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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 22
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License law change penalizes expats who overstay
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A new traffic law calls for the removal of license plates on cars owned by foreigners who get caught driving past the three-month limit allowed tourists, according to the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes.

This is a sequel to a 2012 law that says expats cannot obtain a Costa Rican driver’s license until the immigration agency gives them official cédulas. The law also prevents so-called perpetual tourists from obtaining a local license. These perpetual tourists leave the country every 90 days to renew their tourism visa in order to keep their current license valid.

The bill, approved for the second and final time by the Asemblea Legislativa Monday, also calls for new rules regarding breathalyzer tests on drivers suspected of being intoxicated. These include adding the right of a driver to request another test be administered if they were not satisfied with the first one, the Ministerio de Obras Públicas said. Another test can then be requested by the driver again at an accredited clinic or health center if they also find the first two unsatisfactory.

The catch to all this, however, is that the alleged offender must pay the cost of the breathalyzer exam at the center. All tests conducted at these accredited places must be performed within half an hour of performing the air test, the ministry said. Officials also noted that, with these new options for drivers, there are equally new and more severe penalties imposed as well in the legislation.

This includes a fine of 306,850 colons if the tested person refuses to take the test. That fine is equivalent to around $560. Six points will

A.M. Costa Rica photo 
License law change targets perpetual tourists.

be added to the license of the person refusing to take the test.

The other adjustments within the legislation relate to the ability of the Policía Tránsito to penalize car owners who block fire hydrants or private properties or those with excess passengers in the vehicle. Other persons who may have their license plates revoked if this bill passes would be those with their lights broken or someone being unaccompanied while driving on a temporary permit.

The approved bill was introduced in June 2015.

Members of the prominent, left-wing political party Frente Amplio introduced on Monday afternoon a bill to aid bicyclists. After the weekend's string of bloody traffic accidents, the party presented the law for consideration by legislators.

The bill is basically a show of encouragement in using bicycles as a form of transportation, ironically. It also establishes a better legal framework for the safety and road capacity for bicycles, party representatives said.

Reality of passport confiscations still some time off
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The U.S. State Department still is a long way from pulling passports of citizens with major tax debt.

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service said that it has not yet reported tax debt to the State Department but that it plans to start doing so early this year.

However, the advocacy group, American Citizen Abroad, said it still is waiting to see draft regulations so it can make comments. The organization says that it will voice concerns over how this policy could put Americans overseas at a serious disadvantage if they were to have their passports denied or revoked. 

Under the current regulation, the State Department is supposed to deny passport renewal to anyone who has a reported debt of $50,000. The department also can cancel a

passport or simply give a U.S. citizen just the right to return home.

According to the Internal Revenue Service it is supposed to notify a U.S. citizen when it certifies to the State Department that there is a substantial debt. In addition, the State Department must give those renewing passports 90 days to protest the designation.

That gives taxpayers the chance to protest any errors made by tax collectors before the application is denied.

Those who face the lost of a passport can file suit in tax court if they think the agencies have acted incorrectly.

For most expats a $50,000 tax debt may seem a lot, but the sale of real estate generating capital gains tax or even penalties and interest levied by the Internal Revenue Services can run up the amount.

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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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Winds expected to continue today

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Strong blasts of wind have been pummeling areas of the Central Valley and Guanacaste these past couple days and will continue today.

According to the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional, the Costa Rican national weather service, a cold front is generating strong wind gusts upwards of 60 to 100 kilometers per hour. These wind bursts will continue throughout the Central Valley, north Pacific and the central mountains today, according to the weather service. The Central Valley and Guanacaste received the worst of the wind this past weekend.

Monday, Liberia and Santa Cruz in Guanacaste were hit with wind in the mid-60s kilometers per hour. La Cruz received the highest wind velocity capping at 79 kilometers per hour.

By comparison, San José received a lighter velocity of 43 kilometers per hour while Alajuela and Heredia to the north got 57 kilometers per hour. The winds caused a slight drop in temperatures of around 2 degrees C. Scattered rainfall occurred through Monday in the northern part of the country and is expected to continue.

Colder temperatures due to the windy conditions and cold front will keep some parts of the northern area in the low 60s during the evening. Depending on proximity to the mountains, the windchill could drop even lower, according to the weather service.

Tuesday’s high for the capital is predicted to be around 72 degrees fahrenheit, according to the weather service. Heredia and Alajuela is predicted to be in the mid to high 70s. Meanwhile, Cartago is predicted to have a temperature in the high 60s.

Ancient Greek Tragedies coming in March

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Classical Greek drama is taking the stage in March at Costa Rica’s Teatro Nacional.

The Oresteia, called in Spanish La Orestíada, an adaptation of the tragedies created by Aeschylus in the fifth century B.C., will debut March 10 at 8 p.m. and continue to run until March 19 at 5 p.m. The tragedies tells the story of Agamemnon, the legendary King of Mycenae and leader of the Greek force that sailed to war against the Trojans.

This is not, however, an adaptation of Homer’s Illiad. The play recounts how the Oracle at Delphi tells Agamemnon that, as a way to assure total victory over the Trojans, he must first sacrifice his own daughter.

The scenario will be very similar to how a Greek tragedy is traditionally set up in terms of choreography and stage setup, according to actor Leonardo Perucci. The show will be bare in terms of grand canvases and stage design and very minimalist in terms of the costuming. This means that the show will rely heavily on the interpretative skills of the actors involved to make this show come to life.

The show’s director, Luis Fernando Gómez, also emphasized the lighting transitions will be important in creating the desired catharsis, or emotional response, among the audience, typical of the goals in Ancient Greek drama. The difference in this interpretation of the Aeschylus play will be that the scene transitions will utilize original music from the Costa Rican composer Carlos Escalante.

Tickets can be purchased at the Teatro Nacional or reserved online and by phone. Prices will range 6,400 and 15,000 colons depending on seating arrangement.

1,500 new police officers are expected

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An estimated 1,500 new police officers will join law enforcement this year, according to officials in the public security ministry.

The Ministerio de Seguridad Pública announced Monday afternoon that 25 billion colons, around $44.8 million, is being budgeted for the project and the training of new officers. The recruits will be divided up into five groups with around 300 policemen for every group, according to officials.

Police officers greeted with rain of rocks

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A rock-throwing brawl outside a bar turned into an attack on Fuerza Pública officers Sunday night.

The incident occurred in Pital at San Carlos where police received a call about people outside a local bar hurling stones against parked vehicles and yelling at each other. According to the official report, underage children were also present at the place.

When police initially tried to intervene, several among the crowd began to attack the officers responding to the scene. Police called for backup, which resulted in the apprehension of two men and a woman. Police said that some of their officers sustained injuries to the head, arms, and legs from this incident.

One of the apprehended has a criminal record for selling drugs and has been arrested several times on those charges, police said.

News from the Spanish-language press
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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 22
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Keeps those duds clean might require some comparison shopping
By Conor Golden
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Laundry service represents a common necessity for tourists, expats, and anyone who desires not to smell funny. This common service can be uncommonly expensive in Costa Rica.

Some businesses providing these services of washing and drying clothes fall prey to the tempting dollar. Some places charge by every kilogram. Some places an arbitrary price for each load. Some just charge based on the total size or amount of what needs washed or dried.

The prices are arbitrary with a few businesses relying on the lack of available laundry service to run up the prices, particularly on foreigners and tourists. Some call it basic economics of supply and demand. Others might call it exploitive.

Even a smaller-sized hotel offering cheaper rates in comparison to the more mainstream hotels in San José centro charges their guests $20 for using its washer and dryer. That is not $20 per month or $20 each week. That is $20 per load.

One hostel in the San José area is a little better. That place only charges its guests $10. Other places will sneak in the price as a part of the total room cost. Many swanky, uptown hotels may use this method of charging laundry, while advertising the service itself as free.

Lavanderias or laundries are abundant and particularly so near a university. Some charge around 1,000 or 2,000 colons a kilogram, which is around two pounds. A professional dry cleaning service in San José charges 2,000 colons, about $3.65, for each single kilogram for washing and drying. One American-style laundromat in San Pedro asks 6,500 colons for a load under 15 kilograms, which is around 33 pounds.

air drying
A.M. Costa Rica photo
Many homes in Costa Rica do not have mechanical dryers.

By comparison to the United States, a relatively cheap laundromat in Brooklyn, New York, charges its customers around $8 to $10 for washing and drying clothes. In downtown Boston, some places will charge around $4 for a load of clothes. In Los Angeles, another laundromat trip may cost around $3 or $4. These are also major metropolitan cities, which are notorious for high costs of living. 

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 22
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A review of language-learning programs
Duolingo language-learning site appears to be a great start for Spanish

By Sharon and James Brodell
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Duolingo continues to be a winner in language learning, a newspaper study has shown.

The free, online training site is 5 years old now, and 27 languages are being offered with nearly that many in
The owl
Wise owl trademark
development. Not all courses are for English speakers, and the English course for foreigners is the most popular.

Of particularly interest for expats in Costa Rica is the Spanish for English course, which quickly propels a learner into a basic vocabulary. No one claims that a Duolingo course can make a learner 
fluent, but the grammatical groundwork is comprehensive.

After 60 or so quick lessons, a learner can construct basic sentences, knows a little about telling time, as well as basic occupations and sizes: small, big, short, tall.

The program originated at Carnegie Mellon University. So, despite being free, the coursework is impressive. Each course is developed by bilingual speakers, and many are academics with vast knowledge of linguistics.

The Spanish for English speakers course has about 79,000 learners now, but many, of course, do not finish the lessons.

That is not the fault of Duolingo. The program sends out daily messages encouraging learners to sign on and complete a lesson. Its motto is that language learning requires daily practice.

The website is available on handheld devices, too.

Some may want to use the oral capacities. Those with microphones on computers can use this optional feature.

Duolingo is supported by foundations and promises to be free forever.

Expats with time on their hands might even want to take a shot at learning Klingon, the language of the Star Trek alien race. There is a course in that, too. Of more practical use for those in Costa Rica might be Brazilian Portuguese.

A.M. Costa Rica reported on the language site last year when the Ministerio de Educación Pública decided to use it in classrooms. Special programming allows teachers to monitor student  progress. The classroom use would seem to combine the benefits of online education with personal attention.

An extensive study by bilingual reporters over the last few months resulted in rave reviews. The Spanish program is remarkably personal for something computer generated. Part of the reason is a discussions list where learners can pose general questions and specific discussion sections for each question or exercise. These are monitored by the bilingual teams.

The team members who monitor each section repeatedly demonstrate deep knowledge of linguistics and language history. Some of the discussions are beyond that found in any text.

There are competitors online, including Babble and Memrise, that charge for lessons. Some Duolingo students also use the paid competitors for additional training. Memrise, for example, emphasizes its scientific approach.

All seem to represent a step forward in language education and certainly provide tools for students and those who may be suddenly thrust into international situations. 

There also are tests and certifications.

Language novices in Costa Rica would have an advantage if they completed the free Duolingo or similar course and then sought fluency with human teachers in face-to-face lessons.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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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:
Contact us by email:  
Find us on Trip Advisor, Facebook, Twitter,
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International shipping available.

Georgre Lundquist header

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

 (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!

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.

George Lundquist

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 22
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Acting attorney general fired,
for refusing to obey orders

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Donald Trump wasted no time Monday night in firing an acting attorney general who earlier in the day ordered the Justice Department not to defend his executive order temporarily banning travelers from seven mostly Muslim countries.

A White House statement said Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, a holdover from the Obama administration, betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States.

It said Trump relieved her of her duties and named Dana Boente, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, to serve as acting attorney general. The president's nominee for attorney general, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, is likely to be confirmed soon by his Senate colleagues.

Earlier Monday, Ms. Yates wrote a letter to Justice Department lawyers saying, "I am responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution's solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right."

Then-President Barack Obama appointed Ms. Yates to be deputy attorney general in 2015, and she was asked to stay on by the Trump administration until a new attorney general is confirmed by the Senate.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that 109 people have so far been stopped from entering the United States, out of 325,000 foreign nationals who have entered the country in a single 24-hour period since the ban was imposed.

Trump’s executive order suspends U.S. entry to all refugees for 120 days, and bans Syrian refugees indefinitely. The decree further blocks citizens of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Yemen and Somalia from entering U.S. territory for a period of three months.

Trump has insisted the ban is not a religious measure targeting Muslims, instead calling it a series of precautionary steps needed to keep America safe.

Senate Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer continued to attack the travel restrictions Monday, saying the ban should be reversed immediately because it is un-American.

On the floor of the Senate, he warned colleagues that Islamic State extremists stand to gain the most from the travel ban, saying they want nothing more than to paint the United States as a country at war with Islam. He also reminded his audience that America was founded by the descendants of asylum seekers, and that the country has been constantly invigorated by immigrants.

Senior Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, both members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, criticized Trump's order Sunday, saying the confusion at airports showed the measure was not properly vetted.

Trump responded to McCain and Graham on Twitter, calling them weak on immigration and saying they should be focused on Islamic State, illegal immigration and border security.

The ban's implementation led to a weekend of confusion, particularly at the nation's airports, where in some cases people holding green cards as permanent legal residents were detained for extra questioning before being allowed entry.

In a separate statement Sunday, the Department of Homeland Security said the government retains its right to revoke visas at any time if necessary for national security. That followed an emergency order by a federal court in New York temporarily barring the deportation of people who arrive at U.S. airports with a valid visa or an approved refugee application.

French-Canadian charged
with six counts of murder

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Police in Quebec City have charged a French-Canadian university student with murder following a deadly attack on a mosque in the city.

The man, Alexandre Bissonnette, was charged Monday evening with six counts of first degree murder and five counts of attempted murder in the shooting, which Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned as a terrorist attack on Muslims.

More than 50 people were at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Center when the shooting erupted late Sunday. A police spokeswoman, Christine Coulombe, said the six victims ranged in age from 35 to about 70. Eight others were wounded in the attack, including five who are in critical condition.

A second person was detained by police as a suspect, but is now being considered a witness.

Police did not give a motive for the attack and it is not clear if anyone else was involved in the shooting.

U.S. President Donald Trump called Trudeau Monday to offer his condolences. Trudeau's office said Trump offered to provide any assistance needed.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters the Quebec shooting is a terrible reminder of why Americans must remain vigilant, and why the president is taking steps to be proactive, rather than reactive, when it comes to the nation's safety and security.

Refugee agency scrambles
to limit effect of U.S. ban

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily halting the resettlement of all Syrian refugees and banning entry of individuals from seven predominantly Muslim nations has left the United Nations scrambling to limit the fall-out to some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

“This week alone, over 800 refugees were set to make America their new home, but instead find themselves barred from traveling to the U.S.,” said a statement issued Monday from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

The agency, which works around the world assisting and screening refugees for resettlement said refugees are anxious, confused and heartbroken at this suspension in what is already a lengthy process.

On Friday, Trump signed the executive order, which includes a 120-day suspension of refugee admissions and a 90-day entry ban for people from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya and Yemen.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid al Hussein criticized the ban on Twitter and Facebook, writing that discrimination based on nationality alone is forbidden under human rights law.

The human rights chief has been a vocal critic of Trump for his views on torture and immigrants, and referred to him in a September speech denouncing populists and demagogues in Europe and the U.S.

Meanwhile, concerns and confusion at the United Nations around the immigration ban extend beyond the people the organization serves to those who serve them.

The U.N. secretary-general has not issued a direct condemnation of the ban or called for it to be revoked.

Saturday, the International Organization for Migration and the U.N. Human Rights Agency put out a joint statement on the importance of ensuring safe and secure resettlement and immigration programs.

ancient critter
University of Cambridge graphic 
The microfossil had a very big mouth.

Study says ancient critter
was ancestor of humanity

By St. John's College, Cambridge, news staff

Researchers have identified traces of what they believe is the earliest known prehistoric ancestor of humans. That ancestor is a microscopic, bag-like sea creature, which lived about 540 million years ago.

Named Saccorhytus, after the sack-like features created by its body and large mouth, the species is new to science and was identified from microfossils found in China. It is thought to be the most primitive example of a so-called deuterostome, which is a broad biological category that encompasses a number of sub-groups, including the vertebrates.

If the conclusions of the study, published in the journal Nature, are correct, then Saccorhytus was the common ancestor of a huge range of species, and the earliest step yet discovered on the evolutionary path that eventually led to humans, hundreds of millions of years later.

Modern humans are unlikely to perceive much by way of a family resemblance. Saccorhytus was about a millimeter in size, and probably lived between grains of sand on the seabed. Its features were spectacularly preserved in the fossil record and, intriguingly, the researchers were unable to find any evidence that the animal had an anus.

The study was carried out by an international team of academics, including researchers from the University of Cambridge in the UK and Northwest University in Xi'an China, with support from other colleagues at institutions in China and Germany.

Simon Conway Morris, professor of evolutionary palaeobiology at the University of Cambridge, said: "We think that as an early deuterostome this may represent the primitive beginnings of a very diverse range of species, including ourselves. To the naked eye, the fossils we studied look like tiny black grains, but under the microscope the level of detail is jaw-dropping. All deuterostomes had a common ancestor, and we think that is what we are looking at here."

Degan Shu from Northwest University added: "Our team has notched up some important discoveries in the past, including the earliest fish and a remarkable variety of other early deuterostomes. Saccorhytus now gives us remarkable insights into the very first stages of the evolution of a group that led to the fish, and ultimately, to us."

Most other early deuterostome groups are from about 510 to 520 million years ago, when they had already begun to diversify into not just the vertebrates, but the sea squirts or animals such as starfish and sea urchins. This level of diversity has made it extremely difficult to work out what an earlier, common ancestor might have looked like.

The Saccorhytus microfossils were found in Shaanxi Province, in central China, and pre-date all other known deuterostomes. By isolating the fossils from the surrounding rock, and then studying them both under an electron microscope and using a computerized tomography scan, the team were able to build up a picture of how Saccorhytus might have looked and lived.

In the early Cambrian period, the region would have been a shallow sea. Saccorhytus was so small that it probably lived in between individual grains of sediment on the sea bed.

The study suggests that its body was bilaterally symmetrical, a characteristic inherited by many of its descendants including humans. It was covered with a thin, relatively flexible skin. This in turn suggests that it could have made contractile movements, and got around by wriggling.

Perhaps its most striking feature, however, was its rather primitive means of eating food and then dispensing with the resulting waste. Saccorhytus had a large mouth, relative to the rest of its body, and probably ate by engulfing food particles, or even other creatures.

A crucial observation are small cone-like structures on its body. These may have allowed the water that it swallowed to escape and so were perhaps the evolutionary precursor of the gills we now see in fish.

But the researchers were unable to find any evidence that the creature had an anus. "If that was the case, then any waste material would simply have been taken out back through the mouth, which from our perspective sounds rather unappealing," Conway Morris said.

The findings also provide evidence in support of a theory explaining the long-standing mismatch between fossil evidence of prehistoric life, and the record provided by bio-molecular data.

Unfortunately, before a point corresponding roughly to the time at which Saccorhytus was wriggling in the mud, there are scarcely any fossils available to match the molecular data.

Some researchers have theorized that, before a certain point, many of the creatures they are searching for were simply too small to leave much of a fossil record. The microscopic scale of Saccorhytus, combined with the fact that it is probably the most primitive deuterostome yet discovered, appears to back this up.

Dutch government beginning
global fund for women’s rights

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

She Decides is a global fundraising initiative launched by the Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation last Saturday. The campaign is trying to raise money to offer family planning services to women in developing countries.

The crowdfunding effort was established in response to a decree signed last week by U.S. President Donald Trump. His order, also known as the México City policy, prohibits federal funding to groups and organizations that support abortions.

Dutch Minister Lilianne Ploumen said in a video message she received an overwhelming amount of supporting messages from around the world after she voiced her plan to set up an international safe abortion fund.

“We want to raise funds to make sure women and girls all over the world have access to family planning services, " she said, "Please join us, spread the word. It is time that she decides.”

The first $10 million donation came from the Dutch government.

Ms. Ploumen is now actively lobbying other governments and organizations to close the $600 million funding gap.

Canada is said to be enthusiastic about the Dutch initiative and so is Belgium.

Alexander de Croo, the Belgian deputy prime minister and minister of development cooperation, said he will host an international conference this spring in Brussels. The aim is to bring together like-minded countries and organizations when it comes to the topic of women’s rights and family planning.

One of the affected organizations will be Marie Stopes International, which provides contraception and abortion services to women in 37 countries. Last year it received about $30 million from the U.S. Agency for International Development, for expanding access to contraception in developing countries.

Will Harris of Marie Stopes International said the decree leaves the organization with a 17 percent budget cut for 2017.

The group believes without alternative funding, the impact of the decree between 2017 and 2020 will be 6.5 million unintended pregnancies, 2.1 million unsafe abortions and 21,700 maternal deaths.

Many Republican politicians oppose abortions, while this is not as much of a public debate in most European countries. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation says the initiative is not against President Trump or the United States, but is focusing on the millions of women they believe will not have access to information, contraceptives and abortions.

Former President Ronald Reagan imposed the Mexico City policy in 1984. It was repealed by President Bill Clinton, re-imposed by President George W. Bush and repealed again by President Barack Obama.


University of Southampton graphic 
Diagram of speculation on universe

Research says known universe
is one big, complex hologram

By the University of Southampton press services

A United Kingdom, Canadian and Italian study has provided what researchers believe is the first observational evidence that our universe could be a vast and complex hologram.

Theoretical physicists and astrophysicists, investigating irregularities in the afterglow of the Big Bang, have found there is substantial evidence supporting a holographic explanation of the universe. In fact, as much as there is for the traditional explanation of these irregularities using the theory of cosmic inflation.

The researchers, from the University of Southampton, Canada’s University of Waterloo and Perimeter Institute, Italy’s Lecce and the University of Salento, have published findings in the journal Physical Review Letters.

A holographic universe, an idea first suggested in the 1990s, is one where all the information, which makes up our 3D reality plus time is contained in a 2D surface on its boundaries.

Professor Kostas Skenderis of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Southampton explains: "Imagine that everything you see, feel and hear in three dimensions and your perception of time in fact emanates from a flat two-dimensional field. The idea is similar to that of ordinary holograms where a three-dimensional image is encoded in a two-dimensional surface, such as in the hologram on a credit card. However, this time, the entire universe is encoded!"

Although not an example with holographic properties, it could be thought of as rather like watching a 3D film in a cinema. We see the pictures as having height, width and crucially, depth - when in fact it all originates from a flat 2D screen. The difference, in our 3D universe, is that we can touch objects and the projection is real from our perspective.

In recent decades, advances in telescopes and sensing equipment have allowed scientists to detect a vast amount of data hidden in the white noise or microwaves, partly responsible for the random black and white dots you see on an un-tuned TV, left over from the moment the universe was created.

Using this information, the team were able to make complex comparisons between networks of features in the data and quantum field theory. They found that some of the simplest quantum field theories could explain nearly all cosmological observations of the early universe.

Professor Skenderis commented, "Holography is a huge leap forward in the way we think about the structure and creation of the universe. Einstein's theory of general relativity explains almost everything large scale in the universe very well, but starts to unravel when examining its origins and mechanisms at quantum level.”

Scientists have been working for decades to combine Einstein's theory of gravity and quantum theory. Some believe the concept of a holographic universe has the potential to reconcile the two. I hope our research takes us another step towards this, Skenderis said.

The scientists now hope their study will open the door to further our understanding of the early universe and explain how space and time emerged.

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* Colinas del Sol is a fenced and gated project  in a quiet area.
* There are 88 clear titled lots.
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                                  Farm rollover
Beautiful farm in excellent location
At only an hour's drive from San José, minutes from Guápiles, and boardering Braulio Carrillo National Park, Etlingera Farms is one heck of an amazing farm. We purchased this 77-acre farm 10 years ago after many trips, and an exhaustive search. It has a little bit of everything we were looking for and a whole lot of beauty. Our average elevation of 600 meters helps to keep Bella Vista cool year round. This farm is nearly level with a semi-modern 2-bedroom house. A fairly rustic 2-bedroom caretaker's home. And, a comfortable, 1-bedroom cabin where we stay. We have 2 large barns, a chicken coop, and a 3-stall pig pen. There are two tilapia ponds and 2 hectarias, (approximately 5 acres) of different species of bananas. The property boarders Rio Blanco in the rear and has 300 meters of public road frontage. Water, electricity, and telephone are all serviced by public utility. Etlingera Farms was reforested with several thousand wood trees of different tropical varieties. We truly believe this farm is spectacular. Our neighbors are selling for as much as $20 per meter. We are negotiable, motivated and open to offers. Our location can be found by searching Etlingera Farms on Google Maps. Our webpage is and photo album can be found at

horse ranch
Spectacular Horse Ranch and Spiritual/Yoga
Retreat Center For Sale

We invite you to a horseback tour of 187 acres of pristine farm land with breathtaking vistas, including the islands of the Gulf of Nicoya. There are multiple springs and streams, wooded areas, hard-wood and fruit trees, rolling hills with a geat variety of birds and wildlife. This property boasts the privilege of being bordered by thousands of acres of forest preserve down a steep canyon, offering its own spectacular views, which will never be developed. The many hills provide a builder an endless array of possibilities for nestling buildings in where they will have both views and privacy. The elevation of the property at 1,200 to1600 feet above sea level ensures fresh breezes and ideal year-round temperatures with a day-time average in the low 80's for open-air living. There is a ranch-style house with guest house with 8 total bedrooms, 5 modern baths, huge eat-in kitchen, landmark palm-thatched giant rancho, stable, and storage buildings. The home will come partially furnished, including beds, ample dishware for large groups, housewares, linens, washer/dryer, and fine hard-wood hand-built cabinetry. The remaining horses, 4 to 6 of them, will also convey if one wishes. We are also including a LARGE BEACH LOT in nearby Playa Bejuco. San Rafael de Nandayure is a tiny rural village nestled into the mountainside above Carmona with all the charms of the simple good life of a BLUE ZONE. Carmona is a thriving town with a clinic, restaurfants, shopping, and everything else one may need.  More information
go to  Call Darin Ricco, phone +619-846-8249 or email:


Situated 3 miles west of the capital, 8 miles from the airport. Quiet, secluded area within walking distance to a commercial center including a hotel, 6 restaurants,  next to 2 bus line stops. Car ownership is not needed. January-March air temperatures are 72 to 80 degrees F.  Apartment 1,200 sq. ft (100 sq. meters), on ground floor, indoor  patio. Large windows without bars, parquet floors.  Spacious living room-dining area, 2 bedrooms, maid's room, 2 bathrooms, 4 closets  (including walk in), fully equipped kitchen (refrigerator, washing machine,small appliances, all necessary utensils, work tools). Close covered parking space in guarded area.  Many amenities, (pictures, indoor plants, sewing machine, books, keyboard, dishes, glassware,silverware). Annual cost of maintenance about $1,350 includes water, landscaping service, garbage disposal, 24-7 security and property taxes.
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 Available for viewing:   CONTACT:  USA :  (585) 969-3413 or (585) 266-7418 or in COSTA RICA : (506) 2231-0410.   email:

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:    Phone: 506-4033-6695.

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 and mountains. Located only 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 CLICK HERE or see our site here 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 

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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: 
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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  Owners U.S. cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 22
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coffee and tea
University of Illinois graphic/Julie McMahon
Graphic shows calories in coffee and tea.

Coffee and tea can mask many calories

By the University of Illinois news staff

More than 160 million people in the U.S. drink coffee or tea on a regular basis, and many of them use sugar, cream, flavored syrups or other calorie-laden additives in their drinks of choice. A new analysis reveals just how much Americans are adding to their caloric intake by spicing up or sweetening their coffee or tea.

A kinesiology and community health professor, Ruopeng An, used U.S. national data to determine how many calories Americans consume in their coffee and tea.

The research looked at 12 years of data ending in 2012 from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, including information from a nationally representative sample of 13,185 adults who reported drinking coffee and 6,215 adults who reported drinking tea in the 24 hours prior to being surveyed.

The data suggest that more than 51 percent of U.S. adults drink coffee and nearly 26 percent drink tea on any given day, said the professor. Roughly two-thirds of the coffee drinkers and one-third of the tea drinkers put sugar, cream, flavorings or other calorie-rich additives in their drinks, he found.

“Many people prefer drinking coffee and tea with sugar, cream, half-and-half or honey,” An said. “These add-in items are often dense in energy and fat but low in nutritional value.”

Milk products add a bit of calcium to the diet, but the amount, 22 milligrams per day, on average, is negligible, An said. The daily recommended calcium intake is 1,000 to 1,300 milligrams, depending on one’s age and pregnancy status.

Those who drink their coffee black consume about 69 fewer total calories per cup per day, on average, than those who add sweeteners, cream or other substances to their coffee, An found. More than 60 percent of those calories come from sugar, with fat accounting for most of the rest of the extra calories consumed.

Tea drinkers tend to add fewer calorie-dense substances to their tea if they add anything at all, the analysis found.

“Compared with adding nothing to one’s tea, drinking tea with caloric add-ins increased daily caloric intake by more than 43 calories, on average, with nearly 85 percent of those added calories coming from sugar,” An said.

The daily intakes may seem small, but the extra calories every day can add up to extra pounds, An said.

“Our findings indicate that a lot of coffee and tea drinkers regularly use caloric add-ins to improve the flavor of their beverages, but possibly without fully realizing or taking into consideration its caloric and nutritional implications,” he said.
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Costa Rica gets its first world body OK

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica is one step closer to being a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The foreign trade minister, Alexander Mora, said he was satisfied with the organization’s approval of Costa Rica to join in the area of foreign trade. This is a part of a long and continuing period of evaluation in the country’s policies, regulations and practices in foreign trade.

The organization's Trade Committee initiated a long and thorough review of Costa Rican trade policy and free market development in 2015. To achieve a positive assessment and be approved for membership, two experts of the organization visited the country. Here in Costa Rica, these experts met with around 60 institutions, foreign trade representatives, and members of the private sector. The process was led by the Ministerio de Comercio Exterior.

The review assesses areas of trade including an applicant country’s transparency and openness in decision-making, policy of non-discrimination, measures to promote free trade and limit restrictions, and protection of property rights, among other things.

The country continues to be evaluated by 22 other committees of the organization. The Trade Committee is the first to adopt a formal favorable opinion necessary to join.

The intergovernmental organization is composed of at least 60 countries. The vast majority of member-nations are in North America and Europe. The organizations self-described mission is aimed at improving economic and social conditions. It was first founded in 1948 as part of the wider framework within the U.S. Marshall Plan aid package.