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(506) 2223-1327                          Published Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013,  in Vol. 13, No. 235                               Email us
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These slimy guys just want a moist place to live
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

As the rainy season ends slimy creatures that like moisture are looking for new homes. They may end up in the house.

These are the many species of slugs that live in Costa Rica. Basically they are like their cousins, snails, but without the shell.

Besides being a yucky addition to household, particularly if stepped on, they can be harmful.

From time to time Costa Rican health authorities issue warnings noting that many of the slugs host parasites that can be harmful to humans.

Nobody eats slugs on purpose, even though the signature dish of French restaurants comes close. But slugs like plant matter, and a slug can easily become chopped up in a salad if the cook does not wash the veggies carefully.

The Ministerio de Salud has noted that slugs are hosts to Angiostrongylus costaricensis. This is a nematode that in juvenile form lives within slugs. If ingested, the parasite can cause stomach pain and possible damage to the intestines. Although most people would not knowingly eat slugs, scientists think that the nematode can be found in the secretion that slugs leave behind when they travel. This could be on vegetables or fruit.
A.M. Costa Rica file photo/Saray Ramírez Vindas
A typical Costa Rican slug.

In one study some 50 percent of the slugs collected were hosts to the parasite. The creature is called a babosa  in Spanish.

Like their cousins, slugs are slow travelers, so they are food for many creatures. And that is part of the parasite life cycle.

Both slugs and snails are called gastropods.

The slug can be a heavy eater of agricultural products, sometimes consuming up to 80 percent of a bean field, said one study reported by the Organization for Tropical Studies. They also damage tomatoes, cucumbers and corn. Farmers reduce the number of slugs by removing decaying organic matter on which they feed. Homeowners can do the same.

Costa Rica will get data on expats' finances, too
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica has set up its tax agreement with the U.S. federal government so that officials here can keep an eye on expat finances.

Gonzalo Gallegos, the chargé d'affaires at the U.S. Embassy, and Edgar Ayales, minister of Hacienda, signed the agreement Tuesday. Ostensibly, the pact gives the U.S. Internal Revenue Service access to information about the finances of  U.S. citizens here.

But a description also said that all the data would be channeled through the Ministerio de Hacienda, which is where the Costa Rican tax collectors are located. The alternative would have been to let banks make the reports individually to the U.S. officials themselves.

This means that banks will be notifying the ministry of expats who are receiving money here.  Many are employed in the gray economy and do not pay Costa Rican taxes. The information about their income will become apparent to the tax collectors.

The logical alternative would be for expats who work here for U.S. companies to have the funds deposited in a stateside bank where the wage earner could be eligible for an earned income exemption each year. Some firms already pay their U.S. employes through a bank in Panamá.

An unknown number of expats are working here online and are not registered with the Costa Rican tax authorities.

Costa Rica said Tuesday that it had become the second country in Latin America to make an agreement with the U.S. government over the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. México was the first.

The United States is one of the few countries in the world that taxes its citizens for money earned overseas. The tax compliance legislation was designed to find accounts that U.S. residents had stashed cash. Foreign banks that do not comply with the U.S. law can be penalized 30 percent of any remittances they receive from American banks.
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The agreement still requires legislative action to put it into force. Costa Rican officials said they would seek such action. Some lawmakers are sure to question if this pact does not intrude on the country's sovereignty.

Costa Rica does not tax its nationals and residents on money earned outside the country. But there is a good chance that this will change as the country struggles to create more taxes and raise more money for its sagging finances. There has been a suggestion that money should be taxed when it comes into Costa Rica from a foreign source. For some lawmakers, this is not good enough. They seek to impose taxes when the money is earned.

U.S. legislation about foreign banks has caused some to stop handling accounts for Americans.

Is your home all decked out for the holidays?
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Do you have or will you have some cool holiday lighting of your Costa Rican home?

Some expats really knock themselves out to decorate their homes or business. None probably go so far as the Hospital del Niños where a live evergreen bears
12,000 bulbs. But some come close.

A.M. Costa Rica will publish a picture of these holiday creations if homeowners send in a .jpeg photo to The photo should be accompanied by a note giving the names of the homeowner or business owner, location and any interesting details.

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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday,  Nov. 27, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 235

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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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Chief prosecutor opens
long-stalled serial killing probe

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation's chief prosecutor seems to be swept up in the emotions of the International Day against Violence toward Women. He has ordered the reopening in a long-shelved serial murder case.

The so-called psychopath stalked couples in Costa Rica from 1986 to 1996. He killed 19 and sometimes extracted human organs from the victims.

The murders were done with a firearm and a knife.

Officials have said for years that they think they know who the killer was and that he has died.

The chief prosecutor, Jorge Chavarría, said he was assigning the case to a special murder team.  The killer did not attack just women.

Cold front and high winds
predicted for this evening

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation's weather forecasters say that a cold front is heading south and will arrive over Costa Rica tonight.

This means strong winds, said the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional. Most of the wind will be in the Central Valley and the north Pacific as well as the mountains, said the institute.

Earlier today there may be some showers in the Caribbean and the northern zone due to humidity coming in from the sea.

The weather institute is predicting winds of up to 100 kph or about 62 mph. Also predicted is a drop in temperature. These conditions are expected to endure until at least Saturday.

The dry season in the Central Valley and the Pacific coasts is noted for winds and chilly nights. The days usually are hot and with some humidity.

The weather institute said that property owners should take precautions against strong winds.

German Embassy plans
bike tour to Yule fiesta

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The German Embassy is organizing a bicycle tour Sunday to mark the anniversary of Costa Rica's decision to abolish the military. Participants can gather at 9 a.m. on the east side of Parque la Sabana near the statue of León Cortés.

Those arriving early will get a T-shirt.

The bike tour is through San José and Escazú, said the embassy.

Bike riders will have a chance to stop at the Weihnachtsmarkt/Feria Navideña Alemana that is being put on by the Cámara de Comercio and the Industria Costarricense Alemana at Plaza Tempo in Escazú. The plaza is on the Autopista Próspero Fernández in the vicinity of Hospital CIMA.

This is the second year that the bike tour has taken place. It is co-sponsored by ChepeCletas, which promotes the good use of the area's open spaces.

The German ambassador, Ernst Martens, noted that there are 70 million bikes in Germany and 29 million in daily use as transportation.

He added that his country seeks to increase the use of bikes to reduce traffic.

Our reader's opinion
Support sought for plan
for private power generating

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Yesterday A.M. Costa Rica published an important article entitled “Utility regulator to air plan for customer generation,” which described a proposed regulation to make investment in grid-connected (net-metered) renewable energy for small and large consumers an available option, regardless of which distribution company serves you.  Today I’d like to encourage all consumers of electricity to make their voices heard at the ARESEP Public Hearing this Thursday afternoon at 5:15 p.m. And specifically, I’d encourage you to tell ARESEP and your electricity distribution company your opinion on three issues:

First: That you strongly support the ARESEP proposed regulation to allow all Costa Rican consumers to benefit from the ability to grid-connect and net-meter renewable generation at their residence or business, and

Second: That if ARESEP insists on an annual balancing period, that they at least change the interval from a calendar year (beginning Jan. 1 and ending Dec. 31) to a much more practical energy year that corresponds to our solar/wind natural resources, and therefore should begin Dec. 1 and end on Nov. 30.

This Dec. 1 to Nov. 30 energy year is the same accounting interval that the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad Distribution has used successfully for years in its net-metering pilot program. It makes no sense to change this to a calendar year that has no relationship to the availability of natural resources to generate clean, renewable power. In fact it only serves to reduce the benefit to the consumer/generator and it could also place additional strain on distributor’s accounting and IT staff at year end).

Third: Do away entirely with the annual balancing period, or at least the associated obligation to forfeit unused kWh credits at this artificial year end to the distributor (without compensation).

If ARESEP wanted to remove a significant dis-incentive for many small and large scale consumers, especially those with less predictable and or with seasonal consumption patterns, then do away entirely with the concept of a year-end balancing period and forfeiture of the private generator’s excess kWh production credits at year end.

This is an unnecessary and artificial construct that only serves to constrain homeowners and especially businesses from more investment in clean, renewable energy. Any excess kWh credits at year end should be rolled over to the next energy year, and still be available for the consumer’s later use, just as they are from month-to-month during the preceding 12 months. It is a financial benefit to the distributor to have the use of these free kWh’s until the generating consumer needs them. 

As you can surmise, like any proposed regulation there are aspects that could be improved. But in the whole, even without modification, this draft regulation deserves your support if you wish to a.) have the ability to invest in private generation to reduce your electricity costs, and b.) help reduce carbon emissions.

Please support renewable generation and this draft regulation. Clean, renewable generation is the future!
Jim Ryan
ASI Power & Telemetry,S.A.

Researchers say high-fat diet
increases breast cancer risk

By the Michigan State University news staff

New findings show that eating a high-fat diet beginning at puberty speeds up the development of breast cancer and may actually increase the risk of cancer similar to a type often found in younger adult women.

The research comes from the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program at Michigan State University and is published in the current online issue of Breast Cancer Research.

Utilizing a preclinical model, the findings indicate that before any tumors appear, there are changes in the breast that include increased cell growth and alterations in immune cells. These changes persist into adulthood and can lead to the rapid development of precancerous lesions and ultimately breast cancer.

In addition to the accelerated breast cancer development, this type of diet produces a distinct gene signature in the tumors consistent with a subset of breast cancers known as basal-like that can carry a worse prognosis.

“This is very significant because even though the cancers arise from random mutations, the gene signature indicating a basal-like breast cancer shows the overarching and potent influence this type of diet has in the breast,” said Sandra Haslam, physiology professor in the university and one of the lead investigators of the project.

“Cancers of this type are more aggressive in nature and typically occur in younger women. This highlights the significance of our work toward efforts against the disease.”

Richard Schwartz, microbiology professor and associate dean in the College of Natural Science, said “It’s important to note that since our experimental model did not involve any weight gain from the high-fat diet, these findings are relevant to a much broader segment of the population than just those who are overweight. This shows the culprit is the fat itself rather than weight gain."

Early evidence indicates that the fat, which in this case was saturated animal fat, could potentially have permanent effects even if a low-fat diet is introduced later in life. Schwartz cautions, however, that this preliminary finding requires further investigation and doesn’t indicate with certainty that humans will be affected in the same way.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday,  Nov. 27, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 235
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$5 land exit tax will go into effect Monday, Tributación says
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The country's tax authority says that it will begin collecting a $5 land exit tax Monday.

The agency also said that no one at the border crossings has the power to accept such payments, so travelers must pay their tax beforehand.

The agency, the Dirección General de Tributación, said Tuesday it had entered into an agreement with Banco Crédito Agrícola to handle the money the same way that the bank handles the airport exit tax. Within two weeks, the bank is supposed to have automatic machines to collect the tax from credit and debit cards and give receipts at Paso Canoas, Río Sereno-Sabalito, Sixaola and Peñas Blancas. These are the major crossings.

The exit tax can be paid ahead of time at branches of Coopealianza as well as the Banco Crédito Agrícola, said the ministry. Tour companies, travel agencies and some transport companies also will be selling the exit tax proof.
There will be a flood of Nicaraguans going to their country over Christmas, and the ministry is sure to rake in plenty of money. However, the agency said that anyone not having proof of payment of the tax will be denied exit.

Immigration agents are supposed to verify online the validity of any receipts showing the tax has been paid, said Tributación. Then there is supposed to be a system to prevent reuse of the payment slip. The tax can be paid in dollars or colons at the existing exchange rate. The money is supposed to be used to fix up the exit facilities.

Diplomats, truck drivers and bus drivers are exempt from the tax, said the agency.

The tax passed the legislature in July, but putting the levy into practice required the drafting of regulations.

Initially the tax was going to apply to cruise ship passengers arriving and leaving by boat. There also was talk of increasing the airport exit tax.

Three downtown restaurants ready to celebrate Thankgiving
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Not many years ago, Thanksgiving was just another day at Costa Rican restaurants.

Then a few hotels offered turkey dinners, but due to lack of experience, one fancy Escazú location was serving undercooked turkey.

Things have changed.

Three San José restaurants are actively inviting expats to dine there Thursday. They are the Del Mar Restaurant of the Hotel Del Rey, Sportsmen's Lodge and the Restaurante Magnolia in the Casino Colonial.

All three have highly skilled cooks, and the promise is for turkey and all the trimmings. Plus there is the traditional North American professional football games.

Prices range from $22.50 at Sportsmen's Lodge to $26 at the Del Mar with the Magnolia in the middle at $25. Menus are similar, and most restaurants offer a complimentary glass of wine or beer.

The Del Mar is in a restored mansion facing Parque Morazán. It said that "Our chef, Paul Montano, takes great care in the three-course meal. He will delight us with a traditional Thanksgiving feast of roasted turkey with cranberry sauce and giblet gravy with a choice of pumpkin soup or cesar
Del Mar Restaurant photo 
Dinner is almost ready to be served!

salad and for dessert pumpkin pie or apple pie."

The Restaurante Magnolia next door has a similar menu with an offer of all you can eat. Plus the menu includes hot wings and oregano fries as well as the traditional turkey and pumpkin pie.

The Sportsmen's Lodge is offering half-price meals to seniors and children under 12. This is an all-you-can-eat meal, too. This is the 10th year.

All three restaurants stress that they are offering a family atmosphere to celebrate the U.S. holiday.

Export-Import Bank loans $61.1 million for wind generators
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The U.S. Export-Import Bank has approved a direct loan of $61.1 million to Inversiones Eólicas de Orosi Dos S.A.  in Orosi to purchase U.S.-made wind generators.

The wind generators are coming from Gamesa in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania, said the bank.
The Orosi company is a subsidiary of Globeleq Mesoamerica Energy. The generators will be installed on a wind farm to generate 50 megavolts.

The Export-Import Bank, a government agency makes loans to firms that purchase U.S. products. It said that this agreement was the first wind-generating deal for Costa Rica.

Del Rey thaknsgiving

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, Wednesday,  Nov. 27, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 235
Real Estate
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Foreign students confronting U.S. slang is a special California class
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Many people who learn English as a second language think they have a good grasp of it until they watch an American TV show or speak to someone from the United States and realize there's a lot they don’t understand. Some are actually coming to the U.S. to learn American slang, since it's rarely taught in textbooks back home.
Most people come to Venice Beach seeking sun and entertainment, but for Hussain al Shahri of Saudi Arabia and his classmates, the beach is a classroom.
Their teachers are strangers they meet by the beach.
Al Shahri is taking a class on American street talk and slang. Field trips, combined with classroom discussion, make up most of his learning experience in a class at the University of California Los Angeles.
“If you want to know this culture, you have to communicate with people and socialize. So slang language is the only way to communicate and socialize with people," said Al Shahri.
Knowing the culture also means learning from American media, said Street Talk instructor Ryan Finnegan.
“American movies are global, and American music. So they hear these words, and they hear them used a lot, and they see maybe people laughing at those words, and they want to understand what’s funny about that,” explained Finnegan.
Finnegan pointed out the slang in TV shows as examples for his students.  Student Zhang Jiu Hua said the English she learned in China was very different.
“It makes my English style more academic and formal and a little bit stiff. I don’t want to be that way,” said Ms. Zhang.
Ms. Zhang said that through the use of American slang and idioms, she can speak more casually and use humor in her speech. Through slang, she is also learning about differences between Chinese and American culture.

“There is a slang I love: drop dead gorgeous. In my culture, I still remember when I was a child my parents told me 'don’t use dead. It’s very rude and unlucky.' And when I say that words 'drop dead gorgeous,' I’m curious. Can I use that? Actually, I love that word,” said Ms. Zhang.
Finnegan notes that while it provides benefit to students, teaching slang presents a specific set of challenges that more conventional language instruction does not face.
“Slang is extremely regional and extremely dynamic.  So the slang from even one year ago is different from the slang of right now,” said Finnegan.
Judy Tanka, who develops curriculum at UCLA Extension's American Language Center, said that instructional materials will need to improve as demand for slang and idiom classes grows.
“A lot of materials get outdated very quickly, and it’s very expensive to republish books frequently with updates, and this is why online materials will be very popular," said Ms. Tanka. 
With a working knowledge of American slang, Ms. Zhang will return to China and use what she's learned to advance her career.

Al Shahri said he will be better able to immerse himself in American life as he pursues an education in the United States.

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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.
Lundquist patio
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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.
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Christ Howard with Max
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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)

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.

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:

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

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,


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A.M. Costa Rica's
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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday,  Nov. 27, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 235
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Pacific Estates

U.N. Assembly seeks end
to excessive surveillance

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A U.N. General Assembly committee Tuesday called for an end to excessive electronic surveillance and expressed concern at the harm such scrutiny, including spying in foreign states and the mass collection of personal data, may have on human rights.
The U.N. General Assembly's Third Committee, which deals with human rights issues, adopted the German and Brazilian-drafted resolution by consensus. It is expected to be put to a vote in the 193-member General Assembly next month.
“For the first time in the framework of the United Nations this resolution unequivocally states that the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online,” German U.N. Ambassador Peter Wittig told the committee.
The United States, Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, known as the Five Eyes surveillance alliance, supported the draft resolution after language that had initially suggested foreign spying could be a human rights violation was weakened to appease them.
The draft text does not name specific countries but comes after former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden released details this year of a global spying program by the NSA, sparking international outrage.
“We firmly believe that privacy rights and the right to freedom of expression must be respected both online and offline,” U.S. delegate Elizabeth Cousens told the committee after the draft resolution was adopted.
Ms. Cousens said it was imperative that human rights and civil society activists be able to use the Internet freely and without fear of reprisal to protect “dignity, fight against repression, and hold governments, including mine, accountable.”
General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, unlike resolutions of the 15-nation Security Council. But assembly resolutions that enjoy broad international support can carry significant moral and political weight.
The draft resolution notes “that while concerns about public security may justify the gathering and protection of certain sensitive information, States must ensure full compliance with their obligations under international human rights law.”
It calls on states to review procedures, practices and legislation on communications surveillance and “to establish or maintain existing independent, effective domestic oversight mechanisms capable of ensuring transparency, as appropriate, and accountability for state surveillance of communications, their interception and collection of personal data.”
It also asks U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay to present a report to the U.N. Human Rights Council and the U.N. General Assembly on the protection and promotion of the right to privacy in domestic and extraterritorial surveillance and the interception of digital communications and collection of personal data, including on a mass scale.
“Human right to privacy is pivotal to any democratic society,” Brazil's U.N. ambassador, Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, told the committee. “Full participation in democracy implies full protection of individual liberties, including the right to privacy in the digital age.”
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have both condemned the widespread spying by the U.S. National Security Agency. The NSA is accused of accessing tens of thousands of French phone records and monitoring phone calls by Ms. Merkel and Ms. Rousseff.
A North Korean U.N. delegate said spying on heads of state was “a rampant violation of sovereignty and it is interference into the internal affairs, it is an insult, very unbearable.”
North Korea, one of the world's most reclusive and repressive nations accused of starving and torturing thousands of people in a network of prison camps, was one of dozens of co-sponsors of the draft resolution.
A Canadian U.N. delegate told the committee that the distinction in the draft resolution between regular surveillance and spying on a mass-scale was beside the point.
“When governments use surveillance to crack down on religious minorities or their political activists, that harass, detain, torture or even kill those targeted, it is not an issue of scale but of a deplorable practice that warrants the condemnation of the international community,” he said.

Bogart movie bird statue
auctioned for $4.1 million

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The bird statuette that was the central prop in the classic 1941 detective thriller “The Maltese Falcon” sold for nearly $4.1 million at a New York auction, Bonhams auction house said.

The statuette, a 20-kilogram, 30-centimeter tall lead figurine featured in the Humphrey Bogart film, was the top lot in the Bonhams sale on Monday.
“The spectacular price achieved reflects the statuette's tremendous significance. The Maltese falcon is arguably the most important movie prop ever and is central to the history of cinema,” Catherine Williamson, director of entertainment memorabilia at Bonhams, said in a statement.

The buyer was not identified.

The seller was a private individual who bought the prop in the 1980s but whose identity was not disclosed.
The statue is the only one confirmed as having appeared in the film and is distinguished by a bent tail feather, Bonhams said. During filming actress Lee Patrick dropped the prop while handing it to Bogart. The damage is visible at the end of the film.
The film's plot revolves around Bogart playing detective Sam Spade investigating a case in which three criminals are pursuing a priceless jewel-encrusted falcon statuette.
Other notable items in sale that totaled just under $6 million include a 1940 Buick Phaeton from the movie “Casablanca,” which fetched $461,000, and a Givenchy hat worn by actress Audrey Hepburn in the film “Funny Face” that reached $87,500, four times higher than its estimate.

Stalingrad battle is subject
of popular Russian movie

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Seventy years have passed since the Battle of Stalingrad, the ferocious duel between Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin that cost nearly 2 million casualties. And yet, this month, a new generation of Russians are flocking to see the latest film called "Stalingrad."

Ksenia Kuznetsova, a university student, just watched the movie in a multiplex cinema in a Moscow shopping mall.

“Thankfully I was born after that period and didn't have to experience it,” she said. “But the characters in the film give you the feeling that you're living it with them.”

Released in October, "Stalingrad" has become Russia’s biggest selling movie since the collapse of the Soviet Union one generation ago. The film is also doing well in China. In March, it will be Russia’s entry for an Oscar for best foreign-language movie.

The real Battle of Stalingrad was a Soviet victory but at a huge cost. With a total of 2 million casualties on both sides, Stalingrad is considered the bloodiest battle in human history.

Film critic Sergei Lavrentiev said that "Stalingrad’s" box office success reflects Russia’s enduring reverence for World War II sacrifices, a respect that now is passing to a new generation.

“For the youngsters, who are the main spectators in the cinema now, it's totally unusual,” said Levrentev. “They never saw such Soviet films about war. And also, they haven't even some feeling about how bad was that war for the Russian people, for Soviet people.”

"Stalingrad" is Russia’s first movie shot in 3D for Imax. Oddly, the film works a love story into all the carnage.

Katya, another Moscow moviegoer liked the plot and special effects: “I really liked the movie, it was filmed and produced very well. The actors did a great job, and of course it grabs you by the heart because it reflects all of our strength and history.”

Russia’s government entirely financed the film's $30-million budget, part of a Kremlin drive to make modern movies that show Russian history in a positive light.

Today, the city of Stalingrad goes by the name of Volgograd. Leveled during the war, it has been entirely rebuilt.

Dominating the new city is patriotic statue, Motherland Calls.

Standing twice as high as the Statue of Liberty, the statue was the largest in the world when unveiled by Soviet authorities in 1967.

Since the 8,000-ton monument of steel and cement was erected on clay soil, however, it has started to lean. In a strong wind, it sways.

City residents wish that after spending millions on a Hollywood-style movie, Russia’s government would invest in stabilizing the monument to Russia’s war dead in the real Stalingrad.

Book produced by Pilgrims
is auctioned for $14.2 million

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The first book published in what is today the United States has now become the world's most expensive.

Sotheby's auction house in New York says an extremely rare copy of "The Bay Psalm Book" sold at auction Tuesday for $14.2 million.

Early Puritan settlers who arrived in Massachusetts from Europe seeking religious freedom published the book in 1640.

Seventeen-hundred copies were printed. Only 11 are known to exist, including the one that sold Tuesday, which was in the possession of Boston's Old South Church.

Sotheby's identifies the buyer as American businessman and philanthropist David Rubenstein. It says he plans to lend the book to libraries across the country.

The previous record price for a book was John James Audubon's "Birds of America." It sold for $11.5 million two years ago.

Entomological Society of America photo
Western corn rootworm adult

Modified corn deficiencies
against bugs generate advice

By the Entomological Society of America news staff

Corn that contains proteins that protect it from insect damage has been grown in the U.S. since the mid-1990s. Known as Bt corn, because the proteins are derived from a bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis, these plants have been widely grown by farmers.

While Bt corn has been highly effective against the European corn borer, it has been less so against the western corn rootworm, which has been documented to show resistance to the Bt proteins. In a new article in the Journal of Integrated Pest Management, an open-access, peer-reviewed, extension journal, the authors explain why this has occurred, and they recommend an integrated pest management approach to address it.

In “Resistance to Bt Corn by Western Corn Rootworm (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) in the U.S. Corn Belt,” Aaron Gassmann of Iowa State University, Michael Gray of the University of Illinois, Eileen Cullen of the University of Wisconsin and Bruce Hibbard of the University of Missouri examine why Bt corn has been more effective against the European corn borer, which tunnels in the stem of the plant, and less so against the rootworm, which attacks the roots.

They concluded:

First, Bt proteins intended for the European corn borer are produced at a higher dose than the ones intended for rootworms. This ensures that fewer corn borers are likely to survive, which lowers the chances of them producing offspring that may be resistant. Second, corn borer moths travel farther before mating, which increases the chances of potentially resistant insects mating with non-resistant ones that have not been exposed to Bt proteins; this lowers the chances of them producing resistant offspring. Finally, negative effects of resistance in rootworms appear to be low.

One approach to integrated pest management is not necessarily optimal for all insect pests, according to the authors, who recommend that growers use the following approaches to delay further rootworm resistance to Bt corn:

- Rotate to soybean or other crops to break the corn rootworm life cycle between growing seasons.

- Occasionally rotate to a non-Bt corn hybrid and consider use of a rootworm soil insecticide during planting.

- Consider using corn that contains different Bt proteins than ones that may have performed poorly in the past.

- Consider using pyramided Bt hybrids, which is defined as corn that contains multiple Bt proteins targeting corn rootworm.

- If crop rotation is not an option and corn containing multiple Bt proteins is not available, suppression of rootworm adults by using insecticides for one or two growing seasons may be an appropriate remediation step.

- Most importantly, implement a long-term integrated approach to corn rootworm management, based on scouting information and knowledge of corn rootworm densities, that uses multiple tactics such as rotation with other crops, rotation of Bt proteins, and the use of soil insecticides at planting with a non-Bt hybrid. Integration of tactics across seasons is fundamental to prolonging the usefulness of any effective management strategy.

New drug for legal high
produces variety of effects

By the Taylor & Francis Group news staff

Researchers from Sweden have attempted to create an understanding to the subjective effects from use of methoxetamine, a drug belonging to a class known as legal highs or research chemicals, and available for purchase on the Internet. Their study, "Methoxetamine (MXE) – A Phenomenological Study of Experiences Induced by a 'Legal High' from the Internet," has been published in Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, a journal publication of Routledge, a member of Taylor & Francis Group, and is now available online with Open Access.

In spite of their recent rise in popularity, these legal high drugs are unknown among clinicians and healthcare providers, leaving potential users in the dark about content, interactions, side effects, etc. methoxetamine is a derivative of ketamine, a popular anesthetic used in the club drug scene for its hallucinogenic and dissociative effects, and in ketamine psychedelic psychotherapy to treat dependence disorders and depression. While the induced effects of ketamine and methoxetamine are similar, methoxetamine is typically longer acting and more potent.

The researchers conducted a phenomenological review to obtain data, collected from anonymous contributors to online public forums on the topic of methoxetamine  use. The results showed a wide variety of drug effects: expected dissociative properties similar to ketamine were observed, as well as altered states of consciousness similar to classical hallucinogens (e.g. LSD, psilocybin). Methoxetamine can give the user a feeling of increased mood or euphoria, however, as the two researchers, Anette Kjellgren and Kristoffer Jonsson, point out, “. . . the present study also indicates perceived positive effects on daily life subsequent to the intoxication, including, for example, antidepressant effects, new interests, and inner personal growth.”

The study’s reliance on anonymous reports from internet forums is identified as a limitation, as no controlled clinical studies exist.

More exposure to bad news
turns out to be a good thing

By the American Friends of Tel Aviv University

Researchers say repeated exposure to a negative event may prevent it from affecting you

Psychology shows that it doesn't take much to put you in a bad mood. Just reading the morning news can do it. And being in a bad mood slows your reaction time and affects your basic cognitive abilities like speech, writing, and counting. If you read a depressing newspaper headline in the morning, you may perform worse at work throughout the day.

But new research by Moshe Shay Ben-Haim, Yaniv Mama, Michal Icht, and Daniel Algom of Tel Aviv University's School of Psychological Sciences now reveals that repeated exposure to a negative event neutralizes its effect on your mood and your thinking. The study, published in Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, has broad implications for understanding emotions.

"A bad mood is known to slow cognition," says Ben-Haim. "We show that, counterintuitively, you can avoid getting into a bad mood in the first place by dwelling on a negative event. If you look at the newspaper before you go to work and see a headline about a bombing or tragedy of some kind, it's better to read the article all the way through and repeatedly expose yourself to the negative information. You will be freer to go on with your day in a better mood and without any negative effects."

The emotional Stroop task is the most-used psychological test in evaluating emotional state. Participants are shown a number of words and asked to name the colors in which they are printed. In general, it takes people longer to identify the colors of negative words like terrorism than of neutral words like table. The trend is particularly pronounced in people with emotional disorders, like depression or anxiety.

There are two general explanations offered. One is that negative words are more distracting, and the other is that they are more threatening. According to both theories, the result is that fewer mental resources are available to identify the ink colors.

Neither explanation appears to predict sustained effects. After the initial distraction or threat, people should be expected to return to identifying the ink colors of neutral words without a delay. Indeed, the few previous studies that have been done on the subject show that it does not matter whether people are shown negative or neutral words first. But in a series of four experiments involving the emotional Stroop task, the researchers showed that these studies are biased by a quirk of the test's design as it is usually administered.

In most cases, people are shown four or five negative words, along with four or five neutral words, in the test 10 to 12 times. The researchers found, after being shown the same negative word only twice, subjects were able to identify the ink color without a delay. On the other hand, when people are shown the negative words just once, they subsequently name the ink colors of neutral words more slowly. The existing theories can't account for these results.

The researchers suggest an alternative explanation based on previous research. The negative words shown to people in the emotional Stroop task put them in a bad mood, but through repetition, the words lose their power. The researchers' explanation was supported by a questionnaire administered to people after they completed the task. Those who had seen each negative word only once were put in a bad mood and suffered from sustained effects, while those who had seen the negative words repeatedly did not suffer from the same after-effects. The participants who were in a bad mood also took longer to complete the evaluating questionnaire.

The researchers' work could have a major impact on our understanding of emotions, attention, and how humans process cues in the environment. It could also influence the diagnosis and treatment of many disorders.

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
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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)

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:

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

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

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!

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:

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!

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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Business for sale or lease (paid category)71

beach scenes
Established Hotel/Resort -Great Business Opportunity:
The owner/manager of a successful hotel on the Gold Coast of Costa Rica has listed their property with us. It is a successful and ongoing concern. The property and buildings are well built and maintained. The property has a history of repeat clients. To protect the business for the current and future owners, detailed information of the listing will only be shared after an expression of interest and a non-disclosure confidentiality agreement is executed. It is located about one hour of Liberia airport and less than 500 meters to beach. The land is over 1 hectare allowing room for expansion. There are 18 bedrooms in a variety of apartments, cabinas and houses, A/C, bar restaurant and shop. Near golf, horses, tennis, world class surf and more. Listing Price of $US2.4 million. Mary or Jerre West,, 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, Wednesday,  Nov. 27, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 235
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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
News organizations in D.C.
protest photo restrictions

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

U. S. news organizations have spoken out against the White House over its restrictions on news coverage of the daily activities of President Barack Obama. This reduces the climate of official transparency and editorial independence of news media, they said.

The White House Correspondents Association complained last week of the restricted access by news photographers to some of the President’s official activities, on the grounds that these are deemed to be private. The association feels that this is just an excuse; otherwise it would not have a reason to release its own official photos and videos of the same events. The complaint was in a letter sent to White House press secretary Jay Carnet which was also signed by other press organizations.

In its letter it declares that the White House is “excluding the press” from official activities and is “substituting independent photo journalism with visual press releases.” It says that such practice “is a major deviation from the way previous presidents have worked” with the press and has a “direct adverse impact on the public’s ability to independently monitor and see firsthand what the government is doing.”

The Inter American Press Association said it supported the protest.

Elizabeth Ballantine, Inter American Press Association  president, said, “Just as we have been declaring in our reports on press freedom in the United States for the past five years, we are concerned with the lack of White House openness and informational transparency. Every media outlet should be able to cover presidential activities with full independence, in its own style and editorial criteria.”

Ms. Ballantine, director of The Durango Herald, Durango, Colorado, added, “While official images are provided and this could be beneficial as an element of comparison, it does not cease to be an attitude of public relations and propaganda. Journalists must be able to act in an independent manner.”

The White House Correspondents Association letter was signed by representatives of most major news organizations.

Immigration hunger strikers
get support for Democrats

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A group of activists has been fasting in Washington for more than two weeks to pressure Speaker of the House John Boehner to allow a vote on comprehensive immigration reform. A landmark immigration bill has already been passed by the Senate by a wide margin, but House leaders say they are unlikely to take up the bill this year.
Those who are fasting have captured the attention of some members of Congress and of President Barack Obama. Several members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus visited the hunger strikers to express solidarity.
Cristian Avila, from Arizona, said he is fasting because he lives in fear of his family being divided by deportation.
“Fortunately my brother, sister and I are privileged with a deferred action, but my parents are still undocumented. So every day that goes by is another day that I wonder if I am going to see my parents again, whether they are going to get picked up,” said Avila.
Democrat Ruben Hinojosa, who heads the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, wants the Republican majority in the House to act.
"There has been a lot of discussion about there not being any time left in the legislative calendar to do immigration reform, but that is not correct. The speaker of the House has the power to bring it to the floor and to allow all 435 members of Congress to have a vote on it," said Hinojosa.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez, a Democrat, had harsh words for Boehner.
"So you might dictate the schedule of the House of Representatives, but we dictate the movements of this fight and this struggle. And we will be consistent and persistent," declared Gutierrez.
Speaking in San Francisco, President Obama said immigration reform is long overdue, and expressed support for those who are fasting.

Costa Rican News
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From Page 7:

Chinese and regional business people talk trade

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some 500 Latin American and about 300 Chinese are meeting in Costa Rica in a summit to explore business opportunities.

The participants are from business, government and international organizations.

The Latin American participants come from all over the region.

China continues to make commercial inroads into the Western Hemisphere, and trade has increased substantially.

Participants at the summit heard that Latin American and China engaged in $258 billion in trade in 2012. Exports ranged from Chilean wine to microprocessors from Costa Rica.

The trade summit has been an annual event since 2007. This year's encounter is in Costa Rica and organized by the Ministerio de Comercio Exterior, the Promotora del Comercio Exterior and the Coalición Costarricense de Iniciativas para el Desarrollo .

Today there will be some 1,500 face-to-face meetings between hemispheric and Chinese business people.