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(506) 2223-1327                         Published Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013,  in Vol. 13, No. 249                              Email us
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Anti aging



Christmas spirit
Rich Coast Realty photo
Central Pacific kids got an early taste of Christmas over the weekend and received the results of a gift drive. one of many holiday efforts organized by expats. This event was orchestrated again this year by Brendan Ryan of Rich Coast
Realty.  He said he raised and spent $2,000 for the kids. 'This is what Christmas is really about, making a kid smile and feel the magic of Christmas,' he said. Parties for kids were in La Palma and Jicote.


Bank association issues ultimatum on updating data
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation's banking association is warning that accounts may be closed if customers do not show up, fill out a form and provide income information to their local institution.

This is the word from the Asociación Bancaria Costarricense, which said Monday that it instituted a campaign to update bank accounts last September. The campaign appears to have been very low-keyed since none of the institutions involved have any mention of it on their Web sites and few persons have heard of it.

The announcement said that Sunday would be the last day for bank account holders to do so. Since banks are not open Sundays, Friday appears to be the final day. A news story, published in the financial section of  La Nación Sept. 13, said that the deadline was Dec. 31. An Internet search also showed a news story in El Financiero and CRHoy about the same dates.


In a news release Monday the banking association said that response to the request to update the information on the accounts had been lukewarm. The release gave no numbers but did quote Gilberto Serrano Gutiérrez, association president, as saying the update would only take about 15 minutes at the local bank. He also is the long-time general manager of Banco Lafise.

In the CRHoy article he was quoted saying that only those who have changed their address, telephone number or other personal data need make an update.
By contrast, the news release Monday said that all bank account holders must do so.

The requirement stems from a regulation issued by the Consejo Nacional de Supervisión del Sistema Financiero directed to all the institutions subject to oversight by the Superintendencia General de Entidades Financieras. Neither of these institutions make any mention of the requirement on their Web sites.

In addition to filling out a know your customer form, the banks will require account holders to provide financial information, said the association release. For an individual, this may be salary information or other evidence showing where funds originate. Corporations appear to be required to show documents certified by an accountant.

The association says that bankers are ethically bound to keep this information secret.  In the case of U.S. citizens, a recent agreement between Costa Rica and the United States means the information will be available to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and the Ministerio de Hacienda's tax agency.

The purpose of the banking rule is to spot possible  laundering, terrorists, tax cheats or shady deals.

A.M. Costa Rica reported in 2009 on bank efforts to know their customers. That is when many expats were haled into their local bank office to provide information on their incomes. There were a lot of problems when bank workers seemed to exceed the requirements, demanded additional information and closed some accounts.


Products from endangered turtles confiscated at fair
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police and environmental investigators confiscated 170 rings and bracelets from a Christmas fair in  Los Angeles de Heredia because the products were made with the shell of an endangered species of turtle.

The report comes from the Programa Restauracion de Tiburones y Tortugas Marinas. The organization credited environmentalist Claudio Quesada for spotting the illegal products on sale in five booths at the event.

The hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) is a critically endangered species according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and trade in its products is strictly prohibited by Costa Rican law, the organization said. The animal is called the carey in Spanish.

Vendors said that the products had come from Nicaragua, raising the possibility of illegal international trade in turtle products, said Maike Heidemeyer of the organization, it reported.

Although hawksbill products are still for sale in fairs and during other activities, this confiscation
turtle rings
Programa Restauracion de Tiburones
y Tortugas Marinas photo
These are some of the turtle products on sale

showed that joint collaboration between authorities and non-profit organizations can be an efficient way of derailing their sale, said the organization.

Also involved were conservation area employees for the Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía.

The Programa Restauracion said that hawksbill products can be confused with items made with horn or coco nut, which also are seen at such fairs.

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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday,  Dec. 17, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 249

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Intensa

Sportsmen's Lodge

Professional Directory
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.


Dentistry

Marco Cavallini & Associates
Dental Implants and Crowns

Dr. Marco A. Muñoz Cavallini has placed and restored
DR. Cavallini
Dr. Marco A. Muñoz Cavallini
over 17,000 dental implants since 1980. The Dr. Marco Muñoz Cavallini Dental Clinic, is recognized as one of the best practices in Dental Reconstruction, Dental Implant placement and Cosmetic Dentistry in Costa Rica and the World. For more information, visit us today at: marcomunozcavallini.com
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Psychotherapy

Lucinda Gray, Ph.D.
California Licensed Psychologist
International Practice via the Web
Dr. KLycinda
                                                  Gray
Lucinda Gray, Ph.D.
 
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         Psychotherapy

   • Depression

   • Anxiety

   • Relationship Issues

   • New World Meditation
        Training & Support

 
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Email: lucinda@drlucindagray.com
U.S. Phone: 310-827-4241
Costa Rica: (506) 2228-2041
7795-7/15/13

Architects

Organe
                                                  headline
Architecture-Real Estate-Development

At Architect Orange we are inspired by the visions of each of our clients, and have worked diligently to embody those visions in our work.

We have locations in Atenas (servicing Central Valley/Beach areas)
Arenal (servicing Guanacaste/Nicoya Peninsula)

Contact Information:
 (506) 2694-4712
Website http://www.architectorange.com
Inquires  info@architectorange.com
Arenal office located at Agua Inn Spa

Orange
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Real estate agents and services

Colinas photo

COLINAS DEL SOL

Jim Day, retirement specialist Representing Colinas del Sol del Pacifico, S. A
A fenced and gated project with the ex-pat hortaculturalist in mind. There are 88 clear-title hobby farms with water and electricity.  The layout is designed to provide ample space for your vegetable gardening ands fruit tree projects.
You can see more on our Web site: www.colinasdelsolcr.com
 Libertad, Guanacaste, Costa Rica, 15 minutes to Playa del Coco or Playa Hermosa
and 20 minutes to Liberia airport.
Please contact Jim Day at JimDay50@aol.com   or    Phone:  001 517 484-3675.
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CR Beach

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Hermosa Palms, 100% titled gated community, 7 bedrooms.   Originally $1.6 Million, now $989,000  Click HERE! 
 
CR Beach Investment Real Estate reminds you that Costa Rica’s #1 beachtown,“the new Jacó,” invites you to see the recent changes:  clean paved roads; more bilingual police; more trendy & tipico restaurants; new a/c movie 4plex & new theatrical-conference center; new central park with activities; more bargain priced properties for sale, and lower priced rentals…
Our agents have been here a minimum of 10 years:
 Colin Miller, Frances,  Junior and Owner-Broker Jeff Fisher enjoy helping clients like you find their dream properties.
Let CR Beach show you why we know this is the best area for you to  invest-retire-enjoy!

Member of the N.A.R., the Costa Rican Real Estate Board CRGAR and the Central Pacific Chamber of Commerce.
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Toll Free: 1-888-782-1119 
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Residency experts

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Tel: (323) 255-6116
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Translators

Jorge Desanti
Jorge Desanti
Instant Interpreter/Translator
for Expats.

Jorge Desanti is fluent in English and Spanish. 3-way phone conversation. You call him first. He does the rest. Or he will translate English text for you.
Letters or even a book
$20 minimum.
Jorge (George) Desanti
Phone 8682-2725
Web: jorgedesanti.com
All calls will be
strictly confidential.
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Translations and legal Services
Ms. Monge
Rosa Monge Alvarez
Simultaneous translator
Interpreter in court.

Legal problems?
Tired of getting the
runaround?
Tired of excuses?
Tired of being kept in the
dark?
Afraid of signing documents in Spanish?

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rosa_monge@racsa.co.cr
Cell: (506) 8919-4545
WE GET RESULTS!
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Legal services

Lic. Eduardo Valdivieso Bustos 
Fully bilingual attorney  & notary public
money

Professional Legal Services
and Adviser on LOANS.
Low interest rate -- with mortgages over condos, houses and lots in Central Valley.
Call for information.
Phone: (506)  8839-5010.  E-mail: 
legalservival@gmail.com
8113-1/1/14


KEARNEY-LAWSON & Asoc.
Lic.Gregory Kearney Lawson.
Attorneys at Law and real estate brokers
Relocation services, Wedding Planning
Greg Kearney
 
*Investments  *Corporations
*Tax Shelters *Immigration
*Real Estate Sales in Costa Rica
*Name & Product registration
*Business procedures 
*Family and Labor Law
*Locate People   *Private Investigations
Phone:  7112-1527 or
7157-9092
  Office phone: (506) 2232-1014
7920-10/11/13


Accountants

U.S. Tax International
U.S. Tax rollover
Plus Costa Rican taxes, accounting, and legal services
Over 15 years in Costa Rica
(English Spoken)


C.R. 2288-2201
  U.S 786-206-9473
FAX: 2231-3300

E-mail: ustax@lawyer.com
8000-9/5/13

James Brohl, C.P.A. & M.B.A.
US Income Tax,  US GAAP Accounting
& Business Consulting

Uncle Sam's
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• US Tax return preparation  for
individuals and businesses
• eFile returns: secure with faster refunds
• Assist with back reporting and other filing issues
• Take advantage of the Foreign
Income Tax Exclusion (up to $
95,100 in 2012}
• Business Consulting to facilitate working in Costa Rica
• Accounting for US and International Financial Reporting
• Associate of David Housman

Telephone 8305-3149 or 2256-8620
E-mail jrtb_1999@yahoo.com
7410-4/1/13

Rains cause landslides
that closed Ruta 32 for a time

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Heavy rains Monday afternoon north of San José caused landslides that closed Ruta 32, the key highway to the north and to the province of Limón.

The Consejo Nacional de Vialidad announced the closure about 5 p.m. and said that the area around the Río Danta and in Zurquí had problems. The road was reoped about 10 a.m. today.

The highway runs through the Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo where there are steep cliffs alongside the roadway.

The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional said there were heavy rains Monday afternoon in the northern zone and on the Caribbean coast.

Rains in the mountains caused rivers to rise.

Elsewhere in the country there were high winds.

The weather institute said that the winds and the rains would continue for the first couple of days of the week.


Taoist Tai Chi Association
plans introductory classes


Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The Taoist Tai Chi Association of Costa Rica is offering introductory classes to the internal arts of health beginning Jan. 7 at the Grecia Cultural Center, from 10 a.m. to noon and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The movements of Tai Chi Taoísta are designed to restore health naturally and maintain good physical, mental and spiritual condition, said the organization.  They are slow and harmonious.  They incorporate the rotation and the stretching of the spine, equally exercising all parts of the body, while relaxing and soothing the mind.

The practice of Taoist Tai Chi internal arts of health can help alleviate many medical conditions, such as those that result from accidents, stress, chronic or degenerative diseases and many other specific conditions, the organization said. 

Benefits include improved circulation, balance and posture, increased strength and flexibility, and stress reduction, it added.

To register for classes in Grecia, those interested can call 8308-9726.  To learn more about the benefits of Taoist Tai Chi those interested can consult: www.taoist.org and http://costarica.taoist.org.


Our reader's opinion
We must change eating habits
to a more sustainable diet

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Unfortunately as long as there is a demand there will always be someone to supply that demand legally or illegally.  The main target catch for these long line fisherman is not sailfish but more about catching fish like dorado (aka mahi mahi).  As the article mentioned the fisherman were found to have 50 dorado, 75 smaller fish and two sailfish.  It is obvious they are not getting rich on the sailfish.  The article doesn't include how often sea turtles are caught on these long lines, left to die, before they pull in the miles of long lines.
 
The real problem is the over consumption of our ocean's natural resources, namely the fish and shrimp populations that are being over harvested.  We shouldn't be shaking the fingers at these fisherman since many people are purchasing their catch to eat.  If we consumed less of their product, there would be less of these fisherman.  
 
It reminds me of a friend of mine.  He complains about the shrimp boats and how they dump so many dead fish and turtles overboard while harvesting shrimp.  He is quite appalled at all the dead creatures floating on the surface of the ocean when he is out fishing with some friends.  Yet he still consumes shrimp.   If we want these atrocities to stop we need to change our own eating habits in a more sustainable way.
Henry Kantrowitz
Punta Leona

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Retirement

In recognition of the holidays, the offices of A.M. Costa Rica in Barrio Otoya will be closed from Tuesday, Dec. 24, to Thursday, Jan. 2.

However, the daily newspaper will publish each weekday
except Christmas and New Years.

masthead
Six years?
and that big?
You will be a giant!
Love you, Joshie!
Del
                Rey bartenders

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A.M. Costa Rica

Third News Page
 Hidden Garden
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday,  Dec. 17, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 249
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Unscheduled landing results in quick capture of aircraft
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An aircraft loaded with cocaine either experienced an emergency or the pilot deliberately made an unscheduled landing in the Caribbean coast early Monday. Whatever the plans, the quick arrival of police officers resulted in the detention of the pilot and his son, both Guatemalans.

The aircraft, a Beechcraft King Air, landed on a private crop spraying strip in Pandora, Valle de la Estrella, Limón. The aircraft was en route from Colombia.

The pilot was identified by the last name of Cruz. His son has the same last name. The King Air is well known as a craft that can land and take off on short runways. The aircraft involved is a 1980 model, said the Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública.
plane
                  confiscated
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública. photo
Police guard the Beechcraft.


Northern border crossing will have 24-hour days of operation
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Because of the flood of travelers, the Peñas Blancas border crossing will remain open 24 hours a day for Dec. 22 and Dec. 23, said the Dirección General de Migración.

However, the agency referred any questions about possible reinstatement of the $5 land exit tax to the Ministerio de Hacienda.

For the rest of the days, the border posts will be open from 6 a.m. to midnight, except Christmas and New Year's Day when employees will work until 6 p m., the agency said.

To speed up the border crossing, immigration police will conduct checks of international buses in Liberia, said the
 agency. That technique has been successful in past years, the agency said.

In the first 15 days of the month 152,602 persons have left Costa Rica for Nicaragua and 139,445 have entered the country. That represents 3 per cent fewer persons than last year, the agency said.

The exit tax was suspended when not having a way to pay at the border created chaos. The tax is expected to be reinstated when credit card machines are available at the major border crossing points. Officials expected travelers to pay the tax at a bank even though most did not know of the tax.

Officials rushed to get the tax into effect to catch the heavy flow of travelers over the holiday.


Santa Ana-Belén roadway to be widened to five traffic lanes
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The two-lane Santa Ana-Belén highway will be widened to five lanes, the Consejo de Nacional de Vialidad said Monday.

The work is being supported by the Asociación Consejo de Desarrollo Inmobiliario, a real estate advocacy organization, which is putting up $2 million.

The entire job will be $34 million, said the Consejo.
 The job includes replacing four bridges, including one of 180 meters (about 590 feet) over the Río Virilla.

The work is scheduled to begin in January with the relocation of public utilities in advance of road work.

The Consejo will finance its share of the cost.

The distance is two kilometers, about 1.24 miles. This section of roadway carried about 31,500 vehicles a day.

Del

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. 17, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 249
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Study says that musical training does not make a youngster smarter
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

It’s commonly believed that teaching children music makes them smarter. But the authors of a new study say there’s no scientific evidence that early musical training has any effect on the intelligence of youngsters.

An estimated 80 percent of American adults think music lessons improve children's grades or boost their learning ability.  In fact, children can get a lot of benefit from music lessons, say experts, from the pride that comes with learning how to play a new song to serving as an outlet for creativity.

Harvard University researchers in Massachusetts, however, have discovered that there’s one thing early musical training does not do. It does not increase intelligence.

Researchers led by School of Education graduate student Samuel Mehr say it's a misconception that learning to play an instrument enhances a child's cognitive development.

Mehr bases his conclusion on the results of studies that measured the mental aptitude of two groups of 4-year-olds and their parents.  One group was assigned to a music class; the other to a class that emphasized visual arts.

“The evidence there is 'no.'  We found no evidence for any advantage on any of these tests for the kids participating in these music classes," said Mehr.

While dozens of studies have been conducted to see whether musical training can make children smarter, Mehr says the results have been mixed.  He says only one study, published several years ago in the journal Nature, seemed to show a slight 2.7 percent increase in IQ, or intellectual quotient, scores among students after one year of lessons.

But Mehr, who says IQ is not a good measure of a child’s intelligence, says researchers decided to compare how well children in the musical training group fared on mental processing tasks compared to those who received no music lessons.

There was no evidence that the musical training group significantly outperformed the other group on mental tasks.  To confirm the results, researchers conducted a second study with a larger group of youngsters and their parents, and found no cognitive advantage to music lessons.

While lessons may not offer children a shortcut to prestigious academic institutions, Mehr says they are of significant cultural importance.

“We teach music because music is important to us.  And I think to make an analogy to another area, we don’t teach Shakespeare so that our kids will be better at physics.  We teach Shakespeare because it matters, because it’s important.  And I don’t think music needs to be any different than that.”

An article looking at the benefits of musical training in children is published in the journal PLOS ONE.

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The Relocation/Retirement tour with the
 *HIGHEST SUCCESS RATE
OF RELOCATION*

 (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.
Lundquist
                        patio
Exotic gardens next to one
of our patios



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!
http://www.vimeo.com/5656822

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. george@glundquist.com
8158-3/1/13

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Real estate for rent (paid category)

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

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

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

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

Beautiful 2-bedroom 2-bathroom American-style apartments with an elevator to your front door in a secure building located in Gringo Gulch the American Section of downtown San José. Costa Rica. Located between the Hotel Del Rey, the Hotel Mona Lisa and the Sportsman's Lodge and The Zona Blue (AKA) Little Habana across the street from Harry's Poas Bar, and next to the Holiday Inn.
apartment view
 There are 15 restaurants and American- style bars on this block and four supermarkets within a few blocks. There are 5 casinos within 2 blocks and dozens of hotels around this apartment. Included in your rental price, fast Internet, the best they have in Costa Rica, cable TV with 80
stations, water, washer and dryer. All you pay extra for is electricity. You have your own meter and receive a bill from the electric company every month.  This apartment has a American-style hot water system, hot water in both bathrooms and the kitchen. There is a 25-foot balcony to sit on and watch the people in San José walk by. The neighborhood Barrio Amón is the safest in San José For photos and more information contact:  rentnowcr@gmail.com.
8157-12/22/13

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

  rentals.sanjose@gmail.com
88136-12.22.13

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






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A.M. Costa Rica's
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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday,  Dec. 17, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 249
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Cafetales



U.S. district judge rejects
NSA phone harvesting

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. government's gathering of Americans' phone records is likely unlawful, a judge ruled Monday, raising serious doubts about the value of the National Security Agency's so-called metadata counter terrorism program.
 
“I cannot imagine a more indiscriminate and arbitrary invasion than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen,”  U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, appointed by Republican President George W. Bush in 2002, wrote in a 68-page ruling.
 
The U.S. Department of Justice said it was reviewing the ruling in a case brought by Larry Klayman, a conservative lawyer, and Charles Strange, described in court documents as the father of a cryptologist technician for the NSA who was killed in Afghanistan in 2011. The judge ordered the government to stop collecting data about the two plaintiffs, who were Verizon Communications, Inc., customers. Verizon declined comment.
 
“We believe the program is constitutional as previous judges have found,” Department of Justice spokesman Andrew Ames said in a statement.
 
Leon suspended enforcement of his injunction against the program “in light of the significant national security interests at stake in this case and the novelty of the constitutional issues” pending an expected appeal by the government. A U.S. official said an appeal was likely.
 
Leon expressed skepticism of the program's value, writing that the government could not cite a single instance in which the bulk data actually stopped an imminent attack.
 
“I have serious doubts about the efficacy of the metadata collection program as a means of conducting time-sensitive investigations in cases involving imminent threats of terrorism,” he wrote.
 
That is important, he added, because for the program to be constitutional, the government must show its effectiveness outweighs privacy interests.
 
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the massive phone record collection to U.S. and British media in June. Documents provided by Snowden showed that a U.S. surveillance court had secretly approved the collection of millions of raw daily phone records in America, such as the length of calls and the numbers that are dialed.
 
Snowden, in a statement sent by journalist Glenn Greenwald, applauded the ruling.
 
“I acted on my belief that the NSA's mass surveillance programs would not withstand a constitutional challenge, and that the American public deserved a chance to see these issues determined by open courts,” he said. “Today, a secret program authorized by a secret court was, when exposed to the light of day, found to violate Americans' rights. It is the first of many.”
 
In its defense, the NSA says the data collected are key to spotting possible terrorism plots and do not include the recording of actual phone conversations. Judge Leon wrote, however, that the program likely violated Americans' right to be free of unreasonable searches.
 
Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of both NSA and the Central Intelligence Agency, said the metadata made a contribution to weaving the tapestry of intelligence and that judges “are not really in a good position to judge the merits of intelligence collection programs.”
 
An Obama administration official said that on 35 occasions in the past, 15 separate judges assigned to the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court had declared bulk communications of telephone metadata lawful.
 
Judge Leon has issued headline-making rulings before. In 2011 he blocked cigarette-warning labels that showed graphic images such as a man with a hole in his throat, saying they were unlawful compelled speech, and this year he ruled that the Federal Reserve ignored the intent of Congress in a case about debit card swipe fees.
 
Greg Nojeim, senior counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology, a nonprofit group in Washington, said the ruling “means that the NSA bulk collection program is skating on thin constitutional ice.”
 
In defending the data collection, U.S. Justice Department lawyers have relied in part on a 1979 ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court that said people have little privacy interest when it comes to records held by a third party such as a phone company.
 
Leon wrote that the latest circumstances were different.
 
“The government, in its understandable zeal to protect our homeland, has crafted a counter terrorism program with respect to telephone metadata that strikes the balance based in large part on a 34-year-old Supreme Court precedent, the relevance of which has been eclipsed by technological advances and a cell phone-centric lifestyle heretofore inconceivable,” he wrote.
 
Greenwald, a former columnist for The Guardian who wrote about the metadata collection program based on documents leaked to him by Snowden, praised the court ruling.
 
“This is a huge vindication for Edward Snowden and our reporting. Snowden came forward precisely because he knew that the NSA was secretly violating the constitutional rights of his fellow citizens, and a federal court ruled today that this is exactly what has been happening,” Greenwald said in an email.
 
A committee of experts appointed by the Obama administration to review NSA activities is expected to recommend that the spy agency give up collection of masses of metadata and instead require telephone companies to hold onto it so it can be searched. But intelligence officials and the phone companies themselves are said to oppose such a plan.


EPA's power to regulate
power plants questioned


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering a case that could have broader implications in the effort to fight climate change.

Last June, the Obama administration announced an ambitious series of measures to reduce climate-changing carbon emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency enacted stricter rules for cars and new power plants and is working on developing new standards for existing coal-fired power plants. 

Opponents say the EPA is over-reaching its authority to regulate carbon emissions.

The case focuses on a single, narrow question: Does the EPA's authority to limit emissions from new cars and trucks give it the authority to issue permits for power plant construction or modification? 

Scott Segal, who directs the industry trade group the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, says the requirements for pollution controls on vehicles should not be applied to the permitting process for power plants, factories and other stationary sources of emissions. 

“It has always been extremely controversial for the agency to condition the granting of these permits on new requirements, and what the agency has done has created some confusion of whether they will condition future permits on carbon controls,” Segal said.   

In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA had the authority to regulate pollution coming from new motor vehicles. In 2011, it ruled that the EPA could set pollution standards for power plants. Industry appeals to reverse those rules failed. 

The case now before the Supreme Court won’t change those earlier decisions, according to David Doniger, who directs the climate policy program at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“So even though there is a case before the Supreme Court, we have mostly won this question of EPA authority,” Doniger said.

Segal is not so sure. He says the fact that they took this case is a sign that some of the justices on the high court have concerns about the legality of the EPA's moves to regulate carbon emissions.  He says it is Congress, and not the EPA, that determines U.S. climate policy. 

“And this Supreme Court case may be the first opportunity for the Court to speak and perhaps direct the agency that they have gone too far, too fast,” Segal said. 

Doniger notes Congress has failed in recent years to create climate laws and stresses that the case before the court focuses on permits only. It is not a challenge to established rules under the Clean Air Act that Congress passed in 1970, the same year the EPA was created.

“It’s like a defense shield against new pollution problems," Doniger said, "and it’s EPA's job to carry that law out even if the current Congress doesn’t like it.”

Until Congress can harness a majority to strengthen or repeal the Clean Air Act, the law stands and is binding and enforceable under the Environmental Protection Agency’s mandate, according to Doniger. 

A decision in the case is expected by June.


States rejecting Obamacare
lose access to federal funds

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Nearly half of all U.S. states are rejecting a key component of the new U.S. health care reform law popularly known as Obamacare. These states, almost all with strong Republican majorities, are citing unsustainable costs as the reason for opting out.  But, by not participating, states like South Carolina could lose billions of dollars in federal funds.

At the Anderson Free Clinic in South Carolina, people line up early in the morning to see a doctor.  The clinic treats more than 2,000 people a year.  Most of the patients like Ronnie Green, who is 60-years-old and living on a small pension, are either unable to work or have limited incomes. 

“My nerves are real bad. I cry all the time. I shake. Can’t hold nothing. My nerves just gone," said Green.

Under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, almost all of these patients would have their costs covered by Medicaid, the government-funded health care program for the poor.
 
But because South Carolina has chosen not to expand Medicaid, free clinics remain the only option for many people.
 
Barb Baptista, the clinic's director, says there are not enough exam rooms to handle the growing number of patients.

“The exam rooms are only a piece of it. Having the providers who are willing to volunteer at the free clinic and having the financial means to support our budget are a huge concern," said Ms. Baptista.

The clinic sends seriously ill patients to the AnMed hospital emergency room often by taxi rather than ambulance to save money.

Hospitals that accept federal funds are required by law to provide emergency care regardless of an individual’s ability to pay.
 
But Obamacare will phase out the federal program that reimburses hospitals for some of these bills, replacing it by covering more people under Medicaid.

Bill Manson, who heads AnMed Health, says South Carolina’s decision not to expand Medicaid imposes on hospitals all of the law's cuts but none of the benefits.

“By not participating in the expansion, we kind of have almost a perfect storm of all the reductions that were built into the law without the resulting increase in coverage of the uninsured," said Manson.

Under Obamacare, federal funds will pay 100 percent of added Medicaid costs, gradually reducing that to 90 percent by 2020.  But conservatives like Ashley Landess with the South Carolina Policy Council say the costs are adding to a budget deficit that is unsustainable.

“The fix is not to continue the cycle of dependency on dollars that are really coming from debt for the most part but rather to cut that dependency and put control of health care back into the hands of providers and the patients," said Landess.


Google purchases another
firm that deal in robotics


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Google has bought another robotics firm, the eighth robotics firm it has purchased recently, making it a leader in the robotics industry.

The latest acquisition is Boston Dynamics, maker of robots for the U.S. military, including Cheetah, the world's fastest-running robot as well as other animal-like machines.

Google has been coy about the type of robots it’s looking to develop, but the company has put Andy Rubin in charge of the effort. He was in charge of Google’s popular Android operating system.

In a statement on his Google+ page, Google co-founder Larry Page wrote of the Boston Dynamics purchase, “I am excited about Andy Rubin's next project.  His last big bet, Android, started off as a crazy idea that ended up putting a supercomputer in hundreds of millions of pockets.  It is still very early days for this, but I can't wait to see the progress.”

The price of the purchase has yet to be made public.

Boston Dynamics was founded in 1992 and largely develops robots for the U.S. military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA. Many of those robots such as BigDog and WildCat, are well-known because of YouTube videos showing them in action.

Some analysts say Google’s foray into robotics means it’s trying to develop a robot that could potentially deliver goods to people at home and at work.   Amazon recently proposed developing robotic drones that could do that, but analysts say Google’s robots would likely make the deliveries in self-driving vehicles, a technology that Google is actively developing at its headquarters in California.

Google has already begun experimenting with a grocery delivery service in the San Francisco Bay area called Google Shopping Express.

Google’s robotics team will be headquartered in Palo Alto, California, with an office in Japan, a leader in the robotics industry.

"I feel with robotics it's a green field," Rubin told The New York Times. "We're building hardware, we're building software. We're building systems, so one team will be able to understand the whole stack."

The previous companies Google has acquired are Autofuss, Bot & Dolly, Holomni, Industrial Perception, Meka Robotics, Redwood Robotics and Schaft.


Antibacterial soap makers
asked to prove their value


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. regulators are calling on the makers of antimicrobial soaps to prove their products are more effective than plain soap and water.

The Food and Drug Administration says the widespread use of these products may be contributing to rising rates of drug-resistant bacteria, and some evidence suggests they may even be harmful to health.

The agency has issued a proposal that would require manufacturers to demonstrate that antimicrobial soaps lower rates of illness more than plain soap, and that the benefits outweigh potential risks. 

There are about 2,000 antimicrobial soaps on the market today, according to the FDA.

Consumers may believe these products do a better job protecting them from getting sick, “but we don’t have any evidence that that is really the case, over simple soap and water,” said FDA Deputy Director Sandra Kweder.

Some test tube and animal studies suggest long-term exposure to the active ingredients in antimicrobial soaps can affect hormone levels and may be linked to cancer, but Ms. Kweder says these are preliminary.

“The challenge is to try and understand what those actually mean for effects on humans,” she said.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group that has sued the FDA over triclosan and triclocarban in soaps, welcomed the move.

“This is a good first step toward getting unsafe triclosan off the market,” says Mae Wu, an attorney with the defense council. “FDA is finally taking concerns about triclosan seriously.”

Soap industry representatives say they are perplexed by the announcement.

In a statement, the Personal Care Products Council says it has given that FDA “in-depth data showing that antibacterial soaps are more effective in killing germs when compared with non-antibacterial soap.”

And the statement cites evidence that antimicrobial soaps do not contribute to antibiotic resistance.

Ms. Kweder says the FDA’s move is “all part of the general equation of, what are the benefits of using antibacterial products and how do they stack up against any potential risks.”

Last week, the FDA said the use of antibiotics to help healthy livestock grow better is contributing to rising drug resistance and asked drug makers to place tighter limits on their use. 

If the proposed rule is approved, soap manufacturers would have to conduct clinical studies showing their products are safe and more effective than plain soap.

Ms. Kweder stressed the FDA is not discouraging hand-washing.

“Washing with plain soap and water is one of the most important steps people can take to avoid getting sick and prevent the spread of germs to others,” she said.

The rule would not apply to alcohol-based hand sanitizing gels and wipes that do not require water.

The FDA is asking for comments on the proposal over the next six months. If approved, Ms. Kweder expects the rule would go into effect in September of 2016.


Bitcoin electronic money
is popular and controversial

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

People who want to buy goods, pay for services, or transfer money anywhere in the world bypassing all the banks, credit cards and other financial services, even the governments, increasingly use virtual money called Bitcoin. Devised in 2009 by a secretive software developer, whose real name is not public, the digital currency is generating a lot of interest and controversy.

About 1,700 businesses around the word now accept Bitcoins. The encrypted electronic money is sold, bought and transferred like traditional currencies through trading companies. Transactions are done without involvement or regulation by third parties or governments.

That makes Bitcoin the world’s first, completely decentralized digital currency, says technology policy analyst Jerry Brito. “Bitcoin basically solved a computer science problem that, for the first time, allows just two people to transact online, so it’s decentralized. There’s no Bitcoin company, there’s no government, it’s kind of like email.”

That makes it attractive to criminals who want to transfer money secretly. But U.S. law enforcement agencies recently shut down an online black market based on the system.

As the chairman of Bitcoin Foundation’s Regulatory Affairs Committee, Marco Santori, points out, all Bitcoin transactions can be seen by all other computers.

“Absolutely. Bitcoin is in fact heavily regulated. It is very heavily regulated. Those who exchange Bitcoins for other digital currencies or exchange Bitcoins for dollars are money transmitters under the Bank Secrecy Act,” said Santori.

The reliability of the system is based on the fact that the amount of bitcoins in the entire system must always be accounted for. Users' computers that constantly monitor and approve transactions are rewarded with new bitcoins, which is how additional funds are added to the system, said Brito.

“Every 10 minutes there are 25.5 bitcoins introduced into the economy, and it is given to one of the miners, kind of at random as it were, who are contributing the computer capacity,” said Brito.

The United States, Germany, and many other governments accept the use of the digital currency, although some officials have called for greater oversight. China recently banned its banks, but not its businesses, from trading in Bitcoin.

Santori said that sending money now across the globe has become much easier and cheaper. “They don’t always have to send dollars or some derivative of a dollar. They can send Bitcoin.”

Since its introduction in 2009, the value of a Bitcoin has fluctuated from mere pennies to close to 1,000 U.S. dollars. And as more and more companies accept it for goods and services, and more and more consumers use it, the virtual currency is becoming a real fixture on the global financial scene.


Malaria effort succeeding,
World health report says


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The global effort to curb malaria is succeeding phenomenally, according to the latest report from the World Health Organization. More than three million lives have been saved so far this century with better prevention and better medicines. The organization expects even more success.

Global efforts to end malaria and the human suffering it causes have made huge strides since 2000. Public and private donors have targeted hard hit countries by funding programs like the one in Kenya.

The World Health Organization's latest report on malaria says three million lives, mostly those of children, have been spared. The death rate has been cut by nearly half.

Robert Newman, a physician who heads the organization's global malaria program, said, "There’s been a large increase over the last 12 years in financing for malaria control efforts, and that has purchased lifesaving commodities like long-lasting insecticide treated bed nets, insecticides for indoor spraying, diagnostic tests, especially rapid diagnostic tests, and anti-malarial medicines.”

Malaria is a plague in more than 100 countries, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Asia.









 
Real estate-related services (paid category)

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

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

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


Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)


Swimming pool at night
A Buyer’s Broker offering the best
of Costa Rica Real Estate.

For those looking for quality properties and service at quality prices. Central Valley Rentals. Offering honesty, experience and knowledge. Your Villa Real Expert. Call us now  Toll Free (877) 845-4533. In Costa Rica 2228-5961 or 8339-2112. www.costaricarealtyone.com
8179-3/11/14

Re/Max, the Pacific coast expert
Re/Max offers comprehensive Costa Rica Real Estate, vacation rental and relocation services. Our award-winning team is the largest in the country, and can show you the best lifestyle and financial investment properties in the most desirable locations including prime real estate in Tamarindo, Langosta, Conchal, Flamingo, Pinilla, Coco, Hermosa and Playa Panama.  Give us a call in Costa Rica at 506-2653-0073, or toll free from the U.S. and Canada 1-800-385-5930. Re/Max, the name you trust for the finest real estate services in Costa Rica.
7949-11/15/13

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

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



Costa Rica,

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





Visit our Web Site:
 www.greciarealestate.com




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

Real estate for sale (paid category)


forest
Gorgeous Survival Farm located between San Ramón and Arenal Volcano bordering the huge Arenal Monteverde Nature Reserve. 30 acres of virgin rain forest with no neighbors, river, spring waters, rich soil, giant trees, homesite, no electricity, year-round 4WD access. 59,000 USD   axelspecial@gmail.com.
8182-1/13/14


Gulf road

Beachfront pristine five-hectare (13-acre) property

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

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

long view

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

NOW REDUCED TO $680,000
ALAJUELA – PRIVATE COMPOUND OF 4 HOMES - $850,000 TURNKEY
Spectacular view property on a ridge near Alajuela.  Large home and 3 rental homes totaling 7,300 square feet (678 square meters) live-in construction.  Property area is 3,376 square meters (0.83 acres) including a vacant lot for expansion options.  In total there are 10 bedrooms, each with an ensuite bath.  Property has pool, rancho, mirador, courtyard and covered parking.  Homes have romantic fireplaces, built-ins, storage, other luxury features.  Turnkey sale includes all appliances, furniture, fixtures, equipment.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at gerrybuilt2000@yahoo.com.  See property video here:

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

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

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

Becker montage
Beach property on the Pacific Ocean in Guanacaste.

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

condors

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

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

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

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

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

humming bird nest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page


San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday,  Dec. 17, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 249
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Moody joins S&P in cutting
Venezuela's credit ratings

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Moody's Investors Service downgraded Venezuela's credit rating Monday and warned it could cut them again given what it saw as the growing risk of an economic and financial collapse in the country.
 
It was the second ratings downgrade in just a few days for the country after Standard & Poor's cut its bond ratings on the radicalization of economic policy and declining international reserves.
 
President Nicolas Maduro spooked investors last month by forcing retailers to slash the prices of consumer goods as part of an economic offensive to rein in annualized inflation of 54 percent, a move critics say will spur shortages down the road.
 
The populist move helped the ruling Socialist Party, however, to a strong showing in local polls earlier this month that shored up Maduro's political standing.
 
Moody's said it cut Venezuela's local and foreign currency ratings to Caa1 from B1 and B2, respectively, while the outlook for the rating was negative.
 
“The downgrade reflects Moody's view that Venezuela is facing increasingly unsustainable macroeconomic imbalances, including a skyrocketing inflation and a sharp depreciation of the parallel exchange rate,” the agency said.
 
“As government policies have exacerbated these problems, the risk of an economic and financial collapse has greatly increased.”
 
It cited high inflation, a black market exchange rate 10 times the official level, widespread shortages of goods, a shrinking current account surplus, perilously low foreign exchange reserves and anemic 1.4 percent growth during the first three quarters of 2013.
 
“A sharp increase in Venezuela's sovereign yields to more than 15 percent in early December from less than 10 percent in mid-May suggests the country's ability to access markets has been severely curtailed,” it added.
 
Moody's said the negative outlook reflected its expectation that conditions would continue to deteriorate. However, the outlook could stabilize if macroeconomic imbalances are reduced to levels that do not threaten an economic collapse, it added.


Judicial investigators get
new deputy director

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Gerald Campos Valverde, a lawyer with 23 years of experience in the agency, has been named subdirector of the Judicial Investigating Organization, the Poder Judicial said Monday. He now is the regional chief in San Carlos.

The job became open with the retirement of director Jorge Rojas and the promotion of his second in command.    Campos begins the new job Dec. 23.

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From Page 7:

Foreign investments and exports reported higher
 
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The commerce ministry said that foreign investment and exportations increased in 2013 and exceeded goals even though there was a weak growth in the international economy.

The Ministerio de Comercio Exterior estimated that by the end of the year, foreign investment would be $2.4 billion, an increase of 8 percent over 2012 and about $160 million higher than the annual goal.
 
The ministry is estimating that exports of goods and services will be $17.3 billion, a 3 percent increase over 2012.

The minister, Anabel González, also noted that the country had reached a free trade treaty with Colombia, an agreement with the European Union along with other Central American nations, improved border crossings and organized a trade summit for Latin American and the Caribbean with the People's Republic of China.