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(506) 2223-1327                               Published Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014, in Vol. 14, No. 243                            Email us
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Solís proposes a new form of education for country
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

President Luis Guillermo Solís came out Monday in support of a broad-ranging education system that does not only instruct but promotes a number of socially desired concepts.

These include equality, inclusion, a culture of peace, diversity, innovation, technological development, a scientific culture, social responsibility, an entrepreneurial spirit and permanent education.

The president said that he was basing his approach on goals of a new education suggested by the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Solís delivered his remarks before other heads of state in Veracruz, México. The session was the opening of the 24th Iberian Summit. Casa Presidencial released a summary of his remarks.

Solís said that he seeks an education to include all social groups to form a person not only competent but also sensible and caring.

The new education, he said, would take into account groups that have traditionally faced discrimination, such as the handicapped, natives, women and migrants.

Not clear was how he would achieve these goals.
But he did say that the urgency was to have a massive coverage of education in infancy and an education of quality at the secondary level.  He said that native populations, migrants, women. young people who are victims of poverty and the handicapped experience exclusion that exceeded 80 percent.

He said he wanted students with the investigative spirit who are capable of resolving complex problems and to assume critical positions against the assumed truths.

The U.N. recommendations are an education incorporating content on critical themes such as climate change, biodiversity, the creation of adequate educational environments, the development of critical thought and the adoption of collaborative decision-making.

"A new education requires in addition a redefinition of the concept of teacher who not only is an educator who instructs but one who inspires," said Solís.

He, himself, is a university professor.

The U.N. agency has an Education for All program and also one called Education for Sustainable Development. This last requires far-reaching changes in the way education is often practiced today, the agency said.

Price survey again shows that variations are large
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The jungle may be in the nation's stores and not in its hills and valleys.

Another survey by the economic ministry's consumer division found startling price differences in children's toys and in the ingredients to make the traditional Christmas tamal.

Surveys found a difference of 325 percent between identical toys and 749 percent between similar items when they checked 18 establishments.

The report said that the 325 percent figure might be skewed because the item, a Mattel Angry Birds table game, was on sale at one of the establishments the day surveyors arrived.
But the wild differences in price continues with foodstuffs. Peas, which are part of the tamal mix showed a difference of 69 percent.

The Mercado Central de San José and the municipal markets in Alajuela, Cartago and Heredia were competitive with local supermarkets, the report said.

Other ingredients checked included flour, olives, rice, chiles, banana leaves for wrapping the tamal, pork, chicken breast and various vegetables. The items needed to make 50 tamales cost 21,896 colons ($40.70)  at the low end. The top price was  29,248 colons ($54.36). That's a difference of some 7,352 colons or about $13.67.

The price surveys are traditional around major holidays.

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12-year term sought for former minister
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Prosecutors are seeking 12 years in prison for Roberto Dobles, the former environmental minister in the Óscar Arias Sánchez administration.

Six-year prison terms were requested Monday for six other persons, all former or present public employees.

The prosecutors allege that Dobles took actions against the law that gave an advantage to Industrias Infinito S.A. and its parent, the Canadian mining company.

Dobles and the staffers were involved in trying to expedite the development of an open pit gold mine in northern Costa Rica.

The prosecutors are Luis Diego Hernández and Natalia Rojas, who are skilled in environmental matters and in battling corruption, said the Poder Judicial.

Infinto had a lengthy legal battle to follow through on its efforts to open the mine.

In 2010 the Tribunal Contencioso Administrativo inexplicably canceled the mining company's permit and asked prosecutors to investigate public officials involved in the case. The tribunal also asked for a criminal investigation of Arias, but prosecutors so far have declined to do that.
Dobles is accused to two counts of prevaricato or doing something forbidden by law.

Infinito's Las Crucitas mine became a controversial issue, and eventually the company had to abandon its project after its concession was canceled. Now it is seeking a money judgment in international arbitration. The company also is accused of cutting some trees at the site.

Tree cutting, of course, was the logical result of trying to put in an open pit mine. The company planned to restore the land after extracting the gold.

The trial began Oct. 27 and is expected to continue for two more weeks, said the Poder Judicial.

These representing Costa Rica in the international arbitration are hoping for a conviction of Dobles so they can defend the country's actions. Dobles has said there is no motive and no indication that he had received anything of value.

500 more kilos of cocaine confiscated

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An alert from law enforcement in Colombia allowed Costa Rican police to intercept a fishing boat carrying 500 kilos of cocaine, the security ministry said Monday.

The boat was off Punta Burica in extreme southwest Costa Rica.

A helicopter crew of the Servicio de Vigilancia Aérea sighted the craft first and followed the crew as they fled to the nearby beach. There Fuerza Pública officers detained them, the ministry said.

Our reader's opinion
Seekers have to do their own research

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

With your two articles Monday pointing out the human frailty factor in evaluating scientific research, one might conclude that there are cracks forming in your previous stance which appeared to be, that if research is published, it must be gospel.

With powerful trade guilds that exist to safeguard the interests of their members, that hold sway over many of the journals that publish, there are systemic problems inherent in the traditional way of evaluating research.

Indeed your editorials touch upon the obstacles to the truth, that traditional means of vetting of research pose on researchers.

With the private sector now more than ever providing much of the funding for research — the same interests who control the various trade groups, and guilds who own/control publishing houses — this system is coming apart at the seams.

In these times of rapid growth in discovery, the Internet itself provides a direct means for by-passing the ¨middle man.¨ One need only know where to look and what to look for. In essence, we are all being forced to become ¨scientists.¨
Hari Singh Khalsa

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 243              
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Changes in labor code become a hot issue for president and lawmakers
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Another drama is playing out in the Costa Rican convoluted political scene.

This time the issue is whether the current president should withdraw the veto a prior president issued against a proposed law.

Just like convictions and acquittals, vetoes appear to lack permanence here. There is precedence. In July President Luis Guillermo Solís announced that he was lifting the veto issued by then-president Oscar Arias Solis to let merchants who sell tourist items to continue to do so on Calle 13 bis. 

That is the street just west of the Plaza de la Democracia which now is dominated by stalls with tin roofs.

The Municipalidad de San José is challenging the action by Solís in court.

This time the issue has more far-reaching effects. The proposed law reforms the labor code to allow strikes by public employees in critical occupations, such as police and medical care.

Solís is being pressured by the Frente Amplio political party as well as union leaders to lift the veto that was issued by then-president Laura Chinchilla. To do so was one of his campaign promises.

The Unión Costarricense de Cámaras y Asociaciones del Sector Empresarial Privado objects strongly to this idea and says putting the law in force would cause chaos.

The union organization Asociación Nacional de Empleados Públicos y Privados said that if Solís fails to withdraw the
veto his credibility is in question. The organization's secretary general, Albino Vargas Barrantes, said that the measure conforms with the requirements of the International Labour Organization.

Legislative rules say that Solís has until Monday to act because such bills have a four-year life span.

Vargas said that Ms. Chinchilla bowed to the big banana and pineapple companies and says Solís might, too. Vargas cites what he calls the axis of evil, the neoliberal coalition.

The politics of this issue is enough to make the head of the average expat to swim. But if the measure becomes law, there will be more strikes. The Cámaras y Asociaciones del Sector Empresarial Privado said that the disputed measure would permit strikes even when employees are not represented by a union and when only a small percentage seeks a work stoppage.

The employers would prefer to start again with a proposal being introduced in the legislature.

Some politicians said they expect Solís to support the same maneuver in order to "kick the ball down the road."

U.S. fraud fugitive sought adoption here to avoid extradition
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A man who visited Costa Rica on his luxury yacht was a fugitive from U.S. justice for well over 10 years, said the U.S. Attorney's office in Los Angeles.

The man is James Eberhart, 73, who was sentenced Monday to 120 months in federal prison.

Eberhart ran an Internet scam that brought in $13 million, and he spent the 10 years as a fugitive traveling to the Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, and most recently to Malaysia, as well as Costa Rica. He spent most of that time living on his 58-foot yacht, the  Infinity.

Over 800 victims throughout the United States reportedly invested amounts as high as $100,000 individually.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said Monday that while in Costa Rica Eberhart tried to have a Tico family adopt him so he would be immune to extradition as a Costa Rican citizen.

He was detained in Malaysia in 2012 and pleaded guilty to fraud in September.

The U.S. Attorney's office said he operated a fraudulent Newport Beach, California, company called YES Entertainment Network, Inc. According to court documents, he and associates used dozens of boiler room telemarketing firms and a Hollywood celebrity spokesman to raise millions of dollars by telling investors that YES was creating an 18-channel, multimedia, family-oriented Web site .
that would carry various forms of entertainment programs

Investors were told that YES would generate profits through the sale of advertising on the Web site, and that their investment funds would be used to build and market the Web site, said the U.S. Attorney's Office. Eberhart and associates also told investors that the company planned an
initial public offering of its stock for the fall of 1999, which would potentially make early investments worth millions of dollars.

The government said:

These claims were false. Only 1 percent of investor funds were used to build the YES Web site, which was little more than a façade used to reassure investors. No money was used for advertising, but approximately 45 percent of the funds were used to pay sales commissions to the telemarketers. Most of the rest of the money was wired to bank 
James Eberhart,

accounts in Hong Kong and Singapore that Eberhart had formed with the help of an attorney.

In late 1999, while Eberhart was under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an earlier investment fraud scheme, and shortly after FBI agents had executed search warrants at the offices of telemarketing companies affiliated with YES, Eberhart and other employees destroyed company documents and fled the country.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 243
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Computer model reveals clues that would predict change in Atlantic flow
By the  University of Exeter news staff

A new study by researchers at the University of Exeter has identified early warning signals of a reorganization of the Atlantic oceans’ circulation which could have a profound impact on the global climate system.

The research, published in the journal Nature Communications, used a simulation from a highly complex model to analyze the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, an important component of the Earth’s climate system.

It showed that early warning signals are present up to 250 years before it collapses, suggesting that scientists could monitor the real world overturning circulation for the same signals.

The circulation system is like a conveyor belt in the ocean, driven by the salinity and temperature of the water. The system transports heat energy from the tropics and Southern Hemisphere to the North Atlantic, where it is transferred to the atmosphere.

Experiments suggest that if the circulation is switched off by extra
freshwater entering the North Atlantic, surface air temperature in the North Atlantic region would cool by around 1 to 3 degrees C, with enhanced cooling of up to 8 degrees C in the worst affected regions.

The collapse would also encourage drought in the Sahel, the area just south of the Sahara desert, and dynamic changes in sea level of up to 80 centimeters along the coasts. That's about 31.5 inches.

“We found that natural fluctuations in the circulation were getting longer-lived as the collapse was approached, a phenomenon known as critical slowing down,” said lead author Chris Boulton of Geography.

“We don’t know how close we are to a collapse of the circulation, but a real world early warning could help us prevent it, or at least prepare for the consequences” adds co-author Tim Lenton.   

The study is the most realistic simulation of the climate system in which this type of early warning signal has been tested.

“The best early warning signals in the model world are in places where major efforts are going into monitoring the circulation in the real world – so these efforts could have unexpected added value" added Lenton.

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
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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
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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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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
Family home

cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 243     
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New anti-malaria compound
tricks body to kill infection

By the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
news staff

An international research collaborative has determined that a promising anti-malarial compound tricks the immune system to rapidly destroy red blood cells infected with the malaria parasite but leave healthy cells unharmed. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital scientists led the study, which appears in the current online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The compound, (+)-SJ733, was developed from a molecule identified in a previous St. Jude-led study that helped to jumpstart worldwide anti-malarial drug development efforts. Malaria is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. The disease remains a major health threat to more than half the world’s population, particularly children. The World Health Organization estimates that in Africa a child dies of malaria every minute.

In this study, researchers determined that (+)-SJ733 uses a novel mechanism to kill the parasite by recruiting the immune system to eliminate malaria-infected red blood cells. In a mouse model of malaria, a single dose of (+)-SJ733 killed 80 percent of malaria parasites within 24 hours. After 48 hours the parasite was undetectable.

Planning has begun for safety trials of the compound in healthy adults.

Laboratory evidence suggests that the compound’s speed and mode of action work together to slow and suppress development of drug-resistant parasites. Drug resistance has long undermined efforts to treat and block malaria transmission.

"Our goal is to develop an affordable, fast-acting combination therapy that cures malaria with a single dose," said corresponding author R. Kiplin Guy,  chairman of the St. Jude Department of Chemical Biology and Therapeutics. "These results indicate that SJ733 and other compounds that act in a similar fashion are highly attractive additions to the global malaria eradication campaign, which would mean so much for the world's children, who are central to the mission of St. Jude."

Whole genome sequencing of the Plasmodium falciparum, the deadliest of the malaria parasites, revealed that (+)-SJ733 disrupted activity of the ATP4 protein in the parasites. The protein functions as a pump that the parasites depend on to maintain the proper sodium balance by removing excess sodium.

Researchers showed that inhibiting ATP4 triggered a series of changes in malaria-infected red blood cells that marked them for destruction by the immune system. The infected cells changed shape and shrank in size. They also became more rigid and exhibited other alterations typical of aging red blood cells. The immune system responded using the same mechanism the body relies on to rid itself of aging red blood cells.

Another promising class of antimalarial compounds triggered the same changes in red blood cells infected with the malaria parasite, researchers reported. The drugs, called spiroindolones, also target the ATP4 protein. The drugs include NITD246, which is already in clinical trials for treatment of malaria. Those trials involve investigators at other institutions.

Malaria deaths fall sharply
and intervention credited

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The World Health Organization reports there has been a dramatic fall in the number of malaria deaths since 2000 and the number of cases is also steadily going down.

Sub-Saharan Africa bears the brunt of malaria, with 90 percent of global deaths occurring there. 

But this year’s World Malaria Report says Africa’s population has grown by 43 percent since 2000, with fewer people getting infected. 

WHO Global Malaria Program Director Pedro Alonso says the number of people infected fell from 173 million in 2000 to 128 million in 2013.  He says that is particularly good news for children, who are the biggest victims of this fatal, but preventable disease.

“Mortality in children under five, the age group, which concentrates the biggest malaria problem in terms of severe disease and death, has reduced by a staggering 58 percent," he said. "And, if we try to quantify the number of lives saved since 2000 up to 2014, we estimate that over four million deaths have been averted.” 

The World Health Organization says the results are due to greater access to malaria-control interventions.  It notes in 2013, almost half the people at risk of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa had access to an insecticide-treated mosquito net.  It says a record 214 million bed nets will be delivered to malaria-endemic countries in Africa by the end of the year.

Alonso says greater access to rapid diagnostic tests and effective treatment also has significantly improved.  He says these are not complex, expensive interventions and health systems can build on these measures.

“We also need to sustain a strong pipeline of research and development and innovation to develop new tools," he said. 

Another sign of progress is the increasing number of countries moving toward malaria elimination.  In 2013, World Health says two countries, Azerbaijan and Sri Lanka, reported no cases of malaria, joining 11 countries including Argentina, Egypt, Iraq, Oman, and Turkmenistan that succeeded in maintaining zero cases.

But the report says indoor residual spraying has decreased in recent years and insecticide resistance has been reported in 49 countries. World Health also says only about one half the $5.1 billion needed to prevent and control malaria has been received.

U.S. will review policy
in handling hostage cases

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The death last week in Yemen of a British-born American photojournalist during a rescue operation mounted by American commandos is reviving the debate over U.S. hostage policy.

While congressional critics agree the Obama administration had little choice but to launch an 11th-hour military raid to try to save Luke Somers, who was shot dead by his captors, they say there is a growing disconnect between government agencies, which is reducing the chances of freeing American captives.

Too often the State Department and the FBI sideline options presented by other U.S. government agencies, they claim.

In a letter to President Barack Obama, Rep. Duncan Hunter, a Republican congressman from California, said he is aware of a government organization that has offered “credible information that could lead to the return of several Americans.” But Hunter said the FBI has dismissed the information, despite having so far failed to turn up any actionable leads in working on the cases for several years.

In the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, "options exist to recover Americans in captivity but, because of the FBI and the State Department control on these operations, various lines of effort are being sidelined and even discarded,” he writes.

A White House review of U.S. hostage policy, ordered after the beheadings in Syria by Islamic militants earlier in the year of American journalists James Foley and Steve Sotloff, and aid worker Peter Kassig, is still under way. This week relatives of former and current American hostages are due to meet with officials from the National Security Council overseeing the review. Several families have criticized publicly how the Obama administration has handled captive situations and have complained of feeling pushed around by administration officials and of being kept purposely out of the loop and denied information.

In September, James Foley’s mother and brother accused Obama administration officials of repeatedly warning the family that they could face criminal prosecution if they paid a ransom to the Islamic militants from the self-styled Islamic State to secure their son’s release. “We were told that several times, and we took it as a threat and it was appalling,” Foley’s mother Diane told ABC News.

And members of the Somers family added Monday to the criticism. Penny Bearman, Somers' stepmother, and his half-sister Lucy Somers told Britain's The Times newspaper they were angry because they think, “if there had not been a rescue attempt he would still be alive.”

Nov. 30, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula released a video threatening to kill the 33-year-old photojournalist, who had been held for a year, within three days, if the U.S. government failed to meet their demands. They warned against a repeat of a rescue attempt made by U.S. Special Forces on Nov. 25 that resulted in the freeing of eight other hostages. Somers’ captors moved him shortly before that raid.

Somers’ family members say they were kept in the dark about the U.S. government's plans to mount rescue attempts. And, Ms. Bearman said, “there had been threats before that had not been carried out.” She added: “We are sure Luke would have given support to the ongoing discussions in Yemen rather than the conflict approach.”

Administration officials argue they had little choice but to proceed on Saturday with the second rescue attempt, and had no reason to believe the captors would refrain from carrying out their threat to kill him. Somers was shot along with a South African hostage who was due to be released, according to his charity employers as the raid unfolded.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has defended the Somers rescue mission publicly, arguing it was extremely well executed, while acknowledging it was complicated and risky. He added in a statement: “There were compelling reasons to believe Somers' life was in imminent danger.” He has said he sees no reason for a review to be conducted of the actual rescue mission.

But Joe Kasper, an aide to Rep. Hunter, said the failed rescue mission should be part of the NSC-led review. “It is impossible to conduct a review and not consider what went right and what went wrong in every hostage situation and recovery attempt,” he said. “Otherwise, we are not learning from our experiences, and there are definitely a lot of them to learn from.”

A number of European hostages held by Islamic militants in Syria have been released following million-dollar ransom payments. Both the U.S. and British governments have long followed a policy of refusing to pay terrorists in exchange for hostages. But with the executions of Foley, Sotloff and Kassig, political pressure has mounted on the Obama administration to reconsider how it handles hostage situations.

Administration officials say the review will not lead to a reversal on the prohibition of paying ransoms. They say ransom payments only encourage the seizing of more hostages. But the review is likely to conclude that there should be greater coordination between U.S. government agencies and the sharing of information, they say.

California drought said
to be completely natural

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The drought parching the U.S. State of California is one of the worst on record. And although researchers say greenhouse gases likely made heat waves worse in Asia, Australia and Europe last year, climate change is probably not behind California’s troubles. 

The last three years have been among the warmest and driest on record in the West Coast state, costing an estimated $2.2 billion in crop and livestock losses so far.

A ridge of high pressure has blocked Pacific storms from coming ashore for the last three winters.

“The atmosphere, through its own internal weather variability, is quite capable of creating ridges like that,” said study lead author Richard Seager at Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory. “But what we found in this report was that the particular configuration of the ocean in these past three winters favored that ridge and dry conditions in California.”

Cold temperatures in some parts of the Pacific Ocean and warm spots in others can affect how air circulates in the atmosphere. In the new report, researchers found that over the past three years, the cold and warm spots have lined up in a way that makes that rain-blocking ridge likely.

Plus, Seager says, computer models predict that drought is not the impact that climate change will have on California.

“The models are actually projecting not overall drier conditions as a result of rising greenhouse gases but a shorter, sharper rainy season,” he said.

But Kevin Trenberth at the National Center for Atmospheric Research says, at this point, climate change is not likely to have had much effect on global circulation patterns, “so, looking for a change in circulation with climate change is largely an irrelevant thing to do.”

“There is absolutely nothing in this study that deals with one of the main effects of climate change, which is increased heating, high temperatures, increased drying, increased evaporation,” he added.

The study authors acknowledge that ocean temperatures only explain part of the severity of the current drought.

“In particular, why was the last year of the drought the most severe, even though the ocean conditions were perhaps the weakest during the three-year period?” asked study co-author Martin Hoerling at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “It’s a bit of a puzzle to us.”
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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 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 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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A.M. Costa Rica's
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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 243
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Universidad de los Andes/ Juan A. Sanchez 
Eunicea fusca off Curacao

Caribbean coral unaffected by pH decline

By the University of Miami news staff

A new study on tropical shallow-water soft corals, known as gorgonians, found that the species were able to calcify and grow under elevated carbon dioxide concentrations. These results suggest that Caribbean gorgonian corals may be more resilient to the ocean acidification levels projected by the end of the 21st century than previously thought.

An international team of scientists, including from the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, tested the effects of elevated CO2 concentrations on the growth and calcification rates of the sea rod, Eunicea fusca, a type of gorgonian or soft coral found throughout the Bahamas, Bermuda, South Florida and into the Gulf of Mexico.

Researchers collected E. fusca specimens from Big Pine Shoals in the Florida Keys to simulate a range of predicted future ocean acidification conditions – CO2 concentrations from 285-2,568 parts per million (pH range 8.1-7.1) – during a four-week experiment at the Rosenstiel School’s Coral Reefs and Climate Change Laboratory. Eunicea fusca showed a negative response to calcification under elevated CO2 concentrations, but growth and calcification did not stop under any of the CO2 levels used in the study.

“Our results suggest that gorgonian coral may be more resilient than other reef-dwelling species to the ocean acidification changes that are expected to occur in the oceans as a result of climate change,” said Chris Langdon, a professor and director of the Coral Reefs and Climate Change Laboratory. “These findings will allow us to better predict the future composition of coral reef communities under the current “business-as-usual scenario.”

The absorption of carbon dioxide by seawater, which results in a decline in pH level, is termed ocean acidification even though the water is not acidic. The change in the seawater is felt throughout the marine food web as calcifying organisms, such as corals, oysters and sea urchins, find it more difficult to build their shells and skeletons making them more susceptible to predation and damage.

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From Page 7:

U.S. snooping called European problem

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A top EU official says mass surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency is a business problem for European Internet service providers.

Paul Nemitz, a European Commission official, said Monday anyone in the United States using a European-based email service risks having the NSA reading his or her messages. Nemitz said that under U.S. law, the NSA basically can grab any data it wants as the information enters the United States.

His comments come as the EU and the United States are renegotiating a data-sharing agreement that helps U.S. companies do business in Europe.

A report from the Council of Europe Monday says continued mass data collection by the U.S. makes it more likely other countries will insist that their data be routed and stored locally.

The report says this would create national barriers to a global network and would slow down Internet speeds.

The European Commission is pushing for Washington to guarantee that it will only access Europeans' personal data for national security reasons, as it says it does with U.S. citizens' data.