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 San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 211
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Left foot
The University of Texas/ Yoel Stuart
The left hind foot of the green anole after evolution. Toe pad measurements were taken on the expanded scales at the end of the longest toe.

Scientists find adaptation
was quick for little lizard

By The University of Texas news service

Scientists working on islands in Florida have documented the rapid evolution of a native lizard species in as little as 15 years as a result of pressure from an invading lizard species introduced from Cuba.

After contact with the invasive species, the native lizards began perching higher in trees, and generation after generation, their feet evolved to become better at gripping the thinner, smoother branches found higher up.

The change occurred at an astonishing pace: Within a few months, native lizards had begun shifting to higher perches, and over the course of 15 years and 20 generations, their toe pads had become larger, with more sticky scales on their feet.

"We did predict that we'd see a change, but the degree and quickness with which they evolved was surprising," said Yoel Stuart, a postdoctoral researcher at The University of Texas at Austin and lead author of the study appearing in today's edition of the journal Science.

"To put this shift in perspective, if human height were evolving as fast as these lizards' toes, the height of an average American man would increase from about 5 foot 9 inches today to about 6 foot 4 inches within 20 generations — an increase that would make the average U.S. male the height of an NBA shooting guard," said Stuart. "Although humans live longer than lizards, this rate of change would still be rapid in evolutionary terms."

The native lizards studied, known as Carolina anoles or green anoles, are common in the southeastern U.S. The invasive species, Cuban anoles or brown anoles, are native to Cuba and the Bahamas. Brown anoles first appeared in South Florida in the 1950s, possibly as stowaways in agricultural shipments from Cuba, and have since spread across the southeastern U.S. and have even jumped to Hawaii.

This latest study is one of only a few well-documented examples of what evolutionary biologists call character displacement, in which similar species competing with each other evolve differences to take advantage of different ecological niches. A classic example comes from the finches studied by Charles Darwin. Two species of finch in the Galápagos Islands diverged in beak shape as they adapted to different food sources.

The researchers speculate that the competition between brown and green anoles for the same food and space may be driving the adaptations of the green anoles. Stuart also noted that the adults of both species are known to eat the hatchlings of the other species.

"So it may be that if you're a hatchling, you need to move up into the trees quickly or you'll get eaten," said Stuart. "Maybe if you have bigger toe pads, you'll do that better than if you don't."

Doctor returns to New York
and develops ebola symptoms

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A New York City doctor who recently treated ebola victims in Guinea has become the first person in the U.S. city to be diagnosed with the virus

At an evening news conference, Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed the case, saying Craig Spencer has been placed in isolation and there is no cause for alarm.

"Ebola is an extremely hard disease to contract. It is transmitted only through a contact with the infected person's blood or other bodily fluids - not through casual contact. New Yorkers who have not been exposed to an infected person's bodily fluids are not at all at risk," said de Blasio.

Spencer Thursday notified the medical charity Doctors Without Borders where he worked hat he had a high fever and was nauseous; two symptoms of Ebola.

Officials are now looking for anyone who may have had contact with Spencer. He would be the fourth person diagnosed with Ebola on U.S. soil, and the first in New York.

Earlier Thursday, the West African nation of Mali reported its first case of Ebola, in what many warn could be another major setback to efforts to contain the disease.

Health Minister Ousmane Kone said on state television the patient is a 2-year-old girl who was brought to a hospital from neighboring Guinea.

"I can say it's a two-year-old girl who traveled accompanied by her grandmother. It is possible that these two people arrived at a time when the symptoms were not detectable, but that the illness evolved," said Kone.

Kone said the young girl's condition is improving thanks to quick treatment. She is in the western town of Kayes.

The ebola outbreak is concentrated in three West African countries, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

It has killed close to 4,900 people, including victims in the United States and Spain. There are almost 10,000 confirmed or probable cases.

U.S. government health officials are ordering travelers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to monitor their health for 21 days and give local health departments daily reports.

The monitoring program starts Monday in six eastern states, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia, where the majority of those travelers would visit. They will be given an ebola kit when they arrive at airports, including a thermometer.

In the latest case in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Spencer was familiar with symptoms and handled himself accordingly once he experienced symptoms.

Cuomo said the city is "as ready as one can be for this circumstance" and has been preparing for weeks to handle a possible ebola case.

The earlier ebola cases in the U.S. include a Liberian man who died in a Dallas, Texas, hospital two weeks ago. Two nurses who treated him are currently hospitalized, but are said to be doing well.

U.S. intelligence failures
blamed for Mideast mess

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Concerns about the capabilities of U.S. intelligence agencies have been steadily rising, sparked in part by comments from President Barack Obama that they underestimated the rise of the group known as Islamic State.

But far from an intelligence failure, insiders and analysts warn the furor is symptomatic of larger problems that could haunt the U.S. in years to come.

For weeks, Islamic State militants have besieged Kobani, the majority-Kurd Syrian city at the doorstep of NATO partner Turkey.  Yet for weeks, U.S. military leaders said Kobani was not the focus of anti-Islamic State strategy.

Even as the U.S. authorized airdrops of aid to the town’s Kurdish defenders, and air strikes against Islamic targets in Kobani intensified, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said this week that the aid didn’t represent a shift in policy.

For critics of U.S. efforts to check the expansion of the Islamic State, the question is a resounding “why not?”  More importantly, they ask, why has the U.S. government been, by its own admission, behind the curve of events unfolding in Syria and Iraq.

Some critics of the U.S. administration have been quick to blame the problem on President Barack Obama and what they see as a weak foreign policy. Others have called it a failure of the U.S. intelligence community.

But some, including former members of the intelligence community and ex-government officials, see the crisis as symptomatic of larger problems not likely to go away in what promises to be a long battle against the Islamic State and groups with similar ambitions.

“I think it is fair to say the intelligence community was well aware of the problems,” said Reuel Marc Gerecht, a senior fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “I suspect their basic analysis of ISIS was sufficient.”

Gerecht previously served as a Middle Eastern specialist at the CIA's Directorate of Operations and argues U.S. intelligence could have been better had Washington maintained a military presence in Iraq. Yet he contends the main problem, as it pertains to the Islamic State, was political.

“The White House has a certain narrative it wants to take about the Middle East, about jihadism, about al-Qaida, those that give allegiance to al-Qaida or to ISIS, so I think that narrative got in the way of the analysis,” he said.

That administration narrative, Gerecht said, included the view that the Islamic State was not the main threat. And while it was an outgrowth of al-Qaida in Iraq, eventually splitting with al-Qaida’s leadership, President Obama at one point compared the Islamic State to a junior varsity sports team, not in the same league as other, still loyal al-Qaida affiliates.

Obama later said that his junior varsity reference had been taken out of context, with the White House clarifying that he was talking not specifically about the Islamic State but about Islamist groups in general.

But it was not just the Obama administration that may not have been paying attention to the warnings.

“Republicans and many in the military that had been central to the counterinsurgency campaign in Iraq, frankly, kind of wanted to claim success,” said Brian Fishman, a counterterrorism research fellow at the New America Foundation and a fellow at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. “There was no real constituency in Washington for this sort of information.”

Even those focused on the region were often sidetracked by the conditions that allowed the Islamic State to thrive.  U.S. politicians determined to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad often overlooked the more dangerous elements within anti-Assad forces.  Others, bent on distancing the U.S. from the sectarian policies of Iraq's then-prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, provided a vacuum that helped Sunni discontent to grow.

Publicly, though, much of the blame has fallen on the U.S. intelligence community. President Obama told reporters in August that the advance of the Islamic State group across Syria and Iraq was more rapid than the intelligence estimates. On CBS’ "60 Minutes" last month, Obama said, "I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria.”

Yet since at least February, top intelligence officials were sharing stark assessments of the threat posed by the Islamic State.

In testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper put the number of fighters across Iraq and Syria at 20,000.  Then-Defense Intelligence Agency director, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, also warned that the Islamic State  “probably will attempt to take territory in Iraq and Syria to exhibit its strength,” going on to say that the group “has exploited the permissive security environment to increase its operations and presence in many locations.”

Despite such warnings, the response by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to the president’s comments seem conciliatory, with top officials publicly admitting they underestimated the Islamic State’s will to fight while overestimating the capabilities of the Iraqi security forces.

For some former officials, like Sarah Chayes, the mea culpas ring hollow.

“I don’t believe that you can’t gauge people’s willingness to fight,” she said

Ms. Chayes served as a special adviser to former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, and said the political climate in Iraq made Sunni Arab sympathy, and support, for the Islamic State nearly inevitable and something the intelligence community should have seen coming.

“When you have Shi’ite militias acting as death squads and these developments seem to be increasing, not decreasing, people are going to be fighting for their survival. How could you possibly underestimate peoples’ willingness to fight under those circumstances?” asked Ms. Chayes.

According to intelligence officials, such information was, and continues to be, readily available to top policy makers.

“Our experts routinely provide insights that explain the deeper context behind issues, illuminate underlying factors that drive developments, and identify patterns and trends,” CIA spokesman Todd Ebitz said. “We have never lost sight of our mission to provide consumers of our intelligence with a big picture understanding of key national security challenges.”

But the impact of such intelligence was muted, in part, because while it talked about the potential threat posed by the Islamic State, policy makers had their eye on threats deemed more immediate.  “ISIS and its predecessors at that time didn’t fall under that category,” the New America Foundation's Fishman said.

“As a result, the intelligence community was focused on the sort of primary needs of policy makers… terrorist groups that posed a more direct threat to the United States.”

Despite such criticism, U.S. intelligence officials say the community continues to work at an intense tempo on numerous global crises.  Nor are intelligence officials taking the failure to properly assess the will to fight of both the Islamic State and the Iraqi security forces lightly.

The CIA says it continues to track a wide-range of terrorist groups, according to agency spokesman Todd Ebitz, watching for signs any one group may be “shifting its focus or increasing its capabilities in a way that threatens the United States.”

But that is of little comfort to analysts like Fishman, who say designating only groups “actively and directly trying to attack the United States” as threats is a serious misstep.

“Groups like this can pose a major threat to U.S. interests, even if they’re not focused on attacking the United States,” Fishman said of the Islamic State  “The growth of this organization in Syria and Iraq poses a very serious destabilizing threat in the Middle East in a way that could really disrupt what has been considered core U.S. interests for decades.”

Like Fishman, Ms. Chayes puts part of the blame on efforts to reform the U.S. intelligence community following the 9/11 terror attacks against the United States.

She said while the changes did help improve intelligence by increasing communication between agencies, the changes also aimed U.S. intelligence in the wrong direction.

“What you had is a drift of the intelligence community toward essentially being a paramilitary organization,” Ms. Chayes said, “the intelligence gathering and analysis being in support of that sort of paramilitary activity: basically finding and fixing targets.”

Former CIA specialist Reuel Marc Gerecht is even more blunt in his assessment of just how much the U.S. missed by downplaying its own intelligence when it comes to the Islamic State.

“The problem of the Islamic State is certainly greater than the problem of the Taliban in 1998,” he said.

Haitians bring their case
on cholera to U.S. court

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A U.S. District Court judge heard oral arguments Thursday in a lawsuit brought by victims of Haiti’s cholera outbreak who are seeking compensation from the United Nations.

The plaintiffs blame a contingent of Nepalese peacekeepers for bringing the disease to their nation after the 2010 earthquake.

The suit was filed on behalf of five Haitians and Haitian-Americans whose family members died of the water-borne disease or who were infected with it.

They allege that U.N. peacekeepers who were sent to the country after the devastating 2010 earthquake contaminated a branch of the Artibonite River with cholera. The river is the country’s main water source for tens of thousands of Haitians.

The United Nations has never taken responsibility for the crisis and is claiming immunity in this lawsuit.

In July, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited Haiti and spoke to survivors and families of those who died, telling them he believed that “the whole international community, including the United Nations, has a moral duty” to stem the further spread of cholera.

It will be up to the judge to decide whether plaintiffs can pursue the case in a U.S. court.
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For those looking for quality properties and service at quality prices. Central Valley Rentals. Offering honesty, experience and knowledge. Your Villa Real Expert. Call us now  Toll Free (877) 845-4533. In Costa Rica 4030-5480 or 8339-2112.

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

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

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

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

Visit our Web Site:

English calls: (Cristian Arce) Phone: 
(506) 2494-0016  
English calls :  (Luis David) Phone: 
(506) 8331-5228

Español calls: (Luis G. Jiménez)  Phone:   
(506) 8707-4016
house 865
Beautiful chalet in Grecia, with the best fresh natural weather, 1.040 m2 of land, Price $135.000. Click HERE!
House 868
Beautiful house  in Grecia, with the best fresh natural weather, 810 m2 of land, Price $178.000. Click HERE!
House 866
Beautiful large house  in Grecia, with the best fresh natural weather,1.006 m2 of land, Price $290.000.  HERE!
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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 Nate @ 8635-9320.
From the US 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 iinstalled, Direct TV via sling box on Internet. $199,000 Contact   Check out slide show HERE!

Condo montage
Cariari luxury condo for sale
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 $214,500.

Two lovely homes 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-story, 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-story 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.

house photo
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!


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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13 work stations, good equipment, good location, Rohrmoser, two blocks from Plaza Mayor. $4.000 per month. Call Kevin 8366-6861.

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

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