A.M. Costa Rica
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(506) 2223-1327                                  Published Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, in Vol. 16, No. 225                                  Email us
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Forlorn beagle
Forlorn is how the local Humane Society International called the 18 dogs, two parrots and 37 wild birds it helped rescue from an unidentified farm owner.

Many of the dogs were beagles, and they had skin conditions and showed signs of malnutrition, said the organization. 

Humane Society International photo

Orchestra and Scout 5/10K are on the weekend menu
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

This weekend expats can get healthier, be serenaded and probably get wet.

The music is tonight at the Teatro Nacional with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional and the Coro Sinfónico Nacional.  The program includes a stately piece by a Costa Rican composer and works of Germans Johann Sebastian Bach and Felix Mendelssohn.

The Grupo Guia y Scout San Ramón holds a five- and 10-kilometer race Sunday starting at 7:30 a.m. More than 600 runners are expected. The organization is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

For those not running, the orchestra repeats its concert Sunday at 10:30 a.m., also in the Teatro Nacional.

The weather report seems to be more of the same for the weekend. The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional said that high morning temperatures once again will cause evaporation and that the water will return as midday downpours. The Weather Underground, A.M. Costa Rica's weather service, predicts the same through at least next Wednesday.

In fact, those attending the concert tonight at Teatro Nacional would be wise to bring umbrellas because rain is expected to last though the evening.

Any outdoor activities Saturday need to be in the morning, based on the forecast of some 15 millimeters starting around midday.

Grupo Guia y Scout San Ramón probably will be wrapped up before afternoon rains Sunday.

The race is being called Siempre Listos,  "be prepared," the international Scout motto, which means a member is always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do his or her duty, according to an announcement by the organization.

Proceeds from race registrations will be used to build the first scouting center in the greater San Ramón area, it said.

Juan Carlos Villalobos Jimenez, president of the scouting board of directors, said in the announcement that the municipality has donated land and that the new center will foster a sense of belonging to the 150 male and female members of the scouting community.

The race begins in front of the Parque Central in San Ramón. A list of registration locations can be found on the race Facebook page HERE!

For those who feel up to it, the scouts promise a zumba session after the race.

The orchestra has three invited singers for the two concerts. Sopranos are Abigail Santos Villalobos of Puerto Rico and María Marta López of Costa Rica. The U.S. tenor Timothy Bentch also has been invited.

The Costa Rican composer is Benjamín Gutiérrez, whose 1961 work is "Pavana para cuerdas." A pavane is slow processional music that has its roots in the Renaissance.

The Bach work is the "Wedding Cantata BWV202." The Mendelssohn  composition is Symphony No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 52, which will require the efforts of the chorus under the direction of Marcela Lizano. The orchestra is directed by John Nelson.

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Our recommendation for dining out this weekend:
Colinas de Poas

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, Vol. 16, 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.


Marco Cavallini & Associates
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Fine art restoration and conservation
Gilbert Carmichael
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Legal services

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Lic. Eduardo Valdivieso
your legal adviser for criminal, civil,
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Phone: ( 506 ) 8839-5010 
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Casa Presidencial appears very optimistic

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The collective noses at the central government seem to be putting on a little length a la Pinocchio.

The business Internet service Central American Data issued a blistering editorial about how the government described a new public procurement system.

And then Thursday Casa Presidencial issued a glowing report on how unemployment had dropped even though the issuing agency said that the report showed no statistically significant changes.

Central American Data took issue with what the central government said was a new procurement system. It was, the news source said in an editorial, "the exact same Mer-Link which has been used up until now."

"The announcement that SICOP is 'a new system' is beyond grotesque, it is a mockery for those - in the productive sector - who are waiting for solutions that will reduce the cost of doing business in Costa Rica," the news outlet said, referring to the system by its acronym in Spanish.
Casa Presidencial also cited a probability survey by the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos in glowing terms.

The survey results published Thursday morning showed a new reduction in the unemployment rate, confirming the decreasing trend announced by the government based on earlier studies, said the Casa Presidencial announcement.

The government said that the unemployment rate had dropped from 10 to 9.2 percent in the last year.

But even the issuing institute said these changes were not statistically significant, something the Spanish Language newspaper La Nación finally picked up in its story on unemployment.

In a probability survey a thousand or more persons are questioned and then their results are projected on the entire population. The technique is valuable and is used for marketing and even showing the standings of presidential candidates.

However, the technique has a lot of wiggle room. Even the statistical institute says it has 95 percent confidence in the numbers. That means there is a 95 percent chance that the real situation is within the broad margins of error of the survey.

In fact, the survey shows that the total number of people employed had decreased and the number of persons employed in the so-called informal sector had increased. Both changes also did not seem to be statistically significant.

The institute further refined its latest report and said that the unemployed population could be from 188,964 to 231,436 at the 95 percent confidence interval for July, August and September.

According to an earlier institute survey during the last three months of 2014 the unemployment was between 200,879 and 239,471.

Since both surveys are within the same broad range, there is no statistical difference, even though Casa Presidencial gave a list of government programs that supposed had brought about reduced unemployment.

Dump trucks demolish key bridge

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Tourism operators in the La Fortuna area and in the rest of  the northern zone are expecting to feel the impact of a bridge collapse at the Río Cataratas on Ruta 702.

This is a popular route connecting the Lake Arenal region with San Ramón.

Highway officials are suggesting that motorists take Ruta 141 that goes through Naranjo, Zarcero and Ciudad Quesada or via Tilarán on the west shore of Lake Arenal.

The bridge is expected to be out about 15 days, and highway officials said they would try to install another of those modular bailey bridges.

It was a temporary bailey bridge that failed, one of about 100 in use in the country. The temporary bridge has been erected over the Río Cataratas for at least five years.

Drivers of two dump trucks loaded with asphalt, each weighing around 30 tons, tried to cross the bridge at the same time. The bridge was rated for about 30 tons maximum. The structure collapsed in the center, but both vehicles remained on the twisted steel skeleton.

Work crews were at the site quickly, but progress stalled as they tried to get the heavy trucks off the battered bridge.

Our reader's opinion
He's happy to pay the taxes here

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I do not object to paying my fair share of taxes and fees to the country where I live.

I assume that your readership is going to react to another increase in the tax at the airport. The article the other day about the cost of Caja, license renewals, banking problems. etc.. got me thinking about the amount of taxes and fees that I paid when I was working in the States. 

There was federal and state income tax, real estate tax, school tax, and sales tax. Fees included insurance for health, home, and car. Putting all of them together I had to work far into July or August before the money I had coming in for my job was actually mine to spend on food, clothing, electric, gas, phone, TV cable, maintenance and operation of the car(s), savings, and entertainment.

We are lucky that we found a beautiful  country that accepts us and for the most part embraces us. And compared to where we came from is a lot less demanding.
Paul Reiber

Blue diamond sets record at auction

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A rare blue diamond of more than 12 carats smashed the world record for a jewel sold at auction Wednesday, selling at $48.5 million.

The audience at Sotheby's auction house in Geneva broke into applause when the hammer came down on the final price. The buyer was from Hong Kong. He named the diamond "The Blue Moon of Josephine."

The stone was found in South Africa's famed Cullinan mine and took nearly two years from its discovery for experts and masters to study, cut, polish and bring it for auction.

News for the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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This somewhat macabre portal was the winner last year in the artistic category. The Centro identified the creators as Darío and Dennis González.
recycled portal
Centro Cultural e Histórico José Figueres Ferrer photo

Nativity scene contest highlights the traditional and cultural importance
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Again this year, the Centro Cultural e Histórico José Figueres Ferrer in San Ramón is sponsoring a contest for those in that area who create portales.

The portal is better known as a crèche or manger scene in English, and it is a traditional aspect of the Costa Rican Christmas.

This year again one category will be for portales made from recycled materials.

Portales really are a big deal at Christmas. They span the church-state divide because nearly every government office puts up a portal. Some years there are portales on the lawn of the Corte Suprema de Justicia.

The central government may be cracking down on expensive Christmas parties by public employees using public money, but expats can bet that there will be no shortage of portales.

The most elaborate usually is the one erected on the grounds of the Teatro Nacional. Each year the theme is a secret. There have been jungle manger scenes, desert manger scenes and more traditional ones.

Some churches offer living manger scenes with characters playing biblical figures and mixing with domesticated animals like burros and cows.

The Bible, primarily in Luke, says that Jesus Christ was born in a stable and placed in a manger. Religious academics argue at length as to whether the location was a barn, a cave or even a house. The arguments extend to whether or not the town of Bethlehem even existed at that time.

Portal builders ignore the arguments. There is Mary, Joseph, shepherds, angels, and Wise Men surrounding Christ in a manger.

The Centro José Figueres seeks to maintain the traditional concept. The portal is a Christmas tradition that forms part of the cultural identity of the country, said Fernando González, director of the Centro. He spoke against the addition of foreign elements in the manger scene that do not conform to tropical conditions or the cultural inheritance of the nation. He would not approve of a StarWars portal.

Centro Cultural e Histórico José Figueres Ferrer photo
The Club de Amigos de San Ramón won last year with this portal in the institutional category.

Applications for the contest are being accepted until Dec. 5. Then teams of judges will visit the various sites.

One category will be the traditional one that uses materials that might have been used years ago, such as sawdust and wool.
Another category is the biblical one that is supposed to reflect the biblical story.

Recycled constructions will be in the artistic category. Then there is an institutional category for organizations to enter a portal.

San Ramón area residents can enter the contest by emailing the Centro or by calling 2447-2178. 

The name Bethlehem is Belén in Spanish, and the popular term has affixed itself to many locations in Costa Rica, indicating the popularity of the tradition.

Prisoners in Liberia given a chance to do some work on the access road
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Expats sometimes ask why prison inmates are not out on the highways making repairs and picking up trash. They envision a southern U.S. chain gang.

Costa Ricans with a deep desire for rehabilitation and respect for human rights probably would never do that in a wholesale fashion, but working around the prison seems to be acceptable.

The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes has struck a deal with officials at the Calle Real prison in Liberia. Under the arrangement trusted prisoners will work in repairing the road to the prison.

The ministry said that they would resurface the road, but the last time a reporter visited the road was a long, gravel one.
The ministry said that this is a pilot project that is designed to give inmates work options. The concept might be extended.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!
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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 225
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Keep mosquitoes away with DEET or maybe with Victoria Secret scent
By the New Mexico State University news staff

If you want to keep away blood-sucking insects, DEET products are your best bet according to a recent study from New Mexico State University. Researchers also discovered a certain perfume performed better at protecting against mosquitoes than some commercial insect repellents.

“Not all repellents are created equal. Unfortunately they’re advertised as such,” said Stacy Rodriguez, research assistant in the university's Molecular Vector Physiology Lab. “It’s important to let consumers know what is actually effective.”

Recently, Ms. Rodriguez and other researchers tested the effectiveness of 10 commercially available products intended to repel mosquitoes. Their findings were published in the Journal of  Insect Science.

The products were tested against two common mosquito species: the yellow fever mosquito and the Asian tiger mosquito, both known to transmit dengue fever, chikungunya, yellow fever and other diseases.

“People need to protect themselves, especially if they travel to the tropics,” said Immo Hansen, an associate professor of biology involved in the study. “Insect repellents can be highly efficient, but you need to find out which work.”

Of the repellents tested, three of the sprays contained DEET as the active ingredient (Repel 100 Insect Repellent, OFF Deep Woods Insect Repellent VIII and Cutter Skinsations Insect Repellent), while four were DEET-free (Cutter Natural Insect Repellent, EcoSmart Organic Insect Repellent, Cutter Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent and Avon Skin So Soft Bug Guard).

The team also tested two fragrances (Avon Skin So Soft Bath Oil and Victoria’s Secret Bombshell perfume), and a vitamin B1-based Mosquito Skin Patch.

For the experiment, a volunteer’s bare hand served as the attractant. The researchers used a fan to push the volunteer’s

scent through a Y-shaped tube toward a holding chamber
containing roughly 20 mosquitoes. Upon release, the mosquitoes flew toward the hand if they were attracted to the scent. If repelled, the mosquitoes either flew to the opposite tube or did not move.

The tests concluded that DEET products strongly repel both species of mosquito. The other products produced varied results.

The non-DEET repellents had little to no effect on the yellow fever mosquito, with one exception: Cutter Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent was found to have similar efficacy as the DEET repellents.

Surprisingly, the bath oil and perfume repelled this species for roughly two hours.

“There was some previous literature that said fruity, floral scents attracted mosquitoes, and to not wear those,” Ms. Rodriquez said. “It was interesting to see that the mosquitoes weren’t actually attracted to the person that was wearing the Victoria’s Secret perfume. They were repelled by it.”

The fragrance may provide a temporary masking effect, the researchers explained. They also clarified that there were high concentrations of perfume applied to the volunteer’s hand, and that lower concentrations may produce different results.

The study found that Asian tiger mosquitoes were also repelled by the perfume. For this species, however, the DEET-free repellents produced mixed reactions, with the Avon Skin So Soft Bug Guard significantly reducing attraction for 120 minutes and the bath oil having no effect.

The skin patch, which claims to repel mosquitoes for up to 36 hours, did not repel either species.

To further this research, Ms. Rodriquez and Hansen are in the process of testing mosquito repellent bracelets and clip-on repellent devices, and intend to publish their results in time for next mosquito season.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

HIdden Garden 2016
Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
Drop in to see some of Costa Rica's finest art
at the largest gallery in Guanacaste.

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

Click photo for another video

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

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

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

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

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

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


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Homes for rent
in Palmares, Alajuela

See our web page:

Fully Furnished American style Apartments for Rent
2-bedroom, 2- bathroom, fully furnished American-style apartments with elevator in a secure building in Barrio Amó. Cable, Internet, water included. Shared laundry. Convenient to Parque Morazán,
hotels, restaurants, casinos, city government, national registry. $600-$650 per month plus electricity. ½ month security deposit. No lease.  The larger apartments are $650 per month. They have larger bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens. It would be best for the prospective tenants to visit
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Beautiful Apartment

Lemur del Bosque
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San Francisco de Dos Ríos, El Bosque, furnished 2-bedroom,1-bath apartment, quiet area, free cable TV WiFi, large patio area, swimming pool, parking, security. Close to San José. $450/month. Retired persons preferred. Call 8375-6838. Email:

Unfurnished 400-sq. ft. apartment, with modern kitchen, located on beautiful Junquillal Beach is waiting for you. Sea Turtles are common to this beach. Great area for surfing one of C.R.'s premier surf spots or boogie boarding. Close to a market, restaurants and more touristy areas - Playa Negra and Tamarindo, if you want shopping, etc. This area is a great community. If you are looking for a nice relaxing area, this is it. $500 month + electric, visit our Web page -  - for more info, photos and to view a video. Or call (506) 5004-3473.

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
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Real estate for rent

house for rent
Beautiful fully furnished house for rent
2 bedrooms, 2 baths, fully furnished $800 + electric, includes cable TV, Wifi, Internet. Inside gated property close to town. Contact

Oganic farm rental
2 bedroom, 1 bath, $700 includes electric, water, cable, Internet & WiFi. Fully furnished. Inside gated property close to town, Santa Bárbara de Heredia. No dogs please.

Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
1- to 3-bedroom ocean and garden view timeshares available and most offer air conditioning, cable TV, fully equipped kitchens, and relaxing hammocks on private balconies. Enjoy the unique combination of seclusion and convenience as all resorts listed on our site are close to popular Costa Rican attractions and downtown 
centers, but are surrounded in lush, tropical forest. Villas are also available for sale in our inventory, so you can enjoy yearly vacations to this mesmerizing rainforest paradise. Please visit our rental inventory HERE!  or call us toll free at 877-815-4227, International: 603-516-0200.  Email:

Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya. 7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 foot elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 baths, appliances included. High-speed internet installed, Direct TV via sling box on Internet.  Rent per month $750 plus utilities with free internet.  Price for Sale $179,000   Contact Mike:  Check out slide show HERE!

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A.M. Costa Rica's  
Fifth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 225
Real Estate
About us

Venezuela's Maduro addresses
U.N. Human Rights Council

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Thursday addressed a special session of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva to the outrage of international activists who had urged U.N. ambassadors to boycott the event.

Maduro arrived surrounded by a large delegation, and a group of enthusiastic supporters welcomed him. He told the crowd he had come to refute what he said were opponents' lies about the human rights situation in his country.

Speaking through an interpreter, he thanked the 43-member U.N. council for re-electing Venezuela to another three-year term on the body. He called it a "vote of confidence of the international community . . . which has expressed its desire beyond manipulative and lie-based campaigns.”

Human rights activists disagreed, accusing Maduro of brutalizing dissidents and student protesters. They called for the release of opposition leader Leopoldo López, who was sentenced in September to nearly 14 years in prison after what they said was a sham trial.

Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, also questioned the impartiality of Venezuela’s judges and prosecutors in handling politically sensitive cases, such as that of López.

In a video message of welcome, the commissioner told Maduro he must take Venezuela’s recent re-election to the council seriously.

“Membership of the council comes with the responsibility to promote and protect human rights in one’s own country, but also on the global stage," Zeid said. "It is my sincere hope that Venezuela will strive to make concrete progress on both fronts.”

U.S. Mission spokesman Paul Patin called the Venezuelan president’s address a transparent attempt to use the Human Rights Council to shift attention away from his government’s repressive policies just before important national elections.

“This is an affront to a council whose sole purpose is to protect and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms," Patin said. "We thus regret that a head of state would use the council for blatant domestic political purposes as it risks damaging the credibility of this body.”

Patin said that the Venezuelan government had not fulfilled its obligations to protect the civil and political rights of its people and that serious human rights violations continued to be committed and remained unpunished.

Kin of Venezuela's first lady
face cocaine smuggling count

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. agents have arrested two nephews of Venezuela's first lady, accusing them of trying to smuggle 800 kilograms of cocaine into the United States.

Cilia Flores' nephews were apprehended Tuesday in Haiti by local police and then handed over to U.S. agents who accompanied them on a flight to New York.  They appeared before a federal magistrate and were ordered held without bail.

U.S. authorities said the two men, Efrain Antonio Campo Flores and Franciso Flores de Feitas, were arrested at a hotel in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince after arriving on a private plane on a flight from Venezuela.  Both men were carrying diplomatic passports, even though U.S. authorities said they are not diplomats.

Investigators familiar with the case said Campo is the son of the first lady's late sister and was partly raised by Cilia Flores and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.  The Venezuelan leader and Flores have long been a couple, both drawn to Venezuela's late leftist leader Hugo Chávez, and married in 2013 shortly after Maduro was elected president following Chavez's death.

Ms. Flores is highly influential in her husband's government and he refers to her as the First Combatant rather than first lady.

The drug arrests are likely to exacerbate already contentious U.S.-Venezuelan relations.  The United States views Venezuela as a key transit hub for Colombian drugs bound for U.S. shores.

Arrests of the two relatives could also pose political problems for Maduro with Venezuela facing widespread economic problems.  The ruling socialist party faces the possibility of losing its 16-year control of the National Assembly in December legislative elections.

Maduro has long contended U.S. accusations that Venezuela is complicit in drug trafficking are part of an international campaign to discredit his socialist government.

With the arrests of his wife's nephews, the 52-year-old Maduro tweeted, "The fatherland will follow its course.  Neither attacks nor imperialist ambushes can harm the people of the liberators."

Google puts its weight
behind artificial intelligence

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Tech giant Google now applies artificial intelligence to just about all its products, said Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google's parent company, Alphabet. Schmidt said it’s safer to trust Google than governments with the personal data that underpins this technology.  Artificial intelligence includes smart software that can suggest how to reply to an email or automatically can tag that furball photo as a cat.

From Washington, Schmidt beamed into a Google seminar in Tokyo dedicated to machine learning, a branch of computer science studying how machines adapt to new information. Nowadays this technology often makes use of personal information, such as emails and pictures, which Schmidt promised to safeguard.

“We are upset that it appears the U.S. government, the Chinese government, other governments over time have attacked computer companies without permission,” Schmidt said in video link. “We work very hard to keep your data protected, using incredibly powerful encryption. And to my knowledge, the safest place and most private place to keep your data is inside of Google. And I really believe that.”

In the past, engineers would program computers to follow specific steps or equations. Type bear into Google Translate, and maybe it’ll spit out con gau in Vietnamese. But with machine learning, the software will notice data patterns over time and figure out when you’re referring to a hibernating mammal and when you mean chiu or tolerate.

But as companies push this tech frontier further, former National Security Agency analyst Melanie Teplinsky said, they sometimes place innovation before privacy. She and other privacy experts said Americans tend to trust tech firms more than do Europeans, not always realizing the companies are collecting personal information to make money, such as through targeted ads.

“I think there still isn’t a great understanding in the U.S. about what is happening,” said Ms. Teplinsky, now an adjunct professor at American University’s Washington College of Law, adding, “From the perspective of users, what we need to be concerned about is the slow chipping away of privacy over time.”

Google is putting its weight behind artificial intelligence, announcing  Nov. 9 that its TensorFlow machine learning software is now under an open-source license. The company wants scientists and developers to play freely with this artificial intelligence engine to improve its usefulness.

“What I actually think machine learning will do is make us behave less like machines, not more. When I . . .  I think when you look back in the 1950s, there’s an awful lot of things that people did that we don’t do anymore because they’ve been eliminated,” Schmidt said, citing repetitive factory work as an area where machine has replaced man. “The world is just so much more efficient, so much more human-friendly today,” he said.

In his view, people will behave less like machines by giving up mechanical jobs as robots get smarter. Researchers are experimenting to see if computers can learn to react to new conditions, as with self-driving cars. Or if they can study enough gene configurations that when a patient comes into a doctor's office, a computer can diagnose his disease by cross-checking symptoms through its database.

Much of these tests rely on computer trial and error. If given a picture of a fern, software might call it a tree at first. The program will learn from its mistake and repeat the process so many times that eventually, it gets pretty accurate in identifying ferns.

Though it has existed for decades, machine learning only recently came back into focus as the amount of data available to computers for use in learning increased. And computers themselves have gotten much more powerful, and thus able to process more information.

“Machine learning is like a rocket engine,” Google research scientist Greg Corrado said, and data is the rocket fuel.

But computers have their limits, as when artificial intelligence lacks emotional intelligence. Several months ago, for instance, Google was forced to apologize when its new Photos app assigned a gorilla tag to a picture of black people. The company’s humans stepped in to troubleshoot.

Kremlin confirms video
showed new secret torpedo

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Kremlin has confirmed that two of Russia's main television channels broadcast details of a planned new nuclear torpedo, apparently accidentally, and said it hopes it will not happen again.

However, in the wake of the incident, state media have prominently featured an interview with a defense expert giving more details about the weapon, fueling speculation that the original leak was no accident.

Tuesday evening, NTV television and Channel One state television, which are under strict Kremlin control, both featured footage from a meeting that President Vladimir Putin held with top defense officials in the southern Russian city of Sochi.

At one point, the camera points over what appears to be the shoulder of one of the uniformed military officials attending the meeting, at a document he is holding headlined "Ocean Multipurpose System 'Status-6.'” The document includes drawings of what appears to be a torpedo or an underwater drone. The meeting can be watched on YouTube, with details about the weapon starting at 1:49.

The document states that the planned weapons system will be able to create extensive zones of radioactive contamination in enemy coastal areas, making them unsuitable for military, economic or other activity for a long time.

"It is true that some secret information was caught by the camera, and therefore it was subsequently removed,'' Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said late Wednesday. "We hope this will not happen again.''

Yet, on Thursday, Radio Sputnik, which is part of the Russian state news agency Sputnik, featured an interview with Igor Korotchenko, chief editor of the magazine Natsionalnaya Oborona (National Defense), who provided further details about the Status-6 weapons system.

"Status-6 is a conglomeration of the latest Russian submarine technology," Korotchenko said in the interview, which was also extensively quoted by RIA Novosti and Tass state news agencies. "The purpose of this ocean system is transporting a high-powered nuclear warhead to the coast of the enemy."

Korotchenko continued: "The United States is actively developing an anti-missile defense system and putting very serious money into this, hoping . . . to create an impenetrable shield over the United States. But Russia will have capabilities to neutralize any of America's military-technical solutions."

During his meetings in Sochi with military officials earlier this week, Putin said the true purpose of the planned U.S.-led missile shield is "to neutralize the potential of other nuclear states . . . primarily Russia."

Russia, he said, would counter it by developing strike systems capable of penetrating any missile defenses.

Ex-policeman convicted
of being agent for CIA

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A court in Moscow has convicted a former policeman and sentenced him to 13 years in prison for passing state secrets to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

Russia’s Federal Security Service said Thursday that Yevgeny Chistov admitted he was a CIA spy for three years and pleaded guilty to charges of treason.

Chistov was a police officer assigned to the Russian Interior Ministry's Moscow region, the security service said.

"It was established that in 2011, Y.A. Chistov, while serving in the Russian Interior Ministry, proactively established contact with the CIA, acting out of mercenary interests," the security service said in a statement.

Chistov reputedly was recruited by U.S. intelligence to hand over work-related information, including state secrets, in return for monetary compensation, it added.

Since the start of the Ukraine conflict in 2014, Russia has charged several people with high treason, espionage or disclosing state secrets.

In October, the security service said a court had sentenced a man to 12 years in prison for allegedly spying for Ukraine.

In September, a former military intelligence engineer was sentenced to 14 years in prison for allegedly passing on state secrets by sending his resume to a Swedish organization.

Islamic State threatening
to attack Russia soon

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A U.S.-based organization that monitors terrorist activity around the world said the Islamic State group has released a video threatening attacks in Russia very soon.

The SITE intelligence group said Thursday that the militants’ foreign language media division, the Al-Hayat Media Center, released a Russian-language video with chants of "soon, very soon, the blood will spill like an ocean."

The group previously has called for its followers to wage jihad against Russia and the United States to retaliate for those countries’ air strikes against its fighters.

Militants claiming affiliation with the Islamic State group asserted responsibility for the Oct. 31 downing of a Russian airliner in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, saying it was revenge for Russian air strikes on targets in Syria. All 224 people aboard the flight were killed.

The head of Egypt's investigation team said no conclusions have been reached about what brought the airliner down.

Foreign intelligence has indicated the possibility of a bomb blast aboard the jet, and Russian Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev, U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron have said it may have been a terrorist act.

Army captain decorated
for tackling suicide bomber

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Barack Obama has given the Medal of Honor to an Army captain who tackled a suicide bomber in Afghanistan in 2012, saving his own life and that of many of his comrades.

Obama hung the medal around the neck of retired Capt. Florent Groberg Thursday at a White House ceremony, saying that the officer "had the instinct and courage to do what was needed."

Four people, three military personnel and a foreign service officer, were still killed in the attack, and Groberg sustained a leg injury that was so severe that he has needed 33 surgeries to save it.

Obama said that Groberg noticed a suspicious figure approach a security detail he was part of when he did something extraordinary. He grabbed the bomber by his vest and kept pushing him away."

The bomb still detonated, but Groberg is credited with saving the lives of many others in the immediate vicinity of the attack.

The 32-year-old Groberg spent three years recovering from his wounds at an Army hospital and is now medically retired from the armed forces.

Groberg is the 10th living service member honored for his actions in the U.S. conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Medal of Honor is the country's highest award for battlefield bravery.

Real estate-related services (paid category)

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Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

Rich Coast Rollover
Thinking of Buying a Vacation or Retirement Home
in Costa Rica?

Rich Coast Realty is a full-service real estate company with property listings in Escazú, Santa Ana, Jacó, Esterillos, Bejuco, Palo Seco, Manuel Antonio, and beyond. We offer efficient, personalized service always protecting our client’s interests. We work hard to find you the property of your dreams, and assist with legal advice, residency, starting corporations, opening bank accounts, etc. Contact us today with your questions about buying property in, and relocating to Costa Rica. With 11 years experience in Costa Rica real estate, we look forward to hearing from you.
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891

Penthouse condominium in Playa Langosta, Tamarindo
Photo montage of penthouse
Are you  tired of wasting time searching your home….. with no results?
If so, you should not miss this deal !!!

Special Offer

Penthouse condominium in Playa Langosta, Tamarindo

* Located on 6th floor.
* Elevator.
* Security 24/7.
* Pool, BBQ area.
* 2 underground
        parking,  cellar.

* 3 bedrooms.
* 2 bathrooms.
* 2 terraces.
* Luxuriously
* Negotiable price.

* Enjoy the view,  CLICK HERE
Mafi Real Estate: Houses, lots and farms in Costa Rica
If you do not find, what are you looking for, contact us
WE HAVE A NETWORK OF OVER 500 brokers across the country to get what you are looking for.
English Calls: Miguel Fiatt Sauma or Paule Ortiz
Phone/Fax.+506 2238-5029
Cel. +506 8399-7000
Web Page:

Remax logo
Re/Max Ocean Surf and Sun:

The experts in buying property in Costa Rica, with more than 20 years experience and the largest networked team of agents in the country.  We can help you learn if investing in Costa Rica is right for you with our low-key, educational approach to sales. Our professional agents can tell you more about sCosta Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and commercial real estate.  Call us: Ocean Surf and Sun Int. Realty Ldta at 011 (506) 2653-0073 or send us an email at:

Real estate for sale (paid category)

A beautiful American style suburban home just reduced.

A beautiful American style suburban home, 2,700 sq ft of living space with 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, front and rear living rooms, laundry area, kitchen and small attached library nook, arched windows and doors and connected hallways, exotic wood interior ceilings and trim, tile floors thru-out.  The lot is 835 m2 with mature landscape and orchid nurseries surrounding the house. There is an enclosed workshop and BBQ area in the back yard with lots of storage under roof, plus a nursery for an herb/vegetable garden.  This is a very well-kept property with many upgrades, a private feel but yet only 5 minutes from the center of town.  Pérez Zeledón is the commercial hub of the southern zone and considered to be one of the best places to live in all of Costa Rica, the perfect size town, not too big and not too small.  The beach is 45 minutes to the west and a short drive to the cool mountains is to the east. In between, this large valley has a moderate climate.  Pérez has plenty of modern goods and services, an excellent farmers market, private schools, private doctors and clinics, all you need without having to go to the crazy madness of San José.    Just reduced to $199,000.  Call  Jeff: 8824-8113 or 8725-8176.  Email:

Fonseca two
Lovely east coast property for sale
This is a huge property surrounded by beautiful tropical gardens. The house is about 85% built, but I will give you the property completely finished.  The whole land includes 7,886 m2 or 84,884 ft2 of forest and gardens in a mountain area of Cimarrones, Limón, east coast. Full house with large master bedroom plus bathroom. One extra guest bedroom. Large dining room. Large kitchen area. Another extra bathroom for guests. Large laundry room and two cellars (storage areas). The house has wide corridors where you will see a breathtaking view of large gardens and forest.  I am open to hear your offer. The full property and land price is $125,000. Call Harold Fonseca, Phone number (506) 8702-4217, Email:

Grecia casa
Mountain home for sale
in Grecia.
Less than a year old. Owners are motivated.  All information regarding the home as well as many photos can be found at Mountain view home for sale Grecia, Costa Rica.   Contact email:

puriscal photo
Costa Rica home for sale $163,500 / 2bedroom - 1,984 ft2

Central Valley view home: 10 minutes from Santiago de Puriscal and shopping, hospital services, and soon Maxi Pali. Only one hour to San José or Pacific beaches.
- On .55-acre lot with river on one boundary
- Area under roof, 1,984 sq. ft., Area inside walls, 925 sq. ft. Steel, recycled
      Styrofoam, and concrete construction.
- 2 ½ years old with central living room and kitchen, 2 bedrooms and 2 baths,
       ceramic tile throughout.
- Central Valley volcano and SJO airport views from every room.
- Vaulted ceilings give bright open feeling.
- Entrance from concrete road to large graveled parking area
- VERY energy efficient with VERY low property taxes.
- Covered attached carport with entrance to front door or laundry-guest bath
- 2 carport storage bodegas.
- 12 foot x 14 foot storage bodega
- Security lights, And Amcrest day & night video recorder system.
- Producing banana trees, and mango, bread fruit, and guanabana trees

Includes: Refrigerator, gas stove & oven with electric grill element, microwave, electric washer-gas dryer stacked style, gas on demand whole house water heater. Other furnishings are negotiable. ICE electric service and land line phone. Bajo Burgos Water district. Metro-wireless WiFi is available. Tigo Star Satellite T.V. House is in a Costa Rican corporation, will transfer shares. Contract or call 506 2416-9324.  Additional photos are available on Flickr album

Goetl in Palo Seco

Charming small oceanfront hotel for sale in Playa Palo Seco
Ideal oceanfront location with back up to a mangrove estuary. The
charming small hotel has a fully equipped kitchen, bar and restaurant and is exceptionnally well maintained. Located on a very private beach of the central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica 35 minutes north of Quepos-Manuel Antonio and 45 minutes south of  Playa Jacó. The main building is a two-storey house with 12 bedrooms. The lot measures 3,054 M2. Beautiful gardens around the large pool and exceptional flora and fauna. Well mentioned in tourist guides like Lonely Planet and Guide Ulysse. Offered at $999,000. USD
or call (506) 8707-1037  (506) 2778-8408

For sale 5,200 m2 Escazú
Fantastic location for condo, hotel, restaurant.
Large lower lot, incredible views. Flexible zoning.
Easy to get liquor license. Low interest financing.
Toll free US phone 877-778-8515
In Costa Rica 8307-0164

Pacific Sur montagee

These 2 lots are in the Pacific southern zone,
Tres Rio/Coronado de Osa. 

Will give a great deal on one of these lots, only $29,990.  Both of these lots have water, phone lines, Internet accessibility, electricity, easy 3 kms. access to the Costanera.  2-wheel drive accessible.  Close to new hospital, beautiful beaches and county services.  Financing available.   Lote 234, This corner lote is excellently located in lower Tres Rios.  Has 2 well-sculptured lots for 2 houses or one for multiunit cabins.  Lote 236,  1 1/2 hectare.  Big lote for building a grand house, with a smaller plantel for a cabin.  Small ocean view with great sunsets.  Watch the videos for more information, Planos,  and details.   Email: CR phone   2786-5555. USA call  760-536-4717 YouTube link for more real estate deals. 

Escazu villa
Escazú villa. spectacular 360 degree city and mountain views.
Enjoy the sunsets along with the sunrise

There are special properties, which are more than mere houses. Where you can appreciate moments where you build memories. Relaxing reading in the garden of 5000 sq. m. Places to enjoy moments with family or friends with large heated pool. Beautiful city views of San José with mountain view. Places, where you can enjoy the comforting warmth of the sun throughout the day with cool nights of living 1,300 meters up on your own Mountain Noel. You are away from all the noise of San José, yet you are only 15 minutes drive there. Costa Rica largest mall is also only 15-minutes drive away.
The main house four bedrooms with four bathrooms, large office with built-in wood cabinets, and beautiful hardwood ceilings throughout the whole house. The main house is 330 sq. m. For your guest, there is a self-contained apartment of 100 sq. m. consisting of two bedrooms and two baths. Nice layout with a living room and dining room and kitchen all have views. For being so near to the city and to have that much land is once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The selling price is land value will throw in the house and the apartment. Price is $690,000. Contact

Osa home
Costa Rica Tropical Paradise Beach House For Sale
Tropical 5-acre forested beachfront property with custom house and guest casita on the Osa Península, South Pacific Coast. Abundant wildlife, exotic plants and fruits, secluded beach.

Located 8 km south of Puerto Jiménez on the way to Matapalo and Corcovado National Park. Great Price $775,000. Contact:
Watch this video for full details.

Big House for Sale in Playa Grande,
Santa Cruz, Guanacaste
834.62 square meters property with 326 square meters construction. Two-storey house with front porch, entry lobby, living room, dinning room, large kitchen, breakfast room, large cupboard, 3 ½ bathrooms, 3 large bedrooms, the main bedroom includes jacuzzi and balcony. Playground, office, laundry area, garage for two cars, own and municipal potable water supply, electricity service, cable TV system, A/C. Located 700 meters from Las Colinas Golf Course, near the airport, Tamarindo Beach and the best beaches of the country. Excellent construction and great details. Price $349,000. 2,866.33 square meters building lot with three terraces. Price $75,000. For more information, please contact us:
Email Phone (506) 2653-6417.
Cell (506) 8825-8942 / (506) 8916-0734.

private ranch home
Small private ranch for sale
This exceptional private ranch sits on a 9+ hectare lot and supports 15-20 horses. Only 2 hours south of San José, on the road to Puriscal. Roomy stalls all with drains, water hookup, lights and fans, grooming and shoeing área. Two-story house all furnished and cowboy house. Don't miss your chance on that turnkey operation.  Offered at $749,000.
E-mail:  or call (506) 8707-1037 
(506) 2778-8408 Web:

San Ramon
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya. 7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 foot elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, appliances included. High-speed internet installed, Price for sale $179,000    Contact Mike:   Check out slide show HERE!

Aerial Ocean and Volcano Views with Boutique Coffee! 33 Acres $380,000. Click HERE!

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Business for sale or lease (paid category)
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:

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 225
Real Estate
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News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are disabled on archived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Cuban migrants create humanity crisis

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The takedown of a human smuggling ring has created a humanity crisis inside and at the doorstep of the country.

Costa Rican immigration agents and police have blocked the way of some 1,200 Cubans who are seeking to cross the country on the way to the United States. The 1,200 are at the Paso Canoas border crossing with Panamá where they expected to be joined by other Cubans today and over the weekend.

The Cubans are those who have followed a traditional route to arrive in the United States. First they flew from Cuba to Ecuador, which has an open door for these travelers. Then they traveled by land, mostly in public buses or vans through Colombia to Panamá.

Costa Rica investigators broke up a human smuggling ring this week, and the organization assisted many Cubans to cross the country on the way to the United States. The arrest of ring members is believed to have created chaos in the illegal migrant channels.

Agents made eight raids Tuesday morning and detained 12 persons, including the administrator of a San José hotel. Investigators said that the illegal migrants were charged from $7,000 to $30,000 for help in traveling through Central America to the U.S. border.

More than 300 illegal Cubans were in danger of being deported from San José Thursday. Some had been picked up when the smuggling ring safe houses were raided. Nearly 50 actually were transported to the Nicaraguan border for deportation.

Kattia Rodríguez said that police were called in at the southern border because there were not enough immigration agents to handle the crowd. Police with transparent riot shields and other heavy equipment confronted the Cubans. The illegal migrants were demanding safe conduct documents to cross Costa Rica.

Most of the illegal migrants have no place to stay and little money to care for themselves.

Immigration officials estimate that about 20,000 illegal Cubans manage to cross the country each year. The existence of more smuggling rings is suspected. Most of the Cubans are men and women in their 20s and 30s.

Costa Rica has an immigration lockup, but the capacity is about 20 men and 20 women. Those who were being deported Thursday filled the facility's courtyard.

Costa Rica President Luis Guillermo Solís plans to visit Cuba on an official visit Dec. 15 and 16. The situation of the illegal migrants is certain to be a discussion topic. His visit is the first by a Costa Rica chief executive since Fidel Castro took power.

Game traffic will cause a mess tonight

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Traffic police will be closing down the highway that runs along the west side of Parque la Sabana at 4 p.m. today and then extend the closing along the south side of the park at 6 p.m.

The reason is a soccer game between the Costa Rica national team and the team from Haiti.

There is hardly any parking at the Estadio Nacional, so highways around the park and in the southern part of  Paseo Colón will be a mess as motorists seek parking. Some put their vehicles in parking lots designed for businesses and then hike to the stadium.

Others take trains and buses. The Policía de Tránsito urged the use of public transportation Thursday.

The game is scheduled to start at 8 p.m.

Costa Rican News
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Fine Dining in Costa Rica
The CAFTA Report
Fish fabulous Costa Rica

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From Page 7:

World Health chief opposes trade pact

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

World Health Organization chief Margaret Chan attacked the new 12-nation Pacific Rim trade agreement Thursday, saying it could curb the availability of cheaper medicines.

"If these agreements open trade, yet close the door to affordable medicines, we have to ask the question: Is this really progress at all?" Dr. Chan said at a health care conference in Geneva.

"Genuine therapeutic breakthroughs increasingly come at an astronomical cost," she said.  "Some of the new drugs for hepatitis C cost $1,000 a pill.  High prices block access.  Hepatitis C affects 150 million people, mostly in poor countries.  Unless we get prices down, people will be left behind."

The United States, Canada, Japan, Australia and eight other countries reached agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership pact last month after seven years of negotiations, although legislative bodies in the member countries have yet to ratify it.

U.S. President Barack Obama is a vocal supporter of it, saying trade barriers would be cut and common economic rules would be set across 40 percent of the global economy.

But several leading presidential contenders looking to succeed him when he leaves office in January 2017 have voiced their opposition, as have Democratic lawmakers who normally support Obama's legislative initiatives.

Leaders of the $15 billion pharmaceutical industry in India say the Pacific trade deal could end up protecting patented drugs produced by large drug manufacturers inside the trade bloc at the expense of cheaper drugs produced by generic drug manufacturers in India and elsewhere.