A.M. Costa Rica
Your daily English-language news source Monday through Friday

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(506) 2223-1327                                  Published Monday, Nov. 23, 2015, in Vol. 16, No. 231                                   Email us
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Solís defends his decision to admit Cuban migrants
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

President Luis Guillermo Solís went on television Sunday night to defend his decision to allow about 2,500 Cuban migrants to enter the country.

Also Sunday the national emergency commission said that nearly 2,000 Cubans were in shelters in Guanacaste and Upala. And three more shelters were being opened in San Ramón and Guatuso as well as one more in Upala.

Costa Rica began admitting the Cuban migrants last week, and now a meeting of foreign ministers is planned for Tuesday in San Salvador to figure out what to do next.
  Nicaragua has refused to allow the migrants to enter that country, so they are stuck in Costa Rica. Their goal is the United States where Cubans get preferential treatment.

Solís did not say anything new in his talk but he stressed the need for Costa Rica to defend human rights. 

There has been some low-level concern voiced by opposition politicians and some citizens, particularly at the cost of housing and feeding the migrants, which is likely to reach several hundred thousands of dollars.

He said the country was guaranteeing a secure and dignified transit of Costa Rica.

Syrian woman and Pakistanis turn up in Honduras
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Police in southern Honduras arrested two Pakistani men and a Syrian woman Saturday and accused them of being in the country illegally and possibly trying to get to the United States.

Police picked up the three in Choluteca state, near the Nicaraguan border. Officials said they did not have the proper documents to be in Honduras and were taken to an immigration office for questioning.

The arrests came a day after a Honduran judge ordered five Syrians jailed after they
were found to have used stolen Greek passports to enter the country.

They will remain behind bars while an investigation continues.

Officials alleged that the five Syrians also were planning to get to the United States.

There was no immediate indication that they had ties to terrorism.

One report said the five were trying to escape the war in Syria and were seeking refugee status in Honduras. They were arrested Tuesday at Toncontin Airport in Tegucigalpa.

Escazú expat facing charges including rape of minor
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial agents detained a U.S. resident from Escazú Saturday just as he was leaving the country by air. The charge is rape of a minor, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

The arrest came at Juan Santamaría airport.

The 57-year-old man has not been identified yet, but agents said that he has a home and works in Costa Rica.

The allegation is that the man contacted minors electronically and brought them to his Escazú home.  There he is accused of purchasing sex for money.

The rape charge stems from such a scenario that took place in July.

The allegation is that a female minor brought to the home declined the man's advances and that he raped her.

Sunday agents searched the man's dwelling for evidence.

The judicial agency did not give the ages of

Airprot arrest
Judicial Investigating Organization photo 
Suspect is in the custody of agents.

the women involved. Patronizing a prostitute who is under 18 years is a crime.

Casa Presidencial continually claims that foreign men are coming to the country to engage in sexual conduct with underage women, but the allegations announced Sunday do not amount to sexual tourism.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Nov. 23, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 231
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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.


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Our readers' opinions
Greenpeace and Sea Shepard fill a void

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Al Gaston's letter about Paul Watson (Sea Shepard) represents a point of view that is rapidly changing. Years ago some people were shocked that anyone would use force against the activities of the fishing industry. Perhaps they were unaware of fishing's many disastrous practices, or didn't care much.

With hindsight we see that at the time the term eco-terrorist was applied to quite the wrong party. Now we know better, including the fact that no government would act, leaving it up to Greenpeace and Sea Shepard to bring the world's attention to illegal and unsustainable fishing activity. In this respect, Mr. Watson and his cronies probably are heros, despite Mr. Gaston's unexplained misgivings.
Gordon Martin

Watson has a long, heroic record

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I read Al Gastón's accusation that A.M. Costa Rica unjustifiably takes a favorable slant toward the actions of marine activist Capt. Paul Watson in his lifelong attempt to save marine life from cruelty and exploitation.

Watson has had a long and heroic record in defending nature, so it would be impossible to include full details of every incident or conflict he has been involved in. Not covering what happened in Germany after he was arrested, or what "acting at the request of Guatemalan authorities" really means, is not critical to knowing in his current effort to get the Costa Rican government to clear his name.

Watson's high-seas actions are hardly mere escapades. How trivializing is that for someone who puts his life on the line for his beliefs and inspires thousands to volunteer for his cause, thereby risking life, limb and liberty in the process? Watson is a true leader. He has even assembled an armada of ships to take on poachers and outlaw whalers head-on. Paul Watson knows the meaning of the word action and has saved thousands of whales and countless other marine mammals and fish.

I fail to see how Watson's methods are quite self-serving. Sure, Watson gets a lot of publicity, which is needed to disseminate information and generate support, but like I always say, "It takes a big ego to do a big job." I often wonder who will take the helm when Capt. Watson dies. The marine life of this planet will lose its strongest ally.

As far as the rule of law is concerned, you well know that they are being blatantly ignored, even flaunted, in this case. And just because some laws are laws doesn't necessarily make them right, to wit: the Faroese anti-grindarap laws.

Finally, Gastón's paranoia that, left unchecked, Watson's actions will be more widely condoned and bring on anarchy is simply laughable.

A.M. Costa Rica's daily recap is balanced fine, without any offending slant, and no disservice done. I read it every morning when the notification alert pings me awake. Please keep up the good work and useful information.
Walt Clayton
San Isidro de Grecia

Colombia pardons rebels as step to peace

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Colombian government says it is granting pardons to 30 jailed members of the Marxist rebel group known as FARC, a confidence building gesture as it negotiates a treaty with rebels to end more than five decades of war.

The move, announced Sunday in Bogota, is the latest in a series of preliminary agreements unveiled in recent months as negotiators from both sides meeting in Havana close in on a peace deal.

President Juan Manuel Santos has set a target of March 2016 for a final treaty.

A statement from Santos' office said none of the inmates has been convicted of violent crimes.  It also says teams of health workers will evaluate the inmates, who will then receive psychological help, job training and aid for their families as the former combatants reintegrate into society.

In September, government negotiator Humberto de la Calle said both sides will definitely meet an agreed-upon March 23 deadline for a treaty. 

Weeks after the announcement, negotiators from both camps unveiled a breakthrough deal aimed at officially determining the fate of tens of thousands of people missing and presumed dead in the conflict, which erupted in 1964.

Under that protocol, both sides will furnish data on the missing to Colombia's National Institute of Legal Medicine and the International Committee of the Red Cross. The Red Cross, in turn, will design a search program.

Colombian authorities say at least 51,000 people have gone missing since the outbreak of hostilities, while victims' groups place the missing toll as high as 100,000.

Full government tallies show 220,000 people killed and millions more displaced in the continent's longest war.

Government and the Fuerza Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia envoys have been engaged in peace talks sponsored by Cuba and Norway for the past three years.

News for the Spanish-language press
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A.M. Costa Rica

Third News Page

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Nov. 23, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 231
Real Estate
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An A.M. Costa Rica review
Giant City Mall in Alajuela is a work in progress that disappoints

By Thomas Ropp
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

After much anticipation, Alajuela’s City Mall opened Nov. 11. Developers should have waited longer.

I visited the mall Thursday afternoon. I postponed the trip until eight days after the inaugural opening to avoid crowds, which I did. But I could not avoid the unexpected.

City Mall was a mess.

The mall’s developers call it the largest mall in Central America. And it does look big, like a great big mall under attack, an island of massive concrete surrounded by construction.

The problems began with trying to find a place to park. The access roads that should take shoppers to the mall’s underground parking are not finished and don’t appear to be close to finished. There are no signs to help drivers.

Consequently, many people were parking at the old mall (now an outlet mall) and trekking 300 meters through a construction zone of mud, cranes, dump trucks and workers in hard hats to the new mall’s main entrance. The construction issue was so bad, excavation channeled water to the mall after a torrential rain storm the first weekend causing flooding and trapping some shoppers.

But the mall czars can’t place all the blame on the transport ministry's lagging infrastructure. As of Thursday, workers with jack hammers were still focused on the completion of the mall’s grand terraza. It looked like a water feature (not rain related) might be going in there, too, but it was hard to tell.

Those who survived making it to mall, found a really big mall inside, too. The Christmas displays and giant Christmas tree were very impressive. Unfortunately, the mall inside the mall really wasn’t ready for prime time either.

Mall publicists said 63 percent of the available store space was occupied, but it looked like less than half of the stores were actually open. City Mall is supposed to have a state of the art theater, but it hadn’t opened yet. There was supposed to be a fantastic play park for children. Closed. And much had been made of an amusement park that features manufactured snow. Also not open.

Feeling famished from my hike into the mall, I headed to the food court only to find that the food court wasn’t really a court at all, but more like a food hallway. Picture Multiplaza with its rows of stores.

At City Mall some of the stores are places to eat. That’s right, the Taco Bells and Pizza Huts are mixed in with places to buy shoes.

Christmas tree
City Mall photo
The Christmas tree remains a mall centerpiece.

And as of last Thursday there were only a smattering of restaurants open. The most popular was a restaurant called Hungry, a kind of slower, more expensive Subway. It took me about 30 minutes to get a chicken sandwich. But it was good.

The food hallway also seems to have too few places to sit and eat. Small white tables are pushed together in a narrow band in the center of the hallway. Even though it was a light mall day, almost all the tables were occupied.

I really don’t mean to rag on City Mall. It has the potential to be something special, and more stores and features were scheduled to open over the weekend.

However, I can’t imagine what the planners were thinking by having an opening that was more akin to a very rough sneak preview.

First impressions last forever. City Mall needs to hope its first wave of customers weren’t too bothered by the inconveniences and starkness.

Or it could be a long time between visits.

Obligatory insurance for vehicles going up 5.2 percent for next year
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The obligatory insurance motorists pay in their marchamo will go up this year 5.2 percent for passenger vehicles.

The Instituto Nacional de Seguros, which provides the coverage and collects the marchamo or road tax fees, announced this Friday.

The Institute also is not offering this year the lower 3.5 million-colon coverage for motorcycles. Instead all motorcycle drivers will have to pay for the 6 million-colon coverage, said the institute.

The fixing of the insurance rate is a lengthy process that began in July.

The obligatory insurance covers damage to humans and not the vehicles themselves.

The basic passenger vehicle fee will be 19,958 colons, about $38, up 983 colons from this year's rate.

Motorcycle drivers pay much more. Their rate this year is 78,374 colons, about $145, but it reflects a 21.9 percent cut from this year. Motorcycle organizations have organized protests in the past and forced the insurance institute to create the lower, 3 million-colon category.

Of course motorists will not get off this easy. The insurance fee is just part of the marchamo. The bulk of the amount is determined by the value of the vehicle.

The insurance fee averages only about 20 percent of the marchamo cost, said the institute.

The lion's share goes to the Consejo de Seguridad Vial and there even is a percentage going to supposedly support wildlife. Motorists have to settle any unpaid traffic tickets, too.

Most expats purchase additional insurance.

With the establishment of the insurance fee for next year, the institute said that motorists now can begin to pay for the marchamo. The deadline is Dec. 31. without penalty.

Hotel header

Tarpon Lodge

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La Parcela

Hacienda Baru

Recreo Verde

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Nov. 23, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 231
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Researchers express concern about survival of Amazon tree species
By the Field Museum news staff

More than half of all tree species in the world's most diverse forest, the Amazon, may be globally threatened, according to a new study.

But the study also suggests that Amazonian parks, reserves, and native territories, if properly managed, will protect most of the threatened species.

The findings were announced by a research team comprising 158 researchers from 21 countries, led by Hans ter Steege of Naturalis Biodiversity Center in the Netherlands and Nigel Pitman of The Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois.

The Field Museum was heavily involved with this study. The paper was co-authored by The Field Museum's Corine Vriesendorp and relied on data contributed by the Field's Robin Foster. Furthermore, some of the tree plot data was collected through the museum's rapid inventory program, in which ecologists, biologists, and anthropologists travel to the Amazon and take stock of the plants, animals, and people who live there.

Forest cover in the Amazon has been declining since the 1950s, but scientists still have a poor understanding of how this has affected populations of individual species.

The new study, published this week in the journal Science Advances, compared data from forest surveys across the Amazon with maps of current and projected deforestation to estimate how many tree species have been lost, and where.

The authors concluded that 36 to 57 percent of the Amazon's estimated 15,000 tree species likely qualify as globally threatened.

"We aren't saying that the situation in the Amazon has suddenly gotten worse for tree species," said Pitman. "We're just offering a new estimate of how tree species have been affected by historical deforestation, and how they'll be affected by forest loss in the future."

Because the same trends observed in Amazonia apply throughout the tropics, the researchers argue that most of the world's more than 40,000 tropical tree species likely qualify as globally threatened.

Fortunately, the authors report, protected areas and indigenous territories now cover over half of the Amazon Basin, and contain sizable populations of most threatened tree species.

Amazon tree
James Cook University/William Laurance
This is an example of Acaricuara (Minquartia guianensis), one of the tree species considered to be threatened.

"This is good news from the Amazon that you don't hear enough of," said ter Steege. "In recent decades Amazon countries have made major strides in expanding parks and strengthening indigenous land rights," he said. "And our study shows this has big benefits for biodiversity."

However, parks and reserves will only prevent extinction of threatened species, the paper emphasizes, if they suffer no further degradation. The authors caution that Amazonian forests and reserves still face a barrage of threats, from dam construction and mining to wildfires and droughts and direct invasions of native lands.

"It's a battle we're going to see play out in our lifetimes," said co-author William Laurance of James Cook University in Australia. "Either we stand up and protect these critical parks and indigenous reserves, or deforestation will erode them until we see large-scale extinctions."

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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Click photo for another video

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

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

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

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

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

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


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Real estate rentals
Real estate rental agents
Real estate for rent
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Real estate rental services (paid category)

Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
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for Rent

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

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

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A.M. Costa Rica's  
Fifth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Nov. 23, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 231
Real Estate
About us

Businessman in Argentina
likely to be next president

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Exit polls show the center-right mayor of Buenos Aires, Mauricio Macri, appeared headed for a victory as polls closed in Argentina's first-ever presidential runoff election Sunday.

The vote was widely seen as a referendum on the left-leaning policies of outgoing President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and her predecessor and late husband Nestor Kirchner.

Macri, former boss of the popular soccer club Boca Juniors, earned the right for the runoff against ruling party candidate Daniel Scioli after the surprising results in the Oct. 25 polls that included four other candidates.

Numerous surveys leading up to last month's vote had Scioli, President Kirchner's chosen successor, winning.

Macri told his supporters he wants to lift capital controls and trade restrictions to win investor confidence and bring hard currency into the dollar-starved economy.

Scioli had warned that a Macri victory would subject the nation of 41 million people to the market-driven policies of the 1990s, a period of deregulation that many Argentines believe set the stage for the financial meltdown of 2001-2002.

The election comes at a time when Argentina's economy, Latin America's third largest, has stalled. Inflation is around 30 percent, gross domestic product growth is just above zero and many private economists warn that the Fernandez administration's spending is not sustainable.

Iran confirms prison sentence
of Washington Post staffer

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Iran said Sunday it has sentenced detained Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian to an unspecified prison term following his conviction last month on espionage charges.

Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi, a spokesman for Iran's judiciary, announced the sentence on Iranian state television's web site, but said it was not finalized. He gave no indication on the length of the term.

Rezaian's lawyer, Leila Ahsan, said she had not been informed of the sentence.

The U.S. State Department called on Iran to vacate this sentence and immediately free Jason so that he can be returned to his family. It also said Tehran should free two other Americans it is holding, Saeed Abedini and Amir Hekmati, and work with American officials to a locate a fourth, Robert Levinson.

The Washington Post foreign editor, Douglas Jehl, said the newspaper was aware of the Iranian announcement but had no further information.  He said Rezaian has done nothing wrong, Iran has produced no evidence and should release him immediately.

"What this does is move things a small step forward toward final resolution in the judiciary, and moving the case to Iran's senior leaders who can really act here to resolve the case," Jehl said.  "It's these senior leaders who have the power to pardon, the power to overturn a verdict, the power to make things right."

Rezaian, the newspaper's Tehran bureau chief, has been detained since July 2014 and was convicted in mid-October, with his family and the Post denouncing the charges and calling repeatedly for his release.

Iran's state media, citing the indictment against Rezaian, have claimed that Rezaian compiled information on Iranian and foreign individuals that circumvented U.S. and United Nations economic sanctions against Tehran and passed it on to Washington. Iranian state TV has repeatedly called Rezaian an American spy.

The intelligence arm of the powerful Revolutionary Guards claimed in a report earlier this month that Rezaian, with dual U.S. and Iranian citizenship, is a U.S. agent trying to overthrow Iran's Islamic government.

Rezaian's imprisonment and trial occurred as the United States and five other world powers negotiated a nuclear pact with Tehran that keeps it from developing a nuclear weapon in exchange for lifting the sanctions. But his fate and that of other Americans held by Iran were not part of the nuclear agreement.

Rezaian's wife, Yeganeh Salehi, and two photojournalists, were detained along with Rezaian when he was arrested, but they were eventually released.

Democrat wins governorship
in Louisiana's runoff vote

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Democrat John Bel Edwards will be the next governor of the southern U.S. state of Louisiana, after winning a runoff election against once-favored Sen. David Vitter, a Republican.

Two years ago Vitter's long history of success in the state and healthy fundraising made him the clear choice to replace Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is leaving office after serving the maximum two terms.

But the race shifted dramatically in recent months as Vitter clashed with other Republican candidates and Edwards cast him as no different than Jindal in a state that is struggling economically. Vitter responded with criticism linking Edwards to President Barack Obama.

Both candidates also spent the past week trading barbs over the president's plan to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees in the U.S., even though their basic positions are similar in opposing the effort.

Vitter introduced a bill on Tuesday that would prohibit the U.S. from admitting any Syrian refugees. The restriction would last until the president gives Congress certifications on protocols for deciding on Syrian refugee admissions, as well as a State Department briefing on the increase in refugees that includes information on any terrorist conduct.

Edwards issued a statement after the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris calling on the president to halt the placement of Syrian refugees in Louisiana until the Obama administration gives answers about security measures.

Edwards also used his campaign to portray himself as different from Vitter on a personal level, emphasizing his own military service while Vitter faced renewed questions about a 2007 prostitution scandal.

The election brings into focus the national political landscape as the country prepares to elect its next president in November 2016. Each of the 50 states is led by a governor, and when Edwards takes office he will be one of 18 Democrats in that office, along with 31 Republican governors and one independent.

Trump continues to lead
GOP presidential field

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The latest U.S. political survey shows billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump is still leading the crowded field of candidates seeking the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

The national poll by The Washington Post and ABC News released Sunday shows the flamboyant Trump riding a strong wave of anti-Washington sentiment among Republican voters, running ahead of the 14-candidate field with 32 percent support. He has campaigned on a plan to deport the 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. without proper documentation and, in the wake of the deadly attacks in Paris, he wants to create a registry of all Muslims in the U.S.

Trump is maintaining his edge over another political novice, former neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who is favored by 22 percent of registered Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. The survey, conducted over the last several days, shows Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida with 11 percent, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas with 8 percent and former Florida governor Jeb Bush, the son and brother of two U.S. presidents, in fifth with 6 percent.

In the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, the survey showed former secretary of State Hillary Clinton with a wide lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, 60 to 34 percent.

The polling comes about 2 1/2 months ahead of the first voting in Republican and Democratic party contests in the central farm state of Iowa and the rural northeastern state of New Hampshire, followed by voting in numerous other states.

The U.S. presidential candidates are all looking to succeed President Barack Obama, who is limited by the U.S. Constitution to two terms in office and will leave the White House in January 2017.

Bilinguals recover better
from stroke, Indian study says

By the American Heart Association news staff

Bilingual patients were twice as likely as those who spoke one language to have normal cognitive functions after a stroke, according to a study reported in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

Previous research found bilingualism may delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

“People tend to think of Alzheimer’s as the only cause of dementia, but they need to know that stroke is also an important cause,” said Subhash Kaul, senior investigator and developer of the stroke registry at Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences in Hyderabad, India.

In the new study, researchers reviewed the records of 608 patients in the stroke registry in 2006 to 2013. More than half the patients were bilingual, defined in the study as speaking two or more languages. To ensure results weren’t due to bilinguals having a healthier lifestyle, researchers took into account other factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes and age.

They found about 40 percent of bilingual patients had normal cognitive functions following a stroke, compared to about 20 percent of single language patients.

Bilinguals performed better on post-stroke tests that measured attention, and ability to retrieve and organize information, the study found.

Surprisingly, there was no difference between bilinguals and those who spoke one language in the likelihood of experiencing aphasia, a disorder that can cause difficulties in speaking, reading and writing, after a stroke.

“The advantage of bilingualism is that it makes people switch from one language to another, so while they inhibit one language, they have to activate another to communicate,” said Suvarna Alladi, lead author and a neurology professor at the Institute of Medical Sciences.

“The combined vocabulary of bilinguals can make it more difficult for them to find specific words. This may explain what appears to be a surprising result,” said Thomas Bak, study co-author at the University of Edinburgh in United Kingdom.

The study’s results may not be universally applicable to all bilingual people. Hyderabad is a multicultural city in which many languages are commonly spoken, including Telugu, Urdu, Hindi and English. “Constantly switching languages is a daily reality for many residents of Hyderabad,” Alladi said. “The cognitive benefit may not be seen in places where the need to function in two or more languages isn’t as extensive.”

People who speak only one language shouldn’t necessarily begin learning another one, Kaul said. “Our study suggests that intellectually stimulating activities pursued over time, from a young age or even starting in mid-life, can protect you from the damage brought on by a stroke.”

Tropics reported vulnerable
to stormy space weather

Stormy space weather sweeping across the equator is threatening vital power grids in regions long considered safe from such events, ground-breaking new research from RMIT reveals.

Brett Carter of the RMIT Space Research Centre and his team from the Australian university, Boston College and Dartmouth College found that these equatorial electrical disruptions threaten power grids in Southeast Asia, India, Africa and South America, where protecting electricity infrastructure from space shocks has not been a priority.

“Massive space weather events have crashed power grids across North America and Europe, but we have found that often with little warning, smaller events strike in equatorial regions more frequently than previously thought,’’ Carter said.

“Our research shows areas closer to the equator experience disturbing effects on power grid infrastructure which has largely been overlooked,” Carter said.

“Previous research has focused on severe geomagnetic storms, such as the 1989 event that left millions across North America without power for up to 12 hours.

“What the historical data also shows in our study is that we don’t need huge geomagnetic storms to experience negative effects at the equator.

“From previous research, we know that smaller episodes can cause fluctuations in wholesale electricity prices, as it can interfere with monitoring rates of supply and demand.”

The findings, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters online, show that the effects of geomagnetic storms are amplified by the equatorial electrojet, a naturally occurring flow of electric current approximately 100 kilometers above the surface of the Earth.

The electrojet travels above large parts of Africa, South America, Southeast Asia and the southern tip of India.

Carter said the Earth’s equatorial regions are largely unstudied and more susceptible to disruptive space weather than previously thought, which should prompt scientists to examine the infrastructure and economic implications on countries near the equator.

“It's becoming increasingly clear that we need to investigate the effects of adverse space weather in a technology-dependent society where health and economic well-being are reliant on dependable power infrastructure,”  he said.

Medical University of Vienna photo  
This is one of the skeletons unearthed at the cathedral square of St. Pölten, Austria.

Study of ancient skeletons
finds indications of syphilis

By the Medical University of Vienna news staff

In 1495, a disease spread throughout Europe: syphilis. Christopher Columbus was said to have brought this sexually transmitted disease back from his voyage to America. At least, that has been the accepted theory up until now.

Using morphological and structural evidence, researchers from the Department of Forensic Medicine and the Center for Anatomy and Cell Biology at MedUni Vienna have now identified several cases of congenital syphilis dating back to as early as 1320 A.D. in skeletons from excavations at the cathedral square of St. Pölten, Austria. "The discovery clearly refutes the previous theory," say study leaders Karl Großschmidt and Fabian Kanz of MedUni Vienna.

Congenital syphilis, which is passed from a pregnant mother to her unborn child, was primarily identified by changes to the teeth of skeletons from the 14th century. "We found so-called Hutchinson’s teeth with central notches and converging edges and mulberry molars, which are characteristic signs of syphilis," study authors Kanz and Großschmidt explained. Their findings have now been published in the Journal of Biological and Clinical Anthropology.

Up to now, a total of 9,000 skeletons as old as the 9th century A.D. have been recovered from the excavations in the cathedral square in St. Pölten. The large number of unearthed individuals at one archaeological site is unique in Europe. The recovery was conducted in close collaboration with the Urban Archaeology Department of the state capital of Lower Austria. Additional studies of the living conditions and diseases evident from the skeletons were started.

This remarkable discovery of the earliest evidence of syphilis between 1320 and 1390 now awaits confirmation by molecular biological tests and examination using biochemical methods). The scientists hope to gain further insights from the analysis, in particular, because the DNA of syphilis decays very rapidly.

Real estate-related services (paid category)

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Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

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

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

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

Special Offer

Penthouse condominium in Playa Langosta, Tamarindo

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

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

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

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Re/Max Ocean Surf and Sun:

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

Real estate for sale (paid category)


Caribbean paradise: CAHUITA

New home, beautiful well-built house 200 meters from a lovely beach. Very private, fully titled, excellent water well.  2 large bedrooms, 2 full baths, tub, large open floor plan 26-foot sliding glass doors open to covered porch. Encircling back yard are coral rocks 10 feet tall and behind jungle reserve. Lots of birds and wildlife.  very nice neighborhood. Contact 2755-0014 or


There are many good reasons for moving to or investing in Costa Rica

Are you worried about the safety of the money in your 401k?  Do you think your government has painted a bullseye on all of your assets?  Do you believe it might be time to consider moving some money overseas just in case?  This property, at a distress sales price of only $140,000, should gross a 7-10% return this year and the bookings for this season aren’t all in yet.  The best part from a buyer’s standpoint is that it is utilizing only a fraction of its potential.  What’s wrong here?  Divorce, and a lack of funds needed to make the necessary value-added improvements.  Rental manager says rents could double with moderate invesement, but the current owners are unable to resolve those problems, so selling is their only way out.  This extra-large lot with its modern 2-bedroom home was intended to service a dozen or more apartments to be built on the rear, a really great plan, but that was before the wheels came off of the marriage.  It is a really good investment property in a very desirable location, earning a much better safe return than stocks and bonds, but it is also perfect for buyers who only want to follow the original plan and live in the existing home while building out the rest for a comfortable retirement.  Perfect, too, for the person who intends to move to Costa Rica in the future and wants to buy at today’s prices, but needs a property which will carry itself until that time comes.  To find out more about this opportunity contact: or phone 506-8377-8402.

A beautiful American style suburban home just reduced.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Goetl in Palo Seco

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

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

Pacific Sur montagee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

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

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

Some of our other titles:
A.M. Panama
A.M. Colombia
A.M. Guatemala
A.M. Honduras
A.M. Cuba
A.M. Nicaragua
A.M. Venezuela
A.M. Central America
Dominican Republic

A.M. Ecuador A.M. El Salvador
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The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2015 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. 
Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Nov. 23, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 231
Real Estate
About us

News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are disabled on archived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Keep snippers handy for a new addition

What’s not to love about cuttings?   They are so darn easy to get. Just keep a pair of garden snippers in the car. And so darn easy to start. In some cases, just stick them in a patch of dirt.  You would think there is
Victoria torley
nothing else to say about cuttings, but there is.

First, there is the type of cutting you are taking.  There are plants that propagate best from hardwood cuttings and some that do best from softwood cuttings.  Softwood is new growth that hasn’t developed bark; it is still green or greenish.  Hardwood has
developed bark.  Some plants will develop roots from either type of cutting. Others will only develop roots if the cutting is taken at the right place, from softwood or hardwood.  But why?

Plants have cells designed for specific purposes.  One type makes leaves, another bark, a third develops roots and so on.  In order for a cutting to develop roots, it needs to have cells capable of differentiation. They must be able to change from producing bark or leaves to being capable of producing roots.  In this, they might be compared to human stem cells.  Don’t know whether to cut from hard or soft wood?  Neither do I, so try a bit of both.

Now you have your cutting; what’s next?  When you get your cuttings home the cells at the cut are probably a bit dry, so make a fresh cut.  At this point, I like a to put a bit of hormone powder or liquid on the stem to help cells differentiate into roots, remove some of the leaves and all of the flowers or buds, and then put it in prepared soil.  Keep the soil moist but not soggy.  You will probably notice some wilting; in some cases all the old leaves fall off the cutting.  Do not be discouraged, as this is normal for some plants.  Some of the cuttings may develop new leaves.  If the cutting dies, problems could include soil that is too wet or too dry or you may have taken the wrong kind of cutting (soft vs. hard).  This is why we try to take multiple cuttings from different places on the same plant.

And now, a word of caution.  A friend of mine tells the story of stopping by the road, hopping out, and snipping a piece from a roadside plant.  She didn’t notice how close she was to the property owner’s home until a woman ran out at the car, yelling and waving her arms.  Oops!  So be careful with roadside cuttings. That plant may be someone’s treasure.

jade vine

Plant of the Day
Doesn't look like much does it. But this is my jade vine (Strongylodon macrobotrys), two years old and growing like crazy.  This is one of the few blue-green flowers in the world, and the pictures don't do it justice. The inflorescence can be over a meter long with individual flowers 15 centimeters long. Spectacular on an overhead trellis (if you leave enough headroom). The vine is bat pollinated, and so far no leaf cutter ants have bothered it. More photos are HERE!

If you would like to suggest a topic for this column, simply send a letter to the editor.  And, for more garden tips, visit

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

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From Page 7:

Vehicle inspection firm's rate request rejected

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The company that does vehicle inspections, RITEVE SyC, has been rebuffed again this year in its efforts to obtain a rate hike.

The Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos said that no increase in rates will be approved because there is no approved system for calculating the fee. The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes was supposed to have developed a methodology for fixing the rate years ago.

The company charges 9,900 colons for an inspection of a passenger vehicle. It wanted 30,000 colons or about $57 with similar raises for other categories of vehicles. The rate request was mostly posturing for the Spanish firm because it has been rejected for the same reason in the past.

The firm and the government have been involved in a long legal battle over the rates.