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Published Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 257
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The economy is the major variable for next year
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

As the seconds tick away to 2017, thoughts turn to an exciting New Year’s Eve.

But after the hangover, there are some realities to consider that affect expat life here.

First, next year is an election campaign year. The voting is not until February 2018, but the would-be candidates will be trying to make points all year long. Voters will be looking for someone to improve their lives.

Voters have been sadly disappointed in the current administration, which also has been the victim of years of uninhibited spending. The dollar has risen against the colon again in the last few days despite expensive efforts by the Banco Central to stabilize the exchange rate. A stronger dollar is a certainty for 2017.

A stronger dollar will not be good for the government here. All the foreign debt, and there is plenty, is denominated in dollars. The International Monetary Fund has declared the country’s finances to be unsustainable. And 2017 may be the year when the executive branch decides to make hard choices.

The central government praised itself this week for maintaining the social peace during 2016 by clever handling of the finances. That may not be possible next year.

The stronger dollar is good for tourism and real estate. As the U.S. Federal Reserve moves to raise the discount rate even more, home buying is likely to pick up. That means more retirees and others can sell their homes and move to Costa Rica. The market here is heavily dependent on the U.S. economy, and there is no secret that 2016 was sluggish.

As the U.S. market rebounds, those expats seeking to sell their homes here will benefit if the property is priced correctly. Those who have advertised in this newspaper in the last year had some success.  The action was a far cry from the early 2000s. Even prime properties took up to six months to sell.

An increase in tourists with money will benefit those in that business, but the hospitality market is overbuilt with large

predictions
A.M. Costa Rica graphic

chains dominating. As in 2016, the successful will be those who can market professionally and continually.

The big question mark is the new U.S. president. Even some who fought against the free trade treaty with the United States are ready to defend it if Donald Trump moves to dismantle the agreement. He probably will review the North America Free Trade Agreement with México first.

Still, firms in free trade zones here that depend on the U.S. market certainly must be concerned with talk of 35 percent import duties. And those with call centers here are likely to feel some pressure from the U.S. administration to return some jobs to the United States.

Expats can only wish for a more foreigner-friendly administration and one that does not pride itself on confiscating large numbers of imported packages.

However, serious tourism marketing by the government is unlikely because the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo will be putting most of its money into the $35 million convention center being built in Belén.

Some events in 2017 do not require a crystal ball. The volcanoes will continue to erupt. Landslides will block highways periodically. Road surfaces will give way to the heavy rains, and Costa Ricans will continue to have a cheerful, friendly and contagious outlook on life.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 257
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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.

Dentistry


Dental
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Dental Services Costa Rica

Dr Oscar Vargas specialist in prosthodontics
Where Science and Art meet!
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Give yourself a bright and healthy smile.  Our professional practice is geared to exceptional quality in all procedures.   We are dedicated to technical perfection using cutting-edge technology.     

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CR local phone:  +506-2274-3231
Cell: +506-8302-5877
Email:  info@dentalservicescostarica.com
Web:  www.dentalservicescostarica.com

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Psychotherapy

Dr. Gray
Dr. Lucinda Gray
California Licensed
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International Practice

• Anxiety
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US (310) 827-4241
www.LucindaGray.com
New World Meditation
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Insurance professionals

The Garrett Insurance Group
Garrett
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More information HERE!
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Residency experts

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JAVIER ZAVALETA
RESIDENCY IN COSTA RICA
A full service immigration agency
U.S. and San José offices

There are four primary ways to apply for legal residency in Costa Rica:
    Retiree (Pensionado):  For those with a pension or other retirement income.
    Legal Resident (Rentista): For those with guaranteed non-salary income or savings.
    Business/Investor (Inversionista): For those with Costa Rican business or real estate investments.
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Residency in Costa Rica
P. O. Box 86352, Los Angeles, CA 90086
U.S. Phone: (323) 255-6116
U.S.  Fax (323) 344-1620
Phone in Costa Rica: ( 506 ) 2226=0755  (En español )

Email:  javier@residencyincostarica.com
Web: www.residencyincostarica.com
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 Accountants

U.S. Income Tax Services
Marlene B. Summers, Tax Accountant
Licensed by the I.R.S.
 
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Take advantage of the foreign earned income exclusion.
 
If your filing is not up-to-date, the Streamlined Filing Procedure can be used to mitigate penalties.   Including  disclosure of foreign corporations to avoid future problems. 

File current or past due FBARs with no penalties to meet IRS requirements.
File your current or amended returns.

Over 10 years in Costa Rica    
 
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Phone (506) 2289-6590 or (506) 8750-2316
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U.S. Tax International
Plus Costa Rican taxes, accounting, and legal
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U.S. Tax
                                                  rollover
(English spoken). Tamarindo office hours now available.  If you or anyone you know would like an appointment in Tamarindo, please call our San José office at 2288-2201 to make an appointment.
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E-mail: ustax@lawyer.com
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James Brohl, C.P.A. & M.B.A.
US Income Tax,  U.S. GAAP Accounting
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Fine art restoration and conservation

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Real estate agents and services

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Residential sales
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Vacation rentals and long-term rentals
Tour desk

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Playa Jacó, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
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or Toll Free: (877) 746-3868
Costa Rica phone number: (506) 2643-3356
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Eco
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   • Specialized in the Central and South Pacific.
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In front of Subway at Plaza Herradura, Jacó
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Representing Colinas del Sol
del Pacifico, S.A.

Colinas del
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* 20 minutes to the Liberia International Airport
* 15 minutes to the Pacific Beaches
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* 25 minutes to the Liberia Hospital
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In Costa Rica contact Jeffrey Sandi Murray:          jsandimurray@colinasdelsolcr.com
In the USA and Canada contact Jim Day:
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9056-2/28/17
refrigerator
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
Frontier police officers said they found a pickup driver who carried what appeared to be a new refrigerator still in the box. But the driver had filled the appliance with smuggled liquor, the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública said.


Liberia offers a 5k and a 10k Jan. 29

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Worried about that extra five pounds added by Christmas cookies and chocolates? How about that New Year’s resolution to be more athletic.

Liberia has an answer to both problems with a 5k and a 10k Jan. 29. This is the De la Tierra al espacio y de vuelta a la Tierra race that was created by Franklin Chang Diaz, the former astronaut. The sponsor now is the  Asociación Liberia Nueva, which he heads. He also plans to run the course with his wife, said an announcement.

Chang operates the Ad Astra Rocket Co. on the grounds of Universidad Earth where the race will be held. Participation is limited to 300 runners. Signups can be done at local Liberia sports stores or online HERE!


Child dies in house fire in Golfito

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A 3 year old died Wednesday night in a house fire in the la Purruja housing project in Golfito, the Cuerpo de Bomberos reported.

The fire fighting agency said that the boy’s death brought to 18 the number of fatalities in 2016. Fire fighters handled more than 1,000 structure fires in the year, the agency said.


Toll from bull injuries reported to be 49

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Bulls continue to batter those who dare enter the arena with them.

The Cruz Roja said Wednesday that its emergency crews had treated 49 persons who had been injured by the bulls at the Zapote fiesta.

That is in addition to 36 who suffered some medical problem while attending the rest of the fiesta at the fairgrounds.


drug
                                      shipment
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
Anti-drug police detained a 26-year-old man after he picked up these boxes of chocolate at a courier service in Pavas. Agents said the pink pills are ecstasy that were headed to the Pacific coast for the consumption by tourists. The shipment came from Spain.


No paper Friday

A.M. Costa Rica will not be published Friday due to the New Year’s holiday. The downtown office will not be staffed, today or Friday, but the newspaper’s email displayed on the cover will be monitored.

In addition, staffers will monitor the news and update the newspaper or issue an email bulletin if the situation warrants.



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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 257
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More sophisticated efforts urged to combat modern crime networks
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

International crime is growing so sophisticated that the one-time cartels and terrorist groups are being called threat networks, basically separate groups of criminals working together for mutual benefit.

This is a new concept in international policing influenced by the idea of computer networks. Experts say that the old law enforcement ways are not sufficient now.

The danger of these threat networks had been a continual theme by Navy Adm. Kurt W. Tidd, commander of U.S. Southern Command. “Defeating the threat networks requires out-adapting them and seeking out new technology and innovation,” he told a security conference this month.

The suggestion to adopt new ways comes as Costa Rican lawmakers are poised to pass a tax on corporations that will put 1,000 new Fuerza Pública officers into blue uniforms. This is the same force whose leaders send platoons of men into the hills for weeks to hack down marijuana plants. The police agency said this week that its officers spent 10 days in southwestern Costa Rica destroying 206,698 marijuana plants.

But the U.S. admiral has said that an emphasis on just stopping the flow of drugs no longer is sufficient.

Drug interdiction has been the role of Costa Rican law enforcement for years. Patrol boats, alerted by U.S. aircraft and ships in both oceans, chase down drug smugglers. On land, using equipment provided by the United States, border officers uncover hidden loads of cocaine. Tidd is the commander of the boats in both oceans.

The United States had invested $437 million since 2010 in law enforcement in Caribbean nations.

Despite many arrests, anti-drug efforts have been largely unsuccessful  because plenty of cocaine and other substances still reach the United States. Human trafficking is at a high level.

Defeating the threat networks requires out-adapting them and seeking out new technology and innovation, Tidd told a security conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico, according to the Department of Defense. He promotes informational sharing, regional security strategies and security synchronization.

In Costa Rica the leading crime-fighting agency is supposed to be the Dirección de Inteligencia y Seguridad. This agency, headed by Mariano Figueres, hardly ever makes the news. But this week, he issued a bulletin that said the agency did 14 investigations that permitted the capture of 55 persons during the year.

Tidd
Department of Defense photo
Navy Adm. Kurt W. Tidd discusses threat networks


He also noted that lawmakers have a bill to restructure the agency into the Dirección de Inteligencia Estratégica Nacional.

A major theme in the new bill, No. 19.346, is that the new agency will not play politics. As in the past, the Dirección de Inteligencia y Seguridad now reports directly to the president, and agents carried out assignments the chief executive orders.

The new agency is supposed to be above political meddling, but the bill seems to create a secret, complex bureaucratic entity where James Bond would not be at home. The bill specifically forbids agents to act in a discriminatory way for reasons of ethnicity, religion or nationality. In addition, human rights is called a priority, and one of the members of a board of overseers is the defensora de los habitantes.

The new agency still would report to the president, and nearly all its actions are labeled confidential. The bill is nearing passage.

Like most legislation, a detailed evaluation is difficult because a lot of the rules and regulations are yet to be written.

Although the Dirección de Inteligencia y Seguridad is supposed to provide early warning notices to the government, it seems to have been caught flat-footed by the arrival of thousands of Cuban refugees and later an equal amount of Haitians who are seeking to reach the United States.

That is exactly why Tidd urges cooperation across national borders. Combating threat networks requires collaboration in law enforcement, diplomacy intelligence and with military partners across the region, he has said.



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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 257
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Venezuela imports hundreds of boxes of new, 500-bolívar banknotes
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The government of Venezuela says another airplane carrying new bolívar bills arrived in the country to ease its financial and currency crisis. But critics say the new bills won't help the shortages of basic goods that have made for a grim Christmas holiday in the South American country.

Mariela Magallanes, opposition lawmaker at the national assembly, says the traditional Christmas and New Year celebrations have been marred by the lack of food, medicine and other goods.

“Hunger is the number one issue for Venezuelans right now, a problem that keeps on growing exponentially,” Ms. Magallanes said. “The lives of three million Venezuelans are at risk due to the lack of food, and shortages, and lack of access to proper nourishment. The shortages are forcing younger Venezuelans to leave the country in search of a better life elsewhere.”

The government of President Nicolás Maduro says that shortages of food and basic products are now easing. However, long lines of Venezuelans trying to buy food are a common sight all over the country, Roland Parra said.

“These lines are endless. Lines this long … when you see them you realize that food shortages are real. Things are not getting any better, in fact, they have definitely worsened,” said Parra.

José Khan, vice president of the Banco Central de Venezuela, announced Wednesday that a new shipment of 710 boxes containing 500-bolívar bills has arrived from Sweden to counter the economic crisis. The bills belong to the new set of currency that will govern all monetary transactions in Venezuela.

“We are complying with what President Maduro promised. A new shipment of 500-bolívar bills arrived today to complete 60 million 500-bolívar-bill units,” Khan said.

Khan promised that more bills would arrive in the next few days, complying with what the government says is a plan that will get new cash to the public in record time.

Earlier in December, Maduro declared that 100-bolivar notes would be withdrawn from use within 72 hours. The measure,

Venezuelan banknote
The new Venezuelan 500-bolívar note.

he said, was intended to boost the economy and fight black market trading. It would be replaced by notes that range in value from 500 to 20,000 bolivars.

But thousands of Venezuelans, angry at finding themselves suddenly without a way to pay for food, protested. In the face of, at times, violent demonstrations, the government delayed withdrawing the notes until January and promised to bring in new coins and bills quickly.

The Venezuelan economy is suffering a staggering recession, partly because of weak oil prices. At the same time, the country is being hit with inflation that the International Monetary Fund estimates at more than 400 percent this year. And in recent months, the currency has fallen more than 50 percent in value.

Opposition leaders and economists say government controls on prices, imports and food distribution have led to growing shortages of consumer goods and when goods are available, people had to use wads of cash to pay for them.


Vacation, travel and hospitality


HIdden Garden graphic
Put Costa Rica on your walls
The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is the perfect place to find quality Costa Rican and international art for your home or office.  With over 60 artists and 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we have been your source for fine art since 2010.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever. Located just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport (towards the beaches).

Visit our Web site at:  www.HiddenGardenArt.com
Contact us by email: info@HiddenGardenArt.com  
Find us on Trip Advisor, Facebook, Twitter,
Moon Travel Guides & Frommer's

Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tel.  8386-6872 / 2667-0592; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073
International shipping available.
9101-1/31/16

Georgre Lundquist header

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the
 *HIGHEST SUCCESS RATE
OF RELOCATION*

 (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!
HERE!

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. lundquistgeorge@gmail.com

George Lundquist

experience Costa Rica
Costa Rica Travel In Paradise Group Tours

Looking for easy booking process for a smooth Costa Rica trip?   We customize wonderful trips to Costa Rica.  We offer you our wealth of knowledge for a great experience . . . a trip of a lifetime!!!

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Contact us: 
Dial toll FREE from USA or Canada:  1.800.901.0114
CR local phone:  +506-2274-3231
Cells:  +506-8380-5919  and +506-8302-5877
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Howard
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Will Costa Rica Retirement Work For You?
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When you visit Costa Rica, you'll want to discover what you need to know to  make the right choice about moving to this tropical paradise.  Our familiarization tours have won hard-earned credentials that prove general excellence and the right focus.  These are the only retirement tours that are licensed and approved by the Costa Rican government and tourism institute  (ICT). In 2006 we were featured on the NBC Today Show and World News.  In 2010, we won the  prestigious Latin America-Asia Travel Excellence Award for the Best and Most Unique Tour in Latin America.

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Costa Rica's world class medical specialists are at your command. Get the top care for much less than U.S. prices. It is really a great way to spend a vacation. See our list of recommended professionals HERE!amcr-prom



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OUR EMAIL:
 andrefurlong@gmail.com
Paul.Furlong@CR-Solar.com
VISIT OUR WEB:
www.crsolar.net 
9118-6/26/17

Real estate rentals (paid category)

Tropical Homes

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 of Costa Rica.We are offering homes for every budget and every need. Please visit our Web page at www.tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or contact us at rentals@tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or call at (506) 2654-5442
9055-2/23/17

Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on SellMyTimeshareNow.com at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
Timeshare
1- to 3-bedroom ocean and garden view timeshares available and most offer air conditioning, cable TV, fully equipped kitchens, and relaxing hammocks on private balconies. Enjoy the unique combination of seclusion and convenience as all resorts listed on our site are close to popular Costa Rican attractions and downtown 
centers, but are surrounded in lush, tropical forest. Villas are also available for sale in our inventory, so you can enjoy yearly vacations to this mesmerizing rainforest paradise. Please visit our rental inventory HERE!  or call us toll free at 877-815-4227, International: 603-516-0200.  Email: info@sellmytimesharenow.com
9049-7/31/17

Real estate for rent (paid category)






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A.M. Costa Rica's
  
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 257
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Axiom new ad

Obama creates monuments
in controversial designation


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Barack Obama has named two new national monuments in Utah and Nevada, sites considered sacred lands by Native Americans. Each boast thousands of cultural artifacts.

The designations Wednesday were not without controversy, however, as the western United States has become a flashpoint over use of public lands.

Administration and conservation officials who support the measure say both sites have cultural relics that are threatened by looting and vandalism.

But the national monument designation is a blow for Republican leaders in Utah and Nevada, and many rural residents who see it as adding another layer of federal control. They say it would not only close the areas to gas and oil development, but to some recreational uses as well.

The Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah will cover nearly 550,000 hectares (1.35 million acres), the White House said. The move is considered a victory by Native American tribes and conservationists.

The Bears Ears site is considered sacred land by local tribes, and is also home to more than 100,000 cultural sites that include ancient cliff dwellings, burial sites and rock carvings. Tribal members currently use the site to perform ceremonies and healing rituals and to collect herbs and wood for medicinal and spiritual purposes.

The Gold Butte National Monument, located outside Las Vegas, will preserve more than 120,000 hectares (300,000 acres), according to the White House.

The area is an ecologically fragile region that includes rock art, artifacts and rare fossils and also is currently used by tribes for traditional purposes, the White House said.

"Today's actions will help protect this cultural legacy and will ensure that future generations are able to enjoy and appreciate these scenic and historic landscapes," Obama said in a statement announcing the new national monuments.

In making the decision to protect the two sites, "President Obama has taken unprecedented steps to elevate the voices of native peoples in the management of our natural resources," a White House statement said.

Obama has the power to set aside the areas through the Antiquities Act, which was signed in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt. The law allows the president to establish that archeological sites on public lands are important public resources.

Republican criticism, however, was swift Wednesday.

Utah's governor and state lawmakers condemned the designation, with Gov. Gary Herbert saying in a statement that Obama has misused his authority, and promising an aggressive challenge of the order.

U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah called Obama's action an attack on an entire way of life and an astonishing and egregious abuse of executive power that far exceeds the intent of the Antiquities Act.

"In the next Congress under President Trump, I will do everything in my power to reverse this travesty," Hatch told The Salt Lake Tribune.

Meanwhile, Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye praised the designation, calling it an exciting day for his tribe and people of all cultures.

"Today, President Barack Obama has signed a proclamation to protect this land as a national monument for future generations of Navajo people and for all Americans. Thanks to his action, this land will be finally given the legal reverence and protection it deserves," Begaye said in a statement.

In Nevada, retiring Sen. Harry Reid, as Democrat, has been opposed by Republicans in his state as he pushed for protections at Gold Butte.

Gov. Brian Sandoval said he would have preferred a more collaborative approach that included opinions of those affected, but said he worked with federal officials to mitigate any disruption a potential designation may cause the surrounding private land owners, communities and recreationists.

The site is near where rancher Cliven Bundy and his followers were in an armed standoff over public land use with government agents in 2014. Bundy does not recognize federal jurisdiction in the area.

Earlier in 2016, Bundy's sons, Ryan and Ammon Bundy, also led a group of armed, anti-government militants in staging a 41-day occupation of an eastern Oregon wildlife refuge in a protest against federal control of lands.

Obama, who leaves office in less than a month, has used the Antiquities Act and other measures to protect more land and water than any other administration in history, a White House statement said. Most recently, he banned offshore oil and gas drilling in an area off the Alaska and Atlantic coasts.


Debbie Reynolds dies at 84
a day after daughter’s death


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

American actress Debbie Reynolds has died, just one day after her actress daughter Carrie Fisher passed away. Ms. Reynolds suffered a stroke at the home of her son in Beverly Hills, California.

Ms. Reynolds, 84, was hospitalized Wednesday afternoon after paramedics were called to her son's home.

The son, Todd Fisher, confirmed Ms. Reynolds' death to various news media. "She wanted to be with Carrie," Todd Fisher was quoted as saying.

"She's now with Carrie and we're all heartbroken," he said from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where his mother was taken by ambulance. He said the stress of his sister's death was too much for Ms. Reynolds.

Ms. Reynolds starred opposite Gene Kelly in the 1952 classic movie “Singin' in the Rain,” and was nominated for an Oscar for her role in the musical “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.” She also was nominated for a Tony Award in 1973 for her performance in the Broadway musical “Irene.”

She received an honorary Oscar in 2015, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, but was too ill to attend the ceremony. Her granddaughter, actress Billie Lourd, accepted the statuette in her honor. Ms. Reynolds was recognized for her decades-long commitment to various charities, including the mental health organization she founded, the Thalians.

Born in El Paso, Texas, Mary Frances "Debbie" Reynolds was married three times. She had two children with the late crooner Eddie Fisher, who left her for Elizabeth Taylor.

Her daughter, Carrie Fisher, who starred as Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy, died Tuesday at age 60, days after suffering a medical emergency on a flight from London to Los Angeles.

In a November interview for the NPR show “Fresh Air,” Carrie Fisher spoke of her admiration for her mother, who she said had some recent health setbacks.

"She's an immensely powerful woman, and I just admire my mother very much," Carrie Fisher said. "There's very few women from her generation who worked like that, who just kept a career going all her life, and raised children, and had horrible relationships, and lost all her money, and got it back again. I mean, she's had an amazing life, and she's someone to admire.''


Trump says two firms plan
to add thousands of U.S. jobs

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President-elect Donald Trump announced Wednesday that two telecommunications companies are adding thousands of jobs to the U.S. economy.

Stepping outside his Mar-a-Lago resort home in Florida, Trump said Sprint is bringing 5,000 jobs back from overseas and that a new satellite manufacturer, OneWeb, will create 3,000 U.S. jobs.

Trump gave no details and did not say if he or his transition team had anything to do with the new jobs.

Trump has congratulated himself for the four-point rise in the U.S. Consumer Confidence Index for December, tweeting “Thanks, Donald.” But economists say consumer confidence has traditionally gone up after a new president from a different party is elected.

Trump also told reporters President Barack Obama telephoned him Wednesday and that the two had a very nice conversation. Trump described their talk as being very general.

A minor feud erupted between Trump and Obama this week after the president said he could have beaten Trump if he had been allowed to run for a third term.

Trump tweeted “No Way” and noted that Obama personally campaigned in so-called swing states and still could not get former secretary of State Hillary Clinton elected.

Trump said he is trying to do his best to “disregard the many inflammatory President O statements and roadblocks. Thought it was going to be a smooth transition — NOT,” he wrote in another tweet."

But his press secretary, Sean Spicer, said Wednesday “both the current president and the team have been very generous with their time as far as the actual mechanics of the transition have gone and I expect them to continue to speak fairly regularly.”


Senators accuse Russia
although proof is scarce

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Prominent Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham says Russia did interfere in the recent U.S. presidential election and can expect hard-hitting sanctions. But a former U.S. official is downplaying the controversy over Russian hacking.

Graham Wednesday said the U.S. Congress in 2017 will investigate Russia's involvement in the Nov. 8 election that propelled businessman Donald Trump to power. "I expect there will be bipartisan sanctions coming that will hit Russia hard, particularly Putin as an individual," Graham said, without elaborating. "It is now time for Russia to understand enough is enough," Graham said, referring to President Vladimir Putin.

Moscow has denied allegations that President Putin was personally involved in hacking that cost Trump's opponent, Democrat and former secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the election.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the Obama administration could announce as soon as this week measures to punish Russia for election interference. U.S. officials told the newspaper the measures could include economic sanctions and diplomatic censure.

Thomas Graham is managing director of New York-based consulting firm Kissinger Associates and served on the National Security Council during the administration of President George W. Bush. In an interview, he questioned reports connecting Russia to the release of information that might have influenced the election.

"Without seeing the underlying intelligence, it's hard to know with any degree of confidence whether Russia was ultimately behind it or not," he said. "And it's certainly very difficult to know whether President Putin, sitting in the Kremlin, directed all of that."

While not ruling out Russia, he added, "I would keep my mind open in saying there may be other countries or individuals behind releasing this information."

Trump has consistently maintained that last month's election was free of any Russian meddling. Questions are still unanswered about how Russian hackers obtained emails from Mrs. Clinton's campaign and published them via WikiLeaks in the closing stretch of the campaign, in an apparent attempt to influence the election in Trump's favor. Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, denies the organization got the material from Russia.

Craig Murray, a former British diplomat, said Dec. 15 that he personally received some of the Democratic National Committee emails from an unhappy employee during a visit to Washington. But his statements have been overlooked by most U.S. Media outlets.

Apple products are called
most popular over holidays


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Apple devices were the most popular electronic gifts this holiday season, according to a new report.

Mobile marketing research firm Flurry said 44 percent of all electronic items activated during the holidays were Apple devices.

Archrival Samsung was second with 21 percent, and Huawei was third, followed by LG and Amazon.

Despite Samsung’s second place finish, activations were up 1 percent, according to Flurry. That was despite a massive recall of the company’s Galaxy Note 7, which was plagued with overheating issues.

Notably absent from the list is Google, which unveiled two new phones, the Pixel and Pixel XL.

"With only two devices, the Pixel and Pixel XL, and mixed market reception, Google struggled to drum up excitement this holiday season," wrote Chris Klotzbach, director at Flurry, and Lali Kesiraju, Flurry's marketing and analytics manager, in a blog post.

Flurry also found that so-called phablets, devices generally larger than a phone, but smaller than a tablet, remain popular. The firm said 37 percent of activated devices were phablets, a 10-point jump from last year.


Good flow of blood cites
as a barrier to dementia

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

As the elderly population continues to grow globally, the number of people who will suffer from dementia also will increase. The question is, by how much?

The World Health Organization estimates that close to 50 million people have been diagnosed with dementia with more than half living in low- and middle-income countries.

Although dementia mainly affects older people, it is not a normal part of aging. As researchers find out more about the causes of dementia, they are also finding ways they can help reduce its prevalence.

For example, numerous studies show that what's good for the heart is also good for the brain. Physical activity and a healthy diet keep the heart pumping and blood flowing to the brain. Good blood flow keeps the brain functioning, and has been shown to reduce the risk of dementia.

Brains shrink with age, but studies cited by the Alzheimer's Society of the United Kingdom showed that aerobic exercise not only increases the heart rate, but also enlarges the hippocampus, the key area of the brain involved in memory. In one study, a year of aerobic exercise by older adults proved to be the equivalent of reversing one to two years of age-related shrinkage.

Researchers also have found a link between higher education and a reduction in dementia. Studies continue to look at the way exercise, diet, social and mental stimulation and other factors influence the development of dementia, Alzheimer's being the most common form of this disease.

Kenneth Langa at the University of Michigan focuses his research on dementia. He was the co-investigator of a study of 20,000 adults in the United States over a 12-year period, and was the lead investigator of a supplemental study on the risk factors and prevalence of dementia in this group.

"We found that the prevalence of dementia declined significantly between 2000 and 2012, from about 11.5 percent down to about 9 percent," Langa said.

Langa attributes the decline in dementia to better treatments for high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, treatments that keep the cardiovascular system healthy and lower incidents of stroke. He also says increases in education levels play a role.

In the U.S., education levels rose over the past two decades, according to data gathered by Langa. A larger percentage of people graduated from high school, and more people received college educations. Langa's study showed that even a slight increase in the level of education seems to have an impact in reducing the risk of dementia.

"This suggests that a 75-year-old today has a lower risk of having dementia today than a 75-year-old 10 or 20 years ago," he said.

But the numbers were still significant because of the large number of older adults.

"What we found was that for adults in the United States, ages 65 and older, about 3 to 5 percent of them who were 65 to 74 had dementia, and that went up to almost 30 percent for those who are 85 and older,” Larga said. “So almost one in three had dementia in our study."

Even without a breakthrough in treatment, Langa says it appears there are things that can decrease the risk. However, he says, more work needs to be done to keep dementia trends declining.

The supplemental study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Real estate-related services (paid category)

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SellATimeshare.com
Browse timeshares for sale and rent by owner in Costa Rica at bargain prices. We connect existing timeshare owners with those looking to buy or rent a timeshare on the resale market. Timeshares on the resale market are up to 50% cheaper than those sold through the resort. Buy, sell or rent a timeshare at SellATimeshare.com. 
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9177-6/19/16

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)


Sotheby logo

Costa Rica Sotheby's International Realty is a boutique residential property brokerage firm in San Jose Costa Rica dedicated to creating long-term value for its customers and assist you to reach your property goals in Costa Rica. Whether purchasing or selling, our guarantee is an amazing experience for you and your family. You can rely on bespoke advertising and discretion, independent guidance interchangeable with the brand of the Sotheby since 1744. To those who value the exceptional, Sotheby's International Realty® is identifying properties throughout Costa Rica and local Real Estate service providers that offer unrivaled access to qualified individuals. We encourage you to meet with our representatives and preview our on-line portfolio of outstanding properties in Costa Rica.
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8906-2/21/16


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9058-3/1/17

Real estate for sale (paid category)


Samara
                                  acreage
Sámara titled land for sale by owner
5.7 acres. Only 150 meters to beach: $275,000
Less than $12 a meter

Fully titled, held by corporation. 150 meters to beach! Paved road frontage. Electric, phone and broadband internet at the road. Year-round water on property for well. 3 -minute drive to Sámara center and a 3-minute walk to Playa Sámara. 23,561 square meters / 5.7 acres. Property was purchased on 2005 with plans to develop 21 villas on the property. Project was halted due to real estate market collapse in 2007.  We are no longer interested in developing due to age, health and motivation!  Priced well below market value for quick sale.  More info click HERE! Email: darrandall@yahoo.com    Phone: 506-4033-6695.
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Owner Financing in San Ramon
New Construction, and Ocean View
Brand new home with 4-plus bedrooms and 3 baths all overlooking an incredible 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean
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and mountains. Locatedonly 45 minutes from the San Jose airport and about the same to the Pacific Ocean.  The lower level could be used as a separate apartment or mother-in-law setup. Home includes HUGE master  suite, CLOSETS, custom cabinets, granite counter tops, high wood ceilings, and all in an area that is 70-80 degrees year round. Priced at $199,000.
Completion date is January.  See the Virtual Tour:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R03ImsxN0wc    or click here www.whynotcostarica.com. If you would like to take a look at this amazing house, please give me a call at  Costa Rica # 506-8755-6743 or if from the States call 509-570-1928 or email tim@whynotcostarica.com9
9127-1/2/17

San Rmon
                                  rollover
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya. 7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 foot elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, appliances included. High-speed internet installed,  Price for sale $179,000    Contact Mike: mmpeace@hotmail.com 
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9129-3/6/17

New graphic
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. Up to 40% financing / get residency through investor status / includes a corporation that is 27 years old and offshore banking account with  Banco National / possible 50/50 partnership. Super location in front of the Bosques de Escazú  Condos  / Monthly rentals available
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Penthouse
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Costa Rica penthouse for sale
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9132-6/1/17

horse ranch
                                  rollover
Spectacular Horse Ranch and Spiritual/Yoga
Retreat Center For Sale

We invite you to a horseback tour of 187 acres of pristine farm land with breathtaking vistas, including the islands of the Gulf of Nicoya. There are multiple springs and streams, wooded areas, hard-wood and fruit trees, rolling hills with a geat variety of birds and wildlife. This property boasts the privilege of being bordered by thousands of acres of forest preserve down a steep canyon, offering its own spectacular views, which will never be developed. The many hills provide a builder an endless array of possibilities for nestling buildings in where they will have both views and privacy. The elevation of the property at 1,200 to1600 feet above sea level ensures fresh breezes and ideal year-round temperatures with a day-time average in the low 80's for open-air living. There is a ranch-style house with guest house with 8 total bedrooms, 5 modern baths, huge eat-in kitchen, landmark palm-thatched giant rancho, stable, and storage buildings. The home will come partially furnished, including beds, ample dishware for large groups, housewares, linens, washer/dryer, and fine hard-wood hand-built cabinetry. The remaining horses, 4 to 6 of them, will also convey if one wishes. We are also including a LARGE BEACH LOT in nearby Playa Bejuco. San Rafael de Nandayure is a tiny rural village nestled into the mountainside above Carmona with all the charms of the simple good life of a BLUE ZONE. Carmona is a thriving town with a clinic, restaurfants, shopping, and everything else one may need.  More information
go to www.ranchforsalecostarica.com  Call Darin Ricco, phone +619-846-8249 or email:  darin_ricco@hotmail.com

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

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A.M.
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news page


San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 257
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time
A.M. Costa Rica graphic
It's all relative anyway.

Time gets an additional second Saturday

By the  U.S. Naval Observatory news staff

Saturday a leap second will be added to the world's clocks at 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds Coordinated Universal Time. This corresponds to 5:59:59 p.m. Costa Rican time, when the extra second will be inserted at the U.S. Naval Observatory's Master Clock Facility in Washington, DC.

Historically, time was based on the mean rotation of the Earth relative to celestial bodies, and the second was defined in this reference frame. However, the invention of atomic clocks defined a much more precise timescale and a second that is independent of Earth's rotation.

In 1970, international agreements established a procedure to maintain a relationship between Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and UT1, a measure of the Earth's rotation angle in space.

The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service is the organization which monitors the difference in the two time scales and calls for leap seconds to be inserted in or removed from UTC when necessary to keep them within 0.9 seconds of each other. In order to create UTC, a secondary timescale, International Atomic Time, is first generated; it consists of UTC without leap seconds. When the system was instituted in 1972, the difference between TAI and UTC was determined to be 10 seconds. Since 1972, 26 additional leap seconds have been added at intervals varying from six months to seven years, with the most recent being inserted on June 30, 2015. After the insertion of the leap second Saturday, the cumulative difference between UTC and TAI will be 37 seconds.

Confusion sometimes arises over the misconception that the occasional insertion of leap seconds every few years indicates that the Earth should stop rotating within a few millennia. This is because some mistake leap seconds to be a measure of the rate at which the Earth is slowing.

The one-second increments are, however, indications of the accumulated difference in time between the two systems.

The U.S. Naval Observatory is charged with the responsibility for the precise determination and dissemination of time for the Department of Defense.

Modern electronic navigation and communications systems depend increasingly on the dissemination of precise time through such mechanisms as the Internet-based Network Time Protocol and the satellite-based Global Positioning System.

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From Page 7:


Food tourism to be featured at U.N. forum

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica has a long way to go to be an international competitor in gastronomy tourism.

This is an area that has been lucrative in other countries, such a Spain.

“Gastronomy tourism has an immense potential and is a priority for Spain’s tourism promotional strategy due to its increasing relevance, particularly in rural destinations. In 2015, 8.4 million international tourists, representing 12.3 percent of the total, engaged in some activity related to gastronomy” said Matilde Pastora Asian González, the Spanish secretary of state for tourism.

The World Tourism Organization, headquartered in Madrid, said this week that it is planning this year’s World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism. The event will be held in Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain, May 8 and 9. Costa Rican restaurant operators have participated in the forum in the past.

The forum is organized in collaboration with the Basque Culinary Center. The third edition will be dedicated to the links between gastronomy tourism and sustainability, said the U.N. organization.

The first edition of the Forum took place in Donostia–San Sebastian, the second edition in 2016 in Lima, Peru, and in 2017 the Forum will return to Donostia–San Sebastian, where it is to be held every two years.

“The relation between food and culture has become a major motivation for travelers, but also a great catalyst of sustainable tourism as gastronomy tourism brings out the most authentic features of each destination” said Taleb Rifai. He is secretary general of the World Tourism Organization.

At the forum, the U.N. Agency will release the second volume of the “Global Report on Gastronomy Tourism,” it said. The publication analyses current trends in gastronomy tourism and the methodologies involved in product development.