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  1. MANAGUA, Nicaragua — Nicaraguan police have dispersed anti-government protesters in the capital with tear gas, injuring two people. Carrying blue and white balloons, demonstrators on Saturday gathered at several locations in Managua to condemn the death of a teenager during a 2018 march against the administration of President Daniel Ortega. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights condemned via Twitter what it described as “state violence against protesters” on Saturday. Hundreds of Nicaraguans have been killed, jailed or forced into exile since protests against Ortega erupted in April 2018.
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  2. Nicaragua has everything that Costa Rica has to offer — the same Pacific coastline, the same crashing surf, the same rain forest, the same bio-diversity — plus a whole lot more that no other country can compete with, including the colonial jewel of a city Granada. All of these delights are available for a song. Specifically, Nicaragua today offers three appealing and dramatically differing choices for the potential retiree: Granada, the Spanish-colonial city by the lake; San Juan del Sur and environs along this country’s southern Pacific coast, one of the best surfing destinations in the world; and the northern highlands, still off the beaten path but perhaps most interesting of all if you’d like to combine your lifestyle objectives with an investment upside. Just how affordable can this country be? A couple could live here on as little as $1,200 per month, and you could own your own brand-new condo in the center of Granada, built to North American standards, for as little as $99,000.
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  3. En un caserío llamado El Porvenir, ubicado al noreste de Estelí, Maura Urbina —desde una casita forrada con plástico negro—, arropa primorosamente a su Milagritos y le canta, la besa, la acaricia con intenciones de aliviarle el picor corporal que no la deja tranquila desde hace varios minutos. La niña —producto de la resequedad y las gruesas capas de piel seca— se rasca desesperada mientras llora y su angustia oprime el corazón…A los 15 minutos, parece que la comezón ha cesado un poco, transcurrirán varias horas para que vuelva, y Maura aprovecha para revisar el fogón avivado por la ventisca de la tarde, “los frijoles ya casi están en su punto”, dice convencida, mientras arregla unos trastos y ahuyenta a los pollos y una camada de perritos cachorritos que caminan y defecan donde se les antoja.Hay mucho humo dentro de la casita —que mide aproximadamente seis metros de largo y cinco metros de ancho—, pero además de eso, un hedor a materia fecal que sale de la letrina, situado a escasos 10 pasos de la cama donde reposa la niña y su madre.
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  4. Nicaragua’s disaster prevention agency said on Twitter that no damage was immediately reported, and that the quake had been felt in the cities of Leon and Chinandega as well as the capital, Managua, according to the Sistema Nacional para la Prevención, Mitigación y Atención de Desastres (Sinapred). Many people wrote on social networks that two earthquakes had occurred; nevertheless, the geologist Mayorga explained that the first thing that was perceived was the primary wave, and later, the secondary wave, but both belong to the same event. Geological events occur suddenly. The Sinapred announced the second national simulation, which will take place on September 21, in which they always include as one of the risk scenarios with the occurrence of a seismic event.
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  5. Guest

    Miramar, Nicargua

  6. Guest

    Miramar, Nicaragua

  7. Guest

    Miramar, Nicaragua

  8. Security camera footage shows law enforcement walking inside the TV station Friday night. (CNN)Nicaraguan police shut down operations at a major TV network and arrested the owner, accusing him of instigating hate and violence in the country, officials said. Law enforcement raided the headquarters of 100% Noticias in Nicaragua's capital of Managua late Friday night and took several people in custody, including the broadcaster's owner and director, Miguel Mora, and news director Lucia Pineda, colleagues said. Mora appeared in court Saturday morning where he was formally accused of "fostering and instigating hate and violence" in the country, according to an attorney with the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights representing Mora.
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  9. HAVANA TIMES – Daniel Ortega has achieved what neither Putin, nor climate change, nor China, nor the immigration problem, nor Maduro nor Syria could do: he inspired nothing more and nothing less than the adoption of a bipartisan consensus between the US Republican and Democratic parties regarding his regime. What’s more, he managed to become a point of consensus between the US Executive branch, headed by Trump, and the US Congress. It may seem a lie or an exaggeration, but no other topic during Trump’s administration has been resolved with this level of consensus. In reacting to the decisions adopted by the organs of United States power, Ortega momentarily dusted off the old speeches that he had kept filed away these eleven years and spoke once again of interventionism, of imperialism and other expressions of the like. Then, he fell silent. He’ll likely speak about it again once he’s assimilated the blow and has designed the course he’ll follow. Meanwhile, it’s important to recall that Nicaragua’s economic dependence with respect to the United States has broadened and deepened during this “antiimperialist” regime of Ortega’s. Read more:
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  10. Ortega profundiza su aislamiento internacional al no asistir a la Cumbre Iberoamericana Jefes de Estado y representantes iberoamericanos en la Cumbre. LAVANDEIRA JR. EFE Todas las miradas estaban puestas en él. Daniel Ortega había confirmado su asistencia la Cumbre Iberoamericana de La Antigua (Guatemala) en un intento de lavar su imagen tras la represión emprendida en abril contra sus opositores, que ha dejado más de 300 muertos y 400 encarcelados. Una muestra de que no tenía nada que ocultar. De dar una sensación de normalidad en su país que no es tal. Era el primer encuentro multilateral al que el presidente de Nicaragua iba a asistir desde que se iniciaran las protestas, después de declinar su participación en la Asamblea General de la ONU. En el último momento, Ortega canceló su viaje y profundiza el aislamiento internacional del país centroamericano.
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  11. Guest

    Conanca

    This year children with cancer from Nicaragua won't be able to have their Telehablaton, an event to collect funds for their teraphies, treatment, etc, due to current situation in that country. People are invited to buy items or donate directly, for more information visit:
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    Â Â Nacatamales de cerdoÂ
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    T Shirts Cookies And other items  Â
  12. Un centenar de seguidores del gobierno y paramilitares irrumpieron este lunes en la basílica de la ciudad de Diriamba, suroeste de Nicaragua, y agredieron a jerarcas católicos, agravándose la violencia que deja unos 250 muertos en casi tres meses de protestas contra el presidente Daniel Ortega. Los seguidores de Ortega entraron con violencia en la Basílica de San Sebastián, cuando obispos y sacerdotes llegaban a apoyar a una decena de personas que se habían refugiado el domingo, en medio de un enfrentamiento entre fuerzas del gobierno y manifestantes que tenían barricadas en las calles. “Asesinos”, “mentirosos”, “hijos de puta”, gritaron los partidarios del gobierno cuando llegó a Diriamba la comitiva de religiosos, encabezada por el cardenal Leopoldo Brenes y el nuncio Stanislaw Waldemar Sommertag, constató un equipo de la AFP. Los jeracas católicos, que se trasladaron en caravana desde Managua, fueron rodeados por seguidores del gobierno en la entrada del templo, en cuyos alrededores había decenas de hombres encapuchados vestidos de civil y policías. Paramilitares afectos al gobierno de Daniel Ortega rodean la basílica de San Sebastián, en Diriamba, el 9 de julio de 2018© AFP MARVIN RECINOS
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  13. El secretario general de la ONU, Antonio Guterres, condenó el viernes la violencia en Nicaragua y “en particular el asesinato de varios manifestantes” en protestas antigubernamentales en Managua el 30 de mayo. Las protestas del miércoles contra el gobierno de Daniel Ortega dejaron al menos 16 muertos, y los fallecidos alcanzan ya más de un centenar desde las primeras manifestaciones del 18 de abril. Decenas de miles de nicaragüenses que marchaban el miércoles de noche en apoyo a a las madres que han perdido a sus hijos en las protestas fueron emboscados por francotiradores, mientras hombres armados trataban de dispersarlos a balazos. La matanza motivó una enérgica respuesta internacional. Guterres instó al gobierno de Ortega “a garantizar la protección y la libertad de expresión de los manifestantes pacíficos”. Leer más:
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  14. Guest

    Map of Nicaragua

    Including the 2 largest lakes and one heart inside Â
  15. WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States will end in January 2019 a special status given to 5,300 Nicaraguan immigrants that protects them from deportation, senior Trump administration officials said on Monday. A U.S. flag flutters over top of the skyline of New York (R) and Jersey City (L), as seen from Bayonne, New Jersey, August 6, 2011. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn They also said the program known as Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, would be extended until July 2018 for about 86,000 Honduran immigrants, but added it could then be terminated. The decision to end TPS for Nicaraguans is part of President Donald Trump’s broader efforts to tighten restrictions on immigration.Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants from across Central America live and work in the United States, but some are protected from the threat of deportation under the TPS program. Thousands from both Nicaragua and Honduras were given the special status in 1999 after Hurricane Mitch devastated Central America. In all, TPS protects more than 300,000 people from nine countries living in the United States. Trump’s administration was faced with a Monday deadline to announce its decision on Nicaragua and Honduras. Critics have complained the TPS program allows participants to repeatedly extend their stays in 6-month to 18-month increments in case of a natural disaster, civil strife or other emergencies in their homelands. In the case of Nicaragua, acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke decided the conditions caused by Hurricane Mitch “no longer exist, and thus, under the applicable statute, the current TPS designation must be terminated,” the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in a statement. The TPS for thousands of Nicaraguans was due to expire on Jan. 5, 2018, but it was delayed by 12 months “to allow for an orderly transition.” Read more:
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  16. A girl in a park in Managua, Nicaragua. The country topped the list for gains in happiness. Nicolas Garcia/AFP/Getty Images Norway can be frigid. And the winters bring lots of darkness. But it's the happiest nation in world, according to the 2017 World Happiness Report. Denmark comes in at #2, followed by Iceland and Switzerland. Finland takes 5th place. And, it turns out, these countries have more in common than a tolerance for cold. Well-being is shaped by a range of factors. "All of the top countries rank highly on all the main factors found to support happiness: caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance," according to the report. The second tier of the top ten includes the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden (the last two tied for 9th position). The developing world has its share of unhappy countries. According to the report, some of the unhappiest nations in the world are Afghanistan, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Haiti. But there are encouraging signs in low- and middle-income countries. Cameroon, Latvia, Nicaragua and Sierra Leone, for example, are all on the list of the 20 countries reporting the highest gains in happiness. Meanwhile, happiness in the U.S. has slipped a bit, according to the report. "The reasons are declining social support" as well as a decline in trust — and an increased sense of corruption, write the co-editors in a summary report. In 2015, the U.S. ranked 13th. This year, it slipped to 14th. The report draws on survey data from 155 countries. "We ask people to think of their lives as a whole," explains report co-editor John Helliwell, an economist at the University of British Columbia who studies well-being and comparative economic growth. Each year, researchers survey 1,000 people in each country. Some questions are quite simple, such as: In times of trouble, do you have family and/or friends to count on? Other questions measure people's perceived levels of freedom, generosity and trust — both in each other and in their governments and businesses. The Nordic countries have among the most generous social safety nets. "Access to higher education, access to high-quality health services are part of it, explains Jon-Åge Øyslebø, minister of communications, cultural affairs and education at the Norwegian Embassy. (We reached out to him before he had heard about the top spot his country had earned in the new report.) There are also generous social support programs. For instance, new parents in Norway are eligible for nearly a year of leave with pay. "Norway is a relatively egalitarian society with regard to both to income differences and gender," Øyslebø told us. He says he thinks this is an important part of the happiness equation. Another factor, of course, is the economy. Overall, Norway is pretty wealthy, in part due to the natural resource of oil. But even though oil prices have declined, Norwegian level of happiness has risen, at least according to the report. "Absolutely there's more to it than money," Øyslebø says. Many studies have shown that after people's basic needs are met, additional income is not necessarily a path to happiness. So what's the value of these global ranking? After all, the survey data that they're based on are pretty crude measures. And at any given time, in any nation, some people are suffering while others thrive. "The reason for taking this [report] seriously," co-editor John Helliwell told us, is that it offers an alternative to thinking of "income as the measure of progress."
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  17. There's fresh impetus to explore Namibia's startling landscapes this year CREDIT:FOTOLIA 6 JANUARY 2017 • 12:31PM If your ambition this year is to try new things and explore new places, you're in luck. From Nicaragua to Tajikistan, a number of hitherto "undiscovered" destinations are increasingly catering to discerning holidaymakers, with a host of new resorts opening and experiences launching over the year to come. Read below for more on the most exciting outdoor adventures to be enjoyed around the world in 2017, or for something more sedate see our guides to 2017's best wellness and fitness breaks; 2017's best luxury beach holidays; the year's best yachting and sailing holidays; and the best cities to visit over the next 12 months. The Desert Circuit: Namibia Exclusive Lodges The four new luxury lodges on the Namibia Exclusive circuit are located in some of the most remote and beautiful northern parts of the country, each designed by architect Greg Scott and built of local materials that reflect the region’s landscapes and cultural traditions. Sorris Sorris Lodge in Damaraland has been built into huge granite boulders scattered across the desert landscape, its modern African rammed-earth structures and pool offering views over the Ugab River and the mountains of the Brandberg Massif. Sorris Sorris Lodge Omatandeka Lodge is surrounded by vast plains inhabited by the Himba people, table-top mountains and a vital wildlife corridor used by mountain zebra, oryx and endangered black rhino, while Sheya Shuushona Lodge, on the northern boundary of Etosha National Park, is surrounded by photogenic salt pans that change colour with the seasons and turn into a lake in the rainy season. Finally, Xaudum Lodge, the most recent addition, is surrounded by the sand dunes of the Kalahari, home to some 3,000 elephants. All four lodges are located in areas with indigenous communities and contribute funds so these people can continue to live in traditional ways on their ancestors’ land. The Explorations Company offers a nine-night safari, staying at three Namibia Exclusive lodges, from £8,985 per person including flights, air transfers, full board and guiding. The Italian Castle: Castello di Ugento, Puglia There are few buildings in Europe in which guests can stay above a Norman keep, dine beneath 17th-century Baroque frescoes and wander around a garden in which Bronze Age artefacts have been found. In April, on the southern heel of Italy, the (rather wonderfully named) d’Amore family will open their restored thousand-year-old Castello di Ugento to paying guests for the first time (doubles from £260). Visitors can relax within walled gardens, in which more than 100 medicinal and aromatic plants are grown for the kitchen and spa; admire the frescoes painted in 1694 to portray the noble family’s history; sample local wines in an ancient cistern-turned-cellar; and take cookery lessons in a wing turned by the Culinary Institute of America into its first European school. A maximum of 18 guests will sleep in stone-walled rooms with high, star-vaulted ceilings and views over Ugento’s rooftops, and they will feast on Puglian favourites cooked by Milanese chef Odette Fada, whose refined cuisine at the renowned Rex Il Ristorante in Los Angeles and San Domenico NY made her name as one of America’s finest Italian chefs. The nearest beaches are two miles away and Baroque towns such as Lecce are a short drive from the castle. The Urban Forest: Aman Shanghai Aman’s latest property in China (its fourth) must be one of its most anticipated to date. The Shanghai retreat (rates not yet available) is a picture of leafy tranquility – and full of surprises. If a visitor were to drop into the 100-acre property, planted with thousand-year-old camphor trees and interspersed with historic Ming- and Qing-dynasty houses, they’d never believe that they were within easy reach of buzzy downtown Shanghai. Neither the forest nor village are native to this area; both were moved here over the past 10 years from Jiangxi, some 500 miles southwest, by Ma Dadong, a pioneering businessman, when the building of a reservoir threatened their survival. Aman Shanghai Now that the painstaking replanting (which took three years) and the building of the hotel are complete, the 37 villas in the new sanctuary are being decorated with original beams, floors, sculptures and carvings from the uplifted village homes. Kerry Hill, the project’s architect, has taken care to reflect traditional Chinese culture while blending in contemporary comforts and natural tones of earth, moss and creamy whites. Guests can take day trips to Shanghai, walk in the forest, sample Eastern cuisine, or relax in the spa, beside the two pools or in the Nan Shu Fang contemplation garden. The South American Sleeper: The Belmond Andean Explorer, Peru For the first time in May 2017, travellers will be able not only to traverse the Andes in one of the most luxurious trains on earth, but to sleep overnight on one. The Belmond Andean Explorer has been built to carry up to 68 passengers in en-suite cabins decorated by the South African designer Inge Moore in contemporary light woods and comforting alpaca-wool colours. Each of the train’s cars is fitted with expansive windows to frame views of the Andean plains, mountains and grand architecture, including the Unesco World Heritage Site of Arequipa. Although another two trains already operate in this area – Belmond’s Hiram Bingham, which offers day trips to Machu Picchu, and the more traditional Inca Princess – this is the first modern luxury train to offer trips from Cusco to Lake Titicaca and Arequipa, on one- and two-night journeys. Chefs from the Hotel Monasterio in Cusco will serve modern Peruvian cuisine in two dining cars; guests can also enjoy spacious lounge and observation cars, and an open deck. Doubles from £738 , all-inclusive, for one night. The Gorilla Camp: Bisate Lodge, Rwanda One of the key trends in Africa in 2017 is the growth of camps that offer both sustainable luxury and adventure. Hence Wilderness Safaris’ decision to open Bisate Lodge in June as a luxury base for tracking the 10 habituated gorilla groups in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park (doubles from £1,762 full board, excluding gorilla permits). The lodge, raised high above the forest floor in the amphitheatre of an eroded volcanic cone, has been designed by architect Nick Plewman to echo the spherical, thatched structures that dot the hills, as well as the layout of traditional Rwandan palaces. The interiors by Caline Williams-Wynn have been inspired by the rich detail of Rwandan textiles, many of which are made using a technique called imigongo, an ancient art form incorporating geometric shapes. When the first guests arrive, they will be able not only to track gorillas, but to hike to Dian Fossey’s grave and her former research station at Karisoke, to trek to the top of a nearby volcano, and then to relax in the extensively reforested gardens. The Jungle Retreat: Nekupe Sporting Resort and Retreat, Nicaragua Nicaragua’s first luxe mountain resort sits in the lush landscape of Nandaime, just 40 minutes’ drive from the pretty colonial city of Granada. Nekupe – or heaven, in the indigenous Chorotega language – was designed with the help of a feng shui architect to have the highest energy flow and least environmental impact possible, and the four freestanding villas and four expansive suites, with king-sized beds, made-for-sharing bathtubs and alfresco showers, are decorated in earth tones and warm woods that echo the serene setting (doubles from £720, full board). Floor-to-ceiling windows frame views over Mombacho volcano’s perfect cone, and wraparound terraces are perfect for sipping daiquiris, before farm-to-table feasts of nuevo-Nicaraguan cuisine. Nekupe will provide access to Nicaragua's underexplored nature reserves The surrounding nature reserve, which echoes with the sounds of primates and toucans, can be explored on ATVs, as well as on paths created for hikers, bikers and horseback riders, or on zip wires, which soar above the forest canopy. For those not expending energy on target-shooting, tennis and yoga, there is an infinity pool and a spa. The Cook Ski Spot: Lech, Austria Size matters to ski resorts, so the hotly anticipated coronation of Ski Arlberg as Austria’s largest contiguous ski area is big news indeed. Encompassing eight villages, including big hitters St Anton, Lechand Zürs, Ski Arlberg is already one of the best-known ski areas in the Alps. But now its four new lifts are open, linking the entire area to deliver 109 miles of pistes (three more than Val d’Isère), Ski Arlberg will join the ranks of the world’s über resorts. New developments have given Lech a leg up The four connected lifts, known as the Flexenbahn, will place Lech at the epicentre of the ski area (stealing some thunder from St Anton). While expanding its lifts, Lech has also been consolidating its position as Austria’s leading town for luxury ski chalets. In December – hot on the heels of properties like the Aurelio Clubhouse, Chalet N, Chalet 1597 and Überhaus, which have raised the luxury bar in recent years – Severin’s Alpine Retreat will open its doors. The nine-suite hotel will be fitted with only the best: Minotti furnishings, a spa with an indoor infinity pool and hypoxic chamber for altitude training, and a ski room with bespoke Indigo kit. Guests can take over the chalet, for free rein over the suites, restaurant, capacious spa and fire-lit lounges, or plump for The Residence: a sleek four-bedroom private apartment spanning two floors with a professional kitchen, cinema, bar and outdoor hot tub. The Oxford Ski Company offers a week for two people at Severin’s Alpine Retreat from £6,440, including transfers and flights. The Rugged Destination: Pamir Mountains, Tajikistan Tajikistan was the second-fastest growing tourist destination in the world in 2015, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). Which is why in 2017 Edge Expeditions will be running a two-week Luxury Tajikistan tour of the country’s spectacular Pamir Mountains: one the most diverse, wild, exhilarating and least-explored corners of the planet. With a team of expert guides, a maximum of eight guests will traverse the raw wilderness by either four-wheel-drive vehicles, with a driver, or motorbikes. Journeying along the legendary Pamir Highway, travellers will spend days exploring azure mountain lakes, hidden valleys, ancient ruins and high mountain passes that very few outsiders ever get to see. The trip starts off at a five-star hotel in the capital, Dushanbe, while on the road the ground crew will prepare yurt camps with hot showers, comfortable beds, Egyptian cotton sheets and gourmet meals prepared by the expedition’s private chef. Along the way, both British and Tajik guides will interpret the layered history of the region, while astronomers with telescopes will also be on hand to explore some of the least light-polluted night skies in the world. Edge Expeditions is offering a 14-day Luxury Tajikistan journey by four-wheel-drive or motorcycle, from £9,495 full board, starting and ending at Dushanbe, including transfers, motorcycle rental or vehicle (with driver), back-up vehicles, guides and medic, but excluding international flights.
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  18. A COLONIAL HOUSE WITH A COURTYARD IN THE CENTER OF GRANADA $1.3 MILLION This six-bedroom, six-and-a-half-bath house, known as Casa Blanca, is in the heart of Granada, Nicaragua, a small western city founded in the 1520s along the shore of Lake Nicaragua. The rich colonial heritage of the city, one of the oldest in Central America, is reflected in the stately architecture of this and other buildings. Casa Blanca, a colonial house with a white concrete facade and a red-clay tile roof, was built in the 1750s for a wealthy family from Spain, according to Carlos E. Gutierrez, a broker for Nicaragua Sotheby’s International Realty, which is listing the property. The two-story house, with a two-car garage, is on the corner of the pedestrian-only Calle La Calzada, near the Granada Cathedral and Central Park, the bustling city center. “It’s a pretty optimal location,” said Trevor Barran, the managing partner of the Sotheby’s affiliate, which opened for business last spring. The current owners acquired the property about five years ago, Mr. Barran said, and they spent two years renovating and upgrading it, restoring myriad architectural details throughout the 6,000 square feet of living space. Those flourishes include coffered and vaulted ceilings with tongue-and-groove, or machimbre, paneling; wood molding; and encaustic floor tiles handmade locally. The furnishings, most from the Managua manufacturer Simplemente Madera, are included in the sale. Ornate wrought-iron gates enclose the doors to the two main entrances, which open to a large central foyer with a seating area, one of three designated living rooms. The ground floor also contains four guest bedrooms, three of which have en-suite baths, and a small en-suite bedroom suitable for staff off the modern kitchen. All the bedrooms except the staff quarters have air-conditioning, Mr. Barran said. The master suite, with a TV alcove and a spalike bath, encompasses the second floor. It includes a balcony that offers views of the cathedral and overlooks the home’s lush central courtyard. Nearly every room on the first level leads to the courtyard, which is landscaped with tropical foliage like aloe and ginger plants and features an open-air dining area and a 40-foot pool. Granada, with a population of around 120,000, is about 28 miles from Managua, the capital. It is a 55-minute drive to the Managua airport and around three hours to the airport in Liberia, Costa Rica. MARKET OVERVIEW As Nicaragua’s past political turmoil has faded in memory, the country has become a popular tourist spot and a second-home destination, according to real estate agents. The real estate market “really opened up” from 2002 to 2004, when there was “tremendous growth for the country,” said Mr. Gutierrez of Sotheby’s. By 2006, “the market was booming,” he said. After the 2008 global financial crisis, “everything just went into hibernation,” he added. But sales and prices have rebounded in the last four years, agents said. “People feel confident about the country,” said Carlos Gutierrez, a residential developer and an owner of Casa Granada Properties, a real estate agency based in Granada. (He is not related to Mr. Gutierrez of Sotheby’s.) Home sales across Nicaragua are up, on average, 15 percent to 20 percent from a year ago, said Mr. Gutierrez, the developer. In Granada, “the rental market is also really growing,” he added, “because people want to try it out first before buying.” He estimated that rental volume in the city is up about 40 percent over the last five years. Although prices in Nicaragua have been rising — doubling in some beach communities since 2007, according to agents — home values remain far lower than in neighboring countries like Costa Rica. (The price for a three-bedroom, fully renovated home in Granada, for instance, typically starts at around $170,000, according to Mr. Gutierrez, the developer.) “Property values are around 50 percent less than Costa Rica,” Mr. Gutierrez of Sotheby’s said. “Nicaragua reminds me of Costa Rica 30 years ago.” WHO BUYS IN NICARAGUA Buyers from the United States, Canada and Europe have been active in Nicaragua’s housing market, particularly at the higher end, agents said, with most of them looking for second homes or development properties to hold and use. “About 10 years ago people would just buy as an investment, but there are really no speculators anymore,” said Eduardo Cabrales, a lawyer based in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. Granada has had an influx of expatriate retirees, agents said, because of the city’s affordable cost of living, along with its colonial charm, walkability and shops, restaurants and other amenities. BUYING BASICS There are no restrictions on foreign ownership, except for properties near the borders “for homeland security reasons,” Mr. Cabrales said. In fact, policies and laws encourage foreign purchases, such as a residency program that offers tax incentives to retirees, he added. Foreigners, though, have fewer mortgage options available, so purchases typically are in cash, he said. It is essential for buyers to hire a good lawyer, preferably one who can provide a reliable translation of the purchase agreement and be present at the closing on behalf of the buyer, Mr. Cabrales said. The lawyer will also need to conduct the necessary due diligence, which includes the key step of reviewing the title deed, or escritura, to ensure there are no liens against the property or ownership issues. WEBSITES Nicaragua tourism: visitnicaragua.us Nicaragua MLS: mls-nica.com/en LANGUAGES AND CURRENCIES Spanish; Nicaraguan Córdoba (1 Córdoba = $0.034) TAXES AND FEES Each transaction typically involves just one real estate agent, who is paid a commission, usually by the seller, of 5 percent to 8 percent of the sales price. There are various other fees involved in a transaction — these are typically paid by the buyer — such as a federal transfer tax of 1 percent to 4 percent of the assessed value of the property after it is registered to the buyer. Other expenses include the annual municipal tax of 1 percent of the assessed value of the property, as well as fees for a lawyer and a notary (although many lawyers are notaries). The lawyer’s fee is typically 1 percent of the purchase price, Mr. Cabrales said. CONTACT Carlos E. Gutierrez, Nicaragua Sotheby’s International; from the United States, 305-608-0797; in Nicaragua, 505-7530-7890; nicaraguasir.com.
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  19. Earthquake hits, triggering tsunami warnings, after Nicaragua Caribbean coastline battered by hurricane A 7.0 magnitude earthquake has shaken El Salvador and Nicaragua, just an hour after a powerful hurricane hit Nicaragua's eastern coast. The double whammy was a grim test for a largely poor region which lacks resources and emergency plans for natural disasters. Salvadoran authorities issued a tsunami alert as a precaution after the tremor, which struck around 75 miles off the coast of El Salvador, at a depth of 20 miles beneath the Pacific Ocean, according to the US Geological Survey. The quake was first measured at a magnitude of 7.2 but was then downgraded. "Hazardous" waves measuring about up to 1m (three feet) are possible to hit coastal areas within 300km of the quake's epicentre. Shaking was also felt in the Nicaraguan capital of Managua, and as far as the Costa Rican capital San Jose. Nicaragua's president, Daniel Ortega, declared a state of emergency immediately after the quake. The country was already on alert for an hurricane which struck earlier the same day, as was Costa Rica. There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties, according to the country's civil defense agency. Just one hour before the earthquake, a powerful hurricane, Otto, packing winds of 110mph, made landfall on Nicaragua's Caribbean coast. Thousands of people had already been evacuated from coastal areas into shelters - a total of 7,000 people are expected to evacuate in Nicaragua alone. Government officials said some people had refused to evacuate but did not say how many. Earlier this week, four people died in Panama due to outer bands of the storm. The heavy rains it was offloading were likely to cause dangerous flooding and mud slides, according to the US National Hurricane Center, as much as 20 inches of rain are expected in isolated areas across northern Costa Rica and southern Nicaragua. Schools were shut down and emergency teams were mobilised. Otto was the southernmost hurricane to ever make landfall in Central America, the NHC said, and residents were not prepared. The storm came ashore on Thursday near the Costa Rican border on the town of San Juan de Nicaragua, also known as Greytown. Residents said they were scared, and saw heavy rains and winds rip off roofs and bring down cable lines. In the town of Bluefields, panic buying meant bottled water and lamps were swept off the shelves, and some residents fled in boats while others hammered themselves into their homes with metal sheeting, praying the storm would move on. Otto will weaken as it moves inland and will likely become a tropical storm by Thursday evening, the center added. It is currently travelling west at around 9mph, chewing its way along both sides of Costa Rica's and Nicaragua's coastlines.
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