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(506) 2223-1327                                Published Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015, in Vol. 16, No. 214                                    Email us
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Symphony orchestra concerts will mark 75 years
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional celebrates this weekend the 75 years that it has been a cornerstone of the country's social and cultural life.

The orchestra will recreate the program that it first presented Oct. 31, 1940, under the direction of invited conductor Hugo Mariani of Uruguay. There were 40 performers then.

The orchestra is special to expats, and many have volunteered as fundraisers for years.

As usual there will be two identical performances. One is Friday at 8 p.m., and the second is Sunday at 10:30 a.m.

The orchestra today has 72 members, most being Costa Ricans who started in the music system's youth program. The director is the American Carl St. Clair.

Also featured will be the U.S. Trío Eroica with Erika Nickrenz at the piano,  Sara Parkins with the violin and Sara Sant'Ambrogio on the violoncello. They will present the Ludwig van Beethoven's "Concerto for Violin, Cello, 
Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud photo
Carl St. Clair and the orchestra

and Piano in C major, Op. 56," which more popularly is called the Triple Concierto.

The historic program from 1940 will be Beethoven "Coriolan Overture, Op 62," and the  "Gran fantasía sinfónica sobre música costarricense" by Costa Rican Juan Fonseca. Also on the program is Ottorino Respighi's "Pines of Rome."

The Teatro Nacional always has been the orchestra's home.

Many expats appreciate the bargain prices that range from 4,000 to 18,000 colons (about $7.60 to $34) colons with half off for seniors and students. Intermission wine not included.

This is an example of what the search engines are carrying.
Child sex weapon was secret site to trap foreigners
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A private-public coalition against underage prostitution has been running a secret Web site to entrap foreigners. That was the revelation Wednesday at a press conference in Casa Presidencial.

The Web site, UnforgettableCostaRica.com, offers young girls at a free hotel and encourages the Web user to click again. The next page says that the free hotel is prison and that sexual relations with youngsters is illegal.

The promotion is the product of the ad agency Garnier BBDO, which took over the domain name in January. The Fundación Paniamor and the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo also are involved.

The agency placed fake ads in various sex tourism sites and posted an alluring link on Google. Sponsors say some 3,000 persons have been attracted to the Web site. Sponsors said that they are harvesting the names of the countries from which visitors come.  Some news reports said that the Web site was collecting user names, but that is unlikely.

The site has a very modest 9,182,470 rank in the Alexa statistical base. The Amazon.com company keeps track of most Web sites and only shows one bilingual Costa Rican Web adult site linking to UnforgettableCostaRica.

The press conference is getting more publicity than the Web site, and news stories are showing up in countries as distant as India.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation set up a Web site sting in 2007 in which potential sex tourists were offered taboo

From the Web site's first page.

trips to Costa Rica. They were given a menu with age ranges that includes supposed partners well under 15, the legal age of consensual sex in Costa Rica. Several would-be tourists were taken off planes in Miami and to jail for falling for the sting that many defense lawyers said was entrapment.

The federal law enforcement agency halted the project abruptly after its connection was publicized. In addition, some observers said then that the Web site actually was encouraging trips by tourists looking for underage sex.

Expats probably will not be able to see the entire Unforgettable Web site. Access by Costa Rican visitors appears to be restricted.

The online Wayback Machine shows that the UnforgettableCostaRica domain once was owned by a legitimate travel agency here and later offered messages in Japanese.

The word unforgettable is frequently associated with Costa Rican trips, and is what one online reviewer called a trip to the Hotel Riu Guanacaste.

The legal age for prostitution in Costa Rica is 18. A.M. Costa Rica has continued to dismiss claims of wholesale underage sex tourism by foreigners and says emphasis there takes away from the serious problems of homegrown pedophiles.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 214
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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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Flooding generated 24 vehicle claims

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Instituto Nacional de Seguros said Wednesday that it had received just 24 claims regarding vehicles caught in flood water Tuesday.

A number of cars were seen bobbing like Halloween apples in video clips of the surprise storm that dropped up to four inches of rain on places in the valley. But not all vehicle owners have this type of insurance coverage.

The state insurance company said that there have been three claims from homeowners, too. The home insurance is part of fire coverage, it said.

The insurance institute coupled its report with a pitch for home and expanded vehicle coverage. Fire insurance also covers a homeowner for flooding, landslides, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, it said.

Some vehicle owners also might have had coverage with private companies.

The institute issues the annual marchamo road tax that includes some liability coverage, but flooding is not covered by this basic policy. Most expats buy expanded coverage.

U.S. man detained in child welfare raid

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Fuerza Pública officers detained a U.S. man when they entered a Goicoechea dwelling late Tuesday.

They said they were acting on complaints from neighbors that children there were living in dangerous conditions.

The police identified the man who was detained by the last name of Amador, but the nature of the crime with which he is accused was not available.

Police said they found three tots, 4, 6 and 9, and a baby. The living quarters had windows that were covered with black plastic and protected by razor wire.

Police said that the living quarters were in a bad state but did not clarify. The children were placed in the custody of the Patronato Nacional de la Infancia, the child welfare agency.

Physical therapists holding conference

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The country is hosting a double header of therapy conferences. They are the Eighth Congreso Internacional Terapia Fisica, the III Congreso Nacional de Terapia Ocupacional and the XI Congreso Latinoamericano de Terapia Ocupacional.  The events end Saturday at the Hotel Wyndham San José Herradura.

The host for the events is the Universidad Santa Paula's school of occupational therapy and the Asociación de Terapeutas Ocupacionales de Costa Rica.

Presenters at the event include professors who are expert on rehabilitation from Europe, Canada, Spain, the United States and elsewhere.

More information is HERE!

Internet censorship reported on the rise

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Internet censorship around the globe continues to intensify. According to a report by the independent monitoring group Freedom House, for the fifth consecutive year, more nations are censoring information online and demanding that companies and individuals remove content or face retribution.

The annually released Freedom of the Net Report assessed 65 countries and identified China as the worst offender. University scholar Ilham Tohti, who became a leading voice in the Uighur opposition to Beijing’s policies, was sentenced in September 2014 to life in prison for questioning online the government’s decisions. This is one of the toughest sentences in the country in recent years.

Gady Epstein, former Beijing bureau chief for The Economist magazine, said China has become more aggressive with censorship in the last couple of years under President Xi Jinping.

“They’ve blocked Google. They’ve blocked Gmail and other Google services. They arrested more online activists, people who comment independently on a range of issues, including corruption,” said Epstein.

Freedom House said China is only one nation in which this type of crackdown has been increasing. In Russia and Iran, people who post content deemed offensive by the government can quickly and easily land in prison.

“Those countries tend to block materials of political and social relevance. They tend to arrest users for writing about human rights and opposition,” said Sanja Kelly, director of the report.

Syria is the second-worst performer in the study. Bloggers, journalists and activists face execution by armed groups in the country, according to Freedom House.

In Iran, rated the third-worst nation, Tehran’s conservative powerbrokers, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, keep extremely tight control over the Internet, despite better bandwidth and the increase of 3G cellular connections.

Social media, like Facebook and Twitter, increasingly play a big role in the way people get access to information in countries with restricted Web freedom. These social media services, however, are banned from nations like China and Iran. That means citizens there have to find alternative ways to use them and have contact with family and friends abroad who post content they would not otherwise be able to reach. 

“It is actually because of their desire to connect to these popular media platforms that they’re seeking circumvention tools, and they’re seeking the use of VPNs so they can then bypass censorship," Kelly said of virtual private networks. "And then, as a result of that, they are able to read a whole vast world of information out there.”

The combination of social media services and content that authorities dislike, though, can be life-shattering. That is the case for Atena Farghadani, 28, an Iranian cartoonist. She was sentenced to 12 years in jail for posting one of her caricatures on Facebook, which portrayed Iranian lawmakers as animals.

Freedom House said that during the research for the report, which focuses on events from June 2014 through May 2015, it stumbled upon a new development: Governments increasingly attack the source now. Kelly said authorities warn individuals that they must remove offensive content or face torture or imprisonment.

The watchdog group emphasized that this new approach also extends to technology companies.

“The governments are actually going to the company and saying, ‘This type of information exists on your servers. Take it down. If you don’t take it down, we’re going to either block your services or we’re going to take away your license so you will not be able to operate in our country any longer,’ ” said Kelly.

Experts say Beijing’s efforts not only have proven successful inside the country’s borders for the last two decades, but also abroad. Analysts assert that as China exports its model around the world, especially in Central Asia, Chinese companies also are sharing their expertise in Internet censorship. Journalist Epstein said he witnessed this firsthand in Kazakhstan. 

“In there, what they’ve done is brought Chinese hardware and know-how — you know, Huawei, CTE, these folks who make their routers and have built their Internet infrastructure,” he said. “But they weren’t just copying China. They’re also looking to Russia, where they are basically importing Russian censorship. So it is a blend, especially in the former Soviet republics.”

News for the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 214
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Proposal to create a higher minimum wage gets a chilly reception
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A top union leader got an icy reception Wednesday when he appeared at a legislative committee that is considering a revision in the way minimum wage is calculated.

The union leader, Albino Vargas, spoke in favor of the measure that would boost the basic mandatory minimum wage about 35 percent from the current 230,000 colons (about $435.60) a month to 313,000 colons (about $592.80).

Some members of the Comisión Permanente de Asuntos Económicos said they thought that such an increase would cause more unemployment.

Vargas heads the Asociación Nacional de Empleados Públicos y Privados. He supported the bill that would base the minimum wage on the amount of money a family would need to live an average life. The Comisión Nacional de Salarios would compute the various costs such as food, telephone, housing and similar expense to arrive at a minimum living wage, according to the bill.

Vargas noted that the higher amounts would be staged in over time. Right now the salary commission fixes minimum wages 

every six months based on negotiations between employees and employers. The bill would anchor the wage not to the inflation rate but to what normal expenses really are. The costs would be determined by national surveys.

The bill, No. 19.312, is similar to measures introduced in the past.
Lawmakers Juan Marín Quirós, Michael Arce Sancho and Lorelly Trejos Salas of the Partido Liberación Nacional reported later that the bill lacked a technical study, analysis and support. They also said that only 15 percent of the firms in Costa Rica are transnationals and that the rest are locally owned small and medium enterprises.

The increase in the minimum wage would  have a domino effect on other salaries.

The salary commission sets minimum wages for every job classification, so an increase in the lower level would mean increases all the way to the top.

The meeting took place about the same time that the governemtn proposed  that the wage increase for the first half of 2016 would be just 0.67 of a percent.

La Uruca-Heredia highway bridge work due to begin today
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The widening of the highway from La Uruca to Heredia includes the construction of two two-lane bridges over the Río Virilla. Eventually these will replace the current two-lane structure. The road project officially begins today, and workers of the Constructora Pirenaica S.A. will start by excavating footers for the first bridge.

The project is widening the route that is a perpetual traffic jam to four lanes for 1.7 kilometers. One bridge will be erected and then another alongside the current bridge that will be demolished eventually. The highway handled an average of 34,000 vehicles a day, said the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad.

The new bridge will be 126 meters (413 feet) long and 9.96 meters (nearly 32 feet) wide. Rebuilding the existing span would cost about 65 percent what it would take to build a new one, officials said. The project is an $8.6 million job with completion expected in 11 months.

Consejo Nacional de Vialidad photo
This is the existing Río Virilla bridge.

A.M. Costa Rica proudly presents
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Vista BAllena 102915


Hacienda Baru

Recreo Verde

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 214
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Metropolitan Museum debuts pre-Columbian architectural exhibit
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Historic and extraordinary architectural models from the ancient Americas are going on public display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The exhibit is a major achievement in bringing together architectural models from the great civilizations that existed in what is now Central and South America during the Middle Ages and earlier.

From the first millennium B.C. until the arrival of Europeans in the 16th century, artists in the ancient Americas created small-scale architectural models to be placed in the tombs of important individuals. These works in stone, ceramic, wood and metal range from highly abstracted, minimalist representations of temples and houses to elaborate architectural complexes populated with figures.

These miniature structures were critical components in funerary practice and belief in afterlife, and they convey a rich sense of ancient ritual and the daily lives of the Aztecs, the Incas and their predecessors.

In some of more detailed pieces in this exhibit, there are examples of how the people feasted, how the deceased, in many cases, were given places of honor, and what life was like.

Exhibit curator Joanne Pillsbury said the centerpiece of the exhibition is a spectacular wooden model that depicts part of a pre-Inca palace at Chan Chan, capital of the Chimú Empire. This great Andean desert city, located on a low plateau above the Pacific Ocean, flourished for some 500 years before the Chimú were conquered by the Incas around 1470.

This model has never been seen in the United States. Ms. Pillsbury said, “It was an exceptional loan from Peru’s ministry of culture. It was excavated 20 years ago at Huaca de la Luna.”

She added, “It may represent something that we have only heard about from Spanish historical sources, the 16th century and later, which is the idea that the Inca did not bury the royal dead — that they kept their royal mummies around, and these royal mummies could still have their palaces. They were given new clothes, they were invited to feasts, they could get married.”

The exhibit contains many varieties of vessels, ornamental pieces and exceptional ceramic work. Perhaps the finest example of a house model known from the Nayarit culture of West Mexico greets the visitor as he or she walks into the exhibit space. The two-story Nayarit house depicts a great feast. On the upper level, 16 figures, including pairs of men and women with their arms wrapped around one another, gather around vessels filled with food and pulque, a fermented beverage.
Metropolitan Museum of Art photo
This palace model with figures, found at Huaca de la Luna, Perú, is considered a part of the Chimú culture and was created sometime between A.D. 1440 and 1665.

Because the Nayarit buried their dead under their houses, the lower rooms have been identified as tombs. Similar to the feasts themselves, the models reinforce the connection between the living and the dead, the sacred and the civic.

For nearly 3,000 years, ball games played a central role in the religious and political life of communities throughout Mesoamerica. Ms. Pillsbury believes an extraordinary model in the exhibit is a lively depiction of one of the earliest ballgames in the world.

“As you know," she said, "rubber came from Mexico, ancient Mexico, from the Veracruz gulf coast, and was not known in Europe until the 16th century." The ball court model, she said, features an eye-shaped ball court with markers on it, plus the players.

"We think the game probably was a little like soccer, in that it seems like they couldn’t use their hands," Pillsbury said. "And so we see one of the players going down and hitting the ball with his hip and we see the court lined with spectators, some with arms around each other.”

In all, there are about 60 items, including architectural models, figurines, vessels, boxes, bottles, textiles, clothing and decorative hangings, that make up this “Design for Eternity: Architectural Models from Ancient America.”

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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. lundquistgeorge@gmail.com


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International Phone: 1-800-9010-114
CR Local Phone: 011-506 -2274-3231
Email: jose@mycostaricatravel.com
Web: www.mycostaricatravel.com

  Get Help Planning Your Adventure Vacation in Costa Rica.
  100% Personalized Vacation Planning Service.
Click HERE!

Howard book
Want to live in Costa Rica?
Read this book!

1,000s have benefited from 17 editions
with its insider information
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700 carefully researched pages  

Written by Christopher Howard,
Costa Rica's #1 retirement expert
with 35 years experience helping people.
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Will Costa Rica Retirement Work For You?
Find out for yourself on Live In Costa Rica Tours

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

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

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.

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

Need a book about Costa Rica?

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

Real estate rental services (paid category)

Fully Furnished American style Apartments for Rent
2-bedroom, 2- bathroom, fully furnished American-style apartments with elevator in a secure building in Barrio Amó. Cable, Internet, water included. Shared laundry. Convenient to Parque Morazán,
hotels, restaurants, casinos, city government, national registry. $600-$650 per month plus electricity. ½ month security deposit. No lease.  The larger apartments are $650 per month. They have larger bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens. It would be best for the prospective tenants to visit
Barrio Amon
the building to see the apartments.   For more information contact: edificiomorazan@gmail.com  or call Hilda at 2221-7161.

Beautiful Apartment

Lemur del Bosque
for Rent

San Francisco de Dos Ríos, 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. $450/month. Retired persons preferred. Call 8375-6838. Email: jorge.jorgejim@gmail.com.

Unfurnished 400-sq. ft. apartment, with modern kitchen, located on beautiful Junquillal Beach is waiting for you. Sea Turtles are common to this beach. Great area for surfing one of C.R.'s premier surf spots or boogie boarding. Close to a market, restaurants and more touristy areas - Playa Negra and Tamarindo, if you want shopping, etc. This area is a great community. If you are looking for a nice relaxing area, this is it. $500 month + electric, visit our Web page - plumitapacifica.com  - for more info, photos and to view a video. Or call (506) 5004-3473.

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 homes
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

The vacation homes at Manuel Antonio Estates offers luxury, comfort and peace of mind. We have numerous homes from 2 bedrooms to 8 bedrooms ocean view with private pool,  all within walking distance of the town’s shops and restaurants and just a few minutes to the best beaches and the famous Manuel Antonio national park. While the homes are secluded and hidden among the rainforest, the surrounding area offers adventures like zip lines, whitewater rafting, mangrove kayaking and many more. All of the homes are available for short-term rentals, Fully equipped, Pool, concierge,  parking, cable TV, and Internet. We are happy to assist with all your need for the perfect Costa Rican vacation, Call us for your family vacation package.
TOLL FREE: 1800 346=9724 or (506) 2777-3339     

Real estate for rent

house for rent
Beautiful fully furnished house for rent
2 bedrooms, 2 baths, fully furnished $800 + electric, includes cable TV, Wifi, Internet. Inside gated property close to town. Contact organicfarmhouserental@gmail.com.

Coco rental
For Rent: Terms negotiable (long term)
Available immediately. Rural, secure (24/7) gated community. 20 minutes from Playas del Coco and only 7 minutes. from Playa Matapalo (think RIU Hotel).  Two-story, 3-bedroom, 2 1/2-bath home with pool, carport, wifi and access to the community pool and workout center. $1,100 USD plus utilities. (Agents: flat fee)  Contact: Wanda R Dunn at 8337-0032 or 1-610-732-3204 from U.S. wandardunn1562@yahoo.com
DunnRight Property Management, Lomas del Mar

Oganic farm rental
2 bedroom, 1 bath, $700 includes electric, water, cable, Internet & WiFi. Fully furnished. Inside gated property close to town, Santa Bárbara de Heredia. No dogs please.

Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on SellMyTimeshareNow.com at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
1- to 3-bedroom ocean and garden view timeshares available and most offer air conditioning, cable TV, fully equipped kitchens, and relaxing hammocks on private balconies. Enjoy the unique combination of seclusion and convenience as all resorts listed on our site are close to popular Costa Rican attractions and downtown 
centers, but are surrounded in lush, tropical forest. Villas are also available for sale in our inventory, so you can enjoy yearly vacations to this mesmerizing rainforest paradise. Please visit our rental inventory HERE!  or call us toll free at 877-815-4227, International: 603-516-0200.  Email: info@sellmytimesharenow.com

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 foot 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 installed, Direct TV via sling box on Internet.  Rent per month $750 plus utilities with free internet.  Price for Sale $179,000   Contact Mike: mmpeace@hotmail.com  Check out slide show HERE!

Real Estate
About us
What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2015 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. 
Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Manuel Antonio
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 214
Real Estate
About us

U.S. officials deny plans
for another ground war

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United States says it has no intention to pursue long-term, large-scale ground combat operations like in Afghanistan or Iraq in its stepped-up offensive against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter Tuesday said the change in strategy would include more air strikes and possible ground assaults.

White House Press Secretary Eric Schultz Wednesday backed up Carter's statement.

"We're not talking full-blown attacks or assaults on major cities. We're talking about raids," said Col. Steve Warren, spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq. "This is not embedding thousands of Americans with thousands or tens of thousands of Iraqis to conduct sustained offensive operations."

Tuesday Defense Secretary Carter told a congressional hearing there could be more raids like the one last week in which U.S. troops advised Kurdish forces on the rescue of about 70 hostages in Iraq, even as a U.S. commando was killed.

He did not say under what circumstances the U.S. might engage in ground combat, but said that "once we locate them, no target is beyond our reach."

President Barack Obama has so far ruled out the use of American ground troops in Iraq and Syria, after pulling out ground forces from Iraq in 2011 before launching an air campaign last year in the two countries against Islamic State insurgents.

Carter and Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, acknowledged to lawmakers that the U.S. is struggling to combat the Islamic State forces.

"No one is satisfied with our progress to date," Dunford told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Carter said he was disappointed in the failure of a $500 million U.S. effort to train moderate rebel forces in Syria to fight against the Islamic State.  The United States abandoned the program earlier this month after only a few soldiers had been trained.

In response, Carter said the United States has intensified its aerial campaign against the Islamic State in hopes of shrinking its hold on Raqqa in northern Syria, the headquarters of its operations.

China may advance policy
allowing two-child families

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

China may soon allow all couples to have two children, a move that would finally end the country’s long-standing one-child policy, according to a leading economist and policy adviser responsible for drafting the country’s next five-year plan.

The plan is expected to be unveiled later this week following high-level closed-door political meetings in Beijing. Analysts said a two-child policy, while a welcome move, will do little to help lift the country’s declining birth rate or shrinking workforce.

According to a report in the English version of the official China Daily newspaper, a change to the country’s family-planning policy is among a number of other social policies that the new plan will address.

Hu Angang, a professor at Tsinghua University’s school of public policy and management, told the China Daily that if the changes are approved, “all couples will be encouraged to have two children.”

The planned two-child policy will be a further relaxation, after China, in late 2013, allowed couples, one of whom has no siblings, to have a second child.

China first instituted its one-child policy in 1980 in a bid to control the country’s population, which is the largest in the world. But heavy-handed enforcement of the measure, including forced abortions, has long been a source of controversy outside China. More recently it has been blamed as a reason why the country’s workforce is shrinking at an alarming rate.

“Even if two children are allowed, too many young people in the cities are probably no longer interested in having a second child,” said Jiang Quanbao, a professor from Xi'an Jiantong University's Institute for Population and Development Studies.

“Relatively speaking, people in rural farming villages may be more interested," he added. "But again, some of them are already allowed to have two children."

A total of 19 rural provinces in China have already launched a partial two-child policy, which allows couples to have a second child if their first newborn is a girl so as to address the nation’s gender imbalance.

With a population of 1.37 billion, China’s total workforce by the end of last year was a massive one billion strong, with some 800 million participating in the job market. But beginning this year, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences estimates that the market will lose as many as 1.55 million people every year before 2020, 7.9 million between 2020 and 2030, and as many as 8.35 million between 2030 and 2050.

Such a steep slide in the workforce is expected to put a lid on the nation’s demographic dividend and its role as a source of cheap labor.

“The cost of labor in China has greatly increased, which hurts the nation’s status as the world’s factory," Jiang said. "With a higher labor cost, international investors are sure to favor other countries over China.”

Even with a new two-child policy, it will take another 20 years before the next wave of baby boomers could help ease the labor shortage problem, the professor added.

Making things worse, the current working population from rural provinces is forced to exit the job markets in the cities earlier than expected as a result of rising property prices and the nation’s rigid household registration system.

GOP presidential hopefuls
clash during the third debate

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The top 10 Republican presidential candidates clashed over economic policy Wednesday and also launched several personal attacks during the third debate of the primary election season.

The debate, broadcast on financial cable news channel CNBC, comes as real estate mogul Donald Trump appears to be losing his months-long grip on the race's front-runner position.

The outspoken reality television star, who now trails retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson in several national polls, appeared less brash and on the defensive compared with his performance in previous debates.

Asked by a moderator whether he is running an unrealistic comic book campaign, Trump responded angrily, saying, "That's not a very nicely asked question, the way you said that."

Carson, the soft-spoken political outsider, also fielded several attacks from rivals. Some were aimed at his tax plan, which he has said is inspired by the biblical concept of tithing.

"I didn't say the rate would be 10 percent. I used a tithing analogy. . . . The rate would be much closer to 15 percent," said Carson, an evangelical Christian.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich attacked both front-runners, slamming his opponents' tax plans as fantasy and saying that the U.S. "cannot elect somebody who doesn't know how to do the job."

Another key early moment occurred when former Florida governor Jeb Bush attacked his longtime friend and fellow Florida politician, Sen. Marco Rubio, for missing several Senate votes.

"Marco, when you signed up for this, this was a six-year term," said Bush. "And you should be showing up to work. I mean, literally, the Senate, what is it, like a French workweek, where you get, like, three days where you have to show up?"

Rubio shot back quickly, accusing Bush of attacking him because it was politically expedient. "Someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you," Rubio said to the man who in the past served as his mentor.

The other debaters were ex-Hewlett Packard executive Carly Fiorina, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, ex-Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

The latest New York Times/CBS News poll shows Carson with 26 percent support among prospective Republican primary voters and Trump in second place with 22 percent.  It's the first time that Trump has not been in the lead since the Times/CBS poll began ranking the candidates in late July.

The main debate, held in Boulder, Colorado, and broadcast on CNBC, comes as the GOP primary campaign enters a crucial phase.

The stakes seem especially critical for Bush, who recently slashed campaign spending after slipping further behind in national polls and surveys in key early states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Bush was busy this past week trying to reassure wealthy campaign donors.

Runaway blimp deflates
in Pennsylvania woodland

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A large, unmanned U.S. military blimp that broke loose from its tether Wednesday and floated over Pennsylvania for several hours is back on the ground after deflating.

The aircraft landed in a wooded area near a small town north of the state capital, Harrisburg. There were no reports of injuries or serious damage, but about 30,000 people lost electricity as the blimp's long mooring cables snapped power lines while it drifted.

Two F-16 fighter jets trailed the blimp during its unplanned flight, but there were never any plans to shoot it down.

The blimp broke away from its mooring at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in northern Maryland Wednesday afternoon and drifted north into central Pennsylvania. It caused excitement in small farming towns, with people taking pictures and telephoning police.

The unmanned blimp was the same kind used to provide surveillance against missiles and other airborne objects in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter told reporters the blimps have broken loose before in Afghanistan. It is unclear how Wednesday's incident happened, but Carter said bad weather might have been involved.

Officials also were uncertain what caused it to deflate.

A second blimp at Aberdeen used for fire control will be grounded until an investigation is complete.

Ryan ready to be named
next speaker of U.S. House

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Majority Republicans in the U.S. House avoided an internal squabble and picked a new leader Wednesday, and after several years of lurching from one fiscal crisis to the next, the chamber passed a budget that would avert any such showdowns until 2017.

The bipartisan, $80 billion bill would raise the debt ceiling until March 2017 and would increase unpopular, across-the-board spending caps on domestic and military spending for two years.

The 266-167 House vote sent the budget plan to the Senate, which could start work on it as early as Thursday. Time is critical because both chambers of Congress need to raise the U.S. borrowing authority by Tuesday to avert a potential default on the national debt.

Adoption of the package also would let Congress sidestep threats from its  most conservative members to force a partial government shutdown in protest against continued borrowing.

The budget deal was a crowning achievement for outgoing Republican Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, who had vowed to clean the barn before leaving his post and Congress this week. Boehner was a key player in negotiating the budget deal, along with Senate Republican leaders and President Barack Obama.

Most Democrats voted for the budget deal, saying it would eliminate the frequent showdowns of the past several years and provide the U.S. economy with much-needed certainty and stability. A large number of Republicans opposed the agreement, saying it had been negotiated in secret and borrowed from the future to pay for the present. Several Democratic members took the unusual step of thanking Boehner for his role in forging the spending compromise.

After the vote, Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada praised the budget deal, singling out Obama and Boehner for coming together on a compromise that they said would benefit working Americans.

House Republicans met behind closed doors earlier Wednesday and voted to nominate Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to become Boehner's successor. The full House will vote to elect a new speaker today, and Ryan is expected to win the gavel.

Ryan, 45, who was his party's vice presidential nominee in 2012, thanked his Republican colleagues for the honor of the nomination as speaker, and he pledged to unify the fractured party and give rank-and-file lawmakers a say in shaping legislation.

At a party meeting earlier in the day, one lawmaker quoted Ryan as saying, "I don't plan to be Caesar, calling all the shots around here."

Ryan also thanked Boehner for serving with distinction, but he said that his party had lost its vision and that it would be replaced with a new one.

Ryan said that he would vote for the new spending plan and an increase in the country's borrowing authority, but that the process that shaped the budget deal stinks because top lawmakers bypassed lower-ranking legislators.

"What I’ve heard from members over the last two weeks is a desire to wipe the slate clean, put in place a process that builds trust, and start focusing on big ideas," Ryan said in a statement.

He said the budget plan "will go a long way toward relieving the uncertainty hanging over us, and that’s why I intend to support it. It’s time for us to turn the page on the last few years and get to work on a bold agenda that we can take to the American people."

The congressman's nomination for speaker came at a tumultuous time for House Republicans after Boehner shocked Capitol Hill by resigning last month amid opposition from conservative members of his own party.

The speaker of the House of Representatives is one of the most powerful positions in Washington. The speaker is second in the line of succession to the U.S. presidency, if both the elected president and vice president die or leave office before their terms expire. That succession of power has never happened in the country's 239-year history.

Real estate-related services (paid category)

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Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

Rich Coast Rollover
Thinking of Buying a Vacation or Retirement Home
in Costa Rica?

Rich Coast Realty is a full-service real estate company with property listings in Escazú, Santa Ana, Jacó, Esterillos, Bejuco, Palo Seco, Manuel Antonio, and beyond. We offer efficient, personalized service always protecting our client’s interests. We work hard to find you the property of your dreams, and assist with legal advice, residency, starting corporations, opening bank accounts, etc. Contact us today with your questions about buying property in, and relocating to Costa Rica. With 11 years experience in Costa Rica real estate, we look forward to hearing from you.
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891

Penthouse condominium in Playa Langosta, Tamarindo
Photo montage of penthouse
Are you  tired of wasting time searching your home….. with no results?
If so, you should not miss this deal !!!

Special Offer

Penthouse condominium in Playa Langosta, Tamarindo

* Located on 6th floor.
* Elevator.
* Security 24/7.
* Pool, BBQ area.
* 2 underground
        parking,  cellar.

* 3 bedrooms.
* 2 bathrooms.
* 2 terraces.
* Luxuriously
* Negotiable price.

* Enjoy the view,  CLICK HERE
Mafi Real Estate: Houses, lots and farms in Costa Rica
If you do not find, what are you looking for, contact us
WE HAVE A NETWORK OF OVER 500 brokers across the country to get what you are looking for.
English Calls: Miguel Fiatt Sauma or Paule Ortiz
Phone/Fax.+506 2238-5029
Cel. +506 8399-7000
Email: mfiatt@mafirealestate.com 
Web Page: www.mafirealestate.com

Remax logo
Re/Max Ocean Surf and Sun:

The experts in buying property in Costa Rica, with more than 20 years experience and the largest networked team of agents in the country.  We can help you learn if investing in Costa Rica is right for you with our low-key, educational approach to sales. Our professional agents can tell you more about sCosta Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and commercial real estate.  Call us: Ocean Surf and Sun Int. Realty Ldta at 011 (506) 2653-0073 or send us an email at: info@remax-oceansurf-cr.com

Real estate for sale (paid category)

For sale 5,200 m2 Escazú
Fantastic location for condo, hotel, restaurant.
Large lower lot, incredible views. Flexible zoning.
Easy to get liquor license. Low interest financing.
Toll free US phone 877-778-8515
In Costa Rica 8307-0164

Pacific Sur montagee

These 2 lots are in the Pacific southern zone,
Tres Rio/Coronado de Osa. 

Will give a great deal on one of these lots, only $29,990.  Both of these lots have water, phone lines, Internet accessibility, electricity, easy 3 kms. access to the Costanera.  2-wheel drive accessible.  Close to new hospital, beautiful beaches and county services.  Financing available.   Lote 234, This corner lote is excellently located in lower Tres Rios.  Has 2 well-sculptured lots for 2 houses or one for multiunit cabins.  Lote 236,  1 1/2 hectare.  Big lote for building a grand house, with a smaller plantel for a cabin.  Small ocean view with great sunsets.  Watch the videos for more information, Planos,  and details.   Email: escapetyranny2cr@gmail.com. CR phone   2786-5555. USA call  760-536-4717 YouTube link for more real estate deals. 

property montage
Lovely east coast property for sale
This is a huge property surrounded by beautiful tropical gardens. The house is about 85% built, but I will give you the property completely finished.  The whole land includes 7,886 m2 or 84,884 ft2 of forest and gardens in a mountain area of Cimarrones, Limón, east coast. Full house with large master bedroom plus bathroom. One extra guest bedroom. Large dining room. Large kitchen area. Another extra bathroom for guests. Large laundry room and two cellars (storage areas). The house has wide corridors where you will see a breathtaking view of large gardens and forest.  I am open to hear your offer. The full property and land price is $125,000. Call Harold Fonseca, Phone number (506) 8702-4217, Email: hfonseca24@gmail.com

Escazu villa
Escazú villa. spectacular 360 degree city and mountain views.
Enjoy the sunsets along with the sunrise

There are special properties, which are more than mere houses. Where you can appreciate moments where you build memories. Relaxing reading in the garden of 5000 sq. m. Places to enjoy moments with family or friends with large heated pool. Beautiful city views of San José with mountain view. Places, where you can enjoy the comforting warmth of the sun throughout the day with cool nights of living 1,300 meters up on your own Mountain Noel. You are away from all the noise of San José, yet you are only 15 minutes drive there. Costa Rica largest mall is also only 15-minutes drive away.
The main house four bedrooms with four bathrooms, large office with built-in wood cabinets, and beautiful hardwood ceilings throughout the whole house. The main house is 330 sq. m. For your guest, there is a self-contained apartment of 100 sq. m. consisting of two bedrooms and two baths. Nice layout with a living room and dining room and kitchen all have views. For being so near to the city and to have that much land is once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The selling price is land value will throw in the house and the apartment. Price is $690,000. Contact jamescorreo@gmail.com.

Osa home
Costa Rica Tropical Paradise Beach House For Sale
Tropical 5-acre forested beachfront property with custom house and guest casita on the Osa Península, South Pacific Coast. Abundant wildlife, exotic plants and fruits, secluded beach.

Located 8 km south of Puerto Jiménez on the way to Matapalo and Corcovado National Park. Great Price $775,000. Contact: osaroger@gmail.com
Watch this video for full details.


Hill Villa Esterillos Oeste, Costa Rica
Property size: 3405.14 sq. mtrs or 37,000 sq. feet
Gorgeous house built 5 years ago to U.S. standards on 37,000 sq. ft TITLED property. This home (240 sq. mtrs or 2,600 sq. ft) has 360-degree ocean and mountain views and electric-gated private road access. The large open style home has soaring teak ceilings, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, custom cabinetry and ceramic tiles throughout and a doubled car electric garage door. There is also a beautiful large swimming pool surrounded by exotic garden, laundry room and bodega. This is a very special and rare property because of the INCREDIBLE VIEW and excellent location. This one of a kind home and property is truly a must to see. all custom built furniture included. Photo gallery click here: www.monalbum.fr/Album=E3GLBJQX    Contact Jack  Email: quadtours@yahoo.ca   Cell: (506) 8812-1789

Goetl in Palo Seco

Charming small oceanfront hotel for sale in Playa Palo Seco
Ideal oceanfront location with back up to a mangrove estuary. The
charming small hotel has a fully equipped kitchen, bar and restaurant and is exceptionnally well maintained. Located on a very private beach of the central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica 35 minutes north of Quepos-Manuel Antonio and 45 minutes south of  Playa Jacó. The main building is a two-storey house with 12 bedrooms. The lot measures 3,054 M2. Beautiful gardens around the large pool and exceptional flora and fauna. Well mentioned in tourist guides like Lonely Planet and Guide Ulysse. Offered at $999,000. USD
e-mail:  marietta234@yahoo.es 
or call (506) 8707-1037  (506) 2778-8408
Web   http://mariettedaignault.point2agent.com

Big House for Sale in Playa Grande,
Santa Cruz, Guanacaste
834.62 square meters property with 326 square meters construction. Two-storey house with front porch, entry lobby, living room, dinning room, large kitchen, breakfast room, large cupboard, 3 ½ bathrooms, 3 large bedrooms, the main bedroom includes jacuzzi and balcony. Playground, office, laundry area, garage for two cars, own and municipal potable water supply, electricity service, cable TV system, A/C. Located 700 meters from Las Colinas Golf Course, near the airport, Tamarindo Beach and the best beaches of the country. Excellent construction and great details. Price $349,000. 2,866.33 square meters building lot with three terraces. Price $75,000. For more information, please contact us:
Email stanleystephendorn@yahoo.com Phone (506) 2653-6417.
Cell (506) 8825-8942 / (506) 8916-0734.

private ranch home
Small private ranch for sale
This exceptional private ranch sits on a 9+ hectare lot and supports 15-20 horses. Only 2 hours south of San José, on the road to Puriscal. Roomy stalls all with drains, water hookup, lights and fans, grooming and shoeing área. Two-story house all furnished and cowboy house. Don't miss your chance on that turnkey operation.  Offered at $749,000.
E-mail:  marietta234@yahoo.es  or call (506) 8707-1037 
(506) 2778-8408 Web:   http://mariettedaignault.point2agent.com

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 foot elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, appliances included. High-speed internet installed, Price for sale $179,000    Contact Mike: mmpeace@hotmail.com   Check out slide show HERE!

A beautiful American style suburban home just reduced.

A beautiful American style suburban home, 2,700 sq ft of living space with 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, front and rear living rooms, laundry area, kitchen and small attached library nook, arched windows and doors and connected hallways, exotic wood interior ceilings and trim, tile floors thru-out.  The lot is 835 m2 with mature landscape and orchid nurseries surrounding the house. There is an enclosed workshop and BBQ area in the back yard with lots of storage under roof, plus a nursery for an herb/vegetable garden.  This is a very well-kept property with many upgrades, a private feel but yet only 5 minutes from the center of town.  Pérez Zeledón is the commercial hub of the southern zone and considered to be one of the best places to live in all of Costa Rica, the perfect size town, not too big and not too small.  The beach is 45 minutes to the west and a short drive to the cool mountains is to the east. In between, this large valley has a moderate climate.  Pérez has plenty of modern goods and services, an excellent farmers market, private schools, private doctors and clinics, all you need without having to go to the crazy madness of San José.    Just reduced to $199,000.  Call  Jeff: 8824-8113 or 8725-8176.  Email:  angelsdad@me.com

Aerial Ocean and Volcano Views with Boutique Coffee! 33 Acres $380,000. Click HERE!

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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: manager@crbusiness.biz.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 214
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Lab at the National Agricultural Research Organization in Uganda
   grows these disease-resistant, genetically modified bananas.

African bananas face fungal threat

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The worldwide banana crop is under serious threat as a deadly fungus has rampaged its way through banana farms, landing recently in Africa.

The latest carnage has been seen in Mozambique, which recently reported a new outbreak of the deadly strain of Panama disease, also known as fusarium wilt.

This is not just an agricultural threat, but an economic one: Officials in Mozambique say the crop brings in more than $70 million per year.

Eldad Karamura is a senior scientist responsible for regional banana research for Biodiversity International.  He is based in Kampala, Uganda. He says this deadly strain was first seen in Mozambique about two years ago and recently resurfaced on two farms. The government has tried to impose a quarantine to confine the disease.

But Altus Viljoen, from the Department of Plant Pathology at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, whose team first spotted the problem, says he is worried about that farm in northern Mozambique. The fungus has spread more rapidly than expected, helped by recent floods.

“I’ve never seen it developing as quickly as it has in Mozambique, on that farm,” he said. “It’s just become an enormous problem in the past year. The number of plants affected increased from 1 percent to almost 20 percent of plants affected on that farm.”

Why is this so serious? For the answer, you have to look into the little-known history of the modern banana. Most commercially available bananas are of the cavendish cultivar, the garden-variety yellow banana seen on breakfast buffets and produce aisles of major supermarkets around the world. The cavendish was actually introduced in the 1950s, and at the eleventh hour, at that, after the previous top banana, the gros michel, was obliterated by a strain of Panama disease.

But since commercially grown bananas are propagated non-sexually, every cavendish banana in one plant is a clone of every other cavendish banana in that plant. That means they can’t evolve to evade diseases, and with the TR4 strain, for which there is no effective treatment, they’ve met their match.

Karamura says there is no new cultivar waiting in the wings to replace the cavendish, but that’s not for lack of trying. Banana scientists, he says, just haven’t yet chanced upon a lucky candidate.

But Viljoen says not all is lost. The cavendish’s savior may turn out to be … another strain of the cavendish, a mutant developed in Taiwan.

“They tolerate the TR4 quite well,” he said. “The problem is, they tolerate the tropical area quite well, but if you introduce them into other areas, they don’t do quite as well.”

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From Page 7:

U.S. Federal Reserve declines to raise rate

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Top officials of the U.S. central bank kept the key interest rate steady at a record low, near zero, where it has been since 2008. 

Wednesday’s decision to leave rates unchanged for the time being follows two days of meetings on interest rate policy.  A note from the Fed says the pace of job creation has slowed, but U.S. unemployment remains low.  

The Fed tries to steer the economy toward full employment and stable prices. That is why the Fed slashed interest rates during the financial crisis when unemployment rose to 10 percent.  The idea was to boost economic growth by making it easier for businesses to borrow money to build new facilities and hire people, and to make it less expensive for families to afford to buy homes.

Now that unemployment has fallen to 5.1 percent, officials are worried about inflation that is so low it threatens to drop into a cycle of falling prices and wages called deflation that could dry up demand and hurt the economy. 

A rate increase would tend to boost inflation closer to the Fed's 2 percent target rate, which officials say is part of a manageable and healthy economy. 

Some recent reports have pointed to slowing growth in the United States, while some foreign economies are seeing weak growth.  However, analysts at PNC Bank say the Fed statement showed fewer concerns about weakness in the international economy.  The level of foreign demand affects U.S. exports and economic growth. 

Bankrate.com chief analyst Greg McBride said if the Fed sees stronger economic data over the next six weeks, Fed officials are likely to raise rates at their next meeting in December.