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(506) 2223-1327                               Published Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014, in Vol. 14, No. 245                            Email us
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Viral outbreak is posing a problem for tourism
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The outbreak of the chikungunya virus is expected to take its toll on tourism.

Health officials said Wednesday that those vacationing in the areas where there is the viral outbreak should use mosquito repellent in the early morning and in the evenings. Tourists also ought to make sure that where they stay is screened and protected from mosquitoes. Elsewhere bed nets laced with insecticide have proved successful.

Residents of the outbreak areas are being instructed to fumigate and to eliminate places where mosquitoes might breed, including all types of trash. Even small boats that should be overturned, health workers said.

Health officials said they feared the end of Christmas vacation will bring more cases from Nicaragua where the disease is more prevalent. There also is a fear that vacationing Central Valley residents will bring the disease home from Puntarenas and Guanacaste where there are confirmed cases now.  That happens with dengue each year.

Laboratory tests with blood have confirmed three cases of  a chikungunya virus infection in  Manzanillo and one in Chomes, but there are 185
suspected cases in the areas.

Health workers for the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social and the Ministerio de Salud also have located possible cases in Costa de Pájaros, Puntarenas.

The viral disease sometimes is confused with dengue, which also causes fever and aches in the bones. Some health workers are going house-to-house to confirm cases.

The World Health Organization notes that the name chikungunya derives from a word in the African Kimakonde language, meaning "to become contorted" and describes the stooped appearance of sufferers with joint pain.

Chikungunya is characterized by an abrupt onset of fever frequently accompanied by joint pain, World Health says. Other common signs and symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. The joint pain is often very debilitating, but usually lasts for a few days or may be prolonged to weeks, the agency adds.

There are nearly 2,000 cases of dengue in the coastal areas this year, too, adding to the confusion.

The health ministry said Tuesday that there also were cases of chikungunya in Parrita and Tamarindo.

Chilly weather can cause woes even in Tropics
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Yes, freezing to death is possible in tropical Costa Rica.

That is why the highest point on the Interamericana Sur is called Cerro de la Muerte. This is where travelers and oxcart drivers would die in the near-freezing overnight conditions.

The unwary can experience hypothermia even when the outside air is not freezing. The body struggles to maintain its 98.6 F or 37 C internal temperature, and it is the drop in body temperature that causes problems.

The mind can play tricks with the loss of just a few degrees of body temperature. Being wet and inadequately clothed is a good route to  hypothermia.

That's why health authorities have a quick solution: More clothes, and button up. The Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social said that Tuesday. The health agency also noted that cold in itself does not cause illness. But a drop in external temperature can promote changes in body membranes that affect respiration. Those with existing conditions such as asthma are affected quicker, the Caja noted.

Clothing could include scarves and handkerchiefs to cover the mouth and chest, said Wing Ching Chan Cheng, a pneumonologist at Hospital México. The physician was quoted in a Caja summary.

The health warning comes at a good time because Saturday is the evening for the Festival de la Luz. Perhaps as many as a million people will line the parade route from Parque la Sabana to Plaza de la Democracia. Many will have children who come to enjoy the pre-show that starts at 3 p.m. As the sun goes down, so does the temperature.

The Instituto Meterológico Nacional predicts overnight temperatures of from 13 to 16 degrees, about 55.5 to 61 F. Other predictions are a few degrees lower. Then there is the wind chill. The country has been hit with 50- to

80-kilometer (31 to 50-mile per hour) winds caused by a high pressure area over the southern United States and the gulf of México.

There also are some scantily clad performers among the parade marchers.

Without good clothing, some parade spectators might be uncomfortable and even spend the evening shivering. The Cruz Roja has aid stations planned for emergencies, and mild  hypothermia is reversed easily.

Many Costa Rican homes are built for maximum ventilation and not for protection from the chill and winds. So the solution to the weather is plenty of blankets.

Health officials also note that drinking alcoholic beverages can contribute to a drop in body temperature. They keep the temperature up, humans rely on food, but those on diets or those too poor for decent meals are at risk.

Meanwhile, tourists and residents at the beaches will be trying to prevent sunburn and overheating.

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Toll Free: 1-888-782-1119 or  2643-4334, 2643-3672
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Developing countries: highest murder rates

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

A new report on interpersonal violence around the world shows that low- and middle-income countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have the highest homicide rates of any developing region, as well as the highest proportion of homicides committed with firearms.

The "Global Status Report on Violence Prevention 2014," released Wednesday in Geneva, was published jointly by the World Health Organization, the United Nations Development Program, and the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime.

Among other findings, the report estimates that 165,617 deaths in developing countries of Latin America and the Caribbean were due to homicide, and three-quarters of these were carried out with firearms. This translates into 28.5 homicides per 100,000 population, more than four times the global homicide rate (6.7 per 100,000) and more than twice the rate of developing countries in Africa, which have the world's second-highest regional homicide rate (10.9 per 100,000).

(By contrast, the Costa Rican rate is about 10 to 100,000 persons, the report noted.)

"As a group, developing countries in the Americas share the dubious distinction of having the highest rate of lethal interpersonal violence in the world," said Marcelo Korc, advisor on sustainable development and human security at the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization). "Many of our member countries are taking steps to address this violence, but it remains a huge challenge to implement effective prevention and treatment programs to lower these rates and reduce the tremendous suffering they represent."

Among other findings about the Region of the Americas, the new report shows:

* The highest World Health-estimated homicide rates were in Honduras (103.9 per 100,000), Venezuela (57.6 per 100,000), Jamaica (45.1), and Belize (44.7).

* The lowest homicide rates were in Canada (1.8 per 100,000), Antigua and Barbuda (4.4) and Chile (4.6).

* The highest estimated rates of homicide by firearms were in Venezuela (90 percent), Guatemala (86 percent), Honduras (84 percent), Colombia and Panama (80 percent), and El Salvador and Trinidad and Tobago (77 percent).

* Firearms are also predominantly used in intimate partner homicides in the Americas.

* Both globally and in the Americas, 30 percent of ever-partnered women report having experienced physical or sexual violence, or both, at some point in their lives.

* A higher proportion (76 percent) of countries of the Americas have national action plans to reduce violence than in any other World Health region. This includes 91 percent with plans to reduce child maltreatment, 86 percent with plans to reduce intimate partner and sexual violence, and 71 percent with plans to reduce youth violence.

* All countries in the Americas have laws regulating firearms. However, less than two-thirds have special firearms control programs such as gun buy-backs or firearms collection and destruction programs.

To reduce levels of violence, the report recommends 18 "best buy" programs, including:

* programs to reduce the availability and harmful use of alcohol,

* laws and programs to reduce access to firearms,

* school-based programs to teach children and adolescents life-skills such as non-violent conflict resolution,

* efforts to change gender norms that are supportive of violence against women,

* programs to improve parenting in families at risk of violence, and

* public information campaigns to prevent elder abuse.

Twenty-one Pan American Health member countries in the Americas participated in the report, out of a total of 35 member countries.

Lower Nicoya ferry service returning to normal

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Ferry transport between Puntarenas Centro and Paquera on the Nicoya peninsula returns to normal Friday in time for the tourism high season.  The newest ferry, Tambor III, has returned from maintenance in Cartegena, Colombia. Ferry trips were reduced Oct. 29 when it left.

Once again there will be six trips a day instead of the temporary four. The first trip will be at 5 a.m. from Puntarenas and at 5:30 a.m. from Paquera

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 245                
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Yegüita festival in Nicoya is estimated to be the 470th annual
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The community of Nicoya is celebrating this week what probably is a tradition at least 470 years old.

It is the celebration in honor of the Virgen de Guadalupe. The religious festival is being sponsored in part by the Municipalidad de Nicoya.

The festival began Nov. 8 where the devotees of the Virgin went to the woods to cut fuel for the event this Friday. There also were prayer services at Curime, Tierra Blanca, Casitas, Río Grande, Pedernal, Barrio Los Angeles and in several places in Nicoya Centro.

The story of the festival has an unusual origin. On a Dec. 12 more than four and a half centuries ago, locals were returning from a Mass in honor of the Virgin. But two brothers had been hitting the bottle and had become aggressive toward each other. 

The weapon of choice were machetes.

The church goers were dismayed. They feared that one brother would kill the other. So they prayed to the Virgin.

The prayers were answered by the arrival of a yegüita, a little horse, that bit and kicked the two brothers until they stopped fighting.

This is the origin of the Baile de la Yegüita that takes place Friday at noon.  This is a big tourist draw.

There will be a procession with a statue of the Virgin. Preceding it will be dancers. One costumed dancer will play

Municipalidad de Nicoya photo
Mural of the Yeguita and the two brothers at the Cofradia de la Virgen de Guadalupe in Nicoya.

the role of the horse. Historians think that this procession is at least 450 years old.

The festival starts today.  Friday the activities begin with a Mass celebrated by Msgr. Victorino Girardi, bishop of Tilarán.  At 8 p.m. there is a candle-light procession.

The religious observance is in the hands of the Servidores de la Cofradía de la Virgen de Guadalupe

Saturday's parade route will be closed to traffic at noon, police say
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police officials will be closing Paseo Colón Saturday at noon in anticipation of the Festival de la Luz.

The program begins at 3 p.m. for a pre-festival for younger children.

For police the day starts at 6 a.m. as the first group of what will be 800 Fuerza Pública officers take to the streets.

Among other duties, officers will be guarding the elaborate floats that will be parked along the south side of Parque la Sabana.

Officials urged parade goers to leave the bulk of their money and possessions at home.

Bus travel, including some long-distance out-of-town routes will be
 affected. An area from La Sabana to Calle 11 and two blocks on each side of the parade route will be restricted.

The closings will affect the Circunvalación, the General Cañas highway and the Caldera highway which runs along the south side of the park.

Traffic officials said they would field 200 officers.

There also are contingents of fire fighters, Cruz Roja workers and even workers from the Patronato Nacional de la Infancia, the child protection agency.

Perhaps as many as 1 million spectators will attend. The route is from the park to the Plaza de la Democracia.

Those not willing to challenge the crowds for a good point of view will find the event televised by several stations.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Linguistic study discounts early learning and age for second language
By the University of Zurich news service

Anyone who reads and writes German well is likely to transfer this advantage to English regardless of the age of onset of foreign language learning. Foreign language lessons at an early age, however, pay off less than was previously assumed. In fact, they can even have a negative impact on the first language in the short run, as a linguist from the University of Zurich reveals in her long-term study involving 200 Zurich high-school children.

“A tree must be bent while it is young,” as one saying about learning a foreign language goes. In other words, the earlier someone starts learning a foreign language systematically, the better the language level will be in the long run. The second widely held view is that learners need to be solid in the first language in order to develop good literacy skills in the foreign language.

Linguist Simone Pfenninger from the University of Zurich has been examining these two myths in her five-year study involving Swiss high-school children in order to identify the optimal starting age for learning German as a language of literacy and English as a foreign language. The partial results she has just published reveal that anyone who reads and writes German well is likely to carry over this advantage to English – and, interestingly, regardless of the age of onset of foreign language learning or the biological age.

The study also shows that students who are given early exposure to English do not maintain a clear advantage for more than a relatively short period over students who begin to learn the language only at secondary level. In fact, early foreign language learning can even have a negative impact on the first language in the short run.

For five years, the university scientist has been studying the extent to which starting age, biological age and first language skills, Swiss or High German, influence the development of English proficiency. In order to test skills in German and English, the literacy of 200 randomly selected high-school children in the Canton of Zurich were tested at the beginning and towards the end of their obligatory schooling in the senior grades. One group had begun English lessons in primary school at the age of 8, while the second group had

only started English in high school at the age of 13.

Besides the positive influence of German on English, the negative influences and transfer of structures from the first language to the foreign language were also studied in the areas of syntax and morphology. “After all, as the mother tongue becomes increasingly entrenched, you might also expect an increasing negative influence  . . . on English,” explains Ms. Pfenninger.

As the results showed, foreign language lessons at an early age did not have a beneficial impact either in the long or in the short term. Already after six months learners who had started five years later had caught up with the early learners and sometimes even surpassed them in terms of morpho-syntactic accuracy and complexity, syntactic fluency, grammaticality judgment, and content-related and structural aspects of written expression.

However, the early learners had a larger vocabulary at the first measurement and less of a tendency to fill the gaps in their vocabulary in the foreign language by switching into German. “By the second assessment, shortly before the final high-school exams, there were no longer any differences between early and late starters,” says Ms. Pfenninger.

According to the study’s author, the slightly disappointing results for early foreign language learning can be attributed to the following reasons: at the beginning of high school, the late learners exhibited significantly better German writing skills than the early learners, who had already been taught German, English and French in elementary school. The late learners therefore began foreign language lessons with a more favorable foundation in the language of literacy. By the second assessment five years later, however, this advantage had disappeared.

Moreover, the link between German and English writing skills also displayed a positive and significant correlation: “Anyone who is good at German can carry over this advantage to the foreign language, utterly regardless of the age when they start learning the foreign language or their biological age,” sums up Ms. Pfenninger. Therefore, the results of this study have shown so far that, where success is concerned, this does not relate for the most part to age of onset or length of the exposure to the foreign language.

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
and car rentals.  
Call 1-888.456.3212 or 2479-8811 locally.

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

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

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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
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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 245       
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Some liberal Democrats back
someone other than Hillary

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

It seems as though not all Democrats are eager to fall in line behind former secretary of State Hillary Clinton should she decide to run for president next year.

A prominent group of liberal activists is urging Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts to run for president in 2016 even though she has repeatedly said that she is not interested.

The liberal activist group says a poll of its eight million members around the country showed overwhelmingly support for a presidential run by Sen. Warren, one of the Senate’s leading liberal Democrats.

Sen. Warren has become a favorite with progressive activists because she often speaks out on the issue of income disparity in the United States and the need to rein in the excesses of large banks and Wall Street.

Anna Galland, the executive director for Civic Action, said 81 percent of MoveOn members who voted in a survey support the idea of a Sen. Warren candidacy.

“We have a crisis in our democracy, a crisis in our economy,” Ms. Galland said. “It is not working for middle class and working families.  Senator Warren has built her entire career around fighting for those families and we want to see that reflected, that message, that cause, we want to see that reflected by her running in the presidential primary.”

Sen. Warren has said repeatedly she has no plans to run for president in 2016, and public opinion polls have consistently shown Mrs. Clinton the far and away favorite for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.

But Ms. Galland said Sen. Warren was encouraged to run for the Senate in Massachusetts by progressive activists and she believes it could work again in urging her to run for the White House.

“We will launch a significant effort,” Ms. Galland said.  “We will hire organizers in early primary states.  We will open offices there.  We will spend a million dollars just to start to make sure Senator Warren understands that millions of Americans including millions of Move-On members are deeply excited about her and how she fights for working people and the middle class.”

In her brief time in the Senate, Warren has emerged as a leading proponent of an economic populism agenda that seeks to improve working and middle class families while reining in the abuses of moguls on Wall Street.  She was also recently added to the Senate Democrat’s leadership team and vowed to make income disparity a key focus of her work in the Senate.

“Wall Street is doing very well,” she said. “CEOs are bringing in millions more, and families all across this country are struggling.  We have to make this government work for the American people and that is what we are here to fight for.”

Public opinion polls show that if she did run, Warren would be an underdog in any Democratic presidential field that includes Mrs. Clinton.

A CNN-ORC poll a few weeks ago showed Mrs. Clinton with the support of 65 percent of the Democrats surveyed, followed by Warren at 10 percent and Vice President Joe Biden at 9 percent.  Biden has said he will decide on a presidential run in the next several months.

For her part, Mrs. Clinton is expected to announce her presidential intentions early in 2015.  She did campaign on behalf of Democratic candidates in the recent congressional midterm elections and is a frequent speaker at conferences that focus on empowering women.

“The Democratic Party is at its best, just like America is at its best when we rally behind a very simple yet powerful idea — family,” Mrs. Clinton said. “Family is the building block of any society.  It’s the building block of our party and our country.”

Despite the talk about Sen. Warren, Mrs. Clinton remains the clear Democratic favorite assuming she runs, said analyst John Fortier of the Bipartisan Policy Center.

“So I think it is still an uphill challenge for anyone to beat Hillary Clinton but she will have challengers and likely a relatively strong challenge from the left during the primary,” Fortier said.

Mrs. Clinton’s ability to draw big fundraisers to her campaign would also be a huge advantage plus the fact that her husband, former president Bill Clinton, continues to enjoy near rock star status with Democratic activists and remains one of the party’s most experienced and effective campaigners.

Even if Sen. Warren decides against a presidential run, experts say liberal activists may be tempted to support other candidates who are considering getting into the race including Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders, an independent who usually votes with Democrats.

Prosecution of CIA agents
seems to be very unlikely

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Calls for the prosecution of officials involved in the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency's use of extreme interrogation methods on suspected terrorists multiplied Wednesday.

Ben Emmerson, the U.N. special envoy on human rights and counterterrorism, said a U.S. Senate report on the CIA's actions after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks reinforces the need for criminal accountability.

Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said nations "that have signed up to the convention need to follow up on what is in the convention” — a reference to the U.N.'s Convention Against Torture and Inhuman Treatment, signed by former president Ronald Reagan in 1988 and ratified by U.S. lawmakers in 1994. That convention obligates the United States to prosecute those who commit torture or to extradite them to other countries for prosecution.

Kenneth Roth, executive director of U.S.-based Human Rights Watch, said torture "will remain a 'policy option' for future presidents" unless officials are prosecuted.

The demand for accountability extended to Capitol Hill, where Democrat Mark Udall of Colorado spoke at length on the Senate floor.

“The CIA has lied to its overseers and the public, destroyed and tried to hold back evidence, spied on the Senate, and lied about torture and the results of torture," he said. "And no one has been held to account.”

However, hauling alleged torturers before courts may prove difficult. The U.S. Department of Justice declined to prosecute anyone after a 2009 review of CIA interrogation methods, and so far the Obama administration has given no indication that prosecutions are being contemplated.

Wednesday the Justice Department said the United States was committed to complying with its domestic and international obligations but would object to foreign prosecution of U.S. officials.

Charges of war crimes could be filed at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, but the United States is not a member of the body, one of several complicating factors, said a Georgetown University law professor, David Luban.

“The ICC has jurisdiction over crimes that are committed by the nationals of its member states or on the territory of its member states," he said. "Whatever these crimes are, they are not war crimes. Even if they were, the ICC prosecutor is under a mandate to only take the gravest cases. And the former ICC prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, made it clear that by grave cases he means cases with thousands of victims.”

Short of criminal prosecution, there were calls for at least some form of punishment.

“There are right now people serving in high-level positions at the agency who approved, directed or committed acts relating to the CIA's detention and interrogation program," Colorado's Udall said. "The president needs to purge his administration of high-level officials who were instrumental to the development and running of this program."

The Senate Intelligence Committee report released Tuesday was a summary of a much longer report saying the CIA had mistreated prisoners during questioning. It accuses the CIA of misleading Congress and the American people about the effectiveness of those methods, which included confinement in small places, sleep deprivation and simulated drowning.

California Democrat Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that "under any common meaning of the term, CIA detainees were tortured."  She called the CIA's actions a stain on American values.

President Barack Obama told the Spanish language television network Univision that the U.S. engaged in brutal activities. He called them terrible mistakes that should not be repeated.

Some in Washington questioned whether it was wise to release the report at this time, with the United States leading the fight against Islamic State militants and Americans being held hostage. They fear a violent reaction by extremists.

Obama said there is never a perfect time to release such a report, but he said when the country does something wrong, it is important to admit it.

The president banned the use of the so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" when he took office in 2009. His predecessor, George W. Bush, authorized the practice after the 2001 attacks, looking to prevent another one.

But the report says Bush did not know the details of what the CIA was doing.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday denounced the report on CIA interrogation tactics and demanded that the United States share information about all Afghan victims of what he called the inhuman torture. 

In a televised speech, Ghani described the abuses detailed in the report as shocking and said the CIA officials and contractors who committed them had violated all internationally accepted norms of human rights as well as U.S. laws.

Former Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski said that Poland let the CIA run a secret prison on its territory, but that Polish officials did not authorize harsh treatment or torture of the suspected terrorists at the site.

In an interview Wednesday with a Warsaw radio station, Kwasniewski said he urged then-president Bush to end all U.S. intelligence efforts at the prison more than 10 years ago.

Kwasniewski said the efforts were halted at some point.

This was the first time the former Polish president had publicly acknowledged the existence of the prison, after denying its presence for years. It is believed the CIA ran the facility in Poland in 2002 and 2003.

Change in American family
called just more diversity

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The average American family used to look very much like the fictional Cleaver family in the classic television show "Leave It to Beaver," with two married parents and the father as the breadwinner. But that family arrangement is no longer the norm in the United States.

“There is no average American family and that’s what’s exciting and interesting about families today,” said a University of Maryland sociology professor, Philip N. Cohen. “Diversity is the new normal.”

Today, one-third of American children still live in households with two married parents, but that’s a significant decline from 1960, when two-thirds of U.S. children lived in married couple households. However, 50 years ago, only one parent, the father, usually worked outside the home. Today, the largest segment of American families consists of two married parents who both work.

To reach his conclusions, Cohen primarily used information the U.S. Census Bureau collected from 1960 until 2012. Every 10 years, the government-funded agency conducts a nationwide population and housing poll.

He found that 34 percent of children are raised by dual-income, married parents, while 22 percent live in households where only the father works. Twenty-three percent of children live with a single mother, half of whom have never been married. Seven percent live with a parent cohabiting with a romantic partner. About 3 percent of children live with a single father and about 1 percent live with same-sex married couples.

Various factors have driven the changing face of the American family, including the emerging financial independence of women. After 1960, more woman than ever began to find employment outside the home. That shift to the marketplace gave women a variety of options they hadn’t enjoyed before.

“It’s become more possible for people to divorce out of an unhappy marriage or an abusive marriage,” said Cohen, “and more possible to raise children as a single parent, rather than have a shotgun wedding or marriage with a partner that’s not someone’s desired marriage partner.”

And there are simply more households overall. Fewer single young adults are residing at home and more older people are living on their own, thanks to improved healthcare and Social Security, a federal insurance program that provides financial and other benefits to retired people.

The decline in marriage is much more pronounced among African-American families than any other group, and it’s not just because of economics, according to Cohen, who sees inequality as a key part of the equation.

“We still have a lot of racism in America,” Cohen said. “Black Americans are the least likely to marry outside their own group. We have very high rates of incarceration, especially in inner-city African-American communities and that not only pulls people out of the marriage pool but also provides a taint or a stigma on the people who’ve been in prison…so between concentrated poverty, unemployment, incarceration and various other health situations, the African-American situation is quite unique.”

There are segments of U.S. society that see the decline in marriage rates as proof of an unraveling of the American family. However, Cohen views the numbers differently.

“I think it’s also interesting to turn it around and to describe the same pattern as an increase in diversity because it’s not as though marriage is declining and being replaced by one thing, such as single parenthood,” he said. “It’s really that marriage has declined from its position of dominance and been replaced by sort of a wide variety of arrangements.”

Detroit dumps $7 billion
to emerge from bankruptcy

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says it is a fresh start for his city, which emerged Wednesday from the biggest-ever bankruptcy for a U.S. community.

Duggan says Detroit will do the best it can to deliver the services its residents deserve.

Under a plan approved by a federal bankruptcy court, the city will shed $7 billion of its $18 billion debt and reinvest almost $2 billion into city services and infrastructure.

A once-thriving midwestern city that was headquarters of the world's car industry, Detroit has been struggling with debt and budget deficits for more than 20 years. It filed for bankruptcy last year.

Its population stood at more than 1 million as late as 1990, but has since plummeted to about 700,000. Tens of thousands of stores, factories and once beautiful homes are now empty crumbling shells. Some city services became non-existent and the crime rate soared.
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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!


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


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

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:

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

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

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

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

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The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2014 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. 
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A.M. Costa Rica's
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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 245
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
South American tax compliance lengthy

Special to A.M. Costa Rica
The latest edition of the annual World Bank Doing Business survey shows South America’s entrepreneurs are spending an average 620 hours per year on tax compliance - more than double the global average of 264 hours.
The latest report, "Doing Business 2015: Going Beyond Efficiency," examines the compliance burden on entrepreneurs in 189 jurisdictions worldwide.  Russell Bedford member firms have contributed to each of the report’s Paying Taxes surveys since 2009, contributing data on tax regulation, recent reforms, and the real costs of tax compliance.
The report does reveal considerable disparities within South American countries, however. While the compliance burden in Colombia is below the global average, at 239 hours, and that of Perú barely in excess of it, at 293, Ecuador exceeds even the South American average, at 654.
Daniel Ryba, Russell Bedford International board member for South America, attributes the continent’s poor performance to the frequent and numerous tax reforms to which countries have been subject in recent years, the increasing volume of tax information that taxpayers and third parties are now required to submit, and the sheer volume of tax regulations to which businesses are now subject.
Daniel Ryba commented: “Of course, these problems also arise in jurisdictions outside of South America.  But the very heavy compliance burden in Ecuador only serves to highlight what many businesses have been aware of for some time.  Overly complex – and frequently changing – tax regulation will continue to impact the competitiveness of the continent’s small businesses until this is addressed.”

Underground economy  targeted

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Ministerio de Hacienda, the budget agency, is expected to announce actions today against the country's underground economy.

The ministry includes the tax collecting Dirección General de Tributación.

The size of the underground economy is not known. It is generally considered to be activities that are legal but do not pay taxes. That eliminates the inclusion of the drug trade.

Included are small businesses that never have paid taxes or do so grudgingly. That includes the nation's 13 percent sales tax and the annual income tax. The underground economy also includes work performed by individuals who are not legally permitted to do so. Expats immediately think of tourists who work. But there also is a large contingent of Costa Ricans carrying out activities that would be considered medical, dental and other that require advanced study and licensing.

Regulation ordered for gifted education

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Sala IV constitutional court has ordered the executive branch to establish regulations to accommodate gifted students. The action was brought by the parent of a first-grade student in Chacarita, Puntarenas.

Although Ley 8899 is on the books that should allow education officials to evaluate the potential of gifted students, there never has been a regulation published. The court said this should be done in two months.

Veterans will meet in Guanacaste

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The Guanacaste Veterans Association will meet Saturday at 11 a.m. at Coconutz in Playas Del Coco. Nominations will be taken for officers and board of directors to be elected Jan. 17.  Food and drinks will be available at discounted prices. Those who attend will be able to sign up for CPR training.

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From Page 7: 

New British law targets tax avoidance

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The British government says it will force multi-national companies such as Google to pay more in tax.

Draft legislation Wednesday for the so-called Google Tax details a 25 percent tax on multinational corporations that tend to move profits generated in Britain to tax havens.

Managing director of tax advisory firm Taxand UK, Jonathan Hornby, told The Wall Street Journal the new tax may violate existing tax treaties. Specifically, he mentioned treaties that aim to protect multinational corporations from being taxed on the same profits in more than one country.

Only companies with revenues above $15.5 million would be subject to the proposed law.

Political analysts say the new British tax is viewed primarily as a way to target massive U.S.-based companies such as Amazon, Google and Facebook.

The U.S. ambassador to Britain, Mathew Barzun, said multinationals may be efficient managers of their tax liabilities but that they follow the law.