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Published Thursday, March 23, 2017, in Vol. 17, No. 59
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Tax would subsidize train and lower carbon emissions
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The government plans to tax motor vehicles and other means of conveyance in order to finance the money-losing rail system, and striving for carbon neutrality is a major reason.

The legislature just got bill No. 20313 that seeks to provide additional financing for the Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles, the rail agency.

Among other projects, the new tax will help pay for converting the diesel-burning locomotives to electric, said the bill.

Lawmakers might make many changes to the bill even if they eventually pass it, but right now the bill seeks to put a surcharge of up to 4.5 percent on the annual automobile road tax and assess from 1 to 7.5 percent additional on vehicle property tax.

The older the vehicle, the higher the assessment.

Electric cars and hybrids would be exempt, according to the current draft of the bill.

The government also will boost fees at toll booths based on the size and type of vehicle. The amounts would be indexed to inflation.

Number
                            81
A.M. Costa Rica photo
Rail agency wants to retire ancient engines such as the one pictured here: No. 81.

Hacienda expects new law's funds going to deficit
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The finance ministry seems to expect that new money earned from the corporate tax law will go toward paying off the country's deficit. The income earned from it also has seemingly dropped since initial estimates were made.

Representatives from the Ministerio de Hacienda, including Helio Fallas, the first vice president, claimed that 20 billion colons, or around $36 million, are expected to be earned from the recent tax law.

The statement was strange as the bill and the law itself is supposed to provide funds to the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública for more investment in the police forces.

Last Thursday, lawmakers approved the new tax for the second and final time necessary. In spite of Hacienda’s claims, the tax was originally expected to raise 45 billion colons, or about $81 million, from entities registered with the government.

This is one of those dedicated taxes that are not part of the national budget. The security ministry will get 90 percent of the proceeds, and the Ministerio de Justicia y Paz and the Judicial Investigating Organization will each get 5 percent, according to the law.

Even though the money does not go into the general budget, the original bill said that “the fiscal crisis that faces the country has sharpened and the fiscal deficit reaches levels that require drastic and urgent measures.” The law also says that one purpose is to reduce the indiscriminate creation of corporations that can be used for tax evasion or avoidance.

Many expats hold ownership in their homes and motor vehicles through establishing a corporation, usually a sociedad anónima or a sociedad de responsabilidad limitada. They are abbreviated S.A. and S.R.L.

The law exempts taxation of small businesses registered as such with the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio. Other corporations are assessed based on their level of gross income.

A stipulation in the law says that those who owe back taxes on corporations can pay the money without penalty for three months after the law is published in La Gaceta the official newspaper. That takes place after President Luis Guillermo Solís signs it.

The law goes into effect three months after the first day of the month following its publication. Then a proportional amount of taxes are due within the next 30 days for 2017. One stipulation is that the amount paid in taxes cannot be listed as a deduction for income taxes.

In other words, corporations will have to pay taxes on the money they paid in taxes. The proposed law also provides a way for members of corporation boards of directors and other officers to resign without penalty.

Like many fines and government payments, the proposed tax is determined by the base salary that is in effect. This year the amount is 426,200 colons or about $767.

This is the monthly salary listed for a specific job in the Poder Judicial, so the amount will increase each year.

Inactive corporations, that is those that have no economic activity, would pay 15 percent of the base salary for the annual tax. Costa Rican corporate entities and local branches of foreign corporations with gross income of less than 250 times the base salary would pay 30 percent.

Companies with gross income of 250 times the base salary or more would pay 60 percent of a base salary.

Companies with economic activity most likely would pass these costs on to their customers. The payment this year would be half the amount for a full year.

Aside from the platitudes on how the government is earning more money than it is spending, Fallas and company clearly sought to show off the new electronic invoicing system now being set up. The finance ministry also wants four bills in the legislature calling for additional money to be passed.

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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, March 23, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 59
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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 Services
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New agreement advances access to info

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Leaders of the four branches of government announced an agreement Wednesday to advance public access to information.

The theory is that transparency and citizen participation would work against corruption and promote innovation, according to Casa Presidencial.

Open government has been a continual theme of the Luis Guillermo Solís administration as well as the Poder Judicial. The legislature has been criticized recently for lack of access, so José Alberto Alfaro Jiménez, president of the Asamblea Legislativa, reaffirmed his commitment to openness Wednesday.

Also there was Zarela Villanueva, president of the Corte Suprema de Justicia, but according to a summary by Casa Presidencial, she stopped short of endorsing information openness.

The summary said she promised openness in institutional management, reporting official progress periodically, opening a space for citizen participation and an administration of trustworthy and effective justice.

In fact, the Corte Suprema has taken steps to reduce the information given to citizens. For example, last month the Sala IV constitutional section of the court ordered the judiciary to hide the names of individuals who have been banned from leaving the country due to back child support. The Sala IV accepted the appeal that said this knowledge would humiliate those listed on the site and violate their right to intimacy.

The Corte Suprema did not object strongly when lawmakers passed a bill that  restricts the judicial archives from including many convictions in criminal cases. The judiciary is empowered to emit what is known as a hoja a delincuencia. The document even can be ordered via the internet.

But the new law allows all but those convicted of the most serious crimes to clean their record, sometimes immediately upon completing the sentence. Employers have relied on these criminal records during the hiring process. But now many criminal convictions become secret after the sentence has been served.

That is supposed to rehabilitate criminals who now will not be barred from accepting confidential positions because they have a clean criminal record.

Most expats know that in Costa Rica criminal and civil court records are closed to all but those involved in the cases. Trials are open, but only a small number of cases actually get that far.

And many times when a summary of a court decision is made public, the names of those involved are removed. Investigators, those involved in loans and mortgages and investors have complained about this because they cannot find out sufficient information to do what are known as due diligence reports on the credit worthiness of individuals with whom they may make deals.

This lack of information creates a culture where court information is a valuable commodity. Two years ago one judicial worker was detained on the allegation that he accessed confidential records. What happened next is unknown because the criminal court records are closed.

The Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones is where birth, death and marriage records are kept. That fourth branch of government has had a web page for years that can provide that information. This is the agency that issues cédulas of identity as well as runs the elections. The government branch was represented Wednesday by Luis Antonio Sobrado González, president.

In February the executive branch issued a draft of a freedom-of-information decree designed to give more access to official activity.

The decree would require government agencies to maintain a web page with 20 types of detailed information on its functioning. Among other data, the agency must publish on the site salaries and information and costs of any trips made by employees. The agency also must publish a list of any money disbursed as grants, scholarships or similar to any person.

The decree also would require agencies to designate a freedom-of-information officer to respond to complaints.

The decree says that agencies have to respond to public requests for information within 10 days unless the request is very complicated.  In that case, more time is allowed.

The penalty for public employees who do not provide information is vague and based on unstated established administrative sanctions.

The agreement among the branches of government is pretty abstract and urges an institutional culture of openness and collaboration. It also urged the inclusion of marginalized groups and seems to promote heavy use of web pages to provide the data.

Casa Presidencial already has such a page with salaries and contracts, but with so much data reading it takes a lot of time. Reporters often complain about how hard they must work to obtain any information more than the laudatory press releases issued by government agencies.


Italian tourist recovers his stolen items

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An Italian tourist was lucky enough to recover his belongings after they were stolen by an unknown person last Tuesday in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, in the Caribbean province of Limón.

According to the police report, a group of people apparently saw the thief take the belongings of the Italian traveler and gave notice to the police officers who were patrolling the area.

After a two hour search, officers found the belongings but did not find the man that stole them. According to the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública, the Italian man seemed happy enough for getting his stuff back.


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A.M.
Costa Rica

Third News Page
U.S. Tax
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, March 23, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 59
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Tamarindo residents seek to expand image to more than sun and surf
By Rommel Téllez
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Quietly but consistently, the city of Tamarindo in the northwest area of Guanacaste, is expanding its profile beyond its common image of sun, beaches and surf.

This well-established tourist destination is opening up to new visitor's profiles and more diverse markets.

“I've had a steady market since 2009 and it keeps growing.” says Meghan Cox, who is in the business of marrying couples in this part of the country.

She runs her own company called Mil Besos Costa Rica, and provides wedding planning services for customers coming mainly from Canada and the United States who find Costa Rica as an exotic destination to seal their love.

“Costa Rica is attractive because the culture is very similar to that of the United States and Canada. It is considered an exotic destination, is not that far away and makes people feel safe. This is very important because each couple arrives with its own troop of guests, some of which may not be experienced travelers.” said Ms. Cox.

According to this businesswoman, each marriage implies an average of 60 people for five to seven days coming as guests.

All these tourists are offered accommodation, meals, the wedding ceremony and trips around the country.

“It is very appealing the fact that everything is close, so visitors are able to visit volcanoes, beaches and rainforest without too much hassle.” she explained.

Contrary to more traditional market niches, the wedding tourism industry doesn't deal with the perils of low seasons. There is enough love in the air all throughout the year.

“Tamarindo is becoming stronger in this market and we are working to make ourselves better as a destination,” said Hernán Imhoff, president of Cámara de Comercio y Turismo de Tamarindo. “This is a privileged area and the constant flow of wedding tourists really helps during low seasons” he adds.

A.M. Costa Rica asked for statistics about this market from the Costa Rica tourism board. However, no data was provided three days after the request.

“Tamarindo is not only a party place for young people, we want to change that label and show that our city can also be

Glass showpiece
Photo courtesy of Luis Castrillo
Glass piece by Valerie Rey to be showcased Saturday.

a cultural destination.”says Griet Depypere, president of the Tamarindo Arts Foundation.

The organization was founded in 2015 and it is run by a group of seven people who live in the area. They also seek to make Tamarindo more appealing to different profiles of visitors, those who might be older, calmer and with higher purchase power.

The group also aims to provide kids access to visual and performing arts, specially those who attend public primary schools with no art classes.

“We are also interested in attracting artists who might eventually deliver workshops in the community” added Mrs. Depypere.

In fact, to fulfill their mission, this coming Saturday the foundation is hosting a visual arts exhibit at 4 p.m at Centro Garden Plaza.

The event will not only showcase the talent of local and international visual artists, but will also include dance, theater, gastronomy and music.

Several renowned films will also be displayed and kids will have the chance to attend artistic workshops. All of the activities will be for free.

That's how local entrepreneurs, citizens and neighbors have all come together in an alliance to show a different angle of their beloved Tamarindo.



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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, March 23, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 59
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Amazon River is older than previously thought, according to study
By the University of Amsterdam press staff

Researchers from the University of Amsterdam and the University of Brasilia have determined the age of the formation of the Amazon River at around 9 million years ago with data that convincingly refutes substantial younger estimates. Their results are published in the journal “Global and Planetary Change.”

The study comprised geochemical and palynological analyses of sediments from a hydrocarbon exploration borehole, situated offshore of Brazil, that reached more than 4.5 kilometers below sea level.

The results show a distinct change in sediment composition and plant residual matter during the late Miocene Era.

This represents a switch in river source area from the tropical lowlands to the high Andes, which is diagnostic of the onset of the transcontinental Amazon River.

The new data contradict younger estimates of around 2.6 million years that have been proposed in recent literature and postdates estimates from an earlier study of this borehole by about 1 to 1.5 million years.

The study also gives novel insights into overall changes in plant composition in the Amazon drainage basin.

Particularly, the rise in grass remains suggests that mountain uplift and climatic changes strongly affected the landscape and probably opened up new habitats for grass colonization.


“Our new data confirm an old age for the Amazon River and also point at an expansion of grasslands during the Pleistocene that was not known before. Further research on land and at sea may give further answers but will require investment in both continental and marine drilling,” Carina Hoorn, lead author and researcher at the university’s Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, said.
Mouth of Amazon River
European Space Agency satellite image
The mouth of the Amazon river as seen from space.

The Amazon River contributes a fifth of the total fresh water supply to the global oceans and has the largest drainage basin of all rivers around the world. The onset of the river is a defining moment in the reorganization of the paleogeography of South America, forming both a bridge and a divider for biota in the Amazon landscape.

The history of the Amazon River and its drainage basin are hard to unravel, as the continental record is scarce and fragmented. The marine record is more complete, yet is equally difficult to access.

Sediment aprons in the proximity of major rivers often hold continuous records of terrestrial material accumulated by the river over time. These records provide a unique insight into the historic climate, geography and biome evolution of the land.

The research was carried out in the context of the Clim-Amazon project, a joint Brazilian-European scientific initiative for climate and geo-dynamic research on the Amazon River Basin sediment and is supported by the European Union through the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development.


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VISIT OUR WEB:
www.crsolar.net 
9118-6/26/17

Real estate rentals (paid category)

rental home
Beautiful Home for Rent
San Isidro Del General, Perez Zeledon. The beautiful southern zone. By week or month.  Only 10 minutes to town. Fabulous, artistic, one Bedroom, elegantly furnished home, overlooking river,  and near to attractions at the beach or mountain. Comes completely furnished with custom queen bed, orthopaedic mattress, all linens, large kitchen, all pans, dishes, silverware, blender new refrigerator, stove with oven, washing machine, glove leather couches, breakfast nook, patio with hammock.  Has also large bodega, with extra full sized bed, can sleep 4. Comes with satellite TV & WIFI. Located next to small river, with access to river pools, and over 60 varieties of rare, tropical birds. Only 45 minutes to beach, Playa Dominical and 40 minutes to National Park Chirripo. Perfect weather. Not hot like the beach. No car needed, bus take 15 minutes to town, costs 30 cents. Gated private and secure, near bus, mini markets. This is a complete home, artistic, beautiful surroundings, with convenience and privacy, yet near to it all. Nice folks.  For more photos and information: james43michael@gmail.com  Costa Rica phone: (506) 2771-4339
9178-4/7/17

Poas chalet
What a chalet!
We offer for rent a boutique quality 2-bedroom (BR)/1-bath mountain chalet, and a 2-BR/2-bath mountain home located on the slopes of the Barva Volcano, Heredia Province. The homes are situated at 7,300 feet altitude within the limits of a small horse ranch.  Located just three kilometers from the Braulio Carrillo National Park entrance, our homes sit on the strategic high ground of Costa Rica’s Central Valley, and are contiguous with the park’s 47,000 hectares of primary cloud rainforest. The chalet and mountain home include a spacious living room, kitchen, fireplace, and covered parking.  All utilities and wifi internet included. Please contact Allan or Cristina at barvavolcano@gmail.com for photos, pricing and contract details.
9163-3/10/17


Tropical Homes logo
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





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A.M. Costa Rica's
  
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, March 23, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 59
Calendar
Opinion
Classifieds
Real Estate
Lifestyle
Food
About us
 
Five dead in London attack;
attacker has not been named


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

At least five people, including a suspected attacker and a police officer, have been killed in an attack near the British Parliament that authorities are treating as a terrorist incident.

Parliament was placed on lockdown Wednesday after an attacker fatally stabbed a police officer. The attacker was later shot by other officers on the Parliament grounds. Earlier, the attacker, driving a vehicle on nearby Westminster Bridge, ran down several people.

Mark Rowley, head of counterterrorism efforts for London's Metropolitan Police Service, told reporters late Wednesday that Parliament is no longer on lockdown and will meet as usual Thursday, as promised earlier by Prime Minister Theresa May.

"We think we know who the shooter was," Rowley said, confirming that police believe the shooter was inspired by international terrorist attacks.

He said authorities are not ready to give a name and asked reporters not to speculate on the attacker's identity while the investigation continues. He also declined to say whether foreign nationals were wounded or killed in the attack until Britain has contacted their home countries.

Rowley identified the security officer who died in the attack as 48-year-old Keith Palmer, a husband and father who had served in British law enforcement for 15 years.

He said overall five people, including the shooter, died in the attack. He said around 40 were injured, including two police officers who are in serious condition. He said the investigation will continue through the night as security officers comb a wide area for clues.

Rowley also said the international threat assessment in Britain will not change, but officers will be deployed more heavily across the nation, especially in highly crowded areas, to keep people safe.

British Prime Minister Theresa May addressed the public on television late Wednesday, calling the attack sick and depraved. She vowed that it would not affect the daily routines of people living and working in the heart of London, where the attack took place.

She also commended the security officers who responded to the attack, saying the loss of one of their own members made their work reassuring the public all the more remarkable.

Ms. May said any attempt to intimidate the British people through violence and terror is doomed to failure. She also said Parliament will meet on Thursday as usual.

Parliament was placed on lockdown after an attacker stabbed a police officer before being shot by other officers on the parliament grounds. The injured officer later died of his injuries. At least two people were killed and eight others injured when a vehicle struck several people on the nearby Westminster bridge.

A senior police officer said that they believe only one assailant was involved in what appears to have been a three-staged attack.

It began with an SUV being driven over Westminster Bridge right by the House of Commons. The SUV mounted the sidewalk and struck several pedestrians.

According to police sources, the vehicle struck some other pedestrians at the perimeter fence near the gates at Old Palace Yard.

"The attacker then rushed the gates and struggled with a police guard who tried to stop him. The assailant stabbed him several times," the senior police officer said. “Other officers shot the attacker."

The gunfire was heard at 2:38 p.m. London time inside the House of Commons as lawmakers were debating legislation on pension reform. Eyewitnesses say about half-a-dozen shots were fired.

"It all happened within a minute," witness Tawhid Tanim said. "I came out of where I work and saw a car had pulled up and I heard I just heard bang bang bang and people running everywhere."

In Washington, the White House said President Donald Trump has spoken with British Prime Minister Theresa May and has been briefed on the situation in London.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said it is in close contact with British authorities but that the U.S. domestic security posture remains unchanged.

As the attack unfolded British Prime Minister May was in a voting lobby adjacent to the chamber of the House of Commons. Her plain-clothes bodyguards drew their weapons and one officer put his arm around May as they quickly escorted her out of the House of Commons, according to Andrew Bridgen, a Conservative lawmaker.

Armed police have cordoned off streets within a block of the parliament building and the Westminster bridge has been shut down. Members of Parliament, who were in session when the attacks began, have been evacuated.

If confirmed as a terrorist attack, it would be the first in Britain since May 2013 when an off-duty British Army soldier, Lee Rigby, was hacked to death on a London street by a self-proclaimed jihadist. It is the worst attack at the House of Commons since the Irish Republican Army bombing in 1979, when Conservative politician Airey Neave, a confidant of Margaret Thatcher, was killed.


Paul Manafort admits
Russian connection


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is acknowledging that he worked for a Russian aluminum magnate under a multi-million-dollar contract a decade ago, but is pushing back on claims that his efforts were aimed at advancing the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Manafort, Trump's campaign chief from March until August last year, told U.S. news outlets on Wednesday that he worked for Oleg Deripaska almost a decade ago, representing him on business and personal matters in countries where he had investments.

Manafort's work for Deripaska was disclosed by the Associated Press, which said Manafort signed a $10 million annual contract with the Russian in 2006 and maintained a business relationship with him until at least 2009.

The former Trump aide, according to the news service's report, proposed a political strategy to thwart anti-Russian opposition in the former Soviet republics.

After disclosure of his previously unknown ties to Deripaska, Manafort said his work was being unfairly cast as inappropriate or nefarious and was part of a smear campaign.

Manafort's name was mentioned 28 times at the hearing, but Comey declined to say whether Manafort was a target of the investigation. No one mentioned Deripaska.

Manafort ran Trump's campaign during the crucial months leading up to the Republican National Convention, where the billionaire real estate mogul claimed the party's presidential nomination.

But on Monday, after Comey disclosed the FBI's probe of possible Trump campaign collusion with Moscow, White House spokesman Sean Spicer addressed Manafort's role in the campaign.

Spicer said the 67-year-old Manafort played a limited role for a very limited amount of time in the campaign.

Manafort left the Trump campaign last August after it was revealed he had worked for the pro-Russian party of ousted Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to Russia as his government was toppled in 2014 by pro-Western interests.


Scientists develop new test
for male fertility using app


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Scientists have developed a quick test, using a smartphone app, that a man can use in the privacy of his home to determine whether he is fertile. The sperm test could help millions of couples around the world that have tried unsuccessfully to conceive a child.

The new rapid, automated test can show within a matter of seconds whether the man's sperm count is too low to conceive or if there are problems with motility of the sperm so the reproductive cells have trouble fertilizing a female egg.

The fertility test is an inexpensive smartphone attachment that the scientists said is made of materials which cost around $4.50. It was developed by researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in the U.S. state of Utah and at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

John Petrozza is director of Massachusetts General's fertility center, which used the sperm app to analyze 350 samples. The experimental test proved to be greater than 95 percent accurate in detecting problems with a man's sperm.

Petrozza said many women wonder why they have trouble getting pregnant after months or years of trying to conceive with their partner.

The test is designed to be used at home, rather than at a clinic, in a growing field of what is known as point of care medicine.

After placing a semen sample on a slide, the user inserts it into the attachment placed on the phone, using the device's optics to analyze the semen. The smartphone's powerful camera is able to take both still and moving pictures of the sperm sample.

The app guides users through a series of simple steps for analyzing the semen. Total sperm count is measured by a miniaturized weight scale that transmits the information wireless to the phone.

Researchers gave the device to 10 untrained volunteers from the Boston clinic to confirm that it is simple to use. In that test, researchers say it correctly classified 100 semen samples for fertility.

The male fertility analyzer was described in the journal "Science Translational Medicine."

Petrozza says the smartphone attachment could also be used as a follow-up test for men who've had vasectomies, voluntary operations to surgically interrupt a man's sperm flow for birth control.

At the same time, Petrozza envisions using the device to test for venereal diseases such as gonorrhea. And scientists are now trying to perfect the point-of-care device to test for zika virus in sperm, which has been shown to be a reservoir for the pathogen.

An analysis of the semen's quality and concentration, said Petrozza, is based on parameters for fertility established by the World Health Organization.

He said the American Society for Reproductive Medicine has been in contact with the world body.

An estimated 45 million couples around the world struggle with fertility. Forty percent of the time, say experts, infertility is due to abnormal sperm.

Petrozza and colleagues are aiming to get the male sperm analyzer on the market in the next 18 to 24 months, to be sold alongside pregnancy tests.

He says they're hoping to keep the cost of the device to anywhere from $30 to $45.


Schools moving to capitalize
on solar energy for power


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The cost for individual homes in the U.S. to go solar has dropped by more than 60 percent over the last decade. Those low costs helped convince more than a million Americans to install solar panels on their roofs.

Now schools are beginning to get in on the benefits. One of them is the school system in Fremont, Indiana. The residents of this small town in America's upper Midwest have always relied on the sun to warm their fields and draw tourists to their lakes. Now school superintendent William Stitt said they’re counting on it to power their schools.

Construction of the solar project will cost $3 million. But when finished, it will completely power the elementary, middle and high school buildings. It may generate so much electricity, that the school will be able to sell some back to the power company at a profit.

The system will work through several rows of 3,000-4,000 panels each. They will be located in a special 2.5 hectare solar field behind the middle school.

The district has to lease the equipment from the local power company for 20 years, at a fixed rate.

But Kim Quick, facility director, said that even with that added cost, the schools should save money because the panels should last 40 years.

In 20 years, the school district will own the equipment outright, meaning it won’t pay anything for electricity.

Since the panels are always on, Ms. Quick said the district will save additional money by banking the unused electricity that's generated when school is not in session.

Just 3 percent of the nation’s 125,000 schools use some form of solar energy. While not all can use solar power cost-effectively, a recent report by the Solar Foundation found that 72,000 US schools could save money with solar.

Schools could install panels on their roofs or elevate a field of panels over a parking lot. Those innovations would save most schools an average of $1 million over 30 years.

Going solar also offers schools an educational component. It provides teachers opportunities to incorporate lessons in science, technology, engineering, and math into the curriculum.

More news of the Americas
From the Voice of America

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
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Real estate for sale (paid category)


Plantation Acres
PLANTATION ACRES
This exiting new project offers spectacular home sites with breathtaking ocean and forest views stated on 100 acres of tropical forest.

* On-site Welcome Center
* Located between Punta Leona and Playa Agujas
* At just an hour from San José, the capital city.
* 5 minutes from Los Sueños Marina and 18 Hole Ted Robinson Golf Course
* 10 minutes from Jacó Beach, Costa Rica’s lives beach town

Contact:
Johnny Lopez
Phone: (506) 8945-5820 / (506) 2643-3356
Email: johnny@c21jaco.com
9141-3/23/18
9141-3/23/189173-9/1/17

Puriscal home
GORGEOUS MOUNTAIN & OCEAN VIEW HOME
REDUCED $40K - $355,000
HEALTH CONDITIONS REQUIRES QUICK SALE
This is a gorgeous, new, 3-bedroom luxury home on 2.2 flat acres in a secure, gated community, high in the hills of Puriscal, with stunning, 180-degree views of the ocean, city and mountains of the Central Valley in Costa Rica. Centrally located in the heart of Costa Rica, you are never more than an hour from the Pacific beaches while being much less than that to the culture, shopping, services and night life of the San José, Escazú, Santa Ana and the whole Central Valley. The Altos de Antigua gated community sits at an altitude of 2,800 feet with mild temperatures year round. Features wide paved roads and cement culverts throughout, a large community pool & spa with changing rooms & showers. The community association fees are $42 a month ($500 annually).
This property is currently being offered for $355,000.00 U.S.
Purchase adjoining 2.2 acre investment lot with the home sale for $35,000.00 U.S. or separately for $55,000.00 U.S.
 
    Summary of House Features:

       * Completed 2012 to North American standards
       * 3 large bedrooms, 2 full baths
       * Custom designed kitchen w/granite countertops
       * Frigidaire Professional appliance package
       * State-of-the-art solar hot water
       * Eco-friendly Toshiba LED lighting
       * LG Multi-Split air conditioning system
       * House & perimeter security alarm system
       * 2-car closed garage w/large paved driveway
 
Video Tour: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUEAmahIU9A
Community Web Site: http://www.altigua.com
Photos: HERE!
Costa Rica # 506-8985-6705 or from the States call # 561-740-0651 or email gary_one@msn.com
9173-9/1/17

colinasdelsol
COLINAS DEL SOL Fenced Gated Lots for Sale

* Colinas del Sol is a fenced and gated project  in a quiet area.
* There are 88 clear titled lots.
* Mountain areas with great views.
* Gently sloping level areas ideal for hobby farms, gardening, fruit trees.
* Quiet place to get away from the busy city and beach crowds.
* All lots have gravel roads to them, water and electricity at each.
* Lots are 5,000 sq. meters or larger, starting at only $40,000 USD
* Located in Libertad, Guanacaste, northwest Pacific area of Costa Rica.
* 20 minutes to the Liberia International Airport
* 15 minutes to the Pacific Beaches
* 10 minutes to Medical Facilities
* 25 minutes to the Liberia Hospital
* 5 minutes to Vista Ridge Golf Club

Contact:
In Costa Rica, Jeffrey Sandi Murray:  jsandimurray@colinasdelsolcr.com
In the USA and Canada contact Jim Day: jimday50@aol.com or call 517-484-3675

For more information Click Here: www.colinasdelsolcr.com
9056-2/28/17

Etlinger
                                      Farm rollover
Beautiful farm in excellent location
At only an hour's drive from San José, minutes from Guápiles, and boardering Braulio Carrillo National Park, Etlingera Farms is one heck of an amazing farm. We purchased this 77-acre farm 10 years ago after many trips, and an exhaustive search. It has a little bit of everything we were looking for and a whole lot of beauty. Our average elevation of 600 meters helps to keep Bella Vista cool year round. This farm is nearly level with a semi-modern 2-bedroom house. A fairly rustic 2-bedroom caretaker's home. And, a comfortable, 1-bedroom cabin where we stay. We have 2 large barns, a chicken coop, and a 3-stall pig pen. There are two tilapia ponds and 2 hectarias, (approximately 5 acres) of different species of bananas. The property boarders Rio Blanco in the rear and has 300 meters of public road frontage. Water, electricity, and telephone are all serviced by public utility. Etlingera Farms was reforested with several thousand wood trees of different tropical varieties. We truly believe this farm is spectacular. Our neighbors are selling for as much as $20 per meter. We are negotiable, motivated and open to offers. Our location can be found by searching Etlingera Farms on Google Maps. Our webpage is www.etlingerafarms.com and photo album can be found at www.ticorico.com
9196-4/25/17

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. The price of our listing Rancho Ricco is $799,000. More information
go to www.ranchforsalecostarica.com  Call Darin Ricco, phone +619-846-8249 or email:  darin_ricco@hotmail.com
9183-6/13/17

Kkpit
                                      rollover

FURNISHED  APARTMENT for SALE.
CONDOMINIO SATURNO, LA URUCA, OUTSKIRTS
of SAN JOSÉ, COSTA RICA
Situated 3 miles west of the capital, 8 miles from the airport. Quiet, secluded area within walking distance to a commercial center including a hotel, 6 restaurants,  next to 2 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, 2 bedrooms, maid's room, 2 bathrooms, 4 closets  (including walk in), fully equipped kitchen (refrigerator, washing machine,small appliances, all necessary utensils, work tools). Close covered parking space in guarded area.  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:   CONTACT:  USA :  (585) 969-3413 or (585) 266-7418 or in COSTA RICA : (506) 2231-0410.   email: boriskopit@yahoo.com
9143-4/17/17

rollover
Owner Financing in San Ramon
New Construction, and Ocean View 
Brand new home with 4-plus bedrooms and 3 baths all overlooking an incredible 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean and mountains. Located only 45 minutes from the San Jose airport and about the same to the Pacific Ocean.  The lower level could be used as a separate apartment or mother-in-law setup. Home includes HUGE master  suite, CLOSETS, custom cabinets, granite counter tops, high wood ceilings, and all in an area that is 70-80 degrees year round. Priced at $199,000. Completion date is January.  See the Virtual Tour CLICK HERE or see our site here  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.com 
9143-2/3/17

Penthouse rollover
Costa Rica penthouse for sale
 5 -story penthouse for sale.  One of a kind penthouse on top of the Corobici Hotel in Sabana overlooking the Central Park and new Soccer Stadium in San José.  Excellent location provides you easy access to everywhere.  Other benefits include 24-hour security, 2 restaurants inside the hotel providing 1st class room service plus shared common areas in the hotel. Commercial license is in place. Seller will consider owner financing.  Asking $795K U.S.  Also available for monthly rent for $3,400 per month on an annual basis. Go to www.ThePenthouseCostaRica.com  Owners U.S. cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email crstratton@ymail.com
9132-6/1/17

Business for sale or lease (paid category)

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.

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

Remax
                                        Tamarindo
www.remax-oceansurf-cr.com 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 Costa Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and & commercial real estate. Twelve (12) agents to serve you, from Playa Marbella to Playa Dante in the Guanacaste, through our Tamarindo and Flamingo offices. For more information, please contact our local phones: 506-2653-0073 Tamarindo / 506-2201-9056 Flamingo ~ Toll Free: 1-866-976-8898 or email:  info@remax-oceansurf-cr.com  or click here www.remax-oceansurf-cr.com
9145-1/2918

ReMax Playas del Coco
We are an award-winning Team of Professional Agents working with Costa Rica’s #1 Selling Real Estate Agency RE/MAX Prestige Ocean Properties. Get to KNOW, LIKE & TRUST us and let us help you find YOUR Pura Vida! We have over 30 years of experience to educate our buyers and sellers in all aspects of Real Estate.  For Information on condos, homes, lots, farms, ranches, commercial or development property
CONTACT US TODAY with NO OBLIGATION whatsoever.

Playas del Coco Click Here!

Playa Panama Click Here!

Playa Hermosa Click Here!
Peninsula Papagayo Click Here!

Playa Matapalo Click Here!
Toll Free 1-877-293-1456
Email: michael@costarica-realestate.com

9174-2/7/18

Real estate-related services (paid category)

A-1
                                        graphic
A1 MASTER BUILDERS COSTA RICA
SMALL and LARGER jobs welcome !!!. We can build from any plan you bring us all work done by USA codes master electric and plumbing Better quality and lower prices than USA. We do it all Right  + Reasonable.
Call us: Toll Free 877-778-8515   
     Text from US: 804-313-6382 
     CR phone: 506-8307-0164
     Email: hotelescazu@aol.com
     For more info also see our sites:
    www.a1masterbuildercostarica.webs.com
    www.hotelsescazu.com
    www.hotel4salecostarica.com
    www.wind-solar.webs.com 
9142-7/27/17

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. 
9004-4/26/17

COSTA RICA SOLAR
solar one

solar two
NOW with the New Power Company Regulations, we're installing photo voltaic systems for solar electricity.
PV systems: we use Enphase micro-inverters. More flexible. Add panels whenever you like. More reliable than any other system and fully guaranteed!

Solar device
NOW is the time to install our new super-efficient solar hot water! New model for condos
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BUY NOW! Your solar hot water system, so in three months, we can calculate a lower install price for your PV system.  Perfect for homes and hotels. Save up to 40% of your electric bill.
More Watts per Panel, Smarter and more Capable Enphase Micro Inverters mean Less Cost and more Flexibility for You.

    We aren't Cheap...Neither are our Products. Call to Compare.
    More Flexible, Reliable-and Fully Guaranteed!

    Push this BIG RED BUTTON:  (O) and Learn ​details about your deal with ICE     
    SEE our new PACKAGE DEALS.
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CALL TODAY!
Office: 506-2446-0543
Andre 506-8314-8090
Paul 506-8898-9398
OUR EMAIL:
 andrefurlong@gmail.com
Paul.Furlong@CR-Solar.com
VISIT OUR WEB:
www.crsolar.net 
9177-6/19/16



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A.M.
Costa
Rica
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news page


San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, March 23, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 59
Calendar
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News from the BBC up to the minute














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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Caja establishes mental health squads

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Costa Rican social security fund will strengthen this year the strategy implemented in 2016 to fight the mental, behavioral and addictive disorders.

The strategy consists in intervention squads where therapies might be just for the individual, the family or a group. These squads include not only psychologists, but also social workers, nurses, and general doctors. The team of professionals in charge of the patient come together and then deliver a more comprehensive treatment.

Consultation can last up to 120 minutes and the patient is taken care of when needed instead of being put on a waiting list. Other changes are related to opening hours, as this type of consultation starts around 11a.m. and may end at 7 p.m.

This year, 11 new intervention teams will join the four already existing and will be installed in areas considered to be at risk such as La Anexión de Nicoya, San Carlos, Siquirres, and Puntarenas.

A third group will also be trained to work in the Carlos Durán and Marcial Rodríguez clinics, Fernando Escalante Padilla Hospital in Perez Zeledon and Hospital de Cañas in Guanacaste. 

According to data by the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, 6,509 people were granted short term disabilities due to mental and behavioral disorders in 2016.

In 2014, mental disorders involving schizophrenia reached 215 and San José accounted for 113 out of those. For bipolar disorder, there were 152 cases and the age group most affected was 70 to 74 years, according to the latest Ministerio de Salud report.

As for depression, 41,576 new cases were reported in 2014, and 74-percent occurred in women, which may be associated with domestic violence, unemployment and harsh financial conditions.

The highest rates of depression are in Vásquez de Coronado, Palmares, San José and Cañas, according to the same report.


National archives wants more records

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Costa Rican national archives is opening its doors for persons to contribute documents and records for registration as sources to the public benefit.

El Programa de Memoria del Mundo is a heritage program assigning three levels to contributions based on the importance nationally, regionally, or worldwide.

The program has been officially endorsed by the United Nations’ Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. The inauguration of the program will be Friday morning at the Archivo Nacional building.

Examples of documents already being registered include the declaration of the abolition of the army as well as the death register from the Campaign of 1856.

The new register will also accept digital submissions as well. The purpose of this registration, officials said, is to further strengthen the protection of these documents for posterity.

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Expotur event returns to Costa Rica this May

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some expats may want to mark their calendars in anticipation of the 33rd annual Expotur being held this coming May.

Organized by the Asociación Costarricense de Profesionales en Turismo, the Exposición Turismo is an opportunity for attendees to network with other professionals in the Costa Rican tourism industry.

It represents a large-scale exhibition of the tourism industry. The event will be held for two days on May 10 until May 12 at the Centro Kolbi in Parque Viva, Alajuela Centro, organizers said.

Registration for the event can be done early by going to the event’s website. The cost of registering to gain admission is $200 per person at the regular rate, according to the website.

That is if one is a buyer, which is generally an international representative who is a member of a business or other organization within the tourism sector. Registration as a seller for the Expo is also completed via the website.