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(506) 2223-1327                        Published  Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, in Vol. 12, No. 238                          Email us
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Judicial stats show few criminal cases go to court
By Aaron Knapp
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Only about 32 cases are tried out of every 1,000 criminal complaints filed in Costa Rica, according to statistics released by judicial researchers.

Poder Judicial researchers said that nearly 11,000 criminal cases went to court in 2011, about 10 percent more than the year before, according to a summary highlighting the findings.

In these cases about 7,100 people were convicted of crimes and 3,900 were acquitted.

This report is one of many that statistical researchers in Poder Judicial hand out piecemeal every year using the data from the previous year.

This report specifically deals with aggregated data from all of Costa Rica's regional criminal courts. The data includes some demographic information of those going through the system and the crimes of which they are accused.

In 2011, researchers said that about 11,000 criminal cases went to trial, with 7,100 convictions amounting to one out of every 32 complaints. That equates to about 227,200 criminal complaints filed that year. A news story last week cited a survey that showed only about 51 percent of crime victims file a report.

Considering the complaints that are actually filed, only about 3 percent of criminals will stand before a judge.

Despite the low number, judicial researchers said that this is the second consecutive year where the number of cases being tried has increased. The number of criminal trials in 2011 is about 1,100 cases higher than in 2010 and the highest it has been in five years, the report said.

The three most common types of criminal cases leading to a conviction were about 3,300 crimes
2011 crime statistics
Estimated number of crimes*
445,500
Number of crime reports
227,200
Number of criminal cases filed
11,000
Number of convictions
7,100
Number of acquittals
3,900
Jailed for more than 3 years
3,600
*Computed based on CID-Gallup survey
Other data via the Poder Judicial

against property, 1,000 drug crimes and 700 sexual crimes. According to the report, these accounted for 81 percent of the convictions.

Researchers also tracked prison sentences given to those 7,100 found guilty. About 100 received  sentences of a matter of days, 500 of a month to year, 250 of less than three years, 950 of three to five years, 1,200 of five to seven years, 650 of seven to 10 years and 800 of more than 10 years.

About 2,500 convicted criminals received conditional sentences which are more flexible and lenient.

About 900 of those convicted were foreigners, including nearly 700 Nicaraguans, the report said.

The majority of these cases were tried in courts around the capitol area with 1,000 cases in first circuit court in San José, 800 in the San José flagrancy court and 800 in the Pavas first circuit court.

Out of the 11,000 trials, 82 percent of the defendants faced a judge for the first time. Judicial records said that the other 18 percent of accused criminals have sat through criminal proceedings in the past.

Researchers also found that nearly two-thirds of the defendants in these cases were between the ages of 20 and 39 and that 5,500 listed themselves as single while 2,700 listed themselves as married.


There's little holiday spirit at the second-hand stores
By Kayla Pearson
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Christmas is in 27 days.  As people continue to shop for gifts for friends and loved ones, everyone has one question in mind, “Where are the deals?”

This question may prompt shoppers to browse through local compra y ventas, stores that allow persons to buy and sell used items.

Yet, a quick look in these stores will lead to disappointment as the products are outdated and overpriced.

For example, a 22-inch LCD television at Segundita de Santa Marta, north of Parque Merced, costs around 170,000 colons or $340.  This same size television sells at U. S. Walmart stores for prices as low as $129, depending on brand.

Also, compare this with the Walmart black Friday price of limited supply 50-inch televisions for a little less than $300, and this is hardly the buen precio that sales clerks rave about.

Gaming systems are always high on children's Santa list, and a Playstation 3 with one controller is available for sale in the El Boulevard window for 180,000 colons.  In Gringo terms, that is $360, $61 more than a bundle of the system, two controllers and a game will cost in the United States.

On the technology theme, children and adults of this new age want to have high technology phones and music listening devices to keep up with the Jones.

Popular choices are the Apple products which can be found at Presta Tica.  The store sells third generation iPod touches, the one without a camera, for 30,000 colons or $60.  This may sound good, until a person realizes that the iOS software is incompatible with many of the apps in the iStore.  The new owner would undoubtedly have to buy an upgrade to get full use of the device.

The only product that bridges the gap is the iPhone 4, available in the same store for 225,000 colons or $450.  However, according to one U.S. woman, in order to use the phone in Costa Rica the owner must pay $80 to unlock the device then pay for the appropriate connection plan.

Already over $500, one is better off buying the
Compra y
                        venta
A.M. Costa Rica/Kayla Pearson 
 This is one of the many outlets that will buy, sell 
 or pawn merchandise.


new iPhone 5 with a contract in the States or getting a Costa Rican device from the suppliers.

If the camera is the important feature, all the casas de empeños or pawn shops sell point-and-shoots that range from qualities of 5 megapixals to 10 megapixals. They are priced from $60 to $140. 

Within three blocks of the Alajuela bus station five compra y venta outlets can be found, but only one sells digital SLR cameras.  This store, La Merced, had an older Cannon Rebel with a 35-mm lens for $500 and a Nikon D100 for $800.

Factor in that the Nikon model has been discontinued since 2005, and it is hardly worth the investment.  As for lenses, only Tamron and Sigma brands can be found, and they are $140 no matter the size.

The scratches on the body of all the cameras gave a new meaning to gently used.

If something really catches the eye, one can try to bargain with the clerks and hope to get lucky.  However, one look in these places will cause shoppers to turn their backs and say, “The deals are indeed not here.”

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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 238
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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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There still is time to duck
the tax on corporations


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Expats who own corporations in Costa Rica have until Dec. 13 to duck the 2013 tax on companies.

The exact amount this year is not known because the tax is supposed to be half of the base salary of a judicial auxiliar administrativo 1. If the judiciary gives raises as of Jan. 1, the corporation tax goes up, too,  Right now the amount for an active corporation is 180,000 colons or about $360.

When the law was written legislators exempted companies that were registered as small or medium enterprises with the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio. Luis Álvarez, a vice minister, said Wednesday that about 2,000 owners of corporations took advantage of this exemption last year. At the same time the judicial employees got a 14 percent raise that affected the amount of the tax.

The ministry announced Wednesday that it would expedite any applications that are filed before Dec. 13. Under the law, the ministry has to give a response within five working days, so any application filed after Dec. 13 will collide with the Christmas holiday and will not be handled until next year, said the ministry.

The exemption is not for everyone. Expats who own a vehicle or a home via a corporation such as a sociedad anónima or limited partnership are out of luck. In order to take advantage of the exemption the corporation must be engaged in business. However, those who own an inactive corporation as many expats do only have to pay half the tax for an active corporation.

Álvarez noted that the company must meet certain requirements. The company must be up to date with its financial obligations with the Caja Costarricense de Seguros Social. It also must have filed a tax return and have riesgo de trabajo coverage for employees. Of course if there are no employes, the requirements are less.

The ministry had a Web page designed to enroll companies in the program. Applications must be made on line and the requirement documents must be scanned, the Web site says.

The ministry was promoting the registration in an event held with Microsoft Corp. Wednesday. The program  PYME Accede allows small and medium size companies to obtain training for employees, credit and half-priced software from Microsoft. The program also involved the Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje, which provides the training.


Seven firms get cash prizes
because they are successes


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Officials from the ministry of economy held a ceremony Tuesday night to award seven local entrepreneurs with cash prizes for their exemplary success stories.

The Premio a la Excelencia en el Empresariado Local was presented by President Laura Chinchilla to owners of very small, self-started businesses, according to a press release from the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio.

Each of these seven businesses also received a $2,500 prize as part of the award, according to the release.

The annual awards ceremony is organized by the ministry along with the Citi Foundation and the Adry Association. This is the sixth consecutive year that these firms have given out these awards.

The businesses that won are part of a ministry program that gives loans to local entrepreneurs who do not have alternative means to put their business ideas into practice.

Ministry officials said that the ceremony is meant to highlight the successes of entrepreneurs with small, start-up businesses and demonstrate how other Costa Ricans can create their own successful stores.

The winning business are Caribbean Kalisi Coffee Shop, Osvaldo Valverde Campos, Turrialba Gurmet S.A., Productos Morrjons S.A., Banco Mujer Nuevo Amanecer, Banco Mujer Santa Marta and SIBU Chocolates, the press release said.

 
Find out what the papers
said today in Spanish


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

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

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

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

This is a new service of A.M. Costa Rica called Costa Rica Report. Editor is Daniel Woodall, and you can contact him
 HERE!
From the Costa Rican press
News items posted Monday through Friday by 8 a.m.
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The Museo de Niños is where parents want to bring their children for the annual Christmas lighting. The spectacular event is different each year and sometimes television stations run the entire show. This photo is of a previous Christmas event.


museum lighting
Museo de Niños file photo

4,000 lights designed to awe kids at museum celebration
By Kayla Pearson
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

In six days patrons can see the castle of dreams at the Museo de Niños lit up with Christmas lights before it is surrounded by bursts of fireworks for the 12th annual ceremony, themed this year “Regalo de Fe.”

Characters Musíeto and Museíta will broadcast messages of faith, love and hope throughout the event as they emcee the illumination of the facade of the museum Wednesday.

Just as the sky turns dark at 5 p.m. a crowd will begin a countdown from 10.  At the final number, a flipped switch will trigger 4,000 lights designed to sparkle against the night sky.

The show will include six original songs by national singer
 Hans Wüst created specifically for the occasion, a play, projections on the facade created by the company Luz Art, giant puppets, fireworks and many other surprises, said museum spokespersons.

For the second year, different police and fire agencies will work to create a safe route for patrons to travel from different parts of the city to the event. Police blocked off entire streets for pedestrians.

The activity is completely free and is described by the museum as a Christmas gift for all Costa Rican families who constantly visit the Museum.

Prior to the show, persons can share their personal message of love, faith and hope on the museum Facebook under the application “gift of faith.”  The link can be found HERE!


Public-private partnership seen as solution for crime at parks
By Aaron Knapp
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A conservation director said that the long-term solution for keeping national parks open and safe for visitors will be a joint effort between both the public and private sectors.

Alejandro Masis, director of conservation in Guanacaste, said he closed off part of a national park because he does not have enough staff to protect visitors from robbers.

He said that the government does not have enough money to provide the staff needed to keep the area open and that private businesses will need to pitch in to keep the local tourism industry thriving.

“These are public places, but they are also places that benefit the private sector by bringing tourists to the area,” said Masis in a telephone interview. “This has to be a joint public-private venture.”

The plan is to close the Santa María sector, one of two sections of the Parque Nacional Rincón de la Vieja, which straddles the Alajuela-Guanacaste provincial border near Liberia. Data from the Ministerio de Ambiente, Energía y Telecomunicaciones says that this section of the park draws 5,000 visitors per month.

A.M. Costa Rica reported Wednesday that the closure of this section is because crimes against tourists has dramatically increased recently, according to officials.

Masis echoed this sentiment and added that the park needs more employees to give visitors guided tours, maintain the park and simply to keep an eye on visitors and potential robbers.

“In the past months, the frequency of armed robbery of tourists has increased dramatically and even cases of vandalism to our infrastructure,” he said.

“It's materially impossible for us to guarantee the minimum level of safety.”

Masis said that he needs 140 employees to reopen this section of the park, and Costa Rica's cash-strapped government will likely not have the budget to fill these positions any time soon.

“Even if at a governmental level they opened up more positions, we know it'll never be enough,” said Masis.

Masis also said that the government recently rescinded a measure that allowed parks to secure funding from non-governmental organizations, which has exacerbated the situation.

He said that he is coordinating with the Fuerza Pública in order
Here are major crimes at park

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There have been nine major incidents, including the robbery of tourists Saturday that led to the decision to close part of Parque Nacional Rincón de la Vieja. A spokesman for the Sistema Nacional de Áreas de Conservación gave these dates and events:

May 25, 2010: Someone stole 200 meters of electrical cable from a generating plant to installations.

Aug. 24, 2011: A theft took place in a home occupied by park personnel in which two persons lost personal items.

Sept. 2, 2011: A gunman or gunmen stuck up a tourist on the Calzón Roto trail.

Oct. 8, 2011: Someone broke into the historic Casona de Santa María and carried off saddles and other horseback riding accessories.

May 13, 2012: A tourist was robbed at knife point in the area known a Agua Termales and in a separate incident there was a break-in at the home of park workers.

July 4, 2012: Someone stole pieces of copper from the generating plant, which was not in operation at the time.

Sept. 2, 2012: A family of tourists was robbed at knife point at the Aguas Termales site.

Oct. 14, 2012: Someone broke into tents set up by tourists in a camping area.

Nov. 24, 2012: Another tourist was robbed at the Aguas Termales site.

 to get police officers permanently stationed within the park for more security. Additionally, he is meeting with businesses in the area in order to look for solutions on how to keep tourists safe with the impending high season.

Masis said that three non-tourist sections of the park have been closed already in order to concentrate the staff on the most frequently visited area, but this is not enough.  He said that this is the first time this park has had to close a tourist destination, but he also said that the nearby Parque Nacional Volcán Tenorio has also used this strategy.

“Right now, this is how it is and this is how we have to deal with it,” said Masis.

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 238
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                vacation promo

Rate of immigration slowing
and more Ticos move away


By Kayla Pearson
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Although the number of foreigners who immigrated to Costa Rica in the last 10 years has doubled, the rate of immigration growth has decreased from 7.5 percent a year to 2.4 percent a year, according to the latest census by Migración y Extranjería.

As of 2011, the top nationalities of immigration are Nicaraguan at 75 percent, Columbian at 4.2 percent and American at 4.1 percent.

The office used the data to compare the period 1984 to 2000 to the period 2000 to 2011.

Costa Rican census data combined with the United States census and research by the Banco Central also showed that while the rate of immigration is down, the rate of emigration is up.  It is estimated that 250,000 Costa Rican citizens live outside the country. 

Of this number 187,689 Costa Ricans live in the United States and the 62,311 more live in countries such as Canada and England.

The figures are expected to quickly pass 300,000 citizens living abroad or 6 percent of the population as more data is compiled, the agency said.

Many of the persons who left last year are the country's young adults, with most of them being around 27 years old.  The number one reason for leaving was for jobs.

In addition, Costa Rican women are having nearly half the amount of babies as Nicaraguan women.  It is documented that for every 1,000 Costa Rican mothers within the fertility age bracket of 15 to 44 years, only 55 give birth a year.

This is compared to the 100 births that come from Nicaraguan mothers in the age range.

In 2011, 20 percent of births were by foreign mothers.

The children who live in Costa Rica and have foreign parents are not accessing higher education.  Only 2.3 percent of the population of the four public universities are foreigners, and only 3 percent of scholarships go to these children.

Also, only 3.7 percent of youth with foreign backgrounds are enrolled in the Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje for special training and apprenticeships, according to the data.

“The level of participation of the migrant population in all these services is far below their demographic representation,” immigration officials said.

This is not to say these persons do not have jobs.  Although foreigners only make up 9 percent of the population, they make up 12.3 percent of the workforce.

“This exemplifies the important occupational role migration plays in Costa Rica,” said immigration spokespersons.

Yet, these workers may not be receiving all their social benefits.  Some 40 percent of foreigners treated in public facilities lacked Caja health insurance. This is more than triple the number of uninsured Costa Ricans receiving health care.

Immigration officials have determined these factors and more as items to consider in upcoming policies, a release said.

fraud case
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía
y Seguridad Pública photo
Suspected fraudster is getting a ride to jail

Charge of faking cédulas
leads to arrest of suspect

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The immigration police arrested a man Wednesday on allegations that he offered services to obtain fake residency documents.

The suspect, who has the last names of González Sanabria, is being accused of giving out false cédulas. It is estimated he made 200,000 colons a transaction from his work, said immigration agents.

Investigators began looking into the case after a mother asked about the authenticity of a document she received and officials found it was false, a release from immigration said.

González's arrest was coordinated with the fraud unit.  Police transferred him to the Ministerio Público.


Acidity in Southern Ocean
causes damage to snail shells


By the British Antarctic Survey media staff

The shells of marine snails – known as pteropods – living in the seas around Antarctica are being dissolved by ocean acidification according to a new study published this week in the journal Nature Geoscience. These tiny animals are a valuable food source for fish and birds and play an important role in the oceanic carbon cycle.

During a science cruise in 2008, researchers from British Antarctic Survey and the University of East Anglia, in collaboration with colleagues from the U.S. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, discovered severe dissolution of the shells of living pteropods in Southern Ocean waters.

The team examined an area of upwelling, where winds cause cold water to be pushed upwards from the deep to the surface of the ocean. Upwelled water is usually more corrosive to a particular type of calcium carbonate, aragonite, that pteropods use to build their shells. The team found that as a result of the additional influence of ocean acidification, this corrosive water severely dissolved the shells of pteropods.

Ocean acidification is caused by the uptake of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.


Your links to a great vacation
or retirement

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

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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

Our Vision at Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat is to create the perfect blend of Adventure, Discovery and Tranquility for each guest.  Plan an Adventure zooming along a zip line high in the canopy or horseback riding though forests, farms and rivers. Discover the magical wonders of the flora and fauna of Costa Rica. Experience Tranquility in one of our cabins tucked in our 26 acres. Located in Monterrey, San Carlos, in the mountains above Fortuna, we enjoy spectacular, panoramic views of the Arenal Volcano and its lava flow. Please see our Web site for more information. www.leavesandlizards.com or e-mail us at leavesandlizards@gmail.com.
7255-1/23/13

Ready For a Vacation to Costa Rica?
Customized vacation packages to Costa Rica planned by our team of in-country travel experts. Call us Toll Free: 1-800-606-1860 or locally in San Jose: 2296-7715. You can sit back and relax while we plan your dream Costa Rica Vacation.
7699-3/4/14

Costa Rica Vacations
Customized, all inclusive Costa Rica vacations planned by our team of in-country travel experts. Call us Toll Free: 1-800-606-1860 or locally in San Jose: 2296-7715. Sit back and relax while we plan your trip or dream Costa Rica Honeymoon.
7698-1/14/14

Panama Vacations
Custom, all-inclusive vacations to Panama by 100% locally based experts in Panama.  See "the new Costa Rica" before the secret gets out!  We offer customized trips to the best all inclusive Panama hotels and Panama resorts. Call 1-866-393-4192 if from the U.S. or 00 (507)-264-1279 from Costa Rica.
7697-12/24/13

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

Visit many rental options to actually experience the price/amenity options available in more of the areas chosen by Expats for security, comfort, and quality of life. Meet many Expats who are willing to share their experiences and how the tour has value long after the “lust” wears off. Ask the others what you get for your money,
   and then compare the quality of accommodations, quality, quantity and variety of food and drink to measure the best value for your money.
See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!
http://www.vimeo.com/5656822
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. george@glundquist.com

7617-3/1/12

Costa Rica Fishing Experts
Customized, upscale fishing packages & Costa Rica fishing vacations designed by 100% local experts. Call Toll Free: 1-866-901-0683
7697-11/2/13

Mead Brown
MEAD BROWN
Rent villas, homes, and condos for your Costa Rica vacation.
Daily housekeeping, WiFi and concierge services included.
Visit us at Costa Rica Vacation Rentals.
7676-11/11/12

Christopher Howard’s Costa Rica Starter Kit!
4 INDISPENSABLE eBOOKS FOR ONLY $39.95        
THE SAME 4  GUIDEBOOKS IN HARDBACK COST  $82.95
costa Rica Starter Kit

    * The 16th edition of the 680-page  “New Golden Door to Retirement
             and Living  in Costa Rica”
    * The 545-page “Official Guide to Real Estate in Costa Rica”
    * Speak Spanish like a Costa Rican! “The Official Guide to Costa Rican Spanish”
    * Christopher Howard’s “Official Guide to Costa Rica’s Legal System for Tontos
            (dumbells)”
Purchase through Pay Pal at: www.costaricabooks.com
7705-12/2/12

Costa Rica’s #1 Time –Tested Relocation/Retirement Tours
Christopher Howard's Award-winning Combination Relocation/Retirement Tour.  NO other retirement tour offers MORE options...MORE areas visited, MORE information and a LONGER fact-filled tour for your money. Winner of the 2010 

Latin America-Asia Travel Excellence Award for the BEST and most unique tour in Latin America. This is the ONLY relocation/retirement tour really APPROVED with a LEGAL tour guide to operate in Costa Rica by the government’s Institute of Tourism ICT (license number DL-658-2004) in 2004. ALL tours are personally led by Christopher Howard, the author of the perennial best-selling ”New Golden Door to Retirement and Living in Costa Rica,” the most read authority on living and retiring in Costa Rica, and who has personally helped over 10,000
with Max
  people with ALL BUDGETS relocate SUCCESSFULLY over the last 35 years. CUSTOM TAILOR-MADE TOURS are also available for people with special needs or who can’t take one of our fixed-date tours. ALL tours include EXTENSIVE touring and a highly informative SEMINAR by the country’s most renowned EXPERTS in their respective fields.  Also visit: Live in Costa Rica to check out our NEW tour prices and specials. See a video about Chris Howard’s Book and Tours Costa Rica HERE! Customer satisfaction 100% guaranteed! MY REFERENCES.

*BONUS all people who sign up for the tour receive a FREE copy of the 16th edition of the bestseller “New Golden Door to Retirement and Living in Costa Rica. At the conclusion of the tour they also receive FREE eBook copies of Christopher Howard’s other one-of-a-kind  bestsellers “Official Guide to Costa Rican Spanish,” “The Official Guide to Real Estate In Costa Rica” and “The Official Guide to Costa Rica’s Legal System for Tontos (dumbells).” Almost 2000 pages of INVALUABLE material in all!
7707-12/2/12

Howard Spanish cover
NOW YOU CAN SPEAK SPANISH
LIKE A COSTA RICAN
ALL you need to handle most daily situations. ALL of the Tico slang you cannot find in a dictionary. Practical pronunciation exercises to help you lose your Gringo accent. Social situations and everything else you need to know in the #1 Best-selling “Christopher Howard’s Official Guide to Costa Rica Spanish.”  Also see our #1 Web site on Google www.costaricaspanish.net  for FREE Spanish lessons. eBook available through www.costaricabook.com
7706-12/2/12



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-

Need a book about Costa Rica?

Check out our special selections available at Amazon logo

HERE!



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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 238
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High
                  season

Medical
                vacations in Costa Rica

U.S. environmental agency
bars BP from new contracts

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United States has suspended British oil giant BP from bidding on any new federal contracts, in response to the company's performance during the 2010 drilling catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico.

In a statement Wednesday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it took the action “due to BP's lack of business integrity as demonstrated by the company's conduct with regard to the Deepwater Horizon blowout, explosion, oil spill and response.” The ban does not affect existing BP contracts.

The EPA said the ban could be lifted when the company can “provide sufficient evidence . . . demonstrating that it meets federal business standards.” BP said in a statement that it is working with the EPA to demonstrate present responsibility.

Eleven workers died when the oil platform exploded in April 2010, causing the worst ecological disaster in U.S. history. The platform then sank, spewing nearly five million barrels of oil into the Gulf over the next 87 days.

Wednesday's ban was announced the same day the U.S. Interior Department held a sale on eight million hectares of offshore oil and gas prospects in the western Gulf of Mexico. The department said the sale drew $133 million in bids. BP did not participate.

The ban comes two weeks after BP agreed to pay $4.5 billion to settle criminal charges in the case. Under that deal, BP will plead guilty to 11 felony counts of misconduct in the deaths of the 11 workers. Two senior BP platform managers also face manslaughter charges for allegedly ignoring warning signs in the runup to the blast. Both men entered pleas of not guilty in federal court Wednesday. Additionally, a former BP executive pleaded not guilty to charges of lying to Congress.


After election, parties draw
closer on immigration


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

After an election in which Hispanic voters overwhelmingly supported President Barack Obama and Democratic candidates, Republican and Democratic lawmakers are presenting new proposals on reforming U.S. immigration laws. 
 
Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, a group of Democratic, Hispanic lawmakers from the Senate and House of Representatives, held a news conference Wednesday to lay out their fundamental principles for comprehensive immigration reform.
 
Democratic Congressman Luis Gutierrez of Illinois said his caucus has been working since 2004 to try to get Congress to reform the nation's immigration laws, but he said Republicans had demonized immigrants instead of tackling reform.
 
"Because of congressional inaction, good people, good people who are only asking for the chance to work hard and help their communities and keep their families together, have been forced to stay in the shadows and been forced to go around our legal system because they could find no way through it," he said.
 
The principles laid out by congressional Democrats would require undocumented immigrants to come forward and register with the government and pass an English language test and pay taxes before they would be able to join the process to become U.S. citizens.
 
Sen. Robert Menendez said the United States would benefit from bringing the estimated 11 million undocumented people living in this country out of the shadows. He is a Democrat.
 
"Reform is in our economic interest as well our national security.  I cannot know who is here to pursue the American Dream versus who is here to do it harm unless I get millions of people out of the shadows into the light and come forth and register with the government," he said.
 
Tuesday, three Republican senators introduced their own immigration bill, known as the "Achieve Act," which would grant a pathway to permanent residency — but not citizenship — to some undocumented young immigrants who serve in the military or attend college in the United States. 
 
Outgoing Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas, a Republican, said her party's proposal would not give special preference to immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally over those seeking to come to the country legally.
 
"They will not get in the front of the line, they will get in the back of the line.  They are not kept from getting that citizenship track, nor are they given a preference in that citizenship track," she said.
 
Sen. Hutchinson and outgoing Sen. Jon Kyl, an Arizona Republican, said they believe it is better to tackle the tough problem of immigration one step at a time, instead of trying to enact a massive reform of the system.

Your place to stay here
As high season approaches, we like to feature our advertisers who offer long- and short-term rentals for expats and tourists.

Mountain cabin for rent
Sacramento, Barva de Heredia
We offer for rent three furnished, 2-bedroom mountain homes located on the slopes of Barva Volcano, Sacramento, Heredia. The cabin-style homes are adjacent to the Braulio Carillo National Park and walking distance to the Barva Volcano crater lake. Enjoy a spacious living room, kitchen, fireplace and garage. Take in breathtaking views of the Irazú Volcano and the Central Valley. Observe dozens of bird species, to include the occasional Resplendent Quetzal, and a pristine cloud forest. We can also offer you an occasional ride on one of our beautiful mares. Contact Allan or Cristina at HPCattleCR@aol.com, or or for more information HERE! $700 USD/month. We can also offer a weekend or short-stay package.
7723-12/15/12

Looking 4 Costa Rica Villas?
Rent our all-inclusive, 7 bedroom rental home in Guanacaste.  Just 20 minutes from the Liberia airport, this deluxe ocean view mansion sleeps 6-22 guests.  Ideal for company events & Costa Rica weddings. With 3 meals served daily and a full-time staff to pamper guests, it's more than a Costa Rica vacation rental ...It's your own Private Resort!  Call toll free: 1-800-606-1860.
7695-1/19/14

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 
tropical homes
of Costa Rica. We are offering homes for every budget and every need. Please visit our Web page at www.tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or contact us at rentals@tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or call at (506) 2654-5442.
7573-2/14/13
Volcano View!
Santo Domingo de Heredia, gated community
Fully furnished, 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, cable, internet, hot water tank. 300 meters from Mas x Menos supermarket. 700 meters from farmers' market. Bus stop at gate. $600 all utilities paid. Available Jan. 1. cinclus@ice.co.cr

wide view a San
                                        Ramón
porch viw
New home in the mountains near San Ramón
3,200-foot elevation. 60 to 80 degrees year around. 2 bedrooms,1 bath. Fantastic 180 degree view of Gulf of Nicoya and Nicoya peninsula.  High-speed internet.  7 miles from San Ramón, 1 &1/2 miles from Interamericana Norte. Must see pics to appreciate.   $750 plus utilities.  Long- or short-term lease. Contact mmpeace@hotmail.com .   See our picture trail here: http://www.picturetrail.com/sfx/album/slideshow/23779802
7673-112/24/12

COMPLETELY and nicely furnished large 2-bedroom
apartment view
apartment. Fast Internet, cable TV, hot water. Large American appliances including washer and dryer. Convenient location in downtown, San José. All bills paid except electric. $600 per month. Contact: rentnowcr@gmail.com or call 8555-9819.
7669-11/29/1

prime
                                properties
ATTENTION EXPATS:
 
We have many prime properties available for long-term rentals.
Rohrmoser
Escazú
Santa Ana
 

  rentals.sanjose@gmail.com
7665-11/8/12

ALAJUELA – SERENE LIVING – 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 gerrybuilt2000@yahoo.com.  See virtual tour of accommodations HERE!
Get to know the real Costa Rica – you may want to live here someday.
7551-10/25/12

BEACHFRONT, OFF-SEASON HOUSE/CABIN RENTALS
Playa Zancudo is located in the southern Pacific side of CR, out of Golfito and across from Puerto Jiménez.   Beautiful, long, sandy beach with a tranquil community of Ticos and expats. Phone and fast Internet.  Prices vary from length of time, to size of house. A one-month house rental might be $1,400, and reduced to $900 per month for 3 months.  Cabins, which have Internet and bi-weekly maid service are considerably less, and have kitchens and internet and other services. For info:  loscocoscabins@gmail.com.
7419-5/24/12



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

A.M. Ecuador A.M. San Salvador
A.M. Bolivia

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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page


San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 238
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Costa Rica Reprot promo


Latin America news
Deforestation is big topic
at U.N. climate conference


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

At the U.N. climate summit in Doha, environmental activists are urging participating countries to think big about how to control deforestation in the developing world, which accounts for 16 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. United States, Europe and other advanced economies have already agreed to pay developing countries to protect their forests, but progress has been slow.

In Indonesia, a moratorium on new forest development appears to have little effect as farmers and large companies continue cutting down trees for timber, then burning off the land to create palm oil plantations.   

The moratorium in Indonesia is part of a $1 billion deal with Norway to protect forests that store vast quantities of carbon dioxide or CO2, one of the greenhouse gases that many scientists say contribute to global warming. It is one of over 300 such projects in 52 countries, such as Bolivia and Tanzania, under a United Nations initiative called REDD, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. So far, most of these projects have yielded only modest reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. 

Fred Boltz, a senior vice president at Conservation International, says progress on REDD has been slow because it involves much more than preventing forest fires.

“We are talking about transforming the global economy, the paradigm for valuing forests, recognizing their importance in meeting our climate challenges. And that transformation is complex. It’s going to take time. It’s going to take a lot of financial and intellectual investment," said Boltz.

He says to succeed, REDD needs better enforcement, greater incentives for businesses to take part, and more money than $10 billion already promised. Environmentalists say both big companies and impoverished farmers need help to meet the world's growing needs for food, fuel and minerals without cutting down forests.

But Boltz says there is a global consensus that strong measures must be taken to reduce deforestation, which produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all the cars, trucks and planes in the world, to prevent catastrophic global warming. 

“Deforestation constitutes about a sixth of our problem. And if we don’t solve the entirety of the problem, we lose. So there is that political will and recognition of the urgency and the necessity of resolving REDD," he said.

Boltz says at the Climate Conference in Doha, he expects incremental progress to be made to link effective regulation to increased funding for conservation.










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Sports
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What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado 2012 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details