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(506) 2223-1327                                Published Friday, Dec. 5, 2014, in Vol. 14, No. 241                            Email us
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Tourism institute plans to announce big campaign
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The tourism institute plans to reveal a two-year promotions plan targeting the United States and Canada.

That will be next Thursday at a local hotel. The Instituto Costarricense de Turismo has a history of elaborate campaigns instead of continual marketing in traditional media.

The most recent campaigns involved a $500,000 investment in television spots during the Winter Olympics and stands promoting the country at the World Cup soccer matches in Brazil, plus similar booths at European tourism trade shows.

The institute also commissioned two computer applications from its U.S. advertising partner 22squared of Atlanta.

The latest is goCostaRica, which is free via the iTunes online store.

The promotional material says "Visit Costa Rica right from your palms! Explore Costa Rica’s main attractions through beautiful videos, stunning photos, and interactive maps that will help you discover the hidden jewels of the country. Experience the lovely tropical beaches, the grandest adventures, scintillating culture and wonders of nature. Discover and learn more about the culture, best places to visit, facts and how to plan your trip to Costa Rica."

The app came out last year and was updated last month. The iTunes store says that there is no customer rating average because there were too few responses.  There are just 144 individual ratings.

That is better than the earlier application featuring the sloth that appeared in an earlier and unusual Facebook trip giveaway. This app is EnviroMixer, also by 22squared.

The promotional summary says "Lay down a kicking beat with a howler monkey and toucan.  Or blow out your speakers with volcanoes and humpback whales. With the Costa Rica EnviroMixer you can mix, play and create your
These are the logos for the iTune apps.

own beats with authentic sounds of Costa Rica. It’s effortless. Just combine the various nature sounds into the mixer, speed them up, slow them down and score an original track with a swipe of a finger. You can name it, save it and share it with the world."

The iTunes store lists just 11 ratings. The tourism institute has not promoted these devices heavily or reported on the contract with 22squared.

International visits have been up slightly in 2014. Total visits are at 1,940,482, according to the institute's statistics from January through September. That is a 4.8 percent increase over the same period in 2013.

North American visitors are up 7 percent at 967,851.

The statistics can be misleading. The institute reports all foreign visitors, and some of these are not tourists even though they may have entered the country on a tourism visa.

In addition, about 19 to 20 percent of the total international visitors are Nicaraguans, who are more likely to be coming here to work in tourist locations than to sun themselves on the beaches.

The institute appears to be trying to capitalize on the strengthening U.S. economy.  The percentage of total visitors from North America has been relatively flat at 48.8 percent in 2013 and 49.9 this year.

One prediction that can be made about the Thursday announcement is that officials will not discuss sex tourism. That activity is considered to be why about 10 percent of the nation's tourist arrivals visit. There are no accurate figures because the tourism institute does not even address this type of tourism on the surveys done at airport departure lounges.

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           *$179,900 Hermosa Beachfront Community with Ocean Views !
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Toll Free: 1-888-782-1119 or  2643-4334, 2643-3672
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Korean firm offers LED/wifi system

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

In an unusual development, a Korean businessman approached the central government Thursday with a plan for installing a network of LED lights throughout the country along with free wifi and closed circuit television.

The businessman is DaeWoo Kim, identified by Casa Presidencial as the CEO of  Wells Communication, Inc. Casa Presidencial said the businessman proposed putting the more efficient LED lights on existing utility poles and also installing the wifi system that could be accessed for free by anyone within half a kilometer.

The Korean met with Melvin Jiménez., minister of the Presidencia.

A Web site for a Korean firm called Wells Communication, Inc., says that "although Wellcom is a newly established venture company, developed one year ago, its staff has more than ten years experience with LEDs and have been involved in multiple domestic and international projects." The firm is based in Seoul.

The Korean offer includes providing 70 percent financing, said Casa Presidencial.  Jiménez was quoted as saying the firm may build a plant in Costa Rica.

Teletón 2014 graphic           
Televised event includes a lot of variety acts.

Street solicitations are for Teletón

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

If the person presenting a small bucket for loose change at an intersection looks more clean-cut than normal, there is a reason. Instead of the usual crack addict, the collectors probably are members of the Club Activo 20-30 that is putting on the Teletón this weekend at the Ciudad Deportiva en Hatillo.

The bucket is so marked and the individuals have identification.

This is the weekend the club hopes to raise 703 million colons, a bit more than $1.3 million. The money will go to buy equipment at the Hospital Nacional de Niños and medical centers at San Carlos and Turrialba.

This is an annual event that is televised. There is large corporate support and a lot of public participation. The televised event runs through Sunday and features many local and international acts.

State firm promises to hold line on power

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad has promised not to raise rates at least until Dec. 31, 2015.

Casa Presidencial relayed this pledge Thursday. The electrical generating firm says it has not done so since July 1. The statement appears to be countering a news story to the contrary.

The firm uses mostly hydro power, but when the water is low, bunker fuel is used to five thermal generators. Since petroleum prices have plummeted, the company probably will not need an increase.

Making electrical rates stable was a campaign pledge by President Luis Guillermo Solís. Recently his government came out against private power generating, something that favored the state firm, the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad.

Animal adoption fair is this Saturday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Asociación Animales de Asís plans an animal adoption fair Saturday at the Pet Café Veterinario in San Antonio de Belén from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The location is 300 meters west of the San Antonio de Belen church. Dogs, cats, puppies and kittens will be available. All are vaccinated and castrated, said the organization. A donation is requested.

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High-flying president will dump the Range Rover in vehicle trade
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation's president appeared to be stung by television reports that he was traveling internationally on a top-of-the-line Beechcraft King Air confiscated from drug smugglers.

The day after Repretel aired the story, the president, Luis Guillermo Solís, announced he was trading in the Range Rover for three less luxury vehicles.

An announcement from Casa Presidencial said that the trade would not cost the country anything. The announcement said that a Range Rover was donated to the Óscar Arias administration and the next president, Laura Chinchilla traded for a newer model.
The Repretel television segment said that the president was taking international trips at $75,000 each with the King Air.

Rival station Teletica aired a segment on the aircraft a day later, but made no mention of the president's use of it.

Casa Presidencial said the trade of the vehicles was being done with  Motores Británicos. The Range Rover was valued at 74.5 million colons, about $139,000, said the announcement. The three vehicles being received are two 2015 Discovery cars and a 2008 Freelander.

The president still will not have trouble getting around. There are other vehicles in the Casa Presidencial garage, and if they are out of service, the foreign ministry had a handful of luxury sedans.

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Tradition or religion?

Although there is a bill in the legislature to designate the country pluralistic and multicultural, the Christmas traditions, like this portal or nativity scene at the Teatro Nacional, endure. Just about every government office hosts a portal this time of year.

Even if they are not religious, most public employees will take advantage of the holiday, which begins for them the evening of Dec. 18. Work resumes Jan. 5.

The portals are just part of the celebration. There are parties and music in most offices. Then after the holiday is over, there will be a series of prayer services when the infant Jesus is removed from the nativity scene.

Culture ministry hosts another book fair this weekend at la Aduana
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Another book fair opens for the weekend in San José today.

It is the I Festival de Librerías y Editoriales 2014. The location is the Casa del Cuño, the glass-walled exposition area just east of the la Aduana on Calle 23.

The exposition is seen as a continuation of the Feria Internacional del Libro that was held earlier in the year, organizers at the 
Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud said.

Also sponsoring is the Cámara Costarricense del Libro.

Among the firms with displays are Librería Francesa, Liberia Jurídica Expolibros, Librería San Pablo, Librería Central, Librería Internacional, Librería Andante, Libros Duluoz and Librería Lehmann.

Also there is the Imprenta Nacional and representatives from a number of local publishing houses, including those at universities.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 241
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eel attack
Vanderbilt University/ Kenneth Catania
Cartoon illustrates how the electric eel uses its ability to create high-voltage signals to find and then paralyze its prey.
Amazon eels use their electric personality like a Taser, professor finds
By the Vanderbilt University news staff

The electric eel, the scaleless Amazonian fish that can deliver an electrical jolt strong enough to knock down a full-grown horse, possesses an electroshock system uncannily similar to a Taser.

That is the conclusion of a nine-month study of the way in which the electric eel uses high-voltage electrical discharges to locate and incapacitate its prey. The research was conducted by Kenneth Catania and is described in the article “The shocking predatory strike of the electric eel” published in the journal Science. He is a professor of biological sciences at Vanderbilt University.

People have known about electric fish for a long time. The ancient Egyptians used an electric marine ray to treat epilepsy. Michael Faraday used eels to investigate the nature of electricity, and eel anatomy helped inspire Volta to create the first battery. Biologists have determined that a six-foot electric eel can generate about 600 volts of electricity, five times that of a U.S. electrical outlet. This summer scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison announced that they had sequenced the complete electric eel genome.

Until now, however, no one had figured out how the eel’s electroshock system actually worked. In order to do so, Catania equipped a large aquarium with a system that can detect the eel’s electric signals and obtained several eels, ranging up to four feet in length.

As he began observing the eels’ behavior, the biologist discovered that their movements are incredibly fast. They can strike and swallow a worm or small fish in about a tenth of a second. So Catania rigged up a high-speed video system that ran at a thousand frames per second so he could study the eel’s actions in slow motion.

Catania recorded three different kinds of electrical discharges from the eels: low-voltage pulses for sensing their environment, short sequences of two or three high-voltage millisecond pulses (called doublets and triplets) given off while hunting and volleys of high-voltage, high-frequency pulses when capturing prey or defending themselves from attack.

He found that the eel begins its attack on free-swimming prey with a high-frequency volley of high-voltage pulses about 10 to 15 milliseconds before it strikes. In the high-speed video, it became apparent that the fish were completely immobilized within three to four milliseconds after the volley hit them. The paralysis was temporary. If the eel didn’t immediately capture a fish, it normally regained its mobility after a short period and swam away.

“It’s amazing. The eel can totally inactivate its prey in just three milliseconds. The fish are completely paralyzed,” said Catania.

These observations raised an obvious question: How do the eels do it? For that, there was no clear answer in the scientific literature.

“I have some friends in law enforcement, so I was familiar with how a
Taser works,” said Catania. “And I was struck by the similarity between the eel’s volley and a Taser discharge. A Taser delivers 19 high-voltage pulses per second while the electric eel produces 400 pulses per second.”

The Taser works by overwhelming the nerves that control the muscles in the target’s body, causing the muscles to involuntarily contract. To determine if the eel’s electrical discharges had the same effect, Catania walled off part of the aquarium with an electrically permeable barrier. He placed a pithed fish on the other side of the barrier from the eel and then fed the eel some earthworms, which triggered its electrical volleys. The volleys passed through the barrier and struck the fish, producing strong muscle contractions.

To determine whether the discharges were acting on the prey’s motor neurons, the nerves that control the muscles, or on the muscles themselves, he placed two pithed fish behind the barrier: one injected with saline solution and the other injected with curare, a paralytic agent that targets the nervous system. The muscles of the fish with the saline continued to contract in response to the eel’s electrical discharges but the muscle contractions in the fish given the curare disappeared as the drug took effect. This demonstrated that the eel’s electrical discharges were acting through the motor neurons just like Taser discharges.

Next Catania turned his attention to the way in which the eel uses electrical signals for hunting. The eel is nocturnal and doesn’t have very good eyesight. So it needs other ways to detect hidden prey.

The biologist determined that the closely spaced doublets and triplets that the eel emits correspond to the electric signal that motor neurons send to muscles to produce an extremely rapid contraction.

“Normally, you or I or any other animal can’t cause all of the muscles in our body to contract at the same time. However, that is just what the eel can cause with this signal,” Catania said.

Putting together the fact that the eels are extremely sensitive to water movements with the fact that the whole-body muscle contraction causes the prey’s body to twitch, creating water movements that the eel can sense, Catania concluded that the eel is likely using these signals to locate hidden prey.

To test this hypothesis, Catania connected a pithed fish to a stimulator. He put the fish in a clear plastic bag to protect it from the eel’s emissions. He found that when he stimulated the fish to twitch right after the eel emitted one of its signals, the eel would attack. But, when the fish failed to respond to its signal, the eel did not attack.

The result supports the idea that the eel uses its electroshock system to force its prey to reveal their location.

“If you take a step back and think about it, what the eel can do is extremely remarkable,” said Catania. “It can use its electrical system to take remote control of its prey’s body. If a fish is hiding nearby, the eel can force it to twitch, giving away its location, and if the eel is ready to capture a fish, it can paralyze its muscles so it can’t escape.”

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.


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

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


Beautiful cottage in San Rafael, Heredia

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

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

Beautiful 2-bedroom 2-bathroom American-style apartments with an elevator to your front door in a secure building located in Gringo Gulch the American Section of downtown San José. Costa Rica. Located between the Hotel Del Rey, the Hotel Mona Lisa and the Sportsman's Lodge and The Zona Blue (AKA) Little Habana across the street from Harry's Poas Bar, and next to the Holiday Inn.
apartment view
 There are 15 restaurants and American- style bars on this block and four supermarkets within a few blocks. There are 5 casinos within 2 blocks and dozens of hotels around this apartment. Included in your rental price, fast Internet, the best they have in Costa Rica, cable TV with 80 stations, water, washer
 and dryer. All you pay extra for is electricity. You have your own meter and receive a bill from the electric company every month.  This apartment has a American-style hot water system, hot water in both bathrooms and the kitchen. There is a 25-foot balcony to sit on and watch the people in San José walk by. The neighborhood Barrio Amón is the safest in San José For photos and more information contact:

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

Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for your stay in this beautiful part of Costa Rica.
We are offering homes for every budget and every need.
Please visit our Web page at or contact us at
or call at (506) 2654-5442.

MONTHLY $800 TO $1,200

Villas Casa Loma has everything you are looking for.  Best vistas, climate, value.  Four unique homes in a secure private compound on a ridge near Alajuela overlooking the entire Central Valley.  Two are available fully furnished and equipped, each a complete home accommodating 4 persons in two bedrooms with ensuite baths.  Pool, rancho, mirador, other features.  Ask about part-month rates.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at  See virtual tour of accommodations HERE!
Get to know the real Costa Rica – you may want to live here someday.

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

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A.M. Costa Rica's   Fifth news page
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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 241     
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Republicans pass measure
on immigration shielding

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. House of Representatives Thursday passed a bill that would bar President Barack Obama from using an executive order to shield nearly five million undocumented immigrants from deportation, but the measure was largely viewed as a political message to the president.

Obama's recent immigration action angered most Republican lawmakers, who said he had overstepped his constitutional authority. They took to the House floor to urge support for the bill, introduced by Rep. Ted Yoho of Florida.

Rep. Tom McClintock, a California Republican, said Obama had triggered a constitutional crisis by taking unilateral action.

“If this president is allowed to stand, it will render meaningless the separation of powers and the checks and balances that comprise the fundamental architecture of our Constitution,” he said.

The White House said Obama was acting well within his constitutional authority to defer the deportations of the parents of U.S. citizens and permanent resident children in order to keep families together. It issued a statement saying if the House bill were to reach the president’s desk, he most likely would veto it. 

On the Senate side, Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada has said he will not bring the bill up for a vote.

Democratic lawmakers note that former president Ronald Reagan, a Republican, also took executive action to shield undocumented immigrants, and that he was not accused of causing a constitutional crisis. Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois stood on the House floor beside a life-size paper cutout of Reagan and faulted House Republicans for not passing immigration reform like the Senate did in 2013.

“Apparently the majority prefers to take symbolic votes instead of legislating real and lasting solutions,” Gutierrez said.

Analysts said Thursday’s vote was a way to let frustrated Republican members vent their anger so they can go ahead and approve a government funding bill next week. House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, indicated he would rather postpone another big budget showdown until the next Congress arrives in January.

“Next week, the House will work to keep the government open, while keeping our leverage, so that when we have reinforcements in the Senate, we are in the strongest position to take additional actions to fight the president’s unilateral actions," the Ohio Republican said.

Republicans will take majority control of the Senate in January. But before this Congress leaves for its holiday recess, both the House and Senate have to pass funding bills to avoid another partial government shutdown, like the one that lasted 16 days in October 2013.

  Voice of American photo
A re-enactment unit parades in Gettysburg

Re-enactments at Gettysburg
are more than just dressup

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The echo of the American Civil War of the 1860s still resonates in the United States. The descendants of those who made history come together every year to remember the greatest battles and to discuss the military campaigns of the war that almost divided the nation.

The re-enactment of one of the war's most significant battles takes place each year on the streets of the small Pennsylvania town of Gettysburg.

To the naked eye, the view of this little Pennsylvania town looks like a flashback to the past. The only difference is these soldiers and officers of the Union and Confederate armies are not on a battlefield, but peacefully discussing the military campaign of 1863 that took place over a three-day period here, 150 years ago.

The people who do this call it living history. They come together every year to re-create and commemorate the Battle of Gettysburg.

Each re-enactor has a role. There is the Confederate general, Robert E. Lee. And also the heroes of the Battle of Gettysburg, the regimental and battalion commanders, and the ordinary soldiers from both the Union and Confederate armies.

President Abraham Lincoln of course is center stage. In an interview, he repeats the message of his famous Gettysburg address delivered at the dedication of a cemetery four-and-a-half months after the battle.

"This nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth," said the actor portraying Lincoln.

Many participants in this re-enactment say the Battle of Gettysburg, one of the bloodiest battles of the war, decided the future of the United States and preserved the country.

"The Eagle flag has a banner that says in Latin 'E pluribus unum,' which means 'Out of many, one'. That is what we are. We are a lot of people from different countries in one nation," said one of the re-enactors.

Confederate troops advancing on Gettysburg hoped to defeat the Union forces, take Washington and force the president to recognize the rights of the Southern states. Instead, they were forced to retreat.

The Civil War is largely seen as a dispute over slavery. But there was also disagreement on other issues  such as taxes, tariffs and internal improvements, as well as states’ rights versus federal power.

Re-enactor Jim Getty said he thinks that even if the South had won, the country eventually would have come back together.

"I think by now we would be one nation. We would have reunited by World War I and World War II. We would have settled our differences shortly after the war. We could not remain divided and survive," said Getty.

For many Americans, historical reconstructions like these are not just a hobby, but also an opportunity to pay tribute to their ancestors, to remember the heroes who fought to create present-day America.

Probe to Pluto getting
wake-up call this Saturday

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Saturday, the U.S. spacecraft New Horizons is set to wake up in preparation for a six-month encounter with the dwarf planet Pluto, on the outer edge of the solar system. 

The NASA space probe New Horizons, launched in January 2006, is in the final stretch of its mission to the small rocky frozen dwarf planet at the far end of the solar system. 

Now some 4.8 billion kilometers from home, the spacecraft has spent two-thirds of its journey in slumber to preserve instrumentation that will be used to closely study Pluto during a brief 22-hour fly-by next year. Sometime this Saturday afternoon, U.S. east coast time, the probe will be awakened.

Alice Bowman is New Horizons mission operations manager at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland. She says a sleep-and-wake-up cycle has been a regular feature for the highly unusual mission.

“This is the 18th hibernation that we have had the spacecraft in since launch.  I know nothing in space exploration is routine, but for us, putting the spacecraft into hibernation and then having it wake up as planned, it is somewhat routine for us," said Ms. Bowman.

New Horizons is so far away from Earth, it takes approximately four-and-a-half hours for a command to reach the probe and several more hours for New Horizons's confirmation to return to mission control.

So Ms. Bowman and the other New Horizons scientists will not know until nighttime for sure whether the space probe fully emerged from its slumber.

During hibernation periods, the spacecraft has been zipping unpowered through deep space, at times traveling as fast as 22 kilometers per second following a gravity assist from Jupiter.

New Horizons is traveling so fast, it took nine hours to reach the Moon, a distance that the manned lunar missions took three days to cover. 

Onboard flight computer monitors keep watch over the spacecraft’s health, sending back a weekly beacon-status tone. And three onboard instruments have been passively collecting data along the way.  That information will be downloaded to Earth once New Horizons becomes fully awake.

At that point, the spacecraft will be only 260 million kilometers from Pluto. 

The temperature on the icy rock is estimated to be minus 229 degrees Celsius, meaning its atmosphere, if it has one, is frozen. 

Eventually, scientists like Ms. Bowman expect that Pluto will have drifted so far from the sun, any atmosphere it has will collapse on itself.

“I think everyone is beginning to realize that Pluto and objects like it are more the norm in our solar system than the rocky planets and the gas giants that we are all so familiar with," she said.

New Horizons’ first encounter with Pluto, which is 30 times farther from the Sun than Earth, is slated to begin on Jan. 15.  The actual fly-by will last for just over 20 hours, beginning on July 14th. The probe will also train its instruments on Charon, Pluto's large moon.

After that, scientists plan on using New Horizons’ remaining propellant to guide it out into the Kuiper belt, a region of space beyond the planets of our solar system, for further exploration.

Internet censoring grows,
Freedom House reports

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A growing number of nations are increasingly censoring parts of the Internet and passing laws to allow for greater surveillance of what people do and say online, according to a new report issued by Freedom House.

The report released Thursday and titled “Freedom of the Net 2014,” is an annual survey of 65 governments and their policies regarding the filtering or censoring of online content. It also looks at the types of electronic surveillance they conduct and how they may punish citizens whose online activities they disapprove of.

“The most dramatic declines were in Russia, Turkey and Ukraine,” said Laura Reed, a Freedom House research analyst and co-author of the report. “And similar to past reports, the countries that really rated the worst overall again are Iran, Syria and China.”

Of the 65 nations surveyed, 36 were rated lower on measures of Internet freedom than in the previous year, while only 12 saw their measures of freedom tick upward.

Among those nations seen to be doing better were Myanmar, Tunisia, Cuba, and India. Iran also was rated marginally more free because of a slight easing of censored content, despite the author’s conclusions that Iran remains one of the worst offenders globally of violating users' free expression and privacy. 

Nations deemed to be less free than previously include chronic rights offenders such as Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe and Vietnam, as well as the United States, where the report authors charted minor increases in limits of content and violation of user rights.

The conflict in Ukraine, beginning last year with the Euromaidan protests, were seen as the major causes for both Russia's and Ukraine’s significant slide in allowing free online expressions.

In Ukraine, the surveillance of protesters by the Yanukovych regime, as well as the targeting of journalists publishing work on the web, made that nation significantly less free online, Ms. Reed said.

Meanwhile, she said, Russian authorities have significantly stepped up the censorship of critical voices and independent media.

“In March, they used a new law that was actually passed in December,” Ms. Reed said. “This new law allows the prosecutor general to issue orders to block online content related to extremism or calls for unsanctioned public protests.

"So this law was then used quite quickly to block independent media outlets within Russia that were either reporting on events in Ukraine or that had been critical of the Kremlin,” she said.
The question of Turkey, say the authors, balances on specific domestic debates about the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his professed hatred of social media.

"The sharp decline in freedom mirrors the rise of social media as a tool for rallying protests and documenting government abuses," said Freedom House analyst Adrian Shahbaz. Over the past year, the the Turkish justice and development party has led a concerted strategy to demonize and discredit social media, with Erdogan famously labeling Twitter "the worst menace to society," he said.

"Just weeks before the March 2014 municipal elections, we saw the blocking of Twitter, YouTube and a host of other social media platforms for their role in disseminating leaks that implicated top government officials in corruption or national security scandals," Shahbaz said via email.

"The constitutional court overturned the blocks, but only after the AKP strolled to victory in the elections," he said. "Throughout the year, opposition news sites were hit by cyber attacks, online journalists were assaulted while covering protests, and numerous social media users were charged with defaming the prime minister."

Asia and the Middle East were generally rated in the study as significantly less free than the Americas and Europe, with Africa presenting a mixed bag of both offenders, such as Ethiopia and Sudan, as well as nations with relatively free online expression, such as Kenya and South Africa. 

Among the new and more worrisome trends in this year’s report is a notable increase in the number of arrests of people for their online activities, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, where arrests increased in 10 of 11 countries studied.

Other new trends include the targeting of gay or lesbian web users, as well as new laws designed to limit privacy and allow for greater governmental surveillance, with nearly 30 percent of nations surveyed passing measures to increase electronic monitoring.

Another trend, Ms. Reed said, is increasing pressure against independent media outlets online.

“In countries where the traditional print or broadcast media is very restricted and controlled by the government, the online sphere has really been the only place for independent or critical voices," she said. "And now we’re seeing governments crack down on those online independent voices online in very worrying ways."
Real estate-related services (paid category)

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

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A Buyer’s Broker offering the best
of Costa Rica Real Estate.
For those looking for quality properties and service at quality prices. Central Valley Rentals. Offering honesty, experience and knowledge. Your Villa Real Expert. Call us now  Toll Free (877) 845-4533. In Costa Rica 4030-5480 or 8339-2112.

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Re/Max, the Pacific coast expert

Re/Max offers comprehensive Costa Rica Real Estate, vacation rental and relocation services. Our award-winning team is the largest in the country, and can show you the best lifestyle and financial investment properties in the most desirable locations including prime real estate in Tamarindo, Langosta, Conchal, Flamingo, Pinilla, Coco, Hermosa and Playa Panama.  Give us a call in Costa Rica at 506-2653-0073, or toll free from the U.S. and Canada 1-800-385-5930. Re/Max, the name you trust for the finest real estate services in Costa Rica.

Moran Arenal
Lake Arenal, Costa Rica
The undiscovered jewel of Central America, 35 square miles of blue, pristine, clear water ideal for fishing, swimming, boating, Real estate values still low.
Great lake front, river front land, farms, homes, condos and commercial property. Some with owner financing
This is far and away the most beautiful place in all Central America — cool climate. Try our two-day, all-inclusive discovery tour for $299.

Check with our Web site at
Contact us at the office: (506) 2694-0088
Cell (506) 8880-8888
Phone number from the U.S. (305) 307-0088
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Costa Rica,

Central America
Houses, lots and farms in Grecia,
western Central Valley.
Great climate
and safe communities.

Visit our Web Site:

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

Español calls: (Luis G. Jiménez)  Phone:   
(506) 8707-4016
Grecia 884
Beautiful large house in Grecia, Costa Rica, with the best fresh natural weather. The property includes 9 challets and 12.000 m2 of land,  1,000 m2 of construction. Price $498,000. Click HERE!
Grecia 881
Beautiful house in Grecia, Costa Rica,  2 kilometers from the city.   340 m2 of land.
Price $135,000. Click
Grecia 898
Beautiful house in Grecia downtown. Full security cameras. Land 250 m2.  Price $400,000.  Click HERE!
  Send us your request to our email:

Real estate for sale (paid category)

Heredia montage

Cariaria  Los Arcos.
    Lot inside Los Arcos Residence. Absolutely gorgeous right in front of the coffee plantation. The lot is 326.50 meters. Includes the corporation for an easy transfer and the plans for a 170 meter house. Open to all offers.   Architect  plans included (the blueprints). Cost to the seller $4,000 this is included!!   Original Price $97,000 just reduced to $86,000

Also I am selling an Audi A6  2008, 2.0 twin turbo. Full loaded power. Back leather. Full service records at the agency in Costa Rica.  52 kms.  Silver with black. Full computer iPod interface power. Electric moon roof. Everything's a beauty!!  Incredible history and full service at the agency, Costa Rica Audi.

It's a package deal $104.000.  Must sell.  I am moving back to U.S.  Contact me  at my phone:  2260-6979 or cell phone:  8893-8672.

La Fortuna Distress Sale
Divorce forced wife to return to the U.S. with bills to pay. Just wants to get out from under. Modern 2-bedroom home on over 1100m2 intended for apartments or condos. Easy walk to center of town, great volcano view. $140,000 with 50 percent financing arranged. On vacation rental program now producing nice income, but Costa Rica no longer in her future. For details contact

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

San Ramon
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya.7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 ft. elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 baths, appliances included. High-speed internet installed, Direct TV via sling box on Internet. $199,000 Contact   Check out slide show HERE!

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


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


Spectacular view property on a ridge near Alajuela.  Large home and 3 rental homes totaling 7,300 square feet (678 square meters) live-in construction.  Property area is 3,376 square meters (0.83 acres) including a vacant lot for expansion options.  In total there are 10 bedrooms, each with an ensuite bath.  Property has pool, rancho, mirador, courtyard and covered parking.  Homes have romantic fireplaces, built-ins, storage, other luxury features.  Turnkey sale includes all appliances, furniture, fixtures, equipment.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at  See property video here:

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:

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

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

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

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

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The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2014 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. 
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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 241
Real Estate
About us

News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are disabled on archived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
tohys for kids
  Poder Judicial photo   
 This stack of toys at the judicial offices will be delivered today to the
 Asociación de Obras del Espíritu Santo for distribution throughout the
 country. Judicial workers chip in each year to provide toys for disadvantaged

Venezuelan opposition leader
denies role in any murder plot

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Venezuelan opposition leader Maria Corina Machado says charges she was involved in a plot to kill Venezuela's president are an attempt to silence her and critics of the government.

In an interview Ms. Machado said "the government has decided again to increase repression and persecution in Venezuela against every single citizen who defends and speaks out with the truth."

Thursday morning, Ms. Machado met with prosecutors who told her she would be charged with conspiracy for involvement in a plot to kill Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The charge carries a maximum of 16 years in prison. Ms. Machado says the government "has no proof, because it's absolutely false."

In March, government authorities announced an investigation into a plot against Maduro and other government officials involving Ms. Machado and other opposition figures. One of her attorneys says the government has yet to provide any specific proof of a link between Ms. Machado and the alleged plot.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the charges against Ms. Machado "raise concerns once again about Venezuela's arbitrary use of prosecutorial power to silence and punish government critics."

Ms. Harf repeated U.S. calls for the release of political prisoners, including a dozen students detained during government protests.

So far, Ms. Machado has not been detained, but she is not allowed to leave the country.

Ms. Machado is a former member of the Venezuelan national assembly. She said that she has "no fear and the truth will prevail once again and I am absolutely convinced that we are moving ahead in the transition to democracy and peace in Venezuela."

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From Page 7:

U.S. employment picture is getting better

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. job market is getting stronger, according to economic studies published Thursday.

The government reported that the number of newly laid-off workers signing up for unemployment insurance fell by 17,000 last week to a nationwide total of 297,000. The number has now been lower than 300,000 for 11 out of the last 12 weeks. Economists said that is a relatively low number and might be evidence that hiring is continuing to pick up.

A survey of more than 800 financial executives who play key roles in running companies across the nation showed that more of them were confident the economy is improving. The study by the American Institute of CPAs also found that nearly one-fourth of firms were ready to hire, while just 13 percent were seeking new workers at this time last year.

Institute member Jim Blake said, "The economy is doing much better, especially on the retail side." 

"People are spending money," he added. "They are feeling a little bit more comfortable with their situation."

Today government experts will publish the unemployment rate for November. Economists surveyed by the Bloomberg financial news service predicted that the jobless rate would remain at a six-year low of 5.8 percent and that the economy would have a net gain of 230,000 jobs.