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Published Friday, April 29, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 84
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Fire fighters were able to save the front facade of The Black Star Line, but the interior is a complete loss.
Black Star
Centro de Investigación y Conservación del Patrimonio Cultural

Government vows to rebuild Limón's Black Star Line
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
(Updated Friday evening)

Costa Rican officials already are promising to rebuild The Black Star Line, the iconic, 94-year-old community center in Limón Centro that fire destroyed Friday.

A Costa Rican official equated The Black Star Line with the Teatro Nacional, the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles and the Ruinas de Cartago.

The two-story frame structure was the headquarters of the Universal Negro Improvement Association created and directed by Marcus Garvey. The name came from the steamship company Garvey created in 1919.

The alarm came in at 5:15 a.m., and when fire fighters arrived minutes later, flames were shooting several hundred feet into the air. The blaze started in the northern part of the building and slowly worked its way to the best-known part on a corner.

Fire fighters blamed an electrical problem and said investigators found damaged cables in two places. A chocolate store, a restaurant and a dance studio were in the structure and suffered the same fate.

The building had been flagged by the  Ministerio de Salud for its electrical system that lacked a ground and because the building did not have fire detectors and alarms.

The structure gained the title of  patrimonio histórico arquitectónico in 2000, and the  Centro de Patrimonio and the building manager, the Universal Negro Improvement Association, were working on a remodeling plan, said the Centro.

President Luis Guillermo Solís on a recent visit to Limón spoke of the need to fix up the structure.

He said Friday that the country needs to rebuild the Black Star Line identical to the way it was. He also praised Liberty Hall, the second floor meeting and activities area of the building.

Sylvie Durán, the minister of Cultura y Juventud, called the damage an irreparable loss
that should be felt by the entire national community.

William Monge, director of the ministry’s Centro de Investigación y Conservación del Patrimonio Cultural, left for the Caribbean coast when he heard of the fire. He brought a team with him.

The Centro said that the first job would be to salvage what was possible from the ashes for future use. Items included historic door locks and other valuable and historic pieces.

He was quoted as saying Centro experts would evaluate the structure to see if more damage could be avoided. Some first-floor walls are standing, but most of the structure has been gutted. Fire fighters said they managed to save 385 square meters of the 1,525-square meter building. That’s 4,144 of 16,415 square feet.

It was William Monge who equated the structure to the other three Costa Rican historic sites.

It would be hard to overestimate the significance of the building to residents of Limón.

The queen of the Carnavales de Limón has been crowned there since 1949. There were thousands of civic and private events in the Salón Libertad or Liberty Hall.

Garvey, a Jamaican, was in the forefront of the back-to-Africa movement and set up the steamship company partly for that purpose.

The company suffered from poor management and only lasted three years. The offices in Costa Rica were in the Limón building.

Garvey also was a passionate crusader for black rights, education and economic well-being.

The New Orleans style structure with a wrap-around second-floor balcony stood on pilings, which is typical of Caribbean buildings to prevent the entrance of water and small animals and insects.

The building suffered heavy damage in the 1991 earthquake, and had been restored.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, April 29, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 84
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U.S. expats can get embassy benefit letter by email
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There is good news for expats who might have to prove their income to acquire residency or even a mortgage.

The Federal Benefit Unit at the U.S. Embassy said it has simplified the process for verifying Social Security and other government benefits for Costa Rican immigration purposes.

The government will accept email requests and make a follow-up telephone call to confirm the requestor’s identity.

The embassy said that the document commonly is called a proof of income letter,  a budget letter, a benefits letter or a proof of award letter.

The letter is an official report on money an expat might be getting from the U.S. Social Security Administration, the Veterans Administration, the Railroad Retirement Board
or the Office of Personnel Management/Civil Service Retirement.
Until now, a personal embassy visit was required.

The email document is being accepted by the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjeria, according to Javier Zavaleta of Residency in Costa Rica, who gave the first notice of the new procedure.

The embassy said that an expat had to follow these steps:

1.Request a benefit verification letter–free of charge–by filling out a form using this link:

2.Within five working days, a representative from the Federal Benefit Unit will contact you to verify your identity and get your permission to email the letter verifying the benefit amount.
3. Requestors should print the letter and provide it to the Costa Rican immigration office. This letter does not require an apostille (or notarization).

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Lottery agency sweetens the Sunday pot

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Sunday is the Día del Trabajo and the state lottery agency is giving Costa Ricans and residents a chance to become capitalists.

The top prize in the Sunday lottery is 200 million colons, some $377,000.

Of course this is a marketing ploy for people to participate in what has been called the voluntary tax on stupidity.

The agency, the Junta de Protección Social distributes a large quantity of the money collected to 400 charities and non-profit organizations. So the return on a lottery investment is only a percentage of the amount paid.

But the Junta plans two identical issues of 100,000 full tickets each. A full entero of 10 tickets costs 12,000 colons, 4,000 colons more than the usual Sunday lottery. But a 1,200-colon investment in just one-tenth of a lottery ticket or what is called a fraction would mean a 20 million-colon prize if the ticket is a winner.  That’s about $38,000, which is tax-free in Costa Rica.

Expats who win should see their accountant or perhaps the Panamà law firm of Mossack Fonseca & Co.

Those with gripes will be marching

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Sunday is International Labor Day, and a parade to vent grievances is traditional in Costa Rica. The event usually is highly photogenic with motivated communists mixing with environmentalists, expat women dressed as Palestinians and youngsters in traditional costumes.

Certain to be there will be the members of the Asociación Nacional de Empleados Públicos y Privados. Members of the employee union plan to gather in front of the Correos de Costa Rica building at 8 a.m. to organize for their march down Avenida Segunda.

The theme this year is that workers are not responsible for the fiscal deficit and do not want higher taxes. The union’s main concern is that their salaries will be cut or other benefits lost. The central government had hoped to renegotiate some agreements with public employee unions, but that plan is moving at the pace of a snail.

Many of the worker agreements have major benefits, including those for local union leaders. For example, union leaders at the state petroleum monopoly, the Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo, receive vehicles for their use each year.

This year animal rights activists are sure to march, too. That are miffed that the legislature adjourned without passing a law to protect animals. Some lawmakers are trying to defend what they call cultural practices. These include the bull baiting that takes place at major fairs and also cock fights.

The march usually ends at the legislature where lawmakers Sunday will be voting on leadership positions for the next year.

Everyone with a gripe can show up for the march, although recent weather suggests that there might be unusual morning thunderstorms.

Walker's surrender to be remembered

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica celebrates the Battle of Rivas, Nicaragua, every April 11 with a legal holiday. That took place in 1856. But a bit more than a year later, there was another event to be marked.

That was the surrender of U.S. filibusterer William Walker. He surrendered to the captain of a U.S. Navy ship when his forces were surrounded by the combined armies of Central American states.

The anti-Walker forces were commanded by Costa Rican José Joaquín Mora Porras.

The Museo Histórico Cultural Juan Santamaría will mark the surrender today. At 10 a.m. the museum will show “William Walker, una historia verdadera,” a 1987 U.S. film that links the events in 1857 with the wars that swept Central American in the 1980s.

The Alajuela museum also has a display that includes newspaper clippings about Walker’s surrender.

The U.S. Filibusterer was not one to give up easily. The museum noted that he tried three more times to return to Central America. His last effort in 1860 ended with his execution in Trujillo, Honduras.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, April 29, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 84
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Sluggish Guanacaste development blamed on water woes, bureaucracy
By Rommel Téllez
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Once a paradise for real estate development, Guanacaste has not yet recovered from the 2008 international financial crisis.  Nowadays, it accounts for just a humble percentage of the total
Jorge González
construction carried out in the country, and the lack of access to water just worsens the circumstances.

According to data from Cámara Costarricense de la Construcción, the northern province is listed as the second lowest in construction in 2015. Only Limón surpasses its stagnation.

Figures are self explanatory. Last year, 6.9 million squared meters were built all across the country.

San José leads the percentages (33.8)
followed by Alajuela (23.5), Heredia (13.5) and Cartago (8.8). Puntarenas accounted for 7.6 percent, Guanacaste 7.2 and Limón, with only 5.2,  according to the Cámara de la Construcción.

According to Jorge Arturo González, president of  the chamber, just 10 years ago Guanacaste accounted for 40 percent.

He explained that Guanacaste construction business plummeted right after 2008, as a consequence of the housing crisis in the U.S.

However, the reason the building industry has not gotten back on its feet is the lack of water resources.

“That's what restrains Guanacaste from further development. We also need new roads to boost the economy in that part of the country, but the main issue is access to water.” he said.

“It does not mean there isn´t enough. What we are lacking is the proper infrastructure to dig new wells and pipes. Some have built their own aqueducts to bring liquid from small wells, while others have invested in desalination plants. However that doesn´t suffice.” he added.

Gonzalez recalled that one of the main questions asked when new permits are requested before the authorities is how many liters per second the project is going to need.

Bureaucracy also takes its toll. Gonzalez said that it may take up to 600 days to obtain the required permissions.

“To me Guanacaste is a rough diamond. It has so much diversity and beauty. Probably Santa Cruz and Golfo de Papagayo are not as hurt by the lack of water, but I'd say the whole province is homogenously damaged,” he said.

Gonzalez said he also perceives a lack of leadership and obstructionism from environmental activists.

“I think we need to change the local culture. People need to understand that these investments will help improve the quality of life in the long term.The province deserves much more.” he added.

Heritage officials are looking for some tales and legends of Quepos
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Quepos natives and those who have lived there for at least 10 years are being offered a chance to become a published writer and win money.

The culture ministry’s Centro de Patrimonio has announced a contest to collect the legends, traditions and interesting stories of the central Pacific coast area.

Submissions in both written and digital form will be accepted from July 18 to 28 in Quepos.

The Centro de Investigación y Conservación del Patrimonio Cultural of the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud said it would print 1,000 copies of the submissions.

The center has conducted similar contests on other themes in other communities with the goal of preserving the traditions.

The center also sponsors cooking contests for the same reason.

Nine winners in three categories will share 6 million colons, about $11,300. There is an open category and one for stories and legends and another for anecdotes and histories.

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, April 29, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 84
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Time shortened for expunging many criminal records
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Typically an employer will ask job applicants to present what is called a hoja de delincuencia to show they have not been convicted of crimes.

Many do not realize that individuals can remove mention of a conviction from their record after 10 years. Now the legislature has reduced that period for many crimes.

Lawmakers worked into the night Thursday to approve bill No.  18.650 that makes a distinction between major and lesser crimes.

Those who have been convicted of murder, sex crimes involving minors, terrorism or being a member of a criminal organization still have to wait 10 years after leaving prison to wipe their record clean.

But due to the action Thursday night, some can immediately seek changes in their record after leaving prison if they have been sentenced to three years or less.  Those completing a sentence of from three to five years have to
wait for a year.
Someone who served a sentence of from five to 10 years would have to wait for three years before seeking to clean the record.

Someone who served a sentence of 10 years or more would have to wait five years to change the record, according to the bill.

Conviction information is kept by the Registro y Archivos Judiciales, and this is the agency that would have to eliminate the notation of the conviction. Private credit reporting agencies and newspaper archives still would list convicted individuals.

Lawmakers took this action because many thought that those convicted for a lesser felony should not face same time limit as those convicted for a major crime.

They also sought ways so that former convicts could obtain training and enter certain professions without the stain of their past actions on their record. Only those who have not been convicted of a second crime are eligible, according to the bill.

The hundreds of convicts who are being released to ease prison overcrowding would be able to take advantage of the new law.

Living with a view of the water found to be associated with less stress
By the Michigan State University news staff

There’s another reason to start saving for that beach house: New research suggests that residents with a view of the water are less stressed.

The study, co-authored by Michigan State University’s Amber L. Pearson, is the first to find a link between health and the visibility of water, which the researchers call blue space.

“Increased views of blue space is significantly associated with lower levels of psychological distress,” said Ms. Pearson, assistant professor of health. “However, we did not find that with green space.”

Using various topography data, the researchers studied the visibility of blue and green spaces from residential locations in Wellington, New Zealand, an urban capital city surrounded by the Tasman Sea on the north and the Pacific Ocean on the south. Green space includes forests and grassy parks.

To gauge psychological distress, the researchers analyzed data

from the New Zealand Health Survey. The national survey used a distress scale which has proven to be an accurate predictor of anxiety and mood disorders. Mental health disorders are the leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

Even after taking into account residents’ wealth, age, sex and other neighborhood factors, the study found that having a view of the ocean was associated with improved mental health.

Pearson said that visibility of green space did not show the same calming effect. That could be because the study did not distinguish between types of green space.

“It could be because the blue space was all natural, while the green space included human-made areas, such as sports fields and playgrounds, as well as natural areas such as native forests,” Ms. Pearson said. “Perhaps if we only looked at native forests we might find something different.”

The study appears in the May issue of the academic journal Health & Place.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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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!

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Learn how others “talk the talk” and learn who really can “walk the walk”

Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
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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,
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  
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, April 29, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 84
Real Estate
About us

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Local talk radio is tapping
anger and voter frustration

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

It’s a quiet Sunday morning in the small city of Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Inside a sound booth in a storefront radio station, "The Marc Scaringi Show" is taking calls from Trump supporters, who are reporting that the Republican front-runner had far more supporters at his latest rally than the mainstream media reported.

“Why do you think the press is constantly distorting the numbers like that?” asks one female caller.

Scaringi leans in to the mic. “They’re probably trying to downplay the overwhelming popular support Donald Trump has,” he says.

Scaringi worked on Capitol Hill for years and ran for a U.S. Senate seat as a tea party candidate in 2012. Now the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, lawyer hosts a weekly talk show that, in the words of his show opening, aims to celebrate constitutional conservatism.

Across the country, hundreds of local conservative talk radio hosts like Scaringi are tapping into the electorate’s outsider sentiment this election season, contributing to the unexpected fall of former establishment presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio and the rise of Republican front-runner Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

Scaringi says the radio show has been a learning experience since the station approached him and suggested that he host a show last October. He admits he cuts across the grain of the modern Republican Party on many issues. His change from tea party candidate to Trump supporter makes more sense when you consider the businessman’s “America First” approach to trade, immigration and foreign policy.

Scaringi has adopted a similar approach: “I will try to turn it back to the Constitution, and I will try to answer those debates and dilemmas by how our Founding Fathers considered and deliberated and decided those issues."

Scaringi says the callers on his show can’t stop talking about Trump and the way he speaks about the issues that matter the most to them, immigration, terrorism and trade.

Trump and Cruz are “both the spawns of talk radio,” Brian Rosenwald says of the two remaining leading candidates in the Republican presidential field. Rosenwald is a fellow at the University of Pennsylvania and is writing a book about the impact of conservative talk radio.

Rosenwald says Cruz is the ideological child of talk radio, an uncompromising conservative whom hosts have been pleading for for decades, while Trump mimics the style of talk radio with his unvarnished, unfiltered, almost hyperbolic style full of insults and wisecracks.

Longtime talk show host Rush Limbaugh is still the leader in the field, with an average of 14 million to 16 million listeners a week, followed by other enormously popular hosts like Glenn Beck and Laura Ingraham, who can pull in millions of listeners in a week. But the larger impact, Rosenwald says, is in smaller markets like Carlisle, where “the local hosts could have a much larger audience in terms of politically engaged folks.”

Successful hosts build relationships with their listeners, treating them as friends and conversational partners in a way a news anchor or newspaper reporter simply can’t.

“One of the appeals of the medium is that the talk radio host can say what the average Joes are thinking but feel they can’t say,” says Rosenwald, “because they’re going to be branded as a bigot or scorned in some way.”

Days after the Trump rally debate on Scaringi's show, Mark Zimmerman sits at a coffee shop a block away from the state Capitol, reflecting on the crowd that gathered for Trump and the way the 2016 election has become an inflection point for changes in technology, media and politics.

A self-described Trump supporter who attended the rally, Zimmerman says he listens to the Scaringi show because it reveals the institutional interests behind the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates.

“Marc’s onto that. He keeps hammering away at that,” says Zimmerman. He says the political process in Washington has moved too far away from the average person and the more it’s suppressed, the more volatile it will become.

Zimmerman says talk radio programs provide an outlet by approaching issues with a logical analysis. 

Scaringi “does have an open mind, and he is listening to what people are saying,” he says. “He has callers on his shows and they’re angry. I witnessed that for the first time at the Trump rally. These people are angry. They don’t feel like their voices are being heard.”

Zimmerman listens to nationwide political talk shows and reads The Economist, but he says local talk radio allows listeners to decide how they perceive issues. “There’s a very different conversation happening here locally. I think you’re hearing it on shows like Marc’s.”

And talk radio's finest hour could still be ahead.

“If the establishment tries to pick a nominee who is not Ted Cruz or Donald Trump in July in Cleveland,” says Rosenwald, “talk radio is absolutely going to explode.”

Mainland’s slow economy
hurts Hong Kong retailers

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A slump in Chinese tourists is hitting retail stores hard in Hong Kong where shopping malls have become reliant on the influx of wealthy travelers from the mainland since travel restrictions were lifted in 2003, allowing mainland tourists to travel independently to the former British colony.

Mainland Chinese account for up to three-quarters of visitors to Hong Kong, but that number is falling, and shopping centers are struggling to shift gears and maintain sales.

Sebastian Skiff, executive director of retail development and asset management for Asia at Colliers International Group, said, “When you see such a sharp downturn, it is relatively harder for a shopping center to react as quickly, as a lot of spaces are tied up with very long leases. So it’s like moving a very, very large boat in the ocean.”

Hong Kong is experiencing its biggest retail slump since 2003. The government and industry groups have said the purchases of jewelry, watches, clocks and other high end items have already fallen nearly 25 percent this year.

China’s slowing economy means tourists are buying less when they come to Hong Kong, and many are choosing to travel elsewhere as visa restrictions for Chinese ease in other countries. The Chinese government’s crackdown on corruption is also denting sales of luxury brands.

“It impacts the whole retail market, because most of the people stay away from gift-giving practice, because it’s just politically wrong,” said Helen Mak, senior director of retail services for Hong Kong at Knight Frank, LLP.

Some Hong Kong shopping malls expect the decline in tourism and its resultant slump in retail sales to reduce rental income from large retailers as much as 40 percent over the next five years. To compensate for the loss, shopping centers may replace high-end stores that occupy many square meters of space with smaller food kiosks.

Swire Properties plans to increase the number of food and beverage outlets in its malls by 50 percent over the next two years.

16 in military disciplined
for air strike on hospital

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Pentagon has disciplined 16 members of the military, including a two-star general, for their roles in last year's mistaken airstrike on a hospital in Afghanistan that killed 42 people.

The hospital, run by the medical charity Doctors Without Borders, was attacked by an Air Force AC-130 gunship, one of the most lethal in the U.S. arsenal. Doctors Without Borders called the attack relentless and brutal.

None of those punished face criminal charges, but in many cases a nonjudicial punishment, such as a letter of reprimand or suspension, can effectively end a military career.

Gen. Joseph Votel, head of U.S. Central Command, which oversees the war in Afghanistan, is expected to announce the action Friday at a Pentagon briefing.

The airstrike occurred during an intense battle in Kunduz, after Taliban militants had seized the northern city.

A military report determined that the U.S. forces involved in the airstrike mistook the hospital for another compound that was serving as a Taliban headquarters.

Officials have said the accident was caused by human error, and that many chances to avert the incident were missed.

Paid maternity leave finds
more success in U.S. states

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

While the United States is the only developed country in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave for new mothers, both of the current Democratic presidential candidates support a national standard of 12 weeks of paid family leave.

It’s not a new proposal, though. President Barack Obama called for it in his 2015 State of the Union address, but it drew quick opposition from some Republicans in Congress.

It's not unusual in the United States for a new mother to quit her job after giving birth to a child. 

While the U.S. is nowhere close to a federal law that mandates paid maternity leave, some states are addressing the issue. A new law in New York assures new mothers 12 weeks of paid maternity leave. New Jersey covers 67 percent of six weeks of leave. California covers 55 percent of six weeks.  Rhode Island covers four weeks.

"If you live in those four states, you would be covered and eligible to have paid leave, but if you live in the rest of the U.S.A., it really just depends on whether or not your employer voluntarily offers those benefits, since we do not have any national programs to provide wage replacement," said Sarah Jane Glynn from the Center for American Progress.

Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders favor a national program that would allow new mothers to take 12 weeks of paid maternity leave. This is an improvement over the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act, which provides job-protected unpaid leave to government employees or those in private sector companies with 50 or more employees. But critics say that law covers only 60 percent of new mothers because only 60 percent of workers even qualify, and many new moms cannot afford to take time off.
"The U.S. has not caught up with the fact that most women today work. Our labor laws . . .  the majority were set a long time ago when families looked very different. Today the majority of women work, the majority of mothers work, even the majority of moms who have very young children are in the paid labor force," said Ms. Glynn.

Still, some companies do provide not only paid maternity leave but paid paternity leave as well.
Opponents of a paid family leave law say it’s bad for business because it’s too costly.

"Small businesses cannot afford to have that burden on them. Also, the small businesses cannot afford increases in taxes," said one.
But supporters of the idea say the cost of paid maternity leave is very low relative to the benefit to the family.

South Carolina’s governor
rejects Gitmo relocation plan

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

With only about eight months left in office, President Barack Obama is still trying to fulfill his campaign promise to close down the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

At its peak, close to 800 so-called enemy combatants were detained at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo. Now, there are 80 detainees left, and the president would like to empty the center and close it down, saying it provides terrorists around the world with a powerful recruiting tool because of its tainted reputation.

But Congress has repeatedly passed legislation to keep the president from relocating detainees to prisons on the U.S. mainland, citing national security concerns.

Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania wants to continue that policy. Perry, who is chairman of a Homeland Security Committee panel on oversight and management efficiency, held a hearing Thursday to look at the impact relocating detainees would have on local communities.

Perry summed up the situation like this: "The American people do not want Gitmo terrorists detained in their communities, their neighborhoods or down the street from their children's school. Fortunately, Congress passed legislation that prohibits transferring Gitmo detainees to the homeland and the president signed it. However, he's still moving forward with his legacy-driven agenda, which includes closing Guantanamo, despite the will of the American people."

Perry invited South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who has been outspoken about not wanting detainees transferred to a naval brig near Charleston. She told the panel that Defense Department officials visited the navel brig, but have not kept her informed about their plans.

Haley brought up last June's massacre at a Charleston, South Carolina, church Bible study by suspected killer Dylann Roof. Roof allegedly killed nine people in the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church as they prayed with him.

Haley told the committee: "Last summer, the people of Charleston stared hate directly in the eye. We know true hate, and we know what fear it can bring. We don't need to see it again, nor do we wish it on any other state. Keep the terrorists where they are, where they belong. Do not bring them to my home."

Democratic members of the panel seized on Haley's mention of the alleged Charleston killer, saying they have always objected to people calling him a deranged individual. His actions make him a "domestic terrorist," they argued.

Body’s immune system used
in place of failing antibiotics

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Antibiotic resistance has made infections hard to fight, even life-threatening in many cases. Scientists in Sweden, however, may have found an alternative to using antibiotics.

In a mouse model, the scientists trained the body’s natural immune system, called innate immunity, to disarm and destroy a bacterium that causes a kidney infection, often in children.

The innate immune system is the front line of the body's defenses, and it works in two different ways to fight infections.

The first is what researchers call a good antibacterial defense that targets and kills the invading pathogen. The second causes inflammation, the redness, swelling and fever that accompany an illness or injury. It's a vital part of the immune response but also can cause significant tissue damage, and in some cases it can contribute to the progress of the disease or infection.

"So the question has been: Can you find a way of treating infections by stopping the bad part of the immune defense and still keep the antibacterial defense?" said Catharina Svanborg, a professor of clinical immunology at Lund University in Sweden. "This is what we have done in our model.”

Dr. Svanborg and her fellow researchers found that the two parts of the process are controlled by two different molecules, so they just turned off the inflammation molecule. By blocking it, they found they could take advantage of the part of natural immune defense that promotes healing.

“It is a surprise because this technology has not been used in this way to treat infections," she said. "So, it was an unexpected finding . . . but it was a logical step to take."

Dr. Svanborg and her colleagues published their findings in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

She said investigators are planning more tests, this time to see whether the innate immune system can take on other pathogens, such as those that cause pneumonia.

Physician in a backpack
being developed for military

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

In battlefield situations, taking even basic medical measurements may be complicated. Proper instruments, the knowledge of how to use them and good decision-making skills are required. It would be great if soldiers had sophisticated, miniaturized medical devices that could easily be used to help an injured person.

If that were the case, said retired Army surgeon Ron Poropatich, "you can then assess the individual's heart rate, blood pressure, and have a soft robotics collar with imaging devices in the neck that would tell me where the trachea is located, and have soft robotics with embedded sensors that tell me whether the lung is collapsed or not," plus other vital information.

Poropatic is leading a team of researchers and engineers working on an intelligent rucksack, equipped with a computer, a range of sensors and robotic instruments, even syringes preloaded with a variety of medicines.

One advantage computers offer is that they can quickly process a huge amount of data. With software that compares readings taken from an injured patient with those from thousands of similar cases loaded into memory, a computer could identify the optimal lifesaving procedure in seconds.

Poropatich said scientists involved with the project started by trying to see how small they could go.

“Can we put it on an iPhone and can we have wires from the iPhone go onto the casualty?" he asked. "And then, can we take a soft robotics collar or something to stabilize your cervical spine, and put that same soft robotics over your thorax and have embedded sensors that have imaging capability? And have embedded in the robotic pillows, if you will, needles, that could be inserted, in the event the patient decompensates during the evacuation?”

In some settings, bringing in an evacuation vehicle might not be possible, Poropatich said. So his team is working on something called prolonged field care.

"We would do a precision airdrop and drop in a backpack full of this miniaturized equipment easily inserted on the casualty," he said. The gear could transmit a signal to an unmanned vehicle, which in turn would send it to medical officer for consultation. "That is all science fiction right now, but it's at the point of very serious discussions with serious interest from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.”

Poropatich hopes the first prototype will be ready for testing on animals in about three years. At first, there will be two models, one for pulmonary contusion and one for hemorrhage, and then a third model for the combined traumas, as might be seen on someone caught in an explosion on the battlefield.

The project involves about 16 physicians and engineers from the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University and several other institutions. The project is partially funded by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Stock markets are shifting
to the reliable commodities

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

There is an old saying on Wall Street: "Sell in May and go away."

The translation: Company earnings and profit outlooks are talked about early in the year. Economic indicators for past quarters are analyzed and portfolio managers invest accordingly. By the spring, investors want to capture profits or take losses before the long slower seasonal trading in the summer months.

But this year just might be different.

World stock markets are changing. Markets are shifting. New tech is moving aside for older, revised and revamped industries. There is a fundamental change going on.

Even Apple, the world's largest company, suffered its first revenue decline in 13 years. Oil prices have basically stabilized, as have most other commodities. U.S.-based manufacturers are streamlining operations, modernizing factories and innovating.

A strong manufacturing base yields earnings over the long haul, many experts suggest. The basic industries of America, energy, metals, mining and now even solar, are on the up cycle.

Matt Tuttle, chief executive officer of TuttleTactical, looks at the prospects this way:  "We like energy, the metals and mining stocks. We like solar stocks, real interesting. And, what we don't like: We don't like biotechs, we don't like technology. Those are the main sectors we are looking at."

The dollar is languishing following the Federal Reserve's decision to stand pat on short-term rates. And there is a general feeling in the marketplace that the Fed will not raise rates until after the presidential election.

"I think the Fed is going to sit on its hands,” Tuttle said. “I don't think Janet Yellen wants to be the person responsible for electing the next president."

The perception is that, traditionally, election years have been good for markets. While the market never goes straight up and summer can be a difficult time, overall, markets have gone higher in time for Election Day.

This year, investor sentiment has turned to commodity and basic material stocks, as the growth stock sector has weakened.

All indicators point to a move from a high-tech economy back to the basic materials sector — the old reliables like oil, steel, aluminum and heavy machinery. Just in the past month, as the high-flying techs have been hit, the materials sector was up 10 percent.

The complaints by U.S. presidential candidates about the death of manufacturing in the U.S. does not reflect reality. In actuality, U.S.-based manufacturers are streamlining operations, modernizing factories and innovating.

A strong manufacturing base yields earnings over the long haul, many experts suggest. And that goes back to materials. The basic industries of America are on the up cycle.

A stabilization in commodity and basic material prices, a perception that perhaps technology is at a plateau, and a contentious election campaign are all contributing to a fresh look at what to sell in May,  what to invest, and not go away.
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Office phone: 506-2446-0543
Cell phone: 506-8898-9398
or 506-8314-8090


Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

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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Re/Max Ocean Surf and Sun:

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:

Axiom one

Sierra Collection. Meridian House or Chateau Montage.
Near Parque Nacional Marino Ballena,
Pacific Coast. 
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Axiom two
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.
For more information
Click HERE!

Axiom three
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!
We will be happy to give all the information you need. Contact:

Costa Rica Office: +506.4001-2343
Mobile: +506.8367-2466
USA Office: +1.786233-1579

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.

Have a Property For Sale? Contact Us!
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Real estate for sale (paid category)

Pavo onr
FOR SALE - $270,000
Exceptional 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom, fully furnished luxury apartment for sale at the exclusive Terrazas de Escazú highrise complex in Escazú near La Paco Commerical Center.  Situated on the third floor, this apartment has an exceptional layout with stunning views of the Central Valley. 140 m2 bright and spacious floor plan with open sky terrace with 180-degree unobstructed view of the Escazú mountains and Central Valley.  One covered parking spot with additional guest parking available. HOA fee:  $250/month. Held in Costa Rica corporation for easy property transfer. Building features: 12-meter atrium with controlled access entrance to the building, surrounding landscaping, lower level pool, communal rooftop terrace and small rooftop gym. 24-hour security. Contact: José Granados in Costa Rica, phone 506- 6051-5249  email:
paco two

first image
B&B for sale in Costa Rica $650,000

I believe this is the finest area of Costa Rica in which to live and, with a lock on 80percent of all tourists visiting Costa Rica, to invest. There are birds and flowers of every description, terrific neighbors, incredible views, wonderful weather with a healthy climate, visits by sloth, deer, monkeys, a very good business that can expand and grow, if desired, or simply a beautiful place to live. Please look at my Web site and the guest reviews, the people's reaction to the property, and you'll see just what a wonderful opportunity this is

There is about 7,000 square meters of land included (over 1 3/4 acres) as well as another smaller home and an apartment above the carport, designed as maid's quarters but usually rented out to tourists. The rear of the property is bordered by a small and very clean spring-fed creek/river. Across the river there is jungle, which makes for a great deal of all around privacy and which will never be developed. Restaurants, a supermarket, services, and many natural attractions are just a short distance away. The property was appraised at over $1.7 million (US) a few years ago, which might indicate what an incredible bargain this is.

It can also include a franchise for Best Western Hotel, if interested in growing with the tourism business, and a small hobby farm bordering Arenal National Park with spectacular views of Lake Arenal, is also available. All is available at an excellent price for the right person (people) and a package price can certainly be arranged. Email me at: For more photos and info click HERE!


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

updated                                  photo
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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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, April 29, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 84
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News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds re disabled on archived pages

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Eating chocolate found to be healthful

By the University of Warwick news staff

Including a small amount of chocolate each day could help prevent diabetes and insulin resistance. That’s one of the research findings from the Luxembourg Institute of Health, the University of Warwick Medical School, the University of South Australia and the University of Maine.

Data of 1,153 people aged 18 to 69 years old who were part of the Observation of Cardiovascular Risk in Luxembourg study were analyzed. It was found that those who ate 100 grams of chocolate a day, equivalent to a bar, had reduced insulin resistance and improved liver enzymes. Insulin sensitivity is a well-established risk factor to cardiovascular disease.

The academics hypothesized that chocolate consumption may have a beneficial effect on insulin sensitivity and liver enzymes and therefore decided to analyse a national sample of adults, taking into account lifestyle and dietary factors, including the simultaneous consumption of tea and coffee. This is because both drinks can be high in polyphenol, the substance which may provide chocolate with its beneficial cardiometabolic effects.

Saverio Stranges, visiting academic at the University of Warwick Medical School, said: “Given the growing body of evidence, including our own study, cocoa-based products may represent an additional dietary recommendation to improve cardio-metabolic health; however, observational results need to be supported by robust trial evidence.

“Potential applications of this knowledge include recommendations by healthcare professionals to encourage individuals to consume a wide range of phytochemical-rich foods, which can include dark chocolate in moderate amounts. However, it is important to differentiate between the natural product cocoa and the processed product chocolate,
which is an energy-dense food. Therefore, physical activity, diet and other lifestyle factors must be carefully balanced to avoid detrimental weight gain over time.”

More than 80 percent of participants claimed to eat an average of 24.8 grams of chocolate a day. The study also found that those who claimed to eat chocolate were younger, more physically active and had higher levels of education than those who claimed not to eat chocolate on a daily basis.

Legislature to get electronic voting

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The legislature is getting an electronic system that will register and show clearly the voting of its 57 members.

The 120 million-colon system ($226,000) includes audio connections for the various committee rooms and the floor of the legislature.

The vendor was identified as Mas-Música Internacional. The firm said that the system could be installed in 45 days.

The system also includes large screens that show the vote as well and the time remaining for lawmakers who are speaking during the afternoon sessions.

A legislative summary said that the voting totals could be suspended if lawmakers require a secret ballot. That sometimes takes place with personnel appointments.

Dancers to take over plaza today

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There will be dancing in the street today or at least in the plaza.

The Compañía Nacional de Danza is celebrating the Día Internacional de la Danza with an 11 a.m. presentation at the Plaza de la Cultura in downtown San José.

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From Page 7:

Costa Rica still on U.S. intellectual property list

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
with wire services reports

Costa Rica again this year is on the U.S. watch list for intellectual property protection.

The Office of the United States Trade Representative released the 2016 report on the global state of intellectual property rights protection and enforcement Thursday.

The agency reviewed 73 trading partners for this year's report, and placed 34 of them on the report's so-called priority watch list and watch list.

Costa Rica joins countries like México, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Greece, Guatemala, Jamaica, Lebanon, Pakistan, Peru, Romania, Switzerland, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam on the standard watch list.

A priority watch list includes 11 countries: Algeria, Argentina, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Russia, Thailand, Ukraine and Venezuela.

China remains on the top of the list, although the United States said there are some positive developments.

According to the report, China remains the world's largest online piracy market, causing substantial losses for American owners of intellectual property rights in music, movies, books, periodicals, video games, software and in other fields.

The trade representative said that Costa Rica may not have committed the necessary resources to improve intellectual property enforcement, adding:

“The United States also welcomes reports that Costa Rican ministries have recently concluded audits as to their use of unlicensed software but urges Costa Rica to close  the unlicensed software gap in the coming year.”

The United States also sought more transparency in prosecution of intellectual property case.

Most of those vendors selling CDs and trademarked sportswear are selling fakes that are violations of the law.