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(506) 2223-1327                                  Published Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, in Vol. 16, No. 235                                  Email us
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Cuerpo de Bomberos photo
Fire fighters are an impressive sight, as seen in this photo from a prior year.
Downtown to host not one but two parades Sunday
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Expats can enjoy two parades Sunday as the fire fighters and oxcart drivers take to the streets of San José.

The Cuerpo de Bomberos is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, and next week has been designated the Semana del Bombero or week of the firefighter.

The two parades will not collide. Firefighters begin the day with a floral offering at the tomb for their colleagues in the Cementerio Obrero on Avenida 10 at 8:30 a.m.

Then there is a ceremony at Parque Cañas on Avenida 18 at Calle 2 where a plaque will be unveiled honoring fallen firefighters. Then the assembled fire fighters march to the Catedral Metropolitana for a Roman Catholic Mass.

On past years, fire fighters were not far from their trucks, which made an impressive sight.
bomberos week
The oxcart drivers begin their march from Parque La Sabana at 10 a.m., according to an announcement.

This is the annual Entrada de los Santos that is the official start to the holiday season.

The parade route is on Paseo Colón to Avenida Segunda to the Plaza de la Democracia. The giant oxen, the painted carts and the handlers are emblematic of Costa Rica.

This is a very photogenic event, and many tourists will be along the route.

The oxcart drivers, the boyeros, will be camping out at Parque La Sabana starting at noon Saturday, and tourists are invited to visit and share stories and take photos. The campout has a 19th century theme.

Government ready to disburse Christmas bonuses
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The government that is very skilled in giving away other people's money will give away some of its own next week.

The national treasury will deposit an estimated $352 million in colons to the accounts of 184,154 employees and other persons.  This is the 2015 aguinaldos.

Private enterprise has to make these payments, too, but the government disbursement, which averages about $1,800 a person, always is announced. This year it is 5.71 percent more than last year, according to the Ministerio de Hacienda. The money will be paid from borrowed funds
because the
 national budget is about half borrowed money.

Aguinaldos represent a twelfth of what an employee or other persons earned since last Dec. 1. Employees love the practice, but employers do not.

Those on pensions, members of boards of directors and a long list of other persons who are not government employees also get aguinaldos.

In the private sector, some expats who are legally obligated to make support payments to children and ex-spouses are surprised that they, too, must pay aguinaldos. 

Aguinaldos are not taxed or have deductions.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, Vol. 16, 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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Legal services

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Central banker to explain exchange rate

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The chief economist at the Banco Central will talk to Democrats Saturday about the bank's exchange rate policy.

The U.S. dollar has strengthened against the world's major currencies, but the Costa Rican colon is now trading at a rate that is slightly lower than a year ago.

The buy/sell rate today is 526.44/538.86 colons, some four colons lower than a year ago.

The speaker is Roger Madrigal López.

Central bank officials have maintained in the past that it has been supporting the U.S. dollar.

The bank gained more control of the currency exchange market when it prohibited individuals from buying and selling currency.  Now only banks participate in the daily monetary market.

The exchange rate is of  importance to expats because many receive funds from outside the country. They have been mystified by some recent changes.

For example, the Banco de Costa Rica decided to limit the emissions of dollars at its automatic tellers. Banco Nacional did this some time ago.

The actions raised the suspicions of expats that the move was designed to protect the colon.

Just this week, another expat reported that Banco Nacional declined to accept a wire transfer for a large sum destined for a property transaction.

The colon will come under more pressure when the U.S. Federal Reserve finally decides to raise the base interest rate.

For now one beneficiary of the exchange rate is the central government which collects taxes and other funds in colons but has to pay for its crushing international debt in dollars.

The Democrats Abroad meet at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the Holiday Inn Aurola in downtown San Jose.    Reservations are requested at

Internet scammer graphic       
Would that this be true.

Today can be a shopper's black day, too

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Today is black Friday, the day retailers hope shoppers will put them in the black.

Some of those in the big crowds will not be shoppers. In Costa Rica they will be undercover police and surveyors from the economic ministry checking up on compliance with the laws.

There are a lot of rules connected with making offers to customers, and the  Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio enforces them.

But the Internet is still unpoliced. An example is the Walmart offer above. It arrived early today and promises a $50 Walmart gift.

The offer might be more believable if the email did not come from a .top domain, which normally means China. The domain is

Anyone who clicks on the graphic to get the $50 gift is going to an unknown Web site where anything can happen.

Such scams are spammed to email users all the time, but the juxtaposition with black Friday makes the offer more believable., the domain register, identifies the .top domain as one that was created for the Chinese market because what sounds like top in Chinese means ranking in English. The domain was designed for Web sites that center on customer reviews, sports rankings, and any blog or news source that helps define this niche market, said Enom.

In Costa Rica the economic ministry's consumer section said it already sought changes in 21 print ads and visited 64 establishments just in the last week.

The Fuerza Pública said that more officers have been detailed to commercial centers to watch for robbers and other crooks.

News for the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 235
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Ecuador moves to limit immigration of Cubans from their island
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
and wire service reports

Ecuador moved to close the door on more Cuban migrants Thursday, but those leaving the Communist island have proved to be resourceful. Cuban citizens will require visas to enter Ecuador starting Tuesday as Ecuador attempts to regulate migration from the island and limit those going to the United States, Ecuador's deputy foreign minister said Thursday.

The decision was taken as a result of a regional meeting Tuesday in San Salvador to discuss the future of thousands of Cubans who are stranded at the Costa Rica-Nicaragua border in their journey to the United States. The session was set up under the sponsorship of the Sistema de Integración de Centroamérica.

With an open-door policy to most of the world's citizens, Ecuador has become a steppingstone for many to the United States.

"We decided to impose the visa requirement for Cuban citizens in order to discourage the flow of people seeking to reach the United States," Ecuador's deputy foreign minister, Xavier Lasso, told reporters in Quito.

Cuban citizens will have to make a formal request to Ecuador to enter its territory for a period of 90 days. The requirements were not spelled out.

Lasso added that this does not imply that Ecuador is closing the doors to Cubans.

Costa Rica President Luis Guillermo Solís said in a statement that he was pleased by the action by the Ecuadorian government. The decision is likely to be met
with approval in Cuba where Ecuador's ally has been
National Emergency commission photo
There is not much to do at a refugee shelter

embarrassed by so many of its younger citizens voting with their feet to leave the island.

Still there are many Cubans en route from Ecuador, and there are others in Panamá who wish to enter Costa Rica.

The problem all started two weeks ago when Nicaragua refused passage to more migrants. There are an estimated 2,900 stuck in government shelters in the northern part of Costa Rica.

However, not all of the migrants flew to Ecuador to begin their trek north. Some entered Latin America as far south as Argentina. Others flew from Cuba to other Caribbean islands. The migrants hope to take advantage of a 1966 U.S. law that gives them instant residency when they reach that border.

Costa Rican officials are exploring transportation options for the Cubans, including air flights.

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  San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 235
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Massive new data base catalogues how venoms can help the sick
By the Columbia University news staff

A growing interest in the therapeutic value of animal venom has led a pair of Columbia University data scientists to create the first catalog of known animal toxins and their physiological effects on humans.

VenomKB, short for Venom Knowledge Base, summarizes the results of 5,117 studies in the medical literature describing the use of venom toxins as painkillers and as treatments for diseases like cancer, diabetes, obesity, and heart failure. Drawn from an automated analysis of the literature, VenomKB documents nearly 42,723 effects on the body. Though modern medicine makes use of only a small fraction of the toxins documented thus far, the researchers hope that the catalog will spur the discovery of new compounds and medical treatments.

“With this list we can take stock of what we know about venoms and their therapeutic effects” said Nicholas Tatonetti, an assistant professor of biomedical informatics at Columbia University Medical Center and a member of the Data Science Institute. “The question now is: How can we use this information with other databases to discover new compounds and therapies?”

Tatonetti and Joseph Romano, a graduate student, searched on the term venoms/therapeutic use in a database of 22 million medical research papers. This produced a list of 5,117 venom-related studies whose results they summarized using a pair of computer algorithms. After cross-referencing toxins and drugs listed under multiple names and correcting other irregularities in the data, they found 42,723 unique mentions of venoms having a specific effect on the body. Their results are published in a companion study to Venom KB in the journal Scientific Data.

Venom’s capacity to heal is paradoxically linked to its fast-acting, lethal effects in the wild. Found in more than 173,000 species, venoms evolved over millions of years to target molecules that are often involved in disease. The toxic proteins and amino acids known as peptides that make up venom act on cell receptors and ion channels, controlling how cells behave.

By mimicking or altering how these toxins act on specific human cells, researchers can develop drugs that inhibit pain or treat diseases, often with fewer side effects than those of drugs already on the market.

About a dozen major drugs have emerged from this strategy so far, National Geographic magazine reported in 2013. One of the first, an anticoagulant called Arvin, gained favor in the late 1960s after a doctor discovered that ancrod, a protein found in the venom of the Malayan pit viper, could treat blood clots in the legs.

The widely used type 2 diabetes drug Byetta, is made from the toxin exenatide, found in the saliva of the venomous Gila monster, a lizard native to the United States and Mexico.

Another drug, bombesin, uses a toxin found in the skin of

Tatonetti lab and Columbia University Medical Center/Data Science Institute graphic
Example of data base shows impact of snail venom.

the venomous European fire-bellied toad to treat gastrointestinal disorders. Bombesin’s ability to bind to neuronal tumors has led to interest in developing a florescent version that could guide surgeons around the edges of a tumor.

Five compounds produced by the venomous cone snail have made it to clinical trials, including ziconotide, the generic term for an analgesic similar to morphine.

The Malayan pit viper, Gila monster, European fire-bellied toad, and cone snail account for about 18 percent of the 5,117 venom-related studies now catalogued in Venom KB. Yet there are 10 million or more venomous species that have yet to be studied. Zoltan Takacs, a toxinologist who earned his doctorate in evolutionary studies at Columbia, estimates there are 20 million venom toxins waiting to be screened.

Databases of compounds and their biological effects have been used in recent years to discover and develop new drugs as well as uncover problems with drugs already in use. Tatonetti and his colleagues mined a federal database of documented drug side effects, the Federal Drug Administration Adverse Event Reporting System, and discovered that the interaction of the anti-depressant paroxetine, sold under the brand name Paxil, and the statin pravastatin, sold as Pravachol, could raise blood glucose levels in diabetic patients.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

HIdden Garden 2016
Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
Drop in to see some of Costa Rica's finest art
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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.

Click photo for another video

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

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

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

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

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

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


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

Real Estate
About us
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The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2015 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. 
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A.M. Costa Rica's  
Fifth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 234
Real Estate
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Fence jumper with flag
caught on White House lawn

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A man was in custody Thursday in Washington after jumping over a White House fence while the first family was inside celebrating Thanksgiving.

Draped in an American flag, Joseph Caputo scaled a fence on the North Lawn and was apprehended immediately, the Secret Service said.

It did not provide Caputo’s age or hometown, or any reason for the jumper’s actions.

Officials were trying to determine how the man made it past new spikes added to the White House perimeter this year to deter intruders.

The north and south fence lines at the White House were temporarily closed. In the hours after the incident, numerous armed security personnel were seen along the streets and sidewalks outside the executive mansion.

Caputo was at least the third person in 2015 to scale a fence and make it onto White House property.

While most fence-jumpers are quickly captured, in September 2014 an Iraq War veteran ran across the lawn, through the main door and past a stairway that leads up to the first family's residence before he was subdued by Secret Service agents in the East Room.

Campaign rally killing
takes one life in Venezuela

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A Venezuelan opposition candidate has been shot dead at a campaign event while standing alongside the wife of a jailed opposition leader.

Fellow Acción Democrática party members reported Luis Manuel Diaz, local party leader, was killed Wednesday at an event in the town of Altagracia de Orituco.

Standing next to him was Lilian Tintori, wife of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo López. She was not reported to be injured. She tweeted a response to the shooting late Wednesday night, blaming the governing party and calling it utter terror, harassment, and violence.

Venezuela holds congressional elections Dec. 6.

Polls show Acción Democrática and other parties are mounting a strong challenge to the ruling socialist government, led by President Nicolas Maduro, which has raised fears of conflict in a nation where politics often creates volatility on the ground.

In Washington Thursday, the secretary general of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, condemned the killing and called for an immediate end to the violence in the country.

"The violent death of any person is a heinous act that we cannot accept. The killing of a political activist, moreover, leaves us all more vulnerable, and signals that we are all real victims, not just potential victims," said Almagro.

He emphasized that the killing of a political leader is a deadly wound to democracy and a succession of violent acts in an electoral process can be a mortal blow to nearly any kind of democracy.

The incident is not an isolated episode, but one that occurred in conjunction with other attacks against other opposition political leaders in a strategy to intimidate the opposition.

After deal is reached in Paris
implementation is a concern

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The main expectations from the two-week United Nations Climate Change Conference about to begin in Paris are that the outcome should be a concrete plan with achievable goals from every nation that participates. That means that by 2025, carbon emissions will be at a much lower level than they are today.  But once that agreement is reached, what will it take to actually implement it?

There is hope in combating the effects of a rapidly warming planet, according to U.S. Rep. Don Beyer, who serves on the Joint Economic Committee and the House Committee on Natural Resources.   

“The United States has done more than any other country in the last seven years to reduce its carbon footprint. A lot of other nations around the world are working very hard. I am very optimistic about the Paris talks coming up in just a few weeks. Even the big nuke polluters like China and India are willing to come with plans,” said Beyer.

Still, one of the toughest issues has been financing developing countries to help them develop sustainable energy sources. George Mason University Professor Mona Sarfaty has a possible solution.

“The increase in solar panels photovoltaic cells has been tremendous over the last decade, and come far faster than anybody thought that it would. It’s now less expensive to produce solar energy than it is to produce other types of energy in some places. So what we need to do is to spread that inexpensively produced solar energy, so that there are many more areas that are able to get the energy that they need using either solar or wind, the renewables that are currently available,” said Professor Sarfaty.

At the same time, financing for poorer nations to help them cut greenhouse gas emissions and deal with the fallout of global warming remains one of the biggest obstacles even though the gap is narrowing.

Aliya Hag of the Natural Resources Defense Council acknowledges there is no quick solution.

“Developing nations are the most vulnerable to climate impacts and they need help from the industrialized world, which was responsible for much of the pollution that is causing the warming today. That’s not to say that developing countries don’t need to start reducing their emissions right now, but we do need to find a way to mobilize enough financing to make sure that they are able to build resilience and be prepared for the climate impacts that are already baked into the system,” said Ms. Hag.

Still, the reaching of a comprehensive deal in France remains uncertain.

Pope calls for quick action
to stop changes in climate

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Pope Francis took his message of caring for the planet to the offices of the U.N. Environment Program in Nairobi on Thursday and called for immediate action to stem climate change and protect the environment.

"In this international context, we are confronted with a choice which cannot be ignored: either to improve or to destroy the environment,” the pontiff said in his address at the U.N. compound.

Francis urged that selfish interests be put aside.

“In a few days, an important meeting on climate change will be held in Paris. . . . It would be sad, and I dare say even catastrophic, were particular interests to prevail over the common good,” he said.

Achim Steiner, executive director of the U.N. Environment Program, agreed with Francis' desire to reach a sustainable agreement at the climate summit in Paris, which begins Monday.

“That approach has embedded climate change into the global consciousness," he said. "Not just the science on harmful emissions and the wasteful practices that contribute to them, but the well-being of a healthy planet that includes justice, equality and solidarity with the most vulnerable in society, the very people who are often the least responsible for the problem but the most affected by the consequences.”

The pope called for action against poaching and illegal mineral exploitation in Africa and for a new energy system, reducing fossil fuel use to the minimum and rethinking the current model of development.

Participants in the Paris conference hope to achieve, for the first time in over 20 years of U.N. negotiations, a binding agreement on climate involving all the nations of the world.

Feds warn holdout states
on need to accept Syrians

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. federal government is warning state officials they do not have the legal authority to refuse to accept refugees from Syria.

The notification came in a letter dated Wednesday from the director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement to state resettlement agencies.

Program chief Robert Carey said that states may not deny benefits and services based on a refugee's country of origin or religious affiliation.

Any state that refuses to comply would be in violation of the law and could be subject to enforcement action, Carey warned in the letter, originally published in the Houston Chronicle.

More than two dozen mostly Republican governors have vowed to block federal attempts to resettle Syrian refugees in their states, arguing they pose an unacceptable security risk.

Fears were heightened after the discovery that at least one of the militants in the recent deadly Paris attacks had slipped into Europe in the wave of Syrian refugees.

President Barack Obama, a member of the Democratic Party, plans to accept 10,000 refugees from Syria over the next year.

That is a significant increase from the roughly 2,000 Syrian refugees the U.S. has taken in since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, but represents only a tiny fraction of the millions who have fled the war-torn country.

Last week, the Republican-led House of Representatives passed a bill that increases the restrictions on refugees from Iraq and Syria. The bill's future is uncertain in the Senate. Obama has vowed to veto it.

Military dogs now can retire
on U.S. soil with handler

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A gigantic defense spending bill signed Wednesday by U.S. President Barack Obama will allow U.S. military dogs to be returned to the United States upon their retirement and gives their military handlers first chance to adopt them.

Previously, U.S. military dogs could be retired overseas, which made them civilians and thus ineligible for military transport home to the U.S.

The 2016 National Defense Authorization Act changes that with provisions backed by the American Humane Association.

The association estimates each military dog saves the lives of between 150 to 200 servicemen and women by detecting explosives and hidden weapons caches.

The new law requires that military working dogs be returned to U.S. soil when they retire and that their former handlers will be given the first chance to adopt them.

The new law comes at a time when care of  U.S. veterans is under heavy scrutiny, as the U.S. struggles to cope with thousands of wounded service members returning from the longstanding conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Humane Association notes that reuniting working dogs with their handlers can help both veterans overcome wartime trauma and readjust to civilian life.

"This is a great day for military heroes on both ends of the leash. We believe all our veterans, two-footed and four-footed, should come back to a hero's welcome," Humane Association President Robin Ganzert said.

Family says Gifford autopsy
shows he had trauma disease

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The family of legendary American football player Frank Gifford says signs of the degenerative disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy were found in his brain after his death.

In a statement released Wednesday, the family said Gifford had experienced firsthand symptoms associated with the disease but did not offer specifics. He died of natural causes at his Connecticut home.

"While Frank passed away from natural causes this past August at the age of 84, our suspicions that he was suffering from the debilitating effects of head trauma were confirmed" when chronic traumatic encephalopathy was diagnosed, according to the statement.

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a dementia-like disease linked to the types of brain injuries and head trauma common in football, can only be confirmed after death. Symptoms include aggressive behavior, depression, memory loss, progressive dementia and suicidal tendencies. Dozens of former National Football League players have been posthumously diagnosed with the disease. In study results released earlier this year, 87 of 91 former players who donated their brains to science after death tested positive for chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

Gifford's family did not say who made the diagnosis or the severity of the disease, so it is hard to determine how the finding will impact the growing research on chronic traumatic encephalopathy. The family said it plans to have his brain studied in hopes of contributing to the advancement of medical research concerning the link between football and traumatic brain injury.

The family also said it found "comfort in knowing that by disclosing his condition we might contribute positively to the ongoing conversation that needs to be had; that he might be an inspiration for others suffering with this disease that needs to be addressed in the present; and that we might be a small part of the solution to an urgent problem concerning anyone involved with football, at any level."

"His entire adult life, Frank was a champion for others, but especially for those without the means or platform to have their voices heard," the family statement said.

In a statement, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league supports grants related to government, university and independent efforts to research the effects of repetitive head trauma. The NFL has made a series of rule changes in recent years in an attempt to make the game safer.

"We appreciate the Gifford family's desire to help the medical community understand more about C.T.E., and we are grateful for their support of the league's efforts to improve safety in our game," Goodell said.

Gifford's diagnosis comes amid a growing focus on the risks athletes face from suffering repeated concussions, and just hours after the National Football League admitted its concussion protocols had come up short when St. Louis Rams quarterback Case Keenum was allowed to stay in a game after receiving a hit to the head that caused a concussion.

Keenum was not fully examined until after the game ended.

Gifford, who played his entire career with the New York Giants from 1952 to 1964, is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. A running back, defensive back, wide receiver and special teams player, he was the league's most valuable player in 1956 when the Giants won the NFL championship.

But in one of the most iconic images in NFL history, Eagles linebacker Chuck Bednarik flattened Gifford with a crushing hit in a 1960 game and pumped his fist in celebration while standing over the unconscious Giants player. Gifford was hospitalized for 10 days and missed the 1961 season.

Gifford also enjoyed a celebrated career following retirement from the NFL. He served for 27 years as an announcer on ABC's "Monday Night Football" and worked for more than a decade alongside another famous broadcaster, the loquacious Howard Cosell.

Spirit photography is making
a comeback with hobbyist

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Photographer John Milleker shoots old-time portraits showing ghostly images. The photos echo portraits with a spirit in the background taken by American William Mumler in the 1860s and 70s, known as spirit photography. 

With his dark, curly mustache and black coat, reflective of the era, Milleker begins setting up a spirit photo shoot in Sky Meadows State Park in Delaplane, Virginia. But first, the Baltimore, Maryland, photographer tells visitors about Mumler, who came up with the idea of spirit photography as he photographed images on glass plates.

“He had taken a self-portrait of himself and a spirit happened to appear on the plate with him,” Milleker explained. "He thought his plate wasn’t cleaned properly. But when he took it to his friends and family, they thought it resembled a cousin of his who had died 10 years prior.”

Mumler drew well-to-do clients for his expensive portraits, convincing them that spirits could put themselves in photographs. They included Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of President Abraham Lincoln, who was assassinated in 1865, days after the end of the U.S. Civil War. More than 600,000 soldiers died in the conflict, and some people longed for proof that their loved ones were in the afterlife.

Mumler claimed he could provide that proof in a photo, but also warned that the spirit might not appear or look like the person his clients knew.

“And then he would explain the physical and the spiritual form doesn’t always look exactly the same way,” Milleker said.

Milleker uses a wooden camera with a bellows and a lens from the 1860s to mimic Mumler’s photos. Inserting a glass plate into the heavy camera, he photographs a man, a Civil War re-enactor, and a woman in an 1860s-style dress. The woman is sitting in a chair with her hands crossed, while the man standing near her in a military uniform is her ghost.

Milleker uses the couple to demonstrate one way Mumler may have created his photos, using a double exposure, taking a photograph of someone, putting the lens cap back on, adding someone, and then taking the lens cap back off again.

He develops his photos the same way Mumler did, using a wet plate collodion process that produces a negative image on transparent glass.

Mumler was eventually outed as a fraud, said Milleker. He was taken to court but found not guilty because no one could prove his images were not spirits.

Milleker said his clients like the nostalgia of spirit images, as well as dressing in clothing from the 1800s. One couple even has a one-of-a-kind engagement picture of her sitting and staring at the camera, while her ghostly fiance, an apparent casualty in the Civil War, looks over her.
Real estate-related services (paid category)

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Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

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

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

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

Special Offer

Penthouse condominium in Playa Langosta, Tamarindo

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

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

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

Remax logo
Re/Max Ocean Surf and Sun:

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

Real estate for sale (paid category)

ocean-view home
Property size: 3,405.14 sq. mts. or 37,000 sq. ft.   Gorgeous house built 5 years ago to U.S. standards on 37,000 sq. ft. titled property. This home (240 sq. mtrs or 2,600 sq. ft) has 360-degree ocean and mountain views and electric gated private road access. The large open style home has soaring teak ceillings, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, custom cabinetry and ceramic tiles throughout and a double-car electric garage door. Their is also a beautiful, large swimming pool surrounded by exotic garden, laundry room and bodega. This is a very special and rare property because of the incredible view and excellent location. This one of a kind home and property is truly a must to see. all custom built furnitures included. Photo gallery:  CLICK HERE!  Please contact Jack, Cell phone number  (506) 8812-1789.  Contact email:


Caribbean paradise: CAHUITA

New home, beautiful well-built house 200 meters from a lovely beach. Very private, fully titled, excellent water well.  2 large bedrooms, 2 full baths, tub, large open floor plan 26-foot sliding glass doors open to covered porch. Encircling back yard are coral rocks 10 feet tall and behind jungle reserve. Lots of birds and wildlife. House 240 mts. sq, 2,400 sq ft. Lot 1,850 mts. or 19,000 sq. ft. Price $179,000. Very nice neighborhood. Contact 2755-0014 or   More photos HERE!

New Arenal

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

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

A beautiful American style suburban home just reduced.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Goetl in Palo Seco

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

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

Pacific Sur montagee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, Vol. 16, 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
Escuela de Ingeniería Forestal photo    
A stand of cypress used for reforestation

Forestry engineers promote cypress

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Who says Christmas trees have to come from Canada or from a factory in China?

Not tree experts in the Escuela de Ingeniería Forestal of the Tecnológico de Costa Rica They are promoting the use of cypress, an evergreen that has been used for reforestation for at least 30 years.

The forestry school is conducting a tree fair at the soccer field in Llano Bonito de Naranjo. The event is called Feria Nacional del Árbol de Navidad.  The fair ends Sunday and repeats Dec. 4 to 6.

The object is to encourage the use of natural trees from Costa Rica, instead of the imported variety or artificial trees.

Vehicle valuations are now a hot topic

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Expats would be wise to delay paying their annual marchamo or road tax until they see how the latest political battle plays out.

The marchamo fee is collected by the Instituto Nacional de Seguros, but the obligatory insurance is just a small part of the annual bite. And some vehicle owners have complained this year that the bite is bigger than it should be.

The dispute centers on how the Ministerio de Hacienda valued motor vehicles here. The bulk of the marchamo is a tax levied by the ministry.

This is the same ministry that levies the tax on vehicles imported into the country and makes them cost twice their market value elsewhere.

This year some of the ministry figures appear to be 20 to 25 percent higher than they should be. Comparisons with real vehicles being sold for real prices point out the problem.

The dispute reached the legislature Thursday.  Otto Guevara Guth of Liberación Nacional told the minister and vice president, Helio Fallas, that the marchamo amounts were unconstitutional because certain mandatory publications had not been made.

He said he was going to file a constitutional case to have the marchamo tax thrown out.

For its part, the Ministerio de Hacienda said later that the new valuations would remain.

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From Page 7:

Outsourcing conference will be in Costa Rica

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The country will be the site for a major conference on outsourcing next year. The Ministerio de Comercio Exterior, the Promotora de Comercio Exterior and the Coalición Costarricense de Iniciativas de Desarrollo announced this Thursday.

The decision was made at this year's conference in Guadalajara, México.

Some 500 representatives of businesses involved in this sector, as well as government officials are expected to come to Costa Rica, said the announcement.

The service sector in Costa Rica contains about 120 firms that employ about 50,000 persons.

The event is sponsored by the Interamerican Development Bank.