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Published Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, in Vol. 17, No. 23
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Convention center will get its official start today
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Central government officials will renew their $35 million bets on a massive convention center when they hold a cornerstone ceremony this morning at the site.

The Centro Nacional de Convenciones y Congresos is being built by the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo in order to join in what is a very competitive business.

The project has been delayed several times. The start of construction once was set for January 2014.

The firm in charge of construction is Edica Ltda., the same company that built Lincoln Plaza and part of Juan Santamaría airport.

The job was awarded through competitive bidding.

The tourism institute will be investing $25 million, most of which is generated by a tax on airport arrivals.

Banco de Costa Rica and Banco National are putting up $12 million. The upfront costs for

proposed convention center
A.M. Costa Rica file photo
Proposed convention center

running the operating costs are in addition to construction money.

The tourism minister, Mauricio Ventura, has been a prime promoter of the project and has said that the project will be a major boost to the entire region.

Conventions are a $120 billion-a-year business in the United States, and Las Vegas, Nevada, gets nearly 5 million convention visitors a year.

The center will be a building of 15,600 square meters, about 167,917 square feet, on 10 hectares, about 25 acres, with rooms for 1,000 cars in Heredia along the General Cañas autopista.

Weather expected to take a better turn, forecast says
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The northern part of the country and the Central Valley is not quite out of the wind yet.

The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional anticipates more windy conditions, brisker temperatures, cloudy skies, and sporadic spits of rainfall for the north and mountain regions. Those on the coasts need not worry. Based on the report from the Costa Rican weather service, the cooler temperatures are not expected to prevail along the coastal areas, but residents should expect some overcast.

Wind chills produced an effect on perceptions of temperature these past couple days. Due to the strong windy conditions, the summer season has felt more like a brisk day in early fall for those who are used to weather in the Midwest and north Atlantic coast.

Temperatures felt as if it dropped around two or three degrees to the mid-60s in the evening. Still, during the daytime, walking around San José in shorts and T-shirt and flip-flops was a risky proposition for some.

It was not uncommon to see some people wearing jackets and even a few wearing light sweaters due to the wind and cold.

Cloud overcast certainly will not help the affected areas get some warmth from the sun. More optimistic forecasters at the Weather Underground predict a high of 84 degrees F for San José today with only moderate winds and partly cloudy skies.

The winds will start slowing down after the past couple days of pummeling the population of the capital, the website said. The institute confirmed that the metropolitan area around and within San José may finally get relief from the cooler temperatures.

Other parts out in more rural areas and close to the Cordilleras Mountains may not be as fortunate based on the forecast from the Costa Rican weather institute. Those places should still anticipate the similar drops in temperatures to around the mid to high 70s Fahrenheit during midday with a drop to the low 60s in the afternoon and evening.

The most intense winds Tuesday occurred in the northern mountain areas, according to the meteorologist institute. The gusts were estimated to be going at a velocity between 50 and 70 kilometers per hour. The highest wind burst was recorded in the small town of Tilarán in Guanacaste close to Lake Arenal. The winds there clocked in around 77 kilometers per hour.

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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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Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
Police in Upala inspect confiscated lumber.

Police expand their lumber patrols

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Law enforcement has expanded its anti-lumbering efforts to the Talamanca area.

Members of the frontier police happened upon a temporary saw mill at Bonifé de Sixaola. They said the operator was damaging the banks of the Río Sixaola. They reported confiscating 593 slabs of wood.

The Policía de Fronteras also stopped a pickup in the northern part of the country in Dos Ríos de Upala and confiscated 52 boards because the driver had no permits. They reported that the lumber was valued at about $1,000.

Hurricane Otto left many windfalls in its wake, but the central government has imposed many restrictions on those who would take advantage of the downed timber.

The Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía has been working with police officers to determine if the tree cutting is criminal.

A decree issued by Casa Presidencial requires even landowners to obtain permits if they seek to lumber more than 15 downed trees.

Our reader's opinion
Hide property from window-breakers

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I moved to Costa Rica nine years ago. My parents had already been here for many years.  They would try to warn me about all the dangers they heard of living in Costa Rica. One was to always keep an eye on your stuff on the bus. It is loaded with people who will take your things.

I asked my dad if he had ever been on a bus. No. Then he did not know what he was talking about.

The issue with the windows is the people are stuck in traffic or at a red light. They leave their purse on the passenger seat and some punk comes up and breaks the passenger side window with the butt of a gun and takes the purse.

There are usually people in the over walk that are watching out for a lone woman with a purse on the passenger seat, and they are in phone contact with the punks down the road waiting to break the windows.

My mom said she always put her purse down on the floor in front of the seat (out of sight).

If these punks are caught, a bullet to the head would be better than the 3-month detention the courts hand down.

If you leave a gift box in the car with a venomous snake and the doors unlocked, half the population of Costa Rica would be dead of snakebite.

Aubrey Lee

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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Costa Rica

Third News Page
U.S. Tax
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 23
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Country receives high marks on freedom and democracy
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica scored one of the highest rankings for freedom and democracy in the world, according to a report by Freedom House that was released Tuesday.

In the yearly review of 2016, Costa Rica received a 91 out of 100 score and the label free falling only behind Chile, which scored a 94. By comparison, Freedom House only gave the United States a score of 89.

Freedom House’s yearly report analyzes the state of freedom in 195 countries and 14 territories. Each entity is assigned points based on a series of 25 indicators. These points from each indicator are then aggregated and compiled into two categories: political rights and civil liberties.

The scale is from one to seven with the latter number representing the worst score a country can receive. Costa Rica received ones in both categories.

That score divides all the tested entities into the status of: free, partly free, and not free. Freedom House insists the methodology is derived from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Noting populist and nationalist forces making gains in democratic states last year, the group declared 2016 the 11th consecutive year of a decline in global freedom.

Less than half of the countries tested were rated free. 49 countries were rated not free.

In Latin America, the report noted Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro’s combination of strong-arm rule and dire economic

mismanagement pushed his country to a status of not free for the first time in 2016. It was previously placed as partly free in years past. Venezuela scored a lousy 30 out of 100.

The similar regime of President Daniel Ortega brought Nicaragua to a score of 47 out of 100, its lowest in more than 20 years, according to the report. The suppression of independent press organizations and the appointment of supporters in the judiciary has allowed Ortega to nearly eliminate all political opposition. It has also tanked his country’s score with Freedom House.

“With Venezuela, Nicaragua is one of the few countries in the Americas on an extended downward trajectory,” the report said.

The only country that had a positive upward trend in the report was Colombia with its recent peace brokerage between the government and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia.

The United States was listed as free, but Freedom House did mention that the U.S. faced setbacks in political rights and civil liberties noting what it described as populist appeals from now-President Donald Trump.

It also saw the global presence of the U.S. reduced. The group foreshadows a potential divorce from the country’s traditional strategic commitments to democracy, human rights, and the rules-based international order that the U.S. built.

Freedom House is a non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy for democracy, political freedom and human rights. It was founded in 1941 and claims to be a non-partisan, non-profit organization despite receiving funding from the U.S. government. 

A capital gains tax would let government profit from inflation
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

When the finance minister outlined the administration's revised tax plan last week, he also proposed for the first time a capital gains tax.

That request was not well explained by the news media, in part, because most believe the tax proposals are dead on arrival at the legislature anyway.

Costa Rica does not have a capital gains tax. The tax would be 12 percent of the increase in value on an investment if it is held for a time. In the United States, the capital gains tax is imposed on investments held for longer than a year.

The finance minister, Helio Fallas, did not elaborate on the tax proposals, and copies of the proposed laws are not available.

Basically the government reduced its demand for a 15 percent value added tax to a 13 percent one, and it proposed certain
changes to the national income tax.

Capital gains would have an effect on expats who sell property or businesses here. U.S. expats already are supposed to pay taxes on foreign transactions, but many do not.

For governments, the benefit of the capital gains tax is that it prospers from inflation. A good part of the gain in real estate is not in the true value of the property but simply imposed by general inflation. Some countries allow taxpayers to index their capital gains based on something like the consumer price index.

They pay taxes on the real gain and not the inflation in the price.

Not so in the United States where capital gains taxes range from 15 to 20 percent, depending on other income. Experts from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service have been advising Costa Rica on taxes for years.  It is unlikely they have urged an indexing approach to any capital gains plan, even though the colon normally is subject to significant annual inflation.

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You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2017 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. 
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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 23
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No bridge
is too high

This new vehicle just went into service. Its function is to drape a small platform over a bridge railing so inspectors can check out the span. The country lags on bridge inspections.
bridge checker
Ministerio de Oberas Pública y Trasnportes photo

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).

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Find us on Trip Advisor, Facebook, Twitter,
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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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Contact us: 
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CR local phone:  +506-2274-3231
Cells:  +506-8380-5919  and +506-8302-5877

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The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2016 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. 
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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 23
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Axiom new ad

Trump nominates Gorsuch
for Supreme Court vacancy

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Donald Trump has nominated Colorado federal Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Trump stepped before television cameras in the White House Tuesday night to introduce Gorsuch, calling him a jurist whom the country needs badly, and saying his qualifications are beyond dispute.

Gorsuch has a superb intellect, an unparalleled legal education and a commitment to interpreting the Constitution according to its text, the president said.

Trump said that during the campaign, he promised voters to find the very best judge in the country. He said Gorsuch's resume and academic credentials that include degrees from Columbia University and Harvard Law School are as good as it gets.

He called on Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, which must confirm Gorsuch, to come together for once, for the good of the country.

In later remarks, Gorsuch called an appointment to the Supreme Court a most solemn assignment. He said if the Senate confirms him, he will do everything in his power to be a faithful servant of the Constitution and the laws of this great country.

The 49-year-old Gorsuch would be one of the youngest justices ever to sit on the court. The nine-member court has had a vacant seat since the death last year of Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative stalwart on the court for 30 years.

Gorsuch spoke of his admiration for Scalia, calling him a lion of the law.

Scalia's death left an eight-member court, split between judicial conservatives and liberals. So the choice of Gorsuch could restore a conservative majority.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York said Gorsuch has to prove himself to be within the legal mainstream. He said he has serious doubts about Gorsuch's ability to vigorously defend the Constitution from abuses of the executive branch of government.

But Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Trump made an outstanding decision in choosing Gorsuch, saying the judge has a long record of faithfully applying the law and the Constitution.

Some Senate Democrats are still seething over Republican refusal to hold confirmation hearings for former president Barack Obama's choice to replace Scalia, Judge Merrick Garland.

With the Republicans in charge of the Senate, there is almost no chance that hearings for Gorsuch will be blocked. But Gorsuch can expect tough questioning from Democrats.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer predicted Tuesday that President Trump's nominee would please voters who cast presidential ballots based on the future composition of the high court.

Spicer added that the president has taken the selection process very seriously. "He knows it will impact the courts of our country's jurisprudence for generations to come," Spicer said.

The appointee will likely consider hotly debated issues such as abortion, religious rights, transgender rights, the death penalty and gun control.

Gorsuch, a native Coloradan, was appointed to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver in 2006 by former President George W. Bush.

In 2013, Gorsuch joined an opinion saying that owners of private companies can object on religious grounds to an Affordable Care Act provision requiring employers to provide insurance coverage for birth control for women.

Conservatives are hoping the Supreme Court will favor restrictions imposed on abortion by some Republican-governed states.

Since Scalia's death, the high court has avoided some controversial issues.

State Department officials dissent on Trump entry ban

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A large number of foreign service officers and civil service personnel of the U.S. State Department signed a dissent document that was formally submitted Tuesday.

The State Department confirmed that the memo in opposition to the president's executive order on immigration was received. But officials will not reveal the total number nor the ranks of those signing. Some allege the number is nearly 1,000.

The number of signatures, if it does total about 1,000, is unprecedented and about 20 times the number of dissenters for last year's memo from diplomats sharply criticizing the Obama administration's Syria policy, said former U.S. ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford.

The huge numbers for the immigration memo and its early leaking are clear indicators of the widespread concern within the department over this specific policy step and unease over the broad direction of foreign policy, said Laura Kennedy, former deputy assistant secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs.

The Trump administration argues that the new measures are necessary to ensure the safety and security of the American people. In a statement last weekend, it said the executive order affects a minor portion of international travelers, and is the first step towards reestablishing control over America's borders and national security.

But the Dissent Channel memo, said the order will not achieve its aims and will likely be counterproductive.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer rejected the criticism on Monday, telling reporters that those at the State Department who oppose President Donald Trump's immigration order should either get with the program or they can go.

Former diplomats bristled at what is being perceived as an implicit threat against the foreign service community.

“The Dissent Channel is an entirely appropriate means of expressing opposition to the top leadership of the Department of State,” Ford said, “The Trump people shouldn't take it so personally.”

“I was appalled by the comment,” said Ms. Kennedy, also a former ambassador to Turkmenistan. “It either implied a complete misunderstanding of the dissent channel or the legal protections there are, or it's intended to send a signal that dissent, whether private or public, will not be tolerated.”

The draft of the dissent memo that was leaked expresses grave concerns that the travel ban will not achieve its goal to protect the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals admitted to the United States. It also warns that the action will immediately sour relations with key allies in the fight against terrorism, given many of the nations whose citizens are now restricted from traveling to U.S. soil.

The memo suggests alternatives, including improving visa and immigration screening.

The Dissent Channel was established in 1971, amid disputes about Vietnam War policies, to allow U.S. diplomats to speak freely about foreign policy matters.

Typically four to five Dissent Channel messages are received each year, according to the State Department. Last year's Syria Dissent Channel memo had 51 signatures, according to diplomats.

When State Department or U.S. Agency for International Development employees believe their voices are not heard by supervisors, they may use the Dissent Channel. At the State Department, the policy planning staff is supposed to review it, circulate it to authorized people and reply in substance to the dissenters within 60 days.

Those utilizing the Dissent Channel are protected from reprisals, disciplinary action or unauthorized disclosure of its use, according to the government's Foreign Affairs Manual.

Ford, who was a career member of the U.S. Foreign Service, predicted that if the White House tries to retaliate then legal action may be taken against them. But Ford added that after expressing their opinion through the proper channels, foreign service officers are obligated to implement administration policy.

“It is their job to implement what the president and his team decide," explained Ford. " If they can't implement it then, frankly, they should think whether they should be in a government job."

Officials on Monday also revealed that the State Department is receiving multiple cables from its embassies about foreign anger concerning the restrictions on travel to the U.S. from the predominately Muslim countries in the executive order.

The president's nominee to be secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, has yet to be confirmed by the Senate. A vote on Tillerson, a recently retired oil and gas company executive, is expected this week.

White House will add new
Skype seats to press room

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Four people will join the daily White House press briefing on Wednesday, as the inaugural panelists for Skype seats, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said.

The cyberseats are an attempt by the Trump administration to open the briefings to a more diverse group of journalists, as well as allow outlets without traditional White House access and outside the nation's capital at the briefings.

The White House has not said how the Skype panelists were selected, although Spicer said that anyone applying for the seat must live at least 80 kilometers from Washington.

Taking part Wednesday via video conferencing will be Natalie Herbick of FOX 8 TV in Cleveland, conservative talk radio host Lars Larson, Kimberly Kalunian of WPRI Radio in Rhode Island, and Jeff Jobe of Kentucky's Jobe Publishing.

Skype, owned by Microsoft, is the world's largest video calling service.

In announcing the Skype seats Jan. 23, Spicer said, "I think this can benefit us all by giving a platform to voices that are not necessarily based here in the Beltway."

The press secretary told Yahoo News he hoped to make the video conferencing with journalists a daily occurrence.

Experimental drug boosts
effectiveness of HIV meds

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

An experimental compound boosts the effectiveness of HIV drugs so they may only have to be taken once or twice a year. The developers say the drug, which is not a cure, could make compliance with HIV treatment easier.

The virus that causes AIDS has a number of ways to survive in human cells despite treatment.

One mechanism involves disarming a biological process known as autophagy. Under normal circumstances, autophagy allows cells to sweep away debris, including viruses; but, by suppressing this function, HIV is able to keep on infecting white blood cells, eventually leading to a breakdown of the protective immune system.

Now, researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York have successfully tested the drug, called URMC-099, that, when combined with two reformulated antiretroviral drugs, frees up this cleansing function. That allows cells to digest any remnants of the AIDS virus that are left behind after treatment.

By itself, without the HIV drugs, 099 has no antiviral effect and researchers are exploring the reason; but, in combination, it could lead to the development of long-lasting HIV therapy whose effects could last for six or even 12 months.

Harris Gelbard is director of the university's Center for Neurodevelopment and Disease and one of the innovators of this experimental agent.

“We've actually been able to clear virus from lymph nodes, spleen, liver, brain and keep it in check for far greater lengths of time than would normally be the case," he reported.

Gelbard said long-acting HIV drugs would improve compliance with the regimen. He notes resistance to AIDS drugs can develop if a patient misses a single dose.

Gelbard says the aim is to make the experimental drug widely available.

“We don't want this to be in the purview of Western medicine where it costs $100,000 for treatment, because that's never going to reach Saharan Africa or eastern Asia," he said. "No, we want this available in much the same way that you could have people traveling around and giving shots to folks in villages that would let them live with this disease but in a far more manageable fashion.”

Gelbard said he expects to begin human clinical trials with URMC-099 sometime next year with it becoming available within five years.

Researchers develop new auto-focusing glasses

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Using simple glycerine contained between two membranes, University of Utah researchers developed glasses that automatically adjust focus.

With the help of an infrared distance-measuring device, some electronic circuits, and a mechanical actuator that adjusts the lens' rear membrane, the process takes only 14 milliseconds.

Instead of changing glasses for driving or reading, or adjusting your eyes as you look from a near to a distant object and back, the glasses do the adjustment for you.

As lead researcher Carlos Mastrangelo explained, "You put these on, and it's always clear."

The prototype is still bulky, with thick frames and handles containing the electronics and the battery, but researchers say they are working on a lighter version, much closer to ordinary glasses.

Even better, they say when the new glasses reach mass production, the owners will be able to wirelessly download their prescription whenever it changes.

Puzzles or crosswords help
fight dementia, clinic says

By the Mayo Clinic press services

Mayo Clinic researchers have found that engaging in mentally stimulating activities, even late in life, may protect against new-onset mild cognitive impairment, the intermediate stage between normal cognitive aging and dementia.

The study found that cognitively normal people 70 or older who engaged in computer use, craft activities, social activities and playing games had a decreased risk of developing  mild cognitive impairment. The results are published in the Jan. 30 edition of JAMA Neurology.

Researchers followed 1,929 cognitively normal participants of the population-based Mayo Clinic Study of Aging in Olmsted County, Minn., for an average duration of four years.

After adjusting for sex, age and educational level, researchers discovered that the risk of new-onset mild cognitive impairment decreased by 30 percent with computer use, 28 percent with craft activities, 23 percent with social activities, and 22 percent with playing games.

“Our team found that persons who performed these activities at least one to two times per week had less cognitive decline than those who engaged in the same activities only two to three times per month or less,” said Yonas Geda, a psychiatrist and behavioral neurologist at Mayo Clinic’s Arizona campus and senior author of the study.

Researchers conducted a neuro-cognitive assessment at the time of enrollment in the study, with evaluations every 15 months. Following the assessment, an expert consensus panel at the Alzheimer Disease Research Center at Mayo Clinic made the classification of normal cognition or mild cognitive impairment for each study participant, based on published criteria.

“Our previous cross-sectional study had found an association between engagement in mentally stimulating activities in late life and decreased odds of mild cognitive impairment,” said Dr. Geda.

The benefits of being cognitively engaged even were seen among apolipoprotein carriers. The carrier is a genetic risk factor for mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s dementia. However, for these carriers, only computer use and social activities were associated with a decreased risk of mild cognitive impairment.

Batteries ready to power
California electrical grid

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Peak-hours demand for energy in Southern California will soon be covered by batteries instead of fossil-fuel-based power plants.

Thanks to the falling price of lithium-ion batteries, the battery manufacturing companies Tesla, Applied Energy Services Corp. and Altagas Ltd.  are set to open huge energy storage plants in Southern California that, combined, amount to 15 percent of the battery storage installed around the world last year.

After a recent accident released thousands of tons of methane into the atmosphere, California power company Southern California Edison decided to replace some of its natural gas plants that provide additional energy during peak hours with batteries.

The batteries needed to store that amount of energy must be huge, or small but numerous. In this case, numerous means millions. But that did not discourage the battery companies, which built their plants in record time, within only six months.

Battery storage plants have numerous advantages. They are simpler to construct and operate, take up less space than plants burning fossil fuel, don't pollute and respond more quickly to spikes in energy demand.

However, analysts say in order for battery plants to be profitable, the total price of an installed project will have to fall from the current $500 per kilowatt hour to less than $275.

saturn rings
NASA graphic  
A NASA simulated image of the planet Saturn's rings

Closest-ever images taken
of Saturn's rings by NASA

By the A.M. Costa wire services

New images of Saturn’s rings reveal the greatest detail yet of the planet’s signature trait, including what National Aeronautics and Space Administration calls moonlets embedded in them.

The images were taken by NASA’s Cassini probe, which is in the final stages of its mission that includes 20 orbits that dive past the outer edge of the main ring system before the spacecraft plunges into the planet itself.

"These close views represent the opening of an entirely new window onto Saturn’s rings, and over the next few months we look forward to even more exciting data as we train our cameras on other parts of the rings closer to the planet," said Matthew Tiscareno, a Cassini scientist who studies Saturn's rings at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute in Mountain View, California.

The images are the closest ever taken of Saturn’s rings and, according to NASA resolve details as small as 550 meters, which is on the scale of Earth's tallest buildings.

The ring-grazing orbits began last November and will continue until the end of April, and in addition to spotting the moonlets, they have given greater clarity to other structures within the rings such as the so-called propeller-like formations.

NASA added that the Cassini mission has also provided the closest-ever glimpses of two small moons, Daphnis and Pandora.

Cassini was launched in 1997 and arrived at Saturn in 2004. Since then, the probe has provided closeup looks at the planet’s rings and moons as well as data about Saturn’s magnetic field. Some of the highlights include finding a possible global ocean on the moon Enceladus as well as methane seas on the moon Titan.
Real estate-related services (paid category)

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                                  Tamarindo The experts in buying property in Costa Rica, with more than 20 years experience and the largest networked team of agents in the country.  We can help you learn if investing in Costa Rica is right for you with our low-key, educational approach to sales. Our professional agents can tell you more about Costa Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and & commercial real estate. Twelve (12) agents to serve you, from Playa Marbella to Playa Dante in the Guanacaste, through our Tamarindo and Flamingo offices. For more information, please contact our local phones: 506-2653-0073 Tamarindo / 506-2201-9056 Flamingo ~ Toll Free: 1-866-976-8898 or email:  or click here

If you are looking for information on condos, homes, lots, commercial real estate or development properties our award-winning team of professional agents are ready to help you buying property in Costa Rica. We have over 18 years of experience to educate our buyers in all aspects of purchasing property. Call us or email us today for more information on how to purchase that perfect piece of Costa Rica Real Estate.

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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

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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.
PRICE $120,000
 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: 
Check out slide show HERE!

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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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:

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 23
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
bean flower
Ministerio de Agricultura y Gandería photo
The purple flower of the Nambi comes in about 32 days.

New black bean variety tolerates drought

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A new black bean is going into general cultivation because it has a shorter growing season and is drought resistant.

This is the Nambí that was bred by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture.

Black beans are a staple for Costa Ricans, and plenty of crops were reduced or lost due to the drought that hit the Pacific coast as a result of El Niño. The first seeds were planted commercially at the end of last year in Veracruz de Pérez Zeledón, said the Ministerio de Agricultura y Gandería.

Plant health experts studied the variety for five years before approving commercial planting.

The plant flowers about 32 to 33 days after planting, and the beans are ready for harvest in 70 days.

Beans are highly sensitive to heat, and the varieties that farmers currently grow do not yield well under night temperatures over 18 or 19 degrees C, according to the International Center for Tropical Agriculture. Higher temperatures drastically reduce seed fertility, leading to lower grain yields and quality. In the heat-tolerant lines recently identified, pollen from bean flowers remains viable even with a temperature increase of up to 4 degrees, it added.

The Nambí variety is just one of a number that have been subjected to trials at the international center that is based in Cali, Colombia. In addition to resisting drought, the center said that its heat resistant varieties would allow African farmers to plant beans at lower elevations and increase their harvests.

Coronado will have a dry day today

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Water services are being interrupted for parts of Coronado today.

The Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantrarillados will be working on the pumping station at Los Cuadros. This will interrupt water service between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Places affected will include San Francisco, Patalillo, Don Leco, Bruno Martínez, El Pueblo, and the surrounding area for the Coronado canton.

The plumbing ministry says water service may be restored before the appointed time if possible. 9700 people are estimated to be affected by this interruption.
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From Page 7:

Banks told to loosen credit for Otto victims

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

President Luis Guillermo Solís signed a directive Tuesday for the state banks to improve credit conditions for those affected by Hurricane Otto and the earthquake in Alvarado.

The order directs the state commercial banks to consider, following individual analyses, better conditions for existing and future credits given in the affected areas. This is important considering many people need credit as an essential service to keep their property. This guideline seeks to diversify credit options to those people in the affected areas.

To achieve the objective that the government seeks with this order, all commercial banks must submit a report to the Consejo del Gobierno regarding the organization’s compliance and results related to the directive. These reports must be submitted every three months while it is in effect for a year.

The Banco Nacional, Banco de Costa Rica, and Bancrédito must comply with the directive by the president by law. The Banco Popular is encouraged also to adopt it, according to officials.