A.M. Costa Rica
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Published Friday, April 8, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 69
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train crash
Cruz Roja photo
Leading cars of both trains are crumpled at the crash site.
Commuter trains collide head-on
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
Post at 1:30 p.m.

The Cruz Roja said that more than two hundred persons suffered injuries this morning when two trains in the valley line collided head-on in Pavas.

Other estimates said more were injured. Five were reported in critical condition at area hospitals.

The collision came during the start of morning rush hour about 6:27 a.m.
Guillermo Santana, president of the Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles, was at the scene and attributed the collision to human error.

The Cruz Roja said that some 15  rescue units were dispatched along with 60 aid workers.

Ambulatory patents were evaluated on blankets alongside the tracks.

The Cruz Roja said that 245 persons suffered some form of injury. Those who were uninjured continued their journey, manly to work site, on foot.

Día de Juan Santamaría
Three-day weekend features Alajuela parade Monday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

This is a three-day weekend with the bulk of the celebration centered in Alajuela Centro, the home of Juan Santamaría, the hero of the Batalla de Rivas 160 years ago.

Each year the municipality hosts a big parade to honor the hero and the Costa Rican victory in the battle against elements of the forces of filibusterer William Walker.

The parade Monday begins at Parque Juan Santamaría and the line of march ends at the Fuente de la Libertad.

Santamaría, a drummer boy, is credited with torching an enemy stronghold. He died in the process, but the battle turned the tide against Walker's imperial plans.

The weather is predicted to be windy but with little precipitation in the Central Valley, so expats should consider wearing a hat and using sunblock.

The Alajuela celebration already has started with a craft fair that will last the entire week.

The Museo Histórico Cultural Juan Santamaría in Alajuela plans to inaugurate “160 años de libertad” Monday at 10 a.m.

The exhibition consists of five art works relating to the country’s efforts against Walker, known as the Campaña Nacional de 1856-1857. The exhibition runs until July 3.

At 2 p.m. after the parade and speeches, the museum has a musical program planned.

More music will be in Parque Juan Santamaría with marimbas at 6:30 p.m. and dancing to the Lubín Barahona orchestra at 7 p.m.

Monday also is a legal holiday with obligatory pay for workers and double time for those who do work, according to the Ministerio de Trabajo.

That means many Central Valley residents will be headed to the beaches and mountains again today for perhaps the last long weekend before the arrival of the rainy season.
Juan Santamaria
Muncipalidad de Alajuela photo
The Alajuela statue of  Juan Santamaría

Despite the holiday many retail outlets will be open Monday.

There are two expositions not related to the holiday. Expoviajes begins at 1 p.m. today at the  Hotel Wyndham San José Herradura. The travel show runs through Sunday.

Expo Agua 2016 also is being held today at the Antigua Aduana on Calle 23. Participants will be marching down Avenida Central to the Aduana this morning in advance of the 10 a.m. official opening. This is put on by the Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados, the state water company.

Also at the Antigua Aduana this morning the  Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud will inaugurate the expositon "Yolanda Oreamuno, Centenario 1916-2016." That is at 8:30 a.m. She is one of the better known 20th century Costa Rican authors.

Saturday the big event is in Vásquez de Coronado where the Instituto Interamericano de Cooperación para la Agricultura is putting on its Feria Internacional de Comidas Típicas starting at 10 a.m. The organization promises typical Latin American foods from at least 16 different food stands.  The location is 600 meters northeast of the Ipís de Guadalupe intersection adjacent to the local Caja clinic. More information is HERE!

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, April 8, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 69
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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.


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Ministerio Público de Guatemala photo
Costa Rica Alejandro Jimenez González awaits his sentence in a Guatemalan court.

Long sentences in Facundo Cabral killing

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Killing Argentina music legend Facundo Cabral is comparable to shooting Santa Claus in Latin America. Cabral also was a celebrated songwriter, poet and even a philosopher.

So when he was gunned down in Guatemala July 9, 2011, after a concert and on his way to the airport, the Latin world was shocked. Investigation showed that his death was collateral damage to an ambush meant for Nicaraguan promoter Henry Fariñas, who was driving.  Fariñas survived.

Investigators concluded that the ambush was drug related and that the author of the crime was a Costa Rican, Alejandro Jimenez González, and the international manhunt began. The case culminated Thursday in a Guatemala City courtroom when Jiménez and four other men were sentenced to 30 years plus 20 years for crimes involving the murder.

Police captured Jiménez March 12, 2012, in Colombia’s Choco region near Panamá.

The man accumulated great wealth while living in Costa Rica. Investigators claim that he ran two drug gangs in partnership with Fariñas. He faces other charges in Guatemala and in Costa Rica he faces a money laundering allegation along with family members.

Our readers’ opinions
Reef is a complicated environment

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I doubt we could farm parrot fish. The reef is a complicated environment that would be impossible to replicate.  Existing fish farms are really problematic too: pollution, disease, sustainability, and unless fed other fish, aren't great for flavor or omega 3.

As wild fish disappear, get ready for a less fishy future, with fish served as a treat, or in small amounts to flavor other dishes. Considering
the price of fish now, that future seems to be here now.
Gordon Martin

Parrot fish farms are a bad idea

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

In response to Mr. Dumas' letter regarding parrot fish farming, and fish farming in general, please allow me to respond:

Open ocean fish farming is, and has been proven beyond doubt to be an environmentally and biologically dangerous and detrimental practice. As a fishing guide, yacht captain, and naturalist of over 55 years experience, and having observed net-restrained fisheries in Norwegian and other Atlantic as well as Pacific waters, I have seen the adverse environmental and species specific effects of restraining and concentrating populations of anadromous species such as the Atlantic and Pacific salmon and rainbow trout (steelhead) as well as pelagic species such as various jacks and tunas.

Demersal, or bottom-dwelling species such as the various parrot fish, are particularly vulnerable to extinction through fish farming for the following, as well as other reasons this format disallows for reasons of space:

Crowding allows sickness to be passed on to all members of the group. In a state of nature, weak members fall behind and are less likely to infect others. In addition, crowding fosters heightened aggressive behavior, especially in fish such as the parrot fish, which do not generally live in a school. Fish raised in a caged environment are usually sterile, highly aggressive, and prone to hosting disease bearing organisms. When these fish escape restraint and enter the wild population, they almost invariably seize food and habitat resources (in the case of the parrot fish, coral and spawning redds), displacing the native population and within the space of one generation, extinguishing native fish populations.

Habitat conservation  and preservation, fishing regulations such as slot limits and possession limits and seasons are far better choices than fish farming, especially in a notoriously ineptocratic country like Costa Rica. Let’s keep the wild in wildlife.
Harv Brinson
Papeete, Tahiti
French Polynesia

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, April 8, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 69
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Computer programmers invite to solve the problems of the oceans
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Fundación MarViva and the U.S. Embassy are sponsoring an unusual contest for Earth Day. Computer programmers will try to solve environmental problems involving fish while seated at their machines in the Centro Comercial Plaza Rohrmoser

The U.S. State Department has organized this event twice before, but this is the first year for Central America.  It is being called Fishackathon 2016.

The dates are April 23 and 24, a Saturday and Sunday. Earth Day is the previous Friday.

Lead University, which is located in the commercial center, is providing the facilities, and prizes for winners includes scholarships at the new university.

More information is HERE!

According to an embassy announcement interdisciplinary teams of from two to four persons will create technical solutions to resolve problems concerning fish, oceans and marine life.

Said the Web site:

“Fishackathon was established to congregate brilliant minds for the purpose of developing usable solutions to address the problem of worldwide overfishing. Overfishing harms the marine environment and diminishes the already meager income of small scale fishermen. Fishackathon brings together computer programmers to find innovative ways to collect and analyze data, and find solutions for unsustainable fishing practices.”

The efforts will be judged locally.

Costa Rica, of course, faces major problems with the oceans. Lawmakers are involved in a controversy as to whether shrimp trawling, which damages coral and bottom-swelling marine life, should be resumed. Some proponents cite the economic benefit.

MarViva opposes the practice.

Recent news articles also showed that overfishing of parrot fish inflicts damage on coral because the fish eat the seaweed that can smother the coral. Then there is the development pressure on nesting areas for sea turtles.

Government cites the success of Caldera port concessions
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The central government is praising the success of concessions that are operating the Caldera docks.

The government said Thursday that the wait time for grain ships has been reduced 87 percent from 2013 to 2015 and that overall productivity has increased 53.8 percent over the same period. The wait time for container ships has gone down 50 percent, said the government.

A big reason for the change has been the investment of some 6.5 billion colons, about $12.25 million.
The Sociedad Portuaria de Caldera, Sociedad Portuaria Granelera de Caldera and SAAM de Costa Rica are the concession holders who took over the public dock.

Unlike the workers at the docks in Limón and Moín, those employed at the Caldera docks accepted payments to terminate their government positions.

The operations are overseen by the Instituto Costarricense de Puertos del Pacífico.

Caribbean dock workers are aggressively opposing a new $1 billion container-handling facility that is a concession.

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You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, April 8, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 69
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Fluent bilingual speakers surprise researchers with effortless switches
By the Association for Psychological Science news staff

In everyday conversation, bilingual speakers often switch between languages mid-sentence with apparent ease, despite the fact that many studies suggest that language-switching should slow them down. New research suggests that consistency may allow bilingual speakers to avoid the costs that come with switching between languages, essentially allowing them to use two languages for the price of one.

The research is published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

“Our findings show that if bilinguals switch languages at the right times, they can do it without paying any cost,” says study author Daniel Kleinman of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “This goes against both popular belief and scientific wisdom that juggling two tasks should impair performance. But our results suggest that multi-tasking may be easier than it seems as long as people switch at the right times.”

Kleinman and co-author Tamar Gollan of the University of California, San Diego speculated that people may show different outcomes in the lab than they do in everyday conversations because lab studies typically require bilingual speakers to switch languages on command and at times when those switches are likely to be inefficient.

If bilingual speakers were allowed to choose a language for a particular object or concept and then stick with it, the researchers hypothesized, they might be able to switch between languages without slowing down.

In other words, consistently using English to say “dog” and Spanish to say “casa” over the course of a conversation that toggles between the two languages could eliminate the costs that typically come with language-switching.

Across two studies, a total of 171 bilingual university students completed a picture-naming task. The participants, who spoke English and Spanish fluently, were presented with a series of black-and-white drawings of objects organized in four separate blocks.

In one block, the participants were instructed to name each picture in whichever language was easier and to stick with that language every time that particular picture appeared. In another block, the participants were given a cue that told them which language to use in naming each picture. And in the 
Association for Psychological Science graphic

remaining two blocks, the participants were instructed to use only English or only Spanish to name the objects displayed.

The results showed that consistency is key: Participants didn’t slow down when switching languages between pictures as long as they consistently used the same language each time a particular picture appeared.

Switching languages between pictures noticeably slowed their response times, however, when they followed cues telling them which language to use to name each picture, or if they did not follow the instruction to be consistent about which language they used for each picture.

But additional findings suggest that bilingual speakers don’t necessarily use consistency as a strategy on their own. When participants were free to choose which language to use, language-switching led to slower response times because most speakers didn’t consistently associate each picture with a particular language.

These findings show that even experienced language-switchers have room for improvement.

“Although bilinguals have been switching between languages for their entire lives, the strategies they use to decide when to switch may vary depending on context,” Kleinman explains. “While speakers may sometimes adopt switching strategies that incur costs, these studies show that all bilinguals can be redirected quickly and easily to switch for free.”

Vacation, travel and hospitality

                        Garden 2016
Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
Drop in to see some of Costa Rica's finest art
at the largest gallery in Guanacaste.

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 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 
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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
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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.
Peter and Debbie Todd

                                              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,
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Barrio Amon
the building to see the apartments.   For more information contact:  or call Hilda at 2221-7161.

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Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, April 8, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 69
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Axiom 890 pixels

Obama again urges OK
for Supreme Court nominee

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Barack Obama returned to the school where he once taught to warn Republicans' unprecedented refusal to consider his Supreme Court nominee could erode the institutional integrity of the judicial branch and cause the American people to lose confidence in the court.
"If you start getting into a situation in which the process of appointing judges is so broken, so partisan that an eminently qualified jurist cannot even get a hearing, then we are going to see the kinds of sharp partisan polarization that have come to characterize our electoral politics seeping entirely into the judicial system," Obama said.

The president’s remarks Thursday came during a town hall with federal and state judges, students and faculty at University of Chicago’s law school, where he taught constitutional law for nearly a decade.
"It was really fun, and I missed it," he joked.

The American president used the opportunity to make the case on why the U.S. Senate should consider his nomination of Merrick Garland to the nine-member Supreme Court.
"Merrick Garland is an extraordinary jurist who is indisputably qualified to serve on the highest court of the land, and nobody really argues otherwise," Obama said.

The president nominated Chief Judge Garland in March to fill the vacancy on the nine-seat Supreme Court bench, following the sudden death in February of Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative stalwart on the country's highest court for nearly 30 years.

Leaders of the Republican-controlled Senate, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have adamantly said the congressional body will not hold any hearings or a confirmation vote on Garland's nomination.
"I'm sure he will repeatedly claim that his nominee is quote moderate end quote. Not that he means it. It's just a useful piece of spam that's been dutifully echoed across the expanse of the left and in the media for years," McConnell said on the Senate floor Thursday.

He and other top Republicans say the lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court should be left to the next president, the person who wins the November national election to replace Obama when he leaves office in January 2017.
Scalia was part of the five-member bloc of conservative justices who often held sway in key decisions over the court's four liberal justices.  As a result, his replacement, no matter who it is, could hold a key vote in court rulings for decades.

"They will say what they always say to get what they want today, a far-left Supreme Court for decades to come," McConnell said.

Some Republican senators have started to meet with Garland and called for hearings on his nomination, but Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Chuck Grassley, who controls that decision, on Thursday repeated his opposition to holding a hearing for the nominee.

Republicans are banking on the notion that they will win the presidency in November and come January will have a president who would make a conservative Supreme Court nomination more to their liking than Garland.

Conversely, some Republicans already are suggesting they could consider Garland's nomination after the election if a Democrat wins the presidency, on the theory that the likely Democratic presidential nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, could nominate someone more liberal than Garland.

Tennessee lawmakers seek
to make Bible official book

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Lawmakers in Tennessee are one step closer to making the Bible the southern state's official book, alongside the state's official fruit, a tomato, and its official wild animal, the raccoon. The move comes just weeks after the legislature's attempt to designate an official state gun, the high-powered rifle.

Official designations are usually a lighthearted, symbolic exercise meant to draw attention to unique aspects of a state, but the battle over the so-called Bible bill highlights the ongoing debate over the role of religion in government.

Republican lawmakers, who passed the legislation in the state Senate by a 19-8 vote Monday, said the bill was not a government endorsement of religion, but an effort to honor the Bible's historical and cultural contributions.

"We're recognizing that the only way that we can in the state of Tennessee," said the bill's sponsor, Sen. Steve Southerland, a Republican.

This is the second attempt by the Tennessee state legislature to designate the Bible as the official state book. Last year, legislative action on the bill was delayed and the state's attorney general found the bill violated the First Amendment's establishment that "no preference shall ever be given, by law, to any religious establishment or mode of worship."

Bishop Gene Robinson, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, said the legislature's argument about the cultural importance of the Bible ignored the direct violation of the First Amendment in the U.S. Constitution.

"We do have language about religious institutions and not favoring one over the others," he said. "This is an opportunity to teach the public about what our Constitution says and what it really means."

A 2014 Pew Research Center survey found 81 percent of adults in Tennessee identify as Christian compared to 70 percent of adults nationwide.

Robinson said this legislation is one of many bills coming up in state legislatures to address problems that don't actually exist, and that lawmakers could acknowledge the Judeo-Christian heritage of the United States by passing a resolution acknowledging the Bible's influence.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, said the bill wasn't very respectful because it places the Bible on the same level as trivial items like the state's official beverage, milk, and its official fish, the smallmouth bass.

Passage of the bill would mark the first time the Bible has been made an official state book.

Religious believers "feel that progressive social changes in the laws are threatening their way of life and they have a right to speak up," said Chad Pecknold, an associate professor at the Catholic University of America, who studies the intersections between religion and culture.

"But this is the wrong way to make that case," he said

Haslam has not said if he would veto the bill. It will automatically become law within 10 days of House and Senate speaker approval if he does not veto it.

virtual reality
Voice of America photo  
Bulky headsets are the current requirement.

Virtual reality may boost
movie theaters attendance

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

One day you may go to a movie theater where instead of watching a film on a screen, you enter the scene and watch the action unfold all around you. That is the promise of new technologies like virtual reality and 360-degree video. Online streaming sites like YouTube and Vimeo already offer short virtual reality films made by amateurs as well as professionals.

You can watch them with expensive headsets, but many people use their smart phones tucked into a cardboard viewer that can be purchased from Google for only $15. So far, most of the films are either computer animations or scenes featuring experiences like a roller coaster ride.

At South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, last month, people donned headsets to see part of a virtual reality comedic gangster film shot in Baltimore, Maryland. The producers of “Career Opportunities in Organized Crime” claim it is the first full-length feature film made in 360-degree virtual reality.

To cover for the crew being visible when a viewer turns around away from the main action, they made it a mockumentary, a fake documentary, in which the making of the film is part of the story.

YouVisit is a company that produces virtual-reality movies that allow people to travel to exotic places around the world without ever leaving home. Director of Marketing Suzanne Sanders says these films can be used to promote trips by giving people a sample of what it would be like or they can provide a virtual trip for those who are unable to physically travel.

She said, “It is an incredibly valuable tool for children or elderly or anyone who is not able to travel to a destination and experience it, whether it is a helicopter tour over Manhattan or a cruise, just to escape for a moment.”

The headsets used to take such escapes have been part of the computer gaming world for some time, but many people cannot use these devices without experiencing sea sickness or nausea.

An alternative is offered by companies using special screens to dazzle audiences seated comfortably in front of them. At SXSW, the Japanese NHK Media Technology Company demonstrated an 8K resolution 3-D film utilizing 24 speakers set up all around the room. Images jumped out of the screen in sharp detail as music enveloped the audience. But company spokesmen said such an apparatus costs half a million dollars to set up, making it unrealistic for all but specialty theaters.

Just down the hall from that demonstration was a much more accessible immersive experience provided by the company based in Salt Lake City, Utah. They had a dome set up at an angle to the floor with a film projected inside. Viewers lay back in comfortable seats inside the dome to watch the images float in front of them with a 180-degree view.

The company’s chief technology officer, Nitai Flick, said this offers a number of advantages over headsets.

“We can display content in a similar format, where we can fill your field of view even more than a headset,” he said. “We can also do 3-D, however, it is more of a guided experience than an interactive experience, so it works well for story telling.”

That, of course, could make it more interesting to filmmakers since it would allow them to direct audience attention with minimal distractions elsewhere on the screen. Flick says a number of production companies are already making content for the dome screens.

“We see this as sort of the theater of the future,” he said, “the way of displaying content in a more capturing, immersive way.”

No one knows how these technologies will change the movie business in the future, and theater owners will be reluctant to invest a lot of money in devices that may turn out to be a short-term fad.

But the movie business is also facing competition from home theater systems, online streaming films and widespread piracy of their own products. If theaters can offer an amazing experience that is hard to duplicate at home, the future of the business could be much brighter.

FBI chief says hacking
won’t work on all iPhones

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Secret methods employed to unlock an Apple iPhone used by a killer in last year's terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, will work on only a narrow slice of phones, FBI Director James Comey said.

Comey said Wednesday night that the tool the FBI used to unlock the phone, provided by an unnamed third party, would not work on newer iPhone models, such as the 5s, 6 or 6s.

The FBI ended a high-profile legal battle with Apple after it acquired the technology and accessed the phone in question, but that left the larger legal issue of general iPhone encryption and privacy unresolved.

The FBI already faces the prospect of again asking for Apple’s help in cracking an iPhone connected to a case. The Justice Department has asked a New York court to force Apple to unlock an iPhone 5s involved in a drug investigation.

Prosecutors in that case will let the court know April 11 whether it will ask for Apple’s help, but in doing so the government could give the company the opportunity to force the FBI to reveal its secret technology by claiming legal discovery, a source familiar with the situation said.

If the FBI tells Apple about the encryption flaw that was exploited to gain access to the phone, “then they’re going to fix it and we’re back where we started from,” Comey told an audience at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio.

The iPhone in question belonged to Syed Farook who, along with his wife, killed 14 people in San Bernardino in December.

Cheaper diabetes test seen
improving correct diagnosis

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

In general, people around the world are eating better and living longer, but they are also moving less. This is contributing to the rise of diabetes, a condition that affects 422 million people and is fast becoming a major problem, especially in poor countries.

Two factors are critical for the successful treatment of diabetes patients. First is a correct diagnosis of the type of the disease, and second is the administration of the appropriate drugs.

A misdiagnosis and, consequently, the wrong treatment can cause many problems.

“If you label someone who actually has type 2 diabetes as type 1, they'll be left on insulin for the rest of their life when they don't need it," said Richard Oram of the U.K. National Institute for Health Research. "Even worse, if someone with type 1 diabetes is mislabeled as having type 2 diabetes, then they may not be treated with the insulin they need, and they may suffer life-threatening complications.”

A new, less expensive test, developed at the University of Exeter Medical School, measures 30 genetic variants in the patient’s DNA and calculates the risk for type 1 or type 2. Individual diagnoses can be completed with a commonly used test for antibodies.

Scientists are now trying to develop an even simpler DNA-based test that could be done with a smartphone app.

In the meantime, researchers in South Korea are developing a nanotechnology-based adhesive strip that takes away pain and stress of daily injections for diabetes patients.

The device is a patch type that enables diabetics to monitor blood sugar levels via sweat without taking blood samples and injections, as well as to control glucose levels by injecting medication, said Kim Dae-hyeong, a professor in the School of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Seoul National University.

The patch is studded with microneedles that painlessly enter subcutaneous tissue. When the connected chip senses that the level of glucose has risen above normal, a small heating element dissolves medication and releases it into the bloodstream.

Tests done on lab mice were promising, so scientists hope they will soon start testing the patch on humans. In this phase, experiments are still expensive, but scientists say the price will drop once the patch is ready for mass production.

Despite international treaty
cigarette smoking increasing

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The number of adult cigarette smokers worldwide is increasing, particularly in poor countries, despite the adoption of a global treaty on tobacco control. However, one of the framers of that tobacco convention says reductions in smoking and deaths caused by tobacco use are achievable.

An estimated 740 million adults worldwide use tobacco daily. Since 1980, there has been a 41 percent rise in the number of men who smoke regularly and a 7 percent increase among women

In 2005, the World Health Organization adopted the Framework on Tobacco Control, an international treaty calling on countries to take measures to discourage tobacco use.

Some 180 countries are signatories, and where there are strong anti-smoking laws, evidence shows tobacco use goes down, according to Laurent Huber, the executive director of Action on Smoking and Health. Huber led non-governmental organizations in helping to put together the framework.

France is an example of the impact of anti-tobacco measures. Huber points to the country’s adoption of a stiff tax on cigarettes.

He says the tax slashed cigarette smoking nearly in half. But consumption went up again by 7 percent between 2014 and 2015 when the country failed to adjust the tax to keep pace with inflation. 

“It’s not as people sometimes ask, is this about banning or making the product illegal? That’s not what it’s about ,” Huber said. "It’s about regulating the product so we can avoid the large public health impact it has and decrease prevalence of smoking to very low levels.”

Tobacco kills 6 million people a year, says Huber, and 1 billion people are projected to die by the end of the century.

The tobacco convention has set a goal of reducing cigarette smoking by 30 percent from 2010 levels by the year 2025.

Other anti-smoking actions that have met with success include banning cigarette use in public places and graphic images printed on cigarette packs.

Huber says the pictures, showing the health effects of cigarette smoking, are most effective in impoverished areas.

“They are better understood and there’s more impact in jurisdictions where you have also an illiterate population,” Huber said.

Real estate-related services (paid category)

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or 506-8314-8090


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

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The experts in buying property in Costa Rica, with more than 20 years experience and the largest networked team of agents in the country.  We can help you learn if investing in Costa Rica is right for you with our low-key, educational approach to sales. Our professional agents can tell you more about sCosta Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and commercial real estate.  Call us: Ocean Surf and Sun Int. Realty Ldta at 011 (506) 2653-0073 or send us an email at:

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Sierra Collection. Meridian House or Chateau Montage.
Near Parque Nacional Marino Ballena,
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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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Ellan At Ballena Beach.  Welcome to a world of endless adventure on our beachside condominiums at Ballena Beach, Pacific Coast.  For more information click  HERE!
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Rich Coast
Costa Rica Real Estate
    2.47 acre ocean view property w/ 2 houses & 2 unfinished apartments $249k!!!
    2 houses and pool furnished, great rental potential walk to the beach $327k w/ owner financing
    2-bedroom furnished condo 400 feet from Jacó beach $179,000

and lots of other great properties! Property listings in Escazú, Herradura, Jacó, Manuel Antonio, Dominical and beyond. We offer efficient, personalized service always protecting our client’s interests. Contact us today with your questions about buying property in Costa Rica. With 11 years experience in Costa Rica real estate.

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Real estate for sale (paid category)

Dorn Home
Beverly Hills Style House for Sale on Pacific Coast, Guanacaste

Lot of 2,866.33 square meters with three terraces, inside luxury house  property with 326 square meters construction. Two-story house with front porch, entry lobby, living room, dinning room, large kitchen, breakfast room, large cupboard, 3 1⁄2 bathrooms, 3 large bedrooms, the main bedroom includes jacuzzi and balcony. Playground, office, laundry area, garage for two cars, own and municipal potable water supply, electricity service, cable TV system, A/C. Located 700 meters from Las Colinas Golf Course, near the airport, Tamarindo Beach and the best beaches of the country. Excellent construction and great details. Price $349,000.   We have another extra large lot (next to the main property)  priced at $75,000.  For more information, please contact us: Emails:   or    Call Lia or Stanley phones:  (506) 2653-6417 /   (506) 7079-6577.

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..

For health situation, the owner make a INCREDIBLE DISCOUNT!!!!

ORIGINAL PRICE: $1.800.000    OFFER PRICE: $1.200.000
 For more information click HERE!
To see more photos click HERE!  To see house video click HERE!

English language contact:
Christian Arce
Phone: (506) 2494-0016
Cell phone: (506) 8309-0173

Spanish language contact:
Luis Gustavo Jiménez
Phone: (506) 2494-0016
Cell phone: (506) 8707-4016

A beautiful American style suburban home just reduced.

A beautiful American style suburban home, 2,700 sq. ft. of living space with 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, front and rear living rooms, laundry area, kitchen and small attached library nook, arched windows and doors and connected hallways, exotic wood interior ceilings and trim, tile floors thru-out. The lot is 835 m2 with mature landscape and orchid nurseries surrounding the house. There is an enclosed workshop and BBQ area in the backyard with lots of storage under roof, plus a nursery for an herb/vegetable garden. This is a very well-kept property with many upgrades, a private feel but yet only 5 minutes from the center of town. Pérez Zeledón is the commercial hub of the southern zone and considered to be one of the best places to live in all of Costa Rica, the perfect size town, not too big and not too small. The beach is 45 minutes to the west and a short drive to the cool mountains is to the east. In between, this large valley has a moderate climate. Pérez has plenty of modern goods and services, an excellent farmers market, private schools, private doctors and clinics, all you need without having to go to the crazy madness of San José. Just reduced to $199,000. Call Jeff: 8725-8176. Email:


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.
Easy to get liquor license. Low interest financing.
Toll free US phone 877-778-8515
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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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, Friday, April 8, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 69
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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
Aircraft in crash linked to drugs

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Law enforcement officers suspect that a single-engine plane that crashed and burst into flames Thursday afternoon in the hills above Playa Garza on the Pacific coast was involved with drug trafficking.

Two persons died in the crash, which was unusual because of the fire and thick black smoke produced. Police reported that the aircraft had taken off from an unofficial air stripe nearby. The location is between Nosara And S

The crash was not easily explained because there was plenty of open land for an emergency landing. One suggestion is that the plane was overloaded and became a victim of a stall which would have caused the plunge unless the pilot could compensate. A stall in an aircraft means that the wings lose the ability to maintain the craft in flight.

The victims have not yet been identified. Police said that the ownership of the aircraft could not be done immediately.

Panamá creating commission on leaks

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela says the Panamanian government will create an independent commission to review the country's financial practices in the wake of the Panamá Papers scandal.

Varela said in a brief televised statement Wednesday that the commission will contain domestic and international experts to evaluate the country's current practices and propose measures to strengthen transparency of financial and legal systems. Varela said Panamá will share those recommendations with other countries so joint action can be taken to boost the overall transparency of the economic sector.

Meanwhile, France has added Panamá to its grey list of world tax havens and is pushing for the international Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to do the same.

Angel Gurria said the Panamá Papers leak has shown the country's economic sector tolerates a culture of secrecy and called it the last major jurisdiction allowing clients to hide money from legal authorities. He is secretary general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The Panamanian law firm implicated in the scandal, Mossack Fonseca, says the 11.5 million documents leaked from its offices this week about the offshore bank accounts of the world's powerful, rich and famous were stolen by hackers, not divulged by an insider.

Ramon Fonseca, one of the founders of the Mossack Fonseca firm, said that the hacking was carried out from overseas, but did not say what country.

Fonseca said his firm, which has set up about 250,000 offshore companies over the last four decades, has lodged a complaint about the leak of the documents with Panamanian prosecutors.

The disclosures about the creation of the offshore accounts have forced several world leaders to defend their investments and say whether they have paid taxes on their profits. Creation of the offshore companies is not illegal, but the accounts have often been used to hide wealth and dodge taxes.

Iceland Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson became the first casualty of the leaks, stepping down after the documents showed that his wife, Anna Sigurlaug Palsdottir, owns a company in the British Virgin Islands that has $4 million in claims against Iceland's collapsed banks, debts that he is helping the government settle.

But after Tuesday's announcement, Gunnlaugsson backtracked and said he is merely stepping aside for an unspecified amount of time. His deputy is expected to take over his duties, leaving the Iceland's political future unclear.

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From Page 6:

Credit card debt in U.S. nears $1 trillion

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Credit card debt in the United States is approaching $1 trillion, according to a study by, a company that tracks consumer financial issues.

If that figure isn't stark enough by itself, consider these, also from last month's Card-Hub study:

-In 2015 alone, credit card debt rose $71 billion; $52 billion came in the fourth quarter, mostly attributed to holiday shopping.

-That fourth quarter equaled credit card debt during the entire years of 2009, 2010 and 2011 combined.

-The average credit card debt is up to $5,700 per household. The average for balance-carrying, month-to-month households, is close to $16,000.

The United States is the world leader in credit card debt, according to statistics from the Census Bureau and the Federal Reserve Board. And not just by a little. U.S. credit card debt is more than double that of the United Kingdom. It almost equals credit card debt of the next six countries combined: France, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Russia and China.

One of the reasons the U.S. is world leader is the increasing use of credit cards by Americans, a practice they do not always share with other people in the world.

“Most people in Asia pay cash. So they don’t usually use credit cards, per se,” an economics professor, Anand Marri, said. ”My experience in India, for example, most people don’t use credit cards. They use cash."

Marri, who teaches at the Teachers College at New York’s Columbia University, added that in other Asian countries the only way people get mortgages for their homes is with cash.

There has been a recent move by banks to introduce more credit cards to the Indian population. A MasterCard representative, in a recent interview said its business plan includes marketing its cards to emerging economies, moving those economies from cash to credit.

Banks also are heavily marketing the cards to U.S. customers.

“Banks are pushing credit card payments more and more with things like attractive rewards and bonuses," Robert Harrow, credit card analyst for ValuePenguin, a financial research company, said. "For every new customer that signs up and only uses the card for rewards, there are some who bite off more than they can chew and end up in debt.”

The debt is worrisome to some experts.

“It is something we need to keep an eye on if borrowing continues to grow rapidly,” Moody’s Analytics’ Scott Hoyt underscored in a report on credit card debt.

“The implications of rising credit card debt would be similar to what happened in the recession, when consumers became overly leveraged,” Hoyt added.

Card-Hub reports evidence is mounting that credit card users are reverting to pre-2008 bad habits.

While U.S. consumers were riding a wave of prosperity in the years before 2008, however, now they may be using credit cards just to keep up with expenses.

“My understanding,” Harrow said, “is that the cost of living in many big urban centers is outpacing the median salary. This is sure to cause many people to supplement their income with a credit card, thus driving credit card debt.”

Marri thinks personal crises may be driving credit card users to max out.

“A credit card user that’s maxed-out is probably someone that has middle income, that probably had some type of crisis that they’ve had to put on a credit card," he said. "I think it’s someone that may have been out of a job for a while, may have a financial crisis.”

Marri told about some recent research at Columbia that convinced him employment is a key to credit card debt.

“I give Americans a lot of credit. They are very smart citizens and I don’t think they would purposefully take on debt for the sake of debt," he said. "They know there is no such thing as a free lunch.”

There is evidence that consumers are aware of the dangers of credit card debt. The delinquency rate on credit card re-payment, at 2.17 percent, is close to the lowest it has ever been since data collection began in 1991.

In one published report, Steve Blitz, chief economist at ITG Investment Research, wrote that the increase is “just a signal that there’s more people working and consumers are not necessarily taking on more debt.”

Blitz added, “The willingness of an individual to increase their leverage is the ultimate vote of confidence in the economy.”