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(506) 2223-1327                         Published Friday, Nov. 8, 2013,  in Vol. 13, No. 222                               Email us
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cave art
More than 690 kilos of weed found in Limón
Photographer created a show consisting of underwater photos.
Cave art
Wildlife experts in Brazil found unexpected ancient rock art in caves

Committee edits out gay marriage possibility in law
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

After lawmakers passed a young people's measure  July 3, one lawmaker said that the text legalized same-sex marriage.

The lawmaker is José María Villalta Florez-Estrada, who now is a presidential candidate.

His interpretation was disputed, but just to make sure, the Comisión Permanente de Asuntos Sociales passed and sent to the full legislature Thursday a clarification that eliminated the possibility of a same-sex interpretation.

The committee voted 5-1 for the revised wording.

The comments by Villalta created a sensation at the time and some same-sex couples sought to be married. They were turned down. Villalta is a
 member of the leftist Frente Amplio political party and the party's sole representative in the legislature.

The committee members were reminded Thursday that the country's family code says specifically that marriage is between a man and a woman. There were some other technical aspects that seem to refute the Villalta interpretation.

The members of the ruling Partido Liberación Nacional on the committee supported the text change.   The only opponent was María Eugenia Venegas Renault of Partido Acción Ciudadana.

She said that the action shows a lack of understanding of the reality of Costa Rican society and the demand for rights by same-sex couple.

The discussion of the measure in the full legislature is likely to be extensive.

Santa Cruz kids to get a week-long anti-drug message
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The U.S. Embassy is supporting for the seventh year
red ribbon
a week of activities against drug use by youngsters. The week starts Monday.

The effort this year is being directed at 23 schools in Santa Cruz, Guanacaste. The  Fundación D.A.R.E also is involved along with various law enforcement agencies, the education ministry, the municipality
and the Instituto Costarricense sobre Drogas.

The week is called Lazo Rojo in Spanish. It is
known in English as Red Ribbon Week, which began to commemorate the life of murdered undercover agent Enrique Camarena. He and his pilot died in 1985 at the hands of a Mexican drug gang. The man identified as the killer is Rafael Caro Quintero, who was arrested a short time later in Costa Rica where he had fled.
Camarena worked for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. His death was exceptionally gruesome because physicians kept him alive so he could be continually tortured.

Students at the Santa Cruz schools will receive instruction from the D.A.R.E. program about the prevention of drug use. The program will conclude with an event Nov. 15.

There also will be soccer games, a movie, dancing and singing and even a parade against drugs.

Coincidentally, Caro Quintero is back in the news. He was released from a Mexican prison in August because a judge determined he was incorrectly tried at the federal level. The trial should have been a local one, the judge ruled.

After the man was released, there were legal appeals and consideration by the United States to extradite him. However, he has vanished and is the subject of an arrest warrant. He is about 61 years old.

Camarena lived in Calexico, California, where the observance originated.

Inspector accused of a small-time extortion scheme
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A small-scale extortion scheme shows how pervasive and small time corruption is in official circles.

Judicial agents detained a city employee Thursday on the allegation that he was trying to extort from 500 to 1,000 colons from people on the street who sell parking permissions to motorists.
The case revolves around those pesky tickets or boletas motorists have to buy in order to park legally in some sections of the city.

The area involved in this case is in the vicinity of Hospital Calderón Guardia in northern San José.

According to the Judicial Investigating Agency the victims were the individuals who sell the boletas to motorists on commission.

According to the allegation, the man who was detained told these self-employed individuals that he
would make life difficult for them unless they started making payments. The man was described as
an inspector de control vial. This is a city employee who goes around the high traffic areas making sure that the boleta sellers are doing their job and that every vehicle has a valid ticket stuck under the windshield wiper or on the dashboard. The boletas are for various time periods.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that in September, the suspect is accused of contacting the ticket vendors seeking these small payoffs saying that if he found a vehicle that was 30 seconds over the specified time he would issue a violation notice. That would jeopardize the vendors' status. They buy the boletas at a discounted price. Their profit is the difference between the price motorists pay and the amount they pay.

Some of the street boleta vendors approached judicial agents, and the man is accused of four counts of extortion.

He was detained Thursday morning at his government office.

The amount 500 colons is just about $1 U.S.

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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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This is 'Sirena' by Mario Peraza.

Being submerged is a metaphor
in this 18-photo exposition

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Galería Nacional has debuted a photo show that is unique in that the works all were taken under water.

The artist is Mario Peraza, who placed 18 photos in the show called “H20, Hipnótico y Onírico.”

The gallery said that those who wish to submerge themselves in a world of fantasy, dreams and dreamlike hallucinations can visit the show through Nov. 29.  Admission is free.

Peraza, himself, is submerged in the depths of surrealism to depict new worlds of magic, fantasy, irrationality and abstraction, the gallery said, adding that the artist is accustomed to swim in these waters.

The show is a retrospective of some three years of work.

The gallery is in the Museo de los Niños off Avenida 9 in north San José. The photographer used special underwater housing on professional cameras.

One of the works "Sirena," shows a woman underwater in a tight-fitting garment that looks very much like fish scales. The word translates into English as mermaid.

Puntarenas clown organizes
march for Puntarenas security

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Residents of Puntarenas Centro are promising to march Saturday to attract the attention of the government.

An announcement said that drugs, violence, the lack of a hospital, unemployment and abandonment by the central government are reason for the march.

The march is being organized by Luis Fernando Murillo, who is known in the community as the clown Albóndiga. He said the march will begin in the Parque de Barranca.
The march will end at the Pollo Real chicken outlet whose owner,  William Salazar, was gunned down by a robber last week. The principal suspect had just been released from prison by officials who were complying with a judge's order to reduce the jail population.

Murillo said that Salazar was killed for a couple of pieces of chicken and 60,000 colons, which is about $130.

"We cannot permit that they are killing us in this way. We do not have security. We do not have jobs. The drugs and the violence is growing in our beautiful Pearl of the Pacific, he said.

The local hospital was damaged heavily in an earthquake Sept. 5, 2012, and repairs are slow.

Globetrotters plan two shows
in a quick visit to Costa Rica

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

America’s beloved basketball tricksters, the Harlem Globetrotters, will be entertaining expats and Ticos in Guápiles tonight at the Gimnasio Polideportivo Guapiles and Saturday at Ciudad Deportiva Hatillo. Tickets can be purchased at the Gimnasio prior to the presentation. The Globetrotters will not be playing against a local team. It is planned to be only a presentation of comedy and skill. This event is targeted towards all ages and focuses on family fun, said organizers.

A representative from the gymnasium in Guápiles said that the team will arrive early the day of the event, starting at 2 p.m. to sign autographs and pose for pictures with fans.

The Harlem Globetrotters originally formed 87 years ago in 1926 as a five-man black basketball team. In 1927 the team was named the Harlem New York Globetrotters. In 1941, comedy routines were added and the members have been playing exhibition games for good causes ever since. Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain and Magic Johnson spent time as Globetrotters. They even appeared as cartoon versions of themselves in a Scooby–Doo episode.

Judicial agency confirms
shooting of robber in Aserrí

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Judicial Investigating Organization has confirmed the shooting death of a young man in Aserrí. But it has declined to identify the man who shot him as a judicial agent.

In a release Thursday, the judicial agency confirmed that the 18 year old was one of two men on a motorcycle who tried to rob a pedestrian. The pedestrian was a homicide detective, and he responded with his own weapon.

The agency did say that two pistols were at the scene, presumably one carried by the agent and one dropped by the dead man.

Teacher arrested in alleged scam
over providing employment

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A teacher has been detained on a fraud charge because investigators claim he was taking money for supposedly finding individuals state jobs as clerical assistants or teachers.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that in the four months that the investigation was going on the man collected 3.5 million colons, about $7,000.

The 38-year-old man was detained at his home Thursday in the Plaza González Víquez section of San José.

Evening storm in metro area
generated lightning strikes

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An evening storm Thursday generated 51 lightning strikes in the metro area and dumped up to two inches of rain in some places, said the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional.

There also was rain along the pacific coast, the weather institute said.

The same type of weather is predicted for the afternoons of today and the weekend, said a longer-range forecast.

Pacific quake hits near Jacó

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An offshore earthquake most strongly felt in Jacó took place Thursday at 9:17 p.m.

The epicenter was estimated to be about 13 kilometers south southeast of Jacó.

There was no report of damage.

Japanese lawmaker criticized
for giving emperor a note

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A Japanese lawmaker was reprimanded on Friday for breaking a taboo by trying to involve Emperor Akihito in politics when he handed him a letter expressing concerns about the health impact of the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
A furor erupted after Taro Yamamoto gave Akihito the handwritten missive at a garden party last week, the first such bid in more than a century to draw the emperor's attention.
The incident highlights Japanese sensitivities about the emperor that linger nearly 70 years after his father, in whose name the Japanese military waged World War II, renounced his divine status.
The topic was also unwelcome for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, under pressure for his handling of the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl. Abe faces demands from some in his party and from charismatic former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi to give up nuclear power altogether.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday,  Nov. 8, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 222
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Archives will accept and display current photos of daily life
By the A.M. Cost Rica staff

Anyone can take an historic photo. At least as far as the Archivo Nacional is concerned. This is the repository of the country's history, but archivists there are opening the door to photos that have been taken in the last five years.

The good ones will end up in an exposition marking the 200th anniversary of San Jose's charter by the Spanish Cortes de Cádiz. The exhibition is called "San José en blanco y negro," and it opens Nov. 21.

The archive has plenty of older historical photos. There are 300,000 on file. The images submitted by the public will be computerized and available for viewing. The archive says it is seeking a collective portrait of the city that will be of value in the medium and long term.  There are no rules about content.

The archive subdirector, Carmen Campos Ramírez, mentioned photos of daily life, landscapes, architecture, and activities natural to this time. Also suggested were parades fiestas, buildings and concerts. among others.

The photos should be at least 1200 by 1800 pixels and in TIF of JPEG format. The photo can be sent via email to along with a detailed description of the content, including where the photo was taken and who might appear in the photo. Also sought is the exact date and the name of the person donating the photo.

The archive said that it would accept photos that are older than five years, although these will not be included in the show. These can be prints because the archive staff can make digital images.

photo graphic

Making the people count requires being a good listener
Every now and then I have an epiphany, not a great big aha! epiphany, just a simple realization of a truism.  Like this Wednesday, I realized how important other people are to expanding our worlds, to our well being, and to learning who we are . . .and how interesting and sometimes even how special they are.  Learning this requires listening, and sometimes I am not a very good listener, having my own anecdotes to tell. 

This week I was again lucky enough to be invited to enjoy Ileana’s stone fireplace pizza and meet some new people.  I have mentioned Ileana before. She seems to glide through the busiest life with less effort than anyone I know.  It helps to have a supportive and similar partner that is her husband. 

Besides my longtime friend, Jerry, there were two new people; two women whom I had never met.  Julia is an artist, and Angela has a bakery and small restaurant in Pavas, the Backland Café, opposite the Virgen de Loreto's Church, 75 meters West of the American Embassy.

She started it after many people complimented her on her homemade sourdough bread and said, “You should open a bakery.”   She came to Costa Rica years ago with her husband and children and lived in the southern, rural part of the country.  I learned this when I was telling a story about a scorpion with my usual voiced fear of the creatures, and she said she was quite used to scorpions and snakes on her property.  She is a better woman than I am.

Julie is Costa Rican and an artist, who experiments with many materials and believes that it is the imperfections that make a work of art interesting.  She has two dimples in her cheeks that keep appearing when she talks and she seems about to smile or say something mischievous all the time.

Both Angela and Julie are widows who have made very successful independent lives for themselves.  I think they represent many women I have never met in Costa Rica and elsewhere.
Butterfly in the City
. . .  Musings from San José

By Jo Stuart

Jo Stuart

My friend Sandy was telling me of the travel plans she and her husband had been discussing. They are thinking of, for instance, flying to Seattle, Washington, renting a car and driving down to practically the Mexican border, using as their destinations their member of their family and their friends, of which they have many.  So instead of place destinations, it will be people who determine their stops. 

And my son, who is visiting, just came back from a couple of days on the west coast.  He took pictures of some of the places and the beaches, but he mainly talked about the people he met, like the frequent visitor who told him about the less expensive hotel next door to where he was staying, but using the same amenities, or the ebullient restaurant owner who greeted him as he read the menu outside, and, of course, about some of the most beautiful women he has ever seen. “It’s the people who make a place,” he said.

It doesn’t take much of an epiphany to recognize such a simple truth, just now and then thinking about what has changed your life, and more often it will not be some place or something,  but someone who has made a difference in your life. 

Of course, you must put yourself in a place where you will meet or interact with people to appreciate their worth.  Perhaps that is why someone like myself who enjoys her privacy and solitude so much finds it a revelation to discover what everyone else knows and takes for granted.  I think Barbra Streisand had s song about it.  Of course, she would.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday,  Nov. 8, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 222
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Wildlife experts accidentally discover ancient rock art in Brazilian caves
By the Wildlife Conservation Society news service

While tracking white-lipped peccaries and gathering environmental data in forests that link Brazil's Pantanal and Cerrado regions, a team of researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society and from a local partner, Instituto Quinta do Sol, discovered ancient cave drawings made by hunter-gatherer societies thousands of years ago.

The drawings are the subject of a recently published study by archeologists Rodrigo Luis Simas de Aguiar and Keny Marques Lima in the journal Revista Clio Arqueológica. The diversity of the renderings, according to the authors, adds significantly to knowledge of rock art from the Cerrado plateau region that borders the Pantanal.

"Our work with the Wildlife Conservation Society focuses on promoting sustainable land-use practices that help protect important wildlife species and the wild places where they live," said Alexine Keuroghlian, researcher with the society's Brazil program. "Since we often work in remote locations, we sometimes make surprising discoveries, in this case, one that appears to be important for our understanding of human cultural history in the region."

The discovery was made on Brazil's Cerrado plateau in 2009, when Ms. Keuroghlian and her team were conducting surveys of white-lipped peccaries, herd-forming pig-like animals that travel long distances and are environmental indicators of healthy forests. The peccaries are vulnerable to human activities, such as deforestation and hunting, and are disappearing from large swaths of their former range from southern México to northern Argentina. While following signals from radio-collared white-lipped peccaries and the foraging trails of peccary herds, the team encountered a series of prominent sandstone formations with caves containing drawings of animals and geometric figures.

Ms. Keuroghlian contacted Aguiar, a regional specialist in cave drawings who determined that the drawings were made between 4,000 to 10,000 years ago by hunter-gatherer societies that either occupied the caves, or used them specifically for their artistic activities. The style of some drawings, Aguiar noted, was consistent with what archeologists call the Planalto (central Brazilian plateau) tradition, while others, surprisingly, were more similar to Nordeste (northeastern Brazil) or Agreste (forest to arid-land transition in northeast Brazil) style drawings. The drawings depict
Wildlife Conservation Society/Liana Joseph
This is a drawing of a large cat and prey found in the cave complex.

an assemblage of animals including armadillos, deer, large cats, birds, and reptiles, as well as human-like figures and geometric symbols. Oddly, the subject of the surveys in the area, peccaries, are absent from the illustrations. Aguiar hopes to conduct cave floor excavations and geological dating at the sites in order to fully interpret the drawings.

"These discoveries of cave drawings emphasize the importance of protecting the Cerrado and Pantanal ecosystems, both for their cultural and natural heritage," said Julie Kunen, director of the society's Latin America and the Caribbean Program and an expert on Mayan archeology. "We hope to partner with local landowners to protect these cave sites, as well as the forests that surround them, so that the cultural heritage and wildlife depicted in the drawings are preserved for future generations."

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Christ Howard with Max
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A.M. Costa Rica
Real estate rentals
Real estate rental agents
Real estate for rent
Real estate wanted

Real estate rental services (paid category)

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

Real estate for rent (paid category)


Homes for rent in Palmares, Alajuela

See our Web page:

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

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

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

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

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

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

MONTHLY $800 TO $1,200

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

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday,  Nov. 8, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 222
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Pacific Estates

Obama issues a new apology
over health policy cancelations

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Barack Obama said that he regrets his administration wasn't as clear as it needed to be about details of his health care reform program, and that he has directed his administration to close some of the gaps in the new law.

Obama spoke on national television Thursday, when he directed his apology to what he said are the 5 percent of Americans who bought insurance on their own and have since had their policies cancelled.

Those cancelled policy holders are being forced to enroll in new plans with their current insurer or through government exchanges, sometimes at a higher rate.

The president said "obviously we didn't do a good enough job, and I regret that." He also said he regrets that people are "finding themselves in this situation based on assurances" he made to them.

The televised apology marks the second time in 10 days that Obama has been forced to concede the rollout of his landmark health plan has not gone smoothly.

In Boston last week, he said the government Web site was too slow and failing to serve many people seeking to buy insurance online. He said he was not happy about the situation, and called the technical glitches a debacle.

Under the Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare, Americans have until March 31, 2014, to buy a federally subsidized health care plan or face a financial penalty.

More than three million Americans are now losing insurance plans that do not comply with the new health care law, seemingly contradicting a promise made by President Obama during his reelection campaign that "if you like your health care, you can keep it.”

Kavita Patel, a health care reform expert at the Brookings Institution, says in many cases new policies are required under Obamacare to ensure equal coverage for men and women, with children or without, to equally share costs.

“You shouldn’t have to pay more just because you are a woman, which is what had been happening before. So, as a result, we have a much more nationwide policy that does not necessarily penalize you for being a woman, and as a result of that we’ve got benefits that apply to both men and women," said Ms. Patel.

But she says these changes should not significantly increase the cost of plans and that most young people will qualify for a government subsidy when they enroll.

Critics of Obamacare, like Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Repubican, say the law is too complex and gives government too much control over the system.

“It's a law transforming our health care delivery system in the wrong direction, we believe, by increasing premiums, canceling insurance plans, destroying relationships with doctors, raising taxes," said Alexander.

Andrew Leonard says if he can’t find an affordable alternative, he may drop his insurance completely and pay a fine for not having coverage.

“I haven’t researched it enough, but if it ends up being that it is cheaper to go without health insurance, I just won’t go to the doctor most of the year. And if something happens, you know, I’ll hold off as much treatment until open enrollment comes along," he said.

Ms. Patel says these technical glitches and policy cancelations could threaten the entire system if they discourage young and healthy Americans from enrolling.

“I think all of this is causing, causes me great concern that people are now feeling that the promise about having affordable health care is not attainable," she said.

She says over time Obamacare will stabilize costs if these problems are addressed and more people enter the marketplace.

FDA seeks to eliminate use
of trans fat in U.S. foods

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. government food regulators have launched an effort to eliminate partially hydrogenated oils, the primary source of so-called trans fats found in some processed foods. Health officials say consumption of trans fats is potentially harmful and can lead to health conditions that are deadly.

It is a case in which what tastes good is not necessarily good for you.

Many of the foods that can contain trans fats are often regarded by Americans as comfort food.

Lisa Martin, a George Washington University cardiologist, says a lot of people eat a fair amount of these foods.

"Cookies, cakes, pies and pastries, a lot of those pre-made foods have the trans fat to increase the shelf life," said Ms. Martin.

Ms. Martin says health articles have shown that artery-clogging trans fats can lead to significant health problems.

"There are some of the articles that have shown that small amounts of trans fats reach 2 percent increases of trans fat in the diet.  You can increase your chance of having a heart attack by as much as 30 percent in some of those articles. So, it is a significant risk factor for developing heart disease," she said.

The Food and Drug Administration says some manufacturers and retailers have voluntarily cut trans fat levels in their products.

It says a further reduction could prevent an additional 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths from heart disease each year.

FDA food safety director Dennis Keefe says studies on the potential benefits show why trans fats should be phased out.

"Information provided by recognized scientific bodies such as the Institute of Medicine which have indicated that and recommended that consumption of trans fats should be reduced to as close to zero as possible," said Keefe.

Artificial trans fats have been used in restaurants and in processed foods to improve the texture, flavor and shelf life of foods.

But Keefe says a growing number of food producers are finding alternatives.

"There are products that indeed can be formulated without the use of partially hydrogenated oils," he said.

The FDA proposal for eliminating partially hydrogenated oils will go through a 60-day comment period before being finalized.

Russian meteor reduces odds
that big rock with hit earth

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The idea that the orbiting chunks of interplanetary rocks called asteroids could hit the Earth and wipe out cities, or even life itself, is a familiar theme in space-based adventure films. But according to three just-released scientific studies in the journals Nature and Science, the likelihood that dangerous asteroids will enter Earth’s atmosphere may be greater than previously believed.

Feb. 15 of this year, the world was inundated with dramatic video images of a 19-meter-wide meteor streaking across the sky above Chelyabinsk, Russia, at nearly 67,000 kilometers per hour. Well over 1,000 people were injured by the event, mostly from the blinding flash and from broken window glass. Still, according to physicist Paul Wiegert of the University of Western Ontario and an author of a study of the Chelyabinsk meteor just published in the journal Nature: 

“… Chelyabinsk didn’t really create as much damage as we might have expected, and that’s a good thing. The flip side is that we are now starting to discover that events like the Chelyabinsk event are occurring more frequently than we had originally anticipated. But we’ll have to wait a little while longer and collect a little more information before we can know for sure," said Wiegert.

Wiegert adds that collecting that information about orbiting asteroids the size of the one that exploded over Chelyabinsk, then determining their path relative to Earth, is a difficult job using conventional earth-based telescopes. 

“Larger asteroids are relatively easily seen with telescopes because they are fairly big. Much, much smaller objects are much more common and frequently hit the earth as meteorites, shooting stars, falling stars and things like that. So we see the bigger objects and we see the smaller objects relatively well. But the Chelyabinsk event kind of falls into the gap between the two," he said.

At a recent panel of the Association of Space Explorers in New York, physicist and former astronaut Ed Lu warned there is little time to lose. He said there are about 10,000 known asteroids orbiting this region of the solar system. That’s just one-thousandth of the number scientists believe could actually be there. Lu's B612 Foundation is planning to help launch a space-based infrared telescope in 2018 that can detect the heat emitted by asteroids, map their position and orbit, then provide a warning in time to mount an international effort to deflect the more dangerous ones. 

“You cannot deflect an asteroid that you haven’t found. And the technology exists, the know-how exists and we realized that the cost of finding and tracking these things, the telescope to do that, is about what it costs to build a large freeway overpass," said Lu.

Wiegert says he’s fascinated by the Chelyabinsk event and would welcome the launch of an infrared space telescope to locate similar asteroids.

“But I don’t think the Chelyabinsk event has really increased our perception of the danger. You won’t have any difficulty finding someone who thinks we should be spending more money looking for more asteroids. But I don’t think anybody in the asteroid community is sleeping any less soundly because of that event," he said.

Nevertheless, officials at NASA’s Near Earth Object program, which scans the heavens for dangerous objects, say the space agency is reassessing what size rocks to look for and how often they are likely to hit.

Asteroid with multiple tails
found between Mars and Jupiter

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Astronomers studying images from the Hubble Space Telescope have seen what they call a weird and freakish object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. 

Unlike other space rocks, which appear as tiny points of light, this asteroid has six comet-like tails of dust.  The tails radiate from it like the spokes of a wheel, and dramatically change their structure every two weeks.

Lead investigator David Jewitt, from the University of California, Los Angeles, says he and his colleagues were dumbfounded when they first saw it.  "It is hard to believe we're looking at an asteroid," he said.

When the asteroid, designated P/2013 P5, was discovered in August, through a land-based telescope array in Hawaii, it looked unusually fuzzy.  The more detailed image taken by Hubble in September revealed the tails.

Jewitt's team suggests the asteroid is rotating so rapidly that its surface is flying apart, spewing dust in periodic eruptions. Radiation pressure from the Sun forces the dust out into streamers.

Jewitt says it may be the main way in which small asteroids die.  He expects to find many more asteroids with tails.

News of the unusual asteroid appeared in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Muslim girl is new super hero
for marvel comic book series

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A popular U.S. comics brand is introducing a female Muslim superhero to its stable of characters.

Ms. Marvel will be a 16-year-old Pakistani immigrant living in New Jersey.

The company, whose most popular characters include Spider-Man and the X-Men, says Ms. Marvel, aka Kamala Khan, will be the first in a series of characters who are both female and Muslim.

“The Ms. Marvel mantle has passed to Kamala Khan, a high school student from Jersey City who struggles to reconcile being an American teenager with the conservative customs of her Pakistani Muslim family,” said writer G. Willow Wilson in an interview on the Marvel Web site. “So in a sense, she has a dual identity before she even puts on a super hero costume.”

Ms. Marvel’s superpower will be “extraordinary body-morphing powers,” according to the Marvel Web site.

According to Wilson, Marvel Khan’s relationship with Islam is an important part of her character.

‘Islam is both an essential part of her identity and something she struggles mightily with,” he said. “She's not a poster girl for the religion, or some kind of token minority.”

Ms. Khan does not cover her hair, he added, but “she's going through a rebellious phase. She wants to go to parties and stay out past 9 p.m. and feel normal. Yet at the same time, she feels the need to defend her family and their beliefs,” he said

Ms. Khan is not the first Muslim comic book character.

A Marvel character called Dust is a young Afghan woman who can manipulate sand and dust.

Last year, DC Comics relaunched its 'Green Lantern series with Simon Baz, an Arab-American and Muslim of Lebanese descent, as its central character. DC Comics also has Nightrunner, a Muslim of Algerian ancestry.

Data base of brain images seen
as major research tool for pain

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Many people around the world suffer from chronic pain - from pain in the joints to migraines to abdominal pain. Many scientists now believe that kind of pain - in whatever part of the body - has a common connection to the brain. The University of California Los Angeles is now developing an international database of brain images of hundreds of chronic pain patients. So far, they include people from North America and Europe. The goal: to accelerate research and develop better ways to treat chronic pain.

Carolyn Crow is no stranger to pain. “Sometimes I’ll just have a background dull ache, you know, all the time. Sometimes there’s cramping that’s so bad that it’ll just kind of almost double you over in pain.” 

It is a chronic pain caused by irritable bowel syndrome, an illness that currently has no cure.

UCLA Gastroenterologist Emeran Mayer said this disease is not the only cause of chronic pain in the body. And often patients often can only suffer. “One of the big things in pain research has been the failure to really come up with major breakthroughs in treatments.”

In hopes of finding new treatment options, Mayer is working on a new field of study that links chronic pain to biological changes in the brain. The Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress at UCLA serves as the main hub for the first standardized database for brain imaging connected to chronic pain.  

“So I think a lot of people now agree with the concept that chronic pain is a brain disease. It may start anywhere in the body when you have acute pain, but once it becomes a chronic pain syndrome it does become a brain disease,” said Mayer.

Kirsten Tillisch, a professor in UCLA’s Division of Digestive Diseases, said the database allows doctors to take a more holistic approach in chronic pain research. “One of the failures of Western medicine and I think our research approaches is how we diced up the human body and how we’ve diced up research into these little silos that work very independently.”

Mayer said Western scientists are starting to look more closely at how mind, body and environment effect each other, and his database is one example.

“Big data, medicine, and analysis is essentially doing the same thing the ancient Chinese did by observation. We do it by observing and analyzing very large data sets and trying to see are there patterns in there that hang together by biologically,” said Mayer.

And Ms. Tillisch said new technology makes this possible. “You know when I started this type of work 10 years ago there, we didn’t have computing power to do this type of analysis. In the brain alone in the last decade it’s really exploded what we could look at.”

The database currently holds the brain scans of more than 500 patients from North America and Europe, and UCLA is in the process of acquiring more. Mayer hopes to eventually include brain images of people from Asian countries, plus other biological markers that can help researchers understand pain and find treatments that can help improve the quality of life for patients such as Carolyn Crow.

“As a patient receiving care it makes you feel much better also to realize the doctor is treating you as a person and a whole being with many complicated parts,” said Ms. Crow.

Images of Ms. Crow’s brain also will be in the database. She hopes doctors might find a cure one day for her chronic pain.

Bolivia erects Chavez statue
in rural town that he helped

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Bolivia has unveiled a statue honoring the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez in an Amazonian city that benefited from his generosity.
President Evo Morales inaugurated the statue in Riberalta Wednesday.
During his 14 years in power, Chávez used his country's rising oil wealth to help Morales honor promises of social improvement, including the building of new roads.
Venezuela is also credited with providing tractors for poor farmers in Bolivia.
Chávez died in March after a lengthy battle with cancer.

Colombian negotiation reported
to have made a breakthrough

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Colombian government and rebel negotiators have reached a fundamental agreement to allow the rebels to take part in national politics once they end their insurgency.

The deal was announced Wednesday in Havana and is part of the year-long peace talks between the government and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, or FARC.

Both sides call the agreement a democratic opening that will lead the way to a lasting peace.

The peace talks, sponsored by Cuba and Norway, cover a number of major issues, including convincing the rebels to disarm.

FARC has been fighting a 50-year-long guerilla war against the Colombian government. It partially finances its war through drug trafficking and frequently kidnaps foreigners and Colombian officials.

Toronto mayor in new video
showing him extremely drunk

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A new video has surfaced showing the mayor of Canada's largest city in what he later admitted was an alcohol-driven rage.

The widely circulated video, first released Thursday by the Toronto Star newspaper, has triggered new calls from local government officials for 44-year-old Rob Ford to take a leave of absence or to leave office altogether.

The mayor told reporters he was extremely, extremely inebriated when the video was shot, and said he is embarrassed by it. He did not disclose the context in which it was recorded, and the object of his wrath is not clear.

Earlier this week, the embattled Ford apologized to Canadians after admitting he smoked crack cocaine. That admission came after a separate video showed the transgression. That video, in the custody of Toronto police, has not been aired publicly.

City Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, one of the mayor's strongest supporters, joined others Thursday in urging Ford to seek medical treatment. He said the mayor's family needs to intervene and attempt to get him help.

The mayor is married with two school-age children.
Real estate-related services (paid category)

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

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

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

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Visit our Web Site:

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

Real estate for sale (paid category)


Condo for Sale in Flor del Este, Lourdes, Montes de Oca San Jose


Located behind The Foundation Costa Rica Canada 500 meters north of Iglesia Lourdes. U. Latina, UCR, and U. Fidelitas are located within 5 minutes.  Beautiful mountain view from roof covered 3rd floor terraza. Condo is a 3 story.  Three/Four bedroom, three and half bath unit within a secure complex of 40 condos with high cement outside walls with only one entrance manned by an armed guard 24 hours per day. In addition, to security fencing, and electric wire, a recorded security camera system is monitored within the guard house. Residence has a telephone communication system to contact the guard house. In addition there is a green park area inside the complex for children to safely play and an outside parking area in from of guard house for visitors. Equipped with an independent wired security system in addition to iron bars on windows and patio doors. Equipped with circuit breaker box and 220-volt service for hot water heater, stove and dryer. Also has water storage tank under parking area and water pump to maintain high pressure on all 3 floors. American style washer and electric dryer, refrigerator, glass top stove, and kitchen cabinets included. Other furniture items may be available for purchase. 
Call Bill   (English) C.R. Phone: (506) 6011-6987   or  U.S. Phone:  (630) 886-4458  or   (305) 858- 5577 C.R. Spanish  phone number: (506) 8799-4041  or  (506) 8363-9898.  Email:

Med house
Mediterranean inspired home overlooking the Bay of Nicoya and Pacific Ocean. This design allows for barrier free living, yet maximizes views from every room in the house . Vaulted ceiling over the living area and kitchen give the great room it’s spacious, open feeling with a natural stone fireplace and imported Spanish tile floors. $365,000.   Property: 22,000 m2 or 5.5 acres. Construction: 4,500 sq. ft. including porches and garage. 3 nedrooms, 2 baths, full dining room, separate office. Custom wrought iron gates, custom exotic wood cabinets, high-end stainless steel appliances, Granite countertops.    Slide show at   
For more information contact:

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

San Mateo pool


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

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

Pacific Estates

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

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

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

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

humming bird nest

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

Naranjo views


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

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

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

Condo for sale in Flamingo

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

Guaancaate condos
Little Dreams La Colina Magnolias

Great Guanacaste Beach Condos Available

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

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

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

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:

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

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

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Business for sale or lease (paid category)71

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

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

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

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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Friday,  Nov. 8, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 222
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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

Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo
Collection of marijuana sacks are weighed by an agent.

Container on dock at Moín
held 693.5 kilos of marijuana

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Anti-drug agents intercepted a cargo of marijuana on a dock at Moín, Limón. The Policía de Control de Drogas said that the 14 large sacks weighed in at 692.5 kilos or about 1,523.5 pounds.

The marijuana was found in a shipping container there.

In Puntarenas near a school in Fray Casiano de Chacarita other agents detained a 50-year-old man who was carrying marijuana, crack and cocaine, they said.

Two students at a school in Naranjo, Alajuela, also were arrested this week after residents complained about them. The pair are accused of selling drugs in the Parque Central of Naranjo. Agents confiscated crack, marijuana and cash. The pair are students in the night high school there, and agents said they thought that many of the drug customers were also.

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From Page 7:

Twitter shares soar on first trading day

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The most hotly anticipated stock offering of the year did not disappoint.  Shares of Twitter jumped nearly 75 percent above the opening price of $26 at the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange. The 7-year-old online micro-blogging service is now valued at more than $30 billion.  But despite a stellar opening, many still have doubts about how profitable the company will be.

The little white bird soared at the start of the opening bell raising nearly $2 billion on its first day as a publicly traded company.  Market analyst Max Wolff called it impressive.

“Well, we saw a very nicely staged, managed IPO of a very exciting company with obviously huge demand.  We had already heard that it was 30 times over-subscribed. We saw some evidence of it. And we basically saw this company triple off the low end of its range from just one week ago," said Wolff.

But analysts say don’t buy into the hype.  Investment manager Hilary Kramer says Twitter is a valuable brand, but it has yet to prove it can be profitable. 

“Twitter unto itself is a name and is a brand that has billions of dollars of value, but is it worth $30 billion? No.  I want to see some real profitability on the bottom line.  Twitter has to figure out how to make money," said Kramer.

Valuation experts say the immediate challenge is how to turn Twitter’s 230 million online users into willing consumers.  Economist Aswath Damodaran says boosting advertising revenue will be key. 

“So they need people clicking on those ads and going and buying products because if that doesn’t come through, I don’t care how many users you have.  If you can’t make money off those users, nobody really cares," said Damodaran.

Twitter posted a $69-million loss this year, but Hilary Kramer says the smart investor needs to look beyond this.  She says what’s exciting is the company’s potential.

“A lot of the money that Twitter has raised in this initial public offering is going towards buying other companies that can help them get to that next step," he said.

Twitter shares closed at $44.90 on its first day. That's nearly 73 percent above its initial opening price, making it the second largest technology IPO on record.