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(506) 2223-1327                                Published Friday, Oct. 31, 2014, in Vol. 14, No. 216                        Email us
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Child's death draws attention to protection agency
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation's child protection agency is starting to receive some scrutiny in the wake of the death of a 3 month old Wednesday.

Officials disclosed Thursday that the Patronato Nacional de la Infancia, the child protection agency, had already received a complaint about the same household.

The complaint originated with the biological father of two of the children in the family. He was not living with the mother and complained about the treatment one of his daughters received at the hands of the mother's new companion.

The biological father of the 3 month old,  Ronald Jacob Esquivel Rojas, is being investigated for the physical damage inflicted on the child.

The baby, Videl Esquivel Cubillo. suffered a
fractured skull and broken bones in the legs and arms, judicial agents reported.

Officials disclosed that the Patronato workers overlooked the fact that the suspect already was under investigation and facing trial in a separate child beating case.

The case was a topic of criticism at the legislature Thursday.

Legislator  Lorelly Trejos demanded more protection for children. She said that 31 boys or girls suffered similar deaths in the last year. And some 1.970 children have been treated this year at the Hospital Nacional de Niños for what appears to have been aggression by an adult.

In other cases know to reporters, investigators of the Patronato have failed to follow up on complaints or declined to visit some homes because they were in crime-ridden areas.

We wish our readers an interesting and safe Halloween.


Union rejects agreement to end Limón dock strike
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
Posted at 2:30 p.m.

Casa Presidencial said today, Friday, that the dockworkers union had rejected a proposed settlement of its strike and that officials would seek to declare the walkout illegal.

Earlier story below.

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Limón dockworker union chiefs were presenting a proposed settlement to their members Thursday night.

If the rank-and-file accepts the deal, the nine-day strike will be ended. Officials said that the results of the union decision would be made known this morning. Casa Presidencial did not outline the agreement.

The deal is believed to be close to what the central government offered in the first place. The executive branch offered a basket of goodies Monday that totaled 406 billion colons, about $844 million. The plan called for improving the public docks at Moín and infrastructure work in the central canton of Limón.

The deal did not include the prime union demand that a concession holders of a new facility share
the work of handling the shipping containers. The union leaders were given 48 hours to consider the office.

Negotiations Thursday went on for nearly all day at Casa Presidencial. The government team  included  Melvin Jiménez, the minister of the Presidencia;  Víctor Morales, minister of Trabajo, and  Ann Mc Kinley, the president of the Limón port agency. The union was represented by  José Luis Castillo and María Miranda.

The port agency is the  Junta de Administración Portuaria y Desarrollo Económica de la Vertiente Atlántica. known as JAPADEVA. The strikers are members of the  Sindicato de Trabajadores de JAPDEVA.

Dock workers are afraid of losing their jobs when a new $1 billion container handling facility is constructed. They gave fought aggressively against the project even though the proposal by a Dutch firm seems to have a lot of support among residents there and those in the business community. There are estimated that the new terminal will need about 20 percent of the employees now working on the public docks.

President Luis Guillermo Solís sent in the Fuerza Pública and keep the docks operating just hours after strikers stopped work Oct. 23. The docks continued to operate with temporary workers, and the union appeared to be at a disadvantage.

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

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Phone number: (506) 8853-0000


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Survey shows slight increase in poverty

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The annual survey of Costa Rican homes established that the number of residents living in poverty is up abut 1.7 percent.

The survey by the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos determined that  residents of 318,810 homes were living in poverty. That's up 32,727  homes since the year before, the agency said.

What was called extreme poverty involved  94,810 home, also an increase from 2013, the agency said.

In terms of people, the survey said that  1,170,634 were living in poverty, about  24.6 percent of the total population.

Some  23.9 percent of those considered living in poverty did not have jobs, according to the report. Of those who are employed but still poor some  72.3 percent are engaged in what was called informal employment.

The survey also showed a slight drop in per capital income and noted that inflation of about 5 percent reduced the buying power of the population.

Observatorio Vulcanologico y Sismologico/ Cyril Muller             
This is the Volcán Turrialba crater about noon Thursday.

All eyes are on the Turrialba volcano

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The next move is up to the volcano.  Emergency officials are trying to determine if as 25-minute eruption by the Volcano Turrialba late Wednesday night was a hint of what is to come.

So far the biggest result has been the dusting of a good part of the metro are with a thin layer of ash and concern about the welfare of school children near the mountain.

Emergency officials closed Parque Nacional Irazú because of the noxious gases given off by its nearby sister volcano. Five cantons around the mountain, Turrialba, Jiménez, Alvarado, Oreamuno and Cartago Centro, are under an alert. The  Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias suggested that classes not be held today in these five cantons due to the effects of the gas and any residual ash.

Some residents as far away as Alajuela reported hearing explosions that they thought came from the volcano. But the noise probably was thunder.

The ash fell in a triangular pattern southwest of the volcano. The Observatorio Vulcanologico y Sismologico said that ash fell in San Gerardo de Irazú, San Ramón de Tres Ríos, Coronado, Moravia, Curridabat, Desamparados, Aserrí, Escazú, Santa Ana, Belén, Guácima de Alajuela, Río Segundo de Alajuela, San Pedro Montes de Oca, Guadalupe, San José and parts of Heredia.

The Dirección General de Aviación Civil issued a warning to commercial passenger jets involving an area with a radius of 20 miles of the volcano and to a height of 19,000 feet. The volcano continues to spout a column of gas.

Many who lived near the volcano already have moved elsewhere. A few who remained were evacuated early Thursday. The ash was more dense closer to the volcano  and some pastures could not be used.

The eruption was between  11:10 and 11:35 p.m. Wednesday, but scientists had been studying the mountain for several days due to rumblings and low-level seismic shocks.

Most of the reports on the volcano have come from the Observatorio at Universidad Nacional. The volcano experts were at the scene and one participated in a flyover earlier today. The eruption appears to have made internal changes in the volcano crater.

Now the experts are trying to find out if the eruption is a result of gas that has built up or a mass of magma within the mountain. The later could mean a major eruption.

The eruption, the dusting of ash and clips of past eruptions made great television Thursday. The major stations devoted at lest half their air time to the event.

Quakes hit Nicoya and metro area

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
Posted at 3:15 a.m. Saturday

The country felt two earthquakes greater than a 4.0 magnitude Friday and early Saturday.
The first was in the middle of the Nicoya peninsula and was estimated at 4.3 magnitude.  That took place at 6:49 p.m., said the Laboratorio de Ingeniería Sísmica.

At 1:23 a.m. a 4.1 quake took place just south of Hatillo in the Central Valley. The epicenter was between Hatillo and Aserrí, said the Laboratorio. The quake was felt through much of the metro area.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Oct. 31, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 216 
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Peeks into computer files of top soccer player now considered a crime
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Poder Judicial said Thursday that the chief prosecutor has order that a criminal investigation be launched in the case of breaches of a secret law enforcement database.

Legislators also moved Thursday to conduct their own investigation of the breaches that involved Kaylor Navas, the star soccer player, and the files of his two sisters.

Involved are four prosecutors and 24 judicial police agents. At least three may be off the hook because it appears that they were told to look into the Navas files by a supervisor. Still unknown is the motive for breaching the secrecy.

Actually what is contained in the files are fairly routine items. The software is designed to accumulate information from other state computers. So the files could contain electric and water bills,
municipal tax bills criminal records, if any, ownership of telephones and vehicles and income and bank information. This is about the same type of information available through commercial credit agencies.

The Poder Judicial said that the fiscal general or chief prosecutor Jorge Chavarría Guzmán had assigned the case to the Fiscalía Adjunta de Probidad, Transparencia y Anticorrupción and said it was to be treated as a felony, abuse of authority.

That is a 180-degree shift for  Chavarría who said initially that he was conducting a disciplinary investigation.

More than 2,000 persons in the Poder Judicial and various police agencies have access to the files. There may have been other breaches that will be investigated, too, said the Poder Judicial.

Navas has hired a local lawyer to represent him. He is playing soccer in Spain.

Dirección General de Tributación potos
The 24 closures affected a variety of businesses.
Tax police close down 24 establishments for various violations
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The tax police closed down 24 commercial operations this week. The violations included failing to provide facturas or receipts for services or goods, being behind on sales tax payments and even failing to register a company with the tax agency in the first place.

The actions took place in San José, Alajuela, Heredia and San Carlos. The agents of the Dirección General de Tributación physically closed the businesses and placed a sticker on accesses warning that entry is prohibited.
The businesses included restaurants, car washing firms, cabins, auto shops, fabric sales outlets, repair part sales stores and cosmetic sales. The best known is the Inka Grill in Curridabat, which Tributación said was behind on remitting sales taxes.

In most cases the businesses are required to stay shut for at least five days while arrangements are made to become current with taxes.

Some firms try to avoid their tax obligations simply by not registered with Tributación. When caught, operators may find their actions elevated to a criminal charge.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Virtual leatherbacks give answers to long-sought engineering questions
By the  Florida Atlantic University news staff

Bigger is better, if you’re a leatherback sea turtle.

For the first time, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Florida Atlantic University, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have measured the forces that act on a swimming animal and the energy the animal must expend to move through the water.

A surprising finding: Longer, slender turtles are less efficient swimmers than more rotund turtles, which get better stroke for their buck.

By taking these measurements, the research team  built models of swimming turtles and, in doing so, have enabled others to “compute the energetics, behavior and distributions of a species anywhere on Earth now or in the future,” says Warren Porter, a professor of zoology at Wisconsin. The findings are published in the journal PLOS One.

As climate change shifts the habitable ranges of both land and sea animals, and as scientists and others try to reconstruct ancient habitats of long-ago species, the ability to assess and predict an animal’s physical interactions with the environment is key. The researchers see their work as instrumental for everyone from land managers to paleoecologists, students and conservationists.

“If you’ve got mechanistic models, then whatever kind of scenarios you want to run for the environment, you can run these models and have a lot of confidence that they’re giving you good numbers,” says Porter, who previously developed a model for land animals.

Several labs have tried to model the movements of animals in water but “swimming animals are very, very difficult to measure experimentally,” Porter says. “It’s very difficult to get drag and thrust.”

No one before had been able to measure the fluid dynamics of a swimming creature, or the energetics required to perform the work of moving through water. This allows scientists to measure critical aspects of biology, such as how much food an animal must eat to survive.

It was serendipity that connected Porter and the lead author of the study, Peter Dudley, a former graduate student in Porter’s lab, to the scientists at Florida Atlantic University who would eventually help solve the problem.

Jeanette Wyneken, a Florida professor of biological sciences, had developed methods to keep newborn leatherback sea turtles in the lab for study. She and her former students created a tether system that allows the turtles to swim freely while also staying safe; the turtles don’t recognize barriers and can easily injure themselves in their enclosures.

Porter, Dudley and Todd Jones — Professor Wyneken’s former graduate student and now a National Oceanic and Atmospheric
turtle animation
Florida Atlantic University/ Jeanette Wyneken
A virtual turtle can be manipulation to be either fat or skinny.

Administration physiologist — tethered the turtles to instruments that allowed them to measure the force they produced while swimming. They also measured the oxygen the turtles consumed (a direct measure of their metabolism) and the heat they exchanged with the environment. All the while, the scientists took video of the tiny turtles.

Then the team recreated a virtual environment with a swimming turtle, to see if they could predict how much energy the turtle was using. Dudley, whose background is in engineering, says Porter uses on-the-ground engineering tools in his lab.

They scaled this up to model the three-dimensional motion of swimming juvenile leatherback sea turtles, to find power and heat transfer rates during the larger animal’s flipper strokes.

It was here, by playing with the parameters of their virtual reality turtles, that the researchers learned husky turtles were better swimmers than their leaner counterparts.

“That was a surprise and I thought it was a mistake when I originally did it,” says Dudley, who eventually learned that the flippers of thinner turtles come closer together at the bottom of their stroke than those of larger turtles, causing them to lose power. 

It is that question — how does body size interact with the physical environment to constrain evolutionary design — that lies at the crux of the study’s findings.

“We can literally design animals now and ask how are they going to function, just like a car or a rocket ship,” says Porter. He is currently engaged in an initiative called Climate Quest, a competition to solve climate-change problems, and is putting this expertise to use.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

La Fortuna
Comfort of your home in the campo, 5 minutes from Fortuna Centro of San Carlos, in the shadow of Volcano Arenal, Flat screen TV, AC, refrigerator, free coffee. Local area activities like four-wheeling, horse riding, zip lining, hot springs, jungle walking tours. Bring your camera for great photos of nature, fishing and swimming, canyoning and wireless internet. Harry Hart, proprietor.  Call for reservations  (506) 2479-8670   and (506) 8682-9219  Email:

Will Costa Rica Retirement Work For You?
Find out for yourself on Live In Costa Rica Tours

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

   * Discover how to make the right choices about moving here
   * Find out how to live affordably
   * See how other expats live. Meet other expats who have made
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   * Informative two-day seminar given by local experts in their
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   * Tours led by Christopher Howard, 34-year resident, citizen,
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Click HERE  to learn all about our Association of Residents (ARCR)  approved tours at

Anywhere Costa Rica plans custom vacations, and has the most comprehensive travel services in the country including travel guides, resorts and vacation homesCosta Rica tours
and car rentals.  
Call 1-888.456.3212 or 2479-8811 locally.

Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
Drop in to see some of Costa Rica's finest art
at the largest gallery in Guanacaste.

The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is a great place to find quality remembrances of Costa Rica to take home or to decorate your home or office in Costa Rica.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever.  With more than 60 artists on exhibit and fine art in 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we are easy to locate just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport. Visit our Web site at
or contact us by email:   
Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tel. 2667-0592 / 8386-6872; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073. International shipping available.

Click photo for another video

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

 (as reported by the moving companies)
Visit many rental options to actually experience the price/amenity options available in more of the areas chosen by Expats for security, comfort, and quality of life.

Meet many Expats who are willing to share their experiences and how the tour has value long after the “lust” wears off.
See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!

Ask the others what you get for your money, and then compare the quality of accommodations, quality, quantity and variety of food and drink to measure the best value for your money. 

Learn how others “talk the talk” and learn who really can “walk the walk”

Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
George Lundquist, retirement, relocation columnist, Guide & Developer/Builder.


Here's reasonable medical care
Costa Rica's world class medical specialists are at your command. Get the top care for much less than U.S. prices. It is really a great way to spend a vacation. See our list of recommended professionals HERE!amcr-prom

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

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Beautiful cottage in San Rafael, Heredia

Cottage in the mountain.  Surrounded by nature.  One bedroom, 1.5 bathrooms. Beautiful balcony and view. Bus line service, security.  $500 monthly.  Phone: 506-8739-0638  Email:

Maneul Antonio
The vacation homes at Manuel Antonio Estates offers luxury, comfort and peace of mind. We have numerous homes to chose from, all within walking distance of the town’s shops and restaurants and just a few minutes to the best beaches and the famous national park. While the homes are secluded and hidden among the rainforest, the surrounding area offers adventures like zip lines, white water rafting, mangrove kayaking and many more. All of the homes are available for short-term rentals, have easily accessible parking, cable TV, and Internet and are fully furnished. We are happy to assist with all your need for the perfect Costa Rican vacation.
Manuel Antonio Estates        TOLL FREE: 1800 346 9724
011 (506) 2777.3339

Beautiful 2-bedroom 2-bathroom American-style apartments with an elevator to your front door in a secure building located in Gringo Gulch the American Section of downtown San José. Costa Rica. Located between the Hotel Del Rey, the Hotel Mona Lisa and the Sportsman's Lodge and The Zona Blue (AKA) Little Habana across the street from Harry's Poas Bar, and next to the Holiday Inn.
apartment view
 There are 15 restaurants and American- style bars on this block and four supermarkets within a few blocks. There are 5 casinos within 2 blocks and dozens of hotels around this apartment. Included in your rental price, fast Internet, the best they have in Costa Rica, cable TV with 80 stations, water, washer
 and dryer. All you pay extra for is electricity. You have your own meter and receive a bill from the electric company every month.  This apartment has a American-style hot water system, hot water in both bathrooms and the kitchen. There is a 25-foot balcony to sit on and watch the people in San José walk by. The neighborhood Barrio Amón is the safest in San José For photos and more information contact:

Beautiful fully furnished two floor house for rent
in La Guacima

Guacima montage
La Guacima, Alajuela. 20 minutes from airport, San José or Alajuela Centro and 30 minutes from Heredia. Near highway 27. $1,000 a month. All services included (Internet, water, electricity, security). Very private, very quiet, green areas, fully furnished. Must like animals (we have three gentle dogs), look at high resolution pics HERE! U.S. citizens or Europeans preferred. No children. Call to inquire and for appointment to visit. Available for rent in December. Contact phone number:  (506)  8839-4315.

Organic farm home
$800 plus utilities.
Two-bedroom, two-bath house, fully furnished, Internet included, cable TV available. Inside organic farm, safe and secure. In the country but close to town. Santa Bárbara de Heredia, Email for more info and pictures. Long term, NO DOGS.

Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for your stay in this beautiful part of Costa Rica.
We are offering homes for every budget and every need.
Please visit our Web page at or contact us at
or call at (506) 2654-5442.

MONTHLY $800 TO $1,200

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

HP Cattle rentals
Mountain homes or farm for rent
Barva volcano, Heredia province
We offer for rent a gorgeous two-bedroom mountain chalet and a one-bedroom mountain home located on the slopes of the Barva Volcano, Heredia Province. The homes are situated at 7,300 feet altitude and within a working horse ranch just three kilometers from the Braulio Carrillo National Park entrance. From our homes one can hike to the Barva volcano crater-lake.  Enjoy a spacious living room, kitchen, fireplace and breathtaking views of the Irazú volcano and the Central Valley. Observe dozens of cloud forest bird species to include the resplendent quetzal.  The homes are incomparable in beauty and attention to detail within the Barva highland area.  We are only 35-55 minutes from Costa Rica’s three principal cities (Heredia, Alajuela, and San José), less than two hours from the central Pacific beaches, and three hours from the Caribbean beaches. Enjoy the tranquility of the mountains while maintaining quick access to the conveniences of the city and rapid access to other eco-tourist destinations in Costa Rica. Additionally, we can board your horses at a reasonable fee.  We can also offer our clients rental of a small and fully functional farm complete with stables, pasture, and office space.
Mountain chalet: $750.  Basic mountain home: $400.
Boutique mountain home: One-bedroom $850. Two-bedroom $1,000.
Small Farm that includes a chalet, basic mountain home, stables, and 8,000m2 of pasture/green areas: $1,500.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Oct. 31, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 216      
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Returning Samantha Power
cites big gaps in ebola care

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The international community must do more to fill alarming gaps in the fight against the ebola epidemic, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said to an audience in Brussels as she headed home from a visit to the three hardest-hit countries in West Africa.

Ms. Power said the initial international response is making a difference, and has created what she called the first tangible signs that the virus can and will be beaten.

But, she said, many countries have not done enough, and urged them to not assume the job is done.

“The international community is not yet doing enough to stem the tide of the epidemic, causing devastating heartbreak to countless families and allowing a global threat to metastasize,” Ms. Power said.

She praised the many nongovernmental organizations and their volunteers, who have moved in to fight ebola, as well as local political and religious leaders who are promoting the needed actions by individuals to fight and prevent the disease.

Those steps include seeking treatment quickly, isolating infected individuals, expediting the burial of victims, and not stigmatizing survivors and the families of the dead.

“This is a crisis that is so vast, with needs so great, with potential consequences so dire, that no country can afford to stand on the sidelines.  A few are doing a lot, but a lot are doing very little or nothing at all,” Ms. Power said.

She declined to say which countries she believes are not doing enough to fight ebola, but she said contribution data is readily available on a United Nations Web site.

Ms. Power, who stopped in Brussels after visiting Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia this week, said more resources are needed to track the disease and spread public awareness in affected areas.

She called for more flexible planning, faster decision-making and for support for the affected countries as they try to rebuild and expand their health care systems. Those systems were inadequate before the epidemic and have now been devastated by the deaths of hundreds of doctors and nurses.

But Ms. Power said she also came away from West Africa with unexpected hope.

“Today, the affected countries are, in fact, in a very different place than they were six weeks ago. I came away more convinced than ever that if we rally the right response, together we can stop ebola,” she said.

Ms. Power said governments need to stop spreading fear, in part by unnecessarily putting restrictions on returning volunteers who have been to the infected countries.

She called for leaders to send clear and consistent messages about ebola, based on science and facts.

Also on Thursday, the World Bank pledged $100 million to help recruit more foreign health care workers to treat ebola patients in West Africa.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said Thursday the three countries facing the biggest outbreak of the deadly virus are struggling to cope with the disease.

Kim said in a statement the World Bank hopes the additional aid, on top of more than $400 million already sent to West Africa, can help be a catalyst for a rapid surge of additional health workers.

Meanwhile, a nurse in Maine, vowing not to be bullied by politicians and threatening to sue the state over an ebola quarantine she calls unscientifically sound, defied the order and left her home for a bike ride Thursday, according to television images.

Kaci Hickox left her home in Fort Kent to take a morning bicycle ride with her boyfriend, MSNBC and other networks reported.

Ms. Hickox, 33, who tested negative for ebola after returning from treating patients in West Africa, said that she plans to take the issue to court if the state did not lift the quarantine.

Also Thursday, President Barack Obama's top ebola official, Ron Klain, is meeting in Atlanta with officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It will be his first in-person meeting with the Centers since taking the post two weeks ago.

Obama said Wednesday the U.S. may continue to see more cases of ebola until the outbreak in West Africa is contained. He also honored U.S. health workers who have already returned from working in West Africa and those who plan to go in the future, calling them heroes acting out of a sense of duty.

Word Health also gave its latest update on the outbreak Wednesday, warning that the transmission of ebola remains intense in the capitals of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

New material may boost
solar plant efficiencies

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Scientists have created a new solar power material they call the black hole of light because it can absorb and convert to heat 90 percent of the sunlight it captures.

A team of researchers at the University of California at San Diego developed the silicon boride-coated nanoshell material that can be used in concentrating solar power plants, according to a news release.

Researchers said the new material could increase the efficiency by about 30 percent.

Concentrating solar power plants consist of thousands of mirrors, which reflect sunlight at a central tower covered in a light absorbing material. The concentrated light is converted to heat which can power a steam turbine that produces electricity.

These power plants work by heating molten salt, which can be stored in thermal storage tanks and continue to produce energy even when it’s dark. This is a big advantage over photovoltaic cells, which stop producing energy at night.

Researchers said one big advantage of their material is its durability: It withstands heat of over 700 degrees C. and can survive exposure to other elements. They added that the plants are more efficient at higher temperatures.

Currently, such plants have to reapply sunlight absorption material about once a year, meaning the plant is not producing energy during the maintenance.

The University of California at San Diego team says their material has a longer lifespan, adding they are close to achieving a material that will last for many years.

Concentrating solar power plants currently produce about 3.5 gigawatts of energy globally, which is enough to provide electrical power to more than 2 million homes. That number could rise to 20 gigawatts in coming years.

There was also good news about solar power in a report released by Deutsche Bank this week, which said rooftop photovoltaic energy will be as cheap or cheaper than other sources of electricity in 47 U.S. states by as early as 2016.

The report, written by Deutsche Bank’s leading solar energy analyst Vishal Shah, assumes the U.S. will continue a 30 percent tax credit on solar system costs. The credit it due to expire in 2016 as well.

According to the report, even if the tax credit were to be cut by two thirds, solar power would still achieve parity with other forms of electricity in 36 states.

Currently solar power costs the same as other sources of electricity in only 10 states.

The report says the amount of electricity from solar panels in the U.S. could be 16 times greater in 2016 than it was in 2008.

These trends in solar come at a time of dropping fossil fuel prices, which usually triggers a loss of interest in solar.

Earlier this year the International Energy Agency said concentrating solar power plants could provide 11 percent of the world’s electricity by 2050. Photovoltaic systems could account for another 16 percent, the agency said.

Currently, solar power accounts for less than 1 percent of the world’s electricity needs.

Birth under midwife care
has an upward trend in U.S.

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A small but growing number of women in the United States are choosing to give birth using the services of a certified nurse-midwife rather than an obstetrician. The number of midwife-attended births at home, in birthing centers and in hospitals reached 8.6 percent of all births in 2012.

Beth Drake of Derwood, Maryland, is one of those statistics. She recently gave birth to baby Debra with the help of a certified nurse-midwife in the comfort of her own home.

The first-time mother decided on a home birth after witnessing her sister give birth in a hospital.

“To see the baby taken away from her right away and placed on the table - he was warmed and fully taken care of - but he was crying and alone; it just didn’t seem as gentle a way to come into the world as I wanted for my child,” she said.

So for her own pregnancy and labor, Mrs. Drake and her husband Derek chose Mairi Breen Rothman, a certified nurse-midwife who’s been delivering babies since 1996.

Mrs. Drake said having Rothman there for the hardest parts of her labor was very reassuring. “Mairi would suggest changing positions and would be there to rub my back and I think that was the most surprising thing for me about the whole experience was how present she really was with me the whole time.”

And her delivery was a memorable birthing experience.

“As soon as the baby came out, she was immediately placed on my chest,” she said. “So I got to say hello to my baby right away, and Derek was right there so he was the second person that she would have seen. It was really, really special to have all of the intensity gone and this new part of life started in such a gentle way.”

Certified nurse-midwives are nurses who receive specialized training in obstetrics, labor and delivery. They generally work with low-risk pregnancies, and are required to have a plan for consultation, collaboration and referral with other levels of medical care should things become complicated.

“I have this poster that says ‘home birth; it’s not just for hippies anymore,’” noted Ms. Rothman with a smile, “because women from every walk of life choose to have their babies at home.”

The numbers are growing, even though midwives have often had to struggle with negative stereotyping.

Opponents of home birth cite studies that claim a higher risk of neo-natal deaths due to the distance a patient would have to travel to get to a medical facility in case an emergency develops. But Ms. Rothman said these studies are not based on science and are the subject of great controversy in the birth community.

“Midwives have fought for legitimacy for many decades, so as a result they’ve become extra competent, extra vigilant, and very much specialists in the care of women experiencing normal childbirth and normal pregnancy.”

She notes that in many countries in the world, many of them with much better infant mortality rates that the U.S., midwifery care is the portal of entry into the maternity care system.

“Everyone starts with a midwife,” she explained, “and they only move to a more specialized form of care if it’s indicated by their personal health. But in the vast majority of cases you don’t need medical care, you just need maternal health care during your pregnancy.”

She points to the Netherlands, which has some of the best outcome data of anywhere in the world in terms of maternal infant and infant mortality, where a third of the babies are born at home.

Concerns about the safety of using a midwife are unfounded, agrees Eugene Declercq, professor and assistant dean of community health sciences at Boston University School of Public Health.

“The evidence suggests that an integrated system where midwives do what’s often called primary care, first line care, for mothers is every bit as safe as a system based entirely on having high-risk specialists do all the births.”

That approach is summed up by a phrase used in England: "all mothers deserve a midwife and some mothers need an obstetrician too." "I think that describes to me what would be an ideal system; that care starts with midwives but that they work in conjunction with obstetricians around cases that may require risk and may require more specific medical intervention.”

According to Declercq, that sort of cooperative approach offers safety at a lower cost. “The impact of that in the long run would be less intervention in our system and most importantly, intervention only when it’s necessary.”

The larger point, he said, is to have an integrated system where midwives and obstetricians are working together and not at odds with each other.

And that seems to be happening at a slow but steady rate. Many hospitals around the country are responding to women's interest in having a more natural birth experience by working more closely with midwives and are also setting up baby-friendly environments where mothers can keep their babies with them in a home-like setting and receive nutrition and breastfeeding support.

In the meantime, new mom Beth Drake encourages women who are thinking about their childbirth options to educate themselves about their choices so they can make the best decision for themselves - and their babies.

Iowa is key state Nov. 4
for winning the U.S. Senate

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The balance of power between Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Senate hinges on the outcome of the Nov. 4 midterm elections. Each party is campaigning for votes in close races, including the midwestern state of Iowa. The winner in Iowa could be decided by the party most successful in convincing their supporters to get out to vote.

Even though the Nov. 4 midterm elections are still days away, the polls are open in Iowa.

Early voting here began in late September, and so far, more than 300,000 people have cast ballots, including 18-year-old Jameisha Morgan. She says, "It felt good after I voted and to turn in my vote.”

It was the first time Ms. Morgan cast a ballot in an election. She is supporting Democratic candidate Bruce Braley in the U.S. Senate race in Iowa. She says the biggest reason other voters her age don't cast their ballots is a lack of interest.

“They’re not even worried about the election. Most people don’t even know who Bruce Braley is," she said. "So getting them to talk about it and be educated is the hardest part.”

Ms. Morgan has some help in that effort, thanks in part to high profile visits to the state and campaign rallies that featured former secretary of State Hillary Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Speaking specifically to young voters on Iowa university campuses to support Bruce Braley, the first lady’s message was simple - each vote counts.

“Make no mistake about it, this race is going to be tight," said Mrs. Obama. "And we know that races like this can be won or lost by just a few thousand, even a few hundred votes.”

Braley’s challenger, Republican Joni Ernst, echoed a similar message to GOP supporters at the annual Ronald Reagan Dinner in the state capital, Des Moines.

“Every vote makes a difference, folks," said Ernst. "I’m asking all of you if you haven’t voted yet, please make sure that you absentee vote.  Make sure you do that. If you would rather go to the polls, that’s great. But make sure you go to the polls.”

University of Iowa political science Professor Tim Hagle says the key to winning the close Senate race in Iowa is courting the vote of those not affiliated with either political party.

“It wasn’t expected that this Senate race for us would be this close. it is giving us more attention,” he said.

“The independents here, what we call no party voters, is an even larger group than Democrats or Republicans," he said. "Now they don’t turn out quite as well for midterm elections than those who have registered for one of the parties, but you have to energize your base, and reach out to those no party voters because they are the ones who are going to decide the election.”

Voting Registration numbers back up Hagle’s assessment. He adds the party affiliation of those who have signed up to vote in Iowa is split almost evenly between Democrats and Republicans. 

Most polls show Joni Ernst and Bruce Braley virtually tied in the lead up to Election Day Nov. 4.



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

Check with our Web site at
Contact us at the office: (506) 2694-0088
Cell (506) 8880-8888
Phone number from the U.S. (305) 307-0088
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Central America
Houses, lots and farms in Grecia,
western Central Valley.
Great climate
and safe communities.

Visit our Web Site:

English calls: (Cristian Arce) Phone: 
(506) 2494-0016  
English calls :  (Luis David) Phone: 
(506) 8331-5228

Español calls: (Luis G. Jiménez)  Phone:   
(506) 8707-4016
Grecia 884
Beautiful large house in Grecia, Costa Rica, with the best fresh natural weather. The property includes 9 challets and and 12.000 m2 of land,  1,000 m2 of construction. Price $498.000. Click HERE!
Grecia 881
Beautiful house in Grecia, Costa Rica,  2 kilometers from the city.   340 m2 of land.
Price $135.000. Click
Grecia 883
Beautiful  House in Grecia, Costa Rica,  1.5  kilometers from the city.   220 m2 of land. Price $138.000.  Click HERE!
  Send us your request to our email:

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Maneul Antonio
Manuel Antonio Estates focuses on building vacation homes for clients within Manuel Antonio Estates and Palmas Pacifica. We take care of the details from permits and design to supervision of construction and management of the rentals, if needed. We provide privacy and security, and our gated community offers shared common recreational facilities, beautiful landscaping and parking areas. Our homes and lots are located just minutes from the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. If you've ever considered buying a second home, just minutes from the beach, do not hesitate, if you have any questions or would like to request more information please take full advantage of our Costa Rica real estate services and contact us today!
Manuel Antonio Estates    1 800 346-9724  (506) 8815-9606.

Ciudad Colon
Great Deal!! Apartment in condo with pool and extensive green areas:
Ciudad Colón, San José $112,000
The apartment has a master bedroom with a large ensuite bathroom with bath tub, and a smaller second bedroom/office  with air conditioning. It has a second full bathroom, living/dining room, laundry room with hot water tank and storage area. The kitchen comes with granite countertops, a breakfast bar and new dishwasher. It has 82 m2 of construction. 2 balconies with beautiful views of the river and mountains. Private parking for one car. Elevator and a well presented reception area. Located in a very quiet and private neighborhood just 400 meters from the centre of Ciudad Colón. Within minutes to all major amenities in Santa Ana and Escazú. Easy access to the beach (less than 1.5 hrs).  24-hour security, visitor parking, pool, extensive and lush green areas, BBQ area, children’s playground and its own water treatment plant. Contact (506) 6022-9294 or 6022-9967, for further info or to arrange a viewing.

Suenos montage
Outrageous blowout prices on oceanfront condos in Los Sueños!

Located in the private Bay Residence enclave overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Los Sueños Resort and Marina, there are three gorgeous units available at unbelievable bargain pricing from $589,000.  All of these beautiful units are three bedrooms and two baths, 2,200 square feet, fully furnished and ready to move in.  Development includes a gym, access to 3 pools, jacuzzis, BBQ areas and the Beach Club.  If you’ve always wanted to own in Los Sueños, now is the time!  Contact  or call Nate @ 8635-9320.
From the US call 209-482-1788.
Top floor unit: $649,000   Second floor unit: $675,000  Garden unit: $589,000

Newly available in Roca Verde
Well-built home of 215 m2, 3 bedrooms, two bath on 1,150 m2 of lot, with attractive rock retaining wall, carport, and a pool. Indoors there are high, vaulted hardwood ceiling, bright rooms, a laundry room.  The floor is ceramic tile in pastel shades. $247,000. Photos: 2446-5587.

San Ramon
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya.7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 ft. elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 baths, appliances included. High-speed internet iinstalled, Direct TV via sling box on Internet. $199,000 Contact   Check out slide show HERE!

Condo montage
Cariari luxury condo for sale
This is not an ordinary condo.
Completed one year ago, a $45,000 renovating made it an exquisite dwelling. As soon as you walk in you know it is a special home. No detail has been overlooked, even minuscule ones. The owner has a need to move on, and someone lucky will be the beneficiary of the fine detailed work. The home itself has three bedrooms, two and half bathrooms plus a maid’s quarters with its own bathroom. Also, it has a living room, dining room and a gorgeous kitchen with a kitchenette. There’s also a small outdoor patio. Being the end unit of this four-home condo complex, there’s parking space for three vehicles.  Approximately 240 sq. meters. All this near the Cariari Golf and Country Club and its renowned Tom Facio golf course. The club also has amenities such as a fitness centre, exercise room, Olympic swimming pool, sauna, 12 tennis courts and many other benefits. Tel:  8384-9608 or 2293-9054  Price $214,500.

two houses
Two lovely homes on one big lot in Esterillos Oeste, (Central Pacific)
Located on a breezy hill just 4 minutes walk to the beach, surf and tide-pools, only 20 minutes drive north to Jacó nightlife and shopping or south to the rural town of Parrita.

First, a 2-story, 2-bedroom (sleeps 4), 1½-bathroom house with big kitchen and living room.  Full-width verandah with eating and sitting areas, overlooking lawn, pool and gazebo. Sitting balcony at upper, bedroom level.  Carport and laundry. 

Second, a completely private single-story 2-bedroom (sleeps 4), 1-bathroom home with big back yard at a lower level on the same, big fully titled 1,100M2 lot. Full security bars at all doors and windows, plus locking vehicle access and pedestrian gates at the street. In a very safe neighborhood, with private and natural surroundings

Well maintained, fully and tastefully furnished and equipped, hot water, local phone, cable TV/DVD and high speed wireless internet.   The houses have been rented for both long-term and vacation for $100/$80 per day and $1,500/$1,200 per month respectively. See this place, you will love it! Then make an offer. E-mail or call (506) 8386-8825.  Rodney, asking $350,000.

house photo
More photos HERE!
Another 'live in the view' home in Puriscal
$179,900 includes:
Lot on river, concrete road, custom kitchen & bath with granite counter tops, PEX plumbing, 2” Styrofoam, sandwiched in steel roof, 4” concrete/recycled Styrofoam & steel walls, laminated, bronzed windows, custom wood doors, appliances and all transfer taxes, and fees.

2, 900 sq feet under roof, 1,250 sq feet inside walls, 2 bedroom, 2 ½ baths, laundry room, three separate patio areas, covered carport, shade trees, in upscale, secure project.  This project has river with protected areas & walkways. It is only 10 minutes on all paved roads to Santiago de Puriscal, 45 minutes to La Plaza Mall/Hospital CIMA and SJO airport, and 1 ½ hours to Pacific Beaches. It has recently upgraded public water supply and dependable ICE electric and high-speed internet.
Please come visit our projects and meet four new homeowners who have recently moved into their new “live in the view” homes to verify how happy they are and that they all came in under budget. CONTACT: George Lundquist  Home phone: 2417-1041 Cell phone: 8888 4543 Skype glundquist.
To see more Photos of this house, click HERE!


Beach Front Home - Central Pacific Coast
Pristine condition, recently renovated. The best surfing and boogie boarding in the country. The most magnificent ocean and sunset view. New 20-year, fully registered concession on one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. Easy access from San José (1 hour 25 minutes) located between Jacó and Manuel Antonio, in Esterillos Oeste.  2 or 3 bedrooms. Center room can be living room. House with 2 1/2 baths. Separated rancho with kitchen and large entertainment patio. Landscaped garden with no water shortage. Has both municipal and well water with automatic watering system. Direct access to the beach as no road is in front of property. Protected land on one side of the property for additional privacy.  Alarm system and complete shutters for security while away. Lot approximately 1,725 square meters, Asking price: $385.000.  Contact to Paul at local phone 506- 2637-8858  Cell phone 506- 8823-8550 .  US Mobile 908-400-9772  Emails:  and


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

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:

ARenal property
Location: Near Arenal        Price: $2.7 million
Size: 113 acres
Web site:

The farm is at the highest point on a stunning ridge bordered by pristine Costa Rican primary forest on all sides of the property, with active wildlife all throughout the area. On each of its gently rolling terraced lomas you get a glimpse of Volcán Arenal from a distance. This property has four different lagunas, a working organic farm and nursery, mature fruit trees, sheep corral, ideal for grazing horses with stunning views from all the hillsides. The Northern Zone of Costa Rica is the country's best kept secret, providing a perfect home base location to travel the country's many destinations while still maintaining the best climate at 400 meters above sea level.

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Call center for rent ready to go !
13 work stations, good equipment, good location, Rohrmoser, two blocks from Plaza Mayor. $4.000 per month. Call Kevin 8366-6861.

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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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Oct. 31, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 216
Real Estate
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News from the BBC up to the minute

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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Three artist adopt the dragonfly symbol

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Considered worldwide a symbol of freedom and depth of character, the dragonfly depicts a change of perspective in self-awareness and insight.  Three Costa Rican artists chose to call their group The Golden Dragonflies because of
Rosibel Marín López.  Rosemary McDermott Dobles and  Felicia Salazar Quirós pose before their works.
the similarities between these artist's traits and the intrinsic symbolism of the golden dragonfly.

The artists are Rosemary McDermott Dobles, Felicia Salazar Quirós, and Rosibel Marín López. Their  collective exhibit, "Dialogue With Nature,"  opens Saturday at the  Hidden Garden Art Gallery west of Liberia.

Frequent trips to the mountains searching for wild orchids inspired artist McDermott in many of her paintings which depict the natural habitat of the flora indigenous to Costa Rica. Born in Quepos, Ms. McDermott honed her artistic talents through the Museo de Arte Costarricense's program Escuela Casa del Artista where she received a degree in fine arts with a specialty in painting in 201.She has been a professor of painting.

"The ultimate power of nature and the exotic beauty that surrounds us, whether flowers, animals, or trees, is fascinating to me," she said  Knowing
that these  fragile flowers must remain their natural habitat in order to survive, her paintings show the viewers the orchids astounding colors, shapes, and sizes. These sometimes mythical flowers present an air of mystery, elegance, cadence and sensuality.

Born in San Isidro, Coronado, Costa Rica, artist Salazar started her career in the 90s exploring with paint on wood and other materials. After studies in design and artistic drawing at the Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje, she also joined the Escuela La Casa del Artista, where she received a degree in fine arts with an emphasis in painting. Through her exceptional pictorial style, full of color and movement, Ms, Salazar's paintings represent women who, immersed in their dreams, leave their pasts behind to continue building their future, expressing the hopes and dreams that women must cherish.

Using art as a source of medical therapy, Costa Rican artist Marin discovered her talent late in life. Focusing on surrealism, Ms. Marin's art intertwines the beauty of women with tropical and vibrant flowers, allowing projection of her thoughts in a beautiful and subtle way.

"The flower is a delicate subject for these women," she said. "For some it is the sweet scent and striking colors which signify a gift or a pleasant memory, and for others it harbors changes that lie ahead. I want to bring a positive message to women, their feelings and experiences."

Ms. Marín received the title of middle technical in fine arts from the Escuela La Casa del Artista in 2010 and has also worked as a teacher of drawing and painting at different institutions in Costa Rica, and is currently working at Fundacion El Futuro de Todos, a training center for young people with Down syndrome.

The opening Saturday is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the gallery, located 5 kilometers west of the Daniel Oduber Airport. More information is available at 2667-0592, 8386-6968, or

Ministry will honor folklorist

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud will celebrate the  Día de la Mascarada Tradicional Costarricense today from 11 a.m. to noon at the ministry, the  Centro Nacional de la Cultura on Avenida 7 east of Parque España.

The late Elías Zeledón Cartín, a folklorist and researcher of Costa Rican legends, will be honored.  Rodolfo González will present some of Zeledón stories.

Also invited to the brief observance is the Gigantes de Torroella de Montgrí, a 25-member Spanish mascarada group that is visiting the country. The group will bring examples of mascaradas typical of  Cataluna

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From Page 7:

U.S. economy reported growing at 3.5 percent

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U. S. economy expanded at a solid 3.5 percent annual rate in July, August and September.

Thursday's report from the Commerce Department says third quarter growth was helped by exports and spending by consumers and government.

A separate report showed the number of Americans applying for unemployment assistance rose slightly last week, but experts say the long-term trend shows a strengthening job market.

The improving job market is one reason that the U.S. central bank ended a major effort to bolster the economy on Wednesday. The Fed says the economy no longer needs so much help. 

Fed experts say the economy still needs ultra-low interest rates, though, to continue its recovery. Many economists say the key interest rate probably will remain at its current low rate until the middle of next year.