travel to Syria and "may have held extremist beliefs."

After fatally shooting a military reservist at the National War Memorial in central Ottawa, surveillance video released by police Thursday shows the gunman parking a car in front of Parliament. Dressed in black, he sprints from the vehicle toward the building with a weapon in his hand. Bystanders scramble out of his way.

A security officer inside Parliament fatally shot Zehaf-Bibeau as lawmakers hid in offices and Prime Minister Stephen Harper was moved to safety.

Despite early reports of accomplices at the scene, authorities now believe the assailant acted alone.

Members of Parliament on Thursday gave an extended ovation to Canada's sergeant-at-arms, Kevin Vickers, who is credited with killing Zehaf-Bibeau.

There is no indication from authorities that the Ottawa attack is linked to the slaying of a soldier near Montreal earlier in the week.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 211
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Caribbean cacao growers gear up
for the annual chocolate festival

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A week from today is the start of the  2014 Puerto Viejo Chocolate Festival. It runs three days, Oct. 31 through Nov. 2.

Expats who want to see how their chocolate gets from the tree to the palate will have resources from 39 vendor and producers. Most already know that chocolate bars are not picked right off the tree and that the production of fine chocolate is an elaborate process.

"The mission of the Puerto Viejo Chocolate Festival is to unify local organic farmers, chocolate makers, and chocolatiers, while bringing national recognition to the cultural, historical, and economic value of Costa Rican cacao," said an announcement. That tradition goes back at least 3,000 years because chocolate in many forms was well developed long before the Spanish arrived.

The textbooks say the first chocolate beverages were brewed in the Valley of México, but current knowledge of ancient times is spotty.

Chocolate drinks could have been invented right there is Puerto Viejo!

Costa Rica's chocolate makers are working in partnership with the Association of Talamanca for Eco Tourism and Conservation to host Puerto Viejo's festival, said organizers. The cacao fruit is turned into a variety of products, most prevalently, chocolate, it added.

The festival is free. There also are a number of activities for which tickets are required. The festival Web page is HERE!

Alexia Maizel of  Samaritan Xocolata, a sponsor, said that on Nov. 2, a Sunday, visitors will be able to take tours of chocolate growing operations.
A.M.Costa Rica photo
Theere is a long road from the tree to these delights.

In Costa Rica there is an added reason for an expat's chronic cough
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Several expats are complaining of a chronic cough. The sufferers include a new arrival in Escazú and a longtime expat on the central Pacific coast.

The Pacific coast expat said that he had been dosed with enough antibiotics to kill a bacteria colony the size of Escazú over the last four months and then given a seven-day antibiotic drip.

The problem is that the medical literature online says that only 10 percent of acute coughs are from bacteria. The antibiotics have little effect on viruses or environmental causes.

Harvard Medical School said the leading causes of a chronic cough are postnasal drip, asthma, gastroesophageal reflux disease,  chronic bronchitis and  treatment with ACE inhibitors used for high blood pressure.

Costa Ricans can add another cause: The rainy season.

Some of these coughs can last weeks, months or even years, said Harvard. Allergies also can be a cause, according to online sources. These include sensitivity to mold and also cockroaches and other insects that might be nearby but unseen.

Of course, smokers get a continual smokers cough, but when the symptoms become more than a morning throat clearing, the suffered is inclined to give up smokes. There are some reports that marijuana causes a prolonged cough.

The literature is consistent in suggesting a doctor's visit if a cough last for more than a couple of weeks.
A.M. Costa Rica grphic
Usually not life threatening but a real pain.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 211
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Easter Island genetic work suggests early contact with the Americas
By the Cell Press news service

People may have been making their way from Easter Island to the Americas well before the Dutch commander Jakob Roggeveen arrived with his ships in 1722. New genetic evidence shows that the Rapanui people living on that most isolated of islands had significant contact with American populations hundreds of years earlier. The findings reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology Thursday 23 lend the first genetic support for such an early trans-Pacific route between Polynesia and the Americas, an impressive trek of more than 4,000 kilometers (nearly 2,500 miles).

The findings are a reminder that "early human populations extensively explored the planet," says Anna-Sapfo Malaspinas from the Natural History Museum of Denmark's Centre for GeoGenetics. "Textbook versions of human colonization events — the peopling of the Americas, for example — need to be re-evaluated utilizing genomic data."

On that note, a second article that will appear in the same issue of Current Biology by Malaspinas along with Eske Willerslev and their colleagues examined two human skulls representing the indigenous Botocudos of Brazil to find that their genomic ancestry is Polynesian, with no detectable Native American component at all.
Archaeological evidence had suggested that 30 to 100 Polynesian men, women, and children first landed on Easter Island, also known as Rapa Nui, around 1200 A.D., arriving in two or more double-hulled canoes. After settling on the isolated island, the Rapanui famously built giant stone platforms and over 900 statues, some weighing as much as 82 tons.

While it may have taken weeks for Polynesians to reach even the closest nearby islands, there are hints of contact with the larger world. For example, there is evidence for the presence of crops native to the Americas in Polynesia, including the Andean sweet potato, long before the first reported European contact.

Genome-wide analysis of 27 native Rapanui now confirms
Easter Island
Cell Press/Natalia Solar
The Rapanui are famous for building stone platforms and statues.

significant contact between the island people and Americans sometime between approximately 1300 and 1500, 19 to 23 generations ago.

The Rapanui population began mixing with Europeans only much later, in about 1850. The ancestry of the Rapanui today is 76 percent Polynesian, 8 percent Native American, and 16 percent European.

The new evidence about the Rapanui suggests one of two scenarios: either Native Americans sailed to Rapa Nui or Polynesians sailed to the Americas and back. The researchers say that it seems more likely that the Rapanui successfully made the trip back and forth, given simulations presented in previous studies showing that "all sailing voyages heading intentionally east from Rapa Nui would always reach the Americas, with a trip lasting from two weeks to approximately two months."  On the other hand, the trip from the Americas to Rapa Nui is much more challenging, which would have made it likely to fail or miss the island completely. From the Americas, Rapa Nui is indeed a small target, which might also explain why it took Europeans so long to find it.

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

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. $1,000 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 inquire 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.

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The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by A.M. Costa Ltda. 2014 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

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 San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 211
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Left foot
The University of Texas/ Yoel Stuart
The left hind foot of the green anole after evolution. Toe pad measurements were taken on the expanded scales at the end of the longest toe.

Scientists find adaptation
was quick for little lizard

By The University of Texas news service

Scientists working on islands in Florida have documented the rapid evolution of a native lizard species in as little as 15 years as a result of pressure from an invading lizard species introduced from Cuba.

After contact with the invasive species, the native lizards began perching higher in trees, and generation after generation, their feet evolved to become better at gripping the thinner, smoother branches found higher up.

The change occurred at an astonishing pace: Within a few months, native lizards had begun shifting to higher perches, and over the course of 15 years and 20 generations, their toe pads had become larger, with more sticky scales on their feet.

"We did predict that we'd see a change, but the degree and quickness with which they evolved was surprising," said Yoel Stuart, a postdoctoral researcher at The University of Texas at Austin and lead author of the study appearing in today's edition of the journal Science.

"To put this shift in perspective, if human height were evolving as fast as these lizards' toes, the height of an average American man would increase from about 5 foot 9 inches today to about 6 foot 4 inches within 20 generations — an increase that would make the average U.S. male the height of an NBA shooting guard," said Stuart. "Although humans live longer than lizards, this rate of change would still be rapid in evolutionary terms."

The native lizards studied, known as Carolina anoles or green anoles, are common in the southeastern U.S. The invasive species, Cuban anoles or brown anoles, are native to Cuba and the Bahamas. Brown anoles first appeared in South Florida in the 1950s, possibly as stowaways in agricultural shipments from Cuba, and have since spread across the southeastern U.S. and have even jumped to Hawaii.

This latest study is one of only a few well-documented examples of what evolutionary biologists call character displacement, in which similar species competing with each other evolve differences to take advantage of different ecological niches. A classic example comes from the finches studied by Charles Darwin. Two species of finch in the Galápagos Islands diverged in beak shape as they adapted to different food sources.

The researchers speculate that the competition between brown and green anoles for the same food and space may be driving the adaptations of the green anoles. Stuart also noted that the adults of both species are known to eat the hatchlings of the other species.

"So it may be that if you're a hatchling, you need to move up into the trees quickly or you'll get eaten," said Stuart. "Maybe if you have bigger toe pads, you'll do that better than if you don't."

Doctor returns to New York
and develops ebola symptoms

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A New York City doctor who recently treated ebola victims in Guinea has become the first person in the U.S. city to be diagnosed with the virus

At an evening news conference, Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed the case, saying Craig Spencer has been placed in isolation and there is no cause for alarm.

"Ebola is an extremely hard disease to contract. It is transmitted only through a contact with the infected person's blood or other bodily fluids - not through casual contact. New Yorkers who have not been exposed to an infected person's bodily fluids are not at all at risk," said de Blasio.

Spencer Thursday notified the medical charity Doctors Without Borders where he worked hat he had a high fever and was nauseous; two symptoms of Ebola.

Officials are now looking for anyone who may have had contact with Spencer. He would be the fourth person diagnosed with Ebola on U.S. soil, and the first in New York.

Earlier Thursday, the West African nation of Mali reported its first case of Ebola, in what many warn could be another major setback to efforts to contain the disease.

Health Minister Ousmane Kone said on state television the patient is a 2-year-old girl who was brought to a hospital from neighboring Guinea.

"I can say it's a two-year-old girl who traveled accompanied by her grandmother. It is possible that these two people arrived at a time when the symptoms were not detectable, but that the illness evolved," said Kone.

Kone said the young girl's condition is improving thanks to quick treatment. She is in the western town of Kayes.

The ebola outbreak is concentrated in three West African countries, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

It has killed close to 4,900 people, including victims in the United States and Spain. There are almost 10,000 confirmed or probable cases.

U.S. government health officials are ordering travelers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to monitor their health for 21 days and give local health departments daily reports.

The monitoring program starts Monday in six eastern states, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia, where the majority of those travelers would visit. They will be given an ebola kit when they arrive at airports, including a thermometer.

In the latest case in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Spencer was familiar with symptoms and handled himself accordingly once he experienced symptoms.

Cuomo said the city is "as ready as one can be for this circumstance" and has been preparing for weeks to handle a possible ebola case.

The earlier ebola cases in the U.S. include a Liberian man who died in a Dallas, Texas, hospital two weeks ago. Two nurses who treated him are currently hospitalized, but are said to be doing well.

U.S. intelligence failures
blamed for Mideast mess

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Concerns about the capabilities of U.S. intelligence agencies have been steadily rising, sparked in part by comments from President Barack Obama that they underestimated the rise of the group known as Islamic State.

But far from an intelligence failure, insiders and analysts warn the furor is symptomatic of larger problems that could haunt the U.S. in years to come.

For weeks, Islamic State militants have besieged Kobani, the majority-Kurd Syrian city at the doorstep of NATO partner Turkey.  Yet for weeks, U.S. military leaders said Kobani was not the focus of anti-Islamic State strategy.

Even as the U.S. authorized airdrops of aid to the town’s Kurdish defenders, and air strikes against Islamic targets in Kobani intensified, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said this week that the aid didn’t represent a shift in policy.

For critics of U.S. efforts to check the expansion of the Islamic State, the question is a resounding “why not?”  More importantly, they ask, why has the U.S. government been, by its own admission, behind the curve of events unfolding in Syria and Iraq.

Some critics of the U.S. administration have been quick to blame the problem on President Barack Obama and what they see as a weak foreign policy. Others have called it a failure of the U.S. intelligence community.

But some, including former members of the intelligence community and ex-government officials, see the crisis as symptomatic of larger problems not likely to go away in what promises to be a long battle against the Islamic State and groups with similar ambitions.

“I think it is fair to say the intelligence community was well aware of the problems,” said Reuel Marc Gerecht, a senior fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “I suspect their basic analysis of ISIS was sufficient.”

Gerecht previously served as a Middle Eastern specialist at the CIA's Directorate of Operations and argues U.S. intelligence could have been better had Washington maintained a military presence in Iraq. Yet he contends the main problem, as it pertains to the Islamic State, was political.

“The White House has a certain narrative it wants to take about the Middle East, about jihadism, about al-Qaida, those that give allegiance to al-Qaida or to ISIS, so I think that narrative got in the way of the analysis,” he said.

That administration narrative, Gerecht said, included the view that the Islamic State was not the main threat. And while it was an outgrowth of al-Qaida in Iraq, eventually splitting with al-Qaida’s leadership, President Obama at one point compared the Islamic State to a junior varsity sports team, not in the same league as other, still loyal al-Qaida affiliates.

Obama later said that his junior varsity reference had been taken out of context, with the White House clarifying that he was talking not specifically about the Islamic State but about Islamist groups in general.

But it was not just the Obama administration that may not have been paying attention to the warnings.

“Republicans and many in the military that had been central to the counterinsurgency campaign in Iraq, frankly, kind of wanted to claim success,” said Brian Fishman, a counterterrorism research fellow at the New America Foundation and a fellow at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. “There was no real constituency in Washington for this sort of information.”

Even those focused on the region were often sidetracked by the conditions that allowed the Islamic State to thrive.  U.S. politicians determined to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad often overlooked the more dangerous elements within anti-Assad forces.  Others, bent on distancing the U.S. from the sectarian policies of Iraq's then-prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, provided a vacuum that helped Sunni discontent to grow.

Publicly, though, much of the blame has fallen on the U.S. intelligence community. President Obama told reporters in August that the advance of the Islamic State group across Syria and Iraq was more rapid than the intelligence estimates. On CBS’ "60 Minutes" last month, Obama said, "I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria.”

Yet since at least February, top intelligence officials were sharing stark assessments of the threat posed by the Islamic State.

In testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper put the number of fighters across Iraq and Syria at 20,000.  Then-Defense Intelligence Agency director, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, also warned that the Islamic State  “probably will attempt to take territory in Iraq and Syria to exhibit its strength,” going on to say that the group “has exploited the permissive security environment to increase its operations and presence in many locations.”

Despite such warnings, the response by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to the president’s comments seem conciliatory, with top officials publicly admitting they underestimated the Islamic State’s will to fight while overestimating the capabilities of the Iraqi security forces.

For some former officials, like Sarah Chayes, the mea culpas ring hollow.

“I don’t believe that you can’t gauge people’s willingness to fight,” she said

Ms. Chayes served as a special adviser to former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, and said the political climate in Iraq made Sunni Arab sympathy, and support, for the Islamic State nearly inevitable and something the intelligence community should have seen coming.

“When you have Shi’ite militias acting as death squads and these developments seem to be increasing, not decreasing, people are going to be fighting for their survival. How could you possibly underestimate peoples’ willingness to fight under those circumstances?” asked Ms. Chayes.

According to intelligence officials, such information was, and continues to be, readily available to top policy makers.

“Our experts routinely provide insights that explain the deeper context behind issues, illuminate underlying factors that drive developments, and identify patterns and trends,” CIA spokesman Todd Ebitz said. “We have never lost sight of our mission to provide consumers of our intelligence with a big picture understanding of key national security challenges.”

But the impact of such intelligence was muted, in part, because while it talked about the potential threat posed by the Islamic State, policy makers had their eye on threats deemed more immediate.  “ISIS and its predecessors at that time didn’t fall under that category,” the New America Foundation's Fishman said.

“As a result, the intelligence community was focused on the sort of primary needs of policy makers… terrorist groups that posed a more direct threat to the United States.”

Despite such criticism, U.S. intelligence officials say the community continues to work at an intense tempo on numerous global crises.  Nor are intelligence officials taking the failure to properly assess the will to fight of both the Islamic State and the Iraqi security forces lightly.

The CIA says it continues to track a wide-range of terrorist groups, according to agency spokesman Todd Ebitz, watching for signs any one group may be “shifting its focus or increasing its capabilities in a way that threatens the United States.”

But that is of little comfort to analysts like Fishman, who say designating only groups “actively and directly trying to attack the United States” as threats is a serious misstep.

“Groups like this can pose a major threat to U.S. interests, even if they’re not focused on attacking the United States,” Fishman said of the Islamic State  “The growth of this organization in Syria and Iraq poses a very serious destabilizing threat in the Middle East in a way that could really disrupt what has been considered core U.S. interests for decades.”

Like Fishman, Ms. Chayes puts part of the blame on efforts to reform the U.S. intelligence community following the 9/11 terror attacks against the United States.

She said while the changes did help improve intelligence by increasing communication between agencies, the changes also aimed U.S. intelligence in the wrong direction.

“What you had is a drift of the intelligence community toward essentially being a paramilitary organization,” Ms. Chayes said, “the intelligence gathering and analysis being in support of that sort of paramilitary activity: basically finding and fixing targets.”

Former CIA specialist Reuel Marc Gerecht is even more blunt in his assessment of just how much the U.S. missed by downplaying its own intelligence when it comes to the Islamic State.

“The problem of the Islamic State is certainly greater than the problem of the Taliban in 1998,” he said.

Haitians bring their case
on cholera to U.S. court

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A U.S. District Court judge heard oral arguments Thursday in a lawsuit brought by victims of Haiti’s cholera outbreak who are seeking compensation from the United Nations.

The plaintiffs blame a contingent of Nepalese peacekeepers for bringing the disease to their nation after the 2010 earthquake.

The suit was filed on behalf of five Haitians and Haitian-Americans whose family members died of the water-borne disease or who were infected with it.

They allege that U.N. peacekeepers who were sent to the country after the devastating 2010 earthquake contaminated a branch of the Artibonite River with cholera. The river is the country’s main water source for tens of thousands of Haitians.

The United Nations has never taken responsibility for the crisis and is claiming immunity in this lawsuit.

In July, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited Haiti and spoke to survivors and families of those who died, telling them he believed that “the whole international community, including the United Nations, has a moral duty” to stem the further spread of cholera.

It will be up to the judge to decide whether plaintiffs can pursue the case in a U.S. court.
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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.

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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.

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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!
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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:

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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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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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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 211
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
High altitude early man site found

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A research team led by an assistant professor at the University of Maine in Orono has uncovered what are now the world's highest known Ice Age settlements.

Professor Kurt Rademaker reported the discovery in an article that appeared Thursday in the journal Science. The article describes settlements 4.5 kilometers above sea level in the southern Peruvian Andes that were inhabited at least 12,000 years ago. The site is about 14,700 feet in elevation.

According to Rademaker, researchers have found artifacts, including stone tools, animal bones, food remnants and primitive artwork.

The location of the two sites is within 160 kilometers of the Pacific coast and roughly west of Lake Titicaca in southern Peru.

Rademaker said the tools found include scrapers for working animal hides and implements for cutting and butchering. The professor added, "A lot of the stone tools seem to be all about hunting and processing of animals."

Rademaker said he doubts people lived there year-round because the rainy season at that altitude brings rain, sleet and snow from December to March.

The art on the walls of the rock shelters includes red ochre pictographs of animals with some entire wall sections painted red.

Some experts think people need to make genetic adaptations over many thousands of years to withstand such altitudes. this site may suggest otherwise.

Mexican governor quits over students

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The governor of the Mexican state of Guerrero resigned Thursday, nearly one month after the unresolved disappearance of 43 students that is linked to politicians, police and drugs cartels.

Ángel Aguirre Rivero said on social media that he was confident he had made the responsible decision in stepping down. He added that a regional parliament would choose his replacement.

The students from a rural teachers training college went missing after a confrontation with police in the town of Iguala on Sept. 26. The circumstances that led to the violence remain unclear. However, six people were killed at the scene and dozens were wounded after police and armed civilians opened fire on three buses filled with students.

Authorities have ordered the arrest of Iguala's mayor, his wife and an aide, alleging the trio were the masterminds behind the attack. Dozens of local police and members of the Guerreros Unidos drug gang have been detained in connection with the case.

There has been no word on the missing men. Initial DNA testing shows the charred bodies found in several mass graves in Iguala are not the students.

Ongoing protests around Mexico demand answers from the government, which is under international criticism for human rights abuses committed by security forces.

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