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A.M. Costa Rica
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(506) 2223-1327                          Published Oct. 30, 2013, in Vol. 13, No. 215                  Email us
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Jo Stuart

Electioneering via Internet easily avoids any rules
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Modern social media has opened up new avenues for dirty politics.

Costa Rica is more conservative than many other countries in campaigning and promoting a candidate. That attitude is reflected in the public. Three persons, for example, filed an objection to printed material put out by Roman Catholic bishops. The Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones just said the material did not promote a particular candidate and declined to take any action.

The Tribunal is the umpire for the political season. Human nature to the contrary, the Tribunal wants voters to decide among candidates next February on the merits. Study after study shows that the public is impressed by other factors, such as the height of each candidate.

The Tribunal is going to be unable to crack down on Facebook and other Internet postings as well as emails.

If Nigerian scammers can use false email addressees to attempt frauds, so can advocates for candidates. Mostly these are negative. Some use Internet sources that are far from the control of Costa Rica officials.

Last weekend someone posted an article on a CNN blog that claimed Luis Antonio Sobrado, the head of the election tribunal, was taking orders to manipulate the election from former president Óscar Arias Sanchez. The claim was off the absurdity scale particularly when the poster claimed the evidence was what a hacker obtained from the tribunal servers.

The election tribunal quickly denied the report, but the CNN iReport is an open forum, and the anonymous poster has not been identified. The individual used the name CRreport, which is close to the name of a title related to A.M. Costa Rica.

Several political critics have been running Internet sites for several years in which they mock and comment on what transpires here. While the election tribunal might become unhappy with statements by a stand-up comedian, it can do nothing about free expression on the Internet. And
Linocln Douglass
This cartoon showing  Stephen Douglas putting a headlock on Abraham Lincoln appeared during the 1860 presidential campaign in a publication put out by the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

humor always has been part of the critical process.

Add a bit of Photoshop expertise and almost anything is possible. A prime target is José María Villalta, the presidential candidate and sitting legislator for Frente Amplio, the leftist political party. There have been visual slanders circulated as emails about this candidate.

Of course, the big target is frontrunner Johnny Araya Monge. It helps that Araya has a long record as San José mayor that can be used against him.

Politics always has been dirty.  But mass distribution took money. With the maturing of the social media, electronic slanders and half-truths seem to be delivered easily and daily.

So while the formal political structure play by the rules under the eyes of the election tribunal, anonymous advocates will be attempting to confuse the electorate.

Cops expect busy time for noches de brujas this week
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Ricans — except in some expat enclaves — have been slow to adopt the U.S. tradition of seeking candy house-to-house on Halloween. But the trick part of trick-or-treat is well established.

Law enforcement expects a busy Noche de Brujas tonight, Thursday night and perhaps into the weekend.

For some youngsters and young adults the night is a time to behave badly, set fires, extort money and perhaps even stickup the local store.

Consequently, the Fuerza Pública has had plenty of practice cracking down on street violence and arson. They are planning to have more practice this week.

The agency noted Tuesday that some crooks use the Halloween mask as a cover for stickups. The agency and the security ministry urged merchants to prohibit the entrance of persons wearing masks.

They also urged parents to keep a close eye on their children.

Police know where the trouble will be: Pavas, some sections of Heredia and maybe in a low-income
barrio or two in San José and Alajuela. They also said that they are giving priority to entertainment spots, commercial centers, parking lots, banks, automatic teller booths, bus stops, churches and even cemeteries.

Expats might run into trouble accidentally if they drive into marginal neighborhoods or if they are afoot.

The downtown expats bars have high security, but the security usually ends at the doorway. The Casino Colonial has a Halloween event scheduled for Thursday night. The Hotel Del Rey scheduled a repeat of its successful Saturday event the same night. Sportsmen's Lodge has its event Saturday.

These are traditional parties, but the aware expat will opt for a taxi when the party is over.

Police also will be on the lookout for drunk drivers which is another reason in favor of taxis.

For younger targets, police are concerned with adults infiltrating groups of young people and perhaps offering candy that might be some kind of drug. The police said they are concerned by efforts at sexual molestation to which the night of the witches lends itself.

Hotel chamber gets representation to market tourism
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Cámara Costarricense de Hoteles said it has become a new member of the marketing committee of the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo.

The committee already has two representatives from the Cámera Nacional de Turismo.
The committee also includes four representatives from the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo. The hotel chamber said its representative has yet to be elected by its board of directors.

The tourism institute committee plans promotions for the nation's tourism industry. It has been active since 1995, said the hotel chamber.

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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday,  Oct. 30, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 215

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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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Gasoline, petroleum products
will have reduced prices

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The monthly price fixing for petroleum will mean a 4 percent cut in gasoline prices.

The Autoridad Reguladora de Servicios Públicos announced the new prices Tuesday. Plus gasoline will go from 703 colons a liter to 674 colons, about $1.35, a drop of 24 colons or about 5 U.S. cents. Super gasoline goes from 721 colons to 691 colons, about $1.38, for a drop of 30 colons or about 6 U.S. cents.

Diesel goes from 649 colons to 632, cut a reduction of 17 colons a liter.

There are reductions across the board for petroleum products but liquid petroleum gas dropped just 2 colons per 8.5 liter tank.

The prices become effective when the new amounts show up in the La Gazeta official newspaper.

Petroleum products are the domain of the state monopoly, the Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo S.A. The country has the highest prices in Central America.

Our readers' opinions
Commendation for the police
who arrived in 10 minutes

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I agree with an earlier commentator that we are inundated with negative stories, and I would like to offer a positive commentary about Fuerza Pública.

I live in a remote area near San Isidro de Heredia.  Monday night an intruder was spotted on the property, and the resident gardener gave initial chase.  Together, we called Fuerza Pública in San Isidro, and within 10 minutes they arrived on the scene, an extended cab pickup truck with five officers!  The gate was opened and they drove onto the property and promptly spread out on a search.  The suspect was long gone.

I would like to commend the officers that responded for their prompt arrival, thorough property search, and consultation with us before they departed.  Bien hecho!

A grateful Gringo!
Michael Connolly
Santa Cecilia
de San Isidro de Heredia

Hassle of online ordering
seems to be at officials' whim

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I agree 100 percent with the comments made by John Kouns concerning items ordered over the internet. Occasionally I order  parts for my computer over the internet. The item cannot be obtained here in Costa Rica, and they usually cost less than $10.  My six month total for these orders does not even approach the allowed $500 /6 months allowed. Who even keeps track of the amount I order? The cost of traveling to the customs office to pick up the item is not worth it. The setting aside of the item to be picked up is solely by whim.
John McClure
Nuevo Arenal

Problem with online ordering
is true for Costa Ricans, too

Dear A.M Costa Rica:

I couldn’t agree more with the recent letter “Getting items bought online is a big hassle for expats”  Of course not is only a big hassle for expats but also for all citizens for Costa Rica.

Not only does it involve costs for traveling to the customs office but it also involves considerable time in getting processed at the customs office. And if one uses one of the shipping companies, there is an additional charge on top of shipping that has already been paid to get it to the shipping office. And usually there is a minimum cost for an article as well. It simply does not make financial and time sense to order any small items on-line.

Costa Rica is attempting to move itself towards a more developed state and play on the world stage. It would seem to me that having the local post office near the recipient receive the item and process any tax documents and fees would be the logical thing to do.  The item would then reach the recipient in a timely and lowest cost fashion. It would also allow easier access to the goods of the world. The taxes required are of course the right of the elected government, and there are many arguments for and against such taxes on imported goods.

Hopefully one day we will see such changes
Ron Chilibeck

Some tips for the expats
who wish to order online

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

In response to the experience described by Mr. Kouns of Arenal, we would like to say that internet shopping has never been easier in Costa Rica.  Having an enjoyable and rewarding online shopping spree requires a small investment in due diligence. That’s it. 

Know how the international mail forwarding system works before you shop, and then register with a professional mail forwarding company that does not charge a membership or monthly fee.  We are fortunate to have a fantastic resource available to us called The Association of Residents of Costa Rica (ARCR)    Mr. Eduardo Tamayo is available to help you decide if the item you are considering purchasing online is actually worth the effort, and the calculator found on Air Mail Costa Rica,  will tell you the total cost of your purchase, delivered to your home or local Correos de Costa Rica Apartado. 

Please feel free to contact us for more information.

Jaime Ramirez
Air MailCosta Rica

More tips for the expats
who are ordering online

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I notice John Koun’s letter about problems receiving packages. I found a solution to this problem several years ago. There is a company called Mail Boxes Etc in Liberia and Escazú.  Get a membership with them which gets you a drop box address in Miami. 

Many Internet firms ship free in the U.S.A. I’ve used it from Russia and Israel and Australia.  Immediately upon my confirmation of shipping order, I forward that to Mail Boxes. They track the shipment, bring it in, pay the taxes and special permits and notify me when it is ready to be picked up at their office.  It is pretty easy and costs from 20 to 60 percent of invoice.

Get the detail plans from them. It gets costly for heavy items as the rate for freight is about $20 per kilo. I only go once. I understand they will forward it to you if you pay the local postage. Some companies won’t ship when the billing address and shipping address are not the same. Some don’t allow switching carriers, But they don’t get advised that is happening.

If you arrange to get a credit card with the same Miami address, no problem. You run a risk if something gets damaged in transit because you can’t prove which carrier did it.

I have seen promotion to the effect that Correos de Costa Rica has a similar service called BoxCorreo to bring things to your local post office. It is a bit more expensive, and I haven’t tried it, but it sounds as if it could work well where no Mail Boxes office is handy. Also the Association of Residents of Costa Rica Used to have an Aerocassillas system which I believe is similar.

Another system I have used for heavy, costly Items is to find a customs agent who will let you use his address and maybe combine with one of his shipments. There are probably others, so it need not be so painful. Books come in in the regular mail without problems so far. Likewise most small flat packs. But you may have to abandon one once in a while. You just have to find out what the systems are and learn how to use them. Getting exonerations, however legal, is more trouble than it is worth.

Joseph Lassiter
Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste

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Public schools will begin a diversity project reflecting reality
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Ministerio de Educación Pública is beginning a project to increase the depictions of non-white personages in schools.

The ministry is expected to outline the program today at  Escuela José Francisco Osejo in Sabana Sur.

An announcement of the meeting said that in any school in any place in the country there are images of children and adults posted in the halls and classrooms that could have been taken in Sweden or Holland because the images are of perfect blondes that are removed from the reality of the diversity that exists in the country.

The program is being called the La unidad de lo diverso and includes a collection of images that depict children and adults consistent with the Costa Rican environment. The phrase is a popular one in Spanish literature, social science and other fields that have nothing to do with cultural diversity. The phrase even found its way into Venezuela revolutionary literature.

The unity of the diverse, as it is translated, has many applications because it appears at first glance to be an oxymoron.

The school year is coming to an end in six weeks, but the program comes in the same month as the Día de las Culturas which emphasizes that the country consists of individuals with many racial roots.

A poster announcing the diversity project

Migrant workers still have to do paperwork for immigration
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The country will host some 83,000 foreign agricultural workers who will be involved in the harvest of sugar, melons, oranges and coffee. But they still will have to do paperwork, said the ministries of Trabajo and Agriculture as well as the Dirección General de Migración.
There is a special immigration category for temporary workers, but the ministries and the agency will be enforcing the letter of the law this year, they said.

That means that the migrant workers, many of whom cannot
 read, have to present an application showing they have a job, a copy of the recommendation issued by the Ministerio de Trabajo showing that their efforts are needed, and a form that shows they have registered with their nation's consulate.

The workers also have to provide two recent passport-size photos.

A curious fact is that some of the native workers from the south are probably uncertain of their nationality because they identify first with their tribe.

Traditionally they have not recognized a national border.

Cel Rey Halloween

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday,  Oct. 30, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 215
Real Estate
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Another study planned for the nation's deteriorating and dangerous bridges
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

In 2007 the Japanese Agency for International Cooperation did a study of the nation's bridges and found that 1,330 were deteriorating alarmingly and that 29 required urgent work. Now the public works ministry is contracting for another study.

The state of the bridges is becoming a political issue. The Partido Acción Ciudadana said Tuesday that the government should cut the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad out of the picture and contract with  Universidad de Costa Rica experts. The statement cited the Japanese study. The party does not consider the work of the Consejo to be competent.

The university is the location for the Laboratorio Nacional de Materiales y Modelos Estructurales. That is the agency that had
studied and advised on Ruta 27, the Caldera highway, and also the collapse of the section of the Circunvalación. In the latter case, the Laboratorio said that the initial work was not going to hold, but the government officials ignored this advice. That is why the key highway had to be closed a few days later.

It appears instead that the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes has entered into an agreement with the Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica in Cartago to do a long-term study.

Acción Ciudadana also said that investments in bridge work has fallen by 50 percent from 2010 to 2012. The political party wants the work of refurbishing the bridges to be handed over to another ministry agency to avoid what it said was duplication there.

Juan Carlos Mendoza García, an Acción Ciudadana lawmaker, urged action before there is a human tragedy.

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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)

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

Real estate for rent (paid category)


Homes for rent in Palmares, Alajuela

See our Web page:

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

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

We have many prime properties available for long-term rentals.
Santa Ana

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

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.

Barrio Escalante, totally furnished, 1 BR apartment for single, responsible person. $35 daily, weekly rates. Contact 8385-2542,

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.

Real Estate
About us
What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2013 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
Cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday,  Oct. 30, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 215
Real Estate
About us


Pacific Estates

Voice of America photo
This is Maria, age 4

Case of little Maria brings
visibility to plight of Gypsies

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A little 4-year-old blonde girl in Greece is at the center of a Europe-wide row over the treatment of Roma people,  sometimes known as gypsies.  The girl, named Maria, was taken into care from a Roma community over fears she had been abducted. But it appears authorities may have gotten it wrong. In Rome, which has a big Roma population, there have been allegations of human rights abuses against Roma people across Europe.

When police raided a Roma camp in central Greece two weeks ago in search of drugs and weapons, they spotted a little blonde girl who looked nothing like her dark-haired parents or siblings.

DNA tests revealed the couple caring for her were not her real parents. They were charged with child abduction. But they insist Maria was given to them.

Maria’s real mother has now been found in Bulgaria, and she says she did give the child away in 2009 because she could not care for her. Police are investigating whether she was sold for money.

The lawyer for the Roma couple, Marietta Palavara, condemned the actions of the authorities.

“Everyone who is involved in this very serious issue must think about the fact that Maria grew up with these people, and that there is only a relationship of love between them," said Ms. Palavara.

There was speculation in the European media that Maria may have been stolen. Riccardo Noury of Amnesty International in Italy condemns the press coverage.

“It’s a very stereotyped way of depicting Roma communities all over Europe, here in Italy especially, and in Greece, as people who steal babies, people who don’t want to educate their children,” he said.

Charalambos Dimitriou, president of the Roma camp in Farsala where Maria was found, says the community feels unfairly targeted.

He said the entire community, all of Farsala, has cried for Maria, because she was always here around them. She was not locked in some basement, as some media were saying, he added.

In the days following the case in Greece, authorities in Ireland mistakenly removed two girls from Roma communities there over concerns they may have been abducted.

In France earlier this month, 15-year-old Leonarda Dibrani was pulled off a school bus by police in front of other students to be deported back to Kosovo.

The action triggered violent protests. French authorities insist Dibrani’s family had exhausted the asylum process.

Roma support groups accuse European governments of trying to appease the far right.

Noury says, "They are victims of violent attacks by private groups. They are victims of human rights violations by law. In France or Italy or in other parts of Europe, they suffer from forced evictions based on the assumption that they are nomads.”

In Greece, meanwhile, the lawyer for the detained Roma couple is appealing for their release and for Maria to be returned to their care. Greek authorities insist they have always acted in the best interests of Maria.

NSA chief defends agency,
denies spying on Europeans

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The head of the National Security Agency, Army Gen. Keith Alexander, is defending U.S. surveillance programs amid a wave of outrage across Europe.  Alexander faced a mixed reaction from lawmakers on Capitol Hill at a House hearing Tuesday.

The United States is facing a strong backlash from Europe following reports the National Security Agency wiretapped the mobile phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
There are also reports in other countries, including France and Spain, that the NSA was collecting the phone data of millions of their citizens.  All the reports are based on data leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
The European Parliament sent a nine-member delegation to Washington to meet with members of Congress as well as U.S. trade and diplomatic officials to vent their anger over U.S. surveillance practices.
European Parliament member Jan Philipp Albrecht said that the reports about the eavesdropping on the German chancellor were the tipping point.
“Now people are really concerned.  They see that it is not any longer connected to a terrorist threat, because Angela Merkel is not a terrorist, or not part of a terrorist ring, and they think that there was a red line crossed, which is now spying on everybody about everything,” said Albrecht.
Albrecht called for public debate and for the U.S. Congress to pass legislation to balance national security needs with the responsibility to protect basic civil rights.  European officials say if changes are not made, important trans-Atlantic trade talks will be suspended.

On Capitol Hill, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence held an open hearing on possible changes to NSA spying programs. NSA chief Alexander was on the defensive, saying the people at the NSA are proud patriots who work hard to keep the United States and Europe safe from real terrorist threats.
“But what we do not do is spy unlawfully on Americans, or for that matter, spy indiscriminately on the citizens of any country,” said Alexander.
Asked about eavesdropping on foreign leaders, Alexander said one of the first things he learned in intelligence school is that it is valuable to learn about the intentions of foreign leaders. Alexander also denied the NSA is collecting the phone records of millions of French and Spanish citizens.
Republican House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers also defended the NSA, saying it is naïve to think that other countries are not conducting their own surveillance programs. He said the NSA and other intelligence agencies had prevented another massive terrorist attack on U.S. soil.
“This is a time for leadership in a very dangerous and chaotic world; this is not a time to apologize,” said Rogers.
On the Senate side, Republican Susan Collins took a different stance, telling reporters, “friends do not spy on friends.”
"I think that is totally inappropriate. There is absolutely no justification for our country to be collecting intelligence information on the leaders of some of our closest allies," said Ms. Collins.
Ms. Collins and Democratic Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein say it is a big problem if President Barack Obama did not know the top leaders of some of the closest U.S. allies were under surveillance.
The White House has said the United States is no longer tapping German Chancellor Merkel’s cell phone and has promised to review NSA programs.

Motorola plan to market
built-it-yourself mobile phone

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Discarded mobile phones represent a large and growing stream of waste, but one handset maker hopes a new kind of phone will stem the tide and offer users more flexibility.

In the United States alone, over 129 million mobile devices were discarded in 2009, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Google-owned Motorola Monday, announced Project Ara, which they say will create a free, open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones.

The company says the goal is simple: to “give you the power to decide what your phone does, how it looks, where and what it’s made of, how much it costs, and how long you’ll keep it,” according to a blog post.

The phones will be built around an endoskeleton, which will provide the basic frame. Then, a user could snap in different modules.

“A module can be anything, from a new application processor to a new display or keyboard, an extra battery, a pulse oximeter or something not yet thought of,” said Motorola.

Ara has been in the works for over a year and recently partnered with Phonebloks, a pioneer in build-your-own-phones.

"We want to do for hardware what the Android platform has done for software: create a vibrant third-party developer ecosystem, lower the barriers to entry, increase the pace of innovation, and substantially compress development timelines," Motorola said in the post.

In a few months, the company said it would invite developers to start creating modules by releasing the first version of a module developer’s kit.


Rail tunnel in Turkey links
Asia and Europe for first time

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

For the first time, Turkey has connected its European and Asian sides with a railway tunnel. The Marmaray tunnel, which runs underneath the Bosphorus Strait, links the Asian and European shores of Istanbul. Concerns and criticism, however, surround what is being described as one of the country's greatest-ever engineering projects.
Tuesday’s opening ceremony for the Marmaray railway tunnel drew thousands. Addressing the crowds, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan invoked the country’s historical past.
It was the dream of Sultan Abdulmescid to build this tunnel, he said of the the Ottoman leader from 1839 to 1861.

"Today we have fulfilled this dream. We have many historical projects to finish for Turkey and Istanbul. This is in the service of the people," said Erdogan.
The tunnel is the deepest of its kind. With a capacity of more than one million passengers a day, the $4-billion project aims to alleviate the city’s chronically congested traffic.
With Istanbul vulnerable to earthquakes, though, questions have been raised over the tunnel's safety. 

Celal Sengor, a professor of geology at Istanbul Technical University, said care has been taken to ensure the tunnel’s safety.
"I did the preliminary groundwork for Marmaray," said Sengor. "There is no active fault line where the tunnel is passing. This tunnel will be shaken in a quake, but if it is built in the best possible way, there won't be any risk of it breaking. And those people who built this tunnel are the best in their field."
Still, as Erdogan moves ahead with a number of large infrastructure projects in Istanbul, criticism is growing.
Critics accuse the government of going ahead with city-changing plans without sufficient public consultation. Such concerns fueled the protests that swept Turkey in June.

The tunnel project began in 2004 and was scheduled to be completed in four years. It was delayed by important archaeological finds, however, including a 4th century Byzantine port, as builders began digging under the city.

According to media reports, the tunnel project was rushed so that its completion would coincide with the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic, which was marked on Tuesday. 

The government has downplayed such claims, and it has stressed the potential of the tunnel not only for Istanbul, but far beyond.
Transport Minister Binali Yildirim said it ultimately will become an important trade link, allowing freight trains to travel from Beijing to London. 

"This project connects Asia with Europe, to restore the once internationally important Silk Road," said Yildirim. "The Silk Road needs to be resurrected for the purposes of reconnecting vital trade arteries between Asia and Europe by rail."
Analysts say the tunnel is the latest in a series of increasingly grandiose projects aimed at making Istanbul a world center.
Political analyst Atilla Yesilada said such projects are seen as key for the ruling AK Party to remain in power.
"Their ambitions have no limit. If you look at the GDP figures in the first half of 2013, it is mostly government infrastructure spending that has created the entire growth," he said. "If the growth rate decelerates or the currency weakens, confidence in AKP will be shaken."

Construction already is underway in Istanbul for a separate tunnel that's being built under the Bosphorus for cars, a third bridge over the strait, a massive canal that would bypass the Bosphorus and the world's largest airport. In addition, with Turkey entering 18 months of election campaigning culminating in a general election in 2015, analysts say few people expect the current construction boom to end anytime soon.

New humpback dolphin
brings total to four species

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A previously unknown species of humpback dolphin has been discovered in the waters off northern Australia.  Researchers say it now becomes the fourth member of a family of humpback dolphins named for an unusual hump just below its dorsal fin. 

An international team, including researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society and the American Museum of Natural History, analyzed 235 tissue samples from humpback dolphins found from the eastern Atlantic to the western Pacific oceans, analyzing the samples for significant variations in DNA.

Scientists also compared physical features from 180 humpback dolphins skulls found on beaches in Atlantic and Pacific regions or from museum collections.  Investigators concluded the still unnamed Australian humpback is genetically distinct.

The newly identified species grows to 2.5 meters in length and ranges from dark gray to pink or white in color. 

In addition to the Australian humpback, there is the Atlantic humpback dolphin that swims in the eastern Atlantic off West Africa, the Indo-Pacific species that lives in the western to central Indian Ocean and another Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin that inhabits the waters of the eastern Indian and western Pacific oceans.  They are all considered vulnerable or threatened species, due to habitat loss.

The researchers say the discovery will improve decision-making about conservation policies to protect the dolphins' genetic diversity and their habitats.

Discovery of the Australian humpback dolphin is announced in the latest issue of Molecular Biology.

U.S. lawmakers head apology
on malfunctioning health Web

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A U.S. official has apologized for the technical problems plaguing the online component of the president’s signature health care law and promised to see them fixed by the end of next month. The Obama administration is defending the measure known as Obamacare, amid press reports some Americans are losing their existing health care coverage and are unable to sign up for new policies.

Lawmakers from both parties continue to express dismay over glitches with online exchanges where Americans are supposed to sign up for private health care insurance at subsidized rates according to income level. Appearing before a congressional panel, the head of two federal health care programs, Marilyn Tavenner, responded to the outcry.

“To the millions of Americans who have attempted to use to shop and enroll in health care coverage, I want to apologize to you that the Web site has not worked as well as it should.  We know how desperately you need affordable coverage," she said. "I want to assure you that healthcare-dot-gov can and will be fixed, and we are working around the clock to deliver the shopping experience that you deserve.”

The assurance did not convince Republicans like Rep. Kevin Brady, who noted that the administration previously promised the Web site would be functional on its Oct. 1 launch date.

“None of that proved to be true. Now we are told everything will be OK very soon," he said. "So why should the American people believe you now?”

Ms. Tavenner replied that the overall system is already functional despite technical problems.

“It is working. It is just not working at the speed we want and at the success rate we want," she said. "And those are the things we are working on.”

Online improvements are not enough, according to Rep. Dave Camp, a Republican who said, “While the Web site can eventually be fixed, the widespread problems with Obamacare cannot. Almost daily we hear reports of Obamacare increasing costs, harming job creation, and forcing Americans off their current plan.”

Democrats dispute those claims, saying the Affordable Care Act will reduce the nation’s total health care costs over time and provide coverage to millions of low-income Americans who currently lack insurance. And, Democrats say, Republicans are politically motivated to root for Obamacare’s failure. Rep. Sander Levin:

“Democrats want to make the Affordable Care Act work," he said. "Congressional Republicans do not.”

Other Democrats urged patience, noting that Obamacare is a massive undertaking barely a month into its full implementation.

That argument is likely to be echoed by the president’s point person for Obamacare, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who is scheduled to testify before another congressional panel today.

Pakistani drone victims tell
their story in Washington

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A Pakistani family appeared at a U.S. congressional briefing Tuesday and recounted events they say were triggered by a drone strike last year in Pakistan's North Waziristan region.

Rafiq Rehman, a teacher, said his mother was killed and his children were injured in that drone strike last October. He came to Washington with two of his injured children to tell Congress about the drone strikes.

In an interview after the briefing, Rehman said drone strikes have caused great fear in his area.

"I want to tell America that women and children in our area are terrified because of the drone strikes, and they cannot acquire education because of the fear of these attacks," said Rehman.

The Rehman' account was cited last week in an Amnesty International report that questioned U.S. claims that the drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas are carried out only against imminent threats with minimal civilian casualties.

Tuesday's briefing was hosted by Rep. Alan Grayson, a Democrat from Florida.

"I think it is a matter of enormous public importance and goes directly to our own national security," said Grayson.

Rehman's son, Zubair Rehman, demanded an immediate end to the drone strikes.

"I want the drone strikes to end because they kill innocent people.  American people should tell President Obama that these attacks kill innocent people and they should end," he said.

The Rehmans said they have no connection to any anti-U.S. extremists or al-Qaida militants.
Real estate-related services (paid category)

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

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

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

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

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

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

Re/Max, the Pacific coast expert
Re/Max offers comprehensive Costa Rica Real Estate, vacation rental and relocation services. Our award-winning team is the largest in the country, and can show you the best lifestyle and financial investment properties in the most desirable locations including prime real estate in Tamarindo, Langosta, Conchal, Flamingo, Pinilla, Coco, Hermosa and Playa Panama.  Give us a call in Costa Rica at 506-2653-0073, or toll free from the U.S. and Canada 1-800-385-5930. Re/Max, the name you trust for the finest real estate services in Costa Rica.

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

Check with our Web site at
Contact us at the office: (506) 2694-0088
Cell (506) 8880-8888
Phone number from the U.S. (305) 307-0088
Moran logo

Costa Rica,

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

Visit our Web Site:

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

Real estate for sale (paid category)

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

San Mateo pool


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

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

Pacific Estates

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

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

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

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

humming bird nest

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

Naranjo views


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

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

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

Condo for sale in Flamingo

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

Guaancaate condos
Little Dreams La Colina Magnolias

Great Guanacaste Beach Condos Available

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

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

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

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:

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

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

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

Business for sale or lease (paid category)71

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

In the nine years of operation, DIGITS Resource Guide has grown to cover the entire Southern Pacific Zone, and opened the door to further penetration in San Jose, Jacó, Manuel Antonio, and Osa Peninsula areas.  DIGITS is the only one of its kind with no comparable competition. With the extensive groundwork that has already been achieved, the business is now poised to expand into an even greater level of success. Operating since 2005, the owner is retiring to another Latin American country. For a preview of the magazine, go to, or simply go to a local Distributor for a copy. Details on the business, its history, a strategic analysis of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, as well as a Pro-Forma Income Statement from 2008 through to 2013 are available upon request to aha_jm@yahoo.

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

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The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2013 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

A.M. Costa Rica's
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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday,  Oct. 30, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 215
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News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are disabled on archived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute

Facebook self-censorship
urged in lieu of general ban

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Facebook’s recent policy indecision over the posting of extremely violent videos has again exposed the larger debate over Internet censorship versus free speech.

One media strategist contends the best solution for establishing Internet standards lies in self-censorship.

Susan Reynolds, whose Carmen Media consults with international businesses on social media strategy and marketing, says it’s up to each individual to help establish settings and determine what should be seen.

“When I think about the controversy, it reminds me that Facebook has become a community gathering place. And that brings up the whole issue of freedom — the freedom to gather, the freedom of speech, freedom from censorship — all of these things that Facebook is now facing having to make decisions about,” said Reynolds in an interview with a news program.

The controversy has caused Facebook to waffle on its own policies and desire to become an Internet censor.

The debate was sparked by a video that appeared on Facebook back in May showing a masked man beheading a woman.  When the video went viral, Facebook reacted to complaints by banning it and other beheading videos, calling them psychologically damaging for young viewers.

After re-consideration, Facebook overturned a general ban on beheading videos, saying future decisions about the posting of potentially objectionable material would be made case by case.

Ms. Reynolds says Facebook would like to get out of the censorship business, and leave responsibility for user-generated content to the user. 

For the first time, Ms. Reynolds says she recently alerted Facebook to a photo she found objectionable.

“It was a picture of someone being tortured in the Middle East. Personally, I thought it was probably not a real depiction, a real photo, but perhaps something edited with Photoshop. And I didn’t think it belongs in our newsfeed, especially if it’s false. So I reported it,” said Reynolds.

What about those who won’t censor themselves or hold different values than us?  Would there be value in establishing a content ratings system akin to that found in the movie business?

“Who would then be in charge of determining those ratings?,” said Ms. Reynolds. “This is not a top-down content provider. This is user generated content.”

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From Page 7:

Two cargo lines will share ships

Special to A.M. Costa Rica staff

Two cargo lines that service Puerto Limón have agreed to share vessels and said the new system will provide customers of both companies with reliable, weekly service on larger ships between South Florida, Costa Rica and Panamá.

The firms are Crowley Maritime Corp. and Seaboard Marine Ltd.

By sharing vessel space, Crowley and Seaboard said they will increase total capacity in the trade by using two higher-capacity vessels, resulting in a continued high level of service, a more efficient operation and reduced carbon emissions in the trade lane.  When the service begins in late November, each ship will call weekly at Crowley’s Port Everglades, Florida terminal and Seaboard’s Port Miami terminal before going to Puerto Limón and Colón and Manzanillo, Panamá.  Concurrent with the change, Seaboard will be moving all of its vessels that serve Panamá to Manzanillo International Terminals, it said.

“Our cooperation in this trade lane will allow us to continue to provide exceptional service to our customers while remaining competitive in the ever-changing market,” said Steve Collar, Crowley senior vice president and general manager, Latin America services. “We are particularly pleased that our combined service will provide the fastest transits in the market to and from Costa Rica.”

“This arrangement permits us to gain efficiencies while enhancing service to customers as we are actually adding capacity,” said Edward Gonzalez, Seaboard president and CEO.  “Though not the primary reason for rationalizing our services, we are pleased that we can reduce our carbon footprint by doing so.”

A vessel will load in Miami and Port Everglades weekly for a Friday departure and then call in Puerto Limón on Tuesdays, Manzanillo on Wednesdays, and Colón on Thursdays before departing north on Saturdays from Puerto Limón.  Each carrier said it will continue to provide its full complement of equipment types used in its Central America service.