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(506) 2223-1327                         Published Wednesday, April 16, 2014, in Vol. 14, No. 75                        Email us
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Rock Constructors


Money said to come from U.S. and not Chinese
Casinos dominate plan for solar farm in Guanacaste
By Michael Krumholtz
and Lou Kilzer
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A massive Guanacaste solar energy project, involving Frank Biden, the brother of the U.S. vice president and promoted as being a green development, will be anchored by three casinos that would take most of the budget.

A.M. Costa Rica has also learned that developers planned to finance that vast majority of the near-billion-dollar project with Chinese money — plans that they say recently changed.

Until now, the development had been promoted mostly as an elite residential project with a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course and a solar-powered energy farm. However, the actual budget allocates 72 percent to hotels and casinos, according to a Web page published by the developer, Sun Fund Americas.

Majority funding for the massive development touting hotel casinos, a country club, and a solar farm was once slated to come from a Chinese construction firm but is now expected from a U.S. casino developer, said Sun Fund President Craig S. Williamson Tuesday.

Williamson and his partner, Biden, head the operation that has remained largely stuck in neutral since its 2009 unveiling. Now funding is supposed to be spearheaded by Delta Blues Holdings LLC and its CEO Charles Preiser.

country club logo

“Preiser has $400 million to invest and a $400 million matching line of credit,” said Williamson in a phone interview Tuesday.

Sun Fund’s affiliated Web sites – listed under the names Guanacaste Country Club, Sun Fund Americas, and Virtus One – have been erratic in operation and this week were not functioning. Williamson said his Web sites are currently undergoing redesign in anticipation of a synced relaunching.

Chinese connection

Plans available as recently as last week in a Q&A on the Virtus One Web site detailed that up to 85 percent of the estimated $921 million budget for the Guanacaste Country Club was expected to come from Beijing Construction Engineering Co. Williamson said that developers have since moved on from the Chinese backing.

“Maybe in another country, but not in Costa Rica,” he said Tuesday evening of involvements with the Chinese firm. “For the template of this project model, we want this to be all U.S.-sponsored.”

This change marks a removal of nearly $750 million from the project. Figures taken from the Web site show that hotels and three casinos were to receive nearly five times more investment funds than the country club or solar farm.

Officials from Beijing Construction Engineering Co. have ties with the world’s largest bank, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, according to a March report from China Daily.

Beijing has historically limited its gambling investments to the domestic Macau area, which has fallen under notoriety for its penchant in attracting money laundering hidden from the nation’s tight currency controls.

The familiar name

The amount of real estate development
Nicklaus and Biden
pr.com photo
This is the famous photo issued Dec. 17, 2009, that shows golf great Jack Nicklaus and Frank Biden signing a deal for a golf course design.


experience that Biden has is still uncertain. Records show he was licensed to sell real estate in Florida in 2000. Though the license expired in 2004, it is still listed as active.

According to an Accurint report provided by the
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Biden filed for bankruptcy in 1994 and faced a Delaware state tax lien in 1997 for the sum of $61,528. Tax problems followed him into later years and in 2009 he was slapped with another lien for $32,500.

Biden has been active in involving the American Association of Retired Persons to gain member interest in the development, according to Williamson. He was also responsible for reaching an agreement in 2009 with Nicklaus Design in securing a Jack Nicklaus signature golf course. Last month a representative from Nicklaus Design said the company was still waiting on the funding before it began course construction.

Vice President Biden is no stranger to casinos. Last June, Mike Godfrey of Tax-News reported that the prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda met directly with Joe Biden in his Washington, D.C. office last May to specifically discuss an online gambling dispute between the United States and the Caribbean islands. The vice president's son at one time lobbied for casino interests.

Williamson said last month that no lots or properties have been sold on the land because directors are waiting to amp up marketing in the coming weeks. Information for pre-development packages had been listed on Guanacaste Country Club Web site. 

Although the Web sites still are down, there is a Guanacaste Country Club Facebook Page.

Casino money

Preiser began in the gaming industry in the 80s and has been heavily involved with the casino industry in Mississippi since Delta Blue’s founding 2003. However, news reports say that some of the casino projects have never taken off.

A powerpoint made by Delta Blues for presentation to Sun Fund representatives promises the creation of 1,185 direct jobs and nearly 10,000 indirect jobs as a result of the Guanacaste project. Preiser said he has been working with Williamson and Biden on this plan for the past several months.

“Delta is responsible for master planning and co-development for a commercial and support development,” said Preiser via email.

Guanacaste is the nation’s least populated province with 327,000 residents, according to the 2011 census.

About 63,000 live in Liberia some 10 minutes from the project. Liberia has an international airport.

Williamson and Biden, who have been friends of 15 years according to Biden, were formerly a part of ERA Real Estate in Latin America.


Empty homes are a big temptation for crooks
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Semana Santa and the Christmas season usually show an increase n home burglaries because many metro area dwellers head for the beaches or mountains. The crimes frequently are not discovered until the vacationers return.

By the time the homeowner reports the crime the stolen merchandise is well on its way to the pawn show or the flea market.
There is an axiom in Costa Rica that the most modern digital television sets and the most elaborate sound systems can be found in the homes of the lower classes.

These residents can get the equipment cheap because the neighbor is a house burglar.

Security experts suggest whole house alarm systems or that a trusted friend stay in the home over these holidays.

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Altosde
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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, April 16, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 75

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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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tourism center
A.M. Costa Rica/Abigail Reese           
Two bicycle police officers survey passers-by at the front
of the tourism center.


Downtown tourism center
gets 1,000 visitors monthly

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Though it's tucked away in an unlabeled building on Avenida Central’s downtown walkway, the tourism center is still drawing quite the crowd.

Andrés Indurrino, a representative from the tourist center, said Monday that the office receives more than 1,000 tourists each month. The center that is part of the Insituto Costarricense de Turismo gets an influx of mostly citizens from the United States, Germany, and Spain.

According to Indurrino, some travelers may stop in to pick up an informational pamphlet from the office’s library of travel brochures, but others can stay for hours to chat with representatives. The travel assistants are not allowed to receive payments from hotels or businesses to sponsor specific destinations, he said.

Two years ago the office moved from its spot at the front of the Museos del Banco Central at the Plaza de la Cultura.

The old location down the walkway received more traffic he said, but Instituto Costarricense de Turismo moved at the request of museum directors who wanted more space for exhibits.

The building is located on Avenida Central between Calle 1 and Calle 3 and houses an art gallery just past the office. Though it's closed for Semana Santa, the gallery will open again Monday.

The tourism center operates through the institute’s Web site at www.visitcostarica.com.

soccer field
Servicios Periodisticos photo               
New lights illuminate the soccer field in Los Angeles,
Nicoya, where municipal officials have invested 100 million colons, nearly $190,000, to light up seven soccer fields.


Iraq reported to lead world
in unsolved journalist killings


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A press freedom group says Iraq continues to lead the world in unsolved murders of journalists.

In its annual Impunity Index released Tuesday, the New York-based Committee for the Protection of Journalists ranked Iraq first for the seventh consecutive year, saying 100 journalists have been killed there in the last decade without any convictions.

The report cites four new murders last year in second-ranked Somalia, where the committee said journalists are being targeted at chilling levels. It said only one person has been convicted in 27 total killings.

The list includes 13 nations where at least five journalist murders have gone unsolved since 2004.

Syria appears for the first time this year, with seven journalists killed in deliberate attacks and no convictions. The committee issued a separate report in February naming Syria the most dangerous place on Earth for reporters.

Tuesday's report comes months after the United Nations adopted a resolution on the safety of journalists. It condemns all attacks, intimidation and harassment directed at journalists, and calls on governments to investigate those crimes and bring perpetrators to justice.

The index ranks the Philippines third, with 51 unsolved murders, followed by Sri Lanka, where the Committee for the Protection of Journalists says impunity plays a major role in journalists going into exile.

The other countries listed are Afghanistan, Mexico, Colombia, Pakistan, Russia, Brazil, Nigeria and India.

The Committee for the Protection of Journalists says 96 percent of the journalists killed are local reporters, and that at least 40 percent of them reported receiving threats before their deaths.

The report says those behind the killings are caught and prosecuted in fewer than 5 percent of the murders.


Undersea robot resuming
its search for missing jet


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A robotic submarine is continuing its search for wreckage from the missing Malaysian jetliner, a day after its initial mission was cut short because the waters were too deep.

The "Bluefin-21" submarine is using sonar to help create a three-dimensional image of the floor of the southern Indian Ocean, where the Boeing 777 is believed to have crashed.

The vehicle's initial mission Monday night was aborted after just six hours when it reached an area that exceeded its operating depth of 4,500 meters.

The Australian agency coordinating the search said Wednesday the submarine was redeployed after authorities found nothing of interest in the data from the first mission.

U.S. Navy officials have warned it could take up to two months for the submarine to search the 600-square kilometer area, which has never been mapped.

On the surface, a team of 14 aircraft and 11 ships continued Wednesday looking for debris and listening for black box signals, although authorities have warned that this effort will soon be ended.

It has now been a week since authorities last detected a signal they believe came from a locator beacon on the plane's flight data recorder, which is now presumed to have run out of batteries.

The Malaysia Airlines jet, carrying 239 people, vanished five weeks ago while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Malaysian officials think the plane was intentionally diverted, but have still refused to rule out other possibilities, including a massive mechanical malfunction.

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A.M. Costa Rica

Third News Page
 
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, April 16, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 75
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U.S.
                  Tax and
 
Tourism industry says its 22,000 jobs are at risk without moratorium
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

When the new administration takes over, President Luis Guillermo Solís is going to have to look past job losses caused by the exit of Intel Corp. and Bank of America. The tourist industry says that 22,000 jobs are at risk there.

The Asociacion Para La Proteccion Del Turismo is coming forward now with statistics, in an effort to attract the attention of the new administration, including the new minister of Turismo, Wilhelm Von Breymann Barquero.

And the statistics are grim. Some 782 hotels are behind in payments to the Caja Costarricense de Seguridad Social. Some 100 other hotels have simply closed, and 100 more are facing auctions by various banking institutions, said the tourism association.

There has been a string of closures since the economic downturn hit in 2008, but no one has given a count until recently. The hotels and other places of accommodation in trouble are generally the small to medium operations.

The Asociacion Para La Proteccion Del Turismo renewed its call for some sort of freeze on the debts owned by tourism operations. Tourism operators are upset by soaring utility cost and, until recently, the low value of the U.S. dollar.

A minority of the association members also think that the general government is not telling the truth when it says the country has received 2.4 million annual tourists

That is a number that probably can be found in the business plan of every new tourism enterprise. The tourism association said that 5,000 new hotel rooms that can accommodate 10,000 persons have
been constructed in the last three years. The country needs nearly 400,000 more tourists who stay for more than 10 days to fill those rooms, it said.

What many in the industry do not know is that the figures released by the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo include as tourists nearly everyone entering the country. The figures include more than 400,000 persons each year who come from Nicaragua. When Nicaraguans return to their homes here and jobs after Semana Santa, they will be counted as tourists for purposes of the statistics.

In addition to hotel operators, rental car agency executives also are reporting low expectations for Semana Santa and the coming low season.

The tourism institute has made some unusual marketing decisions. For example, the institute invested $500,000 in NBC for advertising during the winter Olympics. The institute also put money into advertising on various social networks, Google and Yahoo/Bing, it said Feb. 9.

One goal was to raise the Internet ranking of the institute's Web site with the online ads. Alexa, the Amazon subsidiary, tracks Web site visits, and said that the Institute's Web site, visitcostarica.com, was in 155,605th place worldwide when the campaign started.

Tuesday that ranking was 183,018.

Some of those in the tourism industry also are urging the government to open the door wider for tourists. The Asociacion Para La Proteccion Del Turismo Facebook site recounts the story of a 40-year-old female company executive from Perú who was denied entry for a trip to Manuel Antonio last week because her passport was only valid for four months instead of the required six. She was put on a return flight, the site said.


Injured raccoon demonstrates conflict between travel and nature
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A Costa Rica raccoon, the likely victim of a hit-and-run driver, stands a good chance of full recovery.

Neighbors found the injured creature Tuesday afternoon on the side of the InterAmericana Sur highway in Pinturas Sur, Daniel Flores, Pérez Zeledón. Since raccoons are nocturnal animals, the chances are that the animal was injured by the side of the road since before sunup.

Fuerza Pública officers and workers for the Ministerio del Ambiente y Energía joined forced to get the injured animal into a patrol car and to take it to a veterinarian.

Officials said that the animal will be returned to the wilds as soon as it recovers.

The raccoon is lucky because all sorts of creatures are victims of vehicle mishaps, and most do not survive.

A Clarkson University professor has noted that many of Costa Rica's parks are bisected by major highways. He said that this causes excessive mortality among animals who are traveling the natural corridors the parks provide.

The professor,  Tom Langen, said that he identified road kill hotspots in Costa Rica and passed this information on to transportation and park officials so they could find ways of reducing the animal deaths. That was in 2008, the university said.
mapache
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo
Injured raccoon on the way to the vet.

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, April 16, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 75
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Trans-Pacific Partnership will be a big boost for Vietnam's exporters
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

As China and its workers get wealthier, global manufacturers are looking south for less expensive places to do business. But Cambodia faces labor strikes. The Thai government suffers endless protests. Burma, also known as Myanmar, needs infrastructure updates. As a result, many companies are setting their sights on Vietnam.

Hundreds of them, in fact, descended on Ho Chi Minh City this weekend for Saigon Tex, a garment and textile expo. Sharing a border with China, Vietnam boasts geographic convenience, as well as political stability and low costs. Those attract companies like Spain-based Jeanologia, which showed off its laser-on-denim technology at the expo.

“It is becoming such an important hub for American and European brands,” Jeanologia area manager Borja Trenor Casanova said of Vietnam.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership helps, too. As one of 12 countries negotiating the trade pact, Vietnam stands to benefit most from a clause that would cut tariffs on textiles and apparel, which are among the nation’s top exports.

To take advantage of the tax reduction, foreign companies are shifting their factories to Vietnam. Nguyen Thi Cam Tu is general manager at Thach Anh Vang, which represents manufacturers from Germany, Turkey, the United States, and others. She said the partnership is part of the reason her company saw a 50 percent increase in annual turnover in 2013.

“I see a lot of investment going on, because we see quite a lot of inquiries recently,” Ms. Cam Tu said, as a giant yarn spinner roared at the vendor slot next to hers at the expo.
The growth is reflected across the country. Textile exports increased 20 percent in the first quarter of 2014, compared with the same period last year, according to the General Statistics Office.

While production and revenues have risen steadily, Vietnamese companies and officials recognize a gaping weakness in the garment industry: It buys most of its materials from other countries. The vice minister of industry and trade, Ho Thi Kim Thoa, told an audience at the expo that Vietnam must set targets to produce more fabrics on its own.

“These targets demonstrate an urgent need for technological innovation, improvement of quality control, labor management, environmental management, as well as improvement in the textile and garment supply chain in accordance with international standards,” Kim Thoa said.

If it doesn’t develop more local suppliers, Vietnam won’t be able to tap the full potential of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The agreement is likely to include a yarn-forward rule, which requires Vietnam to make clothes with materials from partnership member countries in order to receive tax-free import benefits.

But people are looking to improve the garment sector in other ways, too. Casanova said Jeanologia’s laser-printing is one of the technologies that could help Vietnam become a value-adding step in the production chain. The country, which achieved lower middle income status in 2010, is still very dependent on cheap labor. But to avoid the middle-income trap, it needs to find ways to add value to its exports. Casanova said it seems to want technology for that purpose, as well as to promote environmental sustainability in business.

 “Vietnam is showing interest in a change in the industry,” he said.


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When you visit Costa Rica, you'll want to discover what you need to know to  make the right choice about moving to this tropical paradise.  Our familiarization tours have won hard-earned credentials that prove general excellence and the right focus.  These are the only retirement tours that are licensed and approved by the Costa Rican government and tourism institute  (ICT). In 2006 we were featured on the NBC Today Show and World News.  In 2010, we won the  prestigious Latin America-Asia Travel Excellence Award for the Best and Most Unique Tour in Latin America.

   * Discover how to make the right choices about moving here
   * Find out how to live affordably
   * See how other expats live. Meet other expats who have made
          the move.
   * Access the country's affordable health care system
   * Informative two-day seminar given by local experts in their
          relevant fields.
   * Tours led by Christopher Howard, 34-year resident, citizen,
          and the author of "The New Golden Door to Retirement
          and  Living in Costa Rica – the Official Guide to Relocation”
 
Click HERE  to learn all about our Association of Residents (ARCR)  approved tours at www.liveincostarica.com
8317-5/7/14

Anywhere
Anywhere Costa Rica plans custom vacations, and has the most comprehensive travel services in the country including travel guides, resorts and vacation homesCosta Rica tours
and car rentals.  
Call 1-888.456.3212 or 2479-8811 locally.
8278-3/14/14


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

8300-9/1/14

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


Payless Car Rental
Excellent prices

at both Juan Santamaría airport in Alajuela
and Daniel Oduber airport
in Liberia.

 Click the logo to check availability.



Need a book about Costa Rica?


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HERE!

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Real estate rentals
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Real estate rental services (paid category)

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

Real estate for rent (paid category)

oranic farm
$800 plus utilities, 2-bedroom, 2-bath house, fully furnished, Internet included, cable TV available. Inside organic farm, safe and secure. In the country but close to town. Santa Barbara de Heredia, Email for more info and pictures. Long term, NO DOGS. organicfarmhouserental@gmail.com
8337-6/14/14

Rohrmoser/Pavas, 1-bedroom apartment, fully furnished, including kitchen utensils. Washer/dryer. Good security, private.
Tico Cable included, $500. Contact, Wayne Winstead, 8820-1501. Casa 2291-6371. Just need your clothes to move in.
8334-5/10/14

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.
8328-5/26/14

Gorgeous views, safe and peaceful, above Alajuela
 4-
bedroom, three-bath house for rent, near Pura Vida Yoga Center. Perfect weather, great views, nice neighbors. Two phone lines. Internet access through Cable Tica. Long-term rental only. $900 plus utilities. Click HERE for more information. Contact noelsusana@yahoo.com
8299-5/1/14

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.
8313-5/1/14

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.
8267-8/17/14

house
                                                photo
Beautiful single studio apartment for rent in Guacima, Alajuela. 20 minutes from airport, San José or Alajuela and 30 minutes from Heredia. near Caldera highway, Route 27.  $500 a month. All services included (Internet, water, electricity, security). very private, very quiet, green areas. High resolution photos in Flickr HERE! Email: jlayne1933@aol.com or yo@nehemiascr.com
8325-5/21/14

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

  rentals.sanjose@gmail.com
8327-4/26/14

100 houses

CARIARI AND LINDORA areas, nice garden apartments, furnished or not, ideal for small family, couple/singles. US $1,000 and up. Email  1000houses@ice.co.cr   Tel. 8383-6388.
8241-3/7/14

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

Villas Casa Loma has everything you are looking for.  Best vistas, climate, value.  Four unique homes in a secure private compound on a ridge near Alajuela overlooking the entire Central Valley.  Two are available fully furnished and equipped, each a complete home accommodating 4 persons in two bedrooms with ensuite baths.  Pool, rancho, mirador, other features.  Ask about part-month rates.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at gerrybuilt2000@yahoo.com.  See virtual tour of accommodations HERE!
Get to know the real Costa Rica – you may want to live here someday.
9229-3/3/14

Los Arcos gated community 2 bedroom 2 bath apartment $500 monthly. aAso efficiency apartment $300 month. dogfood@carolina.rr.com 8841-1606
8222-2/21/14




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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, April 16, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 75
Sports
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Cafetales



New York police stop spying
on Muslims from undercover 


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The New York Police Department announced Tuesday that it has disbanded a clandestine unit of plainclothes detectives who ran detailed, invasive spying operations targeting the city’s Muslim communities.
 
The surveillance program by the department's Intelligence Division had come under fire by community activists who accused the police of abusing civil rights.
 
The program relied on plainclothes officers to eavesdrop on people in bookstores, restaurants and mosques.
 
The Demographics Unit, as the surveillance squad was known, operated in various neighborhoods both inside and outside the city, analyzing and mapping religious institutions, social clubs, recreational facilities and events and all-around everyday life.
 
A series of articles by the Associated Press news agency, in 2011, revealed the systematic spying by the New York police as part of a broad effort to watch communities where terror cells might operate.  Individuals and groups were monitored even when there was no evidence they were linked to terrorism or crime.
 
Since then, the Muslim community and various civil rights groups have demanded the program be stopped.


Ex-Italian prime minister
gets community service


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

An Italian court has ordered former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to spend the next year helping the elderly in a church-run nursing home as part of his conviction for tax fraud.

Berlusconi will spend four hours a week at the home outside Milan, keeping the residents company and taking them to religious services.

The former prime minister is still barred from parliament and running for political office, but he is allowed to take part in political campaigns and make restricted trips to Rome.

A court sentenced Berlusconi to four years in prison last year for tax fraud. It later cut the sentence to a year of community service.

It was the first time the ex-prime minister was sentenced after numerous trials on charges ranging from fraud to having sex with an teenage prostitute.

Berlusconi is one of Italy's richest men and still a major political force. He says all the charges against him were engineered by liberal political enemies.

Ricardo Martinelli, the president of Panamá, was swept up in the investigation with allegations that he partied with Berlusconi and used drugs. He denied the allegation.


Arctic moth study suggests
hidden variable protects them


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A 32-year study of subarctic forest moths in Finnish Lapland suggests that scientists may be underestimating the impacts of climate change on animals and plants because much of the harm is hidden from view.

The study analyzed populations of 80 moth species and found that 90 percent of them were either stable or increasing throughout the study period, from 1978 to 2009. During that time, average annual temperatures at the study site rose 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit, and winter precipitation increased as well.

"You see it getting warmer, you see it getting wetter and you see that the moth populations are either staying the same or going up. So you might think, 'Great. The moths like this warmer, wetter climate.' But that's not what's happening,'' said ecologist Mark Hunter of the University of Michigan.

Hunter used advanced statistical techniques to examine the roles of different ecological forces affecting the moth populations and found that warmer temperatures and increased precipitation reduced the rates of population growth.

"Every time the weather was particularly warm or particularly wet, it had a negative impact on the rates at which the populations grew," said Hunter, of the university's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

"Yet, overall, most of these moth populations are either stable or increasing, so the only possibility is that something else other than climate change — some other factor that we did not measure — is buffering the moths from substantial population reductions and masking the negative effects of climate change."

The findings have implications that reach beyond moths in Lapland.

If unknown ecological forces are helping to counteract the harmful effects of climate change on these moths, it's conceivable that a similar masking of impacts is happening elsewhere. If that's the case, then scientists are likely underestimating the harmful effects of climate change on animals and plants, Hunter said.

"We could be underestimating the number of species for which climate change has negative impacts because those effects are masked by other forces," he said.

Hunter and six Finnish colleagues report their findings in a paper scheduled for online publication in the journal Global Change Biology.

The study was conducted at the Värriö Strict Nature Reserve, 155 miles north of the Arctic Circle and less than four miles from the Finnish-Russian border. The nearest major road is more than 60 miles away.

Between 1978 and 2009, Finnish scientists used light traps at night to catch 388,779 moths from 456 species. Eighty of the most abundant species were then analyzed.

Hunter used a statistical technique called time series analysis to examine how various ecological forces, including climate, affected per capita population growth.

Scientists want to know how climate change will impact insects because the six-legged creatures play key roles as agricultural pests, pollinators, food sources for vertebrates, vectors of human disease, and drivers of various ecosystem processes.

Researchers believe that butterflies and moths may be particularly susceptible to population fluctuations in response to climate change — especially at high latitudes and high elevations.

Most recent studies of moth abundance have shown population declines. So Hunter and his colleagues were surprised to find that 90 percent of the moth species in the Lapland study were either stable or increasing.

On one level, the results can be viewed as a good news climate story: In the face of a rapid environmental change, these moths appear to be thriving, suggesting that they are more resilient than scientists had expected, Hunter said.

But the other side of that coin is that unknown ecological forces appear to be buffering the harmful effects of climate change and hiding those impacts from view. The results also demonstrate that "simple temporal changes in population abundance cannot always be used to estimate effects of climate change on the dynamics of organisms," the authors conclude.

"The big unknown is how long this buffering effect will last," Hunter said. "Will it keep going indefinitely, or will the negative effects of climate change eventually just override these buffers, causing the moth populations to collapse?"

Another big unknown: What ecological forces are currently buffering the Lapland moths from the negative effects of a warming climate?

Finnish team members who've been collecting moths at the Värriö reserve for decades say they have noticed a gradual increase in tree and shrub density, increased rates of tree growth, and a rise in the altitude of the tree line.

Trees provide food and shelter for moths, and leaf litter offers overwintering sites and resting areas away from predators. Perhaps the observed vegetation changes are helping to offset the negative effects of warmer temperatures and increased precipitation. That possibility was not analyzed in the current study.


U.S. work visa quota filled
in week and draws criticism


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. government has held its annual lottery for H-1B visas and the lucky 85,000 winners and their employers will be notified soon.

The winners, from among more than 172,000 foreign citizen applicants, will be granted three-year visas to work for companies who have already agreed to sponsor them.

Most of these potential workers are already here.  More often than not, they are recent graduates from U.S. universities with a bachelor’s degree or higher in technical fields requiring a highly-specialized knowledge.

Typically, these specialty fields include IT, engineering, and science.

The program has been in existence since Congress passed the Immigration Act of 1990.  The law currently limits the number of visas to 85,000 each year.

“This year we met the congressionally-mandated cap within the first week. Last year we met it within the first week,” said spokesman Bill Wright of the U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.  He notes it has become more competitive every year.

Still, Wright said potential foreign employees should not be discouraged.

“I would prepare well in advance – and employers should be prepared as well,” he said.

The next deadline is April 1, 2015, and Wright advises a good place to start is the immigration web site.

U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch thinks the program falls short.  He contends even more foreign workers should be given visas.

“Here we are four months into the year, yet we are closing the door on highly-skilled foreign workers, many of whom are American-trained.  And then we push them out of our country because of stupid laws,” Hatch said in an interview.

“These are people that we educated here, who want to stay here and work in their fields of expertise. They want to help American companies grow the American economy,” he added.

Hatch said U.S.-based companies tell him there is a huge need for graduates in science, technology, engineering and math.

“What you see and hear from the tech community is that there are not enough Americans trained and ready to fill these jobs," he said. "We can’t continue to hope that American companies won’t move these jobs overseas.”

Hatch has introduced the Senate's bipartisan Immigration Innovation Act of 2013, a law that would increase the cap in the H-1B program to as many as 300,000 foreign workers.

“Our proposal will allow them to stay here, and down the line – if I had my way – give them the opportunity to apply for citizenship,” he said.  “If I had my way, we’d be much more open to immigration.  There’s a lot of reason for us to do this.”

Because employers may petition for permanent residence for their H-1B employees, the visa is sometimes described as a bridge to immigration that will keep the smartest foreign workers in the U.S. permanently and thus, the argument goes, improve the nation’s competitiveness.
 
A number of studies dispute the claims from industry that Hatch cites about the shortage of American graduates.  David North, a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, offers figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Department of Education to show that America has more high-tech college graduates than needed to fill high-tech jobs.
 
So who’s right?  The arguments suggest it all depends on how you crunch the numbers.  The business-friendly Wall Street Journal provides some believable insight, noting high-tech businesses want to continue to staff their operations “with Indian expatriates who earn significantly less than their American counterparts.”

More than a dozen studies charge the visa program serves as a subsidy for corporations, paying their H-1B employees less than the prevailing wage required by law.

Ron Hira, a professor of public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology, is blunt in his criticism of the H-1B visa program.  He calls it a program to hire foreign workers rather than Americans. 
 
“Rather than keeping jobs from leaving our shores, the H-1B does the opposite, by facilitating offshoring and providing employers with cheap, temporary labor – while reducing job opportunities for American high-tech workers in the process,” said Hira in a 2013 blog he wrote for the Economic Policy Institute.

Whether the H-1B visa program is good for the United States is a matter of opinion.  But the large number of foreign workers wishing to obtain an H-1B visa does argue for the huge desire to work in the United States.


Boston remembers, celebrates
Marathon bombing tragedy


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

It has been one year since twin bombs exploded near the finish line of the annual Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 260 others. Tuesday, the large city in the northeastern part of the United States paused to honor the victims and salute the emergency workers who came to their assistance in the frantic moments after the blasts.

The horrific events of April 15, 2013, are clear in the minds of thousands of marathon runners, Boston residents and Americans throughout the country. The shocking blasts were sudden - two home-made pressure cooker bombs filled with nails and other shrapnel tore through the runners finishing the race and the crowd of spectators cheering them on from the sidelines.

But now, a year later, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said at a memorial in Boston that the city's resilience is a symbol of Americans' will to gain new strength in the face of adversity, much like when the U.S. was hit by terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

"You have become the face of America's resolve, not unlike what happened on 9/11. You've become the face of America's resolve, for the whole world to see," he said.

One of the bombing victims who lost a leg in the explosions, dancer Adrianne Haslet-Davis, said survivors have provided support for each other as they recovered from their injuries.

"We find peace in providing a shoulder to cry on, a warm embrace and a hand to hold in the crowd," she said.

Authorities are planning a massive display of security next Monday to protect 36,000 runners and hundreds of thousands of spectators at the 2014 Boston Marathon. Biden said the 118th running of the race will show the world and would-be terrorists  that the U.S. does not back down when it is attacked.

"America will never, ever, ever stand down. We are Boston. We are America. We respond. We endure. We overcome and we own the finish line," Biden said.

Police say that two ethnic Chechen brothers who had lived in the United States for a decade, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, carried the bombs in backpacks to the Boston street near the finish line before detonating them. Days later, Tamerlan was killed in a gun battle with police and Dzhokhar was found hiding in a boat parked in the backyard of a suburban Boston home. Authorities say he left a hand-scrawled confession inside the boat that said the bombings were retaliation for the U.S. killing of Muslims in American-led wars overseas.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, now 20, is in a U.S. prison. He is awaiting trial on multiple charges, including use of a weapon of mass destruction, that carry the death penalty if he is convicted.


Board games more popular
among young adults in U.S.


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games.  This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation, those born in the 1980s and 90s. 

Unlike many cafés, the food and drinks here are an afterthought. There is also no wifi at GameHäus Café.  Many of the customers like it that way. Roxanne Lee and her husband Agassi Lai are spending a mentally stimulating evening here without the interference of any phones or computers.

“I think it’s very interesting for spending quality time together so that’s why I like it," said Lee.

Opened November of 2013 in Los Angeles, GameHäus Café is dedicated to board games, and business is booming says co-owner Robert Cron.

“We are in the black since month one," said Cron.

Out of more than 750 game titles here, Agassi Lai chooses one called “Escape The Curse Of The Temple.”

“You keep rolling the dice and try to move to different places and try to escape the temple," said Lai.

Lai used to be a big video gamer.  But everything changed after he discovered board games a few years ago.

“I would choose board games over video games any day," he said.

Lai and almost all of the customers playing board games at the cafe belong to the so-called millennial generation, which includes people between eighteen and 32 years old.  Market research firm Euromonitor International says this demographic is increasingly embracing board games and driving up U.S. sales.  Twenty-three-year-old Weland Bourne is one of them.

“I think more with my generation, they’re wanting to take time. They’re wanting to take it slowly and I think too video games have kind of lost their glamour," said Bourne.

However, these millenials are not playing the classic American games they grew up with, choosing instead new games from Europe.  GameHäus Café co-owner Terry Chiu says many of these strategy-based “Euro games” have become popular around the world because they are not language based.  They use symbols  and have simple rules.

“Because of the rise of European games, or Euro games or German games as they might also be known, in the last 15 to 20 years, it’s sort of become universal. There are certain titles that have crossed a lot of cultures to really capture the imaginations of a lot of different people," said Chiu.

In the next year, Euromonitor International expects global sales of board games and puzzles to grow by more than 1 percent.  Still no match video game sales, which are expected to grow 6 percent.

While many board games also have popular corresponding mobile apps, many millennials, including Kristie Nehme, say there is one thing a board game can offer that a video game cannot.

“The more personal aspect of just being with friends and see each other in person that’s probably the main difference, the main appeal," said Ms. Nehme.

Toy Industry Association’s Adrienne Appell says one of the biggest toy trends reported this year is that people are preferring more traditional toys. The reason for this, she says, is that the new generation just wants to put down the phone, put down the tablet and connect face-to-face with other people.


Everest Trek gives a clue
on preventing diabetes II

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Using the world's highest mountain, Mount Everest, as an outdoor laboratory, a group of British researchers has identified a mechanism involved in the development of adult onset diabetes.  Experts say the findings could lead to development of treatments to prevent the disease.

At more than 8,800 meters above sea level, Mount Everest in Nepal is the world’s highest peak.  Climbers require supplemental oxygen because the air is so thin. Hypoxia, or lack of blood oxygen, is a risk factor for the onset of Type 2 diabetes.

So, researchers with the Mount Everest project sought to identify the mechanisms by which low oxygen levels contribute to disease in patients who are critically ill with diabetes.

Mike Grocott, a professor of anesthesia and critical care medicine at Southampton University, led the study, which began at an Everest base camp 5,300 meters above sea level.

The expedition included about 200 climbers.  But Grocott says researchers focused on 24 individuals who underwent assessments of glucose control, body weight changes and inflammation biomarkers.  The measurements were taken at six weeks and again at two months.  Eight climbers then continued their trek to the peak.

In the low oxygen environment, Grocott says the participants' insulin levels began to rise, indicating their bodies were becoming insulin resistant.

There also was an increase in biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress, or cellular damage, similar to what’s seen in people with Type 2 diabetes.

On the ground, Grocott says the findings suggest treatments might be developed to prevent the disease.

“Helping to control the tendency towards diabetes may be interventions that are focusing on either the development of this oxidative stress or this inflammation,” says Grocott.

In an article published in the journal PLoS ONE, investigators report the abnormal biomarkers, caused by the extreme altitude, were reversed once the participants came off the mountain.

Many people who develop diabetes suffer from sleep apnea, in which their airways become obstructed, sometimes hundreds of times per night.

“That is likely to predispose them to certainly intermittent hypoxia during sleep.  And that may be something that is contributing toward this tendency to develop Type 2 diabetes,” says Grocott.

Grocott says investigators are now comparing the climbers, most of whom were Caucasian, to the Sherpa to see whether genetic differences protect the indigenous Nepalese population from diabetes.


Even casual marijuana use
alters brain, MIR study says


By the Society for Neuroscience news staff

The size and shape of two brain regions involved in emotion and motivation may differ in young adults who smoke marijuana at least once a week, according to a study published April 16 in The Journal of Neuroscience. The findings suggest that recreational marijuana use may lead to previously unidentified brain changes, and highlight the importance of research aimed at understanding the long-term effects of low to moderate marijuana use on the brain.

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States, with an estimated 18.9 million people reporting recent use, according to the most current analysis of the National Survey on Drug Use and Mental Health. Marijuana use is often associated with motivation, attention, learning, and memory impairments. Previous studies exposing animals to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the main psychoactive component of marijuana — show that repeated exposure to the drug causes structural changes in brain regions involved with these functions. However, less is known about how low to moderate marijuana use affects brain structure in people, particularly in teens and young adults.

In the current study, Jodi Gilman, Anne Blood and Hans Breiter of Northwestern University and Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to compare the brains of 18- to 25-year olds who reported smoking marijuana at least once per week with those with little to no history of marijuana use. Although psychiatric evaluations ruled out the possibility that the marijuana users were dependent on the drug, imaging data revealed they had significant brain differences. The nucleus accumbens — a brain region known to be involved in reward processing — was larger and altered in its shape and structure in the marijuana users compared to non-users.

“This study suggests that even light to moderate recreational marijuana use can cause changes in brain anatomy,” said Carl Lupica, who studies drug addiction at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and was not involved with this study. “These observations are particularly interesting because previous studies have focused primarily on the brains of heavy marijuana smokers and have largely ignored the brains of casual users.”

The team of scientists compared the size, shape, and density of the nucleus accumbens and the amygdala — a brain region that plays a central role in emotion — in 20 marijuana users and 20 non-users. Each marijuana user was asked to estimate their drug consumption over a three-month period, including the number of days they smoked and the amount of the drug consumed each day.  The scientists found that the more the marijuana users reported consuming, the greater the abnormalities in the nucleus accumbens and amygdala. The shape and density of both of these regions also differed between marijuana users and non-users.

“This study raises a strong challenge to the idea that casual marijuana use isn’t associated with bad consequences,” Breiter said.

This research was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Counterdrug Technology Assessment Center, and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.




Real estate-related services (paid category)

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Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)


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8294-6/12/14

Re/Max, the Pacific coast expert
Re/Max offers comprehensive Costa Rica Real Estate, vacation rental and relocation services. Our award-winning team is the largest in the country, and can show you the best lifestyle and financial investment properties in the most desirable locations including prime real estate in Tamarindo, Langosta, Conchal, Flamingo, Pinilla, Coco, Hermosa and Playa Panama.  Give us a call in Costa Rica at 506-2653-0073, or toll free from the U.S. and Canada 1-800-385-5930. Re/Max, the name you trust for the finest real estate services in Costa Rica.
8206-5/18/14

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
8321-10/17/14



Costa Rica,

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





Visit our Web Site:
 www.greciarealestate.com




English: (Cristian Arce)
(506) 8309-0173  
English:  (Luis Arce)
(506) 7100-8489  
 Español: (Luis G. Jiménez)
  (506) 8707-4016  
Grecia 794
This is the BIGGEST DEAL of the month now at $850.000: HERE!
30,000 square meters of land and 750 square-meters of construction.
Grecia home
1,000 square meters of land, 350 square meters of construction.  CLICK HERE
Grecia 807
  18,000 square meters of land and 300 square meters of construction. HERE!
  Send us your request to our email: info@greciarealestate.com
8245-5/12/14

Real estate for sale (paid category)


Beautiful Survival Farm with panoramic Pacific views
In the heartland of one of the world's five blue zones, Nicoya. 12 acres with ample space for planting, natural forest, own perennial waters, public road yet hidden access, electricity. Fire sale 59,000 USD   axelspecial@gmail.com
8333-5/9/14

covered patio
Another 'live in the view' home in Puriscal
$173,900 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.
8310-7/1/14

Beautiful fully renovated house in Bello Horizonte, Escazu, 446 sq. meters. Four bedrooms; four baths. Price includes all furniture and fixtures - ready to move in! Light, bright and airy....$499,500 USD. Telephone 2288.6451. More details HERE!
8309-6/29/14

Atenas mansion
ATENAS!!
In 2006, the developer of a popular subdivision in Atenas chose a large 7,000 m2 corner view lot for his first spec home. Now, eight years later that home is once again for sale with first class tropical landscaping that much more mature. With 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 2-car carport, laundry room, and more than 300 m2 under roof next to a pristine pool, this home is located in a gated community with its own water sources. And the location, just 1 1/4 km from town, is convenient to shopping and services, too. The views are of  Candelaria and the central valley. No wonder this community is so popular! $495,000. More photos HERE. And then contact  larry@atenasrealty.com
8306-4/26/14

Med house
Mediterranean inspired home overlooking the Bay of Nicoya and Pacific Ocean.  This design allows for barrier-free living, yet maximizes views from every room in the house . Vaulted ceiling over the living area and kitchen give the great room its spacious, open feeling with a natural stone fireplace and imported Spanish tile floors.  $365,000.00 or rent for $900 per month including WIFI and PLUS utilities.  Long term rentals only please.  Property: 22,000 m2 or 5.5 acres. Construction: 4,500 sq. ft. including porches and garage.  3 bedrooms/ 2 baths.  Fully furnished   Automatic entry gate.   Custom exotic wood cabinets   High end stainless steel appliances   Granite counter tops  Slide show at   
 www.picturetrail.com/sfx/album/view/24055899   
For more information contact:  deeday214@gmail.com
8305-6/26/14

Belen home
Comfortable in Costa Rica
Asuncion de Belen. Home in exclusive Residencial La Jolla.  Gated community with controlled access,  security 24/7. Resort swimming pool and gym. Spacious and elegant finishes, private jacuzzi and social areas. 3 bedrooms. 2.5 baths.  Private gardens. Conveniently located close to airport, shopping, bilingual schools, Intel and Duty Free Zones. 322m2 on 249m2 corner lot. Lease with purchase option  $3,400/ $428,000 USD. Contact owner at 8309-2000 for details or email rafa@rafacr.com.
9304-4/3/14

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.
8269-5/27/14

Five bedrooms
Puntarenas City, Puntarenas
Beach home central Pacific Ocean
Five bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths plus guest house
Features include out door BBQ, swimming pool, plus on the beach.  The home is completely furnished including all linens, kitchen cook ware, pots, pans, all dishes and much much more. Each room is individually air conditioned.  Office with all connections for WiFi,  Hot water in bathrooms, kitchen and laundry room.  Fully furnished. Includes all linens, TV’s, refrigerator/freezer, dish washer, microwave, electric stove/oven, washer & dryer and many “as seen on TV” appliances   Will consider trade for U.S. Property.  Asking  $250,000. 
Call Gary 8784-2945  English only, or email  combrokers@aol.com
8259-8/25/14

Tiliran property
Turnkey commercial/apartment building for sale in San Luis, Tilaran, Guanacaste. In a corporation. 100 percent occupancy and all permits in place. Great opportunity to gain investor status residency. New construction - 2012. Consists of three studio apartments upstairs with lake view and 4 storefronts on ground level, including laundry service, soda, consigment store. Comes with purchase or start your own business while you live in one of the apartments. $308,000. Please email tierrasmorenaslou@yahoo.com
8257-8/17/

Balcony view
This is a great opportunity
Get your home in one of the best locations. Four-bedroom condo near Universidad de Costa Rica, ULatina & UFidelitas   $170,000. USD.  24/7 gate security with in-home alarm, three levels, parking for two cars and play area for children. First Level: Living room/dining room, kitchen with breakfast bar, laundry room, patio/garden with roof, storage area, & guest bathroom. Second Level: Large master bedroom with full bathroom and walk-in closet, two additional bedrooms, linen closet, full bathroom. Third Level: Large fourth bedroom or TV room, full bath, large storage attic, spacious roofed balcony and breathtaking views of mountains to the east, south, west. Call Bill   (English) C.R. Phone: (506) 6011-6987 / U.S. Phone:  (630) 886-4458 . C.R. Spanish  phone number: (506) 8799-4041  or  (506) 8363-9898.  Email: sjogringo@yahoo.com
8253-5/12/14

Los Reyes home
House for sale in La Guacima, Alajuela
Located on 9th tee of Los Reyes Country Club. Club offers golf, tennis (6 courts), swimming pool, gym and restaurant. Easy access to schools, shopping, hospitals & Caldera highway. One hour to Pacific beaches. House price: US $450,000.00. Contact Bill, Phone 506 -8878-9221  Email: losreyes191@gmail.com Click on the link below for photos and additional details:
https://plus.google.com/photos/105244969603261154850/
8240-8/6/14

NOW REDUCED TO $595,000
ALAJUELA – PRIVATE COMPOUND OF 4 HOMES - $850,000 TURNKEY
Spectacular view property on a ridge near Alajuela.  Large home and 3 rental homes totaling 7,300 square feet (678 square meters) live-in construction.  Property area is 3,376 square meters (0.83 acres) including a vacant lot for expansion options.  In total there are 10 bedrooms, each with an ensuite bath.  Property has pool, rancho, mirador, courtyard and covered parking.  Homes have romantic fireplaces, built-ins, storage, other luxury features.  Turnkey sale includes all appliances, furniture, fixtures, equipment.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at gerrybuilt2000@yahoo.com.  See property video here:

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:
8230-3/13/14

Land near Monte de La Cruz, 27 hectors+, Must sell for best offer due to cancer, dogfood@carolina.rr.com 8841-1606
8223-2/21/14

St. Michael
Ocean View estates inside a gated community from $5.94 M2.  Properties start at 39K. NO HOA FEES.  Community salt water modern waterfall swimming pools, organic vegetable gardens, exotic flower gardens, food forest, mature orchards, fresh fish from aquaponics, stables, community center, and much more.  Each lot comes with an edible landscaping including pineapples, plantains, papayas, guanabanas, bananas, and more.  Most lots already have mature mango, lemon, orange, or caimito trees.  This is the most secure community in CR with multiple sources of water, electric, and high speed internet.      www.saintmichaelscostarica.com
8215-7/14/14

complex
Located in Jacó at Barrio Ricos y Famosos
in Calle Europa, Casa Shangri La.
Main house: 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, 270 square meters, 2 condominiums 2 bedrooms, one bath, 110 square meters, plus one small apartment: One bedroom, one bath. Huge pool, carport for five cars. plus double garage, rancho with pool bathroom, gymnasium, laundry room, pool plumbing room, huge dog house in separate 500-square-meter garden with aviary for guacamayas (we have three birds) 60 meters of river front of Río Copey with a 4-meter-high protective and retention stone wall. Eight surveillance camera CCTV system with Internet access from anywhere. Over 2-meter-high brick wall all around the property with two layers of razor wires on top, the safest place to be! Electronic entrance gate, door phone, five telephone lines, high-speed Internet wireless access everywhere. Beautiful gardens with many fruit trees. Built to highest standard by German owner in 2005,  room for two more apartments, plans approved. Less then a 10 minutes walk to the beach and or center of Jaco. Price $ 1,350.000 negotiable. All fittings and furniture. German-built, excellent quality and well maintained. 70% owner financing available. More photos on request HERE!  Email: wolfganghilbich@yahoo.com  cell 8838-2081 or home 2643-2979.
8200-4/3/14

Rich Coast montage
Real Estate, Central Pacific Region
RichCoastRealty.com

Central Pacific between Jacó and Quepos-Manuel Antonio
Lots in gated community near the beach  from $17,999! Only 3 left
2-bedroom house in gated community was $120k now $99,900
3-bedroom house with 2 additional residential lots, walk to the beach $160k
Turnkey coffee shop/ bakery, corner location, great ROI! $65k
2-bedroom panoramic oceanview house, guesthouse on 2.5 acres $269k
Panoramic oceanview  property, 3 houses, on-ground pool $375k
And much more!!!

     www.RichCoastRealty.com
   USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
   CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891
   Brendan@RichCoastRealty.com
8191-4/30/13


Gulf road

Beachfront pristine five-hectare (13-acre) property

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

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

Becker montage
Beach property on the Pacific Ocean in Guanacaste.

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

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

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


Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

Business for sale or lease (paid category)
Gingerbread Boutique Hotel and Fine Restaurant For Sale
botique hotel
A very  famous, highly regarded unique lake view themed boutique hotel consisting of three air conditioned suites with satellite TV and high speed Internet, two themed cottages with garden showers, one large super suite with kitchen and garden shower, managers apartment, restaurant rated one of the best restaurants in Costa Rica {see reviews} and the premier real estate office at Lake Arenal,which puts all its clients in to the hotel, plus room for additional lake view rooms and a pool, all less than a mile from Nuevo Arenal and the public park on the lake.  Go to the Web site for photos and complete information  at  www.gingerbreadarenal.com  This is the finest boutique hotel in Costa Rica in one of the fastest growing areas of all of Central America.  Sale opportunity $750,000.   Contact to :
Terry Moran, Owner Email: moranrealestate@gmail.com 
Office phone: 506 2694-0088  Cell phone: 506 8880-8888 
USA # rings in Costa Rica:  305 307-0088
8263-8/20/14

Tanning montage
This is your chance to acquire a totally equipped tanning salon with five machines.  Fantasia Tropical has been open 14 years but the founder needs to retire and return to the U.S. for medical reasons.  You can assume the lease in Sabana West buying the S.A. or buy the assets and move them to a location you prefer. Taxes, permits, bank accounts all in order. Excellent opportunity for an energetic, creative hands-on owner or couple. Long-time manager available to stay on if desired. With an asking price of $30,000 this won't
last long.  Some owner financing may be available.  Contact galanses@hotmail.com for an appointment. For a preview www.facebook.com/FantasiaTropicalCR
8232-2/24/14

A successful, local, long-running business for sale.
In the nine years of operation, this company has grown to cover the entire Southern Pacific Zone, and opened the door to further penetration in San José, Manuel Antonio and Osa Peninsula areas. And it is the only one of its kind with no comparable competition. With the extensive groundwork that has already been achieved, the business is now poised to expand into a new level of success. Operating since 2005, the owner is retiring to another Latin American country. It is now time to turn the business over to a new owner who could expand it to even greater success. Details on the business, its history, a strategic analysis of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, as well as a pro-forma income statement from 2008 through to 2013 are available upon request to aha_jm@yahoo.com.
8213-2/13/14

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

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.

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page


San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, April 16, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 75
Sports
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News from the BBC up to the minute









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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Gunmen fired 25 times
in Limón attempted murder


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Three men with heavy weapons spotted a rival outside his home in Limoncito Tuesday morning and fired at him 25 times, judicial agents said.

The victim, identified by the last name of Salas, not only survived but was reported in satisfactory condition at the Hospital Tony Facio in Limón Centro.

Investigators had enough information on the make and model of the car in which the gunmen fled that they were able to locate it not long after the 9 a.m. shooting.

Agents reported that they detained three men, all in their 20s, and confiscated two AK-47 firearms and cartridges.

The men are facing attempted murder allegations.


confiscated
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía
y Seguirdad Pública photo
These are the items confiscated at Buenos Aires.

Untaxed alcohol, cigarettes
targeted by Fuerza Pública


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Fuerza Pública officers in the southern part of the country are paying special attention to vehicles coming from Panamá.

Police have confiscated three loads of alcohol and cigarettes in Coto Brus and Buenos Aires over the last four days.

One motorist was carrying 120 cans of beer. A second stopped in Sabanillas had 55 bottles of alcohol and 98 packs of cigarettes.

A third confiscation took place in the InterAmericana Sur at El Brujo, Buenos Aires. The motorist had 1,210 bottles of alcohol, police said. Officers were accompanied by tax police.

Costa Rican News
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From Page 7:

China's economy grows slower than expected

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

China's economy grew 7.4 percent in the first quarter of this year, the slowest rate in 18 months for the world's second biggest economy.

The growth rate exceeded what economists were expecting, but was still down from the 7.7 percent growth rate in the last three months of 2013.

Beijing set a modest target of 7.5 percent growth for 2014, as it transitions toward a more sustainable economy based on domestic consumption.

Chinese leaders appear for the moment to be tolerating the current pace of weaker growth, and have ruled out any major stimulus.

Earlier this month, though, China unveiled a modest stimulus package, ramping up spending on a railway project and low-cost housing.

China's economy is attempting to rebound from a prolonged slowdown, which follows three decades of staggering growth.