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(506) 2223-1327                          Published Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013,  in Vol. 13, No. 245                              Email us
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Refinery to show its plans for hydrogen fuels
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The state petroleum monopoly said that it is ready to outline its project to produce and store hydrogen, a gas lauded as a potential clean fuel.

The presentation of the project by the Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo S.A. will take place at the Ad Astra Rocket Co. laboratories near Daniel Oduber airport Thursday.

Ad Astra, the creation of former U.S. astronaut Franklin Chang Diaz, is collaborating with the petroleum firm and other government agencies in developing techniques for producing and storing hydrogen.

The announcement by the refinery Tuesday said that it would be announcing plans for an experimental plant to produce and store the hydrogen. Also involved is EARTH University and the Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía.

Last September Cummins Power Generation said an electrical generator performed successfully with a mixture of hydrogen and biogas in a pilot project test. That firm has been working with Ad Astra since 2011.

Costa Rica has sought to reduce its reliance on imported petroleum for a long time. The country also is committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2021

Ad Astra also is experimenting with windmills that produce electricity to liberate hydrogen atoms from water or to extract it from methane gas. These can be costly processes.

There was a breakthrough announced Tuesday by researchers unrelated to the Costa Rica experiment. Scientists in Lyon, France, who are associated with the Deep Carbon Observatory project, said they found a way to quickly produce hydrogen on a very small scale.

The breakthrough suggests a better way of producing the hydrogen that propels rockets and energizes battery-like fuel cells, said a report on the Phys.org news Web site. In a few decades, it
hydrogen


could even help the world meet key energy needs — without carbon emissions contributing to the greenhouse effect and climate change, it said.

The research is being presented at American Geophysical Union's annual fall meeting in San Francisco, California, this week.

The researchers found that including aluminum in the process to make hydrogen speeds up the chemical reaction from seven to 50 times faster than a natural process deep in the ocean under great pressure.

Researchers noted that the usual method of extracting hydrogen from methane gas results in the creation of carbon dioxide, the notorious greenhouse gas.

The scientists say that commercial versions of what they did in the lab on a very small scale might take 50 years, but that the use of hydrogen in fuel cells probably will give the technology a push.

Ad Astra says on its Web site that its alternative energy division is "focusing on the hydrogen cycle as a means to produce, store, and deliver clean renewable energy primarily from wind-driven power sources.

"The hydrogen cycle is considered to have strong potential for use in rural areas of the developing world with no access to low-cost fossil fuels or low cost electrical power from the grid. Moreover, the use of hydrogen in combination with a bio-digestor (methane) gas could have a strong impact on the energy economy of small farming communities and other niche markets."


National museum gears up for Christmas holidays
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Museo Nacional begins its Christmas celebration Thursday with a blessing of the institution's portal or nativity scene.

The figures used in the display representing the traditional birth of Jesus Christ are more than 100 years old, the museum noted. That display is in the Casa Colonial on the north side of the museum.

There will be choruses, bands and a musical group. The museum also is offering three workshops for the creation of seasonal decorations starting at 9 a.m.

Appearing at 10 a.m. will be the children's chorus of the Escuela Josefita Jurado in Curridabat. At noon there is more Christmas music provided by the Banda Rítmica Alajuelense. At 1 p.m. the chorus of Saint Francis School performs followed at 2 p.m. by the band El Club.

Thursday is the first day of public school
nativity scene
Museo Nacional photo
These statues are more than 100 years old

vacations, which is why the museum scheduled the events during a weekday.

Other institutions as well as the Museo Nacional will be holding vacation events for school children. There is a charge for the workshops, which are limited to 30 participants each.


Expats can find two holiday markets in city this week
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Expats can find not one but two holiday markets in east San José this week.

The Banco Nacional sponsors the Feria Nacional Empresarial IMAS 2013, which opens today for a three-day run in the Antigua Aduana, the restored customs warehouse on Calle 23 north of Avenida Central.

An estimated 150 small business operators will be showing their wares to visitors. The event is linked to the Instituto Mixto de Ayuda Social, the government's antipoverty agency.

Just east of the Antigua Aduana on the same property will be the Mercado Tropical that begins
 Thursday and ends Sunday.  The Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud is sponsoring this fair.

The location is that glass-walled two-story structure called the Casa del Cuño.

The ministry said that the Mercado Tropical will have original products that break with the commercial tradition of the holidays.

An estimated 58 artists and crafts persons will participate, said the ministry. Products include independent editorial books, jewelry, graphic design, natural cosmetic products, culinary arts, graphic design and art works. There also will be workshops.

Those participating were selected from more than 100 who applied, said the ministry.

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bus
                                                          closet
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo     
This is the compartment on the bus.

Ticabus driver faces allegation
of sneaking in money to country

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Anti-drug police found a hidden compartment on a Ticabus S.A. vehicle and have detained the driver for investigation of money laundering.

Anti-drug agents said that the bus was headed into Costa Rica after having traveled from México. The compartment was at the rear of the vehicle near rest rooms.  They said that they found packages of $20 U.S. bills. The total was $375,000 they said after counting the money.

Detained was the driver who has the last name of Loria.

fireworks
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo     
Here are some of the confiscated fireworks.

Police locate thousands more
of illegal fireworks in Upala

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Fireworks continue to flood into the country from Nicaragua.

The Fuerza Pública in Upala found the explosives when they came upon individuals sneaking into the country at a location far removed from an official border crossing.

When they searched the dozens of illegal immigrants they found the fireworks, they reported. There were 9,893 of them, they said.

This is big business around the holidays because the market for skyrockets and other types of fireworks is strong in Costa Rica. The explosive devices are a tradition.

The security ministry has set up a task force with 3,000 officers to stop the importation and sale of fireworks. Confiscations like this one are a daily affair.

Tamal report due today
from economics ministry

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The economics ministry has checked the prices of tamales and children's toys. A report is scheduled for today.

The Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio also said that it would report on a study its inspectors did in conjunction with the  Laboratorio Costarricense de Metrología on the accuracy of scales used in commerce.

Tamales are a traditional holiday dish steeped in tradition. Most Costa Rican women would be horrified if they thought someone in their home was eating store-purchased tamales. Each family has its own recipe.

The ministry checks the prices each holiday for the dough, meat and other ingredients. Usually they find wide differences.

Moderate quake's epicenter
reported to be offshore


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A 5.0 magnitude earthquake took place just before noon Tuesday in the Pacific about 21.5 kilometers northwest of Sardinal in Guanacaste.

There were no reports of major damage. The quake happened at 11:28 a.m. The quake was felt moderately as far inland as Upalad as far south as Nicoya, said the Laboratorio de Ingenieria Sismica at the Universidad de Costa Rica.

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For many, today is the last day of the 2013 school term
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Today is the day that public school youngsters have been awaiting since last February.

Today is the last day of the school term. Homework and tests are over and done. Today is a day for a party and various events, depending on the school.

Today also means that parents will have to make additional arrangements to care for their children.

A possibility is with the many vacation activities that private and public institutions plan.

The Museo Nacional already has an event scheduled for Thursday. The Museo de los Niños said Tuesday that it was accepting signups for its Desafío de Campeones of "challenge of champions." The program contains a series of week-long events in January.

Parents might be pleased to know that they have an option to place a child from 7:30 A.M. to 5 p.m. That would be a good option for working parents.

The week programs are set up as adventure games with various challenges for the young participants. Some 30 staffers will take care of the youngsters, the museum said.
happy kid
Museo de los Niños photo
The children's museum sent this photo to promote its vacation events for youngsters. But it sure fits with the end of the school term.











Woody vines known as
lianas continue to overgrow trees in the forests of the American tropics
vines
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute photo

Tropical spread of vines attributed to colonization from above
By the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

Woody vines known as lianas continue to overgrow trees in the forests of the American tropics. Perhaps their ability to clone themselves by taking root at new sites far from their original roots explains how they gain the upper hand, according to a new report by ecologist Suzanne Rutishauser Yorke and colleagues.

In 2002, Oliver Phillips of the University of Leeds published the first study claiming that vines were becoming more common in the Amazon. The amount of liana leaf litter and the proportion of total leaf litter composed of liana leaves increased significantly between 1986 and 2002 on Panama’s Barro  Colorado Island. Joe Wright and Osvaldo Calderon reported that in 2004.

They are with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

Stefan Schnitzer is a research associate at the institute and
associate professor at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. He and his colleagues concluded in a 2011 paper that vines continued to overgrow trees at eight sites from Brazil to South Carolina.

Now the results are in from a long-term study at La Selva biological station in Costa Rica. They show that liana abundance climbed by 15 percent and diameter by 20 percent in old-growth forests but not in selectively logged forests between 1999 and 2007. Colonization by plants from outside the study plots contributed significantly to the increases as lianas in the tops of fallen trees put down new roots.

“We just conducted a follow-up study at La Selva and found that the pace of liana increase from 2007 - 2012 at this site is still high,” said Schnitzer, “And we also found that on BCI, lianas were increasing in density and the number and level of trees infested was on the rise,” he added using the initials for  Barro Colorado Island.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday,  Dec. 11, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 245
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Research suggests that father's diet is as important to babies as the mother's
By the McGill University news service

Mothers get all the attention. But a study led by McGill researcher Sarah Kimmins suggests that the father’s diet before conception may play an equally important role in the health of their offspring. It also raises concerns about the long-term effects of current Western diets and of food insecurity.

The research focused on vitamin B9, also called folate, which is found in a range of green leafy vegetables, cereals, fruit and meats. It is well known that in order to prevent miscarriages and birth defects mothers need to get adequate amounts of folate in their diet. But the way that a father’s diet can influence the health and development of their offspring has received almost no attention. Now research from the Kimmins group shows for the first time that the father’s folate levels may be just as important to the development and health of their offspring as are those of the mother. Indeed, the study suggests that fathers should pay as much attention to their lifestyle and diet before they set out to conceive a child as mothers do.

“Despite the fact that folic acid is now added to a variety of foods, fathers who are eating high-fat, fast food diets or who are obese may not be able to use or metabolize folate in the same way as those with adequate levels of the vitamin,” says Ms. Kimmins. “People who live in the Canadian north or in other parts of the world where there is food insecurity may also be particularly at risk for folate deficiency. And we now know that this information will be passed on from the father to the embryo with
consequences that may be quite serious.”

The researchers arrived at this conclusion by working with mice, and comparing the offspring of fathers with insufficient folate in their diets with the offspring of fathers whose diets contained sufficient levels of the vitamin. They found that paternal folate deficiency was associated with an increase in birth defects of various kinds in the offspring, compared to the offspring of mice whose fathers were fed a diet with sufficient folate.

“We were very surprised to see that there was an almost 30 per cent increase in birth defects in the litters sired by fathers whose levels of folates were insufficient,” said Romain Lambrot, of McGill’s Department of Animal Science, one of the researchers who worked on the study. “We saw some pretty severe skeletal abnormalities that included both cranio-facial and spinal deformities.”

The research from the Kimmins’ group shows that there are regions of the sperm that are sensitive to life experience and particularly to diet.

“Our research suggests that fathers need to think about what they put in their mouths, what they smoke and what they drink and remember they are caretakers of generations to come,” said Ms. Kimmins. “If all goes as we hope, our next step will be to work with collaborators at a fertility clinic so that we can start assessing the links in men between diet, being overweight and how this information relates to the health of their children.”

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Meet many Expats who are willing to share their experiences and how the tour has value long after the “lust” wears off.
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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
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See our listing of real estate brokers on the for-sale page.

Real estate for rent (paid category)

San Pedro, Lourdes:  Furnished four-bedroom house for  rent near U. Latina.  3 bathrooms.  Two bedrooms have private bath.  TV with cable, wireless Internet, washer, microwave, all linens on beds, phone, garage with electric door opener.  Front yard and back patio.  Minimum 6-month contract.  $800 a month. Call Rick at 2280-3548 or write to rastern@racsa.co.cr.  Owner pays cable and internet.
8169-1/2/14 

ALAJUELA – SERENE LIVING
MONTHLY $800 TO $1,200

Villas Casa Loma has everything you are looking for.  Best vistas, climate, value.  Four unique homes in a secure private compound on a ridge near Alajuela overlooking the entire Central Valley.  Two are available fully furnished and equipped, each a complete home accommodating 4 persons in two bedrooms with ensuite baths.  Pool, rancho, mirador, other features.  Ask about part-month rates.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at gerrybuilt2000@yahoo.com.  See virtual tour of accommodations HERE!
Get to know the real Costa Rica – you may want to live here someday.
8161-1/11/13

Beautiful studio home with garden patio
Completely furnished with best bed (Jiron™ Full), refri, stove, dishes, pans, etc. TV and high-speed internet connected. Free.
Located high above a river. You will sleep like a baby. Perfect weather, never too hot nor cold. Secure, private and secluded, and yet, only 10 minutes to San Isidro de El General (fairly large city in the mountains with everything) and from there, 40 minutes to beaches. Bus is close and costs 35 cents to San Isidro. Special price for single, long-term renter, nonsmoker: $425 + utilities. Go to www.homeaway.com and put in, #969365 for pics and full description Then write to us, Thanks. Email: james43michael@yahoo.com
8146-12/11/13

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:  rentnowcr@gmail.com.
8157-12/22/13

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

  rentals.sanjose@gmail.com
88136-12.22.13

Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for your stay in this beautiful part 
tropical
of Costa Rica. We are offering homes for every budget and every need. Please visit our Web page at www.tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or contact us at rentals@tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or call at (506) 2654-5442.
8054-2/16/14






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A.M. Costa Rica's
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Cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday,  Dec. 11, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 245
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Cafetales



Senate in Uruguay approves
controversial marijuana bill


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Uruguay's senate passed a law Tuesday making the South American country the world's first to legalize the production and sale of marijuana under state control.

Congress' lower house already approved the pioneering bill, which easily passed the Senate because the ruling coalition controls both chambers. The final vote followed 12 hours of debate.

The bill authorizes the production, distribution and sale of cannabis, allows individuals to grow their own on a small scale, and provides for clubs of consumers, all under state supervision and control.

The law is an initiative of President Jose Mujica, a 78-year-old former leftist guerrilla who acknowledges the approach is an experiment. He said he personally hates pot and has never smoked it.

Ethan Nadelmann is executive director of the New York-based Drug Policy Alliance, a leading sponsor of drug policy reform. He said Uruguay's move is a truly historic moment.

"It's the first country in the world to move forward with legally regulating marijuana as opposed to persisting with the failed prohibitionist policies of the past. Washington and Colorado last year became the first two political jurisdictions in the world to vote to legalize marijuana," he said. "Uruguay now becomes the first nation-state to do so."

Uruguay's attempt to undo drug trafficking is being followed closely in Latin America where the legalization of some narcotics is being increasingly seen by regional leaders as a possible way to end the violence spawned by the cocaine trade.

"What you see more broadly around Latin America is a growing discontent with the global war on drugs and with the aggressive U.S. posture," he said.

The use of marijuana is legal in Uruguay but cultivation and sale of the drug are not.

Other countries have decriminalized marijuana possession, and the Netherlands allows its sale in coffee shops, but Uruguay will be the first nation to legalize the whole chain from growing the plant to buying and selling its leaves.

Several countries such as Canada, the Netherlands and Israel have legal programs for growing medical cannabis but do not allow cultivation of marijuana for recreational use.

Polls show two-thirds of Uruguayans oppose the plan, which faces fierce opposition from conservatives.

Critics say legalization will increase consumption and open the door to harder drugs, but Mujica said his government's goal is to combat organized crime and reduce drug use.

The bill gives authorities 120 days to set up a drug control board that will regulate cultivation standards, fix the price and monitor consumption limits, such as the 40 grams a month any adult will be able to buy from pharmacies.


New disease for Americas
discovered on Caribbean isle


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A painful mosquito-borne disease found in Africa and Asia has been found for the first time in the Americas.

The World Health Organization is reporting two cases of chikungunya in the French part of the Caribbean island of Saint Martin.

The disease causes a high fever and headache, along with severe joint pain that can persist for weeks.

It is rarely fatal, but there is no treatment or vaccine for chikungunya.

Major outbreaks struck Gabon, India and islands in the Indian Ocean in the mid-2000s, according to the World Health Organization.

It spread within Europe for the first time in 2007 with a localized outbreak in Italy.

Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College, expects to see chikungunya in the southern United States soon.

“The mosquitoes are here. That’s an important factor. Second, there may be some component of global warming," said Hotez.

And, Hotez adds, the mosquitoes carrying the disease accompany urbanization and poverty, two conditions on the rise in the southern U.S.


U.S. lawmakers announce
bipartisan budget agreement


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A group of U.S. lawmakers has forged a bipartisan agreement on federal spending levels for a two-year period that will prevent another government shutdown if it becomes law. The accord lessens austerity budget cuts but does not solve America’s long term fiscal imbalances.
 
The deal announced late Tuesday constitutes a compromise between the starkly different budgetary visions of the Republican-led House of Representatives and the Democratic-controlled Senate. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan hailed the accord at a Capitol Hill news conference.
 
“This agreement makes sure that we do not have a government shutdown scenario in January. It makes sure that we do not lurch from crisis to crisis,” said Ryan.
 
The accord would boost 2014 and 2015 federal spending above austerity levels set under current law, shielding many domestic and military programs from further automatic budget cuts, known as sequestration, that would have taken effect absent a deal. The added spending was a key goal of Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray.
 
“Our deal puts jobs and economic growth first by rolling back sequestration’s harmful cuts to education and medical research and infrastructure investments and defense jobs for the next two years,” said Ms. Murray.
 
The agreement more than compensates for higher spending with a mix of added revenue and budget savings, including making federal employees pay more for their retirement programs. The end result, according to Ryan, is even greater deficit reduction that would be achieved under sequestration alone.
 
“This bill reduces the deficit by $23 billion. And it does not raise taxes. And it cuts spending in a smarter way,” said Ryan.
 
The deal does not address a key Democratic demand for an extension of soon-to-expire benefits for the unemployed. Nor does it address Republican calls for reforms to costly programs that provide income and health care for retirees. But it does accomplish something else, according to Ms. Murray.
 
“This deal does not solve all of our problems. But I think it is an important step in helping to heal some of the wounds here in Congress. To rebuild some trust, and show that we can do something without a crisis right around the corner,” she said.
 
The White House issued a statement from President Barack Obama calling the accord a good first step to addressing America’s fiscal challenges.
 
If enacted, the accord would give Washington a two-year reprieve from the partisan budget wars that have consumed Congress in recent years. A House vote is expected by week’s end, with a Senate vote to follow.

 
U.S. banks now prohibited
for trading on own account


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United States has approved new rules to restrict securities trading by banks in a new effort to prevent risk-taking that helped ignite the 2008 financial crisis.

Five U.S. financial regulatory agencies adopted rules Tuesday that will mostly bar banks from making trades for their own profits. The agencies have been debating the regulations for three years, with some of Wall Street's biggest financial institutions voicing their strenuous opposition. The new rules will take effect in the middle of 2015.

Such securities trades have been lucrative for the country's most prominent banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup. Wall Street critics say the trades also led to risk-taking that forced the government to bail out several big banks to keep them from collapsing during the depths of the recession five years ago.

The new regulations, more than 900 pages long, have been called the Volcker Rule, named after a former Federal Reserve chairman, Paul Volcker, who first conceived them. In 2010, Congress approved wide-ranging new controls on U.S. financial institutions and ordered regulators to draft the securities trading rules.

Supporters of the rules say it will make the financial system safer and prevent abuses by big banks, while still allowing them to make trades on behalf of customers. Bank opponents of the rules say they will hurt the broader economy by curbing their profits and limiting some of the biggest securities trades in the U.S.

The agencies that have approved the regulations are the Federal Reserve, which is the U.S. central bank, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.; the Securities and Exchange Commission; the Commodity Futures Trading Commission; and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.


Swiss banks begin to agree
with U.S. disclosure demands

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The first Swiss banks have signaled their readiness to work with U.S. officials in a crackdown on wealthy Americans evading taxes, and many more are expected to follow in the coming weeks in the latest blow to Switzerland's cherished bank secrecy.
 
The deal between the United States and Switzerland, agreed in August, is part of a U.S. drive to lift the veil of Swiss bank secrecy. In 2009, this led to UBS paying $780 million in a settlement where the bank agreed to hand over U.S. client names with secret Swiss accounts.
 
The U.S. pursuit of tax dollars sheltered in offshore accounts has piled pressure on Switzerland, the world's largest offshore finance center with more than $2 trillion in assets.
 
The Swiss government in June bowed to repeated attacks on banking secrecy, deeply embedded in the country's culture, and will share data on foreign depositors if a global standard is established.
 
Under this latest U.S. deal, Swiss banks were given until Monday by their regulator to say whether they would take part in the government-brokered program open to a host of second-tier Swiss banks.
 
The program, which lapses at year-end, requires the banks to hand out some previously hidden information and face penalties of up to 50 percent of assets they managed on behalf of wealthy Americans. If the banks shun the U.S. offer, individual firms and senior staff risk criminal prosecution.
 
The regulator FINMA said Tuesday that most had done so, and that it expected several more to do so shortly, without disclosing what the banks had decided.
 
Valiant Holding and Berner Kantonalbank, two mainly retail banks, said they would come clean on any past transgressions and face up to fines.
 
The fines are scaled to reflect how egregiously the banks acted in their dealings with U.S. customers. Fines would have to be disclosed to investors because they could have an impact on share prices.
 
A third Zurich-based private bank and securities firm, Vontobel Holding AG, said it would also participate. But it put itself in a category of institutions that have not committed any U.S. tax-related offenses and are therefore exempt from penalty payments.
 
The bank began transferring business with wealthy Americans into an entity registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2008, when the crackdown on Switzerland's banks intensified.
 
How many of Switzerland's 300-plus private banks come forward under the program is also key for banks facing criminal investigations, which includes some of Switzerland's biggest banks such as Credit Suisse and Julius Baer and Pictet & Cie.
 

Super greenhouse gas said
to last a long time in air


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Scientists say they have discovered a man-made greenhouse gas 7,100 times as strong as carbon dioxide. More bad news: It has a lifetime of hundreds of years.

Researchers at the University of Toronto in Canada say the chemical, perfluorotributylamine, is the most radiatively efficient chemical found to date, breaking all other chemical records for its potential to impact climate.

According to Angela Hong, who worked on the project, radiative efficiency describes how well a molecule can trap outgoing heat radiation from Earth. This metric indicates the potential for a molecule to impact climate.

“As it turns out, PFTBA has the highest radiative efficiency of all molecules in the atmosphere to date,” she said in an email.

Perfluorotributylamine has been in use since the mid-20th century for various applications in electrical equipment and is currently used in thermally and chemically stable liquids marketed for use in electronic testing and as heat transfer agents.

Researchers say there are no known processes that would destroy or remove perfluorotributylamine in the lower atmosphere, meaning it could have a lifetime of hundreds of years.

Carbon dioxide is used as the baseline for comparison since it is the most important greenhouse gas after water vapor.

“Calculated over a 100-year time frame, a single molecule of PFTBA has the equivalent climate impact as 7,100 molecules of CO2,” said Ms. Hong.

The results of the study appeared in the Geophysical Research Letters.


Amazon has small robot carts
already at its warehouses


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Amazon’s idea of using flying drones for speeding up delivery of its merchandise and lowering the cost may be some years off, but the U.S. retail giant is already employing drones of autonomous robots in its huge warehouse in Seattle, Washington.

According to reports in Wall Street Journal and technology Web site technologyadvice.com, the warehouse robots could save Amazon as much as 40 percent of the cost of filling orders.

About one foot high, battery-powered orange boxes, the size of a lawn mower, with hidden wheels that can drive them in all directions and turn in place, crisscross the smooth floor of the warehouse, lifting and shuttling shelves with different kinds of merchandise.

Cameras located underside scan coded directions painted on the floor while the central computer wirelessly gives orders to the cars to deliver the goods to human packers. When a robot receives the order for certain merchandise it identifies the shelf containing the item, lifts it just a few inches off the floor and carries it to a worker, who only has to place the item into a box on a conveyer belt to the shipping department.

The robots, designed by Kiva Systems, navigate quickly and efficiently through the warehouse, never colliding and never dropping an item.

In its third quarter earnings report Amazon says about 1,400 Kiva robots work in three of its warehouses. The retail giant also disclosed that it actually bought Kiva Systems in March 2012 for $775 million.

According to one analyst Kiva robots could save Amazon between $458 and $916 million annually. It is not known how workers feel about the warehouse robots but they clearly replace humans in one of the most exhausting jobs.

Kiva robots are employed in warehouses of other U.S. companies like Zappos, Walgreens and the office supply giant Staples.


Exercise called one key
in lowering risk of dementia

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Exercise can significantly lower the risk of dementia, according to a study of 2,235 men over 35 years.

The research, which was done at Cardiff University, is the longest of its kind to probe the influence of environmental factors in chronic disease.

But exercise alone is not enough.

The study identified five healthy behaviors as being integral to having the best chance of leading a disease-free lifestyle: regular exercise, non-smoking, a low body weight, a healthy diet, and a low alcohol intake.

Following four of the five behaviors led to a 60 percent decline in dementia and cognitive decline with exercise being the strongest mitigating factor as well as 70 percent fewer instances of diabetes, heart disease and stroke, compared with people who followed none.

"The size of reduction in the instance of disease owing to these simple healthy steps has really amazed us and is of enormous importance in an aging population," said Peter Elwood from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine. "What the research shows is that following a healthy lifestyle confers surprisingly large benefits to health. Healthy behaviors have a far more beneficial effect than any medical treatment or preventative procedure.”

Elwood added that the study revealed few people follow a fully healthy lifestyle.

“Our findings reveal that while the number of people who smoke has gone down since the study started, the number of people leading a fully healthy lifestyle has not changed," he added.


Obama, Raúl Castro shake
hands at Mandela funeral

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Tuesday's memorial service for Nelson Mandela generated some informal diplomacy and political controversy, alongside the praise for the late South African president.
 
In a moment caught by television cameras, U.S. President Barack Obama shook hands with Cuban President Raúl Castro as he walked to the podium.
 
The handshake was notable because the United States and Cuba have not had diplomatic relations since 1961, at the height of the Cold War, and the U.S. maintains a trade embargo on Cuba.  Relations have begun to thaw in recent years.
 
U.S. officials say the handshake was not pre-planned.  But they say the two leaders did not have a substantive discussion. They only exchanged greetings.  White House aides say the United States still has grave concerns about Cuba's human rights situation.
 
Obama also exchanged greetings with Afghan leader Hamid Karzai, but U.S. officials say Obama did not see the memorial service as a venue to do business.
 
The two leaders have been debating an agreement of a continued U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan after foreign forces withdraw in 2014.
 
The United States says Karzai must sign the pact by the end of this year or there will be no choice but to withdraw all American troops after 2014.
 
Obama is popular in South Africa, and thousands of people in the stadium cheered when his image appeared on the giant screen overlooking the field.
 
In contrast, South African President Jacob Zuma was booed each time his image was shown on the screen.  Many South Africans have been angered by recent accusations that Zuma spent $200 million in taxpayer money to renovate his private home.
 
In all, more than 70 heads of state and government attended the ceremony, including British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande, Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and India's President Pranab Mukherjee.
 
   
Real estate-related services (paid category)

Project completion specialists
Casa del pacifico logo
Pacifica living
A turnkey home and project completion agency devoted to creative vision and flawless execution. We provide a single, solid and dedicated point of contact for the duration of your real estate project, specializing in:

                      • Building completion services
                      • Interior design & decoration
                      • Custom furniture design & manufacturing.

Our primary goal is to assist our clients with a smooth transition to occupancy while providing highly personalized and distinctive services. We have refined the process to be a hassle free experience, especially valuable for clients who live abroad. We customize to suit each client’s personal taste, lifestyle and budget.
Serving region for 10 years.
We regularly exceed client expectations. We guarantee it.
Email: info@casadelpacifico.com
Cell phone: (506) - 8707-8008
Office phone: (506) - 2288-5644
Web: www.casadelpacifico.com
8070-2/14/13


Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)


Swimming pool at night
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 2228-5961 or 8339-2112. www.costaricarealtyone.com
8091-12/11/13

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.
7949-11/15/13

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 www.moranlakearenal.com
Contact us at the office: (506) 2694-0088
Cell (506) 8880-8888
Phone number from the U.S. (305) 307-0088
Email: moranrealestate@gmail.com
Moran logo
8119-4/16/14



Costa Rica,

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





Visit our Web Site:
 www.greciarealestate.com




English: (Cristian Arce)
(506) 8309-0173  
English:  (Luis Arce)
(506) 7100-8489  
 Español: (Luis G. Jiménez)
  (506) 8707-4016  
Grecia 794
This is the BIGGEST DEAL of the month now at $850.000: HERE!
30,000 square meters of land and 750 square-meters of construction.
Grecia 792
300 square meters of land, 195 square meters of construction HERE
Grecia 807
  18,000 square meters of land and 300 square meters of construction. HERE!
  Send us your request to our email: info@greciarealestate.com
8142-2/11/13

Real estate for sale (paid category)


Gulf road

Beachfront pristine five-hectare (13-acre) property

includes a common open air lodge with kitchen, three cabins, a caretaker's house, a garage and a secure storeroom. The property is maritime and has a current and valid maritime user's permit, all up to date and clear. In addition to the immaculately landscaped portion of the property that is already developed with bungalows, there are an additional three hectares that are ready for expansion and are cleared and planted in grass. The sales offer includes furnishings, appliances, catamaran, kayaks, and a whole series of extras. This property has about 300 meters of beach front in a docile portion of the gulf about 15 minutes north of Puerto Jimeenez, ideal for mooring boats just off the property shoreline. Has municipal water and power. Offered at $970,000. All reasonable offers will be considered. See photos and maps and more at www.suenos.org. Contact us at: osaproperty@gmail.com or +1-866-514-7435.
8172-1/6/13

For Sale By Owner
1 lot (1.5 acres)  at SIBU (8 lots total) amongst 50 acres of protected jungle gardens with sunset ocean views of Playa Nosara. Underground electric and water.13 minutes from Playa Guiones. Gated. In house financing available. Home of SIBU Sanctuary. jungalow@gmail.com.
8166-5/29/13

long view

200 miles of panoramic views over the Gulf of Nicoya and from Nicaragua along the volcanoes of the Cordillera de Guanacaste down to Jacó and around the southern Nicoya Peninsula to the open Pacific. 55 acres located at an altitude of about 2,800 feet in a fresh eternal spring climate, forest and pasture plus an old avocado forest. Many home sites, hidden entrance, property roads, spring waters.  195,000 USD   axelspecial@gmail.com
8164-12/28/13

NOW REDUCED TO $680,000
ALAJUELA – PRIVATE COMPOUND OF 4 HOMES - $850,000 TURNKEY
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 gerrybuilt2000@yahoo.com.  See property video here:

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:
8162-1/11/14

Five bedroom home
Five bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths plus guest house
Price reduced $100,000 for quick sale. Features include out door BBQ, swimming pool, plus on the beach. The home is completely furnished with U.S. products. Each room is individually air conditioned.  Hot water in bathrooms, kitchen and laundry room.  Fully furnished. Includes TV’s, refrigerator/freezer, dish washer, microwave, electric stove/oven, washer & dryer and many “as seen on TV” appliances.  To see more, go to YouTube
http://www.youtube.com/user/CasaDelSolCostaRica
Asking  $250,000.    Call Gary 8784-2945 or email combrokers@aol.com
8157-2/22/13

Becker montage
Beach property on the Pacific Ocean in Guanacaste.

House and guest house on adjacent half acre lots. Each with separate electric,  private septic and well. Each can be sold stand alone or packaged. Modern kitchen, granite counters, Viking stove, large separate frig and freezer. Private commercial grade septic and well. No water shortages even in dry season. High speed internet and U.S. standard electric. Center of the beach -- NEVER floods. Estuary at each end of the beach with excellent kayaking and bird watching through the mangroves. Excellent fishing right off the shore. Great surfing, horseback riding, bicycling or Turtle watching. Groceries three miles away. Mentioned in "The Lonely Planet" Page 301. "Two of the most beautiful and least visited beaches in Costa Rica. Wilderness beaches of fine silver-grey sand." Despite opportunities for great surfing, kayaking and just about anything else you want to do on a sandy strip of paradise, the beaches are nearly always abandoned. $500K Will finance.  More pictures available at: http://www.rebecker.com/journal102006a.htm.  Contact information: ginbecker@gmail.com,  US: 001-612-599-0205 or Costa Rica 011-506-2655-1202.

condors

HIGH SECURITY Condo
ULatina, UCR, & U Fidelitas San Pedro, San Jose. $185,000.
Quietly located behind The Foundation Costa Rica Canada, 500 meters north of Iglesia Lourdes, San Pedro. ULatina, UCR, U. Fidelitas, bus & new train station are within five minutes Four-bedroom, three and half-bath unit within a secure complex of 40 condos with high cement outside walls with secure entrance manned by an armed guard 24 hours per day. Security fencing with electric wire, and a CCTV recorded security camera system is monitored within the guard house.  For additional peace of mind, this residence equipped with an independently wired security system, iron bars on windows and patio doors, a telephone communication system to contact the guard house and secure parking at your front door.   Beautiful mountain view from roof covered 3rd floor terraza. A green park area inside the complex for your children to safely play and an outside parking area in from of guard house for visitors. Cable TV/Internet lines and 220-volt service for hot water heater, stove and dryer. Water storage tank with pump maintains high pressure to bathrooms on all three floors. American style washer and electric dryer, refrigerator, glass top stove, and kitchen cabinets included. Other furniture items may be available. Call Bill   (English) C.R. Phone: (506) 6011-6987   or  U.S. Phone:  (630) 886-4458  or   (305) 848-5577. C.R. Spanish  phone number: (506) 8799-4041  or  (506) 8363-9898.  Email: sjogringo@yahoo.com
6141-2/11/14

Med house
Mediterranean inspired home overlooking the Bay of Nicoya and Pacific Ocean. This design allows for barrier free living, yet maximizes views from every room in the house . Vaulted ceiling over the living area and kitchen give the great room it’s spacious, open feeling with a natural stone fireplace and imported Spanish tile floors. $365,000.   Property: 22,000 m2 or 5.5 acres. Construction: 4,500 sq. ft. including porches and garage. 3 nedrooms, 2 baths, full dining room, separate office. Custom wrought iron gates, custom exotic wood cabinets, high-end stainless steel appliances, Granite countertops.    Slide show at  www.picturetrail.com/sfx/album/view/24055899   
For more information contact:  deeday214@gmail.com
8135-2/5/14

beach scenes
Established Hotel/Resort -Great Business Opportunity:
The owner/manager of a successful hotel on the Gold Coast of Costa Rica has listed their property with us. It is a successful and ongoing concern. The property and buildings are well built and maintained. The property has a history of repeat clients. To protect the business for the current and future owners, detailed information of the listing will only be shared after an expression of interest and a non-disclosure confidentiality agreement is executed. It is located about one hour of Liberia airport and less than 500 meters to beach. The land is over 1 hectare allowing room for expansion. There are 18 bedrooms in a variety of apartments, cabinas and houses, A/C, bar restaurant and shop. Near golf, horses, tennis, world class surf and more. Listing Price of $US2.4 million. Mary or Jerre West, maryandjerre@aol.com, 8879-0235 or (303) 317-6603
8123-4/22/2104

montage
For sale is a beautiful 50-acre property located in Los Alpes, just 15 minutes outside of San Ramon. At about 4,000 feet above sea level, this finca provides gorgeous views of the Central Valley as well as the Pacific Ocean in the distance while also offering a wonderful climate year around. The main house is two stories with three bedrooms and two full baths. High quality construction using exotic hardwoods such as almond, which covers the ceilings throughout the entire house. There are also two corrals and a small casita on the property. This location is perfect for a farm-style home or for beginning an agricultural business. This truly is a rare piece of property and is available for $399,999. Price is somewhat negotiable and we will be happy to work with the buyer to make it work! Please call 8816-2478 or e-mail bmcart3@gmail.com for more information ¡y se habla español!
8097-xxx

Samara church and lot
Commercial lot with great visibility in heart of Playa Sámara commercial district. Located alongside town's largest church, bank, hardware store/lumber yard, mini shopping plaza, and Pali (Sámara's largest supermarket). This lot has a large elevated building platform shaded with mature treees. All this makes for many commercial options.  One block from stunning "blue flag" beach. This is a perfect location for a eco/boutique hotel, restaurant/catering, apartments, or condominium. All utilities to this property. Lot size 1,414m2. Price 325K. Email: mwk350@yahoo.com
8082-10/9/13

humming bird nest

Bed & Breakfast for sale and personal home with 2 houses on property of 3/4 acre (3,030 m2) and buildings w/verandas & carport approximately 350 m2. One house at entrance is central to village w/gated parking lot and a 3-bedroom house for rental or employees/family w/carport/yard/gardens. A 50-meter sendero winds to the top among lush gardens where the main house is situated w/2 buildings attached by verandas & stairway to second floor.  There are 2 bedrooms, sala, 4 baths, large kitchen, laundry rooms, work bodega, storage bodega and hot tub on veranda w/tiled shower room.  Home is surrounded by tropical gardens, views of Arenal Volcano, panoramic views of Lake Arenal, private w/school owned property on one side, pasture land on back side and connecting entry gate on other side to Cabinas El Castillo & Fusion Restaurant.  A bird watcher's paradise w/hummingbirds, Montezuma, toucans, butterflies and visits from howler monkeys.  The B&B is listed four consecutive editions of Lonely Planet and the first established B&B in this area.  Photos can be viewed on the Web site: www.hummingbirdnestbb.com.  Make your dream come true with a slice of paradise in a quiet, private setting. Call Ellen Neely at  8835-8711.  Email: nidocolibri@hotmail.com
8058-11/15/13

Guiones retreat
SURFERS PARADISE on PLAYA GUIONES, NOSARA
Approximately half acre on the beach with private path to the surf. Very private three-home complex with pool, spacious patios with two wet bars, barbeque and yoga area. Featuring a three-bedroom ranch style home plus a two story Mexican villa style home with two master suites, large kitchen and living area with ocean views and breezes upstairs and a garden apartment downstairs with separate entrance. A caretaker's or teenager's cottage and lots of space for expansion. PRICED FOR QUICK SALE: $899,000.  Call 506 8867-8883 or heidebob2@gmail.com
8027-1/12/14

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Business for sale or lease (paid category)
71
Jaco station
Gas Station/Auto Plaza
Located on the Pan American Highway, Jacó Beach, Costa Rica, Central America. This property is  45,000  square feet or  18,000  meters.  Liquor and convenience store is operational. Room to add an automotive service, car wash, restaurant, pharmacy, lotto sales, tour sales, ATM's,  etc, for a real money maker. Also future plans for a 80-unit  auto motel and casino. See on Youtube at:  http://youtu.be/iDXurhJ4fCk Asking price  $3.9 million. Email costaricapropertysales@gmail.com or call: 8899-9870.
8153-112/22/13

beach scenes
Established Hotel/Resort -Great Business Opportunity:
The owner/manager of a successful hotel on the Gold Coast of Costa Rica has listed their property with us. It is a successful and ongoing concern. The property and buildings are well built and maintained. The property has a history of repeat clients. To protect the business for the current and future owners, detailed information of the listing will only be shared after an expression of interest and a non-disclosure confidentiality agreement is executed. It is located about one hour of Liberia airport and less than 500 meters to beach. The land is over 1 hectare allowing room for expansion. There are 18 bedrooms in a variety of apartments, cabinas and houses, A/C, bar restaurant and shop. Near golf, horses, tennis, world class surf and more. Listing Price of $US2.4 million. Mary or Jerre West, maryandjerre@aol.com, 8879-0235 or (303) 317-6603
8123-4/22/2
11

DIGITS RESOURCE GUIDE is for sale!
In the nine years of operation, DIGITS Resource Guide has grown to cover the entire Southern Pacific Zone, and opened the door to further penetration in San Jose, Jacó, Manuel Antonio, and Osa Peninsula areas.  DIGITS is the only one of its kind with no comparable competition. With the extensive groundwork that has already been achieved, the business is now poised to expand into an even greater level of success. Operating since 2005, the owner is retiring to another Latin American country. For a preview of the magazine, go to www.everydigit.com, or simply go to a local Distributor for a copy. Details on the business, its history, a strategic analysis of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, as well as a Pro-Forma Income Statement from 2008 through to 2013 are available upon request to aha_jm@yahoo.
8115-11/18/13

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: manager@crbusiness.biz.

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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page


San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday,  Dec. 11, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 245
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Mexican president asked
to check on editor's protest


Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The Inter American Press Association Tuesday asked Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto to look into complaints being made by the editor of the Chihuahua newspaper El Pueblo, Ildefonso Chávez Olveda, who has been on a hunger strike since Dec. 2.

Chávez Olveda began eight days ago to protest the withdrawal of official advertising by the state government and its refusal to pay its debt to the newspaper it owed.

In a letter sent to the Mexican president, Claudio Paolillo, chairman of the association's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, expressed his organization’s concern at the health risk implied by the journalist’s protest and what brought it about.

In addition to the plea to look into the matter Paolillo, editor of the Montevideo, Uruguay, weekly Búsqueda, attached a letter that the Inter American Press Association had sent last week to Chihuahua Gov. César Horacio Duarte Jáquez, which referred to the discriminatory use of official advertising, to a defamatory campaign and to other attacks on press freedom denounced by the journalist.


Cuban security forces
detain rights marchers


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Cuban security forces have detained about 20 dissidents at the start of an International Human Rights Day march, halting the demonstration before it started.
 
The opponents were seen being taken away Tuesday after their planned protest along a central street in Havana was interrupted. The would-be protesters resisted, but no injuries were reported. It was not known where they were taken.
 
The dissident group, called the Ladies in White, were pounced upon and quickly shoved into waiting vehicles by security personnel and government supporters when they arrived at a busy intersection in the capital.
 
The women, in groups of two or three, came in taxis over a 20 minute period in an apparent attempt to avoid police, but to no avail.
 
The incident was similar to many others in the past and invariably the women are driven home or detained for just a few hours.
 
The organization charged that many other members were stopped by state security agents from attending what was billed as a rally and march for human rights.
 
Under former president Fidel Castro, dissidents often faced long prison terms for their activities, while under his brother, who took over in 2008, the government has changed tactics, temporarily detaining opponents for a few hours, days or weeks and then releasing them, only to repeat the process if they protest again.
 
International rights groups say Cuban laws virtually prevent all forms of protest and dissent while the government says it upholds human rights by providing free education and health services.
 
Pro-government demonstrators gathered in the street to shout slogans for the Cuban revolution.
 
Cuban authorities consider the island's small community of outspoken dissidents to be counterrevolutionaries and charge they accept foreign money to try to undermine the Communist system.

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From Page 7:

Bill expanding credit possibilities advances

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A legislative committee has approved and sent to the full Asamblea Legislativa a bill that allows securing loans with many more types of security.

The bill would create a registry of guarantees similar to chattel mortgages. Merchants would be able to use their inventory as security. Farmers could pledge their harvests, and firms could attach their patents, contracts and accounts receivables.

The Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio said the use of the non-traditional securities would expand the credit possibilities. The measure is called the Ley de Garantías Mobiliarias, and it was unanimously approved by the Comisión de Asuntos Económicos.

The measure was proposed by the executive branch and has the support of a number of financial institutions. The ministry said that a committee of individuals from many backgrounds studied the bill and sought input from experts because the legislative committee saw it.