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(506) 2223-1327                               Published Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, in Vol. 14, No. 248                                    Email us
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Tonight begins the traditional Christmas posadas
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A good way to get acquainted better with the neighbors is to participate in the traditional las posadas.

Today marks the beginning of the Christmas tradition that stems from Spain long ago. For nine days a procession of the faithful will circulate through the country's barrios and neighborhoods to recreate the traditional search by a very pregnant Mary and Joseph for lodgings in Bethlehem.

If there are not enough homes in the area, small candle-lite tables will simulate the homes. That is typical in neighborhoods that have a commercial and residential mix.

The tradition started Monday in Palmares, and worshippers elsewhere begin tonight.

Some Costa Ricans, particularly those with challenging neighborhoods, stay indoors and mark the days with prayers and festivities.

In many cases, children lead the procession. At each home they ask for lodging with a memorized script. They usually are turned away in the same fashion.

Eventually the procession arrives at a designated home where all are admitted for more prayers, and festivities. Unlike Halloween where youngsters are likely to turn up uninvited, the las posadas procession is all scripted, and the final house has the goodies ready

As A.M. Costa Rica has reported the nine days are supposed to represent the nine months Mary was pregnant. And every night has a theme in which a few biblical verses pertaining to the topic are read. When the praying is complete, there is music and singing. The songs are all Christmas classics in Spanish. The participating children and adults represent pilgrims, or peregrinos.
Liberia statute
Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud photo
This is the antique statue of Jesús that will be in the Liberia procession.

In Liberia, the tradition is supposed to be at least 100 years old. The largest procession there is Christmas Eve with an antique statue of  Jesús being carried through the community.

The 6 p.m. procession is accompanied by whistling, distribution of candies, fireworks and the music of the Banda de Conciertos de Guanacaste. The band will be playing ancient traditional marches, and later it will offer a concert at the Templo de la Agonía.

The las posadas tradition also is strong in México, and some processions may be televised.

Expats here can join the procession even if they are not of the correct religion. 

No one will ask for identifications.

Some holiday events may be suspended over viruses
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Health ministry officials said Monday that they are considering suspending large public events in Guanacaste and Puntarenas over the holiday season.

The action would be an effort to control the spread of dengue fever and the chikungunya. Both are carried by mosquitoes.  The Ministerio de Salud must approve such gatherings.

Priscilla Herrera García, the director general de Salud, and María Ethel Trejos, director of Vigilancia de la Salud, said they met Monday to discuss the situation.
Among other actions they said they would be sending additional warnings to municipalities asking them to increase their efforts against the mosquitoes. Of particular concern are the cantons of  Santa Cruz, Carillo, Nicoya and Puntarenas.

They also said they were seeking the collaboration of the tourism chambers because the outbreaks can have an impact on that industry. The ministry officials said they wanted the public to know that they are working to stem the outbreak.

Among other measures, vacations have been canceled for health workers in the affected areas on the Pacific coast and along the borders.

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A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.

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CR Beach
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Reason #1:  SJO Int’l Airport and S.J. suburbs are little more than one hour away.
#2: The Jacó area has everything you need, from KFC to Gourmet Organic;  from zip lines to bank lines, from a movie house to a fire sale house…. 
#3: BUYERS’ MARKET: Many properties are at their lowest price ever
           *$179,900 Hermosa Beachfront Community with Ocean Views !
Yes we know Costa Rica: Jeff (21 years here), Frances Winborne (23 years), and Junior Diaz (Jacó born & bred),  and we chose the Central Pacific!

Member of the N.A.R., the Costa Rican Real Estate Board CRGAR and the Central Pacific Chamber of Commerce.
Toll Free: 1-888-782-1119 or  2643-4334, 2643-3672
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Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo          
    President Luis Guillermo Solís is bracketed by smiling officials of
    the Peoples
Republic of China at a ceremony for a new public
    school Monday.

Police school begun with a ceremony

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Officials placed the first stone for the proposed Escuela Nacional de Policía in La Rita, Pococí, Limón, Monday.

The People's Republic of China donated $50 million for the extensive infrastructure that will accommodate 800 students. Flags of both countries were in evidence.

Construction will take 26 months, officials said.

Hurricane seasons were very different

By the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration news staff

The Atlantic hurricane season that ended officially Nov. 30 will be remembered as a relatively quiet season as was predicted. Still, the season afforded scientists with opportunities to produce new forecast products, showcase successful modeling advancements, and conduct research to benefit future forecasts.

“Fortunately, much of the U.S. coastline was spared this year with only one landfalling hurricane along the East Coast. Nevertheless, we know that’s not always going to be the case,” said Louis Uccellini, director of  the U.S. National Weather Service. “The ‘off season’ between now and the start of next year’s hurricane season is the best time for communities to refine their response plans and for businesses and individuals to make sure they’re prepared for any potential storm.”

“A combination of atmospheric conditions acted to suppress the Atlantic hurricane season, including very strong vertical wind shear, combined with increased atmospheric stability, stronger sinking motion and drier air across the tropical Atlantic,” said Gerry Bell, lead hurricane forecaster at the  Climate Prediction Center operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  “Also, the West African monsoon was near- to below average, making it more difficult for African easterly waves to develop.”

Meanwhile, the eastern North Pacific hurricane season met or exceeded expectations with 20 named storms, the busiest since 1992. Of those, 14 became hurricanes and eight were major hurricanes. The agency's seasonal hurricane outlook called for 14 to 20 named storms, including seven to 11 hurricanes, of which three to six were expected to become major hurricanes. Two hurricanes (Odile and Simon) brought much-needed moisture to the parts of the southwestern U.S., with very heavy rain from Simon causing flooding in some areas.

“Conditions that favored an above-normal eastern Pacific hurricane season included weak vertical wind shear, exceptionally moist and unstable air, and a strong ridge of high pressure in the upper atmosphere that helped to keep storms in a conducive environment for extended periods,” added Bell.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 248                 
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Museo Nacional to celebrate U.N. designation of Delta del Diquís
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

 The Museo Nacional will open an exhibition Wednesday featuring the locations in southern Costa Rica where the stone spheres are found.

The museum wants to feature the four locations that have been designated as world heritage by the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. They are Finca 6, Batambal, Grijalba-2 and El Silencio.

The exhibit, “Diquís: Patrimonio de la Humanidad,” is designed to celebrate the U.N. designation. The culture that is believed to have made the stone spheres lived in that area, the Delta del Diquís, from at least 800 A.D.. Descendants still are there.

The exhibition has 67 archaeological objects of exceptional quality that shows the work and creativity of the delta inhabitants, the museum said. The objects are of stone, ceramic, gold, bone and shell, an announcement said.

There also are large format photos and videos.

The exhibit will run through March.

The purpose of the stone spheres still is not clear. They are believed to have been made by pecking at them with a smaller stone. Museum archaeologist said they think the spheres were status symbols that were placed in front the the homes of important personages.

The museum is now trying to recover spheres that had been hijacked from the area to decorate homes and commercial buildings. The four locations in the canton of Osa, which now makes up a new museum, contains spheres that were found in situ.

mjusuem workersMuseo Nacional photo
Museum worker locks up a Diquís sculpture.

Some division of traffic agency will work until noon Dec. 24
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Good news for those who might have had traffic police snatch their license plates.

The Consejo de Seguridad Vial said that its violations bureau will be open until noon Dec. 24 to return impounded plates and to accept payment for fines.

Other departments of the agency are closing Friday at 3 p.m.

along with many other offices of the central government.

The agency also noted that those who wish to challenge a traffic ticket issued over the holiday period have until Jan. 16 to do so.

The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes also reported that the restrictions on driving vehicles into the metro area based on the last digit of the license plate will be suspended Monday until Jan. 5. 

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 248
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Those online free services are marketing your privacy, experts say
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

If you spend time on Facebook, it’s a good bet you’ve seen something like this in at least one of your friend’s timelines – perhaps even this week.

“Due to the fact that Facebook has chosen to involve software that will allow the theft of my personal information…” it begins; the first of several paragraphs citing jumbled law precedents.

The money line is the third graph. “The content of my profile contains private information. The violation of my privacy is punishable by law (UCC 1-308 1-308 1-103 and the Rome Statute.)”  Which is odd, because you’re fairly certain your friend has no idea what the Rome Statute actually is.

Not that it matters. This supposed effort is meant to protect your privacy and prevent Facebook from doing whatever they wish with your photos and contacts and other data has no meaning at all.

“The law just doesn’t work that way,” writes the myth-busting Web site Snopes. Journalists have been trying to beat back this urban legend for years to no avail. It keeps popping back up, in part because people still want to believe they can seize control of their privacy and prevent Facebook from mining what they’ve posted.

But largely, they can’t, analysts say.

“You just have to look at the terms of service on Facebook which clearly states they also own your data,” said Raegan MacDonald, European policy manager for the digital privacy rights group Access.

“While there may be different levels of protection or control you may have, they have quite a bit of ownership over your personal data,” she said.

So, just how much of our private lives does Facebook own – or, at the least, have a license to use for their purposes? Turns out, quite a bit.

“The minute you create a Facebook account and login, you’ve just given away any right to privacy of anything you do there,” said Shaun Murphy,  the CEO of, the soon-to-launch digital privacy firm that was founded, in part he says, to counter pervasive data-mining intrusions by Facebook and other firms.

Murphy often characterizes the intrusions as creepy.

“Just recently I was listening to a new streaming radio service,” he said. “I had put in preliminary information just to log in, and one of the ads served up had my name. ‘Shaun is an IT guy…’ and that was super creepy. I deleted it and never wanted to use it again.”

There are basically two types of services online, and which type you use has a major effect on how much your privacy is protected.

The first are sites that guarantee to guard your private data, and keep it private, right up front. You can retain exclusive copyright for any images, or ownership of anything you write.

But, Murphy said, it’s going to cost you.

“That’s their business model – they’re marketing your privacy,” he said.

The second are sites like Facebook that can offer a huge range of services all for free.

“All these social media sites out there that give you all these wonderful, shiny features and photo-sharing – they’re absolutely, completely free,” he said. “But ask: ‘Why are these sites doing it for free?’ They’re grabbing your information. From that perspective, if the service is free, you’re the product and you should be expected to be used as a product.”

Privacy expert Ms. MacDonald agrees.

“These services are not really free. We’re paying with our personal data. That understanding creates a different mentality when entering these terms of service agreements,” she said.

Just how much of your private data posted on Facebook do they own?

According to the Facebook terms of service agreement, the firm claim license to use posted data such as images and the like for their purposes worldwide. As Facebook spokesman Matt Steinfeld points out, the legal claim of license granted by the user is not Facebook’s assertion of copyright.

“When you post content on Facebook, or any information, you own that content,” Steinfeld said. “We have to have your legal permission to share that content. You retain ownership of that. So if you delete that content, we delete it from our servers and we have no rights to it beyond that point.”

True enough, but that’s not to say that Facebook doesn’t also use that license to generate revenue.

When users grant Facebook that license, the company asserts the legal right to do largely what they want with it. That, said Murphy, can include mining it for information points about the user, using the images for marketing, or providing data to advertisers – a major source of revenue for the company.

In other words, you agree to let them use your data as if they own it as long as you’re using Facebook.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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

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

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

   * Discover how to make the right choices about moving here
   * Find out how to live affordably
   * See how other expats live. Meet other expats who have made
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   * Access the country's affordable health care system
   * Informative two-day seminar given by local experts in their
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   * Tours led by Christopher Howard, 34-year resident, citizen,
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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
Family home

cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 248       
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Sidney hostage taker called
sick and disturbed individual

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has described the hostage-taking at a Sydney cafe as the sick fantasy of a disturbed individual.

Abbott Tuesday joined Australians in mourning the victims of the siege, which ended when police conducted a dramatic, early morning raid to free the hostages. Two hostages and the gunman were killed in the shootout.

After placing flowers at a makeshift memorial, Abbott described the Iranian-born suspect as deeply disturbed and said he had a long history of crime, mental instability and involvement in extremism.

The suspect, identified as 50-year-old man Haron Monis, was well-known to Australian authorities, but Abbott said the man did not appear to be on a terrorist watch list.

The self-proclaimed Muslim cleric was out on bail after charges related to the 2013 killing of his ex-wife. He had also been found guilty of sending threatening letters to the parents of Australian soldiers who died in Afghanistan.

During the standoff, Monis forced hostages to hold up a flag with an Islamic statement of faith. In statements to media, Monis said he supported the Islamic State group.

Australian officials have stressed Monis does not appear to be connected with any terrorist group. New South Wales police have called the attack an isolated incident.

Australian Muslim groups released a statement condemning the hostage-taking and Monis' use of the Islamic flag.

N. Korea seeks U.N. probe
of U.S. human rights abuses

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

North Korea has requested the U.N. Security Council not probe alleged human rights violations by Pyongyang, but instead investigate what it called brutal and medieval abuses by the U.S.

In a letter late Monday, North Korean U.N. Ambassador Ja Song Nam said rights accusations against the North are fabricated and not at all relevant to regional or international peace and security.

On the contrary, he said CIA torture crimes need to be addressed urgently by the Security Council in order to prevent what he called a destabilizing impact on international peace.

Ja was referring to a U.S. Senate report released last week that detailed brutal interrogation methods used by the CIA in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S.

Pyongyang, which is considered one of the world's worst human rights abusers, has jumped on the report to argue that the U.S. is not qualified to make judgments about other countries' rights situations.

The Security Council Monday voted to place the North Korean human rights situation on its agenda. Officials say the issue will likely be discussed next Monday or Tuesday.

A General Assembly committee last month recommended the Security Council refer Pyongyang to the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity.

The recommendation followed a U.N. Commission of Inquiry that detailed decades of systematic executions, torture, rape, and mass starvation in the North. It said the abuses were unparalleled in the modern world.

China, North Korea's main international ally, has repeatedly hinted that it will veto any international court referral, arguing the Security Council is not an appropriate forum to discuss human rights.

Native Americans purchase
disputed sacred artifacts

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The largest Native American tribe in the American Southwest has bought back seven sacred masks at a Paris auction house after failing to stop the contested sale.

The objects sold Monday at the Drouot auction house included religious masks believed to have been used in Navajo wintertime healing ceremonies.

The U.S. Embassy in Paris had asked Drouot to suspend the sale to allow Navajo and Hopi representatives to determine if they were stolen from the tribes.

U.S. government officials and Arizona's Congressional delegation also tried to stop the sale that netted over $1 million.

The auction house said it acted within the limits of French law.

The purchased items also included dozens of Hopi kachina dolls and several striking Pueblo masks embellished with horse hair, bone and feathers, thought to be from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Backer of tough gun laws
is new surgeon general

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Senate has confirmed Vivek Murthy as the new U.S. surgeon general after a year-long delay over his support for tougher gun laws.

Monday's vote was 51 to 43.

President Barack Obama says he applauds the Senate for its vote, saying Murthy will work to make sure all Americans have the information they need to keep safe and so kids will grow up healthy and strong.

Many Republicans and some Democrats opposed Murthy for his public backing of stricter gun control and support for the president's signature health care law.

But his supporters say the 37-year-old is a well-qualified physician and health expert and will not use his office as a political platform.

The U.S. surgeon general has traditionally been the government's advocate for better health, including urging Americans to exercise, eat sensibly and not smoke.

Age menstruation starts
linked to health of heart

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Most women begin their menstrual cycles at around the age of 13. A new study suggested that those who start menstruating a few years before or after that average appear to be at increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

The study by researchers at Oxford University in Britain analyzed data collected from 1.3 million mostly white women ages 50 to 64. They noticed a pattern among women who had their first menstrual cycle at age 10 or younger or at 17 or older.

During the more than 10 years the women were followed, those two groups had a 27 percent increased risk of hospitalizations or death due to heart disease. There were 16 percent more hospitalizations or deaths from stroke among those groups, and high blood pressure led to a 20 percent increased likelihood of hospitalizations or related deaths.

Dexter Canoy, the study's lead author, is a cardiovascular epidemiologist at the University of Oxford's Cancer Epidemiology Unit within the Department of Population Health. 
He said there is a strong association between the age  when a woman's first period occurs and heart disease and stroke risk. 

If plotted on a chart, he says it would look like the letter U, with the highest risk of cardiovascular disease among those who started menstruating at a very young age at one tip of the U, and those who began later on in their teens at the other.

Women who begin menstruating around age 13, which is typical, were seen to be at the lowest risk, according to Canoy, at the bottom of the U.

"Whether or not you are lean, overweight or obese, we found the same U-shape association, even if we take into account, let's say, you are taking medications for high blood pressure, or high cholesterol or have diabetes. It seems the association is robust," he said.

Canoy does see a link between initial menstruation and weight. Obese girls tend to start menstruating at a younger age. They also often become obese adults, which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Canoy says it may be possible to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke in women by fighting obesity in children, which might also increase the age at which girls start to menstruate.

"Children who are obese can develop heart disease in the long run. But one aspect that can potentially be prevented is through the mechanism that might involve early-onset of menstruation."

Canoy says late-onset menstruation has historically been linked to malnutrition.

An article on the link between age of menarche and cardiovascular disease is published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

Maternal mortality blamed
on lack of clean, safe water

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Almost 300,000 women, primarily in developing countries, died from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth in 2013 according to a new report that blames the deaths on a lack of safe water, sanitation and adequate hygiene.

A paper published in the journal PLOS Medicine reports that some 38 percent of healthcare facilities in 54 developing countries continue to lack proper sanitation and a source of clean water, putting women who give birth there at increased risk of death.

The article, written by a team of researchers from organizations including WaterAid, the World Health Organization, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the United Nations Population Fund, estimates that 289,000 would-be mothers died from unsanitary conditions, either at home or in healthcare facilities.

Despite 15 years of concerted global efforts to reduce maternal mortality, the report notes it remains 14 times higher in poor countries than developed regions.

Women in unsanitary and unsafe conditions face a high risk of life-threatening infections, according to Oliver Cumming, an environmental health expert at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

He says the risk increases if pregnant women must walk a long distance to obtain clean water or to use a bathroom facility.

“These things produce a range of effects that we don’t necessarily understand but very clearly would bring levels of stress, physical and psychosocial stress, which would pose a risk for the mothers and for the babies," said Cumming.

A companion article in PLOS One describes conditions in Tanzania, where less than one-third of births occur in places with safe water and basic sanitation. Nearly 8,000 women in the East African country die each year, either while giving birth or immediately afterwards.

The United Nations’ eight Millennium Development Goals, which include improving maternal health and reducing child mortality, are winding down next year. To follow up on progress toward the goals, world leaders are working with the U.N. to come up with sustainable development goals, which are expected to be adopted in September 2015.

Cumming and his co-authors say providing clean water and sanitation should be at the top of the list of improvements in homes and healthcare facilities in developing countries. He adds that the new goals need to specifically include improved water quality and sanitation as a stand-alone aim with an eye toward improving maternal and newborn health.

“I think it’s a terrible tragedy that women still die during childbirth as a result of the absence of these very basic things being in place, particularly within health facilities," he said.

Today nine leading health organizations spearheaded by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine are issuing a call to action for governments around the world to focus on better water quality, sanitation and hygiene.

The aim is to make greater progress toward improving maternal and neonatal health.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory/ Roy Kaltschmidt
Ancient Roman concrete consists of coarse chunks of volcanic tuff and brick bound together by a volcanic ash-lime mortar that resists microcracking, a key to its longevity and endurance.

Roman concrete yields
its enduring secrets

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

No visit to Rome is complete without a visit to the Pantheon, Trajan’s Markets, the Colosseum, or the other spectacular examples of ancient Roman concrete monuments that have stood the test of time and the elements for nearly two thousand years.

A key discovery to understanding the longevity and endurance of Roman architectural concrete has been made by an international and interdisciplinary collaboration of researchers using beams of X-rays at the Advanced Light Source of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The research team studied a reproduction of Roman volcanic ash-lime mortar that had been previously subjected to fracture testing experiments at Cornell University. In the concrete walls of Trajan’s Markets, constructed around 110 A.D., this mortar binds cobble-sized fragments of tuff and brick. Through observing the mineralogical changes that took place in the curing of the mortar over a period of 180 days and comparing the results to 1,900 year old samples of the original, the team discovered that a crystalline binding hydrate prevents microcracks from propagating.

The mortars that bind the concrete composites used to construct the structures of Imperial Rome are of keen scientific interest not just because of their unmatched resilience and durability, but also for the environmental advantages they offer. Most modern concretes are bound by limestone-based Portland cement. Manufacturing Portland cement requires heating a mix of limestone and clay to 1,450 degrees C (2,642 degrees F), a process that releases enough carbon – given the 19 billion tons of Portland cement used annually – to account for about  7 percent of the total amount of carbon emitted into the atmosphere each year.

Roman architectural mortar, by contrast, is a mixture of about 85-percent volcanic ash, fresh water, and lime, which is calcined at much lower temperature than Portland cement. Coarse chunks of volcanic tuff and brick compose about 45 to 55-percent of the concrete. The result is a significant reduction in carbon emissions.

“If we can find ways to incorporate a substantial volumetric component of volcanic rock in the production of specialty concretes, we could greatly reduce the carbon emissions associated with their production also improve their durability and mechanical resistance over time,” one researcher said
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A Buyer’s Broker offering the best
of Costa Rica Real Estate.
For those looking for quality properties and service at quality prices. Central Valley Rentals. Offering honesty, experience and knowledge. Your Villa Real Expert. Call us now  Toll Free (877) 845-4533. In Costa Rica 4030-5480 or 8339-2112.

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Re/Max, the Pacific coast expert

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

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

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

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

Visit our Web Site:

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

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

Real estate for sale (paid category)

Heredia montage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:

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

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

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

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

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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 248
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Hidden Garden Art Gallery photo
Nathan Miller with some of his works

African and Tico influences merged

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Artist Nathan Miller opens his newest exhibit, "Clearly Costa Rica," Saturday at the Hidden Garden Art Gallery in Liberia.

Drawn to nature in his youth, artist Nathan Miller surrounded himself with animals and had childhood dreams of being a marine biologist or even a zookeeper.  His early drawings showed his enthusiasm with nature and animals, from dogs and cats, to turtles and dinosaurs, Miller gravitated toward all of them constantly drawing and sketching.  His travels and education in Israel and African villages of Kenya and its capital Nairobi brought new and exciting depth to his world of art during his teenage years.

After his travels, his focus was turned to graphic design when he returned home to Florida, where he furthered his education and received his bachelor of fine arts at the University of Florida.

"Due to my travels, for several years," the U.S. expat said, "I was drawn to African themes in my art. My paintings and sculptures were almost always of stylized African figures. It wasn't until my move to Costa Rica that I experienced a new shift in focus and style.

"People are drawn to this place because of its beauty, and I don’t know how any artist could live in Costa Rica without being inspired to capture such beauty in their works."

Inspired by a myriad of artists, some of Miller's favorites include Renaissance artist Michelangelo, impressionist Claude Monet, and surrealist Salvador Dali, to name just a few. 

His awe of contemporary artists includes Jay Alders and Jeremy Mann. Miller praises these artists by saying that "Each of these artists, past and present, have striven for excellence, delineated their subjects in their own way, and achieved a quality that inspires and mesmerizes those who encounter their work. Their work depicts reality, but they go beyond what the eye sees and, instead, somehow capture the deeper essence of their subject matter."

Thrilled with his relocation to Costa Rica, a land of howling monkeys and hummingbirds zipping by, a place with clean oceans and perfect waves, makes him feel extremely fortunate to see and hear things in their natural habitat. "I feel like, in some ways, we are now working together."

Miller will be at the opening Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Hidden Garden Art Gallery is located five kilometers west of the Daniel Oduber Airport. Those seeking more information can call 2667-0592, 8386-6968, or email

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From Paage 7:

Intel to begin laboratory operations here

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Intel Corp. is due to place its new laboratory into service Wednesday.  A ceremony is planned at the San Antonio de Belén plant. Intel promised the lab when it announced that it would be ending its chip manufacturing in Costa Rica and moving the operation to Vietnam.

The lab is supposed to give a final approval to all the Intel products before they enter into the manufacturing process. The firm will be putting about 70 percent of its laboratories in this Costa Rican facility, it said.