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(506) 2223-1327                          Published Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013,  in Vol. 13, No. 225                               Email us
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Another tale of tourists having trouble at airport
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

If you are a snowbird coming to stay at your Costa Rican condo for six months to duck the northern snow, you better have a bus ticket showing that you are leaving in three months.

That is the lesson Carole Thomas of San Isidro de El General and a few other Canadians learned in the last couple of weeks.

Ms. Thomas, who produces pepper, coffee and other agricultural products for export on her farm here, was denied entry the night of Oct. 29 until she purchased a $300 plane ticket to Miami, Florida, she said. She has been coming here for 20 years and she had a departure ticket six months later.

She not only is irked at her treatment, but she said that from her experiences the rules are not being enforced uniformly. "I know of at least three others who had the same thing happen and three others who had nothing happen even after they were asked for their return tickets and they were observed," she said.

The problem goes back to the immigration law that went into effect March 1, 2010. When the law was in the legislature, expat advocates were pleased to see that there was a procedure to accommodate snowbirds like Ms. Thomas. The law said that tourists could extend the three-month visa by paying $100. That seemed reasonable and avoided the continuous trips by snowbird tourists to Panamá and Nicaragua.

Mario Zamora, who was immigration director when the laws went into effect, said then that tourists would be able to stay in the country for a full year by paying for 90-day extensions.

That may have been the intent of the law, but a close reading seems to say that this benefit only applies to those with less than 90-day visas. The usual North American visa is for 90 days.

Although the intent of the law was to allow snowbirds to stay for the Northern Hemisphere winter in Costa Rica, text changes in the final document eliminated that possibility.

The Dirección General de Migración staffers are becoming more concerned about perpetual tourists, those who live here but maintain their tourist visa by trips outside the country every three months.

Ms. Thomas said the immigration inspector told her to get residency. But she does not want to do that. "Why would I, a semi-retired grandmother of five Canadian grandchildren, my entire family and friends living in Canada, want to do that?" she said.

Particularly galling to Ms. Thomas is that she has played by the rules.

"Did I have a record for not leaving Costa Rica every three months," she asked, answering  "No." For 20 years I have been very respectful of this law and left every three months as my passport can prove. Do I own property here in Costa Rica? Yes. Do I have employees? Yes. Seasonal and permanent. My sociedad anónima here in Costa Rica is legal and up to date. Regular monthly payments are made to CCSS, for my full-time

airport arrival
A.M. Costa Rica archives
New exit layout at Juan Santamaría airport can be hard to reach if immigration says no.

employees. Some of my employees have worked for me for 20 years.

"Do I add economy to Costa Rica? Yes. For 15 years I have represented Costa Rica in Canada. My small export/import business connects Costa Rica producers with the Canadian consumer. Annual exports are made of products that rural Costa Rica farmers produce. I am a member of both Procomer (promotional body for exportation and import) and Icafe (regulating body for Costa Rica coffee producers)."

She said she knows of other tourists who were stopped at the departure airport and had to buy an expensive non-renewable return ticket.

Of course, Ms. Thomas and others could have purchased a disposable bus ticket to Nicaragua to satisfy immigration inspectors. But she notes that one cannot do that at night at Juan Santamaría airport.

"Who is Costa Rica hurting," she asked, answering "Themselves. I have talked with hotel owners, taxi drivers and a few who feel the need for the perpetual tourist and the addition to the economy of Costa Rica that is brought by those who enjoy going to a yearly home for four to six months. This is a large economy they should promote."

Her solution is a five-year tourist visa that allows multiple entries.

Ms. Thomas shares the problem with many U.S. and Canadian snowbirds. Many own expensive properties here. They have been overlooked by the existing legislation and must make a trip out of the country three months into their winter vacation.

Ms. Thomas notes correctly that immigration officials in Panamá also are causing problems for foreign visitors, including some perpetual tourists from Costa Rica who travel there by land. As A.M. Costa Rica reported in August, the immigration agents are requiring a return air ticket to the traveler's home county, not just back to Costa Rica.

Friday kicks off a big weekend of culture downtown
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The very popular Art City Tour will have its final edition of the year Friday.

This is the program in which many of the city's cultural sites throw open their doors for free. Buses are available to transport participants from one location to another.

The program designed by Gam Cultural has the support of the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud. A little more than 1,000 persons tour the museums and galleries each time the event is held. The ministry said that in the 23 earlier editions there were 26,477 participants.

Buses are not required for transportation, and the
 ministry said that bikes or foot power also is allowed.

Friday the Art City Tour will coincide with Nuit blanche (Night in White), sponsored by Alianza Francesa de Costa Rica. This means that the activities will begin earlier at 5 p.m. and last until midnight with many more cultural attractions.

The Parque España, Parque Morazán and the Jardín de Paz will be locations for such events as a run up to the weekend's Enamórate de tu Ciudad, which will offer Friday, Saturday and Sunday the Encuentro Nacional de Artistas Visuales.

The Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo, the Museo Nacional each have new exhibitions that will be open.

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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday,  Nov. 13, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 225

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


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Campaign seeks protected area
for ocean off Osa peninsula

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A campaign has picked up steam to create a marine protected area off the Osa Peninsula. The campaign has a Web site that noted "Costa Rica's dolphins, whales, sea turtles and other marine flora and fauna are being decimated at alarming rates due to rampant commercial fishing including long lines, gill nets, shrimp trawling and tuna boats."

There is a petition that already has 618 signatures and money is being sought via a crowd funding site linked to the Web page. The campaign is in both English and Spanish.

Coordinating is Sierra Goodman, the founder of Vida Marina, who is involved in marine tours off the Osa and also research.

The petition seeks a protected area from the Marina Ballena area to Golfo Dulce.

Ms. Goodman expressed pleasure Tuesday after she learned that Alvaro Ugalde Víquez, former director of Parque Nacional Corcovado, had sent out a personal email supporting the project.

The Web page explains why Costa Rica hosts so much marine diversity:

" . . . Costa Rica enjoys one of the most biologically diverse ocean ecosystems in the world. This is mainly because the heart of a vast habitat known as the Costa Rican Thermal Convection Dome, named for its proximity to this country, lies here. Shallow warm waters lie on top of low-oxygen cold water, creating the perfect ecosystem for a vast variety of marine life. The dome off the coast of Costa Rica is the only one in the world that is constant. Such conditions provide the Costa Rican Pacific waters with a very unique scheme of biological richness. Whales, dolphins, tuna, marlin, manta rays, sea turtles, sailfish and more, congregate in this area taking advantage of this year-round thermal dome of ecologically rich waters."

In the past Ms. Goodman went so far as to jump in the ocean to help dolphin out of a trawler net. She has been an ardent foe of destructive fishing practices.

Former director will return
to lead symphonic orchestra

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Chosei Komatsu, the former director of the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional returns Friday as director emeritus to conduct the 10th concert of the season.

Soloists are Andrés Cárdenes on the violin and Andrés Díaz on the Violoncello. Cárdenes has been a soloist in more than 100 concerts, said the orchestra announcement.  He and Díaz will perform the "Double Concerto in A minor," Op. 102, by Johannes Brahms.
As is the custom, the 8 p.m. Friday performance will be followed by a 10:30 a.m. repeat, both in the Teatro Nacional.

Also scheduled are pieces by Sergei Prokofiev and Claude-Achille Debussy, according to the announcement.

Two police officers detained
on allegation of phone theft

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial police detained two Fuerza Pública officers Tuesday on the allegation that they stole a cell telephone from a motorist they stopped to help.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that the two officers answered a call in January about a suspicious vehicle near Parque de La Paz and found instead an ailing motorist. The driver eventually reported the theft of his cell phone, and agents said they tracked it to a relative of one of the officers who pawned it in a local shop.

Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo    
A woman was one of three persons detained at the Hotel España.

Multiple drug raids target
city distribution organization

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Anti-drug police conducted nine raids Tuesday in an effort to detain members of a local drug ring.

The crimes were centered on the Hotel España on Calle 8 between Avenidas 5 and 7, said the Policía de Control de Drogas. Agents said the ring was assisted in its business by two prisoners at the Centro Penal de Liberia, who distributed the drugs inside the facility.

Nine persons were detained Tuesday, and judicial action began against the two men still in the prison, said agents.

The case is linked to several previous raids and arrests. Agents confiscated more than 6,000 doses of crack cocaine and some marijuana, they said.

The hotel has been an area of drug distribution for years, said agents.

In addition to the hotel, agents raided locations in Barrio María Auxiliadora, Aserrí; Cristo Rey,  León XIII, Tibás, Barrio Novedades de San Juan de Dios, Desamparados, Corredores and the Liberia prison.

Uvita music festival, Best Fest,
sets dates for February next year

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Feb. 7 through 9 are the dates for Best Fest, a grassroots music festival at Playa Ballena on the Pacific. The venue is located just south of Uvita, said organizers.

Best Fest lineup includes some returning acts such as Ojo de Buey, Cocofunka, Ben Fagan and the Holy City Hooligans, The Werks, Chris Gelbuda, JamiSun, Savi Fernandez Band, Pierre Monney and Infibeat. Best Fest first timers include Conspirator, ProbCause, Talawa, Dangermuffin and Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons. Best Fest attendees will enjoy a variety of music genres including:  bues, rock, soul, reggae, funk, electronic and more, said organizers..

The event has a Web page with details.

Armored car stickup nets
bandits about $200,000

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial agents say that robbers got away with 100 million colons in an armored car stickup Monday night. That's about $200,000.

The crime happened about 7 p.m. in San Francisco de Dos Ríos. Agents said that the armored vehicle stopped at a supermarket to pick up money. Bandits arrived in a car and took the money from the guards. One guard suffered a bullet wound to the leg, agents said.

Container facility meeting
is claimed not to be valid

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An environmental organization is questioning the legitimacy of a meeting held Saturday in Limón

The environmental ministry's Secretaría Técnica Nacional Ambiental held the session to present findings on a proposed $1 billion container handling facility in nearby Moín. But the meeting was adjourned earlier than expected because some of the spectators were becoming rowdy. The project is controversial.

A press release cited the opinion of Álvaro Sagot, a lawyer, who said that the situation was not suitable for the presentation, and the delivery of information.

The release is called for a repeat of the meeting. APM Terminals is the Dutch firm that plans to build the facility as a concession.

Environmentalists oppose it because of the impact on the area.

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Legislative committee OKs to new ministry of gender equality
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A legislative committee has given approval to a bill that would create a ministry of equality of gender. The measure would allow the president to appoint a minister to this new entity.

Currently the country has 22 ministries because Casa Presidencial counts the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo as one and has divided the Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública into two. Also counted as a ministry of sports is the Instituto Costarricense del Deporte y la Recreación because the ministry has not been created officially.

The purpose of the new gender bill is to strengthen the Instituto Nacional de la Mujer. The bill calls it the platform for the new ministry.

The Spanish title of the new entity would be the Ministerio de Igualdad y Equidad de Género. A summary of the bill prepared by the legislative staff notes that creating such a ministry is consistent with several agreements with the United Nations.
However staffers wondered why a ministry of gender equality would be created by a bill that called for a ministra to be appointed. All other ministries are listed as headed by a ministro in the law even if the person holding the position is a woman. The bill seems to expect that women always will be appointed to the post.

The introduction to the bill says that the main concerns will be woman and female children. There is no mention of males.

Staffers also wondered about the legality of combining a ministry that reports to the president with an autonomous institute, which is what the Instituto Nacional de la Mujer is.

A final text of the bill is not available to see if the committee, the Comisión Permanente Especial de La Mujer, addressed these points that were raised by staffers.

The objective of the new ministry, according to the legal summary is to promote the incorporation of the prospective of gender in public institutions and in private ones of the country.

Christmas lights due to go on Dec. 6, power company says
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Compañía Nacional de Fuerza y Luz S.A. said Tuesday that it is saving 80 percent of the cost of electricity this year by using LED illumination for Christmas lights.

The electric company workers have been on the job since the middle of October putting the lights in place. The company plans to decorate much of San José, including Paseo Colón, Avenida Segunda and the various parks. 

Other sections of the city will be getting lights, too, the company said, mentioning Parque la Sabana, Avenida 10, Plaza González Víquez, the Garantías Sociales traffic circle, an area near Terramall in La Unión and in San Antonio de Belén.
Also due for illumination are some 20 communities in which the electric company has service.

The lighting will be inaugurated Dec. 6 with a big celebration in Parque Central.

Among other buildings, the company will be hanging lights on the Catedral Metropolitana as well as two other churches. Churches in other communities also will be illuminated, the company said.

In the city, the work is being done in conjunction with the Municipalidad de San José.

The lights will remain on until Jan.6.

Here are some of the youngsters who will be performing today in the culture ministry.

Minsterio de Educación Pública photo
Public school performers and artist to show their stuff today
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Public school students from all over the country will be showing off their accomplishments in art today at the culture ministry in San José.

Those who are participating were headliners at the student festival of arts last year, said the Minsterio de Educación Pública.
The event begins at 9 a.m. at the ministry, the Centro Nacional de la Cultura, just east of Parque España on Avenida 7. Admission is free.

An announcement promised dancing of several types, street theater, student bands, street bands, marimbas and other instruments. This year elementary students are participating.

There also are exhibits of the student art works.

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday,  Nov. 13, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 225
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U.N. report says insecurity is thwarting development in Latin America
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Insecurity is a shared challenge that obstructs social and economic development in every country in Latin America, says a new U.N. Development Programme report launched in New York Tuesday. But crime control measures alone are insufficient; the most effective way to reduce citizen insecurity is by improving people’s lives, boosting inclusive economic growth and enhancing security and justice institutions, according to the "Regional Human Development Report 2013-2014."

The report, “Citizen Security with a Human Face: evidence and proposals for Latin America,” reveals a paradox: In the past decade, the region experienced both economic growth and increased crime rates. Despite social improvements, Latin America remains the most unequal and most insecure region in the world. While homicide rates reduced in other regions, they increased in Latin America, which recorded over 100,000 murders per year, totaling more than a million from 2000-2010. While homicide rates stabilized and even declined in some parts of Latin America, it is still high: in 11 of the 18 assessed countries the rate is higher than 10 murders per 100,000 inhabitants, reaching epidemic levels. Moreover, the perception of security has worsened, with robberies hiking threefold in the last 25 years, says the regional report.

Citizen security is a sensitive issue which preoccupies many political decision-makers and reverberates in the heat of electoral campaigns,” said Programme Administrator Helen Clark. “It is a crucial issue for several “ regions, including Latin America and the Caribbean, because without peace
 there can be no development, and without development there can be no lasting peace.”

“There is no magic solution to insecurity, but this serious problem can be remediated — with vision and long-term political will,” said Geraldo Muñoz, the U,N, assistant secretary-general and programme director for Latin America and the Caribbean. “Each country needs to secure a national citizen security agreement between the government, political parties and civil society so it truly becomes a state policy.”

The report focuses on six main overlapping threats that negatively impact the region: street crime; violence and crime committed by and against the youth; gender-based violence; corruption (the misappropriation of public property, whose provision is the responsibility of the state); violence committed by state actors and organized crime.

“While some threats — such as organized crime, especially drug trafficking — are often used to explain insecurity, the regional, national and local dynamics are much more diverse,” explains the report coordinator Rafael Fernandez de Castro.

One of the main lessons drawn from Latin America is that iron fist policies do not work: strong police and criminal repression in the region have often coincided with high crime rates, the report says. The assessed experiences confirm that protecting the rights to life, to dignity and to physical integrity is essential to citizen security, which, as a public good, is a responsibility of the state, highlights the regional report.

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Christ Howard with Max
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Howard Spanish cover


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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)

Beautiful studio home with garden patio
Completely furnished with best bed (Jiron™ Full), refri, stove, dishes, pans, etc. TV and high-speed internet connected. Free.
Located high above a river. You will sleep like a baby. Perfect weather, never too hot nor cold. Secure, private and secluded, and yet, only 10 minutes to San Isidro de El General (fairly large city in the mountains with everything) and from there, 40 minutes to beaches. Bus is close and costs 35 cents to San Isidro. Special price for single, long-term renter, nonsmoker: $425 + utilities. Go to and put in, #969365 for pics and full description Then write to us, Thanks. Email:


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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About us
What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2013 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday,  Nov. 13, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 225
Real Estate
About us


Pacific Estates

NASA photo
Someone traveling past Saturn and looking back toward Earth would have seen this in July.

Cassini telescope catches
planets and Saturn's moons

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. space agency, NASA, just released a natural-color image of Saturn from space, the first in which Saturn, its moons and rings, and Earth, Venus and Mars, all are visible.

The image is actually a mosaic of 141 wide-angle photos taken by the Cassini probe. The image sweeps 404,880 miles (651,591 kilometers) across Saturn and its inner ring system, including all of Saturn's rings out to the E ring, which is Saturn's second outermost ring.

Earth is the bright blue dot to the lower right of Saturn. Venus is the bright dot to Saturn’s upper left. Mars also appears, as a faint red dot, above and to the left of Venus. Seven Saturnian moons are visible, including Enceladus on the left side of the image. Zooming into the image reveals the moon and the icy plume emanating from its south pole, supplying fine, powder-sized icy particles that make up the E ring.

"In this one magnificent view, Cassini has delivered to us a universe of marvels," said Carolyn Porco, Cassini's imaging team lead at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

Cassini does not attempt many images of Earth because the sun is so close to our planet that an unobstructed view would damage the spacecraft's sensitive detectors. Cassini team members looked for an opportunity when the sun would slip behind Saturn from Cassini's point of view. A good opportunity came on July 19, when Cassini was able to capture a picture of Earth and its moon, and this multi-image, backlit panorama of the Saturn system.

Launched in 1997, Cassini has explored the Saturn system for more than nine years. NASA plans to continue the mission through 2017.

World Trade Center town ruled
the highest building in States

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The new World Trade Center tower in New York is officially the nation's tallest building, taking the title Tuesday from Chicago's Willis Tower.

An international panel of architects decided the needle atop the New York skyscraper is a spire, not an antenna, and can be counted when measuring the structure's height.

The Height Committee of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat said the needle, measuring 124 meters, was high enough to knock Chicago off its pedestal when it comes to hosting the country's tallest building.

With the needle, 1 World Trade Center is 541.3 meters tall. Without it, the building would have been only 417 meters, well short of the 442 meter Willis Tower, formally known as the Sears Tower.

The international Height Committee is the final arbiter of official building heights around the world. They discussed the decision behind closed doors last week in Chicago, home to the world's first skyscraper.

Hawaii about to approve
same-sex marriage bill

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Pacific state of Hawaii is about to become the 15th in the United States to allow same-sex couples to marry.
Tuesday the Hawaiian state senate gave final approval to a bill extending marriage rights to same-sex couples in the state long popular as a wedding and honeymoon destination. As the vote took place, hundreds of supporters who filled the chamber's visitor galleries and the Capitol rotunda cheered and applauded.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie has promised to sign the legislation Wednesday morning. It will take effect next month.
The vote comes at a time of increasing momentum for gay marriage in U.S. courts, at the ballot box and state houses across the country.
Only six states and the District of Columbia recognized same-sex marriage a year ago, but the number has since more than doubled.
Last month, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie dropped his legal opposition to gay marriage, making his state the 14th to legalize same-sex weddings.
Illinois lawmakers gave final approval to a same-sex marriage bill Nov. 5, and Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign that measure later this month.

Use of statin urged for many
by major medical groups

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

New U.S. guidelines on preventing heart attacks and strokes call for twice as many Americans to consider taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs.

The guidelines, issued Tuesday by two leading medical organizations, the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology, use a new formula to estimate a person's risk. It takes into account many factors besides cholesterol, which has been the main focus up until now.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. And high cholesterol leads to hardened arteries that can cause a heart attack or stroke.

Millions of Americans take statin drugs, which reduce cholesterol dramatically.

Under the old guidelines, statin drugs were recommended for about 15 percent of U.S. adults. But, under the new formula, one-third of the population, 33 million Americans, are advised to take them.

The new advice identifies four groups of people for whom statins help the most, those who already have heart disease, people over the age of 40 with Type 2 diabetes, people with an elevated LDL level, and those over 40 with a high risk of getting heart disease within 10 years.

These new guidelines still emphasize the importance of a healthy diet and exercise in avoiding heart disease and stroke.

European Union to tackle
youth unemployment problem

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

European Union leaders have called for swift action to reduce youth unemployment, a growing problem in the 28-nation grouping. Almost one quarter of young people aged 15 to 24 are unemployed, which is more than twice the unemployment rate among adults.
French President Francois Hollande hosted a Youth Unemployment Summit in Paris Tuesday, following a July summit initiated by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. 
"The future of a generation is at stake, a generation that has been hit by unemployment for years now, and with the economic crisis, this generation feels even more uncertain about its future, almost hopeless," said Hollande.
President Hollande said 6 million young people are currently unemployed in Europe.  His own popularity is at record lows, partly because he has failed to lower France's 11 percent unemployment rate.
Meanwhile, Ms. Merkel said economic growth is a prerequisite for creating new jobs.
"We are obviously doing everything we can for the preconditions, for growth to become ever better, because without growth there will not be any new job created, and those who will suffer that will particularly be the young people," said Ms. Merkel.
Ahead of the July summit Chancellor Merkel hosted in Berlin, she said youth unemployment could be the bloc's biggest problem. That summit ended with a pledge to spend $8 billion over the next two years to improve youth unemployment rates, but youth organizations say that figure is not nearly enough.
"The six billion euros is not enough. To establish something credible, we need at least 21 billion euros.  We are demanding more investment at a European level," said Giuseppe Porcaro, general secretary of the European Youth Forum in Brussels.
Many organizations say that youth unemployment is not just an economic problem. Thiebaut Weber, president of the Trade Union Confederation, which is also based in Belgium, feels it presents a social issue as well.
"We are calling for a more social Europe that takes responsibility for social matters and employment not just the budget," said Weber.
Youth unemployment in the European Union reflects the economic disparity found throughout the eurozone, the 17 countries that use Europe's common currency.  In Spain, more than half of people under the age of 25 are out of work. In Greece, the figure is close to 60 percent. But in Germany, Europe's strongest economy, youth unemployment is only about 8 percent.

Poppies in Afghanistan said
to be a record level by U.N.

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U. N. Office on Drugs and Crime reported that opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan has risen to a record high, possibly spurred on by farmers seeking to insure their incomes against uncertain conditions after the western troop pullout concludes in 2014.
In the report, released on Wednesday, the U.N. agency said the area of Afghanistan being cultivated for poppy production has risen to 209,000 hectares, higher than the previous peak of 193,000, reached in 2007.
It said this year's poppy harvest resulted in 5,500 metric tons of opium, a yield nearly 50 percent higher than last year. It also said farmers may be guarding against an uncertain future by increasing production of opium now.
Yury Fedotov, the executive director of the agency, called the rise in production a warning and"an urgent call to action as Afghanistan begins to assume more control of its security. He said if the problem is not taken more seriously by international agencies, what he called the virus of opium could further reduce Afghanistan's stability.
Observers are also concerned that profits will go to warlords jockeying for power ahead of a presidential election next year. The expansion will come as an embarrassment to Afghanistan's aid donors after more than 10 years of efforts to wean farmers off the crop, fight corruption and cut links between drugs and the Taliban insurgency.
“The short-term prognosis is not positive,” said Jean-Luc Lemahieu, head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime in Afghanistan.
“The illicit economy is establishing itself, and seems to be taking over in importance from the licit economy.”
Afghanistan is the world's top cultivator of the poppy, from which opium and heroin are produced. Last year, it accounted for 75 percent of global supply and Lemahieu had previously said this year it might supply 90 percent.
The increase in the crop was caused by various factors including greater insecurity as foreign troops pull back in preparation for withdrawing next year, a high opium price last year and a growing lack of Afghan political will to tackle the problem.
That will is particularly weak as an April presidential election approaches, Lemahieu said. President Hamid Karzai cannot stand again, leaving the field open to a range of rivals, some linked to power brokers who have profited from poppy in the past.
Some of the profits derived from the crop will be funneled off by the Taliban to fuel their insurgency. Western officials privately accuse senior members of the Afghan state of also profiting.
The new figures are part of an annual assessment of opium production by the U.N. agency and the Ministry for Counter-Narcotics.
The report revealed that two northern provinces, Balkh and Faryab, were again growing poppy after being deemed poppy-free last year. Eradication fell by almost a quarter.

U.S. and two airlines reach
a deal on merger proposal

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. corporate regulators have approved the creation of the world's largest airline, a merger of two U.S. carriers, American Airlines and US Airways.

Antitrust regulators at the U.S. Justice Department had filed suit in August to block the $16 billion merger, claiming it would limit competition in the U.S. air industry and lead to higher fares for travelers.

But with the case set to go to trial later this month, the government reached a deal Tuesday with the airlines. They agreed to give up some of their takeoff and landing rights at seven key airports in the U.S., mostly at one of the three airports serving Washington. Under the agreement, the air terminal slots the two airlines are relinquishing will be handed to low-cost U.S. air carriers.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said that giving airlines that offer cheaper fares a bigger foothold at the airports will ensure that travelers will see more competitive prices.

By some measurements, bankrupt American Airlines is already the world's largest air carrier. It ferried more than 80 million passengers last year to 250 destinations worldwide, while US Airways carried 50 million people to 200 destinations.

The merger follows the marriage of other air carriers in the U.S., with Delta joining with Northwest and United with Continental.

More opposition surfacing
against EU-U.S. trade pact

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Consumers risk losing out in a planned free-trade deal between Europe and the United States if big business succeeds in loosening standards, European consumer and environmental groups warned on Tuesday.
U.S. and European Union negotiators are holding a second round of talks in Brussels this week on what would be the world's biggest free-trade deal, with a special focus on reducing regulatory barriers to trade.
Monique Goyens, director general of the European consumer organization BEUC, acknowledged that a trade agreement could lower prices and give consumers more choice.
“But all the benefits could be undermined by the risks of watering down European consumer regulation,” she said.
BEUC, Friends of the Earth and the European Public Health Alliance told a joint news conference they were concerned that mutual recognition of regulations, designed to cut costs, would in fact result in the adoption of the lowest standards.
“It's difficult to see how you can have mutual recognition unless it's a race-to-the-bottom approach,” said Friends of the Earth Europe director Magda Stoczkiewicz.
EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht has repeatedly said EU regulation on genetically modified food will not changed, but the United States considers this a trade barrier that must be reduced.
Consumers groups fear a deal will lead to more modified crops used in products sold in Europe, where there is widespread public distrust of the technology, with looser labeling rules preventing consumers from making informed choices.
The European Union has already dropped its ban on certain U.S. meat imports such as beef washed in lactic acid and poultry washed in chlorine. The United States is set to reopening its market closed to EU beef since 1998 over the mad cow scare.
The European associations said their comments were not designed as an attack on U.S. standards, but European consumers were broadly protected by a requirement that corporations prove their toys, chemicals and other products do not cause harm.
The U.S. approach is more to allow consumers to obtain damages for actual harm, they said.
U.S. consumers could also suffer if current tough regulations on medical devices, financial services or alcohol were watered down, they said.
Among the European associations' greatest concerns is a provision in the future trade deal that would allow foreign companies to bring claims against a country if it breaches the treaty. This, they said, would limit a country's right to pass laws to protect its citizens or the environment.

Photo by  Nora Noffke
The rock surface displaying polygonal oscillation cracks in the 3.48 billion years old Dresser Formation. They document ancient microorganisms that formed carpet-like microbial mats on the former sediment surface.

Formation on ancient rocks
show bacteria existed then

By the Carnegie Institution for Science news staff

Reconstructing the rise of life during the period of Earth’s history when it first evolved is challenging. Earth’s oldest sedimentary rocks are not only rare but also almost always altered by hydrothermal and tectonic activity. A new study from a team including Carnegie’s Nora Noffke, a visiting investigator, and Robert Hazen revealed the well-preserved remnants of a complex ecosystem in a nearly 3.5 billion-year-old sedimentary rock sequence in Australia. Their work is published in Astrobiology.

The Pilbara district of Western Australia constitutes one of the famous geological regions that allow insight into the early evolution of life. Mound-like deposits created by ancient photosynthetic bacteria, called stromatolites and microfossils of bacteria have been described by scientists in detail. However, a phenomenon called microbially induced sedimentary structures had not previously been seen in this region. These structures are formed from mats of microbial material, much like mats seen today on stagnant waters or in coastal flats.

The team included Ms. Noffke, Hazen, Daniel Christian of Old Dominion University, and David Wacey of the University of Western Australia. They described various structures preserved in the region’s Dresser Formation. Advanced chemical analyses point toward a biological origin of the material.

The Dresser fossils resemble strongly in form and preservation the microbially induced sedimentary structures from several other younger rock samples, such as a 2.9 billion-year-old ecosystem Ms. Noffke and her colleagues found in South Africa.

“This work extends the geological record of MISS by almost 300 million years,” said Ms. Noffke, who is also a professor at Old Dominion University. “Complex mat-forming microbial communities likely existed almost 3.5 billion years ago.”

The team proposes that the sedimentary structures arose from the interactions of bacterial films with shoreline sediments from the region.

“The structures give a very clear signal on what the ancient conditions were, and what the bacteria composing the biofilms were able to do,” Noffke said.

Microbially induced sedimentary structures are among the targets of Mars rovers, which search for similar formations on that planet’s surface. Thus, the team’s findings could have relevance for studies of the larger Solar System as well.

Action urged in lawyer's death
by two gunmen in Colombia

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The Inter American Press Association has added its support to a request by Colombia’s Press Freedom Foundation that the country’s public prosecutor’s office ensure an adequate and prompt investigation into the case of Édinson Alberto Molina. The case has not advanced since his murder in September.

Molina, 40, hosted the program “Consultorio Jurídico” (Legal Consultancy) broadcast by Puerto Berrío Stereo radio in the city of Puerto Berrío, Antioquia province. He was also a lawyer so he responded to legal concerns of his listeners and also denounced and investigated alleged wrongdoing in the local government.

He was killed Sept. 11. After leaving the radio station he was riding on a motorcycle along with his wife when they were intercepted by two unidentified persons who shot at them four times. Molina died but his wife survived the attack.

The Colombia’s Press Freedom Foundation publicly questioned why after two months since the murder the public prosecutor’s office had not called Molina’s widow and witness to the attack in to give a statement. It also expressed concern that it has misplaced evidence concerning one of the killers, gathered at the place of the attack on the day it had occurred and that local authorities were seeking to minimize Molina’s role as a journalist.

The chairman of the press association's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Claudio Paolillo, said that at the time his organization had called on the authorities to investigate urgently and in-depth to determine the motive and identify and bring to justice those responsible, and now “we support FLIP’s request for the pubic prosecutor’s office promptly reassign the investigations to another office with the objective of ensuring impartiality in the proceedings and avoiding that the crime goes unpunished.”

Real estate-related services (paid category)

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

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

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

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

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

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

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

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

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

Costa Rica,

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

Visit our Web Site:

English: (Cristian Arce)
(506) 8309-0173  
English:  (Luis Arce)
(506) 7100-8489  
 Español: (Luis G. Jiménez)
  (506) 8707-4016  
Grecia 794
This is the BIGGEST DEAL of the month now at $850.000: HERE!
30,000 square meters of land and 750 square-meters of construction.
Grecia 792
300 square meters of land, 195 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)

Becker montage
Beach property on the Pacific Ocean in Guanacaste.

House and guest house on adjacent half acre lots. Each with separate electric,  private septic and well. Each can be sold stand alone or packaged. Modern kitchen, granite counters, Viking stove, large separate frig and freezer. Private commercial grade septic and well. No water shortages even in dry season. High speed internet and U.S. standard electric. Center of the beach -- NEVER floods. Estuary at each end of the beach with excellent kayaking and bird watching through the mangroves. Excellent fishing right off the shore. Great surfing, horseback riding, bicycling or Turtle watching. Groceries three miles away. Mentioned in "The Lonely Planet" Page 301. "Two of the most beautiful and least visited beaches in Costa Rica. Wilderness beaches of fine silver-grey sand." Despite opportunities for great surfing, kayaking and just about anything else you want to do on a sandy strip of paradise, the beaches are nearly always abandoned. $500K Will finance.  More pictures available at:  Contact information:,  US: 001-612-599-0205 or Costa Rica 011-506-2655-1202.


ULatina, UCR, & U Fidelitas San Pedro, San Jose. $185,000.
Quietly located behind The Foundation Costa Rica Canada, 500 meters north of Iglesia Lourdes, San Pedro. ULatina, UCR, U. Fidelitas, bus & new train station are within five minutes Four-bedroom, three and half-bath unit within a secure complex of 40 condos with high cement outside walls with secure entrance manned by an armed guard 24 hours per day. Security fencing with electric wire, and a CCTV recorded security camera system is monitored within the guard house.  For additional peace of mind, this residence equipped with an independently wired security system, iron bars on windows and patio doors, a telephone communication system to contact the guard house and secure parking at your front door.   Beautiful mountain view from roof covered 3rd floor terraza. A green park area inside the complex for your children to safely play and an outside parking area in from of guard house for visitors. Cable TV/Internet lines and 220-volt service for hot water heater, stove and dryer. Water storage tank with pump maintains high pressure to bathrooms on all three floors. American style washer and electric dryer, refrigerator, glass top stove, and kitchen cabinets included. Other furniture items may be available. 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!

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, Wednesday,  Nov. 13, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 225
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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

Bell curve test help doctors
find Alzheimer’s candidates

By the Johns Hopkins Medicine news staff

Using scores obtained from cognitive tests, Johns Hopkins researchers think they have developed a model that could help determine whether memory loss in older adults is benign or a stop on the way to Alzheimer’s disease.

The risk of developing dementia increases markedly when a person is diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, a noticeable and measurable decline in intellectual abilities that does not seriously interfere with daily life. But physicians have no reliable way to predict which people with mild cognitive impairment are likely to be in the 5 to 10 percent a year who progress to dementia.

In a proof-of-concept study, the Johns Hopkins investigators analyzed records of 528 people age 60 and over, who were referred to the Johns Hopkins Medical Psychology Clinic for cognitive testing as part of a dementia work-up between 1996 and 2004. The results were compared to those of 135 healthy older adults who participated in a study of normal aging. Both groups completed tests of memory, language, attention, processing speed and drawing abilities from which 13 scores were recorded.

Since each person is naturally more skillful in some areas than in others, the scores of healthy adults showed a symmetrical, bell-shaped range: Most of their scores were high, a few were a bit lower, and a few were even lower. By grouping the patients into cohorts based on the severity of their dementia, the researchers found a trend in the test scores that is likely to mimic the deterioration of an individual's scores over time.

At the outset, he says, Alzheimer’s disease subtly disrupts some mental abilities, while leaving others intact. Thus, well before a person develops clear cognitive impairment, his or her performance declines slightly on a few measures. When shown on a graph, these changes cause the healthy symmetric, bell-shaped curve to shift and become asymmetrical.

Regardless of how low a person’s test scores were, the researchers determined that lopsidedness in their score distribution correlated with dementia. They predicted that people with low scores that were evenly distributed were not likely to develop dementia. But those with clearly lopsided test score distributions on the 13 measures administered were already experiencing varying levels of dementia.

“Departures from the normal bell-shaped pattern of variability on cognitive tests might determine which people with low scores develop dementia,” says David J. Schretlen, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and leader of a study published online Nov. 12 in the journal Neuropsychology.

Since these declines can be subtle, the researchers also increased the precision of cognitive testing by accounting for the effects of age, sex, race and education on test performance.

The challenge for doctors, Schretlen explains, is that most normal, healthy people will produce a few low scores on cognitive testing. That makes it nearly impossible to know at the outset whether a patient who reports forgetfulness and produces one or two low scores has a benign form of mild cognitive impairment, or is in the earliest stage of dementia. As a result, doctors often tell such patients to return for follow-up testing in a year or two.

But if future research confirms it, this new statistical model could help doctors get the prognosis right earlier in the disease, at the first visit, and start treating patients accordingly.

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From Page 7

Costa Rican business execs off to Europe

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A group of 10 Costa Rican small business executives are traveling to Holland and Austria to learn first-hand the best practices in quality.

The trip is financed by a European Union grant and coordinated by the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio as well as the Dutch Embassy and the Austrian Consulate here.

The visitors will meet with the Dutch center for the promotion of imports from countries in development, the Hispano-Austrian Chamber and various other business chambers.

There also is a bazaar put on by the U.N. organization for industrial development.

Those traveling represent Inversiones Jiqui, Vinos don Julián, Marroquinería Yenory, Sabores y Especias Azul, Frutilac del Sur, Lilliana Gourmet, Industrias Alimentarias San Rafael, The Gluten Free Factory, Distribuidora FLOREX Centroamericana and Rancho La Botija, said the ministry.