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Published Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, in Vol. 17, No. 40
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axiom new d

Tis the season
to be welding

The beginning of summer yields drier conditions and sunnier skies. It also often marks the start of the construction and repair season. People can expect to see workers like Alex Varela, pictured in this photo, welding metal in Barrio Otoya or doing other tasks before the rainy season returns to Costa Rica.
A.M. Costa Rica/Conor Golden

Costa Rica wants to join war on plastic waste
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica intends to take aggressive measures, in congruence with the United Nations Environment Programme, to aid in the global elimination of plastic dumping into the oceans. 

Ten countries, including Costa Rica, are joining the “#cleanseas” effort by the Environment Programme. The country has pledged to take steps to drastically reduce single-use plastic items through better waste management and education.

There have been efforts to ban single-use plastics since at least 1999 without legislative results.

The health and environmental ministries are trying to win the public as much as legislative cooperation in the endeavor.

Lawmakers saw a bill that addressed the use of plastic in 1999, and a committee rejected the plan back in 2005.

Thursday afternoon, the Costa Rican legislature’s environment committee unanimously rejected over 20 motions urging the continuation of the free delivery of plastic bags to commercial establishments.

Frente Amplio, a prominent left-wing party in the legislature, released a statement that said the move by the committee represents an important signal about the political will of the government in regard to this issue.

Back in 2014, the party sponsored a bill that modified the waste management law.

Included in that proposal was a measure to prohibit the circulation of disposable plastic bags in supermarkets and other commercial establishments.

Proponents of the bill want to eliminate the one-time use of plastics and not just disposable bags.

Other plastic items such as straws, fast-food forks, knives and spoons may be on the way out too.
  A.M. Costa Rica file photo 
A typical beach cleanup produces large quantities of discarded bottles and other types of plastics. This is a file photo of a cleanup on a beach at the Río Grande de Tarcoles.

The executive director for the U.N. Environment Programme, Erik Solheim, emphasized the necessity in joining his organization’s campaign to clean the seas.

“Contamination by this material already sails on the beaches of Indonesia, settles in the bottom of the ocean at the North Pole and reaches our tables through the food chain,” Solheim said.

According to statistics provided by the U.N., there are more than eight million tons of plastic leaks into the ocean each year. That is equivalent to dumping a garbage truck’s worth of plastic each minute.

It is also important to consider that up to 90 percent of all the waste that goes into the oceans is of plastic material causing severe damage to the marine biosphere, according to the U.N.

According to some estimates, the rate at which plastic items are being dumped into the oceans could accelerate to the point where, by 2050, the ocean will contain more plastics than fish and 99 percent of seabirds will have ingested plastic.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 40
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Go to Page 5 HERE! 
  Go to Page 6 HERE!     Sports is HERE! Opinion is HERE!   Classifieds are HERE!    Plus useful links

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.

Dental Services
Dental Services Costa Rica

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A.M. Costa Rica/Conor Golden       
Adan enjoys the trampoline at the Smokeless Sunday event last week.

Weekend events emphasize being outside

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Another weekend of music, theater, and dance has a lot of performances that seeks to take the arts to the streets and the public.

As Costa Rica moves into the summer season, a lot of performing arts groups and organizations are taking their performances outside to enjoy the weather. The Chepe Danza street performances continues today at 2 p.m. along San José’s Avenida Central with “Acción Performática.” Organizers said that each performance is created by members of the Compañia Nacional de Danza.

Each show will last around 45 minutes, organizers said. The dance styles will include interpretative dances in which the performers expect their audience to contemplate the story. Some will be more abstract in character, but all will offer the opportunity for spectators to interact with the cast, organizers said.

The next performance will be at the “Domingos familiares sin humo” event this Sunday along Paseo Colón. The municipality of San José is continuing the family-friendly event to encourage participants to live a healthy lifestyle without pollution from exhaust fumes on vehicles as much as tobacco smoke.

The tenth edition of Festival Paula Rock will be going on this Saturday sponsored by Casa de la Ciudad. Six groups will be performing from 5:30 p.m. on with a whirlwind of genres in rock, blues and jazz music.

The festival began back in 2008 following the death of Cartago musician Paula Coto Valerín who died in a car crash, organizers said. She was an organ donor and a group of musicians organized the festival in her honor, organizers said. The entrance fee for the festival is 2,500 colons. Casa de la Ciudad is a program under the Tecnológico de Costa Rica in Cartago.

The festival will be held at the progam’s building, which is in front of Cartago’s cathedral. More information can be gathered on the festival’s fan page.

The Festejos Penínsulares Cóbano on the Nicoya peninsula and an arts and crafts fair starting in Santa Ana continue this weekend. They will run through Monday with bull fights and bull riding.

There are activities for seniors this morning, a cattle auction at 1 p.m. with even more bulls tonight and another dance. There also are dances Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights with a fireworks show Monday at 9 p.m.  There is a tope horse parade Saturday at 2 p.m.

The official inauguration for the 16th annual Festival Internacional de Artesanías in Santa Ana is today at 2 p.m. The event attracts craft workers from all over Latin America. A major sponsor is the Municipalidad de Santa Ana. The location is north of the Catholic church. The festival runs through March 5 with a number of folkloric and cultural presentations.

Our reader's opinion
Obamacare benefits employees, too

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I would like to comment on the following statement contained in your news article on Page 5  of Thursday's edition. "About half of Americans get their health insurance through their employer and often would not be directly impacted by the fate of Obamacare."

Yes, they would be directly impacted if Obamacare is repealed by the loss of the following requirements:

1.  No more lifetime caps on coverage.
2. Children able to stay on parent's policy up until age 26.
3.  Individuals cannot be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions.
          This is extremely important in the event of loss of employment.
4. No charge for many preventive services regardless of deductible.
This is a partial list. For a complete list go to

So, you see, employee plan recipients have benefited from Obamacare and do stand to be directly impacted by its fate.  Back to the Dark Ages of health insurance!
Lynn Sheridan 
News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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Residency in Costa Rica

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Third News Page
U.S. Tax
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 40
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Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes photo
Workmen have installed these concrete panels on the eastbound bridge lanes.

Transport officials trying to drive commuters to public transportation
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Transport officials are unhappy that restrictions on the Río Virilla bridge on the General Cañas autopista have not caused commuters to surrender their vehicles.

But they may act soon to drive more and more persons to public transportation.

Carlos Villalta Villegas, lamented that private vehicle use is almost back to normal. He is minister of  Obras Públicas y Transportes. He reported Thursday that public transportation was under utilized.

When traffic officials restricted passage on the bridge because of construction, there was a 5 percent increase in bus passengers, he said.  But now the number of people who ride on the buses have returned to pre-construction numbers.  About 148,000 persons travel by bus in each direction each weekday, the ministry said.

Villalta also said that the Alajuela-San José train service is under utilized. He said he lamented seeing 10 cars in a row on the bridge being occupied by just one or two persons.

He said that citizens were not collaborating with the ministry and that there was increased congestion on alternate routes.

Officials closed at first the eastbound lanes of the bridge and turned the westbound section into one lane in either direction.

And they further restricted access to these lanes at rush hour.

The ministry said there was a plan being advanced to further restrict bridge travel by prohibiting access to vehicles based on the last digit of the license plate.

This is the same system restricting travel in the metro area.

Each day about 20 percent of the private vehicles are forbidden between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Officials may try to impose the same rule for the Río Virilla bridge, they said.

Meanwhile, when the previous two-lane eastbound bridge lanes are reopened as three lanes, traffic will be shifted to them so workmen can add a third lane to the westbound section.

 Expat advocacy group sees opportunity for tax relief with Trump
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Expats rank pretty low on the priority list of the Trump administration tax experts, but overseas advocacy groups say the time is perfect for fundamental changes.

The Association of Americans Abroad said that its Washington representatives have been meeting with congressional offices to keep the focus on residency-based taxation and a same-country exemption for reporting under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.

The association also said it was pleased that the national taxpayer advocate, Nina Olson, highlighted the tax treatment of overseas Americans in her recent report to Congress.

The report to Congress notes that, "Many U.S. taxpayers, particularly those living abroad, have incurred increased compliance burdens and costs as a result of FATCA’s expanded reporting obligations, most of which repeat existing report of foreign bank and financial accounts filing requirements. These hardships include additional tax preparation fees and the unwillingness of some foreign financial institutions to do business with U.S. expatriates.”  

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act is called FATCA for short, and the report of foreign bank and financial accounts is called FBAR in government circles.

Expats who earn substantial income or have significant holdings would prefer that the United States adopt residency based taxation. Right now the federal government taxes income earned abroad, but there is a $101,300 exemption for the 2016 tax year.

The government also taxes capital gains on the sale of foreign properties or profits on the sale of foreign goods. The exemption does not apply to these and it does not apply to money coming from the United States, such as a pension.

Tax liabilities also are subject to adjustment based on taxes paid to a foreign government.

The Association of Americans Abroad has been pushing for an exemption for expats from the bank account reporting rule.

The association has urged changes so that expats would not have to report account information held in banks in the same country in which they are living. The association reasons that most expats maintain bank accounts to pay local bills and receive local income.

The bank account reporting measure was passed by the U.S. Congress mainly to catch tax cheats.

There are a number of proposals of changes in the tax law that would affect expats. In one case, an exit tax has been proposed for persons moving overseas to qualify them for residency-based taxation.

Association of Americans Abroad is seeking comments on its website and has urged expats to contact their representatives in Congress.

In Washington, the emphasis is on reducing commercial taxation rates. The Donald Trump administration also is working on a 20 percent import tax on foreign goods. The final tax proposals probably will not become a complete bill until August.

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Hacienda Baru
Palermo 900

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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, Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 40
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Costa Rica's American football league season opener this Saturday
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The new Asociación de Equipos de Football Americano will open the 2017 1st Division National Championship calendar this Saturday with two games playing at Estadio Municipal de Flores, San Joaquín, Flores, Heredia.

At 2 p.m., the Cartago Leones F.C. meet the San José Bufalos F.A.. The feature game between the Toros F.C. and the Bulldogs F.A. takes place at 6 p.m.

A third game the same day takes place at the Cancha de San Rafael de Oreamuno, San Rafael, Oreamuno, Cartago  at 2 p.m. There the Cartago Dragons F.A. meet the San José Lobos F.A.

Seven teams are competing in the 10-week regular season followed by the playoffs May 13th as a precursor to the Súper Tazón CR IX May 20.

The teams are divided into 3 Conferences: West: Toros F.C. and Bulldogs F.A.; East: Cartago Leones F.C. and the San José Bufalos F.A., and South: Cartago Dragons F.A., San José Lobos F.A., and San José Titans F.A.
The current champion of American football in Costa Rica is the Bulldogs F.A.

Last year, the team defeated the Cartago Leones F.C. in the Súper Tazón CR VIII, 60 - 0 and also holds the West conference championship.  The Leones and Cartago Dragons won their conferences.

Three games will be played each Saturday with the exception of a bye-week during Semana Santa.

A rotating venue schedule consisting of four stadiums will ensure that fans have a variety of options to attend games. Estadio Ernesto Rohrmoser, Pavas, San José will host the playoffs and Súper Tazón CR IX.

Additional teams that are members of the Asociación de Equipos de Football Americano but not competing in the 2017 first division calendar are the Alajuelita CRC Bengals F.A. and the Pérez Zeledón Predators F.A.

More information about the league and to the calendar is HERE in English and HERE in Spanish.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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George 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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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, Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 40
Real Estate
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Axiom new ad
Mexican officials list woes
for visiting U.S. cabinet duo

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Amid worries about a wall and deportations, Mexican officials expressed their concerns to two visiting U.S. cabinet secretaries Thursday.

“We do not agree on the different measures that recently were stated by the government of the United States that affect Mexico,” Interior Secretary Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong said.

“There exists among Mexicans worry and irritation about what are perceived to be policies that could be harmful for the national interest and for Mexicans here and abroad,” Luis Videgaray Caso, the secretary of foreign affairs, said.

The comments were made amid their meetings with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.

Tillerson and Kelly appeared with their two Mexican counterparts before the media at the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs, but took no questions from reporters.

Tillerson, in his statement, said the U.S. and Mexico are “two strong foreign countries that, from time to time, will have differences,” but that his talks were productive and forward-looking.

Kelly emphasized there will be no mass deportations and no use of military force to round up migrants under President Donald Trump’s enhanced crackdown on those illegally in the United States.

Kelly’s statement contradicted a remark earlier in the day at the White House by Trump who termed his plan a military operation.

After Kelly’s emphatic statement, White House spokesman Sean Spicer subsequently attempted to clarify, telling reporters during his daily briefing “the president used that phrase in that it meant precision, he meant it to be used as an adjective.”

After Tillerson and Kelly arrived in the Mexican capital, Trump predicted it would be a tough trip for his two cabinet members and added, “we are going to have a good relationship with Mexico and if we don’t, we don’t.”

The American emissaries also met with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto before heading back home.

The State Department released no details about what was discussed with Peña Nieto.

The trip came at what is seen as a low point in relations between the two countries.

Trump has repeatedly insisted that Mexico, one way or another, must pay for a border wall, which lawmakers in Washington estimate would cost at least $12 billion. And just this week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security outlined policies that could result in the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants.

Trump said Thursday, “We’re getting gang members out. We’re getting drug lords out. We’re getting really bad dudes out of this country.”

Conservatives told to expect
a daily fight from the media

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Conservatives can expect a daily fight with the media and others in the opposition, chief White House strategist Steve Bannon said Thursday.

Bannon was one of the main speakers on the second day of the Conservative Political Action Conference  outside Washington. The event is the country's biggest yearly gathering of conservatives.

Bannon, who is among the most controversial conservatives because of his earlier harsh comments about minorities, said the media opposes President Donald Trump's economic nationalist agenda.

"Every day is going to be a fight," he warned.

Bannon was joined by White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, who called the president a uniter of Republicans and conservatives of different beliefs, pointing to himself and the sharp-tongued Bannon as an example.

Earlier Thursday, the gathering heard from top Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, who said Trump "went right to the grass roots and brought you along. He made a lot of people feel like they were a part of the movement."

Trump's speech today will be the highlight of this year's conference, which has been energized by Republican control of the White House and Congress for the first time in 10 years.

Conference leader Matt Schlapp said he saw a little more of a populist strain running through the event this year, with Trump serving as the driving force.

Not all have endorsed Trump's brand of conservatism, and his past appearances at the event have drawn mixed reactions. Many of his stated and past positions on issues put him at odds with conservative orthodoxy.

But Schlapp said there was an "alive and vibrant" coalition made up of three kinds of conservatives: those who care about the culture, those who simply want less government and lower taxes, and others who say the country needs a strong defense.

Schlapp said all were discouraged about what has been happening in Washington in recent years. "They just feel like no matter how many elections they win, they lose ground, and government grows and taxes increase," he said.

Voice of America graphic 
Russians are making use of a fake stamp.

Russian foreign ministry site lists so-called fake news

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The website of Russia’s foreign ministry has a new section, one devoted to refuting items about Russia in the Western press that it claims are false.

The new section, titled “Examples of publications printing false information about Russia,” provides links to the allegedly false articles. In addition to a link, each item includes a brief Russian-language description of the article, along with a superimposed red stamp reading “FAKE” and the claim that the article contains information that is untrue.

Thus far, the ministry has cited five articles, published by the websites of NBC News, Britain’s Telegraph newspaper, The New York Times, Bloomberg and the Santa Monica Observer, a California newspaper.

Among them:

• The NBC News item, posted on Feb. 11, reported that Russia is considering returning to the U.S. former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who stole large quantities of classified information and is now living in Moscow, to curry favor with the Trump administration.

 • The Santa Monica Observer article, published on Monday, concerned the death in New York on Monday of Russia’s U.N. ambassador, and was headlined: “Vitaly Churkin is 5th Suspicious Death of Russian Diplomat in 3 months.” The ministry’s item on the Santa Monica Observer article is slugged “On insinuations about the causes of death of Russian diplomats”

Russia's Foreign Ministry provides no information to back up its allegations the stories are false.

Sheriffs decline to honor
immigration hold requests

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Over the years, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has issued immigration holds, also known as detainers, on individuals the agency has been seeking to deport.

But despite the latest guidance on immigration enforcement, the practice has sheriffs’ departments skeptical about the legality of these requests.

Between Friday and Wednesday, Maricopa County, Arizona, released 33 illegal immigrants from custody even though all had immigration agency detainers.

Although Immigration and Customs Enforcement was informed about the individuals in custody, federal agents did not arrest them once these immigrants were released from the county jail.

“Last week, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office announced his office would no longer honor immigration detainers. In conjunction with the sudden reversal of a long-standing practice of honoring immigration detainers, the sheriff also implemented a restriction prohibiting the arrest of individuals with detainers by ICE officers within the confines of the facility,” an Immigration and Customs Enforcement official said.

Maricopa authorities confirmed the county sheriff’s office was no longer honoring immigration detainers because of the threat of litigation and the need for clarification on the legality of immigration holds.

Sheriff’s office spokesman Mark Casey said late Friday the Maricopa County attorney told county officials to immediately put a stop to the practice of holding a suspected illegal immigrant for up to 48 hours after a criminal judge had ordered their release.

“We received legal advice late Friday that other jails around the country that were doing the same thing had been sued, and they were losing those suits on the basis of the Fourth Amendment,” Casey said.

Yasmeen Pitts O’Keefe, Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman, said the federal agency is working to locate and arrest those released. As of Wednesday, five of the 33 individuals suspected of being in the country illegally had been detained.

The American Civil Liberties Union says Immigration and Customs Enforcement uses detainers as a way to hold people for 48 hours without due process and, in many cases, without any charges pending or probable cause of any violation.

Depression reported on rise
with some rates to double

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

More than 300 million people, or more than 4 percent of the global population, were living with depression in 2015, an 18-percent increase over 10 years.

New figures released Thursday by the World Health Organization show that depression was increasing worldwide and now was the leading cause of global mental and physical disability.

Dan Chisholm, Health Systems Adviser in World Health’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, and a lead author of the report, noted that depression was a disorder that can affect anyone, at any point in their lives.

“If you look at the prevalence of different disorders around the world and you look at the disability that is associated with them, if you combine those together, depression ends up at the top of the list because it is very common,” he said.

“You can see one in 20 people in the world have it and then it has quite a high level of impairment or disability associated with it,” he added.

Corresponding data released in the same report found that anxiety disorders, which cover a range of conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder, affected more than 260 million people, which represented more than three percent of the global population.

Chisholm noted that anxiety disorders, which rose by 15 percent between 2005 and 2015, were now the sixth largest cause of disability and were particularly high in the region of the Americas.

The report found the prevalence rates for depression peak among older adults, affecting 2 percent more women between the ages of 55 and 74 than men. However, across all age groups, it said depression was 1.5 times more common among females than males.

Breaking a widespread misconception, Chisholm said the disorders were not diseases of the rich or the affluent. He said more than 80 percent of these conditions were present in low-and-middle-income countries.

He said that depression around the world was rising mainly because the world’s population was growing and aging, particularly in developing countries.

“For example, African countries might have 40-50 percent of the population under the age of 15, but as they transition, they might have only 30 percent. So, you have more people reaching adulthood where the rates of depression are highest,” Chisholm said.

He said this was what was driving the increase over time in the numbers of people. Because of the demographic factors, he said, many countries were going to see a dramatic increase.

While depression was a growing problem in Africa, the report noted that nearly half of people living with this condition were in the heavily populated regions of South-East Asia and the West Pacific.

This report is a precursor to the World Health Day celebration on April 7. In a build-up to the event, World Health launched a one-year campaign in October called “Depression: Let’s Talk” to highlight the problems associated with depression.

Alison Brunier, World Health communications officer, said that the name of the campaign was chosen because “talking is really the first step towards recovery.”

Stress linked to device use,
email checks, social media

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Nearly 90 percent of Americans say they constantly or often check their email, texts and social media accounts leading to increased stress, according to a report from the American Psychological Association.

Those who said they checked constantly showed, on average, higher stress levels than those who checked less often.

Using a 10-point scale, where one is little or no stress and 10 is a great deal of stress, constant checkers reported a 5.3 stress level compared to 4.4 for those who were less glued to their smartphones.

Working Americans who check their work email on days off reported a stress level of 6.

“The emergence of mobile devices and social networks over the last decade has certainly changed the way Americans live and communicate on a daily basis,” said Lynn Bufka, the association's associate executive director for practice research and policy.

“Today, almost all American adults own at least one electronic device, with many being constantly connected to them. What these individuals don’t consider is that while technology helps us in many ways, being constantly connected can have a negative impact on both their physical and mental health.”

The study found parents realized the stressful effects of constant checking on their children, with 94 percent of parents saying they try to manage their child’s usage and 58 percent reporting feeling as if their child is attached to their device.

Moreover, 45 percent of parents said technology is making them feel disconnected from their families, 58 percent reported being worried about the influence of social media on their child’s physical and mental health.

Constant checkers are also more negatively impacted by social media, the study found, citing 42 percent of constant checkers said discussing politics on social media caused them stress. That was compared with 33 percent in the non constant checking category.

Perhaps one of the most telling findings was that 65 percent of Americans somewhat or strongly agree that unplugging at times or taking a digital detox is important for mental health.

3-D technique is creating
famed Oscar's new version

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The original Oscar statue was hand carved by Los Angeles sculptor George Stanley. For decades the statuettes have been made by a Chicago trophy company and gold-plated.

But last year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences decided they wanted to return to the original bronze figure made using the lost wax process. The Academy chose Polich Tallix as the foundry to cast the bronze figures.

They started by scanning a classic Oscar from 1928 and the 2015 model and entering the information into a 3-D printer.

"We have the three different versions," said Daniel Plonski, the 3-D artist and the head of production. "We have the classic statue, the recent 2015 version and the third version which we created."

The new design is then 3-D printed in wax and a mold of that statue is made to make another wax figurine for each statuette.

Plonski says the 3-D printing makes the process much quicker, but just as faithful to the Art Deco original.

The new Oscar is then dipped in a ceramic slurry, and once it is cured, fired in an oven at 871 degrees C. Molten bronze is then poured into the ceramic mold and allowed to cool.

Production manager Paul Pisoni says the molds are not reused and that each Oscar is a brand new casting.

"One mold is only good for one Oscar and then it gets cracked and destroyed so therefore we have to make one of these molds for every piece of metal that we cast in the foundry," he said.

After some cleanup, the bronze statuettes are polished to a mirror finish and electroplated with 24 karat gold at another firm in Brooklyn, New York. The base of each Oscar is also cast in bronze, and is given a smooth, black finish.

Pisoni says since they don’t know who wins, they have to engrave a bronze plate with all the nominees’ names.

When the actual winner is announced, the correct plate is attached in the center of the base.

The whole process takes about three months. The final product stands about 34 centimeters tall and weighs about 3.9 kilograms. And the gleaming statues will be on full display at Sunday’s ceremony in Los Angeles.

Senators who visited Cuba
see desire to improve ties

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A group of U.S. congressmen who just returned from a visit to Cuba say Cuban President Raúl Castro appears to want to continue working on improved ties with Washington despite U.S. President Donald Trump's vow to reverse direction.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, a longtime advocate of better ties with Cuba, told reporters Wednesday that Castro expressed his desire to continue work on market-oriented reforms.

Leahy added that Castro gave the group two signed copies of a speech he gave last month in the Dominican Republic that expressed a desire to work with Trump.

That speech is the only real indication from the Cuban government of its intentions with the new U.S. administration. In the speech, Castro said he wanted to keep negotiating the bilateral relationship with the United States and "pursue respectful dialogue and cooperation on themes of common interest with the new government of President Donald Trump."

Sen. Thad Cochran, one member of the group accompanying Leahy on the trip, told reporters Wednesday that the Trump administration seems to have a new openness, a willingness to take chances, although he allowed that such spontaneity could be problematic in negotiations with Cuba.

Sen. Tom Udall, another member of the group, answered a reporter's question about "moving toward a new perspective on Cuba." He told the reporter that the United States and Cuba "have already built on several issues, bipartisan, pro-engagement amendments."

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Beautiful farm in excellent location
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                                        ranch rollover
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:


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 Available for viewing:   CONTACT:  USA :  (585) 969-3413 or (585) 266-7418 or in COSTA RICA : (506) 2231-0410.   email:

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 

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

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 40
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News from the BBC up to the minute

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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Law makes providers responsible
for denying inmate cell phone use

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica prison officials have been spectacularly unsuccessful in preventing inmates from using illegal cell telephones, so now lawmakers are asking the provider companies to figure out a way.

Contact between visitors and inmates is not restricted in most cases in the adult and juvenile prisons, so there is a large quantity of smuggled goods, including drugs. Cell telephones are another big item. Without a personal cell telephone prisoners must use the official service that prefaces each call with a notification that the call is coming from a prison facility.

Inmates, who have plenty of time on their hands, have come up with some very creative scams and criminal activities by using the bootlegged cell telephones. They also easily keep in contact with their criminal colleagues outside.

Criminals have engineered extortions, murders, bank frauds and other assorted scams while incarcerated.

Every time prison guards conduct a sweep, illegal cell phones turn up. Officials have tried blocking the signals without success.

So Thursday the Comisión de Seguridad y Narcotráfico released for floor action by the full legislature bill no.  19.932. The measure came from the Ministerio de Justicia y Paz that runs the prisons and the Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología y Telecomunicaciones.

The bill requires cell phone providers to adopt and apply unspecified procedures and solutions to prevent cell calls from the prisons.

Call center growth small in comparison

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica has shown enormous growth in contact center or call center employment, but the country still is small potatoes in Latin America.

A summary provided by Aspect Software, Inc., said that Costa Rica now has 28 contact centers and 18 firms that are in this type of information processing business. The work generated 1,000 jobs in 2000, and provided 46,465, based on an estimate at the close of 2013.

Still all of Central America only provides just 6 percent of the Latin American call center market. Brazil is the largest with 46 percent.

Aspect said that one statistical report estimates that Central American call centers handled $3 billion in business in 2013 and are expected to handle $5.7 billion in 2020.

Workers here earn from $600 to $900 per month, according to the estimates, which is higher than similar work in other Central American countries.

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From Page 7:

Swiss airlines will offer flights to Costa Rica

By the Swiss International Airlines press staff

Swiss International Air Lines will be further expanding its range of air services from Zurich and Geneva to many places including Costa Rica in the coming summer schedules.

The airline company, known colloquially as SWISS, will serve 77 European and 25 intercontinental destinations in 43 countries in its 2017 summer schedules. The summer timetable period runs from March 26 to Oct. 27.

The airline company will be offering services to a range of attractive vacation destinations in collaboration with Edelweiss in the 2017 summer season. SWISS’s sister carrier will be newly serving San José at Juan Santamaría International Airport, according to a Thursday release by the company.

In addition the airline said it is expanding to include destinations to Cancún, México, and San Diego, California twice weekly in the summer schedules. Edelweiss will also be operating a new weekly service to the Greek island of Zakynthos between May and October. And frequencies will be increased on existing Edelweiss routes to Croatia, Egypt and Spain in the summer months.

In the forthcoming 2017 summer flight timetable, the airlines will offer their customers precisely 23,476 flights each week around the world, the company said in a Thursday release. This summer, the Lufthansa Group airlines will link 308 destinations in 103 countries via their hubs in Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, Vienna and Brussels, but also via many point-to-point routes.

The airline said these services will be supplemented by more than 18,000 code-sharing flights with some 30 partner airlines, offering passengers a network which almost spans the globe.

Swiss International Air Lines is the airline of Switzerland, serving over 100 destinations in 46 countries from Zurich and Geneva and carrying more than 16 million passengers a year with its 95-aircraft fleet, according to its website.