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Published Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, in Vol. 17, No. 7
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Corporate tax now faces a possible court hurdle
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A proposed tax on corporations is being referred to the Sala IV constitutional court after the measure passed on first reading 40-10 Monday. The action by lawmakers from the Partido Liberación Nacional is likely to delay final passage of the measure.

However, the Sala IV usually acts quickly in such cases to decide if the question will be heard at all. The Corte Suprema de Justicia generally acts favorably on tax matters.

For example, when magistrates declared a very similar tax unconstitutional in January 2015, they also ordered that those who owe the tax should pay it anyway. The earlier tax won approval in 2011, but the legislative staff had failed to advertise the final draft in the correct, legal way.

The exact draft of what was passed Monday is not available, although lawmakers had rejected 120 amendments before they broke for Christmas vacation.

Some in the legislature opposed the measure, and the full body voted to bring the bill out of committee for action under a system to quickly approve it. The bill is designed to collect 47 billion colons or about $85.5 million from residents to pay for more police. Some 90 percent of the money collected would go to the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública, and Gustavo Mata, the minister, has promised to hire 1,000 new Fuerza Pública officers.

Just 5 percent goes to the Judicial Investigating Organization, and a similar amount goes to the Ministerio de Justicia y Paz for use of its agency that handles the prisons.

The bill assesses a sliding scale on corporations based on their incomes. An inactive corporation or an active corporation with no income would pay 15 percent of a base salary.

The base salary is the monthly salary of a specific job title in the judicial that is used as an index. In 2016 the monthly amount was 424,400 colons or about  $771.27. That salary has risen slightly this year, although the exact figure was not available early today.

That means those with inactive corporations or active corporations with no income would pay about 64,000 colons or about $116.

Corporations with income up to 50.9 million colons or $92,545 would pay 25 percent of the base salary or $193. Companies with gross income between 50.9 million and 118.7 million colons or $216,000 would pay 30 percent of the base salary.

Firms with more gross income would pay 50 percent or $386. The gross income amounts are indexed, too, and increase slightly each year.

The sliding scale is an innovation because the

anti-violence
Ministerio de  Seguridad Pública photo 
María Fullmen Salazar, the acting minister, and Juan José Andrade Morales, vice minister of  Seguridad Pública, discuss anti-violence strategies.

Ads planned to counter violence

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Security ministry officials decided Monday to advertise in the communications media and on social networks to urge a reduction of violence.

That was the outcome of a top-level meeting to counter a wave of violence. Data shows that murders were up 23.2 percent in 2016, and there was a string of shootings over the weekend.

A summary from the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública said that there were 91,444 domestic violence calls in the year and that 27 percent of the murders were of women.

The ministry said that one concrete step was to make an effort to work closer with municipal police forces, according to the summary released after the meeting.


original tax assessed a flat charge on active corporations.

The bill is subject to change when it is debated in the full legislature. Amounts of the tax in future years would increase as the judicial salary increases.

Libertario Otto Guevara Guth opposed the bill, and it is he who is leading the court appeal.

The bill says that none of the agencies receiving the money can use it for overtime, travel or similar expenses. However, the money would free other moneys from the budget to do that.

The bill, No. 19.818, is important to expats because many have their cars and homes in inactive corporations to protect other assets.

Without the threat of a court appeal, lawmakers could pass the bill for the second and final time as soon as Wednesday.  The bill covers sociedades anónimas or S.As, those with  responsabilidad limitada or S.R.Ls. and also foreign firms with offices here. Still uncertain is if the tax also is levied on mercantile societies. The previous bill did not.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 7
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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.

Dentistry


Dental
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Dr Oscar Vargas specialist in prosthodontics
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Psychotherapy

Dr. Gray
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California Licensed
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• Anxiety
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Insurance professionals

The Garrett Insurance Group
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Residency experts

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JAVIER ZAVALETA
RESIDENCY IN COSTA RICA
A full service immigration agency
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There are four primary ways to apply for legal residency in Costa Rica:
    Retiree (Pensionado):  For those with a pension or other retirement income.
    Legal Resident (Rentista): For those with guaranteed non-salary income or savings.
    Business/Investor (Inversionista): For those with Costa Rican business or real estate investments.
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U.S. Phone: (323) 255-6116
U.S.  Fax (323) 344-1620
Phone in Costa Rica: ( 506 ) 2226=0755  (En español )

Email:  javier@residencyincostarica.com
Web: www.residencyincostarica.com
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 Accountants

U.S. Income Tax Services
Marlene B. Summers, Tax Accountant
Licensed by the I.R.S.
 
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U.S. citizens, plan now for your tax year. Let me help you pay only the tax  you must!
 
Take advantage of the foreign earned income exclusion.
 
If your filing is not up-to-date, the Streamlined Filing Procedure can be used to mitigate penalties.   Including  disclosure of foreign corporations to avoid future problems. 

File current or past due FBARs with no penalties to meet IRS requirements.
File your current or amended returns.

Over 10 years in Costa Rica    
 
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Phone (506) 2289-6590 or (506) 8750-2316
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U.S. Tax International
Plus Costa Rican taxes, accounting, and legal
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U.S. Tax
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(English spoken). Tamarindo office hours now available.  If you or anyone you know would like an appointment in Tamarindo, please call our San José office at 2288-2201 to make an appointment.
Contact Us:
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James Brohl, C.P.A. & M.B.A.
US Income Tax,  U.S. GAAP Accounting
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pecializing in all matters of concern to U.S. taxpayers residing abroad including:
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Telephone 8305-3149 or 2256-8620
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Fine art restoration and conservation

Gilbert Carmichael
Master Art Restorer
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Experts in fine art restoration and conservation for the tropics. We clean mildew, mold, etc., repair, restore and offer art expert and curatorial services.

For more information please contact Jessica Steward at 8388-5328 or 8621 9287 email HERE!
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Real estate agents and services

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Calls from USA: (518) 693-7494
What’s App cell number: (506) 8866-1649
Costa Rica phone number: (506) 2643-3356
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del Pacifico, S.A.

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* 20 minutes to the Liberia International Airport
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In Costa Rica contact Jeffrey Sandi Murray:          jsandimurray@colinasdelsolcr.com
In the USA and Canada contact Jim Day:
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Cubanos
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
Police at a checkpoint in La Gamba de Golfito found these Cuban illegal immigrants huddled among cylinders of gas on a truck bed.  Police said that the group said they paid $1,000 for the bumpy ride that was shorter than expected.

 
Traffic controls ramped up for Palmares

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The traffic police are installing checkpoints to start establishing vehicle flow and regulation control for the upcoming Fiestas de Palmares.

Beginning Wednesday, control sites will be located at Zaragoza and Buenos Aires de Palmares, while a permanent checkpoint will remain around the Naranjo toll road. This checkpoint will remain in place through Jan.  22, according to the Policía de Tránsito. The Interamericana North section between La Sabana and San Ramón as well as the routes that connect Palmares with Naranjo and Atenas will also be monitored more heavily by police.

Although the stated goal is to maintain the flow of traffic, the installations will also be to check that drivers are not violating traffic laws. Last year, the police impounded 15 vehicles from people who were driving while intoxicated.

Officials from the traffic police said that prevention of drunk driving will be one of the main objectives during the series of concerts, carnival, and partying. The other objective is to make sure vehicles are not overloaded with people, whether it is a public or private vehicle.

Lastly, the police noted that since October 2012, it is illegal for all occupants of any vehicle type to not be wearing a seatbelt. With that in mind, the third objective will be to observe that everyone is complying with the rule along with the other specifications regarding car seats for children under 12, they said.

For anybody that plans to drive with a cell phone or has a drink or even a pet in their laps while driving, they may also be subject to receiving a traffic violation. Anybody attempting to illegally park in front of garages or fire hydrants or on the corners will run the risk of getting their car towed, according to police. Parking is a problem in Palmares during the fiesta.


Union collective planning a protest

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Bloque Unitario Sindical y Social Costarricense is considering some form of job action, and the nature of the protest will be revealed Wednesday, the labor collective said.

The umbrella organization continues to oppose legislative action that would limit employee benefits.

Bill No. 19.506, more commonly known as empleo público or “public employment," seeks to restrict benefits gained over the years by means of favorable contracts by public-sector employees. While the government backs it, the bill is a hot-button issue among unions that are vehement in opposition.

The legislation, the political pressure for tax increases and what the union says is the dismantling of the pension plan also are topics of discontent. The pension plan is run by the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, and it may be underfunded.

The collective includes members from the la Unión Nacional de Empleados de la Caja y la Seguridad Social, the Frente Interno de Trabajadores del Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad and about 60 additional unions that contain 70,000 members themselves.


Judicial agents confirm death of expat

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial agents confirmed the New Year’s Day death of U.S. citizen Chris Reeves, 43, at the Hospital de Alajuela following a heart attack and subsequent car wreck.

Reeves, the former owner of the Café de Artistas in Escazú, suffered the heart attack while driving towards Juan Santamaría airport along the Caldera highway and crashed his car near Atenas, according to officials. Judicial investigators confirmed that no others were harmed during the crash and that the 43-year old died at the hospital at 10:20 p.m. Reeves was without passengers during the accident. The body was identified and recovered at the hospital by his wife, Jessica Towles-Reeves, they said.

Reeves is succeeded not only by his wife of 22 years, but also four children. According to his wife, he had lived in Costa Rica for 10 years. His last home was at Playa Bejuco on the central Pacific coast. A memorial surf paddle will be held in March along that beach in Reeves’ honor as a testament to his passion for surfing and the pura vida lifestyle, according to Mrs. Reeves.


New space opened at art museum

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Museo de Arte Costarricense opened a new educational room providing better context to the exhibits within the museum.

The room, called Espacio 4, is dedicated to education, interaction and reflection around the Costa Rican visual arts along with the history of the edificio patrimonial, according to officials. The museum said that space provides visitors with the resources and materials regarding the exhibits within and emphasizes the history of the museum itself and its collection.

Espacio 4 is open to the public during the regular museum hours with no reservation required. There is no entry fee either.


Stolen taxi turns up near Jacó

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Officers of the Fuerza Pública recovered a stolen taxi that was being used by crooks to commit assaults around Jacó this past weekend.

The taxi was reported stolen in San José Thursday, and a warning was put out to police to keep an eye out for it. When officers received an alert to the location of the vehicle, they moved in to stop the man driving it before he could flee.

The taxi was intercepted at Tárcoles de Garabito. Police searching the car discovered stolen items such as two wallets, two cell phones, and a tablet. The 31-year old driver had no prior criminal record, police said.


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Figure on yet another wet and windy day today, weather experts say
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The strong winds and cold temperatures are expected to continue through today, according to the weather late report.

The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional reported that rain will remain until this morning at variable intensity and fog is expected in the mountains. The weather institute also predicts that the effects of the cold front are going to continue with wind gusts around 60-80 kilometers per hour in the lower parts of the
Central Valley and the northern sections of the country. In the northern zone and on the Caribbean coast rain from 40 to 80 millimeters about 1.6 to 3.2 inches, to is expected over 10 to 12 hours today.

The strongest wind gusts for Monday were in the hills around Escazú at 111 kilometers per hour, according to the weather institute. This has caused some disruptions in power and damaged some traffic lights. In the last two days, the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad restored a total of 355 electrical outages, according to officials there. The high winds and rains affected the power for around 49,546 customers in the Caribbean zone, Alajuela, Guanacaste, and Puntarenas, they said.

Officials blame the damages from fallen branches and downed trees that in some cases destroyed the electrical poles as well as power lines. Since Monday morning, at least 17 interruptions in telecommunications services were reported due to the strong winds. These occurred mainly in Santa Teresita, San Juan Sur de Turrialba, Bajos del Toro in San Miguel de Sarapiquí, Santa Ana and Coronado.

The area around Cartago also had reports of breaks in the fiber optic cables, however the most significant break occurred in Coronado where five posts were broken, which damaged the entire fiber optic line.

downed trees
Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad photo
Power company workers had to contend with downed trees like this and fractured utility poles.


An estimated 10 traffic lights sustained damage Sunday due to the strong winds, according to the transportation ministry.

The ministry urged drivers and pedestrians to exercise caution and report the damage as soon as possible.

Some of the roads are also suffering from conditions related to the recent cold front and high winds. Debris and traffic jams could occur and readers may contact the Policía Transíto for more information.



Advocate for prostitutes to renew campaign for legalizing profession
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An organization that is an advocate for sex workers is renewing its crusade for legal status for the profession.

Adult prostitution is not penalized in Costa Rica. But those involved in sex work are in a legal limbo, notes the advocate, the Asociación La Sala. The association has been pushing for a law to formalize this type of work under the Ministerio de Trabajo.

Jan. 18 the association plans a seminar at the Defensoría de los Habitantes for what it says is to develop a strategy to recognize and defend the human rights of female sex workers here.

The organization has complained in the past about violence against sex workers and held a workshop a month ago in Jacó to focus on violence and also the claim that sex workers are discriminated against when they seek medical procedures at public clinics.

Prostitution in Costa Rica is a major business with perhaps as many as 100 brothels in the metro area, including some that specialize in male customers. In addition, prostitutes can be seen each night on the streets and in many bars seeking customers. 

There also are women and men who cater to a more affluent class who are never seen in public.

The Asociación La Sala eventually seeks to have prostitution recognized as a legitimate service enterprise where employees receive all the benefits given other members of the workforce. The organization has said it seeks a national policy supervised by the Ministerio de Trabajo. Prostitutes are selling a service and not their bodies, the organization says.

Of course, the Costa Rican government takes an opposite view. Officials try to pretend that the occupation does not exist, and lawmakers even have passed a bill that criminalizes promoting Costa Rica as a sex tourism destination.

The association has been circulating a draft of a proposed law that would provide much of what they seek. The association said it is in contact with similar organizations in Colombia and Argentina as well as the Red de Trabajadoras Sexuales de Latinoamérica y el Caribe.

An effort to legalize prostitution would be counter to the policies of the U.S. State Department that will not even issue a grant to organizations who support such ideas.


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Even older brains of bilingual speakers found to focus better in study
By the Institut Universitaire de Gériatrie de Montréal news staff

New research shows that bilingual people are great at saving brain power. To do a task, the brain recruits different networks, or the highways on which different types of information flow, depending on the task to be done. The team of Ana Inés Ansaldo, a researcher at the Centre de recherche de l’Institut Universitaire de Gériatrie de Montréal and a professor at Université de Montréal, compared what are known as functional brain connections between seniors who are monolingual and seniors who are bilingual.

Her team established that years of bilingualism change how the brain carries out tasks that require concentrating on one piece of information without becoming distracted by other information. This makes the brain more efficient and economical with its resources.

To arrive at this finding, Dr. Ansaldo’s team asked two groups of seniors (one of monolinguals and one of bilinguals) to perform a task that involved focusing on visual information while ignoring spatial information. The researchers compared the networks between different brain areas as people did the task. They found that monolinguals used a larger circuit with multiple connections, whereas bilinguals recruited a smaller circuit that was more appropriate for the required information.

These findings were published in the Journal of Neurolinguistics.

The participants did a task that required them to focus on visual information (the color of an object) while ignoring spatial information (the position of the object). The research team

observed that the monolingual brain allocates a number of regions linked to visual and motor function and interference control, which are located in the frontal lobes. This means that the monolingual brain needs to use multiple brain regions to do the task.

“After years of daily practice managing interference between two languages, bilinguals become experts at selecting relevant information and ignoring information that can distract from a task. In this case, bilinguals showed higher connectivity between visual processing areas located at the back of the brain. This area is specialized in detecting the visual characteristics of objects and therefore is specialized in the task used in this study. These data indicate that the bilingual brain is more efficient and economical, as it recruits fewer regions and only specialized regions,” explained Dr. Ansaldo.

Bilinguals therefore have two cognitive benefits. First, having more centralized and specialized functional connections saves resources compared to the multiple and more diverse brain areas allocated by monolinguals to accomplish the same task. Second, bilinguals achieve the same result by not using the brain’s frontal regions, which are vulnerable to aging. This may explain why the brains of bilinguals are better equipped at staving off the signs of cognitive aging or dementia.

“We have observed that bilingualism has a concrete impact on brain function and that this may have a positive impact on cognitive aging. We now need to study how this function translates to daily life, for example, when concentrating on one source of information instead of another, which is something we have to do every day. And we have yet to discover all the benefits of bilingualism,” concluded Dr. Ansaldo.

Vacation, travel and hospitality


HIdden Garden graphic
Put Costa Rica on your walls
The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is the perfect place to find quality Costa Rican and international art for your home or office.  With over 60 artists and 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we have been your source for fine art since 2010.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever. Located just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport (towards the beaches).

Visit our Web site at:  www.HiddenGardenArt.com
Contact us by email: info@HiddenGardenArt.com  
Find us on Trip Advisor, Facebook, Twitter,
Moon Travel Guides & Frommer's

Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tel.  8386-6872 / 2667-0592; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073
International shipping available.
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Georgre Lundquist header

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!
HERE!

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

George Lundquist

experience Costa Rica
Costa Rica Travel In Paradise Group Tours

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CR local phone:  +506-2274-3231
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Howard
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Will Costa Rica Retirement Work For You?
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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.

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Here's reasonable medical care
Costa Rica's world class medical specialists are at your command. Get the top care for much less than U.S. prices. It is really a great way to spend a vacation. See our list of recommended professionals HERE!amcr-prom



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Real estate-related services (paid category)
COSTA RICA SOLAR
solar one

solar two
NOW with the New Power Company Regulations, we're installing photo voltaic systems for solar electricity.
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Real estate rentals (paid category)

farm house
Beautiful Home for Rent.
2-bedroom, 1-bath, furnished house inside gated farm. Close to town. No dogs. $650  includes electricity, internet, WiFi, cable TV, water. Santa Barbara de Heredia. American owner lives on site. Quiet, secure. 
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Tropical Homes

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.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
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Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on SellMyTimeshareNow.com at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
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9049-7/31/17





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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 7
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Axiom new ad

Moscow denies allegation
Russians hacked election


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Kremlin is denouncing as baseless and amateurish U.S. intelligence claims it meddled in the U.S. presidential election to help Donald Trump win a four-year term in the White House.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday "These are baseless allegations substantiated with nothing, done on a rather amateurish, emotional level that is hardly worthy of professional work of truly world-class security services."

"We are growing rather tired of these accusations," Peskov said. "It is becoming a full-on witch hunt."

His comments were the Kremlin's first since the U.S. intelligence community said Friday it had high confidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered a campaign to undermine the democratic presidential electoral process in the United States.

U.S. officials said Russian efforts were intended to undercut the election chances of Democrat Hillary Clinton and help Trump, the Republican candidate.

Peskov said Russia is categorically denying any implication it was responsible for the hacking of thousands of emails from the computer of Clinton campaign chief John Podesta and their release through the document-leaking group WikiLeaks. The steady disclosure of the emails in the month before the election revealed at-times embarrassing efforts by Democratic officials to help Mrs. Clinton defeat Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont for the party's presidential nomination.

"We still don't know what data is really being used by those who present such unfounded accusations," the Kremlin spokesman said. The United States released a declassified version of its findings that was half the length of the classified report intelligence officials presented first to President Barack Obama on Thursday and a day later to president-elect Trump.

The Kremlin spokesman said that once Trump is inaugurated in Washington work would begin on finding a date for a first meeting between the U.S. and Russian leaders.

Trump's incoming chief of staff, Reince Priebus, said Sunday that the president-elect is not denying entities in Russia are behind these particular hackings.


Volkswagen exec charged
with emissions violations


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A former Volkswagen executive has been charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States over the company's emissions-cheating scandal.

Oliver Schmidt, who was the general manager of the engineering and environmental office for Volkswagen of America, made a brief appearance in the U.S. District Court in Miami Monday following his arrest on Saturday in Florida. He did not enter a plea.

Schmidt, a German resident, was also charged with wire fraud and for violating the Clean Air Act.

Schmidt is the second person to be arrested as part of the ongoing federal investigation into Volkswagen, which has admitted that it installed software on as many as 11 million diesel vehicles sold worldwide to circumvent emission tests.

The software allowed the vehicles to turn pollution controls on during emission tests and to turn them off during actual driving. Those vehicles emitted up to 40 times the legally allowable pollution levels.

U.S. prosecutors accuse Schmidt of lying to regulators who were investigating the discrepancies in emissions.

Volkswagen said in a statement Monday that it is cooperating with the U.S. Justice Department in the investigation. U.S. media is reporting the company is close to agreeing to a multi-billion-dollar fine to settle the criminal case.

Another U.S. Volkwagen employee, James Liang, was charged in September with misleading regulators about the diesel emissions. He pled guilty and is cooperating with prosecutors.

The news of the latest charges come as Volkswagen is rolling out two new sport utility vehicles at the Detroit auto show. Hinrich Woebcken, Volkswagen's chief executive of the North America region, told reporters at the auto show Monday that the company was surprised by the criminal charges.

He said Volkswagen is on a good path to get things straight. Many of the company's top management left the company following the scandal, including CEO Martin Winterkorn.


Senate braces for battle
over Trump cabinet picks


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Senate will be ground zero beginning today for the first major battle of the incoming Trump administration: a rigorous and contentious confirmation process for the president-elect's cabinet nominees and other top administration picks.

Hearings for eight Trump nominees will be held this week, beginning with Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, tapped to be America's next attorney general.

"When President Obama came into office he had his cabinet,  a core working group, confirmed the first day," Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, a Republican,  said,  “and I would hope that we have that same situation with President Trump when he takes office on January 20."

For his part, president-elect Donald Trump predicted Monday that the Senate will confirm all of his cabinet choices. He made the prediction in New York, where he continued to meet with business and political leaders, 11 days ahead of his inauguration as the country's 45th president.

But Democrats have raised strenuous objections, saying numerous Trump nominees have been slow to complete paperwork and release information considered to be standard requirements for cabinet picks and federal agency heads.

"We are focused on not getting all the completed ethics forms, tax returns, and that's just unprecedented," Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota said, "We just want to have the information to see if there are any conflicts."

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, noted that Republicans demanded that Obama's nominees clear the same hurdles on ethics, FBI background checks, and financial disclosures prior to their confirmation hearings in 2009.

"Our requests are eminently reasonable," Schumer said. "I only ask that the Republican majority follow the same set of standards they had in 2009 when the shoe was on the other foot."

Republicans insist no Trump nominee will be able to flout confirmation requirements, even if Democrats do not believe the information provided is sufficient.

"Nobody has ever had all the information in these proceedings. But they will have adequate information, no question about that," Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Republican from Utah, said. "It's our job to make sure we vet cabinet-level people. We're doing that and we will do it."

But the director of the nonpartisan Office of Government Ethics has raised concerns that the sheer volume of nominees, the hectic pace of confirmation hearings, and the failure of some cabinet picks to provide financial information has taxed the organization's ability to thoroughly vet them prior to the hearings.

Democrats say the problem is compounded by the composition of Trump's proposed inner circle.

"President-elect Trump's nominees pose particularly difficult ethics and conflict of interest challenges," Schumer said. "They come, many of them, from enormous wealth. Many have vast holdings in stocks, and very few have experience in government. So they have not been appropriately vetted for something like a cabinet post before."

"When you have people with assets and ownerships all over the world that are billionaires, it just makes it all the more complicated," Sen. Klobuchar said.


Medical debate continues
on mammogram treatment

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A new study says that one in three women diagnosed with breast cancer detected by a mammogram are treated unnecessarily, continuing a debate over the issue of mammograms.

The Danish study published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine said the screenings lead to so-called false positives in as many as a third of women, who have tumors so slow-growing they're essentially harmless. It also said the regular mammograms did not catch more advanced cancers.

The chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, Otis Brawley, said in an editorial accompanying the study that the findings show that some cancer screenings can lead to radiation, chemotherapy and surgery that is not necessary.

He said early detection and treating all cancers equally leads to many lives being saved.

"But we're also curing some women who don't need to be cured," he said.

Medical groups currently offer differing advice on mammograms. The American Cancer Society recommends women get annual mammograms from age 45 to 54 followed by screenings every other year after that, while the American College of Radiology recommends annual mammograms beginning at age 40.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force ignited much of the recent debate when it recommended in 2009 that women wait until age 50 to get mammograms and do so only every other year.

Proponents of early and regular mammogram screening say that treating breast tumors early makes for easier treatment and can save lives. Those that argue for a more cautious approach say unnecessary radiation can harm women and even cause new cancers.

Brawley said the problem is that doctors can't definitively tell which breast tumors need treatment and which can be safely left without treatment. He argued that better tests are needed to differentiate between tumors and harmless growths.

The study was based on Danish medical records and compared the number of early-stage and advanced breast tumors before and after the country started offering mammograms.


iPhone turns 10 this year
with reflection on device


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Smartphones are everywhere, so it is hard to believe the iconic iPhone from Apple was launched just 10 years ago today.

That day Apple co-founder Steve Jobs took the stage at Macworld 2007 to introduce what he called three products in one: a widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone and a breakthrough internet communications device.

Apple has sold more than one billion iPhones since then, changing the way humans communicate, take pictures, listen to music, watch videos and keep in touch with loved ones.

“iPhone is an essential part of our customers' lives, and today more than ever it is redefining the way we communicate, entertain, work and live,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “iPhone set the standard for mobile computing in its first decade and we are just getting started. The best is yet to come.”

Currently, Apple is selling the seventh edition of the smartphone, iPhone 7, and a larger version, the iPhone 7 Plus. Sales of iPhone were a large factor toward making Apple one of the richest companies in the world.

"Too often, only modest advances are over hyped as world-changing and revolutionary, but I believe those phrases understate the impact of the iPhone," Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure told Fortune magazine. "Steve Jobs and Apple didn't just create a product and then market its features. They sparked a true technological revolution because they've always had a laser focus on providing billions of people a better way to do the things they do every day."


Mediterranean plants may
be used to treat afflictions


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Extracts from plants found in abundance in and around the Mediterranean eventually may be used to help treat people with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

Scientists said chemicals in prickly pear and brown seaweed appear to interfere with the formation of sticky plaques found in the brains of those suffering from the two neurodegenerative, age-related diseases. The plaques are a hallmark of both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's that lead to a gradual reduction in brain function and to death.

The extracts, said researchers, appeared to replace the harmful sticky clumps with deposits that were less toxic.

Researchers at the University of Malta and the National Center of Scientific Research at the University of Bordeaux tested the plants' chemical extracts on brewer's yeast with beta amyloid deposits, similar to those seen in Alzheimer's disease.

Scientists said the yeast's health improved dramatically after exposure to the chemicals. They next tested the extracts in fruit flies that were genetically modified to develop symptoms of Alzheimer's.

When the flies were given brown seaweed extract, their lifespans increased by two days, according to investigators. Prickly pear prolonged the insects' lives by four days. Researchers said one day in the life of a fruit fly is the equivalent to a human year.

Significantly, improvement was noted in the movement of some of the diseased insects. In a fly model of Parkinson's disease, scientists discovered the extracts also extended the lifespan of flies whose brains were overloaded with a gummy protein implicated in Parkinson's disease called alpha-synuclein. The research was reported in the journal Neuroscience Letters.

Researchers said it appears the same biological pathways in the brain lead to the formation of sticky plaques seen in both diseases. They added that targeting those pathways is the most promising avenue in the fight against the neurodegenerative diseases.

Lead author Ruben Cauchi of the University of Malta's Center for Molecular Medicine and Biobanking said the Mediterranean plant extracts already are on the market in health foods and some cosmetics, making them very safe.

The research team is working with a company that extracts the chemicals for commercial use as fountain of youth preparations.


Real estate-related services (paid category)

Container
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Shipping Container Homes For Sale!
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Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)


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Real estate for sale (paid category)


Samara
                                  acreage
Sámara titled land for sale by owner
5.7 acres. Only 150 meters to beach: $275,000
Less than $12 a meter

Fully titled, held by corporation. 150 meters to beach! Paved road frontage. Electric, phone and broadband internet at the road. Year-round water on property for well. 3 -minute drive to Sámara center and a 3-minute walk to Playa Sámara. 23,561 square meters / 5.7 acres. Property was purchased on 2005 with plans to develop 21 villas on the property. Project was halted due to real estate market collapse in 2007.  We are no longer interested in developing due to age, health and motivation!  Priced well below market value for quick sale.  More info click HERE! Email: darrandall@yahoo.com    Phone: 506-4033-6695.
xxxxxx-1/5/17

Owner Financing in San Ramon
New Construction, and Ocean View
Brand new home with 4-plus bedrooms and 3 baths all overlooking an incredible 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean
ocean view
and mountains. Locatedonly 45 minutes from the San Jose airport and about the same to the Pacific Ocean.  The lower level could be used as a separate apartment or mother-in-law setup. Home includes HUGE master  suite, CLOSETS, custom cabinets, granite counter tops, high wood ceilings, and all in an area that is 70-80 degrees year round. Priced at $199,000.
Completion date is January.  See the Virtual Tour:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R03ImsxN0wc    or click here www.whynotcostarica.com. If you would like to take a look at this amazing house, please give me a call at  Costa Rica # 506-8755-6743 or if from the States call 509-570-1928 or email tim@whynotcostarica.com9
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San Rmon
                                  rollover
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya. 7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 foot elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, appliances included. High-speed internet installed,  Price for sale $179,000    Contact Mike: mmpeace@hotmail.com 
Check out slide show HERE!
9129-3/6/17

New graphic
For sale 5,200 m2 Escazú
Fantastic location for condo, hotel, restaurant. Large lower lot, incredible views. Flexible zoning. Easy to get liquor license. Low interest financing. Up to 40% financing / get residency through investor status / includes a corporation that is 27 years old and offshore banking account with  Banco National / possible 50/50 partnership. Super location in front of the Bosques de Escazú  Condos  / Monthly rentals available
www.hotel4salecostarica.com
www.hotelsescazu.com
hotelescazu@aol.com
Call for more info:
Free US phone 877-778-8515  or 410-975-6703
In Costa Rica 506- 8307-0164
Bruce Cohen

Penthouse
                                  rollover
Costa Rica penthouse for sale
 5 -story penthouse for sale.  One of a kind penthouse on top of the Corobici Hotel in Sabana overlooking the Central Park and new Soccer Stadium in San José.  Excellent location provides you easy access to everywhere.  Other benefits include 24-hour security, 2 restaurants inside the hotel providing 1st class room service plus shared common areas in the hotel. Commercial license is in place. Seller will consider owner financing.  Asking $795K U.S.  Also available for monthly rent for $3,400 per month on an annual basis. Go to www.ThePenthouseCostaRica.com  Owners U.S. cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email crstratton@ymail.com
9132-6/1/17

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

Business for sale or lease (paid category)

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. Panama
A.M. Colombia
A.M. Guatemala
A.M. Honduras
A.M. Cuba
A.M. Nicaragua
A.M. Venezuela
A.M. Central America
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Dominican Republic

A.M. Ecuador A.M. El Salvador
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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 7
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Star explosion may change night sky

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

There could be some dramatic changes to the night sky if astronomers are correct in their observations.

They say it may be possible to see a binary star in the Cygnus constellation merge and explode in 2022, creating a red nova. The binary star is about 1,800 light-years away in the Cygnus constellation, so what astronomers are observing now happened about 1,800 years ago.

They are making a present day prediction about what may be seen in 2022 based on those observations.

The announcement was made Friday by Lawrence Molnar, professor at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, his students, and fellow astronomers from Apache Point Observatory, New Mexico, and the University of Wyoming at the 229th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Grapevine, Texas.

“It is a one-in-a-million chance that you can predict an explosion. It has never been done before,” Molnar said.

The binary system, called KIC 9832227, has long been studied, but in 2013, astronomers noticed a change in its brightness. Upon closer inspection, Molnar and his team discovered the stars were getting closer to one another.

The astronomers then compared that data to an observed creation of a red nova from the binary V1309 Scorpii, which led them to conclude a red nova might be about to form at KIC 9832227.

“Bottom line is we really think our merging star hypothesis should be taken seriously right now, and we should be using the next few years to study this intensely so that if it does blow up we will know what led to that explosion,” Molnar said.

If the new red nova does materialize, it will be visible in Cygnus in the prominent formation called the Northern Cross.


Weekend exercise reported to reduce ills

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

So-called weekend warriors, people who exercise one or two days a week, may reduce their risk of dying over roughly the next decade nearly as much as people who work out more often, according to a new study.

Previous guidelines from the World Health Organization recommend that the average adult engage in moderate-intensity physical activity for at least 150 minutes per week or vigorous activity for 75 minutes per week in order to reduce the risks of dying from causes such as heart disease and cancer. However, there is no consensus on how best to distribute the exercise time to achieve the greatest health benefits.

In the study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers looked to address that question.

The study found that weekend warriors reduced their risk of dying by 30 percent compared to those who engaged in little or no physical activity. People who exercised more often throughout the week lowered their risk by 35 percent. For cancer deaths, the risk reductions were 18 percent in weekend warriors and 21 percent in those who were regularly active.

And for cardiovascular disease, there was a 41 percent lower risk of heart disease in people who were physically active one or two days a week and those who engaged in physical exertion more regularly, compared to so-called couch potatoes.

The study, conducted over nine years, was based on the self-reported exercise habits and health examinations of more than 63,000 adults in England and Scotland. The information was linked to mortality records.
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From Page 7:

China acts to protect the diminishing yuan

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Chinese yuan fell against the dollar Monday, following losses Friday. The decline underlines the foreign exchange management challenges for Beijing, which is worried about U.S. president-elect Donald Trump's threat to declare China a currency manipulator. The slide came after the People's Bank of China, the central bank, reset the trading range lower to save the yuan from a market thrashing and a possible currency crisis, analysts said.

The slide in the yuan's offshore value is the worst slide since last June. It came soon after Beijing imposed foreign exchange restrictions on Chinese buying properties overseas, demonstrating how difficult it is for China to check capital flight, an important cause of the fall in the value of the yuan.

The central bank probably wants to avoid that a yuan slide becomes a one-way bet for the market, as this would make the pressure for further declines much harder to resist, Jacob Kirkegaard, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute of International Economics, said.

While the central bank might be unwilling or unable to intervene constantly to prop up the yuan exchange rate, if it can make the market unpredictably volatile, it might make it hard for traders to gamble on the currency falling further, Kirkegaard said.

The yuan fixed trading mid-range was 6.9262 to the dollar Monday, compared with 6.8668 Friday. China allows the yuan to trade 2 percent up or down from its fixed mid-range each day.

China usually spends a huge amount of money to protect the yuan from falling, and even pushes it up occasionally. The yuan strengthened against the dollar for a couple of days last week. This is why the central bank's decision to allow the currency to slide for two days is significant.

Chinese officials have indicated Beijing is now rationing what it spends to protect the economy and is allowing the yuan to float close to realistic levels because it has already lost a significant portion of its foreign currency. Foreign currency reserves have fallen to around $3 trillion from $4 trillion in 2014. During that time, the U.S. dollar exchange rate has dropped by nearly one yuan.

Chinese authorities fear that capital flight from China, the strengthening dollar and possible adverse moves by Trump might result in a severe beating for the yuan in the coming weeks.