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new musuem
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takes shape

A new Museo de Jade takes form near Plaza de la Democracia. The project is by the Instituto Nacional de Seguros, the state insurance company. Plans call for the jade museum to be ready in January 2015. The much larger museum will have space for many more displays. The price has soared to more than $10 million from an initial estimate of $7 million.

Online gambling begins to take off in United States
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
and wire service reports

Remember when online gambling companies here were jolted when the U.S. Congress passed a stern law in 2006 prohibiting their activities in the 50 states?

Then there was the time that U.S. law enforcement pulled David Carruthers, chief executive of BetonSports off a plane as he was traveling from London to Costa Rica.

Some 2,000 young, bilingual Ticos worked just at BetonSports. Thousands of other Costa Ricans lost jobs as the U.S. Justice Department moved relentlessly against online sports betting, gambling and poker.

At the time, some in Costa Rica argued that the United States officials were doing so only to protect Stateside casinos and smooth the way for online gambling there.

The attitude appears to be changing in the north.

The state of Nevada, the home to the gambling mecca of Las Vegas, started allowing online poker games earlier this year. But two states on the eastern U.S. seaboard, Delaware and New Jersey, are expanding the online gambling options to include a variety of other games, including blackjack, roulette and slot machines.

The gambling has been limited, through the use of geospatial technology, to wagers placed by people physically within the boundaries of the three states. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has estimated online gambling could yield as much as $180 million annually in new tax revenue for his state, but the gain for Nevada and Delaware is expected to be less than $4 million a year in each state.

Unlike in some other countries, there is no national
Look familiar? This is the hook of a Nevada online poker Web site.

U.S. lottery, although multi-state lotteries often draw a frenzy of players as jackpots reach several hundred million dollars. Only two of the 50 U.S. states have not authorized any form of gambling, and many states have lotteries and casinos.

U.S. legal authorities two years ago signaled they would not block most forms of Internet wagering, leading to the tentative roll-out in the three states, with other states beginning to consider it. But there has been no national debate about whether widespread Internet gambling should be allowed, and current lawmakers in Washington have mostly ignored the issue.

Corporate gambling interests have been generally supportive of the new form of wagering, even though it could limit the number of people who visit casinos. But one prominent casino magnate, Sheldon Adelson, has taken the opposite tack, calling on Congress to ban Internet gambling as a danger to society.

He says online gambling could prove tempting to weak-willed people and would be a societal train wreck waiting to happen.

Prison reform bill is very considerate of convicts
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The legislature is studying a bill that would reform the country's prison system. Among other items, the bill contains a litany of rights that inmates have even though they have been convicted and jailed.

Ana Garita Vílchez, the ministry of Justicia y Paz, appeared before the Comisión Permanente Especial de Seguridad y Narcotráfico. last week to push for the bill.

The measure contains 282 articles that appear to outline all aspects of prison management.

One of the goals is to provide treatment for persons with addictions, a number that the minister said is growing.
 The measure, if passed, would prohibit putting a prisoner in isolation without contact with family or basic services.  Also prohibited would be depriving the prisoner of sexual relations and normal amounts of food.

The measure also mandates respect for the human dignity of prisoners.

Rights may be abrogated only in case of riots or other emergency situations, and there only for the necessary time, said the bill.

The minister said that there are 34,000 in the prison system and that 13,700 of these are jailed. The rest are in alternative programs. She said that the bill was coming up at a good time when the prison system is a current topic. The system is overcrowded.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday,  Nov. 19, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 229
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Professional Directory
A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


Marco Cavallini & Associates
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Real estate agents and services

Colinas photo


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Our reader's opinion
Bus ticket certainly is valid
for entry into Costa Rica

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Although Jim Ryan’s experience with immigration is regrettable, it’s important to set the record straight.  According to Costa Rica’s Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT), travelers and non-residents planning to stay in Costa Rica for more than 90 days can enter the country with an onward bus ticket purchased in advance.

To get to the correct page on the Web site, go to Click on “About Costa Rica – Tourist Service – Entry Requirements.” If you click on “Planning Your Trip – Entry Requirements,” it will take you to another page. The latest information about onward ticket requirements states:

“All travelers must have either a return ticket or a ticket showing they will be exiting the country, commonly referred to as an ‘outbound, exit or onward ticket.’ An onward ticket is required of non-residents who are:
* traveling on a one-way ticket.

* entering the country with a return ticket dated more than 90 days after arrival.

* flying into Costa Rica and flying out of another country.

“By law, an onward ticket can be any one of the following on approved, commercial transport:

* a pre-purchased bus ticket out of the country, (bold italics mine)

* a pre-purchased flight out of the country,

* proof of passage on a cruise ship.”

At A Safe Passage, we go one step further.  In addition to forwarding tickets to our clients, we include a cover letter that cites the law, chapter and verse. We make sure our clients have the latest information and are prepared to deal with inexperienced ticket agents or the occasional rogue immigration officer.

As an official Tica Bus online ticket agency, we do occasionally get a call from an immigration officer to verify that a ticket is valid.  However, in the 13 years we have been in business, we have never had a client denied entry to the country with an onward bus ticket.

If you are going it alone, be prepared to cite the law. You can go to the ICT, Costa Rica’s official Web site, and find the information for one-way tickets under FAQ’s number three, or go to the page suggested above and print it out.

I suggest that people write to the ICT asking them to clear up the incident that occurred with Ryan. The contact person we used to make changes on the site is Laura Chacón Herrera, Departamento de Servicio al Turista. Ask if a bus ticket is legitimate proof of onward travel. If enough people cite Ryan’s experience, she may investigate the incident and make sure it doesn’t happen again. After all, tourism is Costa Rica’s number one industry, and travelers have options. When an immigration officer makes a mistake that results in tourists being sent home or paying for an additional ticket they don’t need, it’s clearly not good for tourism.

That said, this is Costa Rica, and we’re dealing with the bureaucracy.  We can only hope that the ICT equates the number of disgruntled tourists with a loss of dollars and that they send a memo to immigration to assure that this does not happen again.

John Koger

Presidential candidate asks
for high-level roadway study

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera has entered the discussion about the proposal to allow a Chinese firm to build part of Ruta 32. The job is from Río Frio to Limón

Solís said Monday that he has sent a letter to President Laura Chinchilla asking her to appoint a high-level committee to study and field questions on the project.

He is the presidential candidate of the Partido Acción Ciudadana.

"For PAC," he said,"a public works so important to the development of the country requires a full guarantee of transparency. Limón deserves a highway that complies with the highest technical and operational standards."
The proposal would staff the high-level committee with technicians rather than politicians. Suggested are representatives from the Laboratorio Nacional de Materiales y Modelos Estructurales of the Universidad de Costa Rica, the Colegio de Ingenieros y Arquitectos, the Cámara Costarricense de la Construcción, the Contraloría General de la República, the Procuraduría General de la República and the Defensoría de los Habitantes, among others.

The issue became a political one last week when Manrique Oviedo Guzmán, also a member of Partido Acción Ciudadana, questioned the project in a legislative hearing where he is a committee member.

He questioned the involvement of the Chinese firm Harbour Engineering Co. Ltd. and said the firm had been disqualified in the Philippines by the World Bank because of corruption.

The project is a big one. In addition to widening the highway to four lanes, there are bridges and ramps needed.

The People's Republic of China has said it will provide 85 percent of the funds if a Chinese firm is hired. The deal also seems to be that the contract would be handled under Chinese law even though the job is in Costa Rica.  Oviedo also objected to that.

There also seems to be an $88 million difference between what the Chinese firm wants and what an estimate has been. The Chinese firm is higher.

The record of the Laura Chinchilla administration has not been a good one where roads are concerned. The biggest problem is the construction of a roadway along the Río San Juan in northern Costa Rica to provide transportation that is not dependent on the river, which belongs to Nicaragua. That project was mired in corruption, bad design and shoddy work.

La Nación journalist received
prestigious international award

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Giannina Segnini, the head of the investigative unit for the Spanish daily La Nación, has won the prestigious Premio Gabriel García Márquez de Periodismo.

The award, named after the famous author, recognized the high level of journalism produced with integrity and independence, said the Fundación Nuevo Periodismo Iberoamericano,

Judges were from all over the hemisphere. Ms. Segnini's team was behind most of the major investigative efforts by the newspaper, including those relating to former presidents Rafael Ángel Calderón Fournier and Miguel Ángel Rodríguez Echeverría, the foundation noted.

Rights commission seeking
protection for radio newsman

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The Inter-American Human Rights Commission has requested protective measures for a Honduran journalist victim of a recent attempt on his life.

Ramón Custodio, Honduras national human rights commissioner, asked the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for protective measures for Nery Adalberto Recarte, journalist and owner of Canal 34 television and La Popularísima radio station located in Siguatepeque, Comayagua province.

He was attacked Nov. 11 by two unidentified assailants who shot him several times as he was getting into his car outside the building where the broadcast stations are located. Both he and his driver were uninjured. They filed a formal complaint about the incident with the Criminal Investigation National Office.

The Inter American Press Association said Monday that it supports the request.

Country is seeking relief
from Salvadorian import tax

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Ministerio de Comercio Exterior said Monday that the country has filed a compliant against the government of El Salvador because that country has not eliminated import duties on Tico products as was required under the Central American Free Trade Treaty.
Representatives of both countries met Monday to discuss the issue.

British embassy places
goods in online auction

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The British Embassy has joined the U.S. Embassy in unloading its surplus goods via an online auction house.

The embassy has placed items with The items will be available for inspection Nov. 22 at the auction house facilities in Pavas, it said.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday,  Nov. 19, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 229
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100 inspectors will seek out aguinaldo deadbeats next month
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Ministerio de Trabajo said it will field 100 inspectors and send them to all parts of the country to make sure workers get their Christmas bonuses.

The bonus is the aguinaldo, an extra twelfth of what workers earned from Dec. 1 to Nov. 30.

Olman Segura Bonilla, minister of Trabajo y Seguridad Social, announced the enforcement action. He noted that the deadline for employers to pay the aguinaldo was Dec. 20. He said that inspectors would be working in late December every day but Christmas to make sure workers were paid.

The ministry will be setting up tents in public places at major population centers to field questions and complaints from workers and to assist employers in making the payments.
The list of locations are on the ministry's Facebook page.

The ministry has a calculator on its Web site so that employers can figure the aguinaldo.

However, the calculator is nothing more than a spreadsheet to add up the employee's pay for the year and divide the total by 12.

As A.M. Costa Rica has reported, employers of persons who receive things of value, like housing and food, in addition to cash, must include the fair value of these in the calculation, too.

A typical employee will be able to obtain a list of the relevant salaries by visiting an office of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social. 

Employers are supposed to report the salaries each month.

New research give guidelines for risk of dengue outbreaks
By the SUNY Upstate Medical University news staff

A study by an international team of researchers has provided public health officials with information that will help decrease the risk of dengue, a life-threatening mosquito-borne viral disease that is now one of the fastest spreading tropical diseases globally.

Dengue has sickened thousands in Costa Rica this year and caused one direct death and others indirectly.

The effort was led by Anna M. Stewart Ibarra of the Center for Global Health and Translational Science at the State University of New York's Upstate Medical University,  The team discovered that certain household risk factors, combined with changes in rainfall and minimum temperature, could be used to predict the presence and abundance of the mosquito that transmits dengue fever.

This study was published last week in PLOS ONE, an international, peer-reviewed, open-access, online publication reporting on primary research from different scientific disciplines.

Dengue fever is a public health threat throughout the tropics and now emerging as a threat in Florida and along the Texas border. It is a viral disease transmitted to people primarily by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, a mosquito that reproduces in containers with standing water in and around people’s homes. The virus cannot be spread directly from person-to-person. There is no vaccine or drug currently available, although dengue vaccine trials are going on.

Until a vaccine becomes available, mosquito control is the only way to control the spread of the disease. “The findings from this study will help public health officials develop
mosquito control campaigns that target high-risk households and mosquito habitats in each season,” said Dr. Stewart Ibarra.

The team conducted this study from 2010 to 2011 in the city of Machala, located in southern coastal Ecuador, an area where dengue is prevalent.  Team members monitored
egg trap
SUNY Upstate Medical University photo
Anna Stewart Ibarra inspects a mosquito egg trap in the patio of a study household in Ecuador. Traps were monitored for eight months to estimate Aedes aegypti populations.

mosquito populations and conducted household surveys to identify dengue  risk factors, such as water storage practices, access to piped water and knowledge and perceptions of dengue. They also looked at local climate factors, since previous studies by Dr. Stewart Ibarra and colleagues had demonstrated that climate and sea surface temperature influence dengue transmission in this region.

“Our findings can help reduce the burden of dengue in this particular region by conducting focused interventions that target high-risk households and containers in each season and by developing predictive models using climate and non-climate information,” said Dr. Stewart Ibarra.

The results from this study also have contributed to the development of a multi-year investigation of climate, the dengue virus, and Aedes aegypti in the same region.

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday,  Nov. 19, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 229
Real Estate
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Expat in immigration lockup was involved in sharp disputes on the Internet
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A man who is being held on an immigration violation used the Internet as a weapon.

The man goes by the name Doug Smith, and his biggest success was a Web page he did for a client that described a Jacó man correctly as a convicted pedophile. Subsequently that man, Kirk Owen, was deported, in part because of the Web page.

Others say that Smith used a Facebook page and emails indiscriminately and they dispute the accuracy of his postings.

Smith, speaking by telephone from the immigration's Centro de Aprehensión in Hatillo, said Monday that he has a hearing today at which his fate will be decided.

He will argue that he has a Costa Rican woman as a common law wife and
 that she is four months pregnant. He was detained in Jacó for overstaying his tourism visa for years and for running a business here.

Ironically it was the Internet that brought him to the attention of immigration agents. Smith has engaged in aggressive postings on Craig's list that gave highly negative descriptions of other expats.

One expat, James Agnos, said he became so concerned by what he considered a conspiracy to murder him for a reward described online that he traveled to Panamá to report the matter to U.S. agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Smith claimed Monday that many of his postings were accurate and that he was set up because he was running an investigating company.

He said he recently renewed his tourism visa but that a burglar got his passport. He said he is married to Chrisley Montero Sandoval.

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retiring in Costa Rica,  and who has personally helped over 10,000 people with ALL BUDGETS relocate SUCCESSFULLY over the last 35 years. CUSTOM TAILOR-MADE TOURS are also available for people with special needs or who can’t take one of our fixed-date tours. ALL tours include EXTENSIVE touring and a highly informative SEMINAR by the country’s most renowned EXPERTS in their respective fields. Also visit: Live in Costa Rica to check out our NEW tour prices and specials.  Customer satisfaction 100% guaranteed! MY REFERENCES.

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A.M. Costa Rica
Real estate rentals
Real estate rental agents
Real estate for rent
Real estate wanted

Real estate rental services (paid category)

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

Real estate for rent (paid category)

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


Homes for rent in Palmares, Alajuela

See our Web page:

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

Beautiful 2-bedroom 2-bathroom American-style apartments with an elevator to your front door in a secure building located in Gringo Gulch the American Section of downtown San José. Costa Rica. Located between the Hotel Del Rey, the Hotel Mona Lisa and the Sportsman's Lodge and The Zona Blue (AKA) Little Habana across the street from Harry's Poas Bar, and next to the Holiday Inn.
apartment view
 There are 15 restaurants and American- style bars on this block and four supermarkets within a few blocks. There are 5 casinos within 2 blocks and dozens of hotels around this apartment. Included in your rental price, fast Internet, the best they have in Costa Rica, cable TV with 80
stations, water, washer and dryer. All you pay extra for is electricity. You have your own meter and receive a bill from the electric company every month.  This apartment has a American-style hot water system, hot water in both bathrooms and the kitchen. There is a 25-foot balcony to sit on and watch the people in San José walk by. The neighborhood Barrio Amón is the safest in San José For photos and more information contact:

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

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

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

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

MONTHLY $800 TO $1,200

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

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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday,  Nov. 19, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 229
Real Estate
About us


Pacific Estates

Voice of America photo
Canterbury Cathedral windows

Stained glass from Canterbury
is one display in Los Angeles

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A display of stained glass art, now in Los Angeles, has opened a window on life in medieval England.  The art work from Canterbury Cathedral conveys the color and drama of an earlier era.

The color and pageantry of medieval England has been portrayed on the big screen, from jousting knights to historical tales like that of Thomas Becket, the 12th century archbishop of Canterbury who was murdered in his cathedral at the instigation of King Henry II.  In the 1964 Hollywood version of the story, Richard Burton played Becket and Peter O’Toole was King Henry.

Some of the color from that time and place has come to the Getty Museum, a few kilometers from Hollywood.  Six of the cathedral’s stained glass windows have been brought here while workers in Canterbury repair its surrounding stonework.

It's a first, says the dean of Canterbury, Robert Willis, who oversees the cathedral.

“It has never happened before, and so this is a unique experience for us, and also for the characters portrayed in the stained glass," he said.

Those characters are from the Bible, but the images were based on people in 12th century England.

The windows are being displayed along with a 12th century prayer book called the "St. Alban’s Psalter," a collection of psalms from the Bible. It's on loan from the Cathedral Library in Hildesheim, Germany.

The colors are as vibrant as those in the windows, says the Getty’s Kristen Collins.

“Around 1130, when this book was created, there was an explosion of illuminated book production and book painting," she said.

The impact was dramatic, says Leonie Seliger, who oversees the stained glass at Canterbury Cathedral.

“You had wall paintings. You had textiles. You had mosaic floors. You had these illuminated manuscripts, works in metal and stained glass.  So it would have been a riot of color and form and information and imagery," she said. "And for your average medieval person who lived in a little mud house, this would have been seriously overwhelming."

Dean Willis says the windows have been a source of inspiration.

“And the light shining through means that you get a completely different view every time that the sun changes or it’s cloudy, and there’s that kind of almost cinema effect, which must have been wonderful for folk in those days, and still is for us today," he said.

They're less flashy, perhaps, than Hollywood spectacles, but Willis says these 12th century art works are still inspiring.

The windows are on display in Los Angeles through Feb. 2. They then move to The Cloisters, a branch of New York's Metropolitan Museum, before returning home to Canterbury.

Five in New York held
as part of massive theft

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Five people were arrested and charged Monday for participating in a worldwide ATM heist that stole $45 million from two Middle East banks.
The five men, all residents of the New York City suburb of Yonkers, were accused of being members of a global cybercrime organization that stole Mastercard, Inc.,  debit-card information, according to an announcement from Loretta Lynch, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for Ms. Lynch's office, declined to comment on where the cybercrime organization is based, saying the investigation was ongoing.
The five arrested Monday were cashers in the scheme, withdrawing approximately $2.8 million from more than 140 ATMs in New York City, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The hackers stole debit card data from the National Bank of Ras Al-Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates and Bank Muscat in Oman in two attacks in December 2012 and February 2013, according to prosecutors.
They broke into payment-processing companies used by the two banks and raised the balances and withdrawal limits on the cards, prosecutors said. Crews in more than 20 countries then withdrew $5 million between Dec. 21 and Dec. 22 and $40 million between Feb. 19 and Feb. 20.
The five defendants arrested Monday pleaded not guilty in federal court in Brooklyn to conspiracy to commit access device fraud. Their lawyers were not immediately available for comment. Each faces up to 7.5 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, according to the announcement.

Qatar workers exploited,
Amnesty and U.N. report

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Construction is getting under way in Qatar on the stadiums, hotels and infrastructure that will host visitors to the 2022 FIFA World Cup soccer finals. But human rights group Amnesty International, along with the United Nations, says the millions of migrants that Qatar is relying on to build the venues suffer from widespread abuses.

Toiling away on vast construction sites springing up from the sands and artificial islands, Qatar’s 1.35-million-strong army of foreign workers is the manpower behind Doha’s ever-changing skyline.

But human rights groups say the workers’ living and working conditions fail to match Qatar’s futuristic ambitions.

Amnesty International found many workers living 10 or 15 in one small room with no air conditioning, in temperatures reaching 45 degrees Celsius.

Between the blocks there's overflowing sewage and rotting trash.

Many of the migrants were also denied their wages, says Audrey Gaughran, director of Global Issues at Amnesty International.

“We found workers who hadn’t been paid for months, six to nine months, and were still being compelled to go to work," she said. "We found workers living in terribly squalid conditions in labor camps.”

Most of the workers are from south and Southeast Asia, countries like Nepal, India and Sri Lanka. Even if they wanted to return home, they can’t, says Ms. Gaughran.

“Migrant workers cannot leave the country without an exit permit, and their employer has to sign off on that," she said. "And they can’t change jobs without their employer’s permission.”

The International Trade Union Confederation has warned that based on current mortality figures, construction for the World Cup could cost the lives of 4,000 migrant workers by 2022.

Football’s world governing body FIFA has said it will raise the issues with Qatari authorities. Human rights groups say FIFA has the power to go much further in pushing for better workers’ rights.

Volcano located below
Ice sheets in Antarctica

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Scientists have discovered a previously unknown volcano buried kilometers under the Antarctic ice.

A group of scientists from Washington University initially set out to study the history of Anarctica’s climate. To do so, they set up seismic equipment across Marie Byrd Land in West Antarctica.

Two seismic events, one in January of 2010 and another in March of 2011, puzzled the team.

The events were weak and very low frequency, which strongly suggested they weren’t tectonic in origin. While low-magnitude seismic events of tectonic origin typically have frequencies of 10 to 20 cycles per second, this shaking was dominated by frequencies of 2 to 4 cycles per second.

Scientists still needed to know if events were the result of rock grinding on rock, ice groaning over ice, or, perhaps, hot gases and liquid rock forcing their way through cracks in a volcanic complex.

“I started seeing events that kept occurring at the same location, which was odd,” doctoral student Amanda Lough said. “Then I realized they were close to some mountains, but not right on top of them.”

“My first thought was, ‘OK, maybe it’s just coincidence.’ But then I looked more closely and realized that the mountains were actually volcanoes and there was an age progression to the range. The volcanoes closest to the seismic events were the youngest ones.”

After analyzing the data more, the scientists determined the events had occurred at depths of 25 to 40 kilometers. This is extraordinarily deep, deep enough to be near the boundary between the Earth’s crust and mantle, called the Moho, and more or less rules out a glacial origin.

That information also casts doubt on a tectonic one. “A tectonic event might have a hypocenter 10 to 15 kilometers deep, but at 25 to 40 kilometers, these were way too deep,” Lough said.

The team also consulted radar produced topographic maps to look at the area.

“In these maps, you can see that there’s elevation in the bed topography at the same location as the seismic events,” Ms. Lough said.

The radar images also showed a layer of ash buried under the ice. “They see this layer all around our group of earthquakes and only in this area,” Ms. Lough said.

“Their best guess is that it came from Mount Waesche, an existing volcano near Mount Sidley. But that is also interesting because scientists had no idea when Mount Waesche was last active, and the ash layer sets the age of the eruption at 8,000 years ago.”

Maven spacecraft launches
for its 10-month journey

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. space agency has launched a new exploratory mission to Mars, hoping to learn more about the Red Planet's mysterious atmosphere and climate.

The launch is of interest in Costa Rica because Sandra Cauffman, who was born in Costa Rica, is the deputy project manager.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration sent its Maven spacecraft skyward Monday aboard an unmanned Atlas V missile. It was launched from the government's Cape Canaveral facility in Florida along the southeastern U.S. shoreline.

If all goes well, Maven, carrying eight science instruments, will reach Mars in 10 months and then settle into an orbit around the planet.

NASA has already attempted 20 missions to Mars, with 14 of them successful. In the new mission, NASA's lead Mars scientist, Michael Meyer, says experts are hoping to answer what happened to Mars' atmosphere, maybe billions of years ago, that transformed it from being warm and wet to the cold and dry planet it is today.

"The environment at one point in time on Mars was able to support microbial life. But you look at Mars today, it's cold, it's dry, and we want to know what happened," he said.

NASA said Maven is the first spacecraft designed to explore the upper Martian atmosphere. The space agency previously has sent a series of rovers to explore the surface of Mars, including its latest, Curiosity, which arrived last year.

The Maven mission is costing $671 million. The satellite name is an acronym, standing for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution.

Google and Microsoft join
to limit kiddie porn access

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Web search giants Google and Microsoft said Monday they will block online searches for child abuse images.
The world's two largest search engine operators, in a rare display of unity, said as many as 100,000 search terms will now fail to produce results and trigger warnings that child abuse imagery is illegal.
The child porn crackdown announced during an Internet safety summit in London came after Prime Minister David Cameron in July urged Internet firms to do more to stop access to illegal images in the wake of two high-profile child sex murders in Britain.
Cameron said Britain's newly-established National Crime Agency is joining forces with the United States' FBI in a task force to track down these pedophiles and arrest them.
He described the progress to block illegal content as significant but said more needed to be done to track down pedophiles using the so-called dark web of encrypted networks that lets people anonymously share images of child abuse.
“We were told that cleaning up searches couldn't be done and shouldn't be done. We're now being told by the industry that it can be done and will be done,” Cameron said in a statement after the summit at his Downing Street offices, adding that Britain would hold an international summit next year to follow-up on the agreement reached on Monday.
Both Google and Microsoft have introduced new algorithms to prevent searches for child abuse imagery.
Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt said these changes would be introduced in Britain initially and then rolled out to another 158 countries in the next six months.
Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said deploying technology improvements to identify and eliminate Internet content that portrays child sexual abuse was a team effort.

JFK assassination defined
future television coverage

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Fifty years ago, word of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy reached many Americans by television, a relatively new and unproven medium for news coverage.  The events in Dallas, as reported by those covering the tragedy, became a case study for all television news organizations.

When radio reporter Bob Huffaker set out to cover Kennedy’s motorcade in Dallas, it marked a new shift in the way his organization, KRLD, was covering a live news event.

“Up until then I had done radio broadcasts from many scenes, but that was the first day we marshaled our mobile television facilities,” he said.

Newspapers, with daily editions in the morning and evening, were popular sources of news and information, recalls former Fort Worth Star-Telegram Reporter Bob Schieffer.

“They didn’t, just quite didn’t believe it, until they saw it in the paper. And, then, that kind of made it sort of official," he said. "From that weekend on, of course, television would be the place where most people got their news.”

What was on television during a four-day ordeal, from the time Kennedy was shot to his funeral in Washington, was a mixture of fact, speculation, and unfiltered drama, as millions of people watched events, such as the killing of suspected assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, unfold on live television.

Through much of that coverage, Southern Methodist University history professor Jeffrey Engel says the American people got a healthy dose of misinformation.

“It was a truly chaotic situation, and constantly there is news being filtered into a news media and they are doing the natural thing… they hear something, and they are telling people about it,” he said.

Huffaker says he tried to be calm in a storm of unfolding events amid a sea of misinformation.

“We were concentrating all this time on reporting things as calmly as possible, to somehow encourage the world to keep its sanity,” he said.

In the resulting coverage, a steady stream of facts about the suspected assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, came through Huffaker’s competition, KLIF radio news reporter Gary DeLaune, who had a well-placed source inside the Dallas Police Department.

“And I would walk out in the hall for coffee or something, and he would say OK this is the story, and I knew this stuff before it had ever made it publicly, and they were all factual," he said.

But Engel says an analysis of the overall coverage shows the perils of live reporting to feed a public anxious for information.

“It’s really a case study of what we see today in many ways in which information is perhaps processed faster than people have time to think about it or verify it,” he said.

Voice of America/ Darren Taylor
Dirk van Tonder of South Africa admires a freshly poured African pale ale that he brewed using a hop so new it is only known as the J-17-63 hop.

South African brewers
cherish their own hops

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

There’s increasing excitement in South Africa’s burgeoning craft beer sector about a new hop developed over the past 15 years by South African Breweries on its farms in the Southern Cape region, and recently released to a select few microbrewers around the country.
“Because of this hop we’re able to make truly South African, full-flavored ale and can rightfully claim to have created a new style of beer. We can call it South African Ale. It’s going to happen soon. If I don’t do it someone else will,” said Moritz Kallmeyer, owner of Drayman’s Brewery in Pretoria and one of the country’s leading microbrewers.
Hops are the conical shaped female flowers of the humulus lupulus plant and grow on vines. They give beer its bitterness and flavor. Most of the world’s popular cultivars, such as the Saaz and the Cascade, are grown in Europe and the Yakima Valley in Washington state in the United States.
“This hop, because of its versatility, could be one of the best things ever to hit beer production in this country,” said Dirk van Tonder, owner of the Irish Ale House in Broederstroom in South Africa’s Northwest province.
“Usually we have to use imported hops to make big bodied beers like pale ales. But with just this single hop it’s possible to make a wide variety of beers, depending on what the brewer wants to achieve,” said van Tonder. “With this hop, along with local barley, we’re able to produce a 100 percent African craft beer. The implications of this are enormous – not only for South Africa.”


Real estate-related services (paid category)

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

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

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

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

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

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

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

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

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

Costa Rica,

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

Visit our Web Site:

English: (Cristian Arce)
(506) 8309-0173  
English:  (Luis Arce)
(506) 7100-8489  
 Español: (Luis G. Jiménez)
  (506) 8707-4016  
Grecia 794
This is the BIGGEST DEAL of the month now at $850.000: HERE!
30,000 square meters of land and 750 square-meters of construction.
Grecia 792
300 square meters of land, 195 square meters of construction HERE
Grecia 807
  18,000 square meters of land and 300 square meters of construction. HERE!
  Send us your request to our email:

Real estate for sale (paid category)

Becker montage
Beach property on the Pacific Ocean in Guanacaste.

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


ULatina, UCR, & U Fidelitas San Pedro, San Jose. $185,000.
Quietly located behind The Foundation Costa Rica Canada, 500 meters north of Iglesia Lourdes, San Pedro. ULatina, UCR, U. Fidelitas, bus & new train station are within five minutes Four-bedroom, three and half-bath unit within a secure complex of 40 condos with high cement outside walls with secure entrance manned by an armed guard 24 hours per day. Security fencing with electric wire, and a CCTV recorded security camera system is monitored within the guard house.  For additional peace of mind, this residence equipped with an independently wired security system, iron bars on windows and patio doors, a telephone communication system to contact the guard house and secure parking at your front door.   Beautiful mountain view from roof covered 3rd floor terraza. A green park area inside the complex for your children to safely play and an outside parking area in from of guard house for visitors. Cable TV/Internet lines and 220-volt service for hot water heater, stove and dryer. Water storage tank with pump maintains high pressure to bathrooms on all three floors. American style washer and electric dryer, refrigerator, glass top stove, and kitchen cabinets included. Other furniture items may be available. Call Bill   (English) C.R. Phone: (506) 6011-6987   or  U.S. Phone:  (630) 886-4458  or   (305) 848-5577. C.R. Spanish  phone number: (506) 8799-4041  or  (506) 8363-9898.  Email:

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

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

San Mateo pool


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

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

Pacific Estates

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

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

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

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

humming bird nest

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

Naranjo views


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

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

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

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

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:

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

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

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

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

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

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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday,  Nov. 19, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 229
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute

Congress hears concerns
about virtual currencies

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Virtual currencies may give consumers a cheap, efficient and convenient way to move money, but those same attributes make them appealing to criminals, the head of the Justice Department's Criminal Division told Congress Monday.
“We have seen increasing use of such currencies by drug dealers, traffickers of child pornography, and perpetrators of large-scale fraud schemes,” Mythili Raman, the acting assistant attorney general for the division, told a Senate panel.
The currencies offer criminals both anonymity and the ability to process transactions that cannot be reversed, which can significantly complicate the government's ability to follow money trails in related criminal investigations, she told the Senate Homeland Security Committee.
Further complicating efforts, many digital currency services do not have controls to protect against abuse, Ms. Raman said.
“Many are still struggling with implementing appropriate anti-money laundering, know-your-customer and customer due diligence programs,” she said in prepared remarks.
Ms. Raman appeared alongside top officials from the Secret Service and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network before the Senate Homeland Security Committee to answer questions about the growing use of digital currencies such as Bitcoin, and whether the government is doing enough to police the market.
It was the first such hearing before Congress. Bitcoin surged over 27 percent to a new high of US$675 ahead of the hearing.
“Virtual currencies, perhaps most notably Bitcoin, have captured the imagination of some, struck fear among others, and confused the heck out of the rest of us,” Sen. Thomas Carper, who chairs the committee, said in his opening remarks at the standing-room only hearing.
Virtual currencies, or digital cash, have increasingly become a popular new way to purchase goods or services.
They are not regulated or issued by a central bank. They have been touted by some as an alternative currency in countries facing financial instability.
The most popular virtual currency by a wide margin is Bitcoin, which exists through an open-source software program and whose supply is controlled by a computer algorithm.
However, critics have raised concerns about a lack of regulatory oversight over virtual currencies and the fact that some of them can be transferred anonymously, raising fears that they could be used by scam artists.
The general counsel of the Bitcoin Foundation, Patrick Murck, told lawmakers that digital currencies offer many benefits and are not only a cloak for illegal business. However, he also added that law enforcement would have to develop new methods to investigate some criminal activity.
Over the past year, U.S. authorities have taken action against several players in the digital currency space.
In May, U.S. authorities seized two accounts linked to the Tokyo-based exchange Mt. Gox, the major operator for the Bitcoin digital marketplace, after it failed to register with FinCEN.
Around the same time, U.S. criminal authorities also indicted the operators of the digital currency exchange Liberty Reserve in Costa Rica and accused the company of helping criminals launder more than $6 billion in funds, linked to everything from child pornography to software used for bank hacking.
In October, federal authorities shut down an online marketplace called Silk Road; users had been able to use Bitcoins to purchase drugs and hire hit men.

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From Page 7

Concern voiced over choices for lucrative careers

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

There is concern at the legislature that education is not providing the right skills so Costa Ricans can get good jobs.

There is a concentration in the liberal arts and social studies majors and not enough in the sciences and technology among students, speakers from diverse areas agreed Monday.

Those participating were representatives from the Estado de la Nación, the Escuela de Administración Pública of the Universidad de Costa Rica, professional organizations and Alicia Fournier Vargas, a lawmaker. The forum was at the legislature.

The speakers also noted that there is an influx of some 1,000 new lawyers a year.

Carlos Carranza Villalobos of the Universidad de Costa Rica, said that the emphasis has to be in the secondary education where students are given the information about offers and demand for certain careers.

Miguel Gutierrez Saxe of the Estado de la Nación noted that each day the population is increasing and productivity needs to do the same. And there is need to estimate the demand in the future for various occupations, he said.