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(506) 2223-1327                        Published Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, in Vol. 12, No. 232                          Email us
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A.M. Costa Rica/Kayla Pearson 
There is no doubt that Christmas is near at the Zuñiga home in Barrio Escalante.

Survey says nearly half of crime victims stay mum
By Aaron Knapp
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Barely half of thefts and robberies are being reported to authorities by Costa Ricans, according to CID/Gallup's most recent public opinion poll. 

In addition, as of September, 61 percent of Costa Ricans believe that crime is on the rise. For the past two years, crime has consistently been rated as the country's most pressing issue by participants in the survey.

However, 16 months ago 80 percent of Costa Ricans thought crime was on the rise, so the new numbers suggest a bleak but improving outlook on crime in the country.

The data comes from a three-times-per-year survey conducted by the Latin American polling company CID/Gallup. The survey is conducted in all Central American countries excluding Belize. But it includes the Dominican Republic. The survey is performed every January, May and September.

The survey is mostly concerned with public opinion on domestic politics. Crime is not a major part of the survey, but it is addressed each time.

Crime and delinquency has been listed as the most pressing national issue for participants in every survey in the past two years.

Surveyors found that citizens are still tense, but seeing improvements regarding crime frequency. The number of Costa Ricans who believe that crime is on the rise has dropped from 80 percent to 61 percent over 16 months, the polls found. In September, 32 percent believed crime was leveling off and 8 percent believed that crime was decreasing.

The survey always includes a question that is meant
to track robberies and thefts. That question asks  participants if someone in their home has been the victim of theft or robbery in the past four months.

This number has fluctuated over the past year. In January, 24 percent reported that a family member had been such a victim in the four preceding months.

The number was 20 percent in May and then 21 percent in September.

By this measure, Costa Rica had the second lowest rate of the seven countries surveyed. Nicaragua had the lowest rate with 19 percent.

The Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos's data from 2011 says there are about 1.3 million households in Costa Rica. So about 260,000 homes contained at least one person who was a victim of these crimes in the previous four months.

CID/Gallup asked for the first time in September if these victims of thefts and robberies reported the crimes. Only 51 percent of respondents said that the victim did go to the police after the incident. The survey clarifies what has been known for a long time: that many crime victims do not make a report. The exact percentage had not been known.

The survey does not ask how many people in the house were victims of these crimes or for any information that might show what demographics are being victimized the most. The survey also does not separate thefts and robberies.

Robos and asaltos have different definitions in Costa Rica than in the United States. An official from CID/Gallup explained that both are stealing, but robo is without the victim's immediate knowledge, in other words a U.S. theft, while asalto is by use of force or the threat of force, which is the definition of robbery in the United States.

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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.

Real estate agents and services

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Send us your request to our email:

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A.M. Costa Rica/Kayla Pearson 
  Ericka Gómez Romero donned a hat and scarf in San José
  Tuesday as winds and lower temperatures caused residents
  to break out warmer clothing.

Cold and rain expected to linger
until at least Saturday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The chill that has gripped the Central Valley probably will continue through Saturday because there is yet another cold front on the way. This is the third of the season, said the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional.

The cold weather also has caused rain on the Caribbean coast, in the Cartago area and somewhat less in San José.

Cartago was experiencing 14-degree C weather early today. That's about 57 degrees F, but strong winds make the weather seem colder.  Even beach communities were having their own cold waves of sorts as the mercury fell to 23 degrees C overnight. That is 73 degrees F.

The capital had rain in the late afternoon and evening, but the amount was moderate compared to reports that from 150 millimeters to 270 millimeters had fallen in the Caribbean mountains in the previous 24 hours ending at 7 p.m. Tuesday. That is nearly six inches to 10.5 inches.
Accumulations of up to 100 millimeters or about 4 inches of rain are expected today on the Caribbean coast, although the amounts will be highly variable, said the weather institute.

Much less rain is predicted for the Central Valley and the northern Pacific, but the central and southern Pacific should see more.

The weather institute said that there have been gusts up to 90 kph or 56 mph in the Central Valley and the northern Pacific. The winds are expected to diminish slightly.
The Consejo Nacional de Vialidad, the road agency, reported a slide on Ruta 32 in the mountains north of San José causing officials to close the road for safety at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The route was expected to be open again at 5 a.m. as daylight arrives.

The highway has frequent slides.

Find out what the papers
said today in Spanish

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Here is the section where you can scan short summaries from the Spanish-language press. If you want to know more, just click on a link and you will see and longer summary and have the opportunity to read the entire news story on the page of the Spanish-language newspaper but translated into English.

Translations may be a bit rough, but software is improving every day.

When you see the Summary in English of news stories not covered today by A.M. Costa Rica, you will have a chance to comment.

This is a new service of A.M. Costa Rica called Costa Rica Report. Editor is Daniel Woodall, and you can contact him
From the Costa Rican press
News items posted Monday through Friday by 8 a.m.
Click a story for the summary

Costa Rica news summaries are disabled
on archived pages.

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From A.M. Costa Rica

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The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado 2012 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

A.M. Costa Rica Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 232
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Acres of solar energy array in Guanacaste going into service
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The country's largest solar electric generating plant will be inaugurated Thursday at the site in Fortuna de Bagaces, Guanacaste. This location is on the slope of the Volcán Miravalles where there already are three geothermal generating plants.

This is the first large-scale solar plant in Costa Rica, although a smaller one is in operation near the headquarters of the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad in Sabana Norte.

The one megawatt plant can provide electricity for at least 600 homes, said the company known as ICE. The project contains 2.7 hectares (about 6.7 acres) holding 4,300 collector panels.  Because of the size, the project is known as the  Parque Solar Miravalles.

The construction of the plant had help from the government of Japan, which donated  $9 million.
solar arrays
Grupo ICE photo
Row and rows of solar collectors make up the plant.

The government company said that the object of the plant is to generate power without producing effects that would contribute to global warming.

In addition to commercial sites, ICE has a program of small-scale solar generating for customers who are far from the electrical distribution network.

The student band from the nearby República del Perú school set the tone with Christmas songs as well as the national anthem.

students on parade
A.M. Costa Rica/Kayla Pearson

Olympic triathlon athlete will be Festival de la Luz marshal
By Kayla Pearson
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

With the countdown to the Festival de la Luz at 25 days, the Municipalidad de San José has announced that Costa Rican triathlon athlete Leonardo Chacón Corrales will be the parade marshal.

Chacón will lead the parade Dec. 15.  The selection was announced by San José Mayor Johnny Araya Tuesday in a ceremony at Teatro Nacional.

The athlete, who lives in Cartago, began the triathlon sport at age 11, following in his father's and older brother's footsteps.  Since then he has had many achievements, his proudest being a 14th place finish in the Des Moines World Cup, according to his online biography.

The Costa Rican participated in the 2012 Olympic games in London, where he suffered a fall after his bike collided with that of Canadian Simon Whitfields who slipped ahead of him. 

Chacón received a lot of notice after the race for reaching out to Whitfields on Facebook with a message that expressed the athletes admiration for the former silver medalist and a hope to race for a podium position in Brazil 2016.

In Araya's presentation, the mayor called Chacón an example for all Costa Ricans, athletes and generations. 

He also said the athlete has brought glory to the sports of Costa Rica with a strong career.

When accepting the honor, Chacón thanked all of Costa Rica for what he called a great moment and a dream.  He also challenged the third graders in the audience from Escuela Unificada República del Perú Vitalia Madrigal to fight through anything that may be difficult.

This is the 13th year Costa Rica has had a parade marshal.  Astronaut Franklin Chang Díaz, special olympic athletes, CNN en Español journalist Glenda Umaña, musical group Éditus and Olympian runner Nery Brenes Cárdenas have previously held the honorary position.
A.M. Costa Rica/Kayla Pearson
 Leonardo Chacón Corrales, surrounded by students,
 displays the trophy that signifies he will be parade marshal.

The Festival de la Luz begins Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. The parade travels from La Sabana park, up Paseo Colon and to Avenida 2 where it ends at the Plaza de la Democracia.  It will include at least 11 carrozas or floats and 14 bands, municipal officials said.

Before the event, the portal at Teatro Nacional will be available for viewing.  The life-size nativity scene will be inaugurated the evening of Dec. 1.

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 232
Real Estate
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                vacation promo

San Ramón expats to see
how the other half lives

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

After families gather around the dinner table carving turkeys, the Communication Action Alliance has plans to spend the day following Thanksgiving educating persons about the impoverished conditions of Bajo Tejares, San Ramón.

“Sometimes in order to truly appreciate what we have, it would be helpful to spend time with others who are not so lucky,” said Mike Styles in a release.

Community Action Alliance is an expat based group committed to service and volunteerism.  The organization holds monthly events that consists of either fundraisers, seminars or mixers.

The Friday event is a mixer held at the Centro Comunidad Cristiana Misión in Bajo Tejaras.  The center is complete with classrooms and a library and was built by Faithful Servant Missions for the at-risk neighborhood, Styles said.

According to Styles, San Ramón can be classified as a middle-class community.  However, Bajo Tejaras is the center of drug activity in the canton and the 1,000 persons there live in less than ideal conditions.

“Bajo Tejaras is primarily Nicaraguan and many of them are illegal,” he said.  “They don't have access to many social programs like health care and can't get jobs. The top three professions are coffee picking, drugs and prostitution, not necessarily in that order.”

The mixer is designed to raise awareness about the barrio.  Youth from the area will provide a choral presentation and give testimonials.

“People can literally hear first hand what is going on in these kids lives,” Styles said.

Afterwards, members will provide information on how persons can help the neighborhood. That includes sponsoring a child and volunteering.

The event is free and open to the public, but patrons are asked to bring donation items from a list that includes soccer balls, basketballs, backpacks, shampoo and hair conditioner, deodorants, flash drives and tuna fish for the food bank.

Those who want to participate they are encouraged to register beforehand by emailing or by calling 8333-8750.

For more information those interested can visit

Cruz case now in the hands
of his fellow Sala IV jurists

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The status of the Sala IV magistrate sacked last week by a legislative vote now rests in the hands of his fellow jurists.

The Sala IV froze the departure of Fernando Cruz Castro Tuesday while the panel considers an appeal from a lawmaker who supports the magistrate. The appeal by Luis Fishman Zonzinski claims that the vote by 38 lawmakers rejecting the magistrate's reappointment was flawed.

Our opinion

Meanwhile, Cruz is receiving support from nearly all the judicial agencies in the country and even from judges in Portugal.

Today court workers will hold what they call a grand vigil for judicial independence at the court complex at 5 p.m. In addition a march to the legislature is planned for 10 a.m. Thursday. The announcement of both events came from an entity called the committee for judicial independence.

At the Asamblea Legislativa some lawmakers were having second thoughts.

Víctor Emilio Granados Calvo, the president of the assembly, sought to annul the negative vote against the magistrate. However, a majority of the lawmakers there voted to await the decision of the Sala IV. The vote was 26 to 19.

Grandos, who was not present when the original vote was taken, said that the period for voting on the magistrate had expired. Cruz is at the end of an eight-year term.

Some supporters of Cruz suspect that his failure to be re-elected was a political move by the Partido Liberación Nacional. No one disputes that the Costa Rican Constitution gives lawmakers the right to appoint magistrates.

Banco Nacional sorry
that online banking is slow

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Banco Nacional is making apologies for the problems with its banking on line Web page.

The bank has been experiencing problems since last week, but the apology only showed up Tuesday on the Web site.

The online banking pages had been slow to load and sometimes never loaded, the bank noted. The announcement said that their computer specialists and specialists from the company that provided the software have been called in. The company was not identified.

The problems do not seem to extend to the bank's internal computer system because tellers at various branches appear to have no trouble and some were unaware of the problems with the Web page.

Fake customer allows
robber buddy to enter

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Two armed men robbed a jewelry store in the city of Alajuela around midday Tuesday, according to a bulletin from judicial investigators.

The robbers took about 22 million colons (about $44,000) worth of property from the store, investigators said.

A Judicial Investigating Organization spokesperson said that the store is called Arezzon Joyería near Parque Central in downtown Alajuela.

The bulletin said that the owner of the shop pushed a button to unlock the door and allow one person into the store at around 12:10. That man pretended to be interested in several pieces of jewelry and asked to inspect them more closely.

While the owner pulled these out, the individual pushed the button again and allowed an accomplice to enter the store, the bulletin said. The two men then pulled out guns and forced the owner to lie on the floor while they took when they wanted.
Your links to a great vacation
or retirement

Periodically we like to feature our tourism and retirement experts on the news pages for the benefit of our overseas readers.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat
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Toll Free: 1-888-828-9245       In Costa Rica: (506)-2478-0023 or 8333-6863

Our Vision at Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat is to create the perfect blend of Adventure, Discovery and Tranquility for each guest.  Plan an Adventure zooming along a zip line high in the canopy or horseback riding though forests, farms and rivers. Discover the magical wonders of the flora and fauna of Costa Rica. Experience Tranquility in one of our cabins tucked in our 26 acres. Located in Monterrey, San Carlos, in the mountains above Fortuna, we enjoy spectacular, panoramic views of the Arenal Volcano and its lava flow. Please see our Web site for more information. or e-mail us at

Ready For a Vacation to Costa Rica?
Customized vacation packages to Costa Rica planned by our team of in-country travel experts. Call us Toll Free: 1-800-606-1860 or locally in San Jose: 2296-7715. You can sit back and relax while we plan your dream Costa Rica Vacation.

Costa Rica Vacations
Customized, all inclusive Costa Rica vacations planned by our team of in-country travel experts. Call us Toll Free: 1-800-606-1860 or locally in San Jose: 2296-7715. Sit back and relax while we plan your trip or dream Costa Rica Honeymoon.

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Custom, all-inclusive vacations to Panama by 100% locally based experts in Panama.  See "the new Costa Rica" before the secret gets out!  We offer customized trips to the best all inclusive Panama hotels and Panama resorts. Call 1-866-393-4192 if from the U.S. or 00 (507)-264-1279 from Costa Rica.

view from the house
An evening View from George’s Puriscal home
The Relocation/Retirement tour with the
 (as reported by the moving companies)

Visit many rental options to actually experience the price/amenity options available in more of the areas chosen by Expats for security, comfort, and quality of life. Meet many Expats who are willing to share their experiences and how the tour has value long after the “lust” wears off. Ask the others what you get for your money,
   and then compare the quality of accommodations, quality, quantity and variety of food and drink to measure the best value for your money.
See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!
Learn how others “talk the talk” and learn who really can “walk the walk”
Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
George Lundquist, retirement, relocation columnist, Guide & Developer/Builder.


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The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado 2012 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 232
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                vacations in Costa Rica

U.S. housing starts show
biggest increase since 2008

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. housing construction surged in October to its highest level in more than four years.

The American housing market has perhaps been the weakest link in the country's sluggish, but steady recovery from its worst economic downturn since the Great Depression in the 1930s. Millions of homeowners lost their homes to bank foreclosures, often after they lost their jobs and were unable to make monthly payments on their housing loans.

But the U.S. government said Tuesday that housing starts advanced 3.6 percent last month compared to September, pushing the annual rate to 894,000. Analysts said that is an indication that more buyers are looking for new housing.

The October rate is the highest level since July 2008, before the worst months of the U.S. recession.

Housing construction plays a key role in the U.S. economy, the world's largest, because home buyers often then spend even more on new furnishings, landscaping and household items.

Study of mediums shows
trance-writing alters brain

By the Thomas Jefferson University news staff

Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University and the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil analyzed the cerebral blood flow of Brazilian mediums during the practice of psychography, described as a form of writing whereby a deceased person or spirit is believed to write through the medium’s hand.

The new research revealed intriguing findings of decreased brain activity during the mediums' dissociative state which generated complex written content. Their findings are in the online journal PLOS ONE.

The 10 mediums — five less expert and five experienced — were injected with a radioactive tracer to capture their brain activity during normal writing and during the practice of psychography which involves the subject entering a trance-like state. The subjects were scanned using single photon emission computed tomography to highlight the areas of the brain that are active and inactive during the practice.

“Spiritual experiences affect cerebral activity, this is known. But, the cerebral response to mediumship, the practice of supposedly being in communication with, or under the control of the spirit of a deceased person, has received little scientific attention, and from now on new studies should be conducted,” says Andrew Newberg, a physician and director of research at the Jefferson-Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is a nationally-known expert on spirituality and the brain, who collaborated with Julio F. P. Peres, a clinical psychologist, at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, and colleagues on the research.

The mediums ranged from 15 to 47 years of automatic writing experience, performing up to 18 psychographies per month. All were right-handed, in good mental health, and not currently using any psychiatric drugs. All reported that during the study, they were able to reach their usual trance-like state during the psychography task and were in their regular state of consciousness during the control task.

The researchers found that the experienced psychographers showed lower levels of brain activity, including in the frontal lobe during psychography compared to their normal, non-trance writing. The frontal lobe areas are associated with reasoning, planning, generating language, movement, and problem solving. The lower activity perhaps reflecting an absence of focus, self-awareness and consciousness during psychography, the researchers hypothesize.

Less expert psychographers showed just the opposite. This finding may be related to their more purposeful attempt at performing the psychography, researcher said.

The writing samples produced were also analyzed and it was found that the complexity scores for the psychographed content were higher than those for the control writing across the board. In particular, the more experienced mediums showed higher complexity scores, which typically would require more activity in the frontal and temporal lobes, but this was not the case. Content produced during psychographies involved ethical principles, the importance of spirituality, and bringing together science and spirituality.

Several possible hypotheses for these many differences have been considered. One speculation is that as frontal lobe activity decreases, the areas of the brain that support mediumistic writing are enabled (similar to alcohol or drug use) so that the overall complexity can increase. In a similar manner, improvisational music performance is associated with lower levels of frontal lobe activity which allows for more creative activity.

However, improvisational music performance and alcohol/drug consumption states are quite peculiar and distinct from psychography. “While the exact reason is at this point elusive, our study suggests there are neurophysiological correlates of this state,” says Newberg.

“This first-ever neuroscientific evaluation of mediumistic trance states reveals some exciting data to improve our understanding of the mind and its relationship with the brain. These findings deserve further investigation both in terms of replication and explanatory hypotheses,” said Newberg.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 232
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Latin America news
Regulator says gasoline
now free of additive

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation's regulating agency said Tuesday that gasoline now is nearly free of the additive methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl provided by Afton Chemical of Richmond, Virginia.

Trace amounts were only found at two locations, said the Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos.

Since October motorists have been complaining about problems with their vehicle engines because of the additive. Gasoline provided by the Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo S.A. appeared to have far more than the recommended amount. The additive is designed to boost octane.

The refinery is believed to have made some cash settlements with motorists.

The regulating agency halted importations of gasoline with the additive in August when it first learned of the problem.

Committee OKs extension
for Golfito's Depósito Libre

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A legislative committee Tuesday sent to the full assembly a measure that would extend the life of Golfito's Depósito Libre for 10 more years.

The stores at this location offer low- and no-tax merchandise for shoppers who stay overnight in the community.

The system was the government's response to the exodus of a major banana grower. The first law was passed in 1985. The location is a favorite shopping spot for Central Valley residents who purchase vehicle tires, alcohol and appliances.

The bill came from Jorge Angulo Mora, who spoke in favor of the system in the Comisión especial que investiga la problemática de Puntarenas.

More cocaine encountered

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Anti-drug police said that they had discovered 108 kilos of cocaine in the tires of a truck near the Peñas Blancas border crossing.

They said this was the 23rd drug confiscation this year at the border. Detained was a Costa Rican with the last names of  Jiménez Arrieta. He is 41.

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