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Marimbas
A.M. Costa Rica photo
The Colegio Patriarca de San José marimba orchestra at work
Country's traditional marimba finds a new generation
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

How abut a 16-person marimba orchestra with brass and guitar accompaniment?

That is the treat visitors to the cultural ministry had Sunday as part of the Enamorate de tu ciudad exposition.

The Colegio Patriarca de San José in San Ramón has a special music program that maintains the marimba tradition.

The marimba, of course, is that double keyboard instrument that grew up in Central America probably with the expertise of African slaves.

The instrument has been modernized, and many 
professionals in orchestras use instruments with man-made materials.

Still, a marimba can be folksy primitive in the style of Colonial instruments. Each key has a resonator affixed below. Traditionally these are of wood, but some native builders use gourds.  The musician usually plays with multiple mallets specially designed for the keys they hit.

The instrument is identified with Guanacaste, but there are old photos showing the instrument in use in San José.

The double line of marimbas Sunday hosted two players apiece. They were high school students. There is also a younger group at the same private Catholic school. Playing is significant exercise.


Chinese showing an interest in new Limón terminal
By Kimberly A. Beck
and the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Representatives of the proposed $1 billion container-handling terminal in Limón will present project plans to visitors from the Chinese Development Bank.

The contractor is the Dutch firm APM Terminals.

“APM currently has eight terminals in China. This shows experience in dealing with the Chinese culture” said Rogelio Douglas, communications director for APM.

The invitation came from the government port authority, Junta de Administración Portuaria y Desarrollo Económica de la Vertiente Atlántica, said Douglas.

The Chinese are looking to build a free trade zone here in Costa Rica and the junta is believed to have offered 70 hectares of land near Liverpool, a community just outside of Limón proper. This comes before the seventh annual China business summit scheduled for Nov. 26 and 27 in San José.

“This new terminal will be the only container terminal in Costa Rica that can provide the modern infrastructure requirements to the Chinese,” said Douglas. “The Chinese are looking to ship their goods to the East Coast of the U.S. and other countries that only have Atlantic access such as Argentina and Brazil”. 

Plans for the controversial terminal continues.

The Secretaría Técnica Nacional Ambiental is expected to publish its resolution involving the project soon. APM officials hope that the agency will approve the final two permits needed to start, the environmental and construction permits.

A key issue is the hearing held in Limón Nov. 9.

"It was the union’s intent to delay the project and they failed," said Douglas. "Shortly after 2 p.m. the director said that this meeting is finalizado and the hearing was adjourned.”

The taunting and ruckus created by the dockworkers union during the Nov. 9 public hearing in Limón was relatively peaceful when compared with the 2012 tire fires and destruction of shipping containers carrying bananas. Immediately after the start of the hearing union members yelled and made disturbing noises in an effort to drown out the speakers and have the meeting declared invalid, a tactic intended to delay the APM Terminal project start.

The union is the Sindicato de Trabajadores de Japdeva, using the acronym of the government agency. Members fear they will lose their government jobs if the privately operated terminal goes into service.
Some environmental groups already are challenging the hearing based on the termination in the mid-afternoon. These groups have other concerns than the union members. Court action is likely.

The hearing, a requirement of the Costa Rican government, was held to inform the public about the project and is now part of public record. The Secretaría Técnica had 20 experts on hand and APM brought in 12 of its own scientists to present and answer questions about the projects anticipated effect on the environment and concerns of the general public. All 600 chairs in the gymnasium were full. 

Tensions continue to run high in Limón. Radio Bahia, a local radio station, dedicates one hour from 5 to 6 p.m. to discuss the project.

Most of the calls are from union members threatening anyone involved in the project and promising blood in the streets. 

Douglas doesn’t admit to any personal threats, but he adds that everyone in his organization has private security at their homes and at their facilities.

The environmental groups are concerned about damage to mangroves and the effect of dredging the channel in Moín where the terminal will be built.

Sunday, Oilwatch, one of the environmental organizations, reported that the sociology professional organization has 12 questions about the project and the study made of residents.

The sociologists questioned, among other things, the methodology used by APM to determine sentiment among the residents of Limón. It also suggested that an alternative to granting the Dutch firm a 30-year concession would be to modernize the government ports in Moín and Limón. 

These ports are among the most inefficient in Latin American and the world.

The terminal is the key element in an effort to rejuvenate the province of Limón. Government officials say the project would bring 8,500 jobs to the poverty stricken province. They also have said that the concession would generate $982 million for development and also $2.3 billion in taxes.

At the end of the concession period, the docks revert to the government, under terms of the agreement.

The dock workers union is particularly rambunctious. Strikes and protests are called frequently. About 80 percent of the country's imports and exports pass through the ports.

Last week President Laura Chinchilla's top minister criticized the union for participating in a national strike that prevented a cruise ship from docking in Limón with 2,000 tourists.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday,  Nov. 18, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 228

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


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bottles
A.M. Costa Rica photo  
The so-called plastic bomb tangled over the downtown pedestrian boulevard as part of a campaign to replace plastic bottles with glass ones and charge a deposit. The bomb is made up of individual plastic bottles.


Three women shot to death
in separate weekend incidents

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A woman died on the Nicoya peninsula in a murder suicide Friday. A woman passenger in a taxi died when the taxi came under fire. And a woman bar owner died when she tried to close the door when a man was shooting at the business.

The murder and suicide in Casitas, Nicoya, took place about 10 a.m. Investigators may never know why for sure. The victim, identified by her last name of Gómez, was at work when a man arrived and without saying a word shot her in the chest, said the Judicial Investigating Organization. She died at the scene. She was 36.

Two hours later, Fuerza Pública officers found the body of the prime suspect some 900 meters from the murder scene. He appears to have killed himself with a shotgun, said agents. They speculated that there had been some type of relationship between the two individuals.

In Limón a 49-year-old woman with the last name of West was the victim of an ambush as she arrived near her home in Limoncito about 9 p.m. Friday. Gunmen fired at least 24 bullets into the pirate taxi. The woman died at Hospital Tony Facio. The driver, identified by the last name of Cortés, was badly injured, judicial agents said.

Agents speculated that the weapons used were an AK-47 rifle and a .38-caliber pistol.

The bar shooting was early Sunday in Barrio Moracia de Liberia.
Judicial agents said that shortly after midnight a man got into a dispute with another customer. The man left and went to his home nearby and returned with a firearm, they said.

From outside he began firing randomly at the building containing the bar. The co-owner tried to close the front door but was hit in the neck by one of the bullets, said agents. A 28-year-old suspect was detained at his home later in the morning, agents said.


A review
Pavlov would have enjoyed
the black Friday extravaganza


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The promotion was supposed to be the lowest prices of the year, but even the parking guard giggled when he repeated the phrase and said he would put the statement in quotes.

Still Walmart was crowded Saturday night and shoppers searched for those promised deals. There was beefed up security, and even the entry hall was filled with stuffed toys and youngsters' bikes.

In Costa Rica black Friday was last weekend. Walmart Escazú starting its marathon Friday night. The store was open until 12:30 a.m. Sunday to accommodate shoppers. Other stores did similar.

Typically black Friday in the United States is the day after Thanksgiving, but in Costa Rica retailers wanted an early start on the holiday madness. And Ticos do not observe Thanksgiving.

The day is completely a marketing ploy. Although the term originated in the 1960s, there was a span of some years before retailers exploited it.

The black, of course, refers to the bottom line of the merchants who employ the discount delusions with loss leaders and all those social psychological tricks to capture the shoppers money.

Still one cannot help to be impressed by the boldness, including 50 feet of Barbie dolls linked up even before shoppers enter the store proper. Even some of the not-so-little girls were attracted to the display,

Perhaps the poster family of black Friday are the parents and two children trying to get a seven-foot long flat screen television carton into a six-foot wide back seat of a car. They may be there until White Christmas.


DNA research on Caribbean
catalogues genetic difference


By the Stanford University news staff

Carlos Bustamante led a team that examined patterns of genetic variation in Caribbean populations.

Those who want to learn about their ancestors — who they were, where they came from and how they mingled (or didn’t) with others around them — often turn to historical records or elderly family members for answers. But a new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine indicates that the answers can also be found within the genes.

The researchers compared patterns of genetic variation found in populations in and around the Caribbean, which has had a particularly tumultuous past since Christopher Columbus stumbled into the Bahamas in 1492. Not only did they identify an influx of European genes into the native population that occurred within a generation of Columbus’ arrival, but they also discovered two geographically distinct pulses of African immigration that correspond to the beginning and height of the transatlantic slave trade.

The study demonstrates how deciphering genetic echoes from the distant past can illuminate human history. But it also helps explain why some populations, like Latinos, who may be classified by medical researchers as a single group, display marked differences among populations in susceptibility to diseases or responses to therapeutic drugs.

“If we don’t understand the origin of our genetic variants, we won’t be able to design personalized, or even population-level, medicine,” said Andres Moreno-Estrada, a physician and life sciences research associate at Stanford. “Until recently, Latinos have been considered as a single group of people, when in fact they are very heterogeneous. We wanted to know what are the roots of the Caribbean people. Where do they come from? Clearly the population history of the region is very complex.”

Moreno-Estrada is the lead author of the study, published Thursday in PLOS Genetics. Bustamante, a professor of genetics at Stanford, shares senior authorship with Eden Martin of the University of Miami.

“Until recently, researchers have tried to extract this type of information from ancient DNA, which can be very difficult to find and to analyze, and can’t show the full range of Caribbean diversity,” Moreno-Estrada said. “We wanted to approach the question from the other end — starting from the present day and going back in time.”

The group, led by Bustamante and Martin, documented genetic variants found in 251 people of Caribbean descent — representing Cuba, Puerto Rico, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Colombia — living in South Florida, and 79 Venezuelans representing three native South American tribes. They then compared the genetic variants with those found in more than 3,000 Native Americans, Europeans and Africans.

“For us, this is a very important project,” Bustamante said. “Hispanic/Latinos, are the second-largest ethnic group in the United States, with people tracing their national origins to more than two dozen countries. Yet they are largely under-represented in medical genetic studies. An often-cited reason for this is that we do not know enough about genetic differences within and among groups to effectively design multi- and trans-population studies."

To conduct the research, the team devised a new way of analyzing DNA to infer genetic ancestry at a fine geographic scale. Using this approach, they were able to estimate not just what proportion of each individual’s genome was derived from each continent, but also to determine the closest ancestral group at a more-regional level.

The research confirmed much of what is known about the history of the Caribbean islands. But it also answered some long-standing questions about the ancestry of native Caribbean people, the impact of European colonization, and the timing and geographic origins of forced African immigration.

The researchers found, for example, that the Caribbean was first populated by people from inland South America about 2,500 years ago. Their DNA mirrors that of Amazonian tribes in the interior of the continent, and this flow of genes matches what is known about how language spread across the region during that time.

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Ancient stone sphere has a great view of city from museum
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

When Museo Nacional officials wanted to put one of those pre-Columbian spheres at the museum entrance to greet visitors, they had a little problem.

There is no doubt that if the sphere were just set there, a couple of guys with jacks and a pickup would whisk it away in the night.

Such artifacts are highly desirable as lawn ornaments.

The result was a spacious, free-sanding chamber just outside the entrance to house the ball.

The spheres are the product of an ancient civilization that lived in the Diques area of southwestern Costa Rica.

Officials are in the process of developing a satellite museum in Palmar Sur, and they expect that the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization will confer shortly world heritage status on the spheres.

In the meantime, more tourists are likely to see the stone spheres at the main museum than on the Pacific coast. A museum worker said plans are in the works to put a much larger sphere in the enclosure.
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It's only a ball in a silver cage.


Acidification in ocean may be serious but not flesh scarring
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There are dozens of new scientific studies discussing the acidification of the oceans, a critical issue for Costa Rica.

It turns out that there is little chance the ocean will move to the acid side of the pH scale. Acidification turns out to be a figure of speech.

The pH scale is logarithmic and measures the number of hydrogen atoms in a solution.  The more hydrogen atoms, the more acidic a solution is. The current pH of the oceans now is about 8.2. A wire story Friday cited an international study that said global warming is causing a silent storm in the oceans by acidifying waters at a record rate, threatening marine life from coral reefs to fish stocks.

Carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, can become a mild acid when mixed with water, said the article correctly. One of the lead authors was Carol Turley, a senior scientist at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory in England.

A vast number of global warming news stories fail to give specific temperatures to show that the world is estimated to have warmed less than a degree Celsius in the last 100 years.

Since the early 20th century, Earth's mean surface temperature has increased by about 0.8 degree Celsius  (1.4 degree Fahrenheit), with about two-thirds of the increase occurring since 1980, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration that measures the earth via satellite.

However, Dr. Turley and 539 other experts in 37 nations did state the current pH in the study reported Friday and said that a 170 percent increase in acidity is possible by 2100. That is equivalent to cutting the pH level of the ocean, a scale of
acidity and alkalinity, to 7.9 from 8.2 on a logarithmic scale, they said. Battery acid rates about 1 and soap, an alkaline, is about 10.  A reading of 7.0 is neutral.  Human blood is about pH 7.4.

Dr. Turley was in Warsaw, Poland, Friday at the U.S. Framework Convention on Climate Change. But she did reply via email that the pH of the open-ocean surface layer is unlikely to ever become acidic (i.e. drop below pH 7.0), because seawater is buffered by dissolved salts.

"The term acidification refers to a pH shift towards the acidic end of the pH scale, similar to the way we describe an increase in temperature from -20°C to 0°C (-4°F to 32°F): It’s still cold, but we say it’s warming." she said. "So the term acidification refers to a process just like warming does. So both are right – decreasing alkalinity and acidification."

A very recent study said that digestion in sea urchin larvae was impaired under ocean acidification. It turns out that sea urchins have a stomach of pH 9.5, which is very alkaline. "Larvae exposed to decreased seawater pH suffer from a drop in gastric pH, which directly translates into decreased digestive efficiencies and triggers compensatory feeding," said the study published in Nature Climate Change.

Although there is concern that a warmer earth will have serious impact on coral, sea level and marine creatures, the pH of the ocean would seem to be a separate issue. There is no doubt that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased. A recent report said that 400 parts per million has been measured. That would be up about 85 parts per million in the last 55 years.

Costa Rica to some extent depends on the oceans for food, tourism, recreation and exports. Although changes in the pH there may have devastating effects on marine creatures, an acidic ocean is not going to melt way a surfboard.


That was a bandit and not the waiter, expat quickly learns
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Crooks have a new technique to strip expats of their belongings.

An expat reported Friday that he had been the victim of an attempted robbery while he was eating quietly in the second floor of a downtown restaurant opposite the Plaza de la Cultura.

Typically personal items are likely to be stolen if left  unguarded at a restaurant table. There have been a string of
such cases in the downtown in which personal items left alongside a diner simply vanish.

But robbery involves violence or threat of violence, as happened in this case.

The expat said he was approached from behind by someone who demanded his belongings. He managed to avoid a robbery by jumping up and running to the first floor of the restaurant, but the would-be bandit was not apprehended.

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Five are jailed for investigation in helicopter drug transport case
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A judge has sent five persons detained in relation to a helicopter drug operation to preventative detention. One of the suspects is a member of the frontier police force.

The Poder Judicial reported this Friday. The five persons were detained in raids in Barra del Tortuguero, Barra de Parismina, Limón, Siquirres and Guácimo.

The policeman has the last names of Noguera Cambronero. Also sent to prison for investigation was a man with the last names of Rojas Castro and three persons with the last names of Díaz Pineda.

The men were detained Thursday as police moved in on a sophisticated drug transport organization. The court hearing was in the Juzgado Penal de Pococí.

If proven, the allegations against the men and others linked to the case show how porous are the borders of Costa Rica. The allegations are that drugs would arrive by sea to the Caribbean coast and be transported by water inland to where a makeshift helicopter landing site had been hacked out of banana plants. From there the drugs would be taken by air to various rendezvous points.

The Policía de Control de Drogas and the Fuerza Pública have been
discovering these helicopter servicing and landing spots. In fact, Thursday they confiscated two helicopters.

The first base turned up after citizens complained about low-flying helicopters in Limoncito de Cutris, That was in October. Nov. 3, police found another location in Las Asturias in Pococí, Limón. There are at least three more. One of the persons detained early was a helicopter mechanic. Police also were able to confiscate large quantities of fuel.

The case began with the confiscation of 400 kilos of cocaine in January.

Investigators said that the police office had been in contact with leaders of the drug operation via text messages.

The illicit use of helicopters has been suspected since 2004 when the Israeli Defense Ministry said that U.S.-made surplus military helicopters have ended up in Colombia. The five helicopters were delivered to the Israeli Air Force as part of U.S. defense aid to the Jewish state.

The helicopters ended up in the hands of a private company that transferred them to Miami, Florida, with Mexico listed as the final destination. Instead, they ended up in Colombia.

Investigators say that what they have discovered in Costa Rica is only part of an international puzzle. The drugs had to go someplace, and the best guess is  into rural Honduras where there are hidden landing strips for larger fixed-wing aircraft.

 
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San José, Costa Rica, Monday,  Nov. 18, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 228
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Cafetales



Pacific Estates

kettle
A.M. Costa Rica graphic

Physics of tea kettle whistle
turns out to be very complex

By American Institute of Physics newsroom

Despite decades of brewing tea in a whistling kettle, the source and mechanism of this siren sound of comfort has never been fully described scientifically. Acknowledging the vibrations made by the build-up of steam escaping through two metal spout plates is about as far as the explanation went and was good enough for most people.

But not for a team of engineering investigators at the University of Cambridge in England, who have at last illuminated the mystery. Through a series of experiments, the team has produced a breakthrough in breakfast musings with the world's first accurate model of the whistling mechanism inside the classic stovetop kettle. Their paper appears in the journal Physics of Fluids.

They have located the physical source of the teakettle whistle at the spout as steam flows up it and identified a two-mechanism process of whistle production. Their results show that as the kettle starts to boil, the whistle behaves like a Helmholtz resonator -- the same mechanism that causes an empty bottle to hum when someone blows over the neck. However, above a particular flow speed, the sound is instead produced by small vortices -- regions of swirling flow -- which, at certain frequencies, can produce noise.

The findings are potentially able to explain familiar problems of other wayward whistles, such as the annoying plumbing noises caused by air trapped in pipes or damaged car exhausts.

It's not as if people haven't been trying to figure this out for more than a century. In 1877, for example, John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh, wrote the foundational text, "The Theory Of Sound," and considered the problem. In 1909 the first U.S. patent for an alarm device for culinary utensils was filed, followed up regularly by similar patent claims for various valve and signaling devices. What they all missed is a level of detail the Cambridge study revealed, the swirling vortices.

"Pipes inside a building are one classic example and similar effects are seen inside damaged vehicle exhaust systems," said Ross Henrywood, the study’s lead author. "Once we know where the whistle is coming from, and what’s making it happen, we can potentially get rid of it."

To interrogate kettle whistles, Henrywood, working with his academic supervisor, Anurag Agarwal, tested a series of simplified kettle whistles in an apparatus by forcing air through them at various speeds. The pair recorded the resulting sounds produced by rushing air, plotted the frequency and amplitude data of the sound, then analyzed it to identify trends in the data. They also used a two-microphone technique to determine frequency inside the spout.

Vortex production starts as steam comes up the kettle’s spout and meets a hole at the start of the whistle, which is much narrower than the spout itself. This contracts the flow of steam as it enters the whistle and creates a jet of steam passing through it. The steam jet is naturally unstable, like the jet of water from a garden hose that starts to break into droplets after it has traveled a certain distance. As a result, by the time it reaches the end of the whistle, the jet of steam is no longer a pure column, but slightly disturbed.

These instabilities cannot escape perfectly from the whistle. As they hit the second whistle wall, they form a small pressure pulse. This pulse causes the steam to form vortices as it exits the whistle, and it is these vortices that produce the siren sound that has conditioned millions of people to anticipate the coming of the tea.


Anti-doping rules issued,
but enforcement is national


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The world anti-doping agency this week released new, stricter guidelines to stop drug-enhanced sports performances -- which recently grabbed headlines with a rash of high-profile scandals.
 
Hezekiel Sepeng, became a hero in South Africa after making a surprise second-place finish in an 800-meter race, at the Atlanta Summer Games. He became South Africa’s first black competitor to win an Olympic medal in 1996.

“The way I ran, this is not normal," he recalled. "Because at one stage, I was last.  When the bell went, I was last...”
 
But one drug test changed his life. With one positive result in 2005, Sepeng went from hero to outcast.

He claims the lab made an error.  Authorities disagreed and gave him a two-year ban, effectively ending his career.
 
Today, the 39-year-old athlete works with the athletics federation and runs a foundation for underprivileged children. His message to them is clear:
 
“Cheating, it’s not good in sports.  And our kids, especially you know in countries like South Africa, most of the countries in Africa, we still need to teach our kids about doping," he said.
 
Sepeng was just one of many athletes watching intently as the World Anti-Doping Agency further tightened its guidelines at a conference in Johannesburg this month.
 
The new rules double doping bans from two years to four.
 
Doping scandals have rocked many sports in recent years.  Top athletes such as U.S. cyclist Lance Armstrong and U.S. baseball player Barry Bonds have been accused of using illegal performance-enhancing substances.
 
John Fahey, president of the world anti-doping agency, said the tougher rules come from the athletes themselves.
 
“The overwhelming majority of athletes around the world who said, there must be tougher penalties," he elaborated. "The standard two-year penalty that we’ve been used to so far is not good enough in the eyes of athletes. The punishment doesn’t particularly suit what they believe is important to stamp out cheating.”
 
Travis Tygart, head of the U.S. anti-doping agency, said the new rules are great, but the responsibility for following them falls to national anti-doping agencies.
 
“It’s a Lamborghini without an engine.  If we don’t have the resources and the people to put in place, then it’s going to go nowhere," he noted, "and that’s a failure for clean athletes and the integrity of sport if we allow that to happen.”

The new code will go into effect in 2015, in time for the Rio Olympics.  Anti-doping officials say they hope the new guidelines will help make those the cleanest Olympics ever.


Secret rewards for Benghazi
revealed by State Department


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. State Department revealed Friday that it has been offering a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction of any individual involved in last year's terror attack on an American diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya.

In a letter sent to lawmakers Friday, the department said the rewards were not publicized on its Rewards for Justice' Web site as is normally done because of security issues around the ongoing investigation into the Sept. 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi. The U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three other Americans were killed.

U.S. lawmakers had complained the department was not using everything at its disposal to catch the perpetrators. Several lawmakers last month sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry asking why rewards were not being offered for the Benghazi attackers.  

State Department officials said the rewards had been in place since January, while Hillary Clinton was still secretary of state.


Tornados kill two persons
in Washington, Illinois


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A fast-moving storm system triggered multiple tornadoes in Illinois and Indiana Sunday, killing at least two people, injuring about 40 and flattening large parts of the city of Washington, Illinois, as it crashed across the Midwest, officials said.

The city of Washington, Illinois, was hit hard by what the National Weather Service called a “\large and extremely dangerous tornado.

Thirty-one people injured by the storm that hit Washington were being treated at St. Francis Medical Center, one of the main hospitals in nearby Peoria, according to hospital spokeswoman Amy Paul. Eight had traumatic injuries.

Two people were killed in Washington County, Illinois, about 320 kilometers south of Peoria, said Illinois Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Patti Thompson.

The agency estimated that at least 70 homes were destroyed across the state.

Video from Washington, Illinois, showed buildings reduced to rubble and homes torn in half in the city of 15,000 people some 230 kilometers southwest of Chicago.


Obama and Clinton will mark
anniversary of JFK murder

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton will mark the 50th anniversary of the death of President John F. Kennedy by laying a wreath near his grave site Wednesday.

First Lady Michelle Obama and former secretary of State Hillary Clinton will take part in the ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington.

It will be part of a week of events remembering the nation's 35th president, assassinated at the age of 46.

The White House says Obama will also pay tribute to the slain president at a Wednesday dinner honoring the 2013 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The medal is the highest U.S. civilian award. The annual awards were initiated by Kennedy.

This year's recipients include former President Clinton, talk show host Oprah Winfrey and the late Sally Ride, an astronaut.

Kennedy, a popular U.S. president, was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. His abrupt and violent death was one of the most traumatic events in U.S. history.

Investigators said Kennedy was killed by a lone gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald. However, conspiracy theories have persisted over the years.


President's credibility dives
over Obamacare debacle


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Polls show that President Barack Obama’s credibility has taken a hit because of promises he made concerning his landmark health care reform act. The president had assured Americans, “if you like your plan, you can keep it.” But now, millions of people are seeing their health care insurance plans cancelled because they do not meet the higher standards under the law. Some of the president’s Democratic allies in Congress are distancing themselves from him, and Republicans in Congress are seeking to take advantage of the turmoil.

In a raucous session, the Republican-controlled House passed a bill to extend certain insurance plans.

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Republican, said, “We have heard from Americans from coast to coast that they do not want the president’s health care law.”

Some Democrats said the House bill was just the latest of many Republican attempts to undermine the president and his health care law. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat, said, “This is a cynical, transparently political bill, oppose it.”

But 39 Democrats voted with Republicans to change the law.

Thursday, Obama admitted Obamacare is in trouble. "'We did fumble the ball on it. And what I'm going to do is make sure that we get it fixed.''

The president announced his decision to extend some insurance plans for one year.

Andrew Leonard is one of those who lost his health insurance. He said a new plan would cost him three times as much, and would cover the cost of medical care for children, something he does not need. “I don’t have any kids, and when I do have kids, I would probably get their own insurance plan or change it at that point. Why do I have to change it now?”

Technical glitches with the government’s health care Web site have caused headaches for millions of Americans. Elayne Burke said she spent hours trying to sign up for a plan on the Web site. She finally succeeded, but it was not what she hoped for. She said she wants to avoid a repeat of last year when she had big medical bills after almost losing a finger. “...if I had the finger happen again, I would still not be in great financial shape paying for that. So it’s really not universal health coverage.”

The president's credibility has suffered serious damage, according to analyst Stu Rothenberg. He said that will have an impact on Democratic candidates in next year's mid-term elections.

“Every Democrat from a swing state or a Republican district or state is looking to say 'it’s not my fault, I was misled, the President lied to me, here’s a fix for healthcare that we need to adopt,' " said Rothenberg.

If the Web site is fixed, however, and millions of Americans sign up for health plans, Rothenberg said public opinion could shift again.


Obama lauds oil production
as a major step forward

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Barack Obama says the country is finally poised to control its own energy future.

In his weekly address Saturday, the Democratic president noted the announcement earlier in the week that, for the first time in nearly two decades, the U.S. produces more oil than it buys from other countries. He called it a "tremendous step towards American energy independence."

Obama said the milestone was reached not only because of more production, but also less waste of energy.

He said Americans will save more in the future with new fuel standards for vehicles and energy upgrades of homes and businesses.

In the Republican address, Sen. Ron Johnson of the northern state of Wisconsin criticized the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, saying the president's unmet claim that all Americans could keep their insurance plans amounts to political fraud.


Fossils of two dinosaurs
might bring auction record

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Fossils of two dinosaurs found in Montana and locked eternally in a fierce death match could fetch a potential record $9 million when they are sold in New York Tuesday, the Bonhams auction house said.

The Montana Dueling Dinosaurs & Distinguished Fossils sale will feature 70 lots, including the two dinosaurs thought to have killed each other in fierce combat and then quickly been buried on top of each other. The most expensive dinosaur fossil sold at auction is a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton named Sue, which fetched $8.3 million in 1997.

The sale, which Bonhams said could bring in $15 million overall, also includes a partial skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex mounted in an attack pose and a 17-foot-long (five-meter) sea predator.

"It is uncommon to form a collection like this. It's a once in a lifetime discovery," Thomas Lindgren, Bonhams co-consulting director of natural history, said in an interview at a preview of the sale.

The dueling dinosaurs fossil, which was discovered in 2006, contains two of the most well-preserved dinosaur remains ever unearthed, Lindgren said. It includes pieces of skin. One of the skeletons belongs to a ceratopsian, which is similar to a triceratops, but there is debate about its opponent. Scientists are unsure if the second animal is a juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex or a new species. The remains could help settle the question.

"This is science that's been preserved. It is the most important dinosaur fossil sale of all time," Lindgren said, adding several American museums and an international institution have expressed interest in it.

The last major dinosaur fossil sold by Bonhams was a Tyrannosaurus rex fossil, named Samson, which brought in less than $5 million in 2009.

The other mounted, standing fossils in the sale have less scientific value and would be more interesting to individual collectors or as show pieces for museums, Lindgren said.

The auction comes a year after the sale of a mammoth Tyrannosaurus bataar, a close relative of the T-Rex, which sold for more than $1 million. U.S. authorities returned the fossil to Mongolia after it was discovered the remains had been illegally poached from the Gobi Desert.

Lindgren said the fossils in the current sale were discovered in the United States and are the property of the landowners, according to the Bureau of Land Management.


U.S. satellite system records
gain, losses of Earth's forests

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The world lost 2.3 million square kilometers of forest between 2000 and 2012 and gained 800,000 square kilometers according to a new study. The loss is more than eight times the size of Texas, the biggest state in the continental U.S.

Deforestation, wildfires, windstorms and insects are all reasons for the decline as reported in a new study based on data from the NASA-U.S. Geological Survey Landsat 7 satellite. The researchers analyzed 143 billion pixels in 654,000 Landsat images to compile maps of forest loss and gain between 2000 and 2012.

The study was done by scientists from the University of Maryland, Google, the State University of New York, Woods Hole Research Center, the U.S. Geological Survey and South Dakota State University.

During the study period, Brazil cut its deforestation rate from approximately 40,000 square kilometers per year to approximately 20,000 square kilometers per year.

"That's the result of a concerted policy effort to reduce deforestation, and it sets a standard for the rest of the world," said Matthew Hansen, whose team at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md., led the new study.

The team found that the deforestation rate in other countries increased.  Indonesia's deforestation rate doubled in the study period, from approximately 10,000 square kilometers per year in 2000-2003 to more than 20,000 square kilometers in 2011-2012.

Prior to this study, country-to-country comparisons of forestry data were not possible at this level of accuracy. Different countries define forests differently, making previous global comparisons difficult with existing inventories.

"When you put together datasets that employ different methods and definitions, it's hard to synthesize," Hansen said. "But with Landsat, as a polar-orbiting instrument that takes the same quality pictures everywhere, we can apply the same algorithm to forests in the Amazon, in the Congo, in Indonesia, and so on. It's a huge improvement in our global monitoring capabilities."

The maps also illustrate the impact of politics on land cover. On the island of Borneo, the maps clearly show the border between Malaysia and Indonesia. Malaysia's heavy logging along forest roads is visible right up to the Indonesian border, where forests were still largely intact as of 2012. In Côte d'Ivoire, a civil war in 2002 corresponded with intense deforestation of several previously protected nature reserves.

A different pattern of change appears in the southeastern U.S., where landowners harvest trees for timber and quickly plant their replacements.

"Of this eco-region in the southeast, 30 percent of the forest land was regrown or lost during this period," Hansen said. "It's incredibly intensive. Trees are really treated like a crop in this region."

In the U.S. state of Alabama, Landsat also detected miles-long streaks of destroyed forest. When the researchers examined the year-by-year record, they found the damage occurred in 2011 after a violent tornado season.

The results of the study was published in the  journal Science.






.


Real estate-related services (paid category)

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

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

Our primary goal is to assist our clients with a smooth transition to occupancy while providing highly personalized and distinctive services. We have refined the process to be a hassle free experience, especially valuable for clients who live abroad. We customize to suit each client’s personal taste, lifestyle and budget.
Serving region for 10 years.
We regularly exceed client expectations. We guarantee it.
Email: info@casadelpacifico.com
Cell phone: (506) - 8707-8008
Office phone: (506) - 2288-5644
Web: www.casadelpacifico.com
8070-2/14/13


Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)


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

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

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


San José, Costa Rica, Monday,  Nov. 18, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 228
Sports
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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




























Ms. Bachelet fails to gain
first-round victory in Chile


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Leftist candidate Michelle Bachelet was the clear winner in Chile's presidential election Sunday, although she will have to wait until a second round runoff next month to seal her victory.
 
With nine candidates running, the vote was fractured, and Ms. Bachelet, seeking her second term as president, fell short of the 50 percent she needed for an outright first-round victory.
 
Ms. Bachelet, who led Chile between 2006 and 2010 as its first female president, had just over 46 percent support with 83 percent of votes counted Sunday night. Evelyn Matthei of the ruling right-wing coalition was second with around 25 percent.
 
The two women will face each other in a runoff Dec. 15. Ms. Bachelet is expected to win by a wide margin, and she is promising an ambitious program of tax and education reform to tackle inequality in the top copper exporting country.
 
Backers of the largely anti-establishment minor candidates likely will throw their support to Ms. Bachelet in the second round, or else abstain, so her eventual victory looks assured.


Lessons of Haitian quake
not lost in The Philippines


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

As Filipinos continue digging out of the deadly destruction left by Typhoon Haiyan this past week, halfway across the world, another disaster offers some valuable lessons.
 
Haiti is still struggling to lift itself from the rubble left by the 2010 earthquake.
 
The quake killed some 230,000 people and left nearly two million homeless.
 
Some half a million still live in crowded tent camps, many without running water or electricity.
 
Despite billions of dollars pledged to help Haiti rebuild, reconstruction efforts remain painstakingly slow.
 
Johan Peleman, of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, blames Haiti's scale of destruction.
 
“We know that very well, durable solution is, yes, build new housing,” he said. "But in a city where hundreds of thousands of houses and apartments were utterly destroyed, you can't just do that overnight.”
 
In the Philippines, Haiyan has displaced more than half a million and many areas still have not received aid.
 
So far, millions of dollars have been donated to assist in recovery efforts, but the trick, Fanella Frost of the United Nations Development Program says, is for relief efforts to continue long after the disaster strikes.
 
“The aim in three years time in the Philippines, just as we had the aim here in Haiti, is to ensure that those communities that lost their houses are in safer living conditions that they were immediately when the cyclone hit,” said Frost.
 
Many of Haiti's problems have also been blamed on lack of oversight and poor planning, another lesson for those in the Philippines.








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From Page 7

Five top ways to let your company breathe

By Elizabeth Morales Coto*
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

So you are starting a company,  been at it for a while, and just walked into a big low. Options seem to be nowhere, but they are there. It just takes a little bit of knowing how Costa Rica works.

One

First of all, there are some options when it comes to starting or running a company under a legal entity.

Ms. Morales
Elizabeth Morales Coto
You may start or split your company into some PYMES ones (PYMES means pequeña y mediana empresa) and these types of organizations have several advantages when it comes to paying taxes. This will allow you to breathe financially and maybe reinvest your winnings in company growth — until you are no longer a PYMES.

You might want to check with your accountant about possible ways to become a PYMES, however, you can just search the Web, and the information is there. Look under Requisitos para PYMES en Costa Rica and you will come across links such as:

     A.  http://www.pyme.go.cr/, where you will find all requirements and steps to become a PYMES, sponsored by the Ministerio de Economia Industria y Comercio and the Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje.

    B. http://www.meic.go.cr/index.php?option=com_content&
view=article&id=143&Itemid=170, where you will find  Red de Apoyo a
PYMES so that yours can become a successful company.

     C. http://www.seminariobacpymes.com/ where you get strategies to make the company grow healthy, sponsored by the BAC Bank.

     D. And other sites such as: http://costarica.eregulations.org/show-list.asp?l=es&mid=134 www.pymesdecostarica.com and http://www.bncr.fi.cr/BNCR/Pymes/ProgramaEsp.aspx .

Two
 
Interesting for you might be commonly occurring scams or internal robberies in the company, which managers discover weeks or months later. Accountant and lawyers call these cuentas incobrables or cuentas no recuperables which are partidas contables where you adjust your financial balance indicating how products went over their expiration dates or had some inventory disappearance or items went home with someone. Check out this link for the Colegio de Contadores Privados de Costa Rica or search the Web for cuentas incobrables Costa Rica.


Three

Women in Costa Rica have great support from the government and banks when it comes to business and law. Banco Nacional has something called Banca Mujer, which facilitates financial support for women starting their own business. For this entrepreneurs can check HERE! or call BNCR.


Four

Always remember, that when you are in the need of cash to fund your company, the credit card extra credit might be an immediate solution to put the fire out. However, you have to switch to a personal or business loan to overwrite the credit card one. Otherwise you will end up swimming in huge debts not to mention the constant calling from the banks. This may turn into feeling harassed and rob you from your peace.


Five

Last but not least, if you sell products or services and find that your suppliers give you discounts or a short-term credit but others don’t offer those discounts but have a longer credit time frame, choose a strategy! You don’t have to write your strategy on stone. It has to be dynamic. Switch from one supplier to another depending on the seasonal behavior of your sales and think about appealing marketing strategies for low season. Plus think about small price increments such as 1 percent or 2 percent, something the client won’t notice but which will give you an extra safety savings to face your loans. Remember that in loans of 15 to 20 years, for every dollar you pay ahead of time, you are saving $7!!!

Never hesitate to ask questions. Problems are to be solved. Every system has to be dynamic and adapt to change. Every setback is an opportunity.


* Ms. Morales is an engineer with a master's of business administration specializing in business strategy and development. She is a principle in CEDAD Asesores and can be reached at info@cedadasesores.com.