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(506) 2223-1327                                    Published Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, in Vol. 14, No. 219                        Email us
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U.S. election might be bad news for hated tax law
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

With Republicans controlling both houses of the U.S. Congress, expats might see changes in the  Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, which requires reporting of assets.

Election results . . . HERE!

Expats have long pushed for modifications of the law that is designed to catch tax cheats. Many faced discrimination from local banks because of the U.S. law. Foreign banks were required to make reports  to U.S. officials, so many simply chose not to have U.S. customers.

Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, the Republican tax expert in the Senate has said he wants to repeal the  Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act and has helped put that proposal into the Republican National Committee's platform.

Although he has only been in the Senate four years, Portman served as a congressman and also was the principal Republican fundraiser for this election. He is a leading candidate for a chairmanship of a Senate subcommittee, according to Washington insiders.

Getting rid of the legislation known as FATCA is
not just a Republican project. Democrats in Congress also have voiced opposition to the law.

A Republican Senate also will review President Barack Obama's appointments for ambassador. S. Fitzgerald Haney has been named as the new ambassador for Costa Rica. The New Jersey man and his wife, Andrea, a rabbi, are donors to Democratic causes and to Obama's two presidential campaigns.

The Senate, still controlled by Democrats, has been slow to confirm Obama's appointments. So Haney may be left facing a Republican-controlled Senate.

He appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee July 29. His name was placed on the Senate calendar for action Sept. 18, but there has been no further action.

Republicans in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives also are expected to have an impact on the administration's immigration policy.

Although the number of Republicans anticipated in the Senate is not large enough to override an Obama veto, they do have the power to halt funding for administration programs.  There is expected to be considerable negotiations.

No one is counting out the Turrialba volcano yet
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Turrialba volcano has not gone to sleep. Scientists say there is an increase in seismic activity beneath the mountain.

The most recent eruptions caused the collapse of another wall in the crater and generated more ash through the countryside, according to the Red Sismológica Nacional.

The Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico said that the increase in underground activity might suggest future eruptions that would involve the ejection of magma.

The Observatorio also has compiled data from residents showing where the volcanic ash has landed. Some was found as far away as Ciudad Quesada.

Those who wish to report ash at their location can do so via this LINK.

Those who want to check out the volcano can now do so with the Web camera some 600 meters from the crater back in service.
Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico graphic
Map shows where ash has fallen. A larger version is HERE!

The mountain continues to emit gas and water vapor while officials try to predict what will happen next. President Luis Guillermo Solís has scheduled another visit to the area later in the week.

The Central Valley is not immune to developments at the crater. The mountain is only 35 kilometers east of the capital.

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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.

Residency experts

Residency in Costa Rica
A full service immigration agency
U.S. and San José offices
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Phone number: (506) 8853-0000


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Real estate agents and services

CR Beach
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CR Beach Investment Real Estate Broker & INT’L
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#3: BUYERS’ MARKET: Many properties are at their lowest price ever
           *$179,900 Hermosa Beachfront Community with Ocean Views !
Yes we know Costa Rica: Jeff (21 years here), Frances Winborne (23 years), and Junior Diaz (Jacó born & bred),  and we chose the Central Pacific!

Member of the N.A.R., the Costa Rican Real Estate Board CRGAR and the Central Pacific Chamber of Commerce.
Toll Free: 1-888-782-1119 or  2643-4334, 2643-3672
JACO Office: IL Galeone Center by BAC, #14, Costa Rica

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   • Specialized in the Central and South Pacific.
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Tax agency eyes next generation

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The tax-collecting agency is trying to reach the next generation with video games.

The Ministerio de Hacienda said that there are three video games that have been prepared by the ministry's Dirección de Educación y Cultura Fiscal.

The idea is to give children an appreciation of why taxes are important to a community. In one video game, Somos equipo, "We are a team," the youngsters try to build a soccer field to understand the social use of taxes. This game was created this year.

The two other games, Declarando mis impuestos and Memotest are updated versions of games that have been available since 2010.

Two of the three games come from Argentina where the tax agency there also uses them. The games are in use in other Latin countries, too. The games will be available for download from the ministry Web site soon.

Traffic police get calibrated radar

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

So far this year, traffic police have issued 3,866 speeding tickets, according to a summary released by the agency Tuesday. That's about 13 such tickets on average all over the country each day.

Traffic police also have issued 10,466 tickets for going through red lights since last Dec. 31.

They hope to do better, according to Mario Calderón, head of the Policía de Tránsito, because they have just been calibrated, he said. The laser devices should be calibrated every year, he noted.

This has to be a dying occupation

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Here is a blast from the past. Fuerza Pública officers in Cañas actually caught two men forcing a pay telephone in an effort to steal money.

Yes, some of the telephones still take money. However, most persons use various forms of telephone cards that are on sale separately if they do not have their own cell device.

Police did not say how much the phone crooks might have taken. The men had a screwdriver to force open the money box of the telephone.

Police said the men have been detained previously for similar acts.

Two more locations OK marijuana use

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Voters in Washington, D.C., and the northwestern state of Oregon have approved measures to legalize marijuana.

The successful ballot initiatives were some of the separate questions on ballots Tuesday as Americans voted for members of the House of Representatives, one-third of the Senate and more than half of the nation's state governors.

Ballot initiatives give voters an opportunity to decide on matters such as whether local governments should borrow money to build more roads and schools or if a state should amend its laws on abortion or same-sex marriage.

Oregon's marijuana measure will allow adults to buy and possess the drug similar to systems set up last year in neighboring Washington state and in Colorado.

In Washington, the U.S. capital, the initiative there allows people age 21 and older to possess and grow marijuana, but not buy it, and is subject to a Congressional review period before going into effect.

Meanwhile, voters in the southeastern state of Florida rejected a proposal to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. Medical marijuana is legal in 23 other states.

The ballot in Washington state Tuesday had two competing gun control initiatives, but voters approved one to expand required background checks for gun sales to include those done online and at gun shows.

Workers in several states will soon see more money in their paychecks after voters chose to raise the minimum wage to $8 per hour in Nebraska and $7.50 an hour in Arkansas.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 219        
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Law enforcement is already in the Christmas shopping mode
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rican employees, pensioners and members of some boards will be getting their Christmas bonus between Dec. 1 and 15.

The law requires employers to give the workers a twelfth of what they earned through the previous year. The money also creates a great opportunity for crooks. The extra payments, called aguinaldos, amount to billions of colons.

That is why each year police mount an operation to protect the citizenry. This year the effort starts Nov. 20 and will involve some 3,000 officers and even dogs.

Some of those two story police towers still are up, but more will be added so officers can look down on the bustling holiday shoppers.

Officials outlined their plans Tuesday. The entire holiday police effort will run until Jan. 4.

That the central canton is full of policemen over Christmas has become a running joke.  This year some 141 additional officers will be assigned to the capital.

The season has not become so prosperous for crooks these days as many shoppers use credit and debit cards or shop online. If they need cash, the automatic teller is nearby. In fact, police have a special program for watching the cash machines.

They also have to be ready for the Festival de la Luz Dec. 13, the  Festejos Populares that start in Zapote Christmas Day and the Tope Nacional, the giant horse parade that takes place Dec. 26.

More will be said about protecting money. The Fuerza Pública is expected to come out with advice and the Comisión de Seguridad Bancaria also will be advising customers.
santa and mondy
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Santas will be bringing 20,000-colon notes

Defensora has scheduled dock strike negotiations for today
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The government team responsible for negotiating with striking Limón dockworkers has agreed to meet later today for negotiations arranged by the defensora de los habitantes.

The defensora, Monserrat Solano Carboni, has agreed to mediate and set 2 p.m. as the time for renewed negotiations.

Víctor Morales Mora, the minister of Trabajo, notified her of the central government's willingness by letter, which he released to the press.

The union, the Sindicato de Trabajadores de JAPDEVA, have little to negotiate. The strike already has been declared illegal by a labor court.

The government is declining to negotiate a key clause in a contract for a new container facility that is the main reason for the strike.

And Morales has declared that there will be no amnesty for strikers who break the law.
A main reason for the negotiations today would be to reduce the criminality in Limón. Tractor trailer cabs have been burned and flaming barricades are put up nearly every night.

Monday night police caught two men trying to cut the petroleum pipeline that runs from Moín to storage locations maintained by Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo S.A. One of the men is a suspect in a robbery that resulted in a warrant being issued in his name.

The vandals who have been caught are not union members, but there have been accusations that the union members or individuals in the union are encouraging this lawlessness.

The Limón port agency is the Junta de Administración Portuaria y Desarrollo Económica de la Vertiente Atlántica, known as JAPADEVA.

Strikers are asking that the central government renegotiate a contract with APM Terminals so that the Dutch firm did not have exclusivity over handling containers at the $1 billion port it proposes to build as a concession.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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New test would identify snake bite venom from the attacker's DNA
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

There may soon be a rapid diagnostic test to determine whether a person was bitten by a venomous snake. There are no reliable numbers on how many people are bitten by snakes each year. One study in 2008 estimated the figure to be at least 420,000 with up to 94,000 deaths. But experts believe those estimates are probably too low.

Venomous snakes are common. Researchers say they pose an especially serious unresolved health threat to millions of people in South and Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America.

But there was encouraging news in New Orleans at the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. A DNA test has been developed that takes a swab from the fang marks on people bitten by snakes. Researchers say the test correctly identified the species of the biting snake 100-percent of the time in a first of its kind clinical study.

Dr. Ulrich Kuch is with the Institute of Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine at Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany and part of the research team. He said he wondered if the same type of DNA tests used to catch criminals might be used to identify snakes. Of course, for it to work, you need lots of snake DNA.

“We do need reference material, reference DNA sequences, for each and every species of snake that we deal with – at least for one geographical region or one country where we work. And parallel to collecting samples from bitten patients in hospitals we also need to find the snakes. And we need to take samples from those snakes to get the same genetic information on the particular snakes. So, that’s really biodiversity research meeting clinical research,” he said.

The current test would not be used for rapid diagnosis and treatment. But it is expected to lead to that.

He said, “We use this genetic test as the gold standard in addition to any dead snake brought to the hospital by the patient to determine the species’ identity of the snake involved in the bite. And that is crucial information to inform clinical research in which we validate very rapid diagnostic tests where we compare treatment methods to find out which treatment is better and more cost effective for the patient and the hospital.”

Kuch said that it would be a dip stick test similar to a rapid pregnancy test. It could be either a blood or urine test.

“This type of test detects venom. And venom can be detected in the blood of the patient or in urine or from the bite site, as well. Now, we are going for a blood test because snake bite patients when they reach medical care – they have one blood sample taken for clotting tests and some other laboratory examinations. So you can use the
Instituto Clodomiro Picado photo
The Instituto Clodomiro Picado where this fer de lance (Bothrops asper)  lives is a world leader in the production of anti--venom. The snke is called a terciopelo in Spanish. The institute is in  in Coronado.

blood from the same sample to do this diagnostic test.”

He said it’s far better than what’s happening today in many developing countries.

“Unfortunately, the current method globally is not being treated at all and not seeing any medical help at all. Snake bite and venoming is really one of the most neglected of all tropical diseases, although it causes a huge burden of disease and a very high death toll every year.”

The challenge, he said, is to connect snake bite diagnostics to primary health care in the most affected countries. He says adequate snake bite management is only practiced in a few locations around the world. Kuch describes snake bites as a disease of poverty. Many of those who are bitten are the bread winners of their families. If they do not die from the bite, they may lose a hand or a leg. If they do find treatment, it’s likely to be very expensive.

Kuch said in Africa, for example, snake bites can place a strain on already overburdened health care systems.

“In many of those areas, one out of 10 people admitted to hospital is there because of snake bite and venoming. And those are patients who are critically ill, who occupy hospital beds for a long time. They need a lot of attention and that strains health care resources a lot,” he said.

Also, most snake bites occur in rural areas of poor countries, far from urban areas where most health clinics are located.  The tests could lead to the stockpiling of anti-venom in strategic locations.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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

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

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

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

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.

Real estate for rent (paid category)
Enjoy living in the middle of wonderful mountains.
Fresh air, gorgeous forest. Near downtown but away from noisy city.  Nature lifestyle.  Beautiful chalet in a large property located in Monte de la Cruz, Heredia. Two bedrooms, two baths, laundry room, fully furnished, security, electric gate. Rate $500 monthly. Phone  2267-6306


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, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 219        
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Republicans will control
U.S. Senate for two years

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire sevices

Republican candidates won enough seats in Tuesday's U.S. congressional elections to capture control of the Senate.

Democrats had held 55 of the Senate's 100 seats, but Republicans gained at least seven of them with wins in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia.

A third of the Senate was up for reelection Tuesday, including the Kentucky seat held by Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell from Kentucky. He earned a sixth term in office.

McConnell beat his Democratic rival, Alison Lundergan Grimes. It was an ugly race, with both sides struggling to outspend the other, and polls showing Grimes leading McConnell as late as last week.

“She earned a lot of votes, and she earned my respect," McConnell said late Tuesday. "It took a lot of guts to take on a race like this. Because of the business we're in, it also meant she'd take some heat. I admire her willingness to step into the arena and fight as hard as she did.”

However, he also told supporters that the election was not about him or his opponent.

“It was about a government that people no longer trust to carry out its most basic duties, to keep them safe, to protect the border, to provide dignified and quality care for our veterans, a government that can't be trusted to do the basic things because it's too busy focusing on things it shouldn't be focused on at all," McConnell said.

With Republicans in control, McConnell will become Senate majority leader. He will have the authority to decide which bills to bring up for a vote.

President Barack Obama said Senate Democrats faced what could be the toughest races since 1958, when Republicans lost 13 Senate seats under then-President Dwight Eisenhower. 

Republicans also expanded their solid majority in the House of Representatives, giving them full control of Congress during Obama's final two years in office.

Given Obama's low approval ratings, numerous Democratic officeholders declined to invite the president to campaign for them, and often cited instances in which they disagreed with him, such as on health care or energy issues.

With control of Congress, Republicans could raise new disputes with Obama over his signature legislative achievement, health care reform, which has allowed millions of people to secure insurance coverage they could not previously afford.

Many Republicans view it as excessive government involvement in people's health care and call for repeal of the law.

Republicans also have attacked Obama's handling of the ebola crisis and called for approval of an oil pipeline from Canada through the central U.S., and a curb on government regulation of businesses.

Some opposition lawmakers have also disputed the president's handling of Russia's intervention in Ukraine and U.S. air strikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

In Arkansas, U.S. television networks project that Republican Tom Cotton unseated two-term Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor. In North Carolina, first term Democrat Kay Hagen was narrowly defeated by Tom Tillis, a state legislative leader.

Shelley Moore Capito became the first Republican elected to the Senate from West Virginia in more than 50 years. And in South Dakota, Mike Rounds, a former Republican governor, won a Senate seat that was held by a Democrat.

Democrats held onto a seat in New Hampshire as Jeanne Shaheen defeated Republican challenger Scott Brown, a former senator from neighboring Massachusetts. Democrats also held onto seats in Michigan, Delaware and Minnesota.

In Louisiana, Democrat Mary Landrieu will face Republican Bill Cassidy in a December runoff, since neither won a majority of the votes.

Ms. Landrieu challenged her rival to a series of debates on the issues.

“And I suggest that some of these issues be education, number one, jobs and our economy, Social Security and Medicare, health care, energy and the environment, and yes, international affairs and trade. These are the critical issues for our state," Ms. Landrieu said.

Republicans avoided a runoff in Georgia, where David Perdue beat Democrat Michelle Nunn by a comfortable margin.

Attention will now shift to Washington, as the new Congress is sworn in. That will be in January.

Some Republicans have promised that with a majority in both houses, they will work to repeal the president's health care law and challenge him on immigration and other issues.

Kurdish kids tortured,
human rights group says

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A Human Rights Watch report says Kurdish children between the ages of 14 and 16 were tortured and abused while detained by the Islamic State militant group in Syria. 

The New York-based rights group says in May the Islamic State group kidnapped about 250 Kurdish children as they traveled home to the Syrian city of Kobani after taking school exams in Aleppo.

The militants initially released 100 girls, but kept 153 boys. For the boys it was the start of months of trauma and abuse, according to the rights group’s senior Turkey researcher Emma Sinclair Webb.

"The children were subjected to videos of ISIS’s battles and beheadings and made to watch these,” she explained. “They also subjected the children to religious education and a strict regime of prayer and study, and also subjected the children to regular beatings and torture."

Some of the children managed to escape while others were exchanged for captured militants held by the Kurdish militia defending Kobani, currently under siege by Islamic State forces.

The last 25 children were released last week and most of those are believed to be from families connected to the Syrian Kurd PYD party.

Human Rights Watch researcher Webb says the worst treatment was given to children connected to the militia fighting the militants in Kobani.

"The children told us those perceived by ISIS captors as being close to the YPG were singled out for the worst treatment. And the worst forms of torture included placing children inside a tire and beating them in that position and also suspending children, their hands tied behind their backs and feet tied up and suspending them from the ceiling,” she said.

The children’s eventual release did not mark the end of their traumatic experience, according to Ms. Webb.

"The exceptional part of this, is that they could not go back to Kobani, they had to make their way to Turkey, because Kobani was under siege already,” she noted. “So they did make their way to Turkey and they met up with their families in the southeast town of Suruc where we interviewed them."

The rights group says the experiences highlight again that children continue to be among the main victims of the ongoing civil war in Syria and conflict in Iraq.  Ms. Webb says abuse of children is not confined to the Islamic State group.

"The ill treatment of children inflicted by ISIS has to be understood within the broader picture of the tragedy of the conflict that has affected children,” she explained. “The displacement, the killings and basically whole generations that now may not receive an education because they've been made to be displaced and live as refugees in surrounding countries."

Ms. Webb says because the abducted children are now living with their families in Turkish refugee camps or staying with extended families in Turkey, it's unlikely they will receive any counseling or therapy for the traumatic experience they have lived through.

Greenpeace says big boats
are overfishing the oceans

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

An environmental group has accused 20 European vessels of dangerously overfishing the world's oceans.

In a report titled "Monster Boats: The Scourge of the Oceans," issued Tuesday in Brussels, Greenpeace said the boats use alarming fishing methods. It concluded that “our oceans and fish stocks are in deep crisis with too many large and destructive vessels chasing too few fish."

Among the named boats are five flying a Spanish flag, two of them owned by Spanish fishing giant Albacora S.A.

Four other named vessels are owned by the Dutch firm Parlevliet en Van der Plas BV. One flies a Dutch flag, two a German flag and one a Lithuanian flag.

The rest of the 20 are vessels flying the flags of Britain, Denmark, France, Poland, Portugal and Sweden.

Greenpeace described what it said were techniques used by these industrial fishing barons to circumvent regulations and maximize profit. The environmental group said the techniques included frequent flag changes ... the use of front companies and tax havens and taking advantage of personal connections to decision-makers.

The organization blamed European Union ministers who oversee the fishing industry and other decision-makers around the world for allowing overfishing with impunity.

Greenpeace suggested that the vessels violate the EU's new fishing rules, which specify that governments should promote responsible, low-impact fishing.

Pakistani crowd lynches
Christian couple over Quran

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Police and eyewitnesses in eastern Pakistan say an angry crowd attacked and beat a married Christian couple to death after accusing them of desecrating a Quran. The mob later burned the bodies in the brick kiln where the victims worked.

The deadly incident took place Tuesday in the town of Kot Radha Kishan about 60 kilometers southwest of Lahore, the capital of Pakistan’s most populous Punjab province.

The killing has outraged rights groups who are demanding the attackers be swiftly brought to justice, saying circumstances around the allegations are unclear.
Provincial authorities have launched an investigation into the violence and ordered police to increase security at minority Christian neighborhoods across Punjab.
The London-based Amnesty International has condemned the incident and demanded authorities must bring to justice those responsible for the vicious mob killing of the minority Christian couple accused of blasphemy.
“This type of violence is fueled by Pakistan’s repressive blasphemy laws, which add to the climate of fear for religious minorities.  In this case, a mob appears to have played judge, jury and executioner,” the organization said in a statement, again demanding Pakistan urgently reform its controversial blasphemy laws.
Amnesty International says that the Punjab government’s immediate response is encouraging, but it remains to be seen what comes of the investigation.  The rights group said the climate of impunity around violence against religious minorities in Pakistan is pervasive and it is all too rare that those behind attacks are held to account.
A Christian woman, Asia Bibi, has been on death row since November 2010, after a court found her guilty of making derogatory remarks about the Muslim prophet Mohammed during an argument with a Muslim woman.  Critics say Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are often used by influential members to settle personal disputes.

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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!
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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 8702-0778.  From U.S. 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:

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

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

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13 work stations, good equipment, good location, Rohrmoser, two blocks from Plaza Mayor. $4.000 per month. Call Kevin 8366-6861.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 219     
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Head-on crash kills at least four

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial agents said Tuesday that a pirate taxi collided head-on with a truck in  San Rafael de Guatuso and that at least four persons died.

The taxi was transporting a family from the area, the Judicial Investigating Organization said.

The taxi driver and two adults died in the midday crash as well as a 13-year-old passenger, said agents. In critical condition at a hospital was a male passenger.

Agents said it appeared that the taxi driver tried to pass a motorcycle and collided head-on with the truck. Both vehicles overturned, agents said.

Fugitive mayor caught in students case

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Mexican police have detained a fugitive ex-mayor and his wife, who are suspected of being the masterminds behind the disappearance of 43 teaching students in September.

Federal officers arrested Jose Luis Abarca and his wife Maria de los Angeles Pineda early Tuesday in a house in Mexico City. Abarca was mayor of the southern city of Iguala when police clashed with the group of male students there Sept. 26.

Abarca and his wife are accused of ordering the police attack to stop the students from disrupting a political event. Six people were killed.

It is unclear what happened to the dozens of students who went missing following the clashes in Guerrero state, but the fear is that they were massacred.

More than 50 police officers and gang members have been arrested in the case.

The mayor and his wife are said to have been linked to the local drug cartel, Guerreros Unidos. Authorities say Ms. Pineda was a main operative in the cartel and comes from a family of drug gang members.

Officials hope the couple's arrest will shed light on the disappearances, which set off nationwide protests.

Mexico has been plagued by drug-related violence for years.

Saturday, authorities say high-ranking security official Ricardo Niño Villarreal and his wife were murdered in the northern state of Nuevo Laredo. Their bodies were found the next day by passers-by.

Niño Villarreal was one of several military officers sent to the region earlier this year to stem a surge of violence in the neighboring state of Tamaulipas. The state has been the scene of a bloody turf war between the Zetas and Gulf drug cartels. The two gangs have been fighting each other for control of the lucrative drug trafficking route into the U.S. border state of Texas.

Last week, three U.S. citizens and a Mexican citizen were found dead in Tamaulipas, two weeks after they disappeared. Authorities are investigating whether members of a special tactical police unit killed them.

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From Page 7:

Negotiations expected for Ruta 32 job

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The public works minister has reported that the Chinese are open to negotiations involving a proposed deal to widen some 100 kilometers of Ruta 31 from Limón to Río Frio.

That caused some in the legislature to hope that the deal could be put to a final vote as early as February.

Carlos Segnini Villalobos, the minister of Obras Públicas y Transportes, traveled to China with a vice minister to reopen negotiations that had been stalled as the Costa Rican government changed hands.

The ministry reported that one goal of the trip was to insure that Costa Rica retains sovereignty. The original proposal was to have the contract litigated, if necessary, under Chinese law. The ruling contract also was supposed to be written in Chinese.

Costa Rica also urged the use of some of the Chinese loan, which has been put at $435 million, for expropriation of rights-of-way. Originally Costa Rica was supposed to pay this.

The government also would like the bulk of the jobs to go to Costa Ricans, too.

The job would be done by the China Harbour Engineering Co. Ltd. with money coming from a Chinese state-run bank.

The project raised suspicions when it was advanced by the Laura Chinchilla administration because no site work has been done. Usually design is done first so that a bid can be made based on work that needs to be done. In addition to widening the highway, which is key for imports and exports, the job also involves a number of overpasses and intersections.