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Will U.S. Embassy goof cost Wyoming man his life?
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A U.S. veteran may lose the chance for a life-saving bone marrow transplant because a staffer in the U.S. consulate denied a visa to the Costa Rican woman who was going to undertake an extraordinary effort to help him.

The man is Dan Smart, 65, and he suffers from leukemia. As a U.S. Navy veteran, he is eligible for federal health care. After complex efforts, he is listed for a bone marrow transplant at a Veterans Administration contractor in Seattle.

To get the transplant, Smart, who lives here part-time in Los Anonos, has to show up with someone willing to stay with him 24 hours a day in a medically clean facility for at least four months. He was divorced two years ago and said that he is living on Social Security and has no one else close who will take on such a challenge.

Our opinion HERE!

His Costa Rican housekeeper has become his significant other. She is Ana Maria Martínez, 50, who showed up at the U.S. Embassy Wednesday with a stack of papers attesting to Smart's condition. She was denied a U.S. visa even though she said she told the middle-aged man working behind Window 17 that the situation was one of life and death.

Ms. Martínez owns her own home here and is a domestic employee for a number of families in the Los Anonos area.

She said that she has children, grandchildren and even her ailing parents here in Costa Rica.

She also carried to the embassy's visa section the Veterans Administration regulations that require someone to stay with Smart 24 hours a day, seven days a week for at least four months while the transplant takes.

As those who have experienced similar rejections know, there is no formal route of appeal of a visa denial.

Smart is from Sheridan, Wyoming, where he lives part-time. He said this is the second time Ms. Martínez has been denied a visa. The last time was in February when she simply wanted to
Mr.Smart
Dan Smart
Ms.
                              martinez
Ana Maria Martínez

visit him in Wyoming where he was undergoing chemotherapy, Smart said.

The chemo did not work, so a transplant is his last hope. Because of his age, he had to submit to medical tests to win a waiver for the operation. He also had to maneuver around other problems so that the date was fixed for his operation. That was supposed to be at the end of October, but the U.S. Embassy computerized visa appointment system could not be sidestepped even after the Office of U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming sent a written request. An aide to the senator said there had been no reply to the message.

Eric Turner, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy invoked the Privacy Act in his response to a reporter's questions.

". . . visa records are protected in essentially the same manner as American citizen’s records.  The Embassy does not discuss individual visa cases publicly.  Nor would we comment publicly on Mr. Smart’s case without his approval.

"Speaking hypothetically, as Mr. Smart is an American citizen, there are many ways the Embassy can help him directly, up to and including arranging for a medical escort to travel back to the United States with him should he be unable to travel on his own.  Our consular officers would also be happy to help liaise with social service agencies in the United States and/or the VA itself, should that be necessary.

"I think we all are united in wishing for the best possible outcome for Mr. Smart’s illness and are thankful for his service to our country.

Friends here, including Dan Wise of Barra del Colorado and local veterans, are seeking alternatives today to help Smart.


Lawmaker upset with details of Chinese road deal
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A proposal to rebuild Ruta 32 has come under criticism in the legislature.

Manrique Oviedo Guzmán, a lawmaker from the Partido Acción Ciudadana, said the country was surrendering its sovereignty for the deal. In addition fears were raised that the Chinese company that probably will do the job has a history of corruption.

The allegations were contained in a statement issued by the political party.

Two vice ministers Chacón Laurito of the  Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes and Jordi Pratt Chacón of the Ministerio de Hacienda, appeared before a legislative committee Wednesday. That prompted the discussion.

Costa Rica is negotiating a deal whereby the Chinese government will pay for 85 percent of the cost of
rebuilding and widening the key road. Costa Rica will pay 15 percent. The total has not yet been computed. Some 107 kilometers from Río Frio to Limón are involved.
Oviedo said in the statement that Costa Rica would renounce its immunity under terms of the deal and that the project would be governed by the laws of China.

Additionally, he said that the firm China Harbour  Engineering Co. Ltd., the likely contractor, has been suspended by the World Bank after allegations of corruption in The Philippines.

The discussion was in the Comisión Permanente de Asuntos Hacendarios, which is considering the measure, No.  18.945.

The vice ministers said they would look into the corruption allegations.

The money would come from Chinese sources and would be denominated in yuans, the basic currency there.

The job would include much more than just roadway. There will be new bridges, a bike path, pedestrian bridges and drainage work.

Technicians are trying to establish a budget now.


Temporary Circunvalación bridges finally opened
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The temporary bridges over the collapsed section of the Circunvalación between Hatillo and Pavas finally opened Wednesday afternoon.

Officials quickly announced that the road would be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. In addition there are weight limits in force for trucks.

The highway began to collapse Aug. 24 and temporary bridges were installed badly. So the highway was closed in both directions Sept. 10.
There now are four temporary bridges, each carrying a lane of traffic.

Now workers will construct a permanent concrete solution underneath. There will be restrictions and delays until the final job is done.

Some 36,000 government employees will continue to work from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. to avoid the peak traffic hours, the central government said.  Some 80,000 vehicles a day use the Circunvalación, which is a four-lane bypass south of downtown San José from La Uruca to San Pedro.

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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.


Dentistry

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Legal services

FULLY BILINGUAL ATTORNEY
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Petition drive is targeting
gold firm's arbitration case


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A Canadian organization is continuing a public relations effort against Infinito Gold Ltd, which is preparing a $1 billion international arbitration case against Costa Rica.

Infinito, through its subsidiary here, Industrias Infinito S.A., sought to open the Crucitas open pit mine north of San Carlos. The firm had a valid concession for years until a Costa Rican court annulled it.

The Canadian organization is called LeadNow, and its Web site said it is an independent advocacy organization that brings generations of Canadians together to achieve progress through democracy. The organization also opposes a Canadian trade treaty with China, according to the Web site.

A LeadNow email called the petition drive a bi-national effort between Canada and Costa Rica. It said organizers hope to present the petition to John Morgan, Infinito's chief, at the firm's annual meeting Nov. 21, presumably at its home base of Calgary.

The petition also is in Spanish. It has 1,487 signatures, according to the Web site.

"Infinito Gold doesn’t care what Costa Ricans think, but with its shareholder meeting just weeks away, we have a key opportunity now to force management to come clean about its shameful bullying to the company’s shareholders, a massive dose of public pressure will force Infinito to drop its lawsuit for good," says the site.

The organization appears to have obtained much of its information from Mining Watch, an organization that says MiningWatch Canada is a pan-Canadian initiative supported by environmental, social justice, Aboriginal and labour organisations from across the country.

LeadNow seems to be unaware that Infinito had a valid concession that was overturned even after the Sala IV constitutional court gave it a green light. That is at the core of the firm's complaint.


Cartago electrical utility
fails to win rate hike


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation's utility regulating agency says it has rejected a request for a 3.4 percent increase in rates by the Junta Administrativa del Servicio Eléctrico Municipal de Cartago. The rate-fixing agency, the Autoridad Reguladora de Servicios Públicos said that the utility did not provide information that separated out the various services it provides.

The agency appears to want various classes of users considered separately based on the income cost of providing electricity to each group.


Market at city bus station
will have pipes replaced


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Municipalidad de San José has begun work to replace the underground pipes at the Mercado Calle 16, which is better known as the Mercado Coca Cola. The location is at the well-known inter-city bus station.

The project will cost 80 million colons, about $160,000. It involves tearing up the floor of the market and adjacent areas. Workmen will be on the job from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. in order to avoid inconvenience to merchants and bus passengers, said the municipality.



Our reader's opinion
In the case of U.S. president,
lying is not just revising


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:
 
On Page Five of Monday's edition there is an article referencing Obama's falling approval ratings.  In that article appears the sentence "Obama revised his pledge."  When does lying to the American people become a revision?  I am sure you have seen the multiple times Obama had stated in no uncertain terms that "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, PERIOD."  and "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan, PERIOD."  There is no if's, and's, or but's, in those sentences.  The fact is that he lied to the people because he would have NEVER received approval for his plan had he told the truth, and he would have not been re-elected had he told the truth.  In his second campaign he continued to lie about Obamacare to get re-elected.
 
You may think that this lie is okay, because he is giving the U.S.A. health insurance for everyone.  So that the end justifies the means.  Among the problems with this approach is that one lie begets another and another.  He now denies that he intended to lie the first time, another lie.  Then you have Democrats on TV denying the obvious and saying he didn't lie, he just didn't tell the whole truth, and that he should have added a few asterisks to his statements.  These people just make matters worse.  It is like the husband who gets caught in bed with another woman, and he tells the wife, "Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes."
 
The press is one of the few places where truth should matter, and you do a disservice to your readers when you don't state the facts as they are, and maybe not how you might wish them to be.  The public loses confidence in both the government and the press when they are being lied to on a consistent basis. See Benghazi, IRS and the Tea Party organizations, Fast and Furious.
 
I hope in the future you tell it like it is. Your readers deserve better.
Mike Hawkins,
Santa Ana


Gun violence in some movies
is reported to have tripled 


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A new study shows that movie violence has more than doubled since 1950 and gun violence in films has tripled since 1985.

Researchers with the American Academy of Pediatrics noted that the increase comes largely in movies rated PG-13, which are not recommended for children under 13.

Trained coders identified the presence of violence in each five-minute film segment for one-half of the top 30 films since 1950 and the presence of guns in violent segments since 1985, the first full year the PG-13 rating was used. PG-13–rated films are among the top-selling films and are especially attractive to youth.                  

The research found an overall annual increase in gun violence from 1985 to 2012, but the trend differed by movie rating. Among films rated G, for general audiences and PG movies which may contain some material not suitable for children, gun violence decreased slightly.

The rate of gun violence did not change for R-rated movies, which require children under 17 to be accompanied by a parent. Among films rated PG-13, gun violence increased.  In fact, since 2009, PG-13 movies have contained as much or more violence than R-rated movies.

Many studies have contended that the mere presence of guns can increase aggression, an effect dubbed the “weapons effect.”

“Even if youth do not use guns, these findings suggest that they are exposed to increasing gun violence in top-selling films,” the researchers write. “By including guns in violent scenes, film producers may be strengthening the weapons effect and providing youth with scripts for using guns.”

Furthermore, the researchers say that because of the widespread availability of movies via the Internet and cable, the weapons effect could be amplified.


Fed nominee will be facing
tough questions in U.S. Senate


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Janet Yellen is likely to face sharp questioning at her confirmation hearing this week to become chairwoman of the U.S. central bank, but most analysts think eventually she will win approval as one of the most powerful unelected leaders in the world.

There does not appear to be any organized opposition to U.S. President Barack Obama's nomination of the 67-year-old Ms. Yellen to become the first woman to head the Federal Reserve when the current chairman, Ben Bernanke, leaves office at the end of January.

But Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee are expected to closely question Ms. Yellen, now the Fed's vice chairman, about policies the central bank has adopted to try to boost the American economy, the world's largest. The country is still faced with high unemployment as it slowly recovers from the 2009 recession, the steepest downturn for the U.S. since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

At least one Republican senator, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said he will try to block Ms. Yellen's confirmation until Obama agrees to let more State Department officials testify about the details of the 2012 terrorist attack on a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four American diplomats, including an ambassador.

Policy makers at the Federal Reserve, led by its chairman, make decisions that shape the U.S. economy. They also often influence key leaders overseas, though, as they decide how to advance the massive economies in Europe and Asia and the more regional economic fortunes in South America, Africa and elsewhere.

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Catch 22 keeps bus passengers in the rain along major highway
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An open air bus stop on the Bernardo Soto highway just west of Juan Santamaría airport is so bad it has been written up in Spanish-language newspapers.

There was no protection for bus passengers, and there is a big pool of water at the site.

The government did not seem to be responsive, so residents of the Villa Nueva area decided to take matters into their own hands. Architectural designs, building materials and construction costs were donated, and residents began erecting a modern bus shelter.

That is until the police came. Apparently doing this type of construction is against the law. Police said the residents needed a permit.

"Then we gathered over 200 signatures asking for the authorities to grant us a permit, but no one knew how to get one or where," said John Koger, one of the residents.  "We took it to the courts, and they said 'No permit. You need to tear it down.'   In short, there is no way to get a permit, so people just put up their own, and the government looks the other way, except with us."

Koger noted that the Ministerio de Obras Públicas, the
Villa Nueva
John Koger photo
Youngsters wait at the half-completed bus shelter


Consejo Nacional de Vialidad and the Municipalidad de Alajuela all claim they have no power to issue a bus shelter permit.

So the bus users are seeking a decree from President Laura Chinchilla so they can put up the bus shelter. Koger notes that the project will cost the country nothing. So far, no dice.

They will gather Saturday at 10 a.m. to promote their effort. Otherwise, the shelter will have to be demolished.


Lawmakers act to advance bill to create defender of prisoners
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A legislative committee approved and reported out to the full body a measure to create a special defender for prisoners.

The decision came in the Comisión Permanente de Asuntos Sociales. If approved, the position would be part of the Denfensoría de los Habitantes. But the emphasis will be on the rights and interests of those who are in prisons.

Already there is a flood of court cases filed on behalf of prisoners. The topics range from legal issues to food and housing. The prisons are in deplorable shape and overcrowed by 30 percent.
The bill is No, 18.576. The job description allows the prisoners' defender to work independently.

Lawmakers on the committee were quick to note the condition of prisons and called them schools for crime.

The Defensoría already handles complaints from prisoners, but lawmakers said the matters require someone specialized in that area.

The defender of prisoners also would be charged with reporting to the legislature changes that could improve the lot of the convicts. The office also will have responsibility for prisoners' families who were said to suffer discrimination.


Water leak creating giant hole in city street, officials report
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The central government is not the only entity with collapsed roadways. The Municipalidad de San José said Wednesday evening that a drainage line had ruptured on Avenida Una at calles 22 and 24. 
This is an area north of the Torre Mercedes on Paseo Colón.

A report said that a giant hole was developing. Municipal officials promised to tackle the job first thing this morning, they said. In addition to fixing the leak, city workers have to apply fill and new asphalt.

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Social connections called critical for development of sophisticated skills
By the University of British Columbia news service

The secret to why some cultures thrive and others disappear may lie in social networks and the ability to imitate, rather than individual smarts, according to a new University of British Columbia study.

The study, published by the Proceedings of the Royal Academy: Biological Sciences, shows that when people can observe and learn from a wider range of teachers, groups can better maintain technical skills and even increase the group’s average skill over successive generations.

The findings show that a larger population size and social connectedness are crucial for the development of more sophisticated technologies and cultural knowledge, says lead author Michael Muthukrishna, a doctoral student in university's Department of Psychology.

“This is the first study to demonstrate in a laboratory setting what archeologists and evolutionary theorists have long suggested: that there is an
 important link between a society’s sociality and the sophistication of its technology,” says Muthukrishna, who co-authored the research with Joseph Henrich, a university professor.

For the study, participants were asked to learn new skills, digital photo editing and knot-tying, and then pass on what they learned to the next generation of participants. The groups with greater access to experts accumulated significantly more skill than those with less access to teachers. Within 10 generations, each member of the group with multiple mentors had stronger skills than the group limited to a single mentor.

Groups with greater access to experts also retained their skills much longer than groups who began with less access to mentors, sustaining higher levels of cultural knowledge over multiple generations.

According to the researchers, the study has important implications for several areas, from skills development and education to protecting endangered languages and cultural practices.

 
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Lundquist patio
Exotic gardens next to one
of our patios



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apartment view
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Get to know the real Costa Rica – you may want to live here someday.
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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday,  Nov. 14, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 226
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Cafetales



Pacific Estates

Diabetes emerges as menace
to many more, report says


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The world is losing the battle against diabetes as the number of people estimated to be living with the disease soars to a record high of 382 million this year, medical experts said Thursday.

The vast majority have type 2 diabetes, the kind linked to obesity and lack of exercise, and the epidemic is spreading as more people in the developing world adopt Western, urban lifestyles.

The latest estimate from the International Diabetes Federation is equivalent to a global prevalence rate of 8.4 percent of the adult population and compares to 371 million cases in 2012.

By 2035, the organization predicts the number of cases will have soared by 55 percent to 592 million.

“The battle to protect people from diabetes and its disabling, life-threatening complications is being lost,” the federation said in the sixth edition of its Diabetes Atlas, noting that deaths from the disease were now running at 5.1 million a year or one every six seconds.

People with diabetes have inadequate blood sugar control, which can lead to a range of dangerous complications, including damage to the eyes, kidneys and heart. If left untreated, it can result in premature death.

“Year after year, the figures seem to be getting worse,” said David Whiting, an epidemiologist and public health specialist at the federation. “All around the world we are seeing increasing numbers of people developing diabetes.”

He said that a strategy involving all parts of society was needed to improve diets and promote healthier lifestyles.

The federation calculates diabetes already accounts for annual healthcare spending of $548 billion and this is likely to rise to $627 billion by 2035.

Worryingly, an estimated 175 million of diabetes cases are as yet undiagnosed, so a huge number of people are progressing towards complications unawares. Most of them live in low- and middle-income countries with far less access to medical care than in the United States and Europe.

The country with the most diabetics overall is China, where the case load is expected to rise to 142.7 million in 2035 from 98.4 million at present.

But the highest prevalence rates are to be found in the Western Pacific, where more than a third of adults in Tokelau, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands already are living with the disease.

Pharmaceutical companies have developed a range of medicines over the years to counter diabetes, but many patients still adequately struggle to control their condition, leading to a continuing hunt for improved treatments.


Times says JPMorgan Chase
hired daughter of top Chinese


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The New York Times is reporting JPMorgan Chase secretly employed the daughter of Wen Jiabao, who until recently was China's prime minister and the main overseer of the world's second largest economy.

The Thursday report comes as the U.S. government investigates whether the bank hired the children of powerful Chinese officials to help win lucrative business deals with the country's state-owned companies.

The Times reported JPMorgan paid $1.8 million from 2006 to 2008 to a relatively obscure business that was run by the then-prime minister's daughter, Wen Ruchun, who went by the alias Lily Chang.

JPMorgan has not been accused of wrongdoing, but The Times said the bank's Hong Kong executives were aware of her true identity and appear to have benefited from her many connections.

Officials with JPMorgan declined to comment on the report. The Chinese and U.S. governments have also not reacted to the report, which was based on a review of confidential documents, Chinese public records and interviews with knowledgeable officials.


China is trying to promote
genetically modified foods


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

China's state media are working overtime to persuade the public that genetically modified food is safe, apparently softening up the population for a policy switch to allow the sale of such food to ensure its 1.35 billion people have enough to eat.
 
In the past 30 years, China's urban population has jumped to about 700 million from under 200 million, driving up demand for meat and staples such as rice that scientists say only genetically modified food can satisfy.
 
Imported modified soybeans are already used as feed for animals but winning acceptance for the more widespread use of genetically modified food may be a hard sell in a country frequently in the grip of food scares, just this year over baby milk powder and chemicals in chickens, for instance.
 
Genetically modified food faces opposition even at the top levels of Chinese bureaucracy, with a senior national security official likening it to opium.
 
But state media is taking up the fight: Monday, Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily rejected rumors that eating genetically modified food could alter human DNA, and news agency Xinhua ran an investigation last week debunking tales that modified corn consumption had reduced sperm counts.
 
Zhang Qifa, known as China's “father of GMO rice,” recently criticized the Ministry of Agriculture for refusing to approve strains that have cost billions of yuan in research over the past decade.
 
Beijing granted safety certificates for its first genetically modified rice in 2009 but has so far refused to authorize commercial production.
 
The certificate for Zhang's pest-resistant “Bt” rice will expire next year, meaning researchers have to reapply, a process that could take years.
 
“Right now, China's GMO rice production has ground to a halt ... I personally think we have missed opportunities to develop,” Zhang said, adding that genetically modified food commercialization wasn't a matter for the public and should begin without delay.
 
Huang Dafang, a researcher with the Biotechnology Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, was unimpressed with the media campaign.

“We have not seen any signs of progress, only the continuation of the debate,” he said.
 
Scientists have been at pains to show that genetically modified food is already part of the food chain: China is the world's top importer of genetically modified soybeans, used as feed, and also imports genetically modified corn from the United States and elsewhere.
 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has forecast China's rice imports would reach a record high of 3.4 million tons in 2013/14 and researchers say China is facing a growing food gap that can only be properly addressed through the use of  genetically modified food.
 
But while policy makers have expressed optimism about modified crops and scientists have long urged the government to allow new strains of modified rice, Beijing will not move until it is sure the risks are minimal and that, crucially, the public is behind it.
 
The debate hasn't been entirely one-way, with influential researchers still urging caution, especially when it comes to staples like rice and wheat.
 
“Many have said there are no risks to GMO food but the risks may not even be discovered in three or five years but actually over three to five generations,” said Jiang Changyun, research director at the Industrial Development Research Institute, who wants the government to improve labeling so that people can decide themselves whether to eat genetically modified food or not.
 
The debate has moved into the realms of national security, with Peng Guangqian, deputy secretary-general of the National Security Policy Committee, likening genetically modified food in August to a new kind of opium being forced upon China by Western companies.
 
Writing in Global Times, a tabloid backed by the People's Daily, Peng said companies such as Monsanto and Dupont were dumping genetically modified food products on China.
 
Wang Xiaoyu, an official at the Heilongjiang Soybean Association, said genetically modified soy oil consumed in southern parts of the country was linked to high cancer rates.
 
However, another worry, he conceded, was that imports of cheap modified soy had led to a fall in local production, since many planters were unable to compete.
 
Huang of the Biotechnology Research Institute complained that the scientific debate had been hijacked.
 
“GMO is a scientific matter and should not be debated at the social level. If China's Three Gorges dam and nuclear power were decided by public debate, neither would have been established,” he said.


Stink bug
Oregon State University/ Vaughn Walton
Invasive stink bug on an olive branch in Oregon's Willamette Valley.

Asian stink bug is real stinker
to farmers and even scientists

By the Oregon State University news staff

A smelly invasive bug continues to spread across the United States, alarming both farmers and scientists.

The name of this insect is a mouthful: the brown marmorated stink bug. Native to East Asia, the insect is causing crop losses from coast to coast in America.  Researchers are working on control measures, but some of those come with their own worries. 

One way scientists are following the spread of the brown marmorated stink bug is by setting traps. There are four traps at the edge of a blueberry field at Oregon State University's North Willamette research farm.

University entomologist Vaughn Walton points to a brown bug with a body shaped like a medieval shield and distinctive white stripes on its antennae. It's about the size of the fingernail on the ring finger.

It's called a stink bug for good reason. Many people say it's like a cilantro flavor," said Walton. "Some of the people in my lab used to like cilantro. Now they hate cilantro."

Here's why this bug invasion raises alarms. A stink bug can transmit that flavor into berries and fruit when it feeds. It can hide in wine grape clusters and then taint the juice when the grapes are crushed.

Early season attacks cause berries and nuts to shrivel. Stink bug bites leave blemishes on vegetables. U.S. Department of Agriculture research entomologist Tracy Leskey, who works on fruit trees in West Virginia, says the greatest crop damage has been reported in the mid-Atlantic region.

"Left untreated it would be a substantial loss," Leskey said. "In places where we are not controlling the insect for experimental purposes, we easily see 100 percent injury in those fruit."

North America has more than 200 native stink bug species, but farmers don't worry about most of them. They are focused on the more voracious variety that comes from East Asia.  Scientists first detected it in the United States in Pennsylvania, in the late 1990's.

Walton says the invasive species has multiplied and spread in all directions from there. "They are really good hitchhikers. They move on cars, on cargo, on trains and stuff like that."

The Asian stink bug has now been detected in 40 U.S. states and several Canadian provinces.

Back in Oregon's Willamette Valley, the bug is showing up in commercial crops for the first time this year.

"Hopefully we'll learn how to control this pest," said farmer Michelle Armstrong, who grows sweet corn and vegetables. "We definitely see it as a major threat."

The U.S. Agriculture Department is funding a number of university studies looking into control measures, but Ms. Armstrong says nothing has come on the market yet that specifically targets the brown marmorated stink bug.

"That's part of the worries for the growers," she said. "As a grower myself, what will I do when this pest gets in my field? I don't have a lot of options. We don't want to spray more than we have to."

Powerful insecticides do kill the bug, but also take out beneficial insects farmers want to keep around. So other options are getting a look. One is mass trapping using pheromone lures. The Oregon State science team says the long-term solution probably involves bringing in the stink bug's natural predators which exist in East Asia.

"There's a wide range of parasitoids and predators from there," Walton said. "We've imported them. They're in quarantine. You can't release them because they can potentially affect other good bugs that we don't want to be affected."

The Agriculture Department says it will take several more years of research before scientists are more certain there won't be unintended consequences from introducing another non-native species onto U.S. farms.


New anti-doping code contains
2,000 revisions, drafters say


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The adoption of a revised World Anti-Doping Code received “overwhelming support” after intense discussions on Wednesday said World Anti-Doping Agency's president with the agency confident it will be ratified as planned on Friday.
 
“There was overwhelming support for the direction in which the code is heading,” said the president, John Fahey, after the first full day of the World Conference on Doping in Sport.
 
Tougher sanctions, more vigorous testing and an enhanced drive to catch drug cheats form the basis of some 2,000 changes to the code, set to be adopted at the end of the conference by some 1,000 delegates from government, civil bodies, sports associations and the International Olympic Committee.
 
It will be implemented from the start of 2015.
 
The draft code includes doubling the standard ban for serious doping offenses and excluding offenders from the Olympic Games, although there was some objection to these plans from the speakers during Wednesday's deliberations.
 
“The overwhelming majority of athletes who made submissions left the impression they want a four-year, or more, ban for offenders. I can say there were only a few submissions that did not support tougher penalties and maybe some flexibility for those who unwittingly dope,” said the the agency president.
 
“But I don't agree with a two-year ban,” added Fahey, whose term ends next month.
 
The agency also said it was working with Jamaica on extensive improvements to their anti-doping policy in the wake of a reported breakdown in their testing procedures in recent years.
 
“We went to Jamaica at the invitation of the government to audit the process after media reports and we put an extensive report together for them,” said the agency director general, David Howman.
 
Former world 100-meters record holder Asafa Powell, three-times Olympic gold medalist Veronica Campbell-Brown and Olympic relay gold medalist Sherone Simpson are among six Jamaican athletes who have tested positive for banned substances this year.


Obamacare Web page counts
100,000 who have signed up


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says more than 100,000 Americans have chosen new health care plans through the so-called Obamacare program that opened for business Oct. 1.

Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday that as of early this month, 106,185 people had either purchased new health care plans or chosen new plans without yet paying for them. This is barely one-fifth of the nearly 500,000 people administration officials had projected would sign up in the first month of President Barack Obama's signature health care program.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney acknowledged Wednesday that the numbers fell well below expectations. Administration officials are hoping that several million people will sign up for plans before the March 31 registration deadline.

Ms. Sebelius said the government's Healthcare.gov site and state-run sites supporting the government plans have seen about 27 million unique visitors. She added that the administration reasonably expects those numbers to grow over the next three months.

Problems with the health care rollout have plagued President Barack Obama in recent weeks. Ms. Sebelius promised that things will get better soon.

He has said the government Web site is too slow and is failing to serve many people seeking to buy insurance online.  He has said he is not happy about the situation, calling the technical glitches a debacle.


World ban on killer robots
sought from U.N. agency


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

An international coalition is calling for a ban on fully autonomous weapons known as killer robots.  The 45-member Campaign to Stop Killer Robots says it wants the United Nations to draft an international treaty to outlaw the use of these robotic weapons. 

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots is taking its case to governments attending the annual meeting of the Convention on Conventional Weapons here in Geneva this week.  The group of non-governmental organizations says it wants the U.N. gathering to agree to add fully autonomous weapons to the Convention's work program in 2014.

The fully autonomous weapons or killer robots have not yet been developed.  Technology, however, is moving toward increasing autonomy.  Such weapons would select and pull the trigger on targets without human intervention.

Noel Sharkey chairs the International Committee for Robot Arms Control and is a founding member of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots.  He says autonomous weapons should be banned outright.

"The big problem for me is that there are no robot systems that can discriminate between civilian targets and military targets unless they are very, very clearly marked in some way . . .  so, the idea of having robots going out into the field and selecting their own targets is to me, is just horrifying.  It cannot work, " said Sharkey.

Fully autonomous weapons do not yet exist.  The activists, however, say several robotic systems with various degrees of autonomy and lethality are in use by Britain, Israel, the United States and South Korea.  They say other nations, such as China and Russia, are believed to be moving toward these systems.

The director of the Arms Division at Human Rights Watch and a member of the campaign, Steve Goose, warns that killer robots will become a reality if governments do not act now to ban them.  He says the technology and doctrine are headed toward greater autonomy on the battlefield.

While fewer and fewer soldiers are on the battlefield, he says many civilians remain.  Goose says a line must be drawn on a weapons system that would be able to select and attack targets automatically. 

He says this concept crosses a fundamental moral and ethical line.

"Armed robotic weapons systems should not make life and death decisions on the battlefield.  There is simply something inherently wrong with that," said Goose. "So, they need to be banned on ethical grounds.  We think they also need to be banned on legal grounds.  If and when a killer robot commits a war crime, violates international humanitarian law…who would be held accountable, who would be responsible for that violation?" 

Goose says in recent months, fully autonomous weapons have gone from an obscure issue to one that is commanding worldwide attention.  He says that since May, 34 countries, including several that are developing these systems, have openly expressed concern about the dangers the weapons pose.

He notes that in 1995, the Convention on Conventional Weapons created a protocol to the treaty, which pre-emptively banned blinding lasers.  Goose says he believes killer robots could become the second such weapon to be prohibited before it is ever used on the field.
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8091-12/11/13

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.
7949-11/15/13

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 www.moranlakearenal.com
Contact us at the office: (506) 2694-0088
Cell (506) 8880-8888
Phone number from the U.S. (305) 307-0088
Email: moranrealestate@gmail.com
Moran logo
8119-4/16/14



Costa Rica,

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





Visit our Web Site:
 www.greciarealestate.com




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: info@greciarealestate.com
8142-2/11/13

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: http://www.rebecker.com/journal102006a.htm.  Contact information: ginbecker@gmail.com,  US: 001-612-599-0205 or Costa Rica 011-506-2655-1202.

condors

HIGH SECURITY Condo
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) 848-5577. C.R. Spanish  phone number: (506) 8799-4041  or  (506) 8363-9898.  Email: sjogringo@yahoo.com
6141-2/11/14

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  www.picturetrail.com/sfx/album/view/24055899   
For more information contact:  deeday214@gmail.com
8135-2/5/14

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, maryandjerre@aol.com, 8879-0235 or (303) 317-6603
8123-4/22/2104

San Mateo pool

BEAUTIFUL PROPERTY IN SAN MATEO, ALAJUELA 3,528 m2

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
8116-11/15/13

montage
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 bmcart3@gmail.com for more information ¡y se habla español!
8097-xxx

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!
8087-10/18/13

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: mwk350@yahoo.com
8082-10/9/13

Nicoya
                                views
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, axelspecial@gmail.com    Cell 8916-5550.
8061-xxxxx

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
http://www.youtube.com/user/CasaDelSolCostaRica
Asking  $250,000.    Call Gary 8784-2945 or email combrokers@aol.com
88059-xxxx

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: www.hummingbirdnestbb.com.  Make your dream come true with a slice of paradise in a quiet, private setting. Call Ellen Neely at  8835-8711.  Email: nidocolibri@hotmail.com
8058-11/15/13

Naranjo views

NARANJO VIEW PROPERTY READY TO BUILD: ALL PERMISSIONS

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
Email monicacal@mac.com
8034-8/19/13

Guiones retreat
SURFERS PARADISE on PLAYA GUIONES, NOSARA
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 heidebob2@gmail.com
8027-1/12/14

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!
8010-7/28/13

NOW REDUCED TO $680,000
ALAJUELA – PRIVATE COMPOUND OF 4 HOMES - $850,000 TURNKEY
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 gerrybuilt2000@yahoo.com.  See property video here:

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:
7967-7/17/13

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. www.oasisbytheseabandb.com $180,000 506-8869-9274.
7882-4/15/13

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. jungalow@gmail.com.
7845-8/18/13

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

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, maryandjerre@aol.com, 8879-0235 or (303) 317-6603
8123-4/22/2
11

DIGITS RESOURCE GUIDE is for sale!
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 www.everydigit.com, 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.
8115-11/18/13

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: manager@crbusiness.biz.

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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page


San José, Costa Rica, Thursday,  Nov. 14, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 226
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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


















Colombia's Santos enjoys
a bump in his popularity


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos' popularity rose for a second straight month in November, and a poll published on Tuesday showed he would be re-elected next year in a second-round vote.
 
Santos' popularity increased to 36.9 percent from 29 percent in an October poll. A Gallup survey showed he would win 27 percent of the vote if a first-round presidential election scheduled for May took place now. The poll said Santos would take 39.4 percent in a second ballot and win the presidency.
 
A candidate needs more than 50 percent to win the presidency in the first round, while the second round goes to the candidate with the most votes.
 
Santos would beat opposition candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, who represents former President Alvaro Uribe's new political party. Zuluaga would receive 14.9 percent support in the May round of voting and 29.5 percent in June, according to the poll, which was conducted between Nov. 1 and 6.
 
As many as 30.6 percent of Colombians would cast blank votes in the first round, an indication that they are not satisfied with Santos and do not yet know much about the alternative candidates, Jorge Londono, head of Gallup pollster, said.
 
Santos has until Nov. 25 to reveal whether he intends to seek a second straight term in office. His approval ratings, which have slumped in the past few months, were given a boost last week when the government and Marxist rebels reached agreement on the second, and possibly toughest, item on a five-point peace agenda.
 
Santos took office in 2010 with an approval rating of 74 percent and maintained decent ratings through the beginning of peace talks with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, or FARC. But the initial euphoria soon wore off as Colombians judged the yearlong negotiations would yield little.
 
The new poll showed an improvement in Santos' popularity for a second month. In September his support slumped to a record low after a two-week farmers' strike was broadcast on television with images of riot police wearing armor confronting workers dressed in ponchos.
 
Zuluaga's popularity reached 25.6 percent in the November poll, up from 17 percent in October.
 
Gallup spoke to 1,200 people in more than 50 cities and towns across Colombia. The survey had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.






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From Page 7:

Trade meeting with Chinese already attracting 800

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

More than 800 persons have signed up for the business meeting with Chinese Nov. 26 and 27, said the  Ministerio de Comercio Exterior. Those who attend will have a chance to arrange face-to-face meetings with potential Chinese purchasers. Some 100 Chinese are expected to attend.

The event is sponsored by various Chinese organizations and organized here by the commerce ministry, the Promotora del Comercio Exterior and the Coalición Costarricense de Iniciativas para el Desarrollo with support from the Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo.
 
Business people from an estimated 20 countries will attend, said the ministry.

Costa Rica has a trade treaty with China, and Chinese are interested in constructing a free trade zone here to ship goods elsewhere in the hemisphere.