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(506) 2223-1327                               Published Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014, in Vol. 14, No. 235                      Email us
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Domestic workers and kids getting more protection
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Domestic workers and children will benefit from unrelated developments outlined Wednesday.

Domestic workers will receive the right to organize, according to the Asociación de Trabajadoras Domésticas. This is because Convention 189 of the International Labour Organization goes into effect Jan. 14.

Costa Rica already has approved and adopted the international treaty.

Children will benefit from a new campaign, Educa sin Pegar, to prohibit corporal punishment in the home. The campaign is by the Consejo Nacional de la Niñez y la Adolescencia, the Fundación PANIAMOR and the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social. The major development is the launching of a Web page that provides resources and allows citizens to file complaints.

Costa Rica has outlawed corporal punishment of children since 2008. But just like the laws involving domestic workers, enforcement is lax.

There are estimates that perhaps only 15 percent of domestic workers have full employment benefits, including affiliation with the Caja. The labor organization convention also promotes the use of a valid legal contract for domestic employment, particularly if the job involved moving from one country to another.

Many domestic employees here are Nicaraguans.

Costa Rica has a number of national laws that are similar to the specifics in the international convention, yet many domestic workers accept poor pay and extra working hours because they fear losing the position. The labor organization also has issued stipulations about under age domestic workers. There are plenty of those here also.

The campaign against physically punishing a child touches on an area that is culturally sensitive. Parents can easily cite the Bible to defend spanking wayward offspring.

For example, Proverbs 13:24 says "Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them." There are other similar passages attributed to Solomon.

Yet corporal punishment for children and adults has been criticized for more than 2,000 years.

The 2008 law specifically says that parent authority confers the rights and imposes the duties of educating, watching and disciplining sons and daughters but it does not authorize in any case the use of corporal punishment or any other form of humiliating treatment.

Then-president Laura Chinchilla signed off on the new law, No. 8654, Aug. 1, 2008, and Costa Rica became one of 42 countries that prohibit this type of punishment in the home. Many more countries prohibit physical punishment in schools or in prisons.

There have not been any well-publicized cases of corporal punishment since the law went into effect.

The new Web page for the "educate without hitting" campaign contains various laws and instructions for parents. An announcement says it seeks to encourage respectful upbringing and to mobilize the community to protect children. The nation's child protection agency, the Patronato Nacional de la Infancia, also is involved.

The campaign probably will run into criticism because adolescent crime is on the rise. There even are youngsters facing premeditated murder allegations. The juvenile justice system is secret, so there has not been a recent independent evaluation. However some shelters operated by the Patronato sometimes make the news due to destructive vandalism from youthful residents.

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

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El Niño study says it is getting stronger

By the University of Wisconsin-Madison

It was fishermen off the coast of Perú who first recognized the anomaly, hundreds of years ago. Every so often, their usually cold, nutrient-rich water would turn warm and the fish they depended on would disappear. Then there was the ceaseless rain.

They called it El Niño,  The Boy, or Christmas Boy, because of its timing near the holiday each time it returned, every three to seven years.

El Niño is not a contemporary phenomenon. It’s long been the Earth’s dominant source of year-to-year climate fluctuation. But as the climate continues to warm and the feedbacks that drive the cycle change, researchers want to know how El Niño will respond. A team of researchers led by the University of Wisconsin’s Zhengyu Liu will publish the latest findings in this quest in Nature.

“We can’t see the future. The only thing we can do is examine the past,” says Liu, a professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. “The question people are interested in now is whether it’s going to be stronger or weaker, and this requires us to first check if our model can simulate its past history.”

The study examines what has influenced El Niño over the last 21,000 years in order to understand its future and to prepare for the consequences. It is valuable knowledge for scientists, land managers, policy makers and many others, as people across the globe focus on adapting to a changing climate.

Using state-of-the-art computer models maintained at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, the researchers — also from Peking University in China, the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and the Georgia Institute of Technology — determined that El Niño has intensified over the last 6,000 years.

The findings corroborate data from previous studies, which relied on observations like historical sediments off the Central American coast and changes in fossilized coral. During warm, rainy El Niño years, the coastal sediments consist of larger mixed deposits of lighter color, and the coral provides a unique signature, akin to rings on a tree.

“There have been some observations that El Niño has been changing,” says Liu. “Previous studies seem to indicate El Niño has increased over the last 5,000 to 7,000 years.”

Like an uptick in tempo, the feedbacks between ocean and atmosphere — such as how wind and seas interact — have grown stronger.

But unlike previous studies, the new model provides a continuous look at the long history of El Niño, rather than a snapshot in time.

It examines the large-scale influences that have impacted the strength of El Niño over the last 21,000 years, such as atmospheric carbon dioxide, ice sheet melting and changes to Earth’s orbit.

El Niño is driven by an intricate tango between the ocean and the Earth’s atmosphere. In non-El Niño years, trade winds over the tropical Pacific Ocean drive the seas westward, from the coast of Central America toward Indonesia, adding a thick, warm layer to the surface of the western part of the ocean while cooler water rises to the surface in the east. This brings rain to the west and dry conditions to the east.

During El Niño, the trade winds relax and the sea surface temperature differences between the western and eastern Pacific Ocean are diminished. This alters the heat distribution in both the water and the air in each region, forcing a cascade of global climate-related changes.

The impact is extensive through Costa Rica and into the United States and Canada.

Before the start of the Holocene — which began roughly 12,000 years ago — pulses of melting water during deglaciation most strongly influenced El Niño, the study found. But since that time, changes in Earth’s orbit have played the greatest role in intensifying it.

Like an uptick in tempo, the feedbacks between ocean and atmosphere — such as how wind and seas interact — have grown stronger.

However, even with the best data available, some features of the simulated El Niño — especially prior to 6,000 years ago — can’t be tested unambiguously, Liu says. The current observational data feeding the model are sparse and the resolution too low to pick up subtle shifts in El Niño over the millennia.

The study findings indicate better observational data are needed to refine the science, like more coral samples and sediment measurements from different locations in the central Pacific. Like all science, better understanding what drives El Niño and how it might change is a process, and one that will continue to evolve over time.

“It’s really an open door; we need more data to get a more significant model,” he says. “With this study, we are providing the first benchmark for the next five, 10, 20 years into the future.”

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 235                 
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Coastal zoning plans for municipalities are said to be chaotic
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

No coastal canton in Costa Rica has a zoning plan that covers its entire area, said the Contraloría de la República in a report summarized Wednesday.

The zoning plan, called plan regulador in Spanish, is vital for those who seek to develop projects.

However, the Contraloría used the word chaotic to describe the situation.

The majority of the coastal municipalities do not know the total of the properties in their territories or the areas they encompass, said the summary.

In addition, the Contraloria's Área de Servicios Ambientales y de Energía said it was hard-pressed to know exactly how many plans exist because those at the Instituto Nacional de Vivienda y Urbanismo are  not the same as those at the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo. In addition there are competing plans in some areas of some municipalities, it said.

Such plans also are vital for the development of the maritime zone, known as the zona marítimo terrestre, where municipalities and the institute award concessions.

The study also found that some 14 plans adopted by municipalities do not include correct geographical coordinates.

The government has not provided the municipalities with the resources to correctly create the zoning plan, said the summary.

The Contraloría did not suggest a quick fix. It called on nearly every agency of the government to work on the problem to restructure the method of creating such plans and to provide the resources to do it.
lost in zoning plan

Downtown shootout results in the deaths of two robbery suspects
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A man accompanying a lottery vendor engaged two robbers in a firefight Wednesday, and both assailants ended up dead.

The shootout took place in the very center of San José near the offices of the agency that runs the national lottery, the Junta de Protección Social.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that two men arrived on a motorcycle as the lottery vendor was about to obtain Christmas lottery tickets for sale.  The robbers took a briefcase that contained cash.
A man accompanying the lottery vendor tried to recover the briefcase, and a robber fired on him, said agents. That is when the man pulled out his own firearm and killed one robber, tentatively identified by the last name of Vanegas.  He was 27.

The second robber began to fire his weapon and to flee. The lottery agent's associate chased him and returned fire. The fleeing man was mortally wounded. He was identified by the last name of Hernández. He was 32.

Agents collected 15 shells at the location as well as a .22-caliber firearm believed used by a robber and a .45-caliber pistol used to defend the lottery vendor, they said.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 235
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Unusual cup will allow astronauts to drink espresso at space station
By American Physical Society's Division
of Fluid Dynamics news staff

Espresso-loving astronauts, rejoice! You may soon be able to enjoy your beloved beverage in space, thanks to a new cup designed specifically to defy the low-gravity environments encountered aboard the International Space Station.

Italy is preparing to send an espresso machine to the space station, and so a team of researchers crafted a special cup to allow astronauts to drink in space in a manner similar to the one experienced on Earth: by replacing the role of gravity with the forces of surface tension.

Espresso is distinguished primarily by a complex low-density colloid of emulsified oils. And, due to gravity, these oils rise to the surface to form a foam lid called the crema, the reliable production of which can make or break the reputations of baristas everywhere.

"Because the variety of espresso drinks is extensive, we made specific property measurements to assess the effects of wetting and surface tension for Italian espresso, caffè latte and caffè Americano," explained Mark Weislogel, of Portland State University and a researcher involved in the project. "For some people, the texture and aromatics of the crema play a critical role in the overall espresso experience. We show that in low-gravity environments this may not be possible, but suggest alternatives for enjoying espresso aboard spacecraft."

This quest for alternatives led to the design of the special 3-D=printable espresso space cup.

"The shape of the container can passively migrate fluid to desired locations without moving parts -- using passive forces of wetting and surface tension," said Weislogel. "Its geometry is the smart part,
new cup
Portland State University/Mark Weislogel
The special cup uses passive forces to move around the fluid.

which operate the fluids-control system without requiring pumps or centrifugal forces."

The primary challenge of the design, according to Weislogel, is making it work for a wide variety of poor wetting conditions which are typically associated with water-based beverages. "Fortunately, espresso is considered an oily drink, which means that it works nicely," he added.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

La Fortuna
Comfort of your home in the campo, 5 minutes from Fortuna Centro of San Carlos, in the shadow of Volcano Arenal, Flat screen TV, AC, refrigerator, free coffee. Local area activities like four-wheeling, horse riding, zip lining, hot springs, jungle walking tours. Bring your camera for great photos of nature, fishing and swimming, canyoning and wireless internet. Harry Hart, proprietor.  Call for reservations  (506) 2479-8670   and (506) 8682-9219  Email:

Will Costa Rica Retirement Work For You?
Find out for yourself on Live In Costa Rica Tours

When you visit Costa Rica, you'll want to discover what you need to know to  make the right choice about moving to this tropical paradise.  Our familiarization tours have won hard-earned credentials that prove general excellence and the right focus.  These are the only retirement tours that are licensed and approved by the Costa Rican government and tourism institute  (ICT). In 2006 we were featured on the NBC Today Show and World News.  In 2010, we won the  prestigious Latin America-Asia Travel Excellence Award for the Best and Most Unique Tour in Latin America.

   * Discover how to make the right choices about moving here
   * Find out how to live affordably
   * See how other expats live. Meet other expats who have made
          the move.
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   * Informative two-day seminar given by local experts in their
          relevant fields.
   * Tours led by Christopher Howard, 34-year resident, citizen,
          and the author of "The New Golden Door to Retirement
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Click HERE  to learn all about our Association of Residents (ARCR)  approved tours at

Anywhere Costa Rica plans custom vacations, and has the most comprehensive travel services in the country including travel guides, resorts and vacation homesCosta Rica tours
and car rentals.  
Call 1-888.456.3212 or 2479-8811 locally.

Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
Drop in to see some of Costa Rica's finest art
at the largest gallery in Guanacaste.

The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is a great place to find quality remembrances of Costa Rica to take home or to decorate your home or office in Costa Rica.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever.  With more than 60 artists on exhibit and fine art in 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we are easy to locate just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport. Visit our Web site at
or contact us by email:   
Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tel. 2667-0592 / 8386-6872; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073. International shipping available.

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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.

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.


Here's reasonable medical care
Costa Rica's world class medical specialists are at your command. Get the top care for much less than U.S. prices. It is really a great way to spend a vacation. See our list of recommended professionals HERE!amcr-prom

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Enjoy living in the middle of wonderful mountains.
Fresh air, gorgeous forest. Near downtown but away from noisy city.  Nature lifestyle.  Beautiful chalet in a large property located in Monte de la Cruz, Heredia. Two bedrooms, two baths, laundry room, fully furnished, security, electric gate. Rate $500 monthly. Phone  2267-6306  Email


Beautiful cottage in San Rafael, Heredia

Cottage in the mountain.  Surrounded by nature.  One bedroom, 1.5 bathrooms. Beautiful balcony and view. Bus line service, security.  $500 monthly.  Phone: 506-8739-0638  Email:

Maneul Antonio
The vacation homes at Manuel Antonio Estates offers luxury, comfort and peace of mind. We have numerous homes to chose from, all within walking distance of the town’s shops and restaurants and just a few minutes to the best beaches and the famous national park. While the homes are secluded and hidden among the rainforest, the surrounding area offers adventures like zip lines, white water rafting, mangrove kayaking and many more. All of the homes are available for short-term rentals, have easily accessible parking, cable TV, and Internet and are fully furnished. We are happy to assist with all your need for the perfect Costa Rican vacation.
Manuel Antonio Estates        TOLL FREE: 1800 346 9724
011 (506) 2777.3339

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:

Organic farm home
$800 plus utilities.
Two-bedroom, two-bath house, fully furnished, Internet included, cable TV available. Inside organic farm, safe and secure. In the country but close to town. Santa Bárbara de Heredia, Email for more info and pictures. Long term, NO DOGS.

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.

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.

HP Cattle rentals
Mountain homes or farm for rent
Barva volcano, Heredia province
We offer for rent a gorgeous two-bedroom mountain chalet and a one-bedroom mountain home located on the slopes of the Barva Volcano, Heredia Province. The homes are situated at 7,300 feet altitude and within a working horse ranch just three kilometers from the Braulio Carrillo National Park entrance. From our homes one can hike to the Barva volcano crater-lake.  Enjoy a spacious living room, kitchen, fireplace and breathtaking views of the Irazú volcano and the Central Valley. Observe dozens of cloud forest bird species to include the resplendent quetzal.  The homes are incomparable in beauty and attention to detail within the Barva highland area.  We are only 35-55 minutes from Costa Rica’s three principal cities (Heredia, Alajuela, and San José), less than two hours from the central Pacific beaches, and three hours from the Caribbean beaches. Enjoy the tranquility of the mountains while maintaining quick access to the conveniences of the city and rapid access to other eco-tourist destinations in Costa Rica. Additionally, we can board your horses at a reasonable fee.  We can also offer our clients rental of a small and fully functional farm complete with stables, pasture, and office space.
Mountain chalet: $750.  Basic mountain home: $400.
Boutique mountain home: One-bedroom $850. Two-bedroom $1,000.
Small Farm that includes a chalet, basic mountain home, stables, and 8,000m2 of pasture/green areas: $1,500.

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cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 235       
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Police and weather stall
more Ferguson protests

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The streets of the midwestern U.S. town of Ferguson, Missouri, are calmer, following two nights of unrest over a grand jury decision not to prosecute a white police officer in the death of an unarmed black teenager.

The city saw scattered protests late Wednesday, but a heavy police presence, snowy weather, and the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday presumably helped lead to smaller crowds than on previous nights.

Earlier, hundreds of people demonstrated in front of the St. Louis City Hall on Wednesday, chanting “Shame, Shame.” Police arrested three people for failing to disperse, including one who also faces an assault charge.

The August shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by officer Darren Wilson inflamed tensions in Ferguson and raised concerns about police violence and racial discrimination in the mostly black St. Louis suburb.

Earlier this week, a grand jury unanimously decided there was no probable cause to indict Wilson, who says he feared for his life during the confrontation with Brown. Wilson told reporters Tuesday that he has a clean conscience "because I know I did my job right."

Protesters across the country have used the case to highlight similar instances in which they say laws are not applied fairly towards African Americans.

One of those cases gaining recent attention is that of 12-year-old Tamir Wilson, who was shot and killed by police in a park on Sunday in the city of Cleveland.

On Wednesday, police released surveillance video showing that the child, who was holding a toy pellet gun, was shot within one to two seconds of police arriving at the scene. Officials say that the child ignored repeated police demands to put his hands in the air.

A prosecutor is now deciding whether to pursue criminal charges against the officer in that case.

Obama was more forceful
in comments, analysts say

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The violence in Ferguson caused President Barack Obama to use language more forceful than he has in the past about race, breaking taboos about the issue for Americans — many of whom hoped that having a black president in the White House would mean scenes like these would be a thing of the past.

Violence erupted in Ferguson the night the nation learned that Darren Wilson, a white police officer, would not be indicted for fatally shooting Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager. In appealing for calm, Obama said the situation in Ferguson speaks to broader challenges still facing the nation.

“We need to recognize this is not an issue just for Ferguson," he said. "This is an issue for America.  We have made enormous progress in race relations over the course of the last several decades.  I have witnessed this in my own life, and to deny this progress is to deny America’s capacity for change. But what is also true is that there are still problems, and communities of color are not making these problems up.”

Analysts say it is not the pain and anger alone of the demonstrators that prompted Obama to speak more openly about race relations. With only two years left in his term, they say, Obama has less to lose by taking the conversation on race relations a step further.

“The political risk, obviously, he’s not running for re-election anymore, so that’s sort of mitigated," said Daniella Gibbs Leger of the Center for American Progress, a former senior aide to the president. "Is there other types of risk?  Always, whenever you’re talking about race in this country. But I also think that it goes beyond the political risk, and it’s something that’s very personal to him.”

Obama has spoken passionately on race issues before. In 2012, when black teenager Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in Florida in another racially charged case, the president said Martin could have been his son.

This time, the president warned that inaction could lead to more tension and violence.

“Those who are only interested in focusing on the violence and just want the problem to go away need to recognize that we do have work to do here and we shouldn’t try to paper it over,” he said.

Michael Fauntroy, an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at Howard University in Washington, said that while Obama’s remarks on race were more forceful than before, he questioned whether the president was forceful enough.

“What happened in Ferguson, Missouri, and the aftermath that happened is something that the president was sort of forced to comment on," he said. "So, yes, that is true, he is breaking a taboo. But I hope that now that the taboo is broken, that he will actually do something with it.”

When Obama took office, there were hopes among many Americans, both black and white, that America’s race problems would largely go away.

U.S. courts Chinese tourists
by loosening the visa limits

 By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

San Francisco is a major stop for Chinese visitors, and an agreement between China and the United States, announced in Beijing this month, promises to draw even more Chinese tourists to U.S. destinations. A day spent in the northern California city with some visitors from China shed light on some of the reasons they are coming.

Major West Coast cities are must-see destinations for Chinese tour groups, which take in sights that include San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge.

Li Hong, who is here with her daughter, is impressed, saying, “It’s beautiful.” She said this is her first time in the U.S.

It’s pretty, and unlike China, she said, where pollution is a problem in the major cities. Here she sees blue skies and white clouds. She said her first impression is good.

Tourism from China is expected to grow since the announcement in early November that both countries will extend their multiple-entry business and tourist visas from the current one year to a maximum of 10 years.

Harry Chen of San Francisco-based Joy Holiday takes Asian tourists to U.S. cities and scenic sites, including national parks. He said the visa change will help the economies of both countries.

“And also I think it’s a great way to get the two cultures to learn from each other, to build friendship, understanding,” he said.

Three friends from China sit on a bench at one of San Francisco’s scenic sites, the Palace of Fine Arts, with its Greek-style rotunda perched on the edge of a lagoon. Ni Xi from Shenzhen said she and her friends are at the start of their U.S. visit.

She said they will stay in San Francisco for the day, then will visit Los Angeles, where they would like to go shopping, for three or four days. Then they'll go to the Grand Canyon for the scenery, she said, and Las Vegas, to see the casinos and other sights.

It’s a common itinerary. While in San Francisco, visitors enjoy the distinctive neighborhoods. Tours stop in Haight-Ashbury, the psychedelic youth haven of the 1960s, and in the gay and lesbian Castro District.

Tour guide LanKun Weidner said Chinese visitors find the diversity exciting. “You get to see people from all over the place, and food and architecture, and even lifestyles,” said Weidner.

Across town, Linda Lee's company, called All About Chinatown, offers specialized walking tours. Both Western and Chinese visitors learn the history of the Chinese immigrants on the West Coast.

Some scenes are familiar, like one shop that sells traditional Chinese medicine. A man behind the counter pounds the herbs to make a powder. But some are unfamiliar — like the tiny Chinatown shop making fortune cookies, a Chinese-American dessert invented in California. 

Linda Lee said the many private clubs found in Chinatown are new to the visitors from China. Some date to the 19th century and are still a haven. “All these private clubs were created by the Chinese to protect them and to make them feel at home,” she said.

Australian cricketer dies
after being hit by ball

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Australian cricketer Phil Hughes, who was struck in the head with a ball during a match this week in Sydney, has died.

Team doctor Peter Brukner said in a statement the 25-year-old died Thursday, surrounded by his family and friends.

Hughes had been put in a medically induced coma and underwent emergency surgery following the Tuesday accident.

Brukner said Hughes never regained consciousness and was not in pain before he died.

Hughes was hit just behind the left ear by a bounced ball while batting for South Australia against New South Wales at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Condolences poured in following the news of his death, including from Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Hughes is the second cricket player in as many years to die after being struck by a ball. Thirty-two-year-old South African player Darryn Randall died last year after being struck in the side of the head.

The deaths have reignited debate over whether cricket batsmen are wearing enough head protection.

Some U.S. stores plan
to be open this holiday

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Never mind the traditional meal of roast turkey with family and friends on Thursday.  For some, Thanksgiving Day marks the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season.

Although some have called it the decline of an American tradition, consumers looking for the best bargains say they can’t wait to go shopping.

Some people who have to work during the holiday see it as an opportunity to earn extra cash, but many others aren't happy about not being able to observe the occasion with loved ones. 

Kmart employee Donna Fisher was told she has to work or face the consequences — and she says that’s unfair.

“There’s no choice in it whatsoever," she said. "It breaks my heart, it really does — to see this is all about the money, it’s not about Thanksgiving.”

So her daughter Jillian launched an online petition demanding that Kmart allow its employees time off on Thanksgiving Day so they can be with their families. Thousands have signed the petition. 

The days ahead of Christmas and Thanksgiving are among the busiest travel days for Americans. While retailers insist the early start to the shopping season will make it more convenient for customers, others argue that the large crowds and the hype are not worth the savings. 

The Consumer Federation of America’s Stephen Brobeck believes the holiday marketing onslaught should begin after Thanksgiving.  

“I don’t know whether most Americans are concerned, but I am personally, in part because I don’t feel as if I have an adequate opportunity to count my blessings at Thanksgiving," he said.

Those buying gifts are expected to spend more than $600 billion during the holiday season, or about 4 percent more than they did last year.  Kmart is just one of a long list of stores trying to get a bigger share of consumer dollars.  Macy’s Department Store plans to open today, as will retail giant Walmart.

Illegal Asians may face
deportation despite Obama

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

One group often overlooked in the U.S. immigration debate is the estimated 1.3 million illegal immigrants from Asia. President Barack Obama’s recent executive order can provide a temporary reprieve from deportation to about 400,000 of those people, but for many more, the future is uncertain.

One such person is high school student Peter Liu in Los Angeles.  He left China for the U.S. because there was illness in his family and they were struggling financially.  He decided to overstay his tourist visa.

Liu said it was a difficult decision, because he knew he probably wouldn't be able to see his family for many years. Now, as an undocumented immigrant, he is unable to work and worries about paying for college.  

Obama’s executive order does not help him, because he arrived after the cutoff date for deferred action for childhood arrivals.  Liu said that even many of those who do qualify for temporary relief from deportation are hesitant to apply, because they are worried about how such an action will affect their families.

One of the main objectives of Obama’s executive order is to keep families together by deferring the threat of deportation for illegal immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for at least five years and have children who are legally in the U.S. The executive action also allows them to work legally.

However, those considered threats to security or who have criminal records will continue to face deportation.

Cambodian refugee David Ros falls into that category. At 16, he killed a man and spent almost 19 years in prison. Because of that, he lost his permanent residency status and now awaits deportation.

“I came here to this country with no English, no education, no money, and we struggled a lot," Ros said, "and as a result of our struggles I made a lot of mistakes in my life.”

According to Asian Americans Advancing Justice — Asian Law Caucus, a legal and civil rights organization serving low-income Asian and Pacific American communities, Southeast Asians and Pacific Islanders are deported for criminal convictions at five times the rate of other immigrants.

National Immigration Law Center attorney Shiu-Ming Cheer said the reasons for this are complicated. She cited the failure of refugee resettlement policies and the fact that so many Southeast Asians live in communities where there’s already a high rate of crime.

"There’s just a lack of support, a lack of social networks and institutions that might help give people options besides engaging in crime,” she said.

Ms. Cheer said many of these Southeast Asians have turned their lives around after serving time in prison, including Ros. He now has a job, supports a family with two children, and volunteers. He hopes the law would change so a judge can decide who, with a criminal record, gets deported.

“Bringing judiciary discretion back would be something that is the first step," he said, "because the judge can make a decision on the merit of the person — not who the person was but who the person is today.”

Both Ros and Liu said they were speaking out despite the risk of deportation in the hope that lawmakers would hear their story and reform the immigration system in their favor.

Real estate-related services (paid category)

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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 4030-5480 or 8339-2112.

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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 calls: (Cristian Arce) Phone: 
(506) 2494-0016 
(506) 8309-0173
English calls :  (Luis David) Phone: 
(506) 6154-1940

Español calls: (Luis G. Jiménez)  Phone:   
(506) 8707-4016
Grecia 884
Beautiful large house in Grecia, Costa Rica, with the best fresh natural weather. The property includes 9 challets and and 12.000 m2 of land,  1,000 m2 of construction. Price $498.000. Click HERE!
Grecia 881
Beautiful house in Grecia, Costa Rica,  2 kilometers from the city.   340 m2 of land.
Price $135.000. Click
Grecia 898
Beautiful house in Grecia downtown. Full security cameras. Land 250 m2.  Price $400,000.  Click HERE!
  Send us your request to our email:

Real estate for sale (paid category)

Ringle resort
on one big lot in Esterillos Oeste, (Central Pacific)
Located on a breezy hill just 4 minutes walk to the beach, surf and tide-pools, only 20 minutes drive north to Jacó nightlife and shopping or south to the rural town of Parrita.

First, a 2-storey, 2-bedroom (sleeps 4), 1½-bathroom house with big kitchen and living room.  Full-width verandah with eating and sitting areas, overlooking lawn, pool and gazebo. Sitting balcony at upper, bedroom level.  Carport. and laundry. 

Second, a completely private single-storey. 2-bedroom (sleeps 4), 1-bathroom home with big back yard at a lower level on the same, big fully titled 1,100M2 lot.. Full security bars at all doors and windows, plus locking vehicle access and pedestrian gates at the street. In a very safe neighborhood, with private and natural surroundings

Well maintained, fully and tastefully furnished and equipped, hot water, local phone, cable TV/DVD and high speed wireless internet   The houses have been rented for both long-term and vacation for $100/$80 per day and $1,500/$1,200 per month respectively. See this place, you will love it! Then make an offer. E-mail or call (506) 8386-8825.  Rodney, asking $350,000.

Condo montage
Cariari luxury condo for sale
 PRICE REDUCED FROM $235,000 to $195,000
This is not an ordinary condo. Completed one year ago, a $45,000 renovating made it an exquisite dwelling. As soon as you walk in you know it is a special home. No detail has been overlooked, even minuscule ones. The owner has a need to move on, and someone lucky will be the beneficiary of the fine detailed work. The home itself has three bedrooms, two and half bathrooms plus a maid’s quarters with its own bathroom. Also, it has a living room, dining room and a gorgeous kitchen with a kitchenette. There’s also a small outdoor patio. Being the end unit of this four-home condo complex, there’s parking space for three vehicles.  Approximately 240 sq. meters. All this near the Cariari Golf and Country Club and its renowned Tom Facio golf course. The club also has amenities such as a fitness centre, exercise room, Olympic swimming pool, sauna, 12 tennis courts and many other benefits. Tel:  8384-9608 or 2293-9054  Price $195,000.

Atenas home
This developer's prime lot with super house is being offered in Roca Verde, 7,006 M2 of gentle grade, all landscaped for tropical effect, 3 bedrooms 2 baths with tile floors and hardwood kitchen, near the entrance of the neighborhood. Great floor plan on this one! There is a double carport, and a large patio and pool, wheelhouse style living room and many other features. View, large usable lot, close to town, nice, oh yeah. $495,000.

More photos HERE!
Another 'live in the view' home in Puriscal
$179,900 includes:
Lot on river, concrete road, custom kitchen & bath with granite counter tops, PEX plumbing, 2” Styrofoam, sandwiched in steel roof, 4” concrete/recycled Styrofoam & steel walls, laminated, bronzed windows, custom wood doors, appliances and all transfer taxes, and fees.

2, 900 sq feet under roof, 1,250 sq feet inside walls, 2 bedroom, 2 ½ baths, laundry room, three separate patio areas, covered carport, shade trees, in upscale, secure project.  This project has river with protected areas & walkways. It is only 10 minutes on all paved roads to Santiago de Puriscal, 45 minutes to La Plaza Mall/Hospital CIMA and SJO airport, and 1 ½ hours to Pacific Beaches. It has recently upgraded public water supply and dependable ICE electric and high-speed internet.
Please come visit our projects and meet four new homeowners who have recently moved into their new “live in the view” homes to verify how happy they are and that they all came in under budget. CONTACT: George Lundquist  Home phone: 2417-1041 Cell phone: 8888 4543 Skype glundquist.
To see more Photos of this house, click HERE!

Maneul Antonio
Manuel Antonio Estates focuses on building vacation homes for clients within Manuel Antonio Estates and Palmas Pacifica. We take care of the details from permits and design to supervision of construction and management of the rentals, if needed. We provide privacy and security, and our gated community offers shared common recreational facilities, beautiful landscaping and parking areas. Our homes and lots are located just minutes from the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. If you've ever considered buying a second home, just minutes from the beach, do not hesitate, if you have any questions or would like to request more information please take full advantage of our Costa Rica real estate services and contact us today!
Manuel Antonio Estates    1 800 346-9724  (506) 8815-9606.

Ciudad Colon
Great Deal!! Apartment in condo with pool and extensive green areas:
Ciudad Colón, San José $112,000
The apartment has a master bedroom with a large ensuite bathroom with bath tub, and a smaller second bedroom/office with air conditioning. It has a second full bathroom, living/dining room, laundry room with hot water tank and storage area. The kitchen comes with granite countertops, a breakfast bar and new dishwasher. It has 82 m2 of construction. 2 balconies with beautiful views of the river and mountains. Private parking for one car. Elevator and a well presented reception area. Located in a very quiet and private neighborhood just 400 meters from the centre of Ciudad Colón. Within minutes to all major amenities in Santa Ana and Escazú. Easy access to the beach (less than 1.5 hrs).  24-hour security, visitor parking, pool, extensive and lush green areas, BBQ area, children’s playground and its own water treatment plant. Contact (506) 6022-9294 or 6022-9967, for further info or to arrange a viewing.

Suenos montage
Outrageous blowout prices on oceanfront condos in Los Sueños!

Located in the private Bay Residence enclave overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Los Sueños Resort and Marina, there are three gorgeous units available at unbelievable bargain pricing from $589,000.  All of these beautiful units are three bedrooms and two baths, 2,200 square feet, fully furnished and ready to move in.  Development includes a gym, access to 3 pools, jacuzzis, BBQ areas and the Beach Club.  If you’ve always wanted to own in Los Sueños, now is the time!  Contact  or call 8702-0778.  From U.S. call 209-482-1788.

Top floor unit: $649,000   Second floor unit: $675,000  Garden unit: $589,000

Newly available in Roca Verde
Well-built home of 215 m2, 3 bedrooms, two bath on 1,150 m2 of lot, with attractive rock retaining wall, carport, and a pool. Indoors there are high, vaulted hardwood ceiling, bright rooms, a laundry room.  The floor is ceramic tile in pastel shades. $247,000. Photos: 2446-5587.

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 ft. elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 baths, appliances included. High-speed internet installed, Direct TV via sling box on Internet. $199,000 Contact   Check out slide show HERE!

Condo montage
Cariari luxury condo for sale
This is not an ordinary condo.
Completed one year ago, a $45,000 renovating made it an exquisite dwelling. As soon as you walk in you know it is a special home. No detail has been overlooked, even minuscule ones. The owner has a need to move on, and someone lucky will be the beneficiary of the fine detailed work. The home itself has three bedrooms, two and half bathrooms plus a maid’s quarters with its own bathroom. Also, it has a living room, dining room and a gorgeous kitchen with a kitchenette. There’s also a small outdoor patio. Being the end unit of this four-home condo complex, there’s parking space for three vehicles.  Approximately 240 sq. meters. All this near the Cariari Golf and Country Club and its renowned Tom Facio golf course. The club also has amenities such as a fitness centre, exercise room, Olympic swimming pool, sauna, 12 tennis courts and many other benefits. Tel:  8384-9608 or 2293-9054  Price $214,500.


Beach Front Home - Central Pacific Coast
Pristine condition, recently renovated. The best surfing and boogie boarding in the country. The most magnificent ocean and sunset view. New 20-year, fully registered concession on one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. Easy access from San José (1 hour 25 minutes) located between Jacó and Manuel Antonio, in Esterillos Oeste.  2 or 3 bedrooms. Center room can be living room. House with 2 1/2 baths. Separated rancho with kitchen and large entertainment patio. Landscaped garden with no water shortage. Has both municipal and well water with automatic watering system. Direct access to the beach as no road is in front of property. Protected land on one side of the property for additional privacy.  Alarm system and complete shutters for security while away. Lot approximately 1,725 square meters, Asking price: $385.000.  Contact to Paul at local phone 506- 2637-8858  Cell phone 506- 8823-8550 .  US Mobile 908-400-9772  Emails:  and


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:

ARenal property
Location: Near Arenal        Price: $2.7 million
Size: 113 acres
Web site:

The farm is at the highest point on a stunning ridge bordered by pristine Costa Rican primary forest on all sides of the property, with active wildlife all throughout the area. On each of its gently rolling terraced lomas you get a glimpse of Volcán Arenal from a distance. This property has four different lagunas, a working organic farm and nursery, mature fruit trees, sheep corral, ideal for grazing horses with stunning views from all the hillsides. The Northern Zone of Costa Rica is the country's best kept secret, providing a perfect home base location to travel the country's many destinations while still maintaining the best climate at 400 meters above sea level.

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Call center for rent ready to go !
13 work stations, good equipment, good location, Rohrmoser, two blocks from Plaza Mayor. $4.000 per month. Call Kevin 8366-6861.

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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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 235
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Polls show Americans divided on illegals

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Americans are split on whether President Barack Obama was right to take executive action to protect millions of illegal immigrants from deportation, according to a new poll. Quinnipiac University found 48 percent opposed to the president’s action while 45 percent supported it.

The survey also found that 48 percent of those surveyed believed undocumented immigrants should be allowed to stay in the country and offered a path to citizenship. That is down from 57 percent who supported it a year ago.

But the poll also suggests Republicans should be careful in how they respond to the president’s immigration order. Quinnipiac found that 68 percent oppose Congress shutting down the government as a way to block Obama’s action on immigration.

Looking ahead to the next two years, the president’s executive action on immigration has far-reaching political implications for both major parties and could become a central issue in the 2016 presidential campaign.

In defending his action in speeches around the country, Obama likes to remind voters that he took action mindful of the long-standing notion that the U.S. considers itself a nation of immigrants.

"It’s not what we look like," the president told a supportive crowd in Las Vegas, Nevada. "It’s not what our last name is. It’s not where we come from.  It’s not how we pray. What makes us American is a shared commitment to an ideal that all of us are created equal, all of us have a chance to make our lives what we will."

Obama’s decision angered many Republicans who regard the action as a blanket amnesty for millions who came into the U.S. illegally. House Speaker John Boehner has promised a strong response, but he’s also been vague about what it might be and when it might come.

"The president had said before that he is not king and he’s not an emperor. But he’s sure acting like one and he’s doing it at a time when the American people want nothing more than for us to work together," Boehner said.

The president held off on his decision until after the midterm congressional elections, fearing any action before November would jeopardize several Senate Democrats engaged in tough re-election battles.

But Republicans swept nearly all the close races and will have a majority in the Senate beginning in January.

American University analyst James Thurber said it appears the president decided he had nothing left to lose politically and fulfilled his promise to act on immigration in the face of congressional gridlock over reform.

"He is obviously thinking, 'well, the Republicans haven’t done anything and they probably won’t do anything’” on immigration, Thurber said. "'I’m going to get criticized for this anyway but I want to do the right thing, it will be part of my legacy and I’m going to go ahead and do this.' "

The short-term political price could be steep, especially since Republicans will control both chambers of Congress next year, said Matt Dallek, an assistant professor of political management at George Washington University.

"I think what you are going to see is a series of kind of aggressive acts on the part of the Republican Congress that attempt to send a message that they think that this action is unconstitutional," he said.

Some conservative House members have raised the prospect of blocking funds to implement the president’s initiative on immigration. One of the leading opponents of immigration reform in the House, Iowa Republican Steve King, has also raised the possibility of trying to censure the president, a sort of official reprimand or rebuke by Congress.

Republicans could also go to federal court to try to stop the president’s executive action, but Brookings Institution scholar Thomas Mann predicted that would be an uphill legal battle.

"It is not easy for Republicans in Congress to take action that would deny him the ability to implement his own executive order or to take to the courts because the courts have largely upheld this kind of discretionary authority by presidents," Mann said.

Whatever they decide to do in response, Republican pollster Whit Ayres said members of his party need to be careful not to offend Hispanic voters who are a growing constituency in U.S. presidential elections.

"We got one-third of the Hispanic vote. We’ve got to do better with Hispanics, with Asians," Ayres said. "We’ve seen that coming. It is not arguable and it is simply the challenge that we have to meet successfully if we will ever elect another president."

Obama’s willingness to act alone on immigration also signals a sharper focus on the judgment of history in his final two years in office, said author Aaron David Miller.

"Well, I think this president – in the far fewer than 1,000 days that remain in his presidency – is going to be looking to shore up whatever his legacy is going to be at home and abroad," Miller said.

The Quinnipiac poll also showed Obama’s approval rating at only 39 percent, a troubling omen for Democrats.

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From Page 7:

Goat producers want better stock imported

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Farmers who raise goats want to seek better stock and semen from the United States, the European Union and Canada to improve the local herds.

Some 700 persons took part in a discussion on the topic at a gathering of sheep and goat producers. Costa Rica has about 20,000 goats, said organizers.

Carlos Boschini, a Universidad de Costa Rica professor, said the industry requires a major stimulus with the importation of new genetic material to repopulate and increase the size of the country's herds.

He said the number should be doubled and that production of goat products still is low.

The professor suggested calling upon the Servicio Nacional de Sanidad Animal to allow the importation of animals and semen to boost production. Most of the goat operations now are small scale.

Rodney Cordero, dean of the Universidad Técnica Nacional in Atenas where the session was held, said that there has been a recent increase in goat products. Now the milk is available in powder and the milk in fluid is registered and has all the permits necessary for sale.

Goat and lamb also are positioned to be a gourmet option for consumers, he said.