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(506) 2223-1327                              Publihsed Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, in Vol. 14, No. 193                           Email us
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Small-is-better tourism is theme of new video
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Legislators and supporters of responsible tourism will present a video that seems to support minimal development on the Pacific coast.

The video is titled La gallina de los huevos de oro: Turismo en la costa Pacifica de Costa Rica. A reasonable translation would be "The Chicken That Lays the Golden Eggs: Tourism on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica." The fable with that title sometimes refers to a goose.

The showing is being sponsored by Marcela Guerrero Campos, the vice president of the legislature, and the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Responsible Travel.

The showing is Wednesday at 10 a.m. in the Salón de Expresidentes in the legislative complex.

The center on its Web site defines its position this way: "Responsible tourism includes many types of travel, all of which aim to minimize tourism's negative impacts on the environment, and maximize the positive contributions tourism can make to local communities."

A trailer of the video also is available on the Web site HERE! The video is for sale there in both English and Spanish.

A summary of the video says that it compares the costs and benefits of big tourism centers with those of a small scale on the Osa Peninsula.

Among other persons, the video features  Margarita Penón, a former deputy and ex-wife of Óscar Arias Sánchez, who says that not every type of tourism is the same. In the past she has been critical of the way Guanacaste was developed and has been critical of all-inclusive hotel visits.

In all-inclusive stays visitors receive lodging and food at the hotel and usually do not venture much into nearby communities. Consequently, the hotel gets the bulk of the money.

The video also addresses the availability of
OPsa guide
Center for Responsible Travel clip
Osa guide Edwin Villareal characterizes the area as the goose with the golden eggs.

water and its use by golf courses and swimming pools. There is a definite anti-foreign tone with photos of condos and sprawling hotels. One resident says that small lodges owned by locals would be better than big hotels. The video also is critical of cruise ship passengers and says that each passenger only spends an average of $67 in Costa Rica and that the big money is made by the cruise lines.

A discussion is supposed to follow the video, and the speakers are identified as Wilhelm Von Breymann, minister of Turismo; Diego González, president of the Cámara Nacional de Ecoturismo y Turismo Sostenible, and Alejandra Monge, executive director of Fundación Corcovado, which also is supporting the video.

For years Costa Rican officials have been trying to encourage tourism to smaller communities with perhaps lodging with local farmers.

"Community Rural Tourism is one of the initiatives that, little by little, has represented an important means of development for those rural communities potentially capable of competing with other high quality attraction sites," says the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo on its Web site.  Still, the bulk of the tourists want to go to the beaches.

The Osa peninsula is the home of Parque Nacional Corcovado, probably the most primitive and unexplored section of the country. There are efforts at developing a major marina and hotel complex on the east shore of the peninsula.

 
 

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 193

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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.


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Remodelling and Construction


Real estate agents and services

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naranjas
Al Andalus photo          
Promotional photo mixes oranges, lemons and dancers.

Flamenco with literary theme next Tuesday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Al Andalus flamenco dancers will tackle a literary theme Oct. 7 for the Teatro al Mediodía at the Teatro Nacional.

The dancers will perform excepts from “Naranjas y Limones,” based on the novel "The Orange Girl " by Norwegian author Jostein Gaarder.

The name of the show stems from a famous painting by Julio Romero de Torres. There also will be recitation of poetry written by Federico García Lorca, a victim of the Spanish civil war and a leading 20th century literary figure.

The Teatro al Mediodía, which begins at noon has been a big success for the Teatro Nacional. Admission is just 1,000 or 2,000 colons, about two to four dollars. The presentations are designed for the downtown office crowd on lunch hours, but many tourists also are attracted.

The Al Andalus group has performed the work with as many as 18 dancers.



Dry seasons expected to arrive early

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There's good news for those sick of the rain.

The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional said that the end of  the rainy season will be between Oct. 28 and Nov. 1 in the northern Pacific.  The Central Valley will be moving out of the rainy season Nov. 7 to 11, the institute said.

These dates are about a month earlier than normal.

The Central Pacific will have to wait until Dec. 7 to 11 for the end of the season, and the southern pacific will see that happen from Dec. 22 to 26, said the institute.

This is good news for sun lovers and tourism operators, but the institute also said that the Central Valley will end up from 10 to 20 percent short of the average rainfall and that the deficit in the northern Pacific would be about 20 to 30 percent.  This is bad news for farmers and ranchers.

The weather institute said that the effects of El Niño and a colder Atlantic and Caribbean would advance the arrival of the dry season.

The institute also said that the southern Caribbean would have a significant deficit in rainfall in December.

Despite rainfall about 25 percent less than normal, the institutes said that precipitation in the northern Pacific still would be about double that of August.

This area is having a serious drought. The weather institute predicted that there will be enough rain for the planting of crops that have been delayed due to the wave of dry weather.

The weather institute also noted that Costa Rica has not been threatened yet this year by any cyclone activity in the Atlantic or Caribbean. Predictions were for a hurricane season in the Atlantic way below normal.

Court appeals freeze action on pensions

 By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The central government has been frustrated in its efforts to put a top on so-called luxury pensions.

The Ministerio de Hacienda revealed Monday that a Sala IV constitutional court case has been filed against Ley N° 7858 on which the government is relying to cut these pensions.

The ministry noted that its workers were required to stop their work on the pensions while the court case was being considered. The Sala IV has agreed to hear at least two appeals.

The government of Luis Guillermo Solís has been trying to reduce pensions that may be as much as 9 million colons a month in some cases. These all are pensions awarded to former top government officials. A pension of 9 million colons is about $16,500 a month. The law has been on the books but disregarded by those awarding lavish pensions.

Pensions of average workers are far below this level.

The magnitude of these government pensions were not common knowledge until the Solís administration decided to put a top on monthly payments. Officials said they worried about the stability of the pension system with monthly payments such as these.


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A.M. Costa Rica

Third News Page
AIM
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 193
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Christmas here is like a personal time portal to the 1950s
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Can that be Christmas lights and trees in the local department stores?

You bet, because Costa Ricans do not have Thanksgiving to bracket the December holiday season. But they do have Black Friday, which seems to be universal.

All those shipping containers from China carrying traditional Christmas decorations are already at the docks and soon the decorations, trees, wreaths and all will be crowding out other items on the store floors and shelves.

The calendar shows that there are only about 80 days left until Christmas week. For those in business, the calendar also says that aguinaldos, the fat, mandatory Christmas bonus is due to be paid to employees in the first two weeks of December. This is one reason Costa Ricans have such a festive Yule.

The Costa Rican Christmas is very much like a 1950s Christmas in the United States. Those were the days when the American Civil Liberties Union had better things to do than crack down on nativity scenes and Santas. Costa Ricans are unashamed to link the holiday closely with the birth of Jesus. The municipalities pitch in, and tax money is spent hanging decorations along the streets, putting a nativity scene on the lawn of the supreme court and sponsoring the gigantic Festival de la Luz that draws perhaps a million people to the sidewalks of San José. The festival this year is Dec. 13.
festival de la luz
Logo from the festival Web page.

The tradition is fragile. Lawmakers are considering legislation that will reduce or eliminate the role of the Catholic Church in government. Officials of other religions want a piece of the pie that the Catholic clergy gets from the annual budget. They should be careful what they wish for because cash-short Costa Rica might just opt for a secular state. There is a campaign to do just that.

Such a decision would pull all the government support from the December holidays and leave it to citizens. That happened to some extent last year when a small committee created a traditional Yule holiday with downtown merchants and some help from the local municipality.

Expats can keep an eye on the legislature, and until there are changes, they have a personal time machine to see the Christmas holidays they way they were up north 60 years ago or more.


Central government agrees to a 3.3 percent cut in 2015 budget
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Faced with opposition to the national budget in the legislature, the central government agreed Monday to a 3.3 percent cut.

The announcement was greeted lukewarmly by lawmakers.

The government said it would cut 221 billion colons from the 7.95 trillion 2015 budget. That's about 2.8 percent. In dollars that is a cut of $405.5 million from a $14.6 billion budget. Legislators had proposed a 3.8 percent cut.

President Luis Guillermo Solís is facing problems even from his own party.  Ottón Solís, also of the Partido Acción Ciudadana, is chairman of the legislative budget committee and he has been a strong voice for a lower budget. The budget has to get through his committee.
Helio Fallas, the first vice president and minister of Hacienda, announced the proposed cuts Monday afternoon.

The announcement said that the government would not affect projects to combat poverty, health, education or productive infrastructure.

The announcement said in general that the cuts would affect overtime, advertising, trips abroad and consultants.

Several lawmakers said they would wait to hear specifics. Fallas said that he agreed in theory with Ottón Solís even though his proposal to cut 300 billion from the budget had been rejected in committee.

Much of the budget is established by law and the Costa Rican Constitution, which required allocating a certain percentage of gross domestic product to specific areas like education.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 193
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Dolphin are sensitive to magnetism, French researcher reports
By the Springer Science+Business Media news staff

Dolphins are indeed sensitive to magnetic stimuli, as they behave differently when swimming near magnetized objects. So says Dorothee Kremers and her colleagues at Ethos unit of the Université de Rennes in France, in a study in Springer’s journal Naturwissenschaften – The Science of Nature. Their research, conducted in the delphinarium of Planète Sauvage in France, provides experimental behavioral proof that these marine animals are magnetoreceptive.

Magnetoreception implies the ability to perceive a magnetic field. It is supposed to play an important role in how some land and aquatic species orientate and navigate themselves. Some observations of the migration routes of free-ranging cetaceans, such as whales, dolphins and porpoises, and their stranding sites suggested that they may also be sensitive to geomagnetic fields.

Because experimental evidence in this regard has been lacking, Ms. Kremers and her colleagues set out to study the behavior of six bottlenose dolphins in the delphinarium of Planète Sauvage in Port-Saint-Père. This outdoor facility consists of four pools, covering 2,000 square meters of water surface. They watched the animals’ spontaneous reaction to a barrel containing a strongly magnetized block or a demagnetized one. Except from this characteristic, the blocks were identical in form and density. The barrels were therefore indistinguishable as far as echolocation was concerned, the method by which dolphins locate objects by bouncing sound waves off them.

During the experimental sessions, the animals were free to swim in and out of the pool where the barrel was installed. All six dolphins were studied simultaneously, while all group members were free to interact at any time with the barrel during a given session. The person who was assigned the job to place the barrels in the pools did not know whether it was magnetized or not. This was also true for
bottlenose
Springer Science+Business Media
A magnetic personalty, perhaps?

the person who analyzed the videos showing how the various dolphins reacted to the barrels.

The analyses of Ethos team revealed that the dolphins approached the barrel much faster when it contained a strongly magnetized block than when it contained a similar not magnetized one. However, the dolphins did not interact with both types of barrels differently. They may therefore have been more intrigued than physically drawn to the barrel with the magnetized block.

“Dolphins are able to discriminate between objects based on their magnetic properties, which is a prerequisite for magnetoreception-based navigation,” says Ms. Kremers. “Our results provide new, experimentally obtained evidence that cetaceans have a magenetic sense, and should therefore be added to the list of magnetosensitive species.”

Vacation, travel and hospitality


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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and car rentals.  
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

diligence
Click photo for another video

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

 (as reported by the moving companies)
Visit many rental options to actually experience the price/amenity options available in more of the areas chosen by Expats for security, comfort, and quality of life.

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

Real estate for rent (paid category)

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. $1,200 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 inquiry and for appointment to visit. Available for rent in December. Contact phone number:  (506)  8839-4315.
8489-10/23/14


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

Apartments Lemur
Apartment Lemur for rent
San Francisco de Dos Rios, El Bosque, furnished, 2-bedroom, 1-bath apartment, quiet area, free cable TV, WiFi. large patio area, swimming pool, parking, security. Close to San José. $440/month. Retired persons preferred. Call 8375-6838.
Email: jorge.jorgejim@gmail.com.
8431-10/4/14

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.
8431-7/30/14




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A.M. Costa Rica's   Fifth news page


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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 193
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Chinese fine for drug firm
results in a formal apology

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has been hit with the biggest fine ever imposed by the People’s Republic of China for allegedly bribing doctors and others in China’s medical system to use and prescribe the company’s drugs. And, this came about after the company illegally collected personal data on a number of Chinese nationals.

The British drug maker incurred a three billion Chinese yuan penalty – roughly $489 million – the largest ever fine imposed by Beijing.

It was announced this month on the same day, GSK China Investment Co. Ltd. issued a formal apology to the people of China.  The company stated that “GSK plc fully accepts the facts and evidence of the investigation, and the verdict of the Chinese judicial authorities.”

The 15-month-long investigation by the economic crimes unit at China’s Public Security Ministry found that the drug maker funneled bribery payments through a reported network of some 700 travel agencies. According to Bloomberg, health care professionals were given travel and meeting expenses, and sexual favors.

The CEO of GSK’s China unit, Mark Reilly, was given a three-year, suspended prison sentence and ordered deported from the country. Four other senior GSK China managers were also convicted and given suspended sentences. All say they will not appeal their sentences.

Chinese authorities also say that Reilly, along with GSK China Vice President Zhang Gouwei and the China subsidiary’s legal affairs supervisor, Zhao Hongyan, acted in 2012 to attempt to bribe police and other officials in Beijing, Shanghai, and other cities to try to impede or stop the public security ministry’s investigation.

The company’s massive fine follows the August sentencing of British investigator Peter Humphrey, who worked for GSK. He was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail, fined nearly $33,000. He also faces deportation after serving his sentence for illegally collecting private information on Chinese nationals.

His wife, Yu Yinzeng, drew a two-year sentence and a nearly $25,000 fine for her role in this crime. The couple was not cooperative with Chinese prosecutors, claiming that the three Chinese sub-contractors who collected data were paid for their services, not for the information.

One of Humphrey’s targets was a former GSK China employee, Vivian Shi, who is a well-networked daughter of a senior Communist Party official. The London Telegraph reports that GSK suspected her of being a driving force behind Beijing’s corruption investigation of the company.

GSK says it “apologizes for the harm caused to individuals who were illegally investigated.”

The company also announced that it will pay this nearly half-billion-dollar fine in cash and take a charge against its third-quarter earnings.

“A heavy punishment is necessary to rescue the pharmaceutical sector,” said Liao Mingtao, a senior partner at the Hui Ye law firm in Shanghai, She told the South China Morning Post that “It was not just GSK that paid the price, and it was a lesson that all the other players, including the foreign and domestic companies, should learn.”

In its apology statement, GSK said “the illegal activities are a clear breach of GSK’s governance and compliance procedures and are wholly contrary to the values and standards expected from GSK employees.”

While GSK’s China case has been resolved, the company may face further probes from Britain’s Serious Fraud Office, which launched a probe in May 2014, and also in the United States from both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department, which may address GSK’s behavior through prosecution under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Indian leader's U.S. visit
is media sensation at home


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Indian media is going wild over Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the United States, calling his address to Indian-Americans at New York's Madison Square Garden Sunday rocking and following his every move with breathless headlines and sweeping coverage.

India's main television channels aired his speech live on Sunday night and will air extensive reports of his visit to the White House this week.

Shailaja Bajpai, a critic and commentator who writes a weekly column, said that she has not seen such extensive coverage of any prime ministerial visit to any country before.

She said that almost every television anchor of India is in the U.S. covering the visit.

“We are doing a non-stop coverage of Modi's visit,” said Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief and anchor with Times Now, the most watched English language channel in India.

Arnab said that he has a team of 16 people and multi-cameras setup for the visit.

Suhasini Haider, diplomatic editor of The Hindu newspaper, who is in the U.S to cover the visit, said the coverage is historic in terms of number of people covering the event and the intensity.

Supriya Prasad, managing editor of India's news channel Aaj Tak, said that extensive coverage of Modi's visit on his channel started three days before Modi landed in New York.

“The most noteworthy thing this time is that even major domestic political developments have taken a backseat,” said Supriya, who has been in the private Indian television news industry since its inception.

During Modi’s visit, two major political alliances split in the state of Maharahshtra,  where elections are due next month. On another front, the chief minister of the Indian state of Tamilnadu received a four-year prison sentence in a corruption case. Most days, these developments would have overtaken other news but Modi’s visit far out-paced them.

India's vibrant and aggressive regional newspapers are also covering Modi’s visit in great detail.

“If there is any news which is a top priority for us at the moment, its Modi's visit to U.S.,” said Anand Pandey, who is the state editor of one Hindi daily, Dainik Bhaskar. He said that Dainik Bhaskar has sent a reporter to the U.S. from their Gujrat edition - the home state of Narendra Modi - to do special stories.

Analysts say Modi’s popularity in India is fueling the hyperbolic coverage of his U.S. visit.

cave
Voice of America photo
This is the famous cave.

Tales of hidden treasures
brings unwanted cave visits

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure?  A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax.

This system of caves has become the center of excitement in the village of Maraigushu, near Naivasha, Kenya.
 
It is not clear where the rumor came from, but some locals here believe white settlers hid gold, mercury and other precious metals in the cave before leaving the area, many years ago.
 
Local resident Edward Maina says the rumors have brought amateur treasure hunters flooding into town to dig in the caves.
 
"It’s not long ago that people came and they went to excavate the cave, and we don’t know them.  We heard them saying that in the 1800s a white man left treasures inside the caves and closed it off," says Maina.
 
Residents say the original treasure seekers entered the cave nearly two months ago before being detained by police.  Local authorities sealed up the entrance, but excavators broke back in.
 
While neither gold nor mercury have been brought forth yet, the cave does guard another important resource: water.
 
Many rely on a natural spring emerging from the cave and local officials, among them Ward Councilor Gaka Mwaniki, worry the digging could disrupt or contaminate the supply.
 
“There’s nothing.  We’ve seen ourselves there’s nothing in those caves, they are excavating for the first time, it’s natural.  It’s the water table that they’re interfering with,” says Mwaniki.
 
Excitement about the cave has gotten the attention of regional leaders, as politicians from nearby Naivasha town accuse one another of sponsoring the treasure hunt and unfairly exploiting unemployed youths by sending them to dig in dangerous conditions.
 
Local resident James Mbugua Njenga wants the situation brought under control.
 
“If at all there’s treasure inside there, let the government come and excavate and preserve the water table,” says Njenga.
 
It might be true, it might be a hoax or it could be part of a political game.  Whatever the case, treasure hunters continue to be drawn to the mystery of the caves.


Secret Service director
to be grilled in Congress


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The director of the U.S. Secret Service will testify before a U.S. House committee today about a major security breach at the White House earlier this month.

The director, Julia Pierson, is expected to undergo tough questioning by lawmakers over the security breach, as well as several other embarrassing incidents involving the agency, which is responsible for protecting President Barack Obama and his family.

The other incidents include a failure to immediately respond to a lone gunman who fired shots at the White House in 2011, a prostitution scandal involving agents on a presidential trip to Colombia in 2012, and a night of drinking in March that led to three agents being sent home from a presidential trip to Amsterdam.

In the most recent incident, 42-year-old Omar Gonzalez was arrested after he climbed the White House fence, ran across the lawn and into the building. The Secret Service initially said Gonzalez was arrested just inside the main entrance, but news outlets Monday said he rushed past a guard at the front door and ran down a hallway past a staircase leading to the Obama family living quarters before he was subdued.

The Secret Service also initially said Gonzalez was unarmed, but it was later revealed he was carrying a knife.

Prosecutors have said Gonzalez was stopped, but not arrested, in August, after he walked past the White House with a hatchet in his waistband. He was also arrested in July after state police found weapons in his car following a high-speed chase in nearby Virginia.

The intrusion could have been more serious if the suspect had been heavily armed and Obama and his family had been in the mansion. 


Migration organization finds
thousands died fleeing home

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A new report by the International Organization for Migration found that more than 40,000 migrants who were fleeing war, persecution and poverty have died since 2000 in dangerous journeys across land and sea.

The 200-page report, called “Fatal Journeys: Tracking Lives Lost During Migration,” is the world’s most comprehensive tally to date of migrant fatalities.

The report said Europe is the world’s most dangerous destination for irregular migration.

The reports said that since 2000, more than 22,000 migrants have lost their lives on treacherous routes across the Mediterranean Sea. The region has also set a record in 2014 for lives lost.

More than 3,000 migrants have died this year alone, trying  to cross the Mediterranean Sea in flimsy smugglers’ boats, the organization report found. That figure accounts for 75 percent of the more than 4,000 migrant deaths registered worldwide so far this year.

The agency attributed the surge in deaths to the growing conflict in the Middle East and chaos across North and West Africa.

Organization spokesman Joel Millman said the smuggling market is sensitive to external forces and smugglers take advantage of that by inducing vulnerable migrants to put their lives in their hands.

“These smuggler organizations obviously respond to deep, deep changes in the security situation of the sender countries," Millman said.

Millman said the going rate for a voyage across the Mediterranean Sea is between $2,000 and $4,000 a person.

“We hear things like half-a-million-dollar voyages where organizations can expect that kind of profit from moving several hundred migrants across a very short voyage," he said.

A profit of $500,000 is the amount the organization estimated smugglers made from the ship they deliberately rammed off the coast of Malta earlier this month, killing an estimated 500 migrants, including 100 children.

Only 11 people are known to have survived that deadly shipwreck. The ship was carrying Syrian, Palestinian, Egyptian and Sudanese migrants.

Since 2000, records showed nearly 6,000 migrant deaths occurred along the U.S.-Mexico border and 3,000 more deaths from such diverse migration routes as Africa’s Sahara Desert and the waters of the Indian Ocean.

The true number of fatalities worldwide is likely to be much higher than the data show.

The report said some experts believe for every dead body discovered there are at least two others never recovered.

The immigration organization also called for an end to what it calls an epidemic of crime and victimization by smugglers and traffickers who prey on desperate, vulnerable people.

Real estate-related services (paid category)

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Swimming pool at night
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8366-12/2/14

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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.
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8448-2/21/15




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  
 
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!
  Send us your request to our email: info@greciarealestate.com
8446-11/14/14

Real estate for sale (paid category)


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 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

Ringle
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.
8480-10/9/14


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 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/

rollover
Beautiful home and separate apartment
The land is 289 square meters with  329 square meters of construction. Three bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, 2 floors, covered parking, with room for  a second parking space. A first floor patio and a second floor balcony with view. Attached apartment rented for $500 per month. Live free. House valued, @ $330,000. asking price with agents is $295,000. With no agent, asking $279,000, negotiable. Must see to appreciate,  Contact: Wayne Winstead, burgbord@aol.com, 8820-1501/8379-7947
8462-9/25/14

Farm montage

Guanacaste, Liberia Farm
$64,000 NEGOTIABLE and owner financing available.
9 hectares (24 acres). Riverfront property and amazing views of 3 volcanoes.
 Contact: marinakuperman@gmail.com
8459-9/20/14

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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Tropical lots located walking distance to a beautiful white sandy beach
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These lots are located in a gated, private community with low HOA dues and offer amenities including a pool & rancho.  It is located close to Playa Conchal and Pirates beaches.  And only 20 minutes to the resort town of Tamarindo and an hour from Liberia International airport. Reserve your lot with only a $1,500 deposit.  We are offering Interest-free financing for 5 years for a limited time only. Contact: Christian  info@puntaplayavistas.com 
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8372-8/23/14

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For Sale: Fully Furnished OCEAN VIEW CONDOMINIUM
Reduced $199,999
Gorgeous 2-bedroom, 2-bath condo with private terrace offering spectacular ocean views and built energy green. This condo is located in a gated community with low HOA dues and offers amenities including a pool & rancho.  It is located close to a beautiful white, sandy beach. Only 20 minutes to the resort town Tamarindo and an hour from Liberia airport.  Luxury finishings: Pella double pane windows, AC & ceiling fans, Frigidaire stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, marble bathroom vanities, custom cabinets. Contact www.puntaplayavistas.com or email info@puntaplayavistas.com 
U.S. (732) 962-6525 or CR (506) 8349-2025
8271-8/23/14

Ad one grpahics
For Sale by Owner: Playa Conchal ocean view home reduced $339,999

Casa de Eden is  2,600 square feet with 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath, outdoor shower, private outdoor terrace and pool located only minutes from Playa Conchal.  The home is in a private, secure, gated community surrounded by nature and close to the resort town of Tamarindo, only an hour from Liberia airport.  The home is being offered fully furnished with: AC & ceiling fans, Frigidaire Professional series stainless steel appliances, granite kitchen countertops, marble bathroom vanities, custom wood cabinetry, internet, cable. 
Contact desmondproperties@gmail.com  U.S. (732) 984-7549
or CR (506) 8349-2025.
8370-8/3/14

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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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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 193
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Confronting those local plant pests

In a place where it’s always summer, we get summer problems all year-round.

Take fruit flies for example.  In New York and Georgia, they were a

Victoria torley
summer problem and sometimes not even that.  Why not? It’s because our fruit came from the supermarket, and they got it from growers and transporters who sprayed and fumigated and destroyed all the fruit fly eggs.  No self-respecting fruit fly would be found on peaches that had been treated that way.  Here, however, we get our produce 
from local farms, often delivered by the farmers themselves, or fresh from our own gardens, so the fruits and vegetables haven’t been treated quite so roughly.  Fruit flies abound.

Now there’s a problem that many people have never faced (unless they are of my advancing years) – the active fruit fly.  What to do, what to do….  I like to dunk the fruit and veggies into an all-natural solution of water and vinegar for about 15 minutes.  This not only washes them but inhibits decomposition and kills any fruit fly eggs. 

After the “bath,” just refrigerate the produce and the problem should be solved.  But, if you still see flies, try setting out a dish with apple cider vinegar, water and a drop of dish soap.  The flies are attracted to it and die in the solution.

Then there are those pesky house ants.  Some people call them “sugar ants” but no matter what the name, they are tiny black pests that will find any remnant of food that you left on the counter when cutting up fruit and any speck that fell on the floor.  Again, what to do? 

Boric acid is the solution for these pests.  Just mix it with any sort of jelly and put spots of it where you have seen the ants.  Or sprinkle boric acid powder where you see a trail of ants entering (or trying to enter) the house.  Boric acid powder also works on that very miserable pest, roaches.  Brrrrr.

But what about the garden?  My worst garden nightmare is one that tourists (and weren’t we all tourists once) always ooh and ah over.  “Oh look!  They’re so cute!  How can they carry all that?”  You guessed it, leaf-cutter ants.  Yuck.

Leaf-cutter ants are tiny, voracious, and too numerous to count.  They can range up to 152 meters (500 ft.) from their nest, which means a circle of 304 meters (1,000 feet) around the nest.  That’s a lot of territory. 

They climb trees, negotiate steep banks, cross streams on branches, and generally wreak havoc on any number of trees, shrubs, and flowers you so lovingly planted.  We have a lot of solutions (some actually work), however, they are for another day.  For now, here is the…


Plant of the Day

And this one is for you to identify, because it has us stumped here at the garden club. This is a shade lover, with leaves about 30 centimeters long that resemble those of that tabacón (it may be related to the tabacón).  The plant thrives in moist fertile soil and blooms in August.  If you can identify it, let me know. 

If you would like to suggest a topic for this column, simply send a letter to the editor.  And, for more garden tips, visit The Arenal Gardeners Facebook page.
mystery plant
A.M. Costa Rica/Victoria Torley




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From Page 7:

Two new categories for sustainability

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Restaurants and marine operators can now apply to be certified as a sustainable tourism venture.

The Instituto Costarricense de Turismo said that 312 tourism operators of various types had opted to obtain sustainability certifications.

The institute said that the creation of the new categories guarantees that the entire chain of value in the tourism sector has certifications.

The certification of restaurants also is a step in the creation of a Costa Rican cuisine, officials said.