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(506) 2223-1327                               Published Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 27                             Email us
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Zika virus threatens already shaky tourism statistics
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rican officials always brag about the number of foreign tourists. A detailed report covering 2015 is due out this month, and it most likely will show a significant increase over the 2014 total of 2.4 million.

Many tourism operators are trying hard to find out where these tourists are because the industry is in crisis.

The Instituto Costarricense de Turismo let the cat out of the bag on its institutional Web site. The institute has been using statistics from the immigration agency, but fully 13 percent of those counted as tourists are coming to the country for other reasons.

Just 75 percent of those listed as tourists are coming to Costa Rica for vacations and pleasure, the institute said, adding that 13 percent are coming for business of professional reasons.

The Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería has a number of categories for various types of visitors, but they mostly are not used.

The tourism institute never has clarified that perhaps a half million so-called tourists come from Nicaragua.

Also unknown are the number of repeat visitors who enter the country multiple times each year.  Some expats are called perpetual tourists because they live here but leave the  country every 90 days to renew their tourism visa.

Efforts to obtain these statistics by a reporter have been unsuccessful.

Only time will tell how the tourism institute counts the 8,000 Cuban migrants who became stranded in the country.

Tourism numbers now are more critical than ever because the country is trying to overcome fears worldwide of the zika virus.

Central government officials said Monday that there was no active circulation of the virus in the country. The press release was designed to counter negative international publicity that has resulted in reservation cancellations.

The Ministerio de Salud y el Instituto Costarricense de Turismo also called on tourism operators to reinforce their efforts at cleaning out places where the mosquito vectors may breed.

The statement quoted Daniel Salas Peraza of the health ministry noting that the high tourism season coincided with the arrival of the dry season in Costa Rica. And he urged residents to prepare for the rainy season by eliminating mosquito breeding sites.

The Ministerio de Educación Pública, the  Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social and even the Fuerza Pública have been put to work removing possible breeding spots.

However, despite the press statements, there does not seem to be any organized effort to carry this message to foreign tourists.

Meanwhile, the international media are filled with reminders, and the reports seldom differentiate between Costa Rica and the rest of Latin America.

There was another reminder of the virus in Washington Monday. President Barack Obama is asking the U.S. Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to

Ministerio de Salud photo
This is one of the many locations where mosquitoes can breed in trash that collects water.

Police officer fumigating
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
Fuerza Pública officer is engaged in fumigating in Barrio Santa Rita de Alajuela.

help fight the zika virus in the United States and other countries.

U.S. health officials say the funding is critical for developing a vaccine, more efficient diagnostic testing, and for research into suspected links between zika and microcephaly, a condition in newborns that results in deformed skulls and underdeveloped brains.

In a statement Monday, the White House says the funding also would support essential strategies to combat the virus, such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs and providing health care services and support for low-income pregnant women.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 50 laboratory confirmed cases among U.S. travelers in the past two months. One was a Texas tourist who visited Nosara in December.

The zika virus is contracted through bites of a variety of the Aedes mosquito, and researchers have found some preliminary evidence it may then be transmitted through sexual contact.  It causes no symptoms in 80 percent of those infected. However, a massive spread of the virus in Latin America and the Caribbean, coupled with a huge spike in microcephaly births, has led to widespread scientific speculation that the virus may trigger fetal malformations that leave infants devastatingly disfigured and impaired and their parents bereft of hope.

"We must work aggressively to investigate these outbreaks, and mitigate to the best extent possible, the spread of the virus," the White House said in its request.

Anne Schuchat, deputy director of the Centers, says women who traveled to zika infected territories should be tested for the virus even if they don’t have symptoms.

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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 27
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Local Dems can make their choice known

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Democrats who live overseas, including those in Costa Rica, can participate in their own primary election.Democrats Abroad here is organizing the opportunity for voting.

Democrats can either visit a designated polling place or designate their choice online, the organization said.

The results here, those at 39 countries hosting in-person votes and results from other countries eventually will result in the selection of 13 pledged delegate votes to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in July. The organization will have a total of 17 votes there.

Of course, Democrats who vote in their home state primary cannot vote again here, the organization noted.

Democrats Abroad said that designated polling places will be set up in  Escazú, Grecia, Pérez Zeldon, Quepos/Manual Antonio and San José. Information on specific locations can be obtained by emailing or by calling 8572-2984.

From now until March 8, Democrats who are unable to attend a voting site can vote remotely via mail, an email attachment or a fax, said Democrats Abroad. Details are at

Said the local organization: “Democrats Abroad is unique: unlike the Republicans, Democrats Abroad's leadership is elected by the organization's members, and only Democrats Abroad holds a dedicated primary, which allows the members living in more than 190 countries around the world the opportunity to record their presidential preference and directly affect the Democratic Party’s choice of its nominee.”

Republicans Overseas, a similar organization, just held a preference poll that was won by Rand Paul with 34.4 percent. Marco Rubio came in second with 22.6 percent, followed by Donald Trump with 14.1 percent. Paul has since withdrawn.

Democrats will have to choose between former first lady Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator.

The Panamá News has posted responses from the candidates on issues affecting  expats. These include citizenship-based taxation and the same country safe harbor addition to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act that has caused problems for many Americans overseas. The questions were posed by Democrats Abroad. The responses are HERE!

Acetaminophen found to retard dengue

By the American Society for Microbiology news staff

No vaccine or drug has yet become available against the dengue virus. A flavivirus like the newly prominent zika virus, dengue has become a leading cause of serious illness and death in some Asian and Latin American countries.

Now a team of Dutch investigators has data suggesting that a protein in dengue virus that goes by the scientific name, NS4B, would make a promising target for antiviral drug development. The research is published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

More specifically, the team found that a metabolite of the common pain reliever, acetaminophen, called AM404, inhibits dengue virus from replicating. They identified AM404 as a potential antiviral agent by screening the National Institutes of Health Clinical Collection, a library of small molecules that have been used clinically in humans.

The team was able to determine when replication was being inhibited because they used a derivative of dengue virus that expresses luciferase, a molecule that produces bioluminescence, during replication, said corresponding author Ronald van Rij, associate professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. “This system provides an easy and rapid read-out of virus replication, and is therefore very useful for screening purposes,” said van Rij.

In an effort to identify mutations that would render dengue virus insensitive to AM404, the researchers tried to generate resistance mutations by culturing the virus in the presence of AM404. “This is a typical approach to generate resistance mutations,” said van Rij. However, these attempts failed.

Like zika virus, dengue is transmitted by the mosquito, Aedes aegypti. Dengue, called break bone fever, is notable for causing severe bone and muscle pain, headache, and pain behind the eyes. It is also linked with severe vomiting, red spots or patches on the skin and difficulty breathing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It causes an estimated 100 million clinical cases worldwide, annually, and roughly half of the world’s population is at risk, including southernmost regions of the United States, such as Florida, Texas, and Hawaii, according to the World Health Organization.

About 2.5 percent of those infected die, although early detection and treatment can reduce mortality to around one percent.

Unfortunately, AM404’s antiviral activity against dengue is rather modest, said van Rij. “However, insights into the mechanism behind AM404’s antiviral activity will teach us a lot about the infection.”

3,000 police on duty for school openings

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Fuerza Pública is expected to have 3,000 officers on duty today as children head back to public school for the 2016 year.

The director general of the police agency outlined the preparations at the Escuela Santa Rita, a location that was plagued by crooks last year.

The school is in what is known as Infiernillo in Barrio San José de Alajuela. Officials say that a police effort has cleaned up the area and that the school children are more secure.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 27
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Workmen keep down the dust on a kilometer stretch of road between Playa Tamarindo and Playa Langosta that was in need of repairs. The route carries nearly 1,300 cars a day, and many of them are tourists. The job should be done in three weeks, said the Cámara de Comercio y Turismo de Playa Tamarindo
Langosta road
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Sabana senior dies when confronted by three home invaders
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A 74-year-old Sabana resident dropped dead Sunday night when he confronted crooks in his home.

The Judicial Investigating Organization identified the man by the last name of  Cruz and said that the family had been the victim of another intrusion by probably the same crooks Saturday.

Judicial agents said that three masked bandits made their way into the home about 10 p.m. Sunday. They said Cruz was in bad
health and attributed his death to a heart attack. The crooks fled.
Another home invasion took place Monday morning in Puriscal. There three crooks tricked their way into the home of two seniors, said the judicial agency.

A man appeared at the door about 8 a.m. and said that he was there to do some plumbing work, and one of the residents let him in. He and his companions tied up and gagged the pair and then ransacked the home.

They took about 14 million colons, said judicial investigators. That is a bit more than $26,000. The pair were freed when a neighbor noticed their door was ajar and investigated, said agents.

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Dogs do not have the same smarts, researchers discover with IQ test
By London School of Economics and Political Science
news staff

Dogs have measurable IQs, like people, suggests new research from the London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of Edinburgh.

The research looked at whether dog intelligence is structured in a similar way as in humans. When IQ, or general intelligence, is tested in people, individuals tend to perform comparably across different types of cognitive tasks. Those who do well in one type of task, tend to do well in others.

Researchers created a dog IQ test which they used to assess the intelligence of 68 working border collies. These tests included: navigation, tested by timing how long it took the dogs to get food that was behind different types of barriers, assessing whether they could tell the difference between quantities of food, and their ability to follow a human pointing gesture to an object.

The researchers found that dogs that did well on one test tended to be better at the other tests. Furthermore, dogs that did tests faster were likely to do them more accurately.

Rosalind Arden, a research associate, said: “Just as people vary in their problem solving abilities, so do dogs, even within one breed. This is significant because in humans there is a small but measurable tendency for people who are brighter to be healthier and live longer.  So if, as our research suggests, dog intelligence is structured similarly to ours, studying a species that doesn’t smoke, drink, use recreational drugs and does not have large differences in education and income, may help us understand this link between intelligence and health better.

“In addition, dogs are one of the few animals that reproduce many of the key features of dementia, so understanding their

London School of Economics photo
This is one of the subjects doing a test.

cognitive abilities could be valuable in helping us to understand the causes this disorder in humans and possibly test treatments for it," she added.

The suite of tests was conducted in under an hour per dog, which is comparable with the time it takes a person to do an IQ-type test.  Previous research on canine cognitive abilities has taken much longer to administer.

Mark Adams, a research fellow at the University of Edinburgh, said: “This is only a first step, but we are aiming to create a dog IQ test that is reliable, valid and can be administered quickly.  Such a test could rapidly improve our understanding of the connection between dog intelligence, health, even lifespan.

"Dogs are excellent for this kind of work because they are willing to participate and seem to enjoy taking part.”

In order to get a large sample of dogs from similar backgrounds the researchers recruited working border collies, which meant that there weren’t big differences in how they were raised.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

                        Garden 2016
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The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is a great place to find quality remembrances of Costa Rica to take home or to decorate your home or office in Costa Rica.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever.  With more than 60 artists on exhibit and fine art in 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we are easy to locate just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport. Visit our Web site at
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The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

 (as reported by the moving companies)
Visit many rental options to actually experience the price/amenity options available in more of the areas chosen by Expats for security, comfort, and quality of life.

Meet many Expats who are willing to share their experiences and how the tour has value long after the “lust” wears off.
See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!

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Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 27
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Islamic State leader's wife
facing U.S. murder charge

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Justice Department has charged the wife of a now-deceased Islamic State leader for her alleged role in last year's death of American aid worker Kayla Mueller.

Nisreen Assad Ibrahim Bahar and her husband, Abu Sayyaf, are accused of holding Mueller and other women captive in their home. U.S. officials say Mueller was subjected to repeated sexual abuse by Islamic State chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi during her captivity.

Mueller was killed in February 2015.

Bahar, also known as Umm Sayyaf, knew how Mueller was treated by Baghdadi when Mueller was held against her will in Sayyaf's home,' federal prosecutors said Monday.

Abu Sayyaf was killed in a Delta Force commando raid of his Syrian compound in June, and his wife was turned over to Iraqi authorities for prosecution.

Umm Sayyaf allegedly admitted to FBI agents last summer that she was chiefly responsible for Mueller and other hostages while her husband traveled. On those occasions, she acknowledged hosting Islamic State members and al-Baghdadi at her home.

Sayyaf told interrogators that al-Baghdadi owned Mueller during her captivity at the Sayyaf residence, and acknowledged that owning is equivalent to slavery.

The Justice Department said it plans to pursue justice for Ms. Mueller and for all American victims of terrorism.

If convicted, Sayyaf faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.

New Hampshire
scurry for last-minute votes

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Presidential hopefuls traveled across snowy New Hampshire Monday, making a final appeal to undecided voters and stepping up their attacks on rivals, one day before an election that could make or break several candidates' White House aspirations.

Ahead of the vote, opinion polls in New Hampshire showed Sen. Bernie Sanders of adjacent Vermont with a shrinking but still comfortable double-digit lead over former secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Democratic race.

Outspoken businessman Donald Trump appears to be leading the rest of the Republican field by an even larger margin. Five or six mostly establishment candidates are in a closely watched battle to finish second behind Trump in the Granite State.

A winter storm was sweeping across much of New Hampshire Monday, dumping several centimeters of snow. But the storm did not stop the candidates from holding campaign events.

"For those of you who are still deciding, still shopping, I hope I can close the deal," said Mrs. Clinton, appearing with her husband, ex-president Bill Clinton, at a rally in Manchester.

Sanders, a Democratic socialist who proposes drastically larger government welfare programs, also campaigned in Manchester, where he continued to rail against economic inequality.

"It is not right that millions of families are struggling just to send their kids to college. It is not right that our infrastructure is crumbling. It is not right that 29 million Americans have no health insurance and more are underinsured," Sanders said.

Sanders is expected to win in New Hampshire, which neighbors his home state of Vermont. Clinton continues to be ahead in most national polls, though Sanders has been coming up in recent weeks.

Trump, the Republican frontrunner, spent much of Monday launching fierce personal attacks on ex-Florida governor Jeb Bush.

"This stiff, Jeb Bush," Trump said at an event in Salem. "If you had a company, you wouldn't even hire him. He's like a child, a spoiled child."

The real estate mogul continued the fight on Twitter, where he called Bush desperate, weak, and pathetic for spending millions of dollars on ads in New Hampshire.

Bush, who is relying on a strong showing today to revive his floundering campaign, shot back in a tweet, telling Trump: "You aren't just a loser, you are a liar and a whiner."

Bush is one of several more moderate, establishment GOP candidates who appear to be placing their entire presidential hopes on New Hampshire, which has a more centrist population than Iowa, which held caucuses last week.

The group also includes New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.

Rubio, whose campaign appeared to be on the rise after a stronger-than-expected third-place finish in Iowa, is trying to recover from last week's shaky debate performance.

The freshman senator told CBS “This Morning” he feels he did great in the Saturday debate. "Despite what people want to say, it was our greatest fundraising night," Rubio said.

During the debate, Rubio awkwardly repeated the same criticism of President Barack Obama four times, using nearly the exact same words each time.

Rubio's rivals, particularly Christie, Bush and Trump, say the gaffe is proof the Florida lawmaker is not ready for the pressures of the presidency.

Another candidate involved in the heated race for second place in New Hampshire is Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

Cruz won Iowa in large part with the support of evangelical Christians, but faces a tough challenge in New Hampshire, where the electorate is less religious.

There is still a large amount of uncertainty headed into today's vote.

Only about half of Republican voters have completely decided on a candidate, according to a poll by Monmouth University. On the Democratic side, that figure inches up to about 60 percent.

Another reason for uncertainty is the state's undeclared voters, those who are neither registered Democrats or Republicans, who make up 44 percent of the electorate and who can vote in either party's primary.

Festival visitors are treated
to the history of chocolate

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals.  But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush.  They go on a sweet journey through history. 

Visitors start their journey by learning about cocoa beans, the main ingredient of chocolate. 

“Inside, there are about 20 to 40 cocoa beans. And you see the white color here is actually the pulp on the outside of the beans," a demonstrator holding a cocoa pod explains.

Visitors at the annual chocolate festival in McLean, Virginia, can sample all kinds of sweets, but at a table where a half dozen demonstrators explain the process of early American chocolate making, they can taste  the past along with their candy.

Visitors see how cocoa nibs are ground on a heated stone metate with spices and other ingredients to produce a chocolate block.

They learn how chocolate was originally consumed primarily as a beverage, up to and through the 1880s, when the first candy bar was manufactured and distributed.

David Borghesani is a chocolate historian with American Heritage Chocolate, a division of MARS, which is one of the largest confectionery manufacturers in the nation.

Holding a piece of chocolate block, Borghesani demonstrates, “It is just a little too hard for us to eat like a candy bar.  So in Colonial chocolate making, they would take chocolate blocks in this form and grate it to make fine chocolate powder.  Then the powder was mixed with hot water in a chocolate pot."

The historian said,  “We found an authentic colonial recipe partnering with the folks at Colonial Williamsburg.  The recipe dates back to the 1750s.  Nine different seasonings and spices are included in the recipe.”

The drink made from the recipe was a pleasant surprise to visitors. Brittany Yam came with her husband and two young daughters.

“It is delicious.  It is very spicy, rich and not too sweet. It’s been great for the kids.  They enjoy trying different chocolates and learning about how their favorite treats are made. Very educational." said Mrs. Yam.

In a separate room, visitors also have opportunities to taste and purchase chocolate products from local vendors.  However, Lynn Heinrichs, the president of the Rotary Club of McLean that hosted the festival says, it's not just about treats.

“The proceeds from this event will help fund not just our local projects but some international projects as well," said Ms. Heinrichs.  " For example, we have built a dental clinic in Swaziland, Africa. We also have a medical brigade, which is in Honduras.  We have bought computers for low income schools in Greece.  I can keep going on and on.”

Ms. Heinrichs hopes the annual community event will help sweeten more lives than just those that taste the goods.

Egyptian authorities deny
role in murder of  Italian

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Egypt has again denied police involvement in the killing of an Italian research student whose mutilated body was found early this month in the Egyptian capital.

Speaking Monday in Cairo, Egyptian Interior Minister Magdi Abdel Ghaffar rejected published Italian speculation that security forces played any role in the death of 28-year-old Giulio Regeni.

"There are many rumors repeated on pages of newspapers insinuating the security forces might be behind the accident," Abdel Ghaffar said. He went on to call the reports unacceptable, saying, "Egyptian security agencies are known for integrity and transparency."

He also said an investigation of the death is under way.

Regeni, a Cambridge doctoral student researching Egypt's labor movement, was last seen Jan. 25 as he headed to meet a friend in downtown Cairo. His body was found along a Cairo roadway Wednesday in what authorities initially called a road accident.

After an initial examination in Cairo, the body was returned to Rome, where a second autopsy showed Regeni had suffered numerous fractures, including a broken neck, as well as stab wounds and cigarette burns.

Italy's La Repubblica newspaper reported Monday that Regeni's fingernails and toenails also had been ripped away and that all of his fingers had been broken.

International rights groups and their Egyptian allies have regularly accused Egypt's authoritarian security apparatus of torturing activists and Islamists in some cases without ever having reported their arrests.

Numerous Italian news outlets quote Italian prosecutors as strongly suspecting that Egyptian police interrogated Regeni about his contacts with activists before torturing and killing him.

Regeni's Jan. 25 disappearance coincided with the anniversary of the 2011 Arab Spring uprising that toppled former autocrat president Hosni Mubarak and led to the eventual rise of army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sissi to the presidency.

The army leader seized power in a 2013 coup that ousted Egypt's first freely elected president, Islamist Mohamed Morsi.

El-Sissi then launched a fierce crackdown on dissent, jailing thousands of Morsi supporters and activists.

New smart bandage combines
sensors with drug delivery

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians.

As evidenced by increasingly popular wearable devices such as smart watches and fitness trackers, sensors of all kinds are getting smaller and more sensitive.

At the same time, scientists are constantly coming up with new materials, such as so-called hydrogels that closely resemble human skin.

Combining these two advances, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology created a stretchy polymer with stiffness similar to human soft tissues.

Titanium wires embedded in a zig-zag pattern easily stretch without breaking contact with miniature sensors.

Researchers were also able to create a strong bond between the electronic sensors and the polymer.

“We further embed electronic devices such as sensors, such as different drug delivery devices, into this matrix to achieve what we call the smart applications," said Xuanhe Zhao, associate professor of mechanical engineering.

The combination amounts to a kind of smart wound dressing that can react to changes in the skin around it.

“Once the sensor senses an abnormal increase in temperature, for example, it will send out a command. Then the controlled drug delivery system can deliver a specific drug to that specific location," said Zhao.

Medication quickly spreads across the bandage through tiny channels.

Embedded LED lights could alert patients and doctors to changes at particular spots. Researchers say the new polymer will be suitable for application both on the skin and inside the body.

Chinese new year begins
with festivals around world

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Celebrations are kicking off around the world to mark the new Chinese year,  the Year of the Monkey.

In Beijing, thousands of people flocked to Buddhist and Taoist temples to pray for good luck and fortune on the first day of Chinese New Year 4713, or visited open-air markets and festivals in neighborhood parks.

Unlike the Western holiday, which starts the night before and ends the next day, the traditional celebration of Chinese New Year goes for 15 days, ending with the annual Lantern Festival.

The holiday also marks the world's largest period of mass migration, as millions of people travel to be with their families for the holiday.

Restrictions on setting off fireworks coupled with an economic slowdown appeared to tame the celebrations across China.

Celebrations were missing in Taiwan, still dazed one day after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck. The streets in Tainan, near the earthquake's epicenter, remained empty as midnight approached.

Search and rescue workers prayed late Sunday at Wu-Long-Kuong Temple in Tainan, lighting incense and bowing in front of several Daoist and Buddhist deities.

But fireworks and parades welcomed the New Year in cities from Sydney to Lisbon.

Researcher reports that quake
can trigger another nearby

By the University of California, Riverside,
news staff

A team of researchers, including one from the University of California, Riverside, has discovered that earthquake ruptures can jump much further than previously thought, a finding that could have severe implications on the Los Angeles area and other regions in the world.

The scientists found that an earthquake that initiates on one thrust fault can spread 10 times farther than previously thought to a second nearby thrust fault, vastly expanding the possible range of  double earthquakes.

That could mean in areas such as Los Angeles, where there are multiple thrust faults close to each other, an earthquake from one thrust fault could spread to another fault, creating twice as much devastation.

Other susceptible areas where there are multiple thrust faults are in close proximity include the Ventura, California, area, the Middle East, particularly Tehran, Iran, and the front of the Himalayas, in countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal.

The researchers studied a 1997 earthquake in Pakistan, originally reported as a magnitude 7.1 event, showing that it was in fact composed of two events, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake, that was followed 19 seconds later by a magnitude 6.8 event, located 50 kilometers (30 miles) to the southeast.

Researcher Gareth Funning, an associate professor,  considers the two earthquakes as subevents of one mainshock, as opposed to the second earthquake being an aftershock, because they happened so close together in time and were so similar in size. There were many aftershocks in the following minutes and hours, but most of them were much smaller.

The scientists used satellite radar images, precise earthquake locations, modeling and back projection of seismic radiation to prove the seismic waves from the first event caused the second to initiate, effectively jumping the 50 kilometer distance between the two. Scientists previously thought an earthquake could only leap up to five kilometers.

The finding has implications for seismic hazard forecasts developed by the U. S. Geological Survey. The current forecast model does not include the possibility of a similar double earthquake on the thrust faults in the Los Angeles area.

Funning started work on the paper about 12 years ago as a graduate student at the University of Oxford. He was the first to find the satellite data for the earthquakes in Pakistan, which occurred in a largely unpopulated area, and noticed they occurred close together in space and time.

Thrust faults happen when one layer of rock is pushed up over another, often older, layer of rock by compressional forces. Thrust faults came to the attention of Californians after the 1994 Northridge earthquake, about 20 miles northwest of Los Angeles, which occurred on a thrust fault.

Thrust faults are not as well understood by scientists because they are not as visible in the landscape and do not preserve evidence for past earthquakes as well.


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

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Blakesmore one

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Costa Rica tropical paradise beach house for sale

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San Ramon
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya. 7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 foot elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, appliances included. High-speed internet installed,  Price for sale $179,000    Contact Mike: 
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A beautiful American style suburban home, 2,700 sq ft of living space with 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, front and rear living rooms, laundry area, kitchen and small attached library nook, arched windows and doors and connected hallways, exotic wood interior ceilings and trim, tile floors thru-out.  The lot is 835 m2 with mature landscape and orchid nurseries surrounding the house. There is an enclosed workshop and BBQ area in the back yard with lots of storage under roof, plus a nursery for an herb/vegetable garden.  This is a very well-kept property with many upgrades, a private feel but yet only 5 minutes from the center of town.  Pérez Zeledón is the commercial hub of the southern zone and considered to be one of the best places to live in all of Costa Rica, the perfect size town, not too big and not too small.  The beach is 45 minutes to the west and a short drive to the cool mountains is to the east. In between, this large valley has a moderate climate.  Pérez has plenty of modern goods and services, an excellent farmers market, private schools, private doctors and clinics, all you need without having to go to the crazy madness of San José.    Just reduced to $199,000.  Call  Jeff:  8725-8176.  Email:

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

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

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

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 27
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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
Voice of America photo
This specially produced, fast and accurate 3-D printer is a device designed for cutting metal that has been adapted for making artificial body parts.

Artificial body parts from 3-D printer

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades, but doctors and their patients still face the problem of tissue rejection and the need to quickly supply blood to the transplanted organ.

Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions, including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer, to make blood vessels and other structures for implant.

They are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.

This 3-D printer is using a sugar solution to make molds, which can be used to make silicone veins and arteries.

The researchers successfully implanted these artificial blood vessels in a rat last year. But lead researcher Jordan Miller said the ultimate goal is to produce structures that can be implanted in humans.

“We are in the field that is trying to find ways to build new tissues and new organ systems for human patients made from their own cells," Miller said.

One idea would be to fill the molds with material commonly found in the body, like collagen, which could be safely implanted with a donor organ to quickly provide a mechanism for blood delivery.

“If we implant a collagen gel, cells from your body can actually come in and replace that collagen gel with their own proteins," said Samantha Paalsen, a graduate student.

Collagen is the material that forms bones, tendons and other connecting tissues in the body.

Along the way, the Rice researchers are looking for ways to use their artificial systems to learn more about one of humankind’s biggest health threats.

“We can use similar models to this, with our blood vessels that we have designed, and then we can study how cancer cells can go from a primary tumor into the blood vessels,” she said.

All of this research is made possible by this specially produced, fast and accurate 3-D printer, which Miller said is a device designed for cutting metal that has been adapted for this experiment.

“We can use the same firm ware that everyone is using for 3-D printing, but we are extruding sugar from it instead of cutting metal," Miller said.

Miller cautions that it could take many years of further research before these 3-D printed devices benefit human patients. But through their collaborative effort, he and his team members hope to see that dream realized.

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From Page 7:

Japanese investor selloff hurts prices

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Japan's Nikkei index sustained major losses during today's trading session, a sign that Monday's sell-off in Europe and the U.S. will extend for another day across the globe.

The Nikkei lost a staggering 918 points, or 5.40 percent, at the closing bell, finishing at 16,085 points. It was the Nikkei's biggest drop since June 2013, as investors fled stocks into safe assets as government bonds over fears of a rising yen, which makes Japanese exports more expensive on the global markets, plus slowing economic growth in China and a never-ending drop in global oil prices. Meanwhile, yields on the benchmark 10-year Japanese government bond dropped below zero for the first-time ever.

Australia's main S&P/ASX 200 index dropped almost 3 percent to close at 4,832.

Many other Asian indexes were closed today for the Lunar New Year, including Shanghai, Hong Kong and Seoul.

Monday was a rough day for investors, with the benchmark indexes in Paris, Frankfurt and London all falling as much as 3 percent.  In New York, the NASDAQ slid 1.6 percent, the S&P 500 dropped 1.4 percent, and the Dow lost 1.1 percent.

The current state of the U.S. economy, as well as the outlook for interest rate increases, growth and unemployment, are on the agenda Wednesday and Thursday when Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen testifies before key congressional committees.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew also will speak to members of Congress about President Barack Obama's budget and other economic issues this week.

In the meantime, investors will be assessing new data on retail sales,