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(506) 2223-1327                        Published Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014, in Vol. 14, No. 258                                    Email us
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Labor ministry lists minimum wages for next year
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The labor ministry has posted the new minimum wages by job category for the first half of 2015. The list is HERE!

The new salaries show an increase of 2.01 percent over the scale that was in effect for the last half of this year. The one exception are domestic workers who received a 2.5 percent increase. The new monthly minimum salary for domestic workers is 169,142.26 colons, about $317.

The complexity of the salary scale can be seen by the five levels for secretary. The monthly salaries in colons range from 320,961.11 (about $602) to 608,355.75 (about $1,141).

Periodistas are at the top of the list with a monthly minimum salary of  750,481.33 colons (about $1,408). Near the bottom of the list are coffee pickers who get 29.77 colons per kilo of beans and stevedores who load boxes of bananas (1.30 colons per) and those who are paid by ton (80.78 colons per).

Education is a key indicator of minimum salaries. A graduate of the Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje receives at least 336,344.36 colons ($631) regardless of specialty.

Someone with a university licenciado or master's degree gets 608,355.75 (about $1,141) regardless of the job.

Salaries differ dramatically from First World standards for craftsmen. Here an electrician gets 10,531.09 colons ($19.76) a day. That is the same as for an


experienced gardener. A welder gets a
daily wage of between 10,531,09 colons and 12,421.15 colons ($23.30), depending on the assignment.

The Ministerio de Trabajo y Seguro Social contains a salary council that arbitrates the twice-yearly raises between labor and management.

The higher salaries for persons with advanced educational degrees generally excludes them from many jobs.

Just because there is a minimum salary does not mean that employers cannot pay more for key workers. However, many work for the minimum because the salary is just the start.

Employers also know that they must pay the monthly quota for the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social. That can be as much as 26 percent of the salary paid while the employee pays about 9 percent. Then there is the mandatory aguinaldo or 13th month Christmas bonus. In addition, employers have to pay for workman's compensation insurance in which the premium is based on salaries.

Some employers try to avoid these costs by claiming a worker is a contract employee. A visit from a labor ministry inspector can dash these hopes

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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.

Residency experts

Residency in Costa Rica
A full service immigration agency
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Tel: (323) 255-6116


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Avoid Real Estate scams, get independent advice and have due diligence performed before signing or making a deposit.

Phone number: (506) 8853-0000


Marco Cavallini & Associates
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CR Beach
Jaco Beach Central Pacific Real Estate
CR Beach Investment Real Estate Broker & INT’L
NAR certified Realtor Jeff Fisher is famous for being “Brutally Honest.”
See why he still believes only the 100% titled land of the Jaco beach & Central Pacific areas of Playa Hermosa/ Jaco-Los Suenos Marina & Golf and the Esterillos-Bejuco beaches are the best places to live, invest and enjoy. 
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
JACO Office: IL Galeone Center by BAC, #14, Costa Rica

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   • Specialized in the Central and South Pacific.
   • Great network of realtors, to find your dream
   • Homes, condominium & luxury homes
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Telephone: +506 2643-4065   
cell: +506 8825-6556   US:  626 548-3909
skype: ecorealtorscr  Facebook: ecorealtorscr
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del Pacifico, S.A.


* Colinas del Sol is a fenced and gated project  in a quiet area.
* There are 88 clear titled lots.
* Mountain areas with great views.
* Gently sloping level areas ideal for hobby farms, gardening, fruit tree orchards.
* Quiet place to get away from the busy city and beach crowds.
* All lots have gravel roads to them, water and electricity at each.
* Lots are 5,000 sq. meters or larger, starting at only $39,000 USD , and many can be combined for those wanting a larger area for their chosen passion, be it a hobby horse farm or retirement haven.
* Located in Libertad, Guanacaste, Northwest Pacific area of Costa Rica.
* Electricity and water to each of 79 clear-titled lots.
* 20 minutes to the Liberia International Airport
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* 10 minutes to Medical Facilities
* 25 minutes to the Liberia Hospital
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Contact Jim Day
or Phone:  001 517 484-3675.
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Solís victim of Twitter impersonator

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Casa Presidencial revealed Tuesday that someone created a Twitter account in the name of President Luis Guillermo Solís. The account issued both correct and incorrect presidencial announcements.

The government was successful in having the U.S.-based Twitter delete the account because impersonation violates one of the Web company's rules.

Casa Presidencial said that the Twitter account, @luisguiiiermosr, would confuse the public.

The account issued fake messages about Ecuador, Venezuela and Cuba, Casa Presidencial said

Desamparados getting special attention

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The canton of Desamparados,which had become a war zone among feuding drug gangs, is getting the attention of the country's first lady.

Mercedes Peñas Domingo, the president's wife, is coordinating a commission of government officials to address problems in the canton. She was invited to do so by the mayor, Mauren Fallas, said Casa Presidencial.

Public attention was directed at Desamparados when it became the scene of multiple murders, mainly in the Calle Fallas area. Police increased their patrols dramatically, and several arrests were made.

Casa Presidencial said that a committee of officials is seeking to reclaim public space, strengthen the social service deliveries and give attention to vulnerable groups.

The committee also seeks to promote employment. The members are representatives of the various government agencies that already are charged with providing these services.

New Year's means caution on highways

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Tonight, New Year's Eve, is the time for amateur drunks. That can mean tragedy on the highways.

A lot of the action is at the beaches where many Central Valley residents have gone for vacation. A number of local hotels are holding New Year's parties, as are private clubs and private individuals.

Today also begins the migration from the beaches to the Central Valley. Traffic officials are changing some of the routes so that there are more lanes leading to the city than away. One of these is Ruta 27, the Caldera highway. Some Costa Ricans have to report for work Friday morning. Others are off until Monday.

Five from Guantanamo go east

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United States has transferred five more detainees from the controversial prison at the Guantanamo Bay Navy base in Cuba.

In a statement, the Pentagon said three Yemenis and two Tunisians were transferred Tuesday to the Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan.

The men were low-level detainees caught in Pakistan on suspicion of having links with al-Qaida or other militant Islamic groups.

The detainees, who were held for over 11 years, were never charged with a crime and were cleared for release by a government task force years ago.

A total of 28 prisoners have been transferred from the Guantanamo prison this year, reflecting President Barack Obama's renewed efforts to close the facility.

Obama, who has two years left in office, said earlier this month he will do everything he can to close the prison.

Fifty-nine of the remaining 127 prisoners remaining at the prison have been cleared from release, but the U.S. law currently prevents them from being transferred to the mainland.

Over half of the remaining prisoners are from Yemen. U.S. officials are reluctant to send inmates to the Gulf country, which has experienced a prolonged and chaotic security situation.

Previously this year, Guantanamo inmates have been sent to Uruguay, Slovakia and Georgia. This is the first time they have been transferred to Kazakhstan, a Muslim majority country.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 258
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Winds expected to increase, but in the U.S. the north is an icebox
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The winds buffeting Costa Rica are supposed to increase in intensity today.

The winds are expected to reach 80 kph (about 50 mph) in the central and northern sections of the country.  In addition intermittent rain is expected in the Caribbean and the northern zone.

There was light rain in the Central Valley Tuesday evening.

The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional said that the winds come from a high pressure area over the Caribbean. This is typical Christmas weather, and the winds are what drives away the bulk of the rain.  They will be around until at least March.

Meanwhile, reports from the north say that temperatures of  below zero F have hit the plains of Colorado.

The Weather Underground, A.M. Costa Rica's weather service, said in part:

A dominant high pressure system will sink south southeastward over the Intermountain West of the United States and the northern Plains. Bitter cold arctic air will continue to impact the northern tier of the country, stretching from the Pacific Northwest to the upper Midwest. Wind chill warnings have already been issued across Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Wyoming, while wind chill advisories are in place across the Plains and the upper Midwest.

By contrast, Calgary, Alberta, Canada,was a balmy minus 1 C.
Shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday Denver registered -24 C, which is -11 F.

A few minutes after midnight today, the temperature at Daniel Oduber airport in Liberia was 27.4 C, which  is slightly higher than 63 F.

Costa Rican animals are inviting tourists to visit, Web site says
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Now that an Atlanta ad agency has activated the country's promotional Web sites, it appears animals are inviting North Americans to visit.

Both the and sites say that they were created by animals to help save the overworked who are forced to labor long hours in stressful environments, increasingly estranged from their natural habitat.

"As resident animals of Costa Rica, we happily offer our country as sanctuary," it says.

The Canadian Web site says that 49 percent of residents there say they are vacation deprived. In the United States, the Web site claims 59 percent feel vacation deprived. There is no citation to any survey on which these figures are based.

22squared is the ad firm that came up with this promotion. The Web site contains answers to basic questions about coming to Costa Rica, but it does not say that the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo is sponsoring the promotion. In fact, both domain names are registered to the ad agency, according to an online search.

Part of the home page
save americans
Web site does not cite a source for this statistic.

The tourist institute has a tendency to ignore domain ownership. In 2004 A.M. Costa Rica had to prevail on the institute to reclaim its premier tourism Web site,, from  an Argentine promotional firm.

That was the Web site the institute paid $833,000 to construct.

The 22squared campaign is supposed to cost $3 million for a year. The Web sites seek responses from those who visit Costa Rica and also seeks their photos. Compared to other Web sites posted by the tourism institute or private firms, both are fairly superficial.

The Alexa rank for the Canadian page is 2.3 million and it is in 45,000th place in Canada. The bounce rate is 73.7 percent, meaning that nearly three quarters of the visitors never get past the first page.

The site is ranked at 1.6 million worldwide and 203,907 in the United States. It has a bounce rate of 53.3 percent.  The average time on the site by visitors is two minutes and 43 seconds.

Alexa is the Web site tracking company.

The ad agency failed to capture the .com versions of the Web sites. is banked at, and was quickly picked up by a Costa Rican Web site owner and configured to direct visitors to his site.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 258
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Glacier study with 1,000 data points suggests melting is faster
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Greenland ice sheet seems to be melting faster than predicted, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This puts the world's coastal communities at greater risk sooner.

Greenland is a huge island. If it were a country, it would be a little larger than Saudi Arabia. Eighty percent of the island is covered by ice. If all of it melted completely, global sea level would rise more than seven meters.

Beata Csatho, an associate geology professor at the University of Buffalo, has been observing Greenland’s complexities, mining NASA data for 20 years. The study she led combined satellite and aerial data. The resulting analysis is the first comprehensive account of how the ice sheet and its many glaciers are changing. 

Prior to this work, scientists used data from models of four large glaciers to make forecasts for the entire island. The new study uses a much bigger data set, tracking surface elevation changes at 1,000 different locations. 

“We all know that the ice is melting. We are losing ice," Professor Csatho said. "But our data is also giving the spatial and the temporal pattern, which areas are more vulnerable, which areas are changing rapidly, which areas are changing in a different way than we expected.”   

The scientists checked the new data against the current climate models for Greenland. Professor Csatho says the old models are way too limited.

“Having more data, we can have a much more accurate way of understanding how the ice sheet is changing now and knowing that we can predict it more accurately what it will do in the future.”

These new insights suggest that in the near future, Greenland ice might melt faster than previously thought.
University of Buffalo photo
Icebergs at Jakobshavn, one of four glaciers that scientists typically use to model the activity of all Greenland glaciers.

The study finds that glaciers next to each other are not necessarily changing in the same way. Some grew thicker even when the temperature rose. Others exhibited accelerated thinning. Some displayed both thinning and thickening with sudden reversals. 

In analyzing the data, Professor Csatho says researchers looked for patterns that took into account the effect of local hydrology and other factors, like the ocean temperature or water under a glacier.

“For example if the ice gets warmer, the glacier can flow faster. And that faster flow will deliver more ice into the ocean. We call it ice dynamics. It is a very important part of understanding what is happening. That is the way glaciers and ice sheets are responding to the change of climate.” 

Professor Csatho says the study shows why detailed, widespread monitoring is critical.  Her team plans to track 242 glaciers in Greenland to build better models. And those models, she adds, can help coastal communities respond to rising seas

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
          the move.
   * Access the country's affordable health care system
   * Informative two-day seminar given by local experts in their
          relevant fields.
   * Tours led by Christopher Howard, 34-year resident, citizen,
          and the author of "The New Golden Door to Retirement
          and  Living in Costa Rica – the Official Guide to Relocation”
Click HERE  to learn all about our Association of Residents (ARCR)  approved tours at

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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See our listing of real estate brokers on the for-sale page.

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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

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 258     
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Weather is hampering search
for downed AirAsia jetliner

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Bad weather is hampering the search for the victims and wreckage of an AirAsia jet that went down in the Java Sea near the Indonesian island of Borneo.

Indonesian Search and Rescue Agency chief Bambang Soelistyo said three more corpses were pulled from the sea Wednesday, bringing the total number of bodies recovered to six.

"Today, this morning, we found and retrieved three bodies, two male and a female wearing a stewardess uniform. As for the details, this is not our job. Up until now, we have recovered six bodies," said Soelistyo.

Soelistyo said waves of up to three meters, strong winds, and heavy rain are preventing helicopters from searching the area. None of the 162 passengers and crew on board the plane have been found alive.

The first trace of the plane was discovered Tuesday, not far from where the Airbus A320 disappeared during a storm en route from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore.

Investigators hope to determine the cause of the crash once divers locate and recover the plane's cockpit voice and flight data recorders.

Indonesia's search and rescue agency says sonar images suggest the main body of the plane is lying upside down on the bottom of the sea, which is only 20 to 30 meters deep.

Local television Tuesday showed rescue helicopters pulling bodies from the Java Sea, in the same area where pieces of the plane were found.

Families of the 162 people on board AirAsia Flight 8501 burst into tears and hugged one another after seeing the images of the wreckage and floating bodies, which were not wearing life jackets.

The wife of pilot Iriyanto, who like many Indonesians went by one name, said she was staying strong for the couple's children.

"I'm here for my children and their future, so I must be strong and open with this situation," Widya Sukarti Putri said.

The pilot's father described the experienced airman, who had more than 20,000 flying hours, as a good man.

"He is a patient man, always trusted Allah. His behavior towards his parents as well as to the community around him was good," Soewarto said.

Tony Fernandes, the CEO and founder of AirAsia, said he was absolutely devastated by the tragedy. Earlier on Twitter, Fernandes said his "heart is filled with sadness for all the families involved," and that "words cannot express how sorry I am."

At least 30 ships, 15 aircraft and seven helicopters from several countries looked for the plane between Borneo and Sumatra islands. The shallowness of the sea, between 40 to 50 meters deep, was expected to aid efforts to recover the aircraft and vital communications data, including the flight recorders.

Voice of America photo
Angolan free-tailed bat, a suspected vector.

Bat species linked to ebola
and the spread of the virus

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Researchers believe that bats are the source of the virus behind the current ebola epidemic in West Africa, but a new study points to a different species than the fruit bats implicated in earlier outbreaks.

The ebola virus usually jumps from its animal host to humans through contaminated bushmeat. Hunters bring home an infected fruit bat or an ape or antelope that contracted the virus. While bats are unaffected carriers of ebola, it is deadly for other forest dwellers.

In earlier outbreaks, large mammals were also affected. But when researchers from Berlin's Robert-Koch Institute arrived in Guinea in April to investigate the growing epidemic, they found no decline in the wildlife population. So they turned their attention to another source of transmission, theorizing that the virus was coming directly from its host, bats.

Fabian Leendertz, who led the team, said they focused on hunters and their efforts to catch and kill fruit bats, until they learned that the first victim of the current ebola outbreak was a 2-year-old boy.

Emile Ouamouno, the first to die in the current ebola outbreak, may have been infected by bats while playing in a hollow tree near his village of Méliandou, Guinea.

"That changed our point of view,” the physician recalled. “I thought, 'We have to also look at children and their behaviors.' And that was sort of the breaking point, because the children don't hunt the fruit bats. But what they do in these villages in general, they hunt these small insect-eating bats with sticks under the roof and in trees. Wherever they find them, they will hunt them and kill them and roast them over the fire."

Through interviews in the boy's village of Meliandou, the researchers learned that local children often played in a large, hollow tree that was home to a large colony of Angolan free-tailed bats. Locals were quoted as saying the tree caught fire in March, causing bats to escape.

The presence of hundreds of the mouse-sized creatures presented the possibility of massive exposure to the virus.

Leendertz said the situation was similar to one in 2008, in which a tourist in Uganda visited the Python Cave, where a colony of bats roosted, and contracted the marburg virus, which is related to ebola. There is growing evidence, but no proof, that fruit bats harbor filoviruses, which cause the two hemorrhagic fever diseases.

Writing in EMBO Molecular Medicine, Leendertz said the findings expanded the range of possible reservoirs for ebola.

"What we want to say with this article is that because we don't know what the exact reservoir is and what the virus does in the reservoir and how it's circulating, we should keep an open view and also include in the investigations insectivorous bats and not focus only on fruit bats, as most teams have done in the past," he said.

Starting with the young boy in a small Guinean village, ebola has spread to more than a half-dozen countries, infected more than 20,000 people and killed more than 7,800.

China faces challenges
as it becomes superpower

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

China’s rise as an economic power has been predicted for years. But by some measures 2014 was the year that the country overtook the United States as the world’s biggest economy. It happened sooner than many expected.

According to figures released by the International Monetary Fund, China's total output of goods and services pushed past the United States' total for the first time this year.

However, inside China there are many who view the prospect of being the world’s economic leader as a burden.

“China is not eager to be number one or number two and even number two happened so quickly,” said Wang Yiwei, a political scientist at Beijing’s Renmin University. Wang made his remarks at a recent gathering for foreign journalists hosted by the U.S. Embassy’s Beijing American Center.

Wang said that Chinese leaders, and scholars like himself, thought it would take China a long time to become number two, but it didn’t. Four years ago, China surpassed Japan to become the world’s second biggest economy.

And “that’s the reason our relationship with Japan is so bad,” he added.

It is not just Beijing’s relations with Japan that have deteriorated. China’s long-standing territorial disputes escalated in 2014. A massive Chinese oil rigger that was parked off Vietnam’s coast triggered deadly riots there and seriously frayed relations between the two Communist nations.

Relations with Manila also continued to be strained as Beijing asserted its claims in waters close to the Philippines.

There is growing concern in the region that China’s territorial claims, and what some argue is its aggressive stance, could lead to conflict as its global clout grows.

Bruce Jacobs, a professor at Australia’s Monash University, said China’s expansionist territorial policies posed dangers because they were being stoked in an authoritarian country that lacks freedom of the press.

“There is no discussion or apparently private discussion of many of these issues,” he said. “There is no feedback on these sort of false policies that the government puts forward. So in some ways it is very dangerous.”

But Victor Gao, the director of the China National Association of International Studies, argued that having territorial disputes is normal and that it should not be alarming.

“If you look around the world, involving many countries in the world, there are territorial disputes," he said. "Even today, among European countries, the U.K. and Spain have territorial disputes, and Russia and Norway, for example, just recently signed a maritime treaty, even between Canada and U.S., and several other countries, have territorial disputes involving the Arctic interests.”

Some analysts, however, suggest that as China looks to the past to assert what it sees are its rightful territorial claims, it should perhaps put more emphasis on its future interests.

“The interests of a superpower are different from that of an average big nation,” said Peking University Professor Jia Qingguo. “A superpower is not concerned about whether it has more or less territory, it is more concerned about access.”

This year, while most nations distanced themselves from Russia, relations between Beijing and Moscow warmed. At the same time, China was reaching out to other neighbors in the region and beyond.

China has put increasing effort into extending its contacts with Central Asia. In November, Beijing announced the establishment of a $40 billion Silk Road Fund. It is also working on a Maritime Silk Road that aims to boost China’s presence in the South China Sea and on the Malacca Strait to India, the Middle East and Africa.

China is sending more troops for United Nations peacekeeping missions in Africa. Nearly 2,000 troops are in South Sudan, where Chinese companies have major oil interests. It is also increasing its contributions in the fight against the deadly ebola virus.

Washington and Beijing have agreed to work together to fight climate change and China participated for the first time this year in joint naval exercises with the United States.

“I think it is time for China to come up with new ideas, new paradigms, new ways of approaching many of these new challenges in diplomacy that we are talking about,” said Victor Gao. “I think President Xi Jinping is doing exactly that, he is changing the way China positions itself in the world and dealing with the multiple challenges we are facing diplomatically."

As China adapts to its growing status in the world, it is increasingly being looked to as the world’s next superpower. But that can be a daunting challenge for the nation’s leaders.

“China is a developed and developing nation. It’s a rich and poor nation. It is a weak country and a strong country. An average big country and superpower,” explained Professor Jia Qingguo.

“This duplicity of status has an impact on its interests because the interests of a developed and developing nation are not the same, or not entirely the same. Nor are they for a rich and poor nation.”

As Xi reasserts China’s foreign policy abroad, there are increasing worries over his consolidation of power at home. China’s president has assumed power more quickly than any other Chinese leader since Deng Xiaoping in the wake of the country’s deadly and costly Cultural Revolution.

Xi is carrying out a massive crackdown on corruption, while also spearheading government efforts on national security, cyber space and economic reform.

His consolidation of power was something that U.S. President Barack Obama highlighted earlier this month in a Business Roundtable address.

“Everybody has been impressed by his clout inside of China after only a year-and-a-half or two years," he said. "He taps into a nationalism that worries his neighbors and that we’ve seen manifest in these maritime disputes in the South China Sea as well as the Senkaku Islands.”

The president also added that there were dangers in such a quick rise, particularly when it came to issues of human rights and clamping down on dissent.

China has detained and jailed a growing number of activists, journalists and online commentators over the past year. Many, such as Uighur scholar Ilham Tohti or legal activists Xu Zhiyong and Pu Zhiqiang, were viewed as moderate voices in society.

Republicans ready to press
Obama on his foreign policy

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Some of President Barack Obama’s loudest critics on foreign policy will have new powers as chairmen of various Senate committees when Republicans assume control of both houses of Congress in January.

From Ukraine to the Middle East, the Obama administration can expect enhanced scrutiny of its outreach to the world.

As global conflicts rage, from Ukraine to the Middle East, Republicans are quick to fault the Obama administration on its outreach to the world.

Earlier this year, Sen. Bob Corker, a Republican, said, "I have no earthly idea how the administration plans to go about degrading and destroying ISIS in Syria. I have no earthly idea."

Another Republican senator, John McCain, is equally critical, saying, “This president does not understand Vladimir Putin. He does not understand his ambitions, that Vladimir Putin is an old KGB colonel bent on restoration of the Russian Empire.”

Come January, Corker will be chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; McCain will head the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"John McCain rarely pulls punches. He is quite sure of what needs to be done, and that the president is not doing it," said Stuart Rothenberg, a political analyst.

Rothenberg said a Republican-led Congress can affect Obama's foreign policy up to a point.

“They can limit what the president can do not only on domestic spending, but spending internationally, national security, armed forces and things like that. Having said that, this is the one area where the president traditionally has considerable freedom to operate," he said.

Obama will remain commander-in-chief for two more years. But Republican-led congressional committees will shine a spotlight on his performance, said University of Chicago political scientist William Howell.

“Politically, they have powerful incentives to underscore what they perceive to be the failings of the Obama administration in foreign policy. They can set the terms of the discussion that is going to ensue. They can have investigations," Howell said.

McCain gave a taste of such scrutiny in a heated exchange with Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Elissa Slotkin on the administration's policy concerning Islamic State militants.

“I’m asking what the strategy is," McCain said.

“Our strategy is to defeat ISIL," Slotkin said, using an acronym for the Islamist group.

McCain stopped her, saying, "That’s a goal, not a strategy. I want to know what the strategy is."

In reality, Obama is not immune to criticism from lawmakers of his own Democratic Party.

Sen. Robert Menendez is skeptical about nuclear negotiations with Iran.

“Right now, we are playing right into the Iranian narrative," Menendez said at a hearing earlier this month.

Foreign policy battles could erupt as soon as Congress reconvenes in January. For example, Corker said lawmakers are eager to tighten sanctions against Iran if nuclear negotiations fail.
Real estate-related services (paid category)

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

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

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 258
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
organix garbage
Investigación y Desarrollo photo    
This is the type of public market waste that will be processed.

Mexican firm uses bio-digestor for power

By the Investigación y Desarrollo news staff

Young Mexican entrepreneurs developed a bio-digestion plant capable of generating electricity from organic waste in the market of the Nopal Collection Center in Mexico City.

The company SUEMA, Sustainability in Energy and Environment, created by Jahir Mojica Hernández, Carlos Apipilhuasco Gonzalez Mejía and Nelly Rodriguez, designed a system for waste treatment and decided to implement it in the market sector due to the amount of waste generated there.

The plant will be located in Milpa Alta, a sector in the south of Mexico City, and process three to five tons of waste per day operating 24 hours to generate its own electricity and illuminate the market. Thus benefiting from 65 tons of organic waste per month. The treatment plant will also use sunlight.

Having an on-site plant will avoid transporting organic waste to the Bordo Poniente, the city’s dump where it is processed, avoiding an extra expenditure of up to 640 pesos per ton per day. With the capture of harmful greenhouse gases, energy will be generated and a soil improver will be produced, which will be delivered to the farmers.

The soil improver, which is equivalent to a mixture of nutrients up to 600 kilograms per day, generates higher quality products, making the development attractive for traders, which will help in growing and marketing.

"The plant will improve competitiveness, image and increase the number of customers. It is intended to get people more interested in going to the market instead of a convenience store," said the CEO of the company, Mojica.

"The public markets are entities of economy for the city and main supply centers for poor people; however, they have weakened against major foreign consortia, which often define the price of commodities,” he said.

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