A.M. Costa Rica
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Published Tuesday, April 5, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 66
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New bill would reduce size of the executive branch
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A new proposed law would cap the number of ministries in the executive branch at 12. Depending on how they are counted, now there are at least 18 and perhaps 22.

Each ministry has its own administrative staff.

The author of the bill, Otto Guevara Guth, said that the measure would eliminate 45 boards of directors and the administrative staff of four superintendencies, including Pensiones, Entidades Financieras, Seguros and Valores.

The bill also would eliminate at least five boards of subsidiaries in the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes.

The presidential Web site lists 17 ministries now not counting the Instituto Costarricense de

Turismo which is treated as a ministry. In addition, there is a bill in the legislative hopper to create a ministry of sports.

Guevara said that the idea came to him by analyzing other countries. Switzerland has only seven ministries, the United States 15 and Germany 15, he said, adding that he thought 12 could be just fine for Costa Rica.

The bill also would standardize the salaries of top government officials, including ministers.

A main purpose is to reduce what political figures have been complaining about for years, the lack of governability of the country. Many of those in high positions would serve at the pleasure of the president.

Guevara said that he would be working in the legislature to generate support for the measure.

Transformer repair expected
to take two weeks in Heredia

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The transformer that blew up Saturday in Heredia was not one of the white cylinders found on a utility pole. This was a  138,000-volt device at the San Miguel substation in Santo Domingo de Heredia. The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad said that repairs would cost 81 million colons, about $153,000.

The outage involved customers of the Compañía Nacional de Fuerza y Luz and those of  Empresa de Servicios Públicos de Heredia. Service was out from about 7 p.m. Saturday until 1:30 a.m. Sunday, the state power company said.

The explosion damaged other parts of the substation, and repairs will be completed in about two weeks, estimated the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad.

Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad photo
Here are the remains of the exploded transformer.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, April 5, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 66
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Professional Directory
A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


Marco Cavallini & Associates
Dental Implants and Crowns

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Real estate agents and services


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Residential sales
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Tour desk

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trailer stash
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública/ Guillemo Solano
When police swept Playa del Coco Friday they found that boat trailers were being used to hide baggies of marijuana. Officers said they gave a number of tickets for public consumption of alcohol, marijuana and cigarettes.

Bilingual babies seem to be sharper

By the University of Washington news staff

Many brain studies show that bilingual adults have more activity in areas associated with executive function, a set of mental abilities that includes problem-solving, shifting attention and other desirable cognitive traits.

Now new findings reveal that this bilingualism-related difference in brain activity is evident as early as 11 months of age, just as babies are on the verge of producing their first words.

“Our results suggest that before they even start talking, babies raised in bilingual households are getting practice at tasks related to executive function,” said Naja Ferjan Ramírez, lead author and a research scientist at the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences at the University of Washington.

“This suggests that bilingualism shapes not only language development, but also cognitive development more generally,” she said.

The study also gives evidence that the brains of babies from bilingual families remain more open to learning new language sounds, compared with babies from monolingual families.

The study was published online April 4 in Developmental Science and will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal.

The researchers used magnetoencephalography, which measures magnetic changes given off by active nerve cells. Unlike other brain-imaging methods, MEG can precisely pinpoint both the timing and location of activity in the brain.

‘Macbeth’ and ‘Rubaiyyat’ to be blended
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The next Little Theatre Group presentation combines two great classics,  William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” and “The Rubaiyyat of Omar Khayyam.”

Actor Jesai Jayhmes will use unconventional interpretations, a range of
acting styles and creative use of space to bring out layers of meanings rarely visible to the naked eye, said the Theatre Group. The theme is being drunk on power.

The four show dates are Friday and Saturday evenings at 7 p.m. April 22 and  23 and April 29 and 30. The location is Casa LTG at 27 Calle Rolex, Escazú.

Jayhmes is an international theater artist, teacher and communication
coach. He has acted, directed and written for over 35 years. His has embraced experimental, improv and research theater, sacred texts and
original material, with a firm grounding in the classics, said the Theatre Group.

This is the first time he will be offering this experience in Costa Rica. It has been developing in Jayhmes' repertoire for almost 30 years and has been seen in various stages of development in Vancouver, Canada, Ashland Oregon, New Haven, Connecticut, New York City, Beijing, China, and elsewhere, the organization added.

More information and reservations are available at

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, April 5, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 66
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Panamá Papers revelations seem to lack any local smoking guns
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The initial disclosures from the Panamá Papers were a bit of a letdown in Costa Rica. There did not appear to be any smoking gun of illegality.

In fact, the Universidad de Costa Rica newspaper, El Semanario, which was privy to the massive legal papers database seemed overplay the facts.

The newspaper featured Otto Guevara Guth, the Partido Libertario leader and current legislator, because his name turned up on a 27-year-old document. María Luisa Ávila, the former health minister, found herself featured because a document showed she once received five shares of a company. She said on a Twitter message the shares were worth $100 each.

The absence of beef did not stop lawmakers from the Partido Liberación Nacional and Acción Ciudadana from calling for fast action on a pending fiscal fraud bill, No. 19.245. Marco Vinicio Redondo Quirós of the Partido Acción Ciudadana said that the decision to push the legislation by members of  his party was due to the findings of the journalistic investigation.

Paulina Ramírez Portuguez of the Partido Liberación Nacional said she was concerned by the presumed cases of tax evasion revealed by the Panama Papers.

The pending legislation would do little to prevent Costa Ricans from creating offshore companies for various business purposes and even for illegal reasons.

However, the bill would require corporations in Costa Rica to report the names of their beneficial owners.

Mike Cobb of issued a bulletin Monday in which he said that offshore corporations were under attack.  The online publication promotes offshore entities and second passports.

“For many, the offshore world has always carried the connotation of illegality and deception, and this massive scandal will likely deepen that sentiment,” he said, suggesting that legislation would be forthcoming.
What's happening internationally
Monday's news story

The story broke Sunday night and reveals the offshore holdings of 140 politicians and public officials around the world, including 12 current and former world leaders.

El Semanario reported that its staffers worked three months with the The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which obtained the data base stolen from the Panamá law firm of  Mossack Fonseca.

The response to the weekly’s 42 pages of news stories was substantial. The paper was sold out Monday morning, and access to its Web site was spotty.

In total, some 18 names of Costa Ricans were mentioned in the El Semanario coverage. These were people who had transacted business in one way or another with the law firm. Among these were Manuel Francisco Jiménez Echeverría, president of the board of Grupo Nación, former Alajuela mayor Joyce Zurcher, several former ministers and other leading businessmen.

One news story shows that several companies were created if only briefly to accelerate the sale of chicken marketer Corporación Pipasa to the Minnesota-based Cargill, which moved the firm offshore.

As the  International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has pointed out, there is nothing illegal in having an offshore corporation. And the Panamá law firm issued a statement in which it said it was not responsible for the use its clients make of the entity after lawyers create it.

There is some question how interested the average citizen is in the disclosures. The International Consortium posted some YouTube videos about its lengthy investigation. One poster noted that a video about celebrity Taylor Swift falling off a treadmill had attracted 14 times the viewers.

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, April 5, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 66
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World governments scramble to see if there is any tax evasion
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Governments around the world are vowing to chase down the wealthy, powerful and famous who set up offshore bank accounts to hide their assets and possibly evade taxes, the immediate reaction to a massive investigative journalists' report.

“What we see is that it’s very easy for people that want to hide their identity to set up secret shell companies in a variety of jurisdictions. And that’s essentially to hide their connection to the money,” said Maggie Murphy of anti-corruption campaign group Transparency International.

The Kremlin denounced the disclosures, saying they were mostly aimed at Russian President Vladimir Putin, and claiming former U.S. State Department and Central Intelligence Agency officials helped analyze the 11.5 million documents leaked from Panama's Mossack Fonseca law firm.

The report said Putin associates have funneled nearly $2 billion through offshore accounts over the years.

"This Putinophobia abroad has reached such a point that it is, in fact, taboo to say something good about Russia or about any actions by Russia or any Russian achievements," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Governments elsewhere scrambled to start investigations for possible tax evasion, with key political figures left to explain why they had created the offshore accounts named in the report by the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

A reporter for the consortium, Will Fitzgibbon, said Monday, "Certainly the examples of illegality or even moral suspicion that we found were in the minority. I think the problem with this offshore system is that when you're creating hundreds of thousands of companies, even if a small percentage of those are using those companies to facilitate corruption or bribery, let alone smuggle drugs or weapons across the world, then that alone in itself is, in the eyes of I think many advocates, reasons to scrutinize the offshore world and potentially to enact reforms."

Iceland Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson is under pressure to resign after the documents showed he and his wife, Anna Sigurlaug Palsdottir, bought an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands in 2007.

Gunnlaugsson said the couple has not hidden any assets, but stormed out of an interview with a Swedish public broadcaster when pushed to explain the nature of the investment.

"It's like you are accusing me of something," he said.

Ukrainian lawmakers demanded parliament investigate allegations that President Petro Poroshenko moved his confectionery company, Roshen, to the British Virgin Islands in August 2014 to avoid taxes at a time when there was a peak in fighting between Kyiv's forces and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

A spokeswoman for British Prime Minister David Cameron declined to comment on whether his family had money in offshore accounts set up by his late father, Ian Cameron. She called it a private matter.

The Australia Tax Office said it is investigating more than 800 clients of the Panamá law firm for possible tax evasion.

One tax official said, "The message is clear: Taxpayers can't rely on these secret arrangements being kept secret, and we will act on any information that is provided to us."

India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley declared anyone who did not take advantage of a government offer last year to disclose hidden offshore accounts would now find "such adventurism extremely costly."

Norwegian, Austrian and Swedish authorities started investigations of key banks to determine their role in creating offshore accounts, while France said it would review the taxes of individuals mentioned and assess penalties for unpaid taxes.

French President Francois Hollande called the leaked documents good news, saying, "investigations will be carried out, cases will be opened and trials will be held."

The U.S. Justice Department said it is reviewing the journalists' report and "takes very seriously all credible allegations of high-level, foreign corruption that might have a link to the

United States or the U.S. financial system."

An anonymous source provided the millions of documents involving 214,488 companies and 14,153 clients of the Mossack Fonseca law firm to Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, which in turn engaged the investigative journalists' group to work on the project.

The Munich-based newspaper said the amount of data it received last year is several times larger than the U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks in 2010, and the secret intelligence documents given to journalists by Edward Snowden in 2013.

The law firm at the center of the leak has strongly denied breaking any laws.

“We are a company with almost 40 years in the national market and the international market, and we have never been found guilty of absolutely anything,” said Ramon Fonseca, co-founder of Mossack Fonseca.

But campaigners want further investigations.

“If it is money laundering, if it is sanctions busting, if it is tax evasion that is definitely illegal. One of the things that we have seen is that there are over 23 clients of this company on international sanctions lists,” said Robert Palmer of Global Witness.

Fonseca told a French news agency that leaking the information to journalists is "a crime, a felony."

"Privacy is a fundamental human right that is being eroded more and more in the modern world. Each person has a right to privacy, whether they are a king or a beggar," the law firm co-founder said.

Putting money in offshore accounts is not necessarily illegal, and can be used to establish legal tax shelters or ease international business deals.

But the report said the documents show banks, law firms and other offshore players often fail to follow legal requirements to make sure their clients are not involved in criminal enterprises, tax dodging or political corruption.

The report covered transactions from 1977 through 2015.

ICIJ says these documents:

• Reveal the offshore holdings of 140 politicians and public officials around the world, including 12 current and former world leaders. Among them are the prime ministers of Iceland and Pakistan, the presidents of Ukraine and Argentina, and the king of Saudi Arabia.

• Include the names of 33 people and companies blacklisted by the U.S. government because of evidence they were involved in wrongdoing, such as doing business with Mexican drug traffickers, terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, or rogue nations such as North Korea and Iran.

• Show how major banks have driven the creation of hard-to-trace companies in offshore havens. More than 500 banks, their subsidiaries and their branches have created more than 15,000 offshore companies for their customers through Mossack Fonseca.

The Panamanian firm told The Washington Post it follows both the letter and spirit of financial laws that vary throughout the world.

It said in nearly 40 years of operation it has never been charged with criminal wrongdoing.

In an interview Sunday, Michael Hudson, a senior editor at the International Consortium, said, "This is really the shadow side of our global economy, the money that flows around mostly unchecked, undetected.

"You can't say in every single case that someone is doing something wrong, or that they're hiding improper practices. But it certainly raises lots of questions about transparency when you have politicians, and especially top leaders of countries, moving their holdings offshore and using offshore entities to obscure what they're doing," Hudson said.

The report lists the British Virgin Islands as the most popular offshore tax haven, with Panamá, the Bahamas and the Seychelles next.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

                        Garden 2016
Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
Drop in to see some of Costa Rica's finest art
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The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is a great place to find quality remembrances of Costa Rica to take home or to decorate your home or office in Costa Rica.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever.  With more than 60 artists on exhibit and fine art in 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we are easy to locate just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport. Visit our Web site at
or contact us by email:   
Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tel. 2667-0592 / 8386-6872; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073. International shipping available.

Click photo for another video

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.


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Real estate-related services (paid category)
SOON with the coming of new power company regulations, we'll be installing PV (photo voltaic) for solar electricity. Yes, at last!
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Cell phone: 506-8898-9398
or 506-8314-8090


Real estate rentals (paid category)

Beautiful House Inside Gated Farm for Rent
House inside gated farm. Two bedroom, One bath fully-furnished. Close to town in Santa Barbara de Heredia.  $650 includes:  Internet, Wifi, Cable TV, Water, Electric.  Located in Santa Barbara de Heredia. American owner lives onsite, quiet, secure.  More information to my email:

Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
1- to 3-bedroom ocean and garden view timeshares available and most offer air conditioning, cable TV, fully equipped kitchens, and relaxing hammocks on private balconies. Enjoy the unique combination of seclusion and convenience as all resorts listed on our site are close to popular Costa Rican attractions and downtown 
centers, but are surrounded in lush, tropical forest. Villas are also available for sale in our inventory, so you can enjoy yearly vacations to this mesmerizing rainforest paradise. Please visit our rental inventory HERE!  or call us toll free at 877-815-4227, International: 603-516-0200.  Email:

Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for  your stay in this beautiful part
tropical homes
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Real estate for rent (paid category)

Puriscal rental
A peaceful place near Puriscal.
Property is a small house on a 16-acre farm in Desamparaditos, a small village located 5K NW of Santiago de Puriscal. 15 minutes to Puriscal, 1 hour to San José and the airport, all paved roads. House has 2 bedrooms and 1 bath, large  open kitchen/dining/living area and is fully furnished. Nice veranda with great views. Many fruit trees. Private but not isolated with all utilities. Rent $550/month long term, short term negotiable. Tenant pays for electricity and phone. Landlord pays water. No pets, please. In Costa Rica call Liz Guegan at 7187-8577, in the USA call Pete Todd at 970-221-1457 or 720-951-7928.

Two bedrooms plus additional on loft, furnished condo with garage, half block walking distance to Costa Rica international Academy. Gated compound on Country Club grounds across Fairway Five. USD $850 plus utilities. Info: US 925 755-4645 or  Note:

 CR house telephone number 2654- 4145  We will be in our house in Flamingo,  March 11 thru April 30.

                                              Valley view

Boutique quality mountain homes for rent located on a small horse ranch on the slopes of the Barva Volcano, Heredia Province. The homes have stunning views of Costa Rica's Central Valley. Located at 7,300-foot altitude, our ranch borders the Braulio Carrillo National Park and the homes are hiking distance to the Barva Volcano crater lake. We offer various rental options for our 1- and 2-bedroom homes. Contact us at Ajsanch783@AOL.COM for more details.

Fully Furnished American style Apartments for Rent
2-bedroom, 2- bathroom, fully furnished American-style apartments with elevator in a secure building in Barrio Amó. Cable, Internet, water included. Shared laundry. Convenient to Parque Morazán,
hotels, restaurants, casinos, city government, national registry. $650 per month plus electricity. ½ month security deposit. No lease.  The larger apartments are $650 per month. They have larger bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens. It would be best for the prospective tenants to visit
Barrio Amon
the building to see the apartments.   For more information contact:  or call Hilda at 2221-7161.

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A.M. Costa Rica's  
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Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, April 5, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 66
Real Estate
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Supreme Court rejects bid
for redistricting by voters

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously upheld the drawing of state electoral districts based on total population, not eligible voters, rejecting a conservative challenge in a Texas case that threatened the political influence of urban minority groups.

The challengers argued drawing local district maps based on total population, rather than eligible voters, undermines the power of rural areas and violates the one person, one vote rule requiring political districts to be roughly equal in population. 

Texas is one of many states with densely populated urban areas that include large numbers of Latino and other immigrants, many of whom are not citizens or are too young to vote. 

If their presence were ignored in district maps, it would have severely reduced the political power of minority groups that have voted overwhelmingly for the Democratic Party in recent elections.

Writing her opinion for the court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said "constitutional history, the court's decisions, and longstanding practice" all say states may draw legislative districts based on total population.

"Jurisdictions may design state and local legislative districts with equal total populations, we hold; they are not obliged to equalize voter populations," said Ginsburg.

The ruling does not affect U.S. congressional districts, which are required to be based on total population.

U.S. says Iran will not get
access to its financial system

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United States says it has no plans to give Iran access to the U.S. financial system in any dollar-denominated transactions between Iran and businesses in other countries.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said certain sanctions would have to be lifted first. Under current sanctions, Iran is barred from any direct dealings with U.S. banks and investment houses.

Toner referred to President Barack Obama's comments last week that businesses that do want to deal with Iran in dollars could do so through European banks.

Iran has complained that its badly battered economy has not yet seen any benefits after some sanctions were lifted when a deal was signed to curb its nuclear program.

Obama said that so far, Iran has followed the letter of the nuclear deal. But he said last week that its provocative actions may be scaring off businesses.

"When they launch ballistic missiles with slogans calling for the destruction of Israel, that makes businesses nervous," he said.

Alaska Airlines announces
plans to acquire Virgin firm

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Alaska Airlines announced Monday that it would acquire Virgin America in a $4 billion deal that, if accepted by shareholders, would make it the fifth-largest airline in the U.S.

As the consolidation trend continues in the airline industry, Alaska’s parent company, Alaska Air Group, is aiming to increase its footprint at airports across the country. Prior to the merger, Alaska Airlines primarily operated flights along the U.S. West Coast, but with the addition of Virgin’s routes, will have a larger presence along the East Coast in major cities like New York and Washington, D.C.

“The combination expands Alaska Airlines’ existing footprint in California, bolsters its platform for growth and strengthens the company as a competitor to the four largest U.S. airlines,” Alaska Air said in a statement.

While the deal will merge Virgin America’s 60 planes into Alaska’s existing fleet, the new airline will have a fleet of just around 280 planes operating 1,200 daily departures, well below the levels of its four larger competitors.

In comparison, American Airlines, the largest U.S. carrier operates around 1,500 aircraft and Southwest, the number four carrier, runs 683 planes.

Alaska Air Group agreed to pay $2.6 billion in cash for the U.S. carrier created by British entrepreneur Richard Branson in 2007. With Virgin’s debt added in, the total value of the deal will jump to about $4 billion.

Branson took to the Virgin Web site to air his dissatisfaction with the deal, which he said there was nothing he could do to stop it.

In a lengthy letter, Branson explained that since he is not a U.S. citizen he could not control more than 25 percent of the company’s shares, according to U.S. law, so he took the company public in 2014.

He said the merger was all but inevitable.

Tesla electric cars bring
thousands of pre-orders

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Tesla Motors’ CEO Elon Musk said worldwide orders for the company’s new lower-priced electric car have topped 276,000.

Musk announced the number during an impromptu question-and-answer session on Twitter Sunday. The number is more than double what the company was expecting and suggested orders might hit 500,000 if the current pace continues.

Tesla began accepting pre-orders for the Model 3 Thursday and by Saturday had received more than twice as many reservations for the car as all previous Tesla sales combined.

The $35,000 Model 3 will be able to drive about 215 miles on a single charge. Musk said a larger battery upgrade will be available, but the company hopes to have an even longer range on the base model before the first cars are delivered.

In a string of 68 tweets following the unveiling of the car, Musk described a number of the car’s new features, including its minimalist instrument panel and its increased cargo space.

The driver side dashboard is all but removed in the new model, in favor of a central touchscreen that handles everything from music to directions.

A critic on Twitter asked Musk why he would choose such a hideous steering wheel design, to which he responded that the prototype was not the real steering system, and said the final product would feel more like a spaceship than a normal car.

The language used by Musk in his comments, using the terms steering system and steering controls instead of steering wheel, led to speculation that the company would unveil a fully self-driving car at an as-of-yet unscheduled part two of the car’s unveiling.

“It will make sense after part 2,” Musk said in response to another inquiry about the lack of a dashboard.

Musk also said the car will feature two trunks and more storage capacity than any other car of the same size, with room for a bike, a seven-foot surfboard, or three children’s car seats.

In order to keep up with demand for the new electric cars, Tesla will double the number of high-speed charging stations to 7,200 by the end of next year, and will vastly increase the number of slower destination chargers from 3,689 to 15,000.

$20 billion settlement
approved for oil rig spill

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A U.S. judge has finalized an estimated $20 billion settlement to resolve claims against BP stemming from the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, concluding years of litigation.

The federal judge in New Orleans Monday granted final approval for the deal, which covers claims of environmental and economic damage made by the five Gulf states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas as well as local governments. It also includes $5.5 billion in penalties for violations of the federal Clean Water Act.

The money will be paid out over a 16-year period.

District Judge Carl Barbier, who approved the settlement, ruled last year that BP acted with gross negligence in its operation of the oil well.

The settlement is in addition to other earlier criminal and civil settlements, including one brought by businesses and residents who claim the spill cost them money.

The National Audubon Society praised Monday's agreement, saying it is time for BP to pay for the disaster, which led to the deaths of more that 1 million birds.

"It’s finally time for BP to pay for what they broke," said Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold. "It's time to start the recovery process for millions of birds and people alike," he said.

The spill was sparked by an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig, off the coast of Louisiana, which killed 11 people and immolated the rig.

For 87 days, more than 3 million barrels of oil spewed into the Gulf before authorities were finally able to cap the well.

Waist size called predictor
for sudden cardiac arrest

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Waist size is likely a better predictor of heart disease than body mass index, a measure of body fat based on height and weight, according to a new study.

Reporting at the 2016 American College of Cardiology’s Scientific Session, researchers from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City and John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore say that being apple-shaped, carrying weight in the abdominal area, “is a strong predictor of serious heart disease in patients who have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, and haven't displayed any symptoms of heart disease.”

Having a pear-shaped body, meaning extra weight is carried in the hips, does not seem to be as predictive of heart disease.

The researchers said that apple-shaped people have already been shown to have higher rates of metabolic syndrome such as high blood pressure, high sugar levels and high cholesterol as well as coronary artery disease and heart failure, but the new findings show that “waist circumference is also a strong predictor of left ventricular dysfunction in patients.”

Increased body fat in the abdominal area can be caused by metabolic syndrome.

"This study confirms that having an apple-shaped body or a high waist circumference can lead to heart disease, and that reducing your waist size can reduce your risks," said Brent Muhlestein, co-director of research at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City.

For the study, researchers looked at 200 diabetic men and women who showed no indications of heart disease.

The subjects were given CT scans to measure the function of their left ventricle, which is the part of the heart that pumps oxygenated blood to the body. Poor function of the left ventricle causes blood to back up in the lungs and legs, often leading to heart failure and increases the risk of sudden cardiac arrest.

What they found was that regardless of body mass index, “abdominal obesity was strongly associated with regional left ventricular dysfunction, which is a common cause of heart disease, including congestive heart failure.”

"Our research examined patients with diabetes, who are considered high risk for developing heart disease already, and found that the shape of your body determined if you were at a greater risk to develop left ventricular dysfunction," said Muhlestein.

Researchers added that one in three people worldwide will have cardiovascular disease, with about one third of those dying from a heart attack or other heart-related condition before they are diagnosed.

"We specifically found that waist circumference appears to be a stronger predictor for left ventricle dysfunction than total body weight or body mass index," says Boaz D. Rosen of Johns Hopkins, who is the study's principal investigator.

Wisconsin primary seen
as key Republican race

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Tuesday’s primary in Wisconsin could be a pivotal moment in the battle for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination.  Republicans intent on blocking billionaire businessman Donald Trump face a key test in the state, perhaps their best chance to slow down the Trump campaign and his hopes of securing the 1,237 committed delegates before the July party convention in Cleveland.

Denying Trump the delegates he needs to claim the nomination before July could lead to a contested convention in Cleveland, an uncertain outcome Trump supporters would love to avoid.

The latest polls in Wisconsin put Trump rival Ted Cruz in the lead with Ohio Gov. John Kasich trailing well behind.

Trump has campaigned in Wisconsin with the hope of putting behind him last week’s problems that included a notable misstep on abortion and a vehement defense of campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who faces a battery charge in Florida for allegedly grabbing a reporter’s arm last month.

Trump has tried to rally Wisconsin voters by reminding them of his initial appeal as a political outsider ready to bring a businessman’s ethic to the White House.

“I’m really a good businessman.  I’m so good at business, oh, you people are going to be so rich so fast you don’t even know.  You don’t know how rich you are going to be,” Trump told supporters at a rally in Wausau, Wisconsin, where he was joined on the stage by former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

Wisconsin presents the best chance yet for Cruz to reassert his relevance in the race.  In addition to slowing Trump’s march to the nomination by denying him delegates, a Cruz victory in Wisconsin would further solidify his status as Trump’s main challenger, possibly setting up a multi-ballot confrontation at the Republican convention in July.

Cruz has been intent on trying to take advantage of Trump’s recent problems and buttress the complaints that Trump is not a true conservative and is thin on presenting real policy prescriptions to address issues. 

“Because while he’s very good at yelling and attacking and insulting, he does not have meaningful solutions to the problems facing this country,” Cruz told reporters during a recent campaign swing through Wisconsin.

Kasich trails badly in the delegate count, but hopes to be in the mix if the convention becomes contested. 

“We are gathering momentum, both from the political side and the fundraising side, and we are looking forward to a fun convention,” Kasich told reporters in Philadelphia where he has been campaigning in advance of the Pennsylvania primary on April 26.

Trump’s recent gaffe on abortion, his defense of Lewandowski and his willingness to attack rivals have raised fresh doubts about his viability as a Republican nominee among some members of the Republican establishment.

“You know, I’ve seen bitter nomination struggles, but I have never seen a presidential contest devolve into petty insults and name-calling,” said American University presidential historian Allan Lichtman.

Trump is warning things could get worse if he’s denied the nomination at the convention and has refused to rule out a third-party bid for the White House if he’s denied the nomination in Cleveland.

“It’s a question of treatment,” Trump said in an interview on "Fox News Sunday."  “I want to run as a Republican . . .  I’m going to have to see how I was treated.”

Wisconsin also presents a test on the Democratic side, where frontrunner Hillary Clinton trails challenger Bernie Sanders in the latest Wisconsin polls.

Mrs. Clinton has shifted her focus between Sanders and Republican frontrunner Trump in recent days. 

“I have one million more votes than Donald Trump and I have two-and-one-half million more votes than Bernie Sanders,”  Mrs. Clinton told supporters at a recent rally in Purchase, New York, ahead of the New York primary April 19.

Sanders remains unbowed and hopes a victory in Wisconsin will help him close the gap with Clinton in New York.  Recent polls give Mrs. Clinton a lead in New York, but the margin has been dropping in recent weeks and Sanders will make an aggressive push in the state he was raised in. 

Villanova Wildcats wins
U.S. basketball championship

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Villanova Wildcats defeated the North Carolina Tar Heels, 77-74, to win the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I men's basketball championship game in Houston, Texas Monday.

The two teams exchanged the lead several times down the stretch before the number one-seeded North Carolina's Marcus Paige hit a wild three-point shot that tied the game at 74-74 with about four seconds left in regulation time.   But Villanova's Kris Jenkins took a pass just over the midcourt line and launched the winning three-point shot for the second-seeded Wildcats as the final buzzer sounded.

This is only Villanova's second men's basketball championship, the first coming in 1985, when they upset the then-powerful Georgetown Hoyas.  The win is also the first title for head coach Jay Wright in his 22-year head coaching career.

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Sierra Collection. Meridian House or Chateau Montage.
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The Terraces at San Martin.  Discover the essence of Costa Rica on our Luxury Ocean View Villas . Near Dominicalito Beach and Parque Nacional Marino Ballena.
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Real estate for sale (paid category)

Negotiable price. Thirty thousand seventy square meters. The house is seven hundred fifty squared meters, built three years ago. Five bedrooms plus servant's room with bathroom. Each bedroom includes private bathroom. Master's room includes Jacuzzi and hidromassage. Two main living rooms plus visitor's parlor and hall, two furnished kitchens, all ceramic. Nineteen rooms total counting three offices, eight-car garage. Has 220-volt current with three distribution panels. First-quality water plus well, decorated stone walls, recreational area, second house eighty squared meters, hot water systems, cable, telephone, light system throughout property, river, part forest..

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ORIGINAL PRICE: $1.800.000    OFFER PRICE: $1.200.000
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Christian Arce
Phone: (506) 2494-0016
Cell phone: (506) 8309-0173

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Phone: (506) 2494-0016
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San Rmon
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!

Ocean View Property for Sale in San Ramón
1.5-acre lot with spectacular ocean views. Ready to build. Mild climate year round with an average temperature a cool 74 degrees. Spectacular panoramic views of
                                for sale
the ocean and port of Puntarenas during the day, breathtaking views of Esparza at night. Fully titled and owned under a Costa Rican corporation. $50,000. Short-term owner financing available. For more info: Contact: Frank

Jacó beach unique home. First time offered
This house has never been listed.  It is a 3-bedroom, 1-bath home approx. 100 feet above sea level on the only hill in Jacó one mile to the beach.  Totally remodeled to a Gringo house.Has great fenced yard for dogs and a huge screened porch with  great views all around, including a small ocean view.  New in the last two years includes: new kitchen with granite counter, cedar cabinets, all new windows, tile, water system, updated electric & plumbing, superb new AC units (low electric bill), This is half of a duplex with a platted yard.  Other side is the chief of police.  Secure & private.  $169.900. Call Glenn at 506-6214-0056 or

La Uruca condo
Situated three miles west of the capital, eight miles from the airport. Quiet, secluded area within walking distance to a commercial center including a hotel, six restaurants,  next to two 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, two bedrooms, maid's room, two bathrooms, four closets  (including walk-in), fully equipped kitchen (refrigerator, washing machine, small appliances, all necessary utensils, work tools).  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:  Mid-January to beginning of April. Contact:  USA :  585 544-4296. Costa Rica : 506 2231-0410

For sale 5,200 m2 Escazú
Fantastic location for condo, hotel, restaurant.
Large lower lot, incredible views. Flexible zoning.
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In Costa Rica 8307-0164

San Ramon
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!

Grecia casa
Mountain home for sale
in Grecia.
Less than a year old. Owners are motivated.  All information regarding the home as well as many photos can be found at Mountain view home for sale Grecia, Costa Rica.   Contact email:

puriscal photo
Costa Rica home for sale $163,500 / 2bedroom - 1,984 ft2

Central Valley view home: 10 minutes from Santiago de Puriscal and shopping, hospital services, and soon Maxi Pali. Only one hour to San José or Pacific beaches.
- On .55-acre lot with river on one boundary
- Area under roof, 1,984 sq. ft., Area inside walls, 925 sq. ft. Steel, recycled
      Styrofoam, and concrete construction.
- 2 ½ years old with central living room and kitchen, 2 bedrooms and 2 baths,
       ceramic tile throughout.
- Central Valley volcano and SJO airport views from every room.
- Vaulted ceilings give bright open feeling.
- Entrance from concrete road to large graveled parking area
- VERY energy efficient with VERY low property taxes.
- Covered attached carport with entrance to front door or laundry-guest bath
- 2 carport storage bodegas.
- 12 foot x 14 foot storage bodega
- Security lights, And Amcrest day & night video recorder system.
- Producing banana trees, and mango, bread fruit, and guanabana trees

Includes: Refrigerator, gas stove & oven with electric grill element, microwave, electric washer-gas dryer stacked style, gas on demand whole house water heater. Other furnishings are negotiable. ICE electric service and land line phone. Bajo Burgos Water district. Metro-wireless WiFi is available. Tigo Star Satellite T.V. House is in a Costa Rican corporation, will transfer shares. Contract or call 506 2416-9324.  Additional photos are available on Flickr album

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Live the dream!
Several profitable businesses, including a regional radio station, are for sale in Costa Rica. Certain purchases can provide the new owner with residency as well as a great lifestyle. So live your dream while making a profit. Contact:

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, April 5, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 66
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University of Queensland/Peter Mumby
The stoplight parrotfish (Sparisoma viride), one of the most important fish on coral reefs, yet also a highly sought-after fishery species.

Science-based fishing controls urged

By the University of Queensland news staff

New science-based fishery regulations are needed if coral reefs are to have a future in the face of climate change.

An international team, led by University of Queensland researchers, has found that tighter fishery regulations are needed to preserve corals of the Caribbean.

The study shows that Caribbean coral reefs are experiencing mounting pressure from global warming, local pollution and over-fishing of herbivorous fish.

Researcher Yves-Marie Bozec, from the university’s School of Biological Sciences and the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, said herbivorous parrotfish were needed because they eat seaweed, which can smother coral and prevent corals from recovering.

“While several countries in the Caribbean have taken the bold step of banning the fishing of parrotfish, parrotfish fisheries remain in much of the region,” Bozec said. The countries are Belize, Bonaire and the Turks and Caicos Islands).

The research team analyzed the effects of fishing on parrotfish and combined this with an analysis of the role of parrotfish on coral reefs.

“We conclude that unregulated fisheries will seriously reduce the resilience of coral reefs,” Bozec said.

“However, implementation of size limits and catch limits to less than 10 per cent of the fishable stock provide a far better outlook for reefs, while also allowing the fishery to persist.”

Study co-author Peter Mumby said a number of countries wanted to modify their fisheries to reduce impacts on reefs.

“What we’ve done is identify fisheries’ policies that might help achieve this,” Professor Mumby said.

The new study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, argues that science should be used to revise current fisheries practices for herbivorous fish in the Caribbean.

The authors have provided tools to help fisheries managers make such changes.

“Ultimately, the more we do to maintain healthy coral reefs, the more likely it is that fishers’ livelihoods will be sustained into the future,” Mumby said.

“We already know that failure to maintain coral habitats will lead to at least a threefold reduction in future fish catches.”
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From Page 7:

Small business to be on display April 22-24

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The country’s small and medium businesses will be on display at Expo PYME 2016  April 22 to 24 in the Antiguo Aduana in east San José.

Pymes means pequeñas y medianas empresas or small and medium enterprises. There is an official registration of such businesses with the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio, and registrants are entitled to special treatment as government vendors and special lending programs.

The ministry said that some 50 stands will be maintained by government agencies and financial institutions. There also are workshops for such topics as intellectual property rights, innovation and business strategy.

The ministry said that several marketing experts for other countries would attend to give presentations.

Also planned are encounters with individual firms and potential buyers set up by Promotora del Comercio Exterior Costa Rica. Some 150 buyers are expected, said the ministry.