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(506) 2223-1327                                  San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 230                        Email us
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Arenal properties

Expat investors being overlooked in hotel mess
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Casino operator Luis Milanes Tamayo is leaving a financial mess behind as he closes down his San José casinos.

Being overlooked in the Spanish-language media are the 484 former investors who are mostly expats. They have been trying to get money since 2002 from the man who operated the defunct Savings Unlimited high interest scheme.

Milanes is being evicted from the Hotel Europa downtown, but he also closed down the Europa Casino in the Hotel Radisson and the Royal Dutch Casino on Avenida 2.

The Spanish media is concentrating on the plight of some 250 employes who are being left without jobs at the opening of the Christmas season.

Harold Villegas Román, a vice minister of Trabajo, said Wednesday afternoon that an accord has been reached between Hugo Navas, the Milanes lawyer, and five former employees representing all the workers.

According to the agreement, the employees will receive their unpaid salaries today and they will receive their aguinaldo, the mandatory Christmas bonus, Wednesday.

Because Milanes fired his employees he also is supposed to pay severance, which can be a lot of money in the case of employees who worked for a long time.  Some Hotel Europa employees said they have worked for 15 years.

Milanes did not show up at the ministry meeting and has not been seen this week. A report from Global Trust Firm, S.A., which represents the investors, reported that the casino properties are behind some 360 million colons in operational fees with the security ministry. That is about $678,000.
Milanes committee
Ministerio de Trabajo photo
Fired employees met with Harold Villegas.

Milanes offered the hotel and some other properties to investors as part of a conciliation process. So theoretically the trust is holding the property for the investors. But a report Wednesday said that representatives of the trust were stopped from taking over the hotel by police Tuesday. 

Some Milanes employees who were not fired were believed to still be inside the hotel. The eviction ruling says they have two more weeks to leave.

The trust was the entity that filed for eviction of the casino, and a judge granted that request.

There is a possibility that the hotel also is behind on utility charges and other fees. He also owes the trust rent for three months. That is at least $39,000.

Considering all the unpaid bills, some investors note that Milanes had little reason to remain in Costa Rica. He still is subject to a judicial order, and a fraud trial in the Savings Unlimited case is scheduled for next year.  When Milanes vanished in November 2002, he was gone for six years.

A committee of investors and lawyers that supervises the trust was expected to meet with Milanes representatives soon.


Chilling wave of murders grips Desamparados
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The canton of Desamparados, the most populous in the country, has become the murder capital.

The bulk of the killings appear to be related to a territorial drug war.

The most recent victim turned up Wednesday morning in a wooded area in Linda Vista de Patarrá. The unidentified man, who appears to be in his 20s, was wrapped in a blanket and partially cremated. The body bore a tattoo of a marijuana leaf and the figure of a scorpion. One hand bore the ironic tattoo BYE, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

The man had two bullet wounds in the head.

There have been 38 murder victims found in the canton this year and 13 date from August. Desamparados is south and east of the San José central canton.

Without mentioning the wave of killings, the Fuerza Pública announced Wednesday that the number of officers on patrol would be boosted by 30 to 300.
Police also said that they detained 1,800 persons so far this year in Desamparados. Some 1,204 were for drug crimes. They also said they confiscated 70 firearms.

The murder wave began with a series of drive-by killings along Calle Fallas. Tuesday three bodies were found by a stream. There were signs of torture. Last week a killer presumably friendly with his taxi driver victim commissioned the man to take him to a remote spot and executed him with bullets to the head. This was a planned execution because neighbors said that the killer went from the taxi to a waiting vehicle.

Investigators say they have had problems because hardly any witnesses want to talk.

Judicial agents conducted two raids Wednesday and detained two persons who are believed to be suspects in at least one killing.  One raid was in San Juan de Dios de Desamparados and the other was in nearby Aserrí. One suspect was a minor.

Agents already reported that they had confiscated four firearms believed linked to various killings.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 230   

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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.

Residency experts

Residency in Costa Rica
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 Accountants

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Remodelling and Construction


Real estate agents and services

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8467-2/26/14


Art City Tour goes white Friday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The sixth and final Art City Tour for 2014 will be Friday. This is a change in the day of the week.

In addition, the event, which features 140 activities is being called the Noche en blanco, and participants are encouraged to wear white.

The event begins at 5 p.m., and all of the public museums and many private galleries will be open for visitors. And they are free.

Art City Tour has become a popular evening event, and transportation is provided. A lot of participants prefer to ride their bikes.

The Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud, which operates most of the museums, has a large role in the evening.

The Friday event has been fused with Nuit Blanche, the cultural program that originated in Paris, France.

Among other presentations the Compañía Nacional de Danza and students from the Instituto Nacional de la Música will offer "Sombras Blancas," choreographed by Pablo Caravaca, at four museums a half hour apart starting at 6:30 p.m. The museums are the Museo Nacional, the Museo del Jade,  the Museo del Oro and the Museo de Arte Costarricense. Alianza Francesa also is sponsoring this and offers an additional 9 p.m. Compañía Nacional de Danza performance at its headquarters on Avenida 7.

The many other possibilities for a Friday night out are listed HERE!


Canadian died in Tamarindo surf

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A Canadian, believed to be a tourist, died Wednesday when he was caught by a wave in the surf at Tamarindo.

Rescue agencies identified him as Dennis Daciuk. He was in his 70s.  Two other persons were caught by the same wave, but they survived.

The description of the water accident suggests that the culprit was an undertow.


Robbery suspect detained at his home

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial agents from Grecia detained a 21-year-old man at his home in Cirrí de Naranjo Wednesday and said he was suspected of being one of three men who committed a street robbery Oct. 26. They said they found items in the home that may be linked to other such crimes.


Our reader's opinion
Here are some more supermarket tricks

Dear A.M. Costa Rica;

The piece on supermarkets was interesting. There are some other matters we should be concerned about.

Experience from investigating supermarkets in other countries showed that managers and staff are often penalized for stock losses or alternatively incentivized on net margins. This leads to problems for the customer.

Stock losses originate from: thefts, internal and external; spoilage, especially in produce such as meat, fish, fruit and vegetables; damaged products and from marked down stock.

An illegal but widespread way of rectifying this problem is for the store manager to have the staff add more to the price at the tills. As till staff are often penalized for shortages on their till, they might also seek to do this on their own account or just to take home any surplus.

Obviously, a way of minimizing the spoilage on produce and other products is to sell it when it is already deteriorating. Maybe that is why in a country with wonderful fresh produce the supermarkets are selling deteriorating products. Selling goods beyond sell-by dates is another common trick.

Now ask yourself about your experience in Costa Rica. Widespread, illegibly faded print on the till receipts is a warning that all is not right. We see this all the time. The number of times you spot an item rung up incorrectly can be worrying, especially as it usually is in the supermarket's favor. When checking sell-by dates, are they easy to read and how often are they out of date?

The answer of course is consumer protection legislation. This is of no use without proper enforcement. We cannot therefore expect any changes in Costa Rica any time soon.
Chris Clarke
Grecia


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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 230              
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Trio of thugs ruin life in Costa Rica for Canadian retirees
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Robert Gill fought back when bandits invaded his Caribbean property. So the crooks pistol whipped the 75 year old and left him for dead.

His wife, a few yards away, saw the attack and then was confronted by a masked man demanding "Dinero, Dinero" and wielding a knife. She was dumped from a hammock and watched as the crook scooped up money, a computer, a cell phone, a camera and her husband's wallet.

The two retired Canadians are both in their 70s, and have been splitting the year since 2001 between Costa Rica and the north.

"We leave December 12th, walking away from most of what we own after more than a decade in this beautiful, horrendously perilous country," said Judy Gill via email Wednesday. "But at least we leave with our lives."

Their home is in Punta Riel, midway between Cahuita and Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

She captioned her email "So dies the dream . . . "

Of a potential news story, Mrs. Gill said : "I hope it will warn others who seek to warm arthritic joints in the balmy air here that after dark Costa Rica can only be safely enjoyed behind locked doors and barred windows, and even that is no guarantee."

As A.M. Costa Rica readers, the Gills know about criminal activity in the country. But their home invasion did not show up on any of the usual police reports to which newspeople have access. That suggests that the incidence of crime is understated.

Expats around Puerto Viejo are sensitive to such news stories because they believe such crimes hurt tourism. There have been several local security efforts.

Mrs. Gill said that her husband on the evening of  Nov. 12 stepped
 outside to fill the household water tank, something he did every night.

"Clearly, they had been watching and waiting because they were hiding in the dark under the house, having gained access over our surrounding fence," she said of the bandits trio.  "As they screamed 'Matar! Matar' which translates as 'Kill! Kill!,' he fought back. If he had died, this would have been premeditated murder. They overwhelmed him and beat him with a pistol butt until he was unconscious."

She ended up gagged on a bed as the crooks left. Her husband could not stand or walk well and kept falling. She was unpleasantly surprised to find out that the 911 emergency service did not answer after repeated calls.

Finally the pair made it to a helpful neighbor's house, and an ambulance later took a bloodied Robert Gill away for treatment.

Why they were targeted still puzzles Mrs. Gill. "We live in a small house, on a small piece of ground, do not own a car, take buses for shopping in local stores and do not flaunt our wealth because we have none to flaunt," she said. In addition to the electronic items, the bandits got away with two Canadian $20 bills and 110,000 colons, a bit more than $200.

"Gringo apologists would have us believe these men attacked us and stole from us because they are poor and uneducated and can't find jobs," said Mrs. Gill, adding:.

"That is not true. Education is free and mandatory in this country. There are jobs tending and harvesting crops for export and local consumption. There are construction jobs, land clearing jobs and many other possibilities for earning honest livings. Those men have chosen to live as predators, and I don't understand it. I will never understand. Nor will I forget my husband fighting for his life and mine, or forget seeing men in white hoods with only eye-holes, bursting into a place where I felt secure enough to dine, entertain friends, relax and write."

Mrs. Gill said that she and her husband will miss the howler monkeys, humming birds, trees, flowers, and "the good friends in this Gringoless community who adopted us into their midst."


Immigration crackdown puts a dent in illegal trafficking network
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Immigration police have cracked down on a system that allowed foreigners to cross the country in the route to the United States.

The Fuerza Pública was instrumental in collaring 29 Cubans when two small buses blew through a checkpoint in Cañas. There were 23 men and six women. Also detained were four men who were suspected of transporting the Cubans.

In Paso Canoas at the Panamá border, the Policía de Migración detained two of their own on suspicion of letting foreigners enter the country upon payment of money.

Officials said that Cubans can easily obtain a visa to Ecuador. From there they make their way with the help of traffickers through Central America and eventually to the U.S. border.

The immigration agents in Paso Canoas are accused of letting foreigners enter illegally with the payment of from $25 to $100 cash.

The system appears to be elaborate because the arriving foreigners
Cubans
Ministerio de Goberanción, Policía y Seguridad Pública
Illegal Cuban travelers await processing.

are handed off to Costa Ricans who provide transport to the Nicaragua border. In Cañas police said that a scout car traveled in advance of the buses to keep a lookout for enforcement.

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, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 230
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Study of slow-slip quakes reported to estimate future magnitude
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Scientists know where earthquakes are likely to occur, but not when. Now, however, an American geologist and his team have found that it may be possible to forecast how strong an earthquake may be.

The Earth’s crust is made of a mosaic of tectonic plates that move slowly, sometimes sliding under one another. Where that happens, a subduction zone, earthquakes can occur.

“They’re the kind of earthquake that made the big Japan earthquake in 2011 and the Sumatra earthquake and tsunami in 2004. So they can be, they can be the real killers,” says Timothy H. Dixon, a geologist at the University of South Florida.

He and his colleagues are using high-precision GPS measurements to detect slow-slip events, sort of slow-motion earthquakes that can’t be felt or even detected by standard instruments.

“So what we think these slow-slip events are telling us is, they’re letting off steam, so to speak, in areas of the fault. And if they let off enough steam, that part of the fault won’t rupture,” he explained in a telephone interview.

That’s key, because the more of the fault that ruptures, the more  powerful the earthquake is.
The scientists set up a network of GPS receivers 15 years ago in Costa Rica to measure the occasional slow-slip events, which take place only every year or two.

The last one was three months before a 2012 earthquake.

People always want to know when an earthquake is going to happen, and this technology can’t predict that.

But Dixon says knowing how strong the earthquake is likely to be gives officials time to upgrade building codes, reinforce infrastructure, and make other preparations.

“You know the earthquake is more-or-less inevitable. Even if you don’t know exactly when it’s going to happen, since you know it’s going to happen, and you know how big it’s going to be, you can prepare accordingly,” he said.

He adds that other earthquake-prone subduction zones could benefit from this technology. But for now it can only be used in places where the zone is not too far offshore, because GPS receivers need to “see” satellites overhead, and they can’t do that underwater.

A scientific paper presenting Dixon’s findings is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Vacation, travel and hospitality


PRIMO'S SUEŇO CABINAS
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8492-4/1/15

Howard
rollover
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
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Call 1-888.456.3212 or 2479-8811 locally.
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Hidden
Garden
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:
HiddenGarden@TheVanStoneGroup.com.   
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.
8199-4/6/14

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

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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!
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. lundquistgeorge@gmail.com

8390-10/2/14

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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Real estate for rent (paid category)
Chkalet
Enjoy living in the middle of wonderful mountains.
Fresh air, gorgeous forest. Near downtown but away from noisy city.  Nature lifestyle.  Beautiful chalet in a large property located in Monte de la Cruz, Heredia. Two bedrooms, two baths, laundry room, fully furnished, security, electric gate. Rate $500 monthly. Phone  2267-6306  Email ledabonilla12@gmail.com
8526-12/4/14

cottage



Beautiful cottage in San Rafael, Heredia

Cottage in the mountain.  Surrounded by nature.  One bedroom, 1.5 bathrooms. Beautiful balcony and view. Bus line service, security.  $500 monthly.  Phone: 506-8739-0638  Email: lizrutbeth@gmail.com
8524-12/1/14

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        www.manuelantonioestates.com

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.
8529-12/3/14

Beautiful fully furnished two floor house for rent
in La Guacima

Guacima montage
La Guacima, Alajuela. 20 minutes from airport, San José or Alajuela Centro and 30 minutes from Heredia. Near highway 27. $1,000 a month. All services included (Internet, water, electricity, security). Very private, very quiet, green areas, fully furnished. Must like animals (we have three gentle dogs), look at high resolution pics HERE! U.S. citizens or Europeans preferred. No children. Call to inquire and for appointment to visit. Available for rent in December. Contact phone number:  (506)  8839-4315.
8522-1/24/14


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. laurelfanderson@gmail.com
8484-10/16/14

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.
tropical
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.
8441-2/17/15

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.
8423-9/15/14

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.
Contact:  HPCattleCR@aol.com
8425-8/17/14




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cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 230    
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Altos

Some in Congress primed
to attack Obama amnesty


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday fiercely debated the wisdom and legality of action by President Barack Obama to bypass Congress and shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation.

The mere whisper of an imminent executive order on the subject had senators scrambling to the chamber floor to draw battle lines.

Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican of Texas, said Obama was not entitled to act on his own.
 
“Most Americans will correctly view this as an abuse of power. An abuse of power!" Cornyn said. "His unilateral action, which is unconstitutional and illegal, will be deeply harmful to our nation’s tradition of the rule of law, and deeply harmful to the future of our democracy.”
 
The president insists he is acting only because Congress has passed no legislation whatsoever to reform America’s much-criticized immigration system. That point was echoed by Sen. Richard Durbin, a Democrat of Illinois, who noted that the only immigration reform bill to pass either chamber in more than a decade — a comprehensive Senate bill approved last year — has gone nowhere in the House.
 
“The Republican-led House of Representatives has failed to have a hearing on this bill, has refused to bring this bill to the floor, has refused to bring any immigration bill to the floor," Durbin said. "They refuse to address the obvious: We have a broken immigration system. And they refuse to act.”
 
Obama is expected to defer deportations for millions of foreign citizens living illegally in the United States who have U.S.-born children. Such a move would prevent families from being split apart, but would fall short of the comprehensive overhaul of U.S. immigration laws most lawmakers say is needed. Only Congress can change federal law.

Washington officials said Obama's plans, to be unveiled today in Las Vegas, could pertain to as many as five million people. These immigrants would be allowed to stay in the country and work but would not be entitled to federal benefits.

Republicans like Cornyn say an immigration overhaul is still possible, but not if Obama short-circuits the political process by acting on his own.
 
“The message that the president and our Democratic friends have given is: We give up. We are not going to do our job as legislators," Cornyn said. "We are going to let the president with the stroke of a pen provide an executive amnesty to millions of people."

Not so, according to Durbin, who noted that Obama would not be the first president to act on immigration.
 
“Every president of the United States since Dwight D. Eisenhower has used his executive authority to improve our immigration system," Durbin said. "Every single one of them. President George H.W. Bush issued a family fairness policy allowing 1.5 million people in America to apply for deferred action and work permits. It is clear that presidents have the authority to do this.”
 
Which side is correct? That may be left to the judiciary to decide, as Republicans have promised to challenge any executive order on immigration in federal court. For now, all eyes in the debate are on the White House, where Obama has the next move.


Ebola survivor rejects
concept of quarantines

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The American doctor who became the first known ebola patient on U.S. soil has expressed concern about the imposition of mandatory quarantines on relief workers returning from West Africa. Kent Brantly said quarantines, such as those enacted in New York and New Jersey, could discourage volunteers from traveling to ebola-stricken countries. 

Brantly said the way volunteers returning to the United States are treated will have a direct impact on others who are considering travel to West Africa to help ebola victims.
 
“If we quarantine people and treat them like criminals when they come back, telling them ‘you must be confined to your house and have no contact with people,’ that is detrimental in multiple ways,” said Brantly.

He said quarantines erode the sense of compassion for those who need it most.
 
“If we treat the returning workers like criminals, how can we have compassion on the people they are going to help?” asked Brantly.
 
He voiced his concerns at an Overseas Security Advisory Council briefing at the State Department, where he also described his own experience after contracting ebola in Liberia.
 
A colleague, Lance Plyler, said at one point, Brantly’s situation appeared bleak.
 
“I have been practicing internal medicine for over 20 years, and I was very convinced that he had a couple of hours to live, and I just looked at him and I could not believe it,” said Plyler.

Brantly was flown to an Atlanta hospital in August, where he eventually recovered from ebola.
 
He urged compassion for the thousands of West Africans who are still battling the virus.
 
“We have to go help them. They are in desperate need of help from the international community,” he said.
 
Brantly also said the United States needs a unified policy for dealing with volunteers who are returning home after helping those affected in West Africa.


World Bank cuts estimate
of ebola's financial impact


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A World Bank official says the ebola epidemic will not be as costly to West Africa's economy as previously feared, thanks to effective containment efforts.

Francisco Ferreira, the bank's chief economist for Africa, told an audience in Johannesburg Wednesday that he expects the epidemic’s economic toll on the region will range from $3 to $4 billion.

The World Bank in October had predicted the economic impact could be as high as $32 billion if the virus spread significantly outside the borders of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the three countries hardest hit by the outbreak.

"The risk of the highest case of economic impact of ebola has been reduced because of the success of containment in some countries," Ferreira said. "It has not gone to zero because a great level of preparedness and focus is still needed."

Ferreira said efforts to keep the outbreak from spreading to other African countries were largely successful. Senegal and Nigeria reported cases of the disease but have since been declared ebola-free. Mali is now seeking to contain a small outbreak.

The earlier, more dire prediction reflected worries that if ebola were to spread more vigorously beyond the three countries at the outbreak's epicenter, it would devastate cross-border trade, supply chains and tourism.

But the fear factor has spread well beyond the outbreak’s actual range, Ferreira said, noting it has deterred tourists from Kenya, South Africa and other countries otherwise unaffected by the contagion.  

Ferreira said falling global oil prices, which have dropped by almost a third since June, also has fueled instability among African oil producers. Nigeria is the continent’s largest exporter of crude oil.

The World Health Organization last week reported a slight rise in the ebola death toll, saying there have been 5,177 deaths among 14,413 confirmed cases worldwide.


Land other than forests
seen as carbon storage


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Protecting the world’s forests is promoted as a way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Forests store a lot of carbon in both trees and soil. But some researchers say conserving forests alone will not significantly reduce emissions.

It’s estimated that protecting forests could prevent 77 billion tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere by the year 2100.

Researcher Alexander Popp said that “protecting forests to abate climate change is definitely worthwhile.”

“Avoiding deforestation, in general, is a very important aspect, first of all, in terms of carbon emissions avoidance, but also from other perspectives like biodiversity conservation, local livelihoods or local climate aspects,” he said.

Popp, group leader on land use management at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, said while preventing deforestation does have beneficial effects, there can be consequences if that’s all that’s done.

“Indeed, emissions are reduced, but what we could observe is that there are now new emissions occurring from a kind of leakage effect, displacement effect,” he said.

In other words, preserving forests means other types of land would be used to grow crops instead. Popp said that would result in environmental losses.

“Loss of non-forest ecosystems that also have a high carbon content in the soil, in the vegetation, like wetlands savannahs, for example, in Africa or grasslands, and also have a high biodiversity content,” he said.

High biodiversity content means lots of plant and animal species.

Current climate change negotiations include something called REDD or Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation. But Popp says it only focuses on protecting forests.

“The largest benefits for climate change mitigation could be achieved by…a forest conservation scheme and the inclusion of other land types with high carbon content,” he said. “We did big computer simulations and we looked at three different potential future land use rules: one scenario without any carbon conservation; one with avoiding deforestation only; and one with conservation of all land use types that have high carbon content.”

The all-inclusive model yielded the greatest carbon benefits and protected biodiversity. But if a wide variety of land is protected how does agricultural production increase to feed a rapidly growing global population?

Popp said one way is to boost yields on existing farmland.

“In sub-Saharan Africa, there’s much more potential for agricultural yields that we currently observe and therefore much more potential for agricultural production," he said. "If these potential yields could be catched-up  compared to the current yields we observe today – and improve small holder farm management – it would be an added value in terms of taking the pressure from the land and therefore decreasing agricultural expansion.”

Another way to meet future food needs, he says, is by reducing waste in agricultural production. Much food is lost through poor harvesting methods and lack of proper storage and transportation. Also, studies have shown billions of dollars worth of food is wasted every year in developed countries.

For example, the Natural Resources Defense Council has estimated that “40 percent of food in the United States goes uneaten…the equivalent of $165 billion a year.” It says the food then rots in landfills adding another greenhouse gas to the atmosphere – methane. Livestock production in developed countries, he says, also uses a lot of resources. It also produces a lot of methane.

Popp said that if demand for agricultural commodities is reduced by cutting waste and making agriculture more efficient, there would be less demand for land use.

Given the lack of progress made in climate change negotiations, Popp and his colleagues doubt their comprehensive approach will be adopted now. They said that “a more achievable approach” may be to protect non-forest areas that can store a lot of carbon and have good biodiversity. The REDD plan, they said, would have to be altered so funds can go to programs not related to forests.

The next climate change conference takes place in Lima, Peru. Known as COP 20 – or conference of parties – the meeting runs from December 1-12.


Senate vetoes Keystone
by a single vote margin


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. The pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.

In a nation reliant on fossil fuels, Keystone proponents promise a better future if the pipeline is built.

“Energy independence for our nation is possible, for the first time ever,” said Sen. Mary Landrieu, a backer and a Democrat.

Opponents warn of an ecological disaster with a high human cost.

“Every dollar that we spend today on developing and using more fossil fuels is another dollar spent in digging the graves of our grandchildren,” warned Sen. Tom Harkin, another Democrat.

At issue: expansion of North American pipelines to send an extra 830,000 barrels of Canadian oil daily to U.S. Gulf states. Environmentalists say the oil is not needed and will boost global greenhouse gases. Public Citizen Energy Program director Tyson Slocum said the project is unnecessary,

“You’ve got countries like the United States and others that have stepped up oil production, and so it’s safe to predict that for the next several years we’re not going to be threatened by the types of supply-demand balance problems that caused the crisis in oil markets to push prices up," said Slocum.

Pipeline advocates note that reliable, affordable energy is a global concern. Heritage Foundation energy economist Nick Loris argued that the pipeline would provide greater access to affordable energy.

“We need to get more people access to conventional fuels and affordable and reliable energy. And if you look at what people say, according to United Nations surveys and things of that nature, up at the top of that list is access to affordable, reliable energy, and down at the bottom of that list is action on climate change,” said Loris.

The Republican-led House of Representatives approved the pipeline last week. Senate backers fell one vote shy of the three-fifths majority required for passage, but congressional approval is likely next year, when Republicans will control both houses. The pipeline has strong support from Republican Mitch McConnell, who will be Senate majority leader in January, and has already promised an early vote.

“Keystone XL is just common sense. It’s a shovel-ready jobs project that would help thousands of Americans find work, it would increase our supply of North American energy, and do all that with minimal net climate impact. That is why the American people support it,” said McConnell.

The White House has hinted at a veto if and when the project is approved. President Obama is a proponent of alternative energy sources, as is Sen. Barbara Boxer, another Democrat..

“Let me tell you how you get energy independence. You produce what you can here, and we have been doing that where it's appropriate, and you also utilize the sun, and the wind, and the geothermal and the clean energies of the future that believe me when you embrace the clean energy agenda, you get far more jobs, you don’t have pollution,” said Sen. Boxer.

Polls show Americans are concerned about climate change, but are also eager for cheaper fuel and more jobs.

Real estate-related services (paid category)

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. www.costaricarealtyone.com
8451-12/13/14

Remax logo
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.
8366-12/2/14

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
8502-4/20/15




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 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 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
HERE!
Grecia 883
Beautiful  House in Grecia, Costa Rica,  1.5  kilometers from the city.   220 m2 of land. Price $138.000.  Click HERE!
  Send us your request to our email: info@greciarealestate.com
8533-2/17/14

Real estate for sale (paid category)


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.
8545-1/2/15

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. http://www.atenasrealty.com/fotos%20H392.html
8542-12/17/14

greatroom
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 www.costaricaretireonss.com  Home phone: 2417-1041 Cell phone: 8888 4543 Skype glundquist.
To see more Photos of this house, click HERE!
8310-7/1/

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. www.manuelantonioestates.com
8515-2/16/14

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, orbec12@gmail.com for further info or to arrange a viewing.
8509-xxx

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 Karen@remax-ocr.com  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
8500-1/3/15

Newly available in Roca Verde
Atenas
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: http://www.atenasrealty.com/fotos%20H326.html 2446-5587. ldrock@gmail.com
8499-q11/3/14

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 mmpeace@hotmail.com   Check out slide show HERE!
8482-2/11/15


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.
8483-10/1/14

two houses
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 azucarb@racsa.co.cr or call (506) 8386-8825.  Rodney, asking $350,000.
8521-11/10/14

Esterillos

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: edumace64@yahoo.es  and pdvartanian@aol.com.
8458-3/2/15

NOW REDUCED TO $595,000
ALAJUELA – PRIVATE COMPOUND OF 4 HOMES
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:
8422-9/15/14

ARenal property
Location: Near Arenal        Price: $2.7 million
Size: 113 acres
Web site: costaricalandsales.com
email: kim@costaricalandsales.com

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.
8406-8/2/14

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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.
8481-11/11/14

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, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 230
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Missing students raise more questions

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto, which is being accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country.

Protesters firebombed the front door of the presidential palace in Mexico City earlier this month.

The students, who attended a teacher's college, disappeared in the rural town of Iguala in Guerrero state.

Government authorities accuse local police of detaining the students, all men, on the orders of the town's mayor, who did not want the students to disrupt a speech by his wife. The police then allegedly handed them over to a drug gang that killed them.

The mayor and his wife have been arrested.

But Mexicans continue to demand answers, not just about the students, but about the more than 20,000 Mexicans missing in a country plagued by drug violence and a weak legal system.

Solemnidad Sánchez, one of the protesters who recently took to the streets of Guerrero’s capital, said the protests are not just about the 43 students.

"The society and the people of Guerrero are tired, not just because of the disappearance of the 43 students, but tired of the thousands of missing in Guerrero and all over Mexico," said Ms. Sánchez.

Critics of Mexican President Peña Nieto say he has tried to deflect attention from deteriorating security conditions by focusing on other issues, like energy reforms.

Maureen Meyer, of the Washington Office on Latin America, said reality has finally caught up with the Mexican leader.

“You have long-term efforts that need to happen, but I think at a minimum you need the government to recognize the magnitude of the crisis they're facing and the magnitude of the security problems they have in parts of the country, and commit to justice, not just for the family members of these students but for all the other families that have been affected by violence in the past seven, eight years,” said Ms. Meyer.

Until now, there are no answers in the search for the missing students, only grim discoveries.

Mass graves have been found in the area around Iguala, raising even more questions: Whose bodies are buried there? And what is Enrique Peña Nieto's government going to do about it?


Deal reached to free kidnapped general

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Colombian government and leftist rebels have struck a deal on conditions to free a general the guerrillas are holding captive.

The government has suspended peace talks being held in Cuba until the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia frees Gen. Ruben Dario Alzate, who was seized over the weekend.

Cuba, Norway, Venezuela and Chile, who are assisting in the peace talks, announced the agreement Wednesday in the Cuban capital. The statement did not say when or where Alzate might be freed or give any details on the conditions for his release.

The Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias, Colombia's largest rebel group, has kidnapped scores of civilians and soldiers for ransom during its 50-year insurgency against the government.  The group pledged in 2012 to stop kidnapping civilians, but said it would still target police and military personnel.



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From Page 7:


Irish firm can credit cell phone in Costa Rica

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Ding* the world’s largest top-up provider, has announced a large-scale expansion enabling South Americans living abroad to add credit to the mobile phones of their loved ones in Ecuador, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico. Already connected to over 300 mobile operators, this expansion adds another five operators to the growing ding* network which is available in over 130 countries with a reach of 3.5 billion phones worldwide, the company said.
 
There are over two million persons from these countries living around the world, with the majority (90 percent) of Puerto Ricans and Costa Ricans living in the U.S. and the majority of Ecuadorians (45 percent) based in Spain.  This significant expansion offers an additional, convenient way for these people to support their family and friends back home, the Dublin-based company said. With ding* they can safely send mobile credit directly to their loved ones’ phones on www.ding.com, the ding* mobile apps or in 500,000 retail outlets around the world, it added. The credit is delivered in as little as three seconds.
 
Commenting on the development, CEO Mark Roden said: “We are delighted to be expanding in Ecuador, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico. Our service can really make a difference in people’s lives and we can now reach South Americans living anywhere in the world and make it easier for them to stay close to the loved ones they’re separated from.”