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(506) 2223-1327                             Published Tuesday, March 8, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 47                             Email us
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Artists are planning to make El Farolito shine again
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Directions in Barrio Escalante generally involve El Farolito, the lantern that stands in the traffic circle of the same name.

The metal object is notable for a number of reasons. The lantern came from England about 1850. The lantern has not been demolished by a speeding vehicle. And crooks have not dismantled it for the metal.

Unfortunately, the little streetlight, as the English translation would be, does not light.

Artists at the adjacent Centro Cultural de España are going to do something about that Wednesday night as part of another edition of Art City Tour. The Centro also is marking the opening of an international design fair.

Plans are to project a laser light to make the Farolito shine again. The Centro said that strategically placed mirrors on some of the dwellings in the neighborhood will be involved in the display.

This is being considered an artistic creation in public space by the Centro and artists Luciano Goizueta and Paco Cervilla. The event is to take place at 7 p.m., the Centro said.

Art City Tour is an evening when the metro area’s museums, galleries and other cultural spots are open free to the public.

Transportation even is provided.

There is not a lot of history available about the Farolito and why it was imported 166 years ago. The concrete base bears the name of the Edwin Maw & Co, Liverpool, the

Centro Cultural de España photo 
The El Farolito is a major landmark.

presumed vendor. At the time Barrio Escalante, which is now an upscale neighborhood with fine restaurants and luxury homes, was mostly agricultural land.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, March 8, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 47
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A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


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Valdivieco header
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Cruz Roja photo
Two 55-year-old men with the last name of Acuña relax after being located Monday by Cruz Roja rescue teams. They were reported missing Saturday in the vicinity of  Cerro Dantas in Heredia.

Union to protest long Caja waiting lists

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The union that represents workers in the nation’s health system said Monday that some 600,000 persons are on wait lists to see specialists, to undergo medical testing and procedures and to have operations.

The union, the Union Nacional de Empleados de la Caja y la Seguridad Social, plans a protest today at 1 p.m. in front of the Corte Suprema de Justicia.

The union said that women were disproportionally represented on the waiting list. The statement came to mark the International Day of the Woman.

The union said that 26,000 women were awaiting mammograms and that 105,000 persons were awaiting surgery.

The Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social runs the nation’s hospitals. There are periodic scandals mainly involving long waits for procedures. Sometimes these problems make news as in the case of a pregnant women scheduled 10 months in the future for an ultrasound.

However, there was nothing humorous by claims from Sofía Bogantes, the head of cardiology at Hospital México. She said patients had died while on the waiting list for heart operations. Her allegations are under investigation, and she was transferred from her post. But Monday it was reported that she has been reinstated at Hospital México.

The union cited her case in its announcement.

Expats with legal residency are required now to affiliate with the Caja and pay monthly whether or not they use the services.

Students offered an online language app

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Public school officials are promoting the use of a computer app for students as a supplement to learn a foreign language.

The app is by Duolingo, a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, firm that promises to  provide language instruction for free. The site has 16 language programs, including Irish, Welsh, Russian, Turkish and Esperanto.

The Ministerio de Educación Pública is promoting the use by students of English, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.

Some 350 teachers in the Central Valley received an introduction to the program Monday, said the ministry.

Duolingo says it is the free science-based language education platform created by crowdsourcing pioneer Luis von Ahn and Severin Hacker. With over 100 million users, Duolingo says it is the most popular way to learn languages online in only two years.

The program is available on the Web and on various mobile devices, such as Android, iOS and Windows Phone, the firm said.

Marijuana cultivation suspects jailed for  six months

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Four men, including two U.S. citizens, who were detained last Thursday in an investigation of marijuana cultivation have been remanded to prison for six months preventative detention.

The U.S. citizens were identified as a 44-year-old man with the last name of Kjar and a 31-year-old man with the last name of Kjar, said the Fuerza Pública and the Poder Judicial.

Raids Thursday turned up a storage facility for processed marijuana in Heredia and a site where marijuana was grown hydroponically in Rohrmoser, said anti-drug agents. Agents said they found 536 marijuana plants and a small amount of LSD.

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Index project ranks the highest and lowest cantons in social progress
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

They say that when a person has a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

For Costa Rica, the hammer is the new index of social progress that is being promoted by Casa Presidencial to evaluate the quality of life in the nation’s 81 cantons.

The index came from the Instituto Centroamericano de Administración de Empresas in Alajuela and the Social Progress Imperative, which says “Our vision is a world in which social progress sits alongside economic prosperity as a measure of a sustainable society.”

Using the index, the Consejo Presidencial de Innovación y Talento Humano said Monday that the cantons with the highest index of social progress are Moravia, Flores, San Rafael, Zarcero and San Isidro. In the cellar as the five worst are  Upala, Garabito, Los Chiles, La Cruz and Talamanca.

The social progress index is designed to evaluate human development without the use of financial measures such as gross domestic product.

As Casa Presidencial explained in a summary, the four principles of the index are social and environmental indicators.

Expats will be hearing more about this index as municipal governments begin using it.

The index evolves from the traditions in the social sciences that seek to measure and statistical analyze aspects of human behavior. Modern economics is an example of this quantitative approach.

The summary said that the index had three dimensions, basic human needs, welfare fundamentals and opportunity. In all, there are 46 variables.

As to the evaluation of the best and the worst, Casa Presidencial said that the cantons on the coasts and on the

Costa Rica Propone graphic
Social progress seems highly correlated with income.

national borders have lower levels of social progress with weaknesses in access to basic knowledge, access to housing, access to information and communications, and access to higher education.

The higher ranking cantons have high levels of social progress but with problems associated with health and welfare, ecosystems and sustainability and personal security, said the summary.

The index will be used by various governmental and private institutions to create and put programs into practice. Among these is what is called a hackathon where in 24 hours experts will produce solutions to improve the life of Costa Ricans in the 10 cantons that rank the lowest.

There also is a contest being planned to invite citizens to propose solutions to address the priorities outlined by the index.

The index project has its own Web site HERE!

Costa Rica's astronaut urges collaboration in space exploration
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Franklin Chang Díaz said Monday that space exploration should be a future of collaboration and not confrontation.

The Costa Rican-U.S. astronaut was speaking at the beginning of a five-day series of workshops set up by the U.N. Space Agency.

“Space is our future,” said Chang, “a future that should be
shared for all of humanity, a future of collaboration and not
confrontation, of inclusion and not exclusions.”

The ex-astronaut now heads Ad Astra Rocket Co., which has a facility in Liberia with the goal of inventing new methods of propulsion for the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The sessions are at the Hotel Crowne Plaza in San José. Costa Rican officials said that some 120 experts were participating.

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Latin American study isolates gene that controls making hair gray
By the University College London news staff

The first gene identified for greying hair has been discovered by an international team that confirmed greying has a genetic component and is not just environmental.

Published in Nature Communications, the study analyzed a population of over 6,000 people with varied ancestry across Latin America to identify new genes associated with hair color, greying, density and shape, i.e. straight or curly.

“We already know several genes involved in balding and hair color but this is the first time a gene for greying has been identified in humans, as well as other genes influencing hair shape and density,” said lead author, Kaustubh Adhikari, a University College London biologist.

“It was only possible because we analyzed a diverse melting pot of people, which hasn’t been done before on this scale. These findings have potential forensic and cosmetic applications as we increase our knowledge on how genes influence the way we look.”

The findings could help develop forensic DNA technologies that build visual profiles based on an individual’s genetic makeup. Research in this field has previously used samples from people of European descent, but these new results could help forensic reconstructions in Latin America and East Asia.

The gene identified for grey hair, IRF4, is known to play a role in hair color but this is the first time it has been associated with the greying of hair. This gene is involved in regulating production and storage of melanin, the pigment that determines hair, skin and eye color.

Hair greying is caused by an absence of melanin in hair so the scientists want to find out IRF4’s role in this process. Understanding how IRF4 influences hair greying could help the development of new cosmetic applications that change the appearance of hair as it grows in the follicle by slowing or blocking the greying of hair.

Andrés Ruiz-Linares, also of the university, who led the study, said: “We have found the first genetic association to hair 
University College London photo
It's the genes and not the kids that did this!

greying, which could provide a good model to understand aspects of the biology of human aging. Understanding the mechanism of the IRF4 greying association could also be relevant for developing ways to delay hair greying.”

The team also found genes relating to other aspects of hair.

“It has long been speculated that hair features could have been influenced by some form of selection, such as natural or sexual selection, and we found statistical evidence in the genome supporting that view,” added Adhikari. “The genes we have identified are unlikely to work in isolation to cause greying or straight hair, or thick eyebrows, but have a role to play along with many other factors yet to be identified.”

The team collected and analyzed DNA samples from 6,630 volunteers in Brazil, Colombia, Chile, México and Perú.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

                        Garden 2016
Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
Drop in to see some of Costa Rica's finest art
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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
or contact us by email:   
Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tel. 2667-0592 / 8386-6872; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073. International shipping available.

Click photo for another video

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

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

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

Ask the others what you get for your money, and then compare the quality of accommodations, quality, quantity and variety of food and drink to measure the best value for your money. 

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

Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
George Lundquist, retirement, relocation columnist, Guide & Developer/Builder.


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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, March 8, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 47
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U.S. High Court affirms
lesbian’s parental rights

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned an Alabama ruling that refused to recognize an adoption by a lesbian mother in Georgia.

The justices Monday unanimously reversed the Alabama Supreme Court verdict in the case between two women who ended their relationship after a Georgia court granted the non-birth mother full parental rights of their three children.

The couple, who lived in Alabama, never married. The birth mother tried to prevent her former partner from visiting the children, and the Alabama Supreme Court refused to recognize the adoption the two women had agreed to in Georgia.

The U.S. Supreme Court wrote "a state may not disregard the judgment of a sister state because it disagrees with the reasoning underlying the judgment or deems it to be wrong on the merits." It said Alabama must give the Georgia court ruling full faith and credit.

The case is part of a new round of challenges following last year's Supreme Court decision that gay couples have a right to marry.

Some Flint residents filing
class-action lawsuit on water

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Residents of the northern U.S. city of Flint, Michigan, have filed a class-action lawsuit against the state's governor and others alleging gross negligence for causing the city's drinking water to become contaminated with lead.

The group of seven residents filed the lawsuit Monday in federal court seeking damages for thousands of Flint residents who suffered physical or economic injuries.

The suit names Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and other current and former government officials, as well as corporations, for their role in the water crisis.

It accuses them of gross negligence, which is an exception to the immunity that lawmakers generally are granted for performing official duties.

A spokesman for Snyder said the administration is not commenting on pending legislation, but said the governor is staying focused on finding solutions for Flint.

Michigan's slow response to the water crisis in Flint was a big topic at the Democratic presidential debate Sunday with both candidates, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, calling for Snyder's resignation.

Flint, with a population of about 100,000, was under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager when it switched its water source in April 2014 from Lake Huron to the Flint River. The new, more corrosive water supply caused lead to leach from city pipes into the drinking water.

Over the ensuing months, the city's residents complained about the odd, brownish color of the water and its taste. Tests later found that lead was in the bloodstreams of more than 200 children. Lead contamination in children is especially debilitating, causing developmental delays, learning disabilities and aggressive behavior.

City and state officials are pointing the blame at each other. The state-appointed emergency manager who oversaw the switch to the new water source blames the decision on the city council. City officials, conversely, are blaming the emergency manager.

Michigan's attorney general has launched an investigation into the contamination crisis, and so has the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. One state investigator said charges as serious as manslaughter could be brought if drinking the toxic water causes any deaths.

Two more primaries today
for Republican candidates

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Republican presidential race has entered a crucial phase as front runner Donald Trump edges closer to securing the party’s nomination.  Time is running out for Trump’s rivals to slow down his momentum in a year when Republican voters seem to prefer a political outsider to any number of more established candidates.

Today’s contests in Michigan and Mississippi could be telling as far as anti-Trump efforts impacting the race.  A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll has Trump leading in Michigan with 41 percent, followed by Senator. Ted Cruz of Texas at 22 percent and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida with 17 percent.

Trump may be leading, but it appears he is leaving nothing to chance.  “No matter what is happening, no matter what you are doing.  If you get laid off on Tuesday, I still want you voting.  I’ll get you a new job, don’t worry about it,” Trump told supporters at a rally in Michigan, a state hit hard with job layoffs in recent years.

Trump’s straight-talk appeal has resonated especially with older white working class voters like Shawn Dumais of New Hampshire.  “He’s wanting to make America great again and that’s what we need.”

Trump’s bold promises prompt skepticism among critics but don’t bother others including one South Carolina man who didn’t want to give his name.  “He may not get to do half of it but the truth of the matter is, just him saying it and trying it suits me.”

But Trump has attracted plenty of detractors as well, including protesters who see him as a bully, anti-immigrant and racially insensitive.

One of the keys to Trump’s success is that he has tapped into deep voter frustration and anger.  “These people who are voting for him have been ignored, in their mind, by both major parties for 15 to 20 years and they see somebody who is finally saying, I’m on your side,” said Henry Olsen, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington.  “And they are not necessarily hard-core Republicans, they are not Tea Party-ists, they are not far-right.  If anything they are casual conservatives.”

Trump’s rise has sparked a backlash from the Republican establishment including the party’s 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney:  “Donald Trump says he admires Vladimir Putin and at the same time he’s called George W. Bush a liar. That is a twisted example of evil trumping good.”

The March 15th primaries now loom as perhaps the last chance for the Republican establishment to derail Trump’s march to the nomination.  Five states hold primaries that day including Rubio’s home state of Florida and Gov. John Kasich’s home state of Ohio.

Both states are winner-take-all in terms of delegate allocation, and a Rubio victory in Florida would give him all of the state’s 99 delegates at stake.  A Kasich victory in Ohio would yield him 66 delegates.  Kasich is running close to Trump in Ohio, according to recent polls, but Rubio continues to trail Trump in Florida and hopes to benefit from a massive, well-funded ad campaign targeting Trump.

Any effort to derail Trump probably involves a Rubio victory in Florida and a Kasich win in Ohio, and the odds  are not great, said John Fortier of the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington.  “Donald Trump is the strong leader and the likely nominee of the Republican Party. There are efforts underway from outsiders and the candidates in the race of trying to stop him, but a lot of that looks a little too late.”

Anti-Trump forces did take heart from the most recent contests over the weekend.  Cruz defeated Trump in Kansas and Maine while Trump prevailed in Louisiana and Kentucky.  Late-deciding voters in Louisiana  turned what had been a big Trump lead into a narrow win.  Establishment supporters hope it’s a sign of things to come.

Some Republicans fear the establishment-led effort to deny Trump the nomination could tear the party apart.  Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson issued a warning as he suspended his presidential campaign.  “We cannot do what we have done in the past and that is become fractured and splintered and fight each other and find a way to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory.”

If Trump cannot secure outright the 1,237 delegates he needs to claim the nomination before the end of the primary and caucus voting in June, there could be a contested convention in July in Cleveland and a very long, hot summer for the Republican Party.

Bloomberg declines to run
as a third-party candidate

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire and former three-term mayor of New York City, has announced he will not mount a third-party White House bid that could have further upset this year's already extraordinarily unpredictable presidential campaign.
Bloomberg, who has spent months considering an independent campaign, made his decision official in an editorial posted by the Bloomberg View. In the editorial, he said he believes he could not win the election, and that there would be a good chance his candidacy could lead to the election of billionaire Donald Trump or Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

"That is not a risk I can take in good conscience," he added.

Bloomberg, the 74-year-old Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-Democrat-turned independent, lambasted Trump, saying, "He has run the most divisive and demagogic presidential campaign I can remember, preying on people’s prejudices and fears."

Conservative and Republican groups in the United States are mounting acerbic new television advertising campaigns to try to block Trump from capturing the party's 2016 presidential nomination.

In all, several anti-Trump organizations say they plan to spend at least $10 million in the next week on the ads. Many of them are aimed at voters in the southeastern state of Florida and the Midwestern state of Illinois, two big states where Republicans are holding March 15 party nominating elections and political surveys show Trump with leads over his remaining three opponents.

The ads characterize Trump as a liberal out of touch with the dominant conservative character of the Republican Party, a military draft dodger, and a tycoon with little empathy for the powerless who have stood in the path of his business empire.

Club for Growth Action, a conservative, anti-tax organization, has one ad running in Florida, saying Trump "hides behind bankruptcy laws to duck paying his bills and kill American jobs. He even tried to kick an elderly widow out of her home through eminent domain. Real tough guy."

Another group, American Future Fund, called Trump a draft dodger who has disparaged American prisoners-of-war captured by the North Vietnamese more than four decades ago and "hasn't served his country a day in his life. Donald Trump is a phony. Stop him now."

Maria Sharapova reports
she tested positive for drug

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova says she failed a drug test at the Australian Open in January due to a substance she has been taking for 10 years for health reasons.

Ms. Sharapova told a news conference in Los Angeles Monday that the drug, meldonium, was only added to the list of banned substances by the World Anti-Doping Agency at the start of this year. She said she did not look at the updated ban list before taking her medication.

"I made a huge mistake. I let my fans down, and I let the sport down. I have been playing since the age of four a sport that I love so deeply," Ms. Sharapova said.

The drug meldonium, manufactured in Latvia, is used to treat diabetes, heart disease, and low magnesium, but some researchers have linked it to increased athletic performance if taken in large doses. It is not approved in the United States but is available in Russia and former Soviet Union countries.

"I was first given the substance back in 2006. I had several health issues going on at the time," said Ms. Sharapova. "I was getting sick very often, and I had a deficiency in magnesium and a family history of diabetes, and there were signs of diabetes." She said the medicine also goes by the name of mildronate which is what she called it.

The 28-year-old Russian, winner of five Grand Slam titles, said she did not know what the penalty would be for ingesting the now-banned drug.

"I know that with this I face consequences, and I don't want to end my career this way. I really hope that I will be given another chance to play this game."

Craig Reedie, World Anti-Doping Agency president, said that any athlete testing positive for meldonium would normally face a one-year suspension.

Ms. Sharapova, currently ranked seventh in the world, has struggled with a series of injuries in recent years. She has not competed since she lost to world No.1 American Serena Williams in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open Jan. 25.

Three more cases of polio
reported in Pakistani kids

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Three new cases of polio were reported in Pakistan last week, bringing the total number of worldwide polio cases this year to five, all of them in Pakistan.

The country remains front and center in the global fight to eradicate the highly infectious disease from the planet.

The new cases were reported in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, as well as in Hangu and Peshawar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The first polio case of the year, reported in Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, was a 3-year-old boy who had received at least seven doses of polio vaccine.
“Unfortunately the child was suffering from malnutrition, and the immunity level had not built up,” said Aziz Memon, the chairman of Rotary Polio Plus in Pakistan.

This points to the larger problems of a weak health system, along with issues of security and internal migration due to conflict in various parts of the country or the ongoing military operation in areas bordering Afghanistan.

Either polio cases or the presence of the polio virus in the environment, determined through methods like water sample tests, have been reported in all four provinces of Pakistan.

Last year, 54 of the 73 cases of polio worldwide were in Pakistan. Without eradication, health officials fear a resurgence of the disease.

Memon said he thinks the country will have to redouble its efforts in the wake of the new cases.

“We have to be very vigilant in the coming five months so that we can stop the transmission,” he said.

The presence of polio in Pakistan is not due to a lack of effort against it. Pakistan has been trying hard, with the help of the international community, to immunize all its children. Polio vaccination campaigns are regularly carried out in various parts of the country.
More than 100,000 workers participated in an anti-polio drive last month alone. Workers went door to door, to try to get to every child, especially those who might not have seen a doctor for their regular immunization.

These efforts, however, are often hampered by security concerns.

Islamist militants consider polio workers Western spies, and immunization, a Western conspiracy to sterilize Muslim children. The CIA’s use of a vaccination campaign to try to collect DNA samples from a compound in Abbottabad to ascertain Osama Bin Laden’s presence made polio campaigns even more suspect. Attacks on polio workers increased. They have since gone down but security remains a big issue.

A suicide blast outside a polio eradication center in Quetta in January killed at least 15 people. In February, gunmen shot and wounded a polio worker in Lahore.

The government has countered by providing extra security and recruiting Muslim clerics to speak up in favor of polio vaccinations. These clerics sometimes go with the polio workers to persuade hesitant parents to allow their kids to get polio drops. Some of them have used their weekly Friday sermons to advertise support for polio vaccination.

New approach against cancer
target its early cell mutations

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Scientists have found what they’re calling the Achilles heel of cancer, according to a new study.

Writing in Science, researchers from University College London say they have gained a better understanding about the genetic complexity of cancerous tumors, which could lead to new and powerful immunotherapy drugs.

The researchers say that as a tumor grows, its genetic faults can be flagged on the cancer cell surface and that some of the flags, called antigens, “represent the very earliest mutations of the disease and are displayed on all cells in the tumor, rather than a subset of tumor cells.” Those common mutations are the key to a new approach to therapy.

The researchers describe cancer’s mutations like a tree’s branches, with the earliest mutations “found in all cells, forming the trunk of the disease.” Later mutations are not seen in all the cancer’s cells, researchers said. Those changes allow the cancer to develop immunity to drugs, and avoid attacks by the T-cells of the body's immune system.

“The body’s immune system acts as the police trying to tackle cancer, the criminals. Genetically diverse tumors are like a gang of hoodlums involved in different crimes from robbery to smuggling,” said Sergio Quezada, co-author of the study, Cancer Research UK scientist and head of the Immune Regulation and Cancer Immunotherapy lab at the University College London Cancer Institute. “And the immune system struggles to keep on top of the cancer, just as it’s difficult for police when there’s so much going on.

“Our research shows that instead of aimlessly chasing crimes in different neighborhoods, we can give the police the information they need to get to the kingpin at the root of all organized crime or the weak spot in a patient’s tumor to wipe out the problem for good.”

The researchers said that because they can now identify and target the tumor antigens that are in every cancer cell, highly personalized immunotherapies could be developed to attack the cancer.

“For many years we have studied how the immune response to cancer is regulated without a clear understanding of what it is that immune cells recognize on cancerous cells. Based on these new findings, we will be able to tell the immune system how to specifically recognize and attack tumors,” said Quezada.

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

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, March 8, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 47
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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
Trees and shipwrecks show historic lull
in hurricanes that hit the Caribbean

By the University of Arizona news staff

Records of Spanish shipwrecks combined with tree-ring records show the period 1645 to 1715 had the fewest Caribbean hurricanes since 1500, according to new University of Arizona-led research. The study is the first to use shipwrecks to determine hurricane activity.

The researchers found a 75 percent reduction in the number of Caribbean hurricanes from 1645 to 1715, a time with little sunspot activity and cool temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere.

"We're the first to use shipwrecks to study hurricanes in the past," said lead author Valerie Trouet, an associate professor in the University of Arizona Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research. "By combining shipwreck data and tree-ring data, we are extending the Caribbean hurricane record back in time and that improves our understanding of hurricane variability."

Although global climate models indicate hurricanes will be more intense as the climate warms, those models are not yet good at making regional predictions, Professor Trouet said. Learning more about how hurricanes correlated with climate for the past 500 years may lead to better regional predictions of hurricanes.

What is now the U.S. National Hurricane Center did not begin keeping records of Caribbean hurricanes until 1850, she said. Researchers have used lake sediments to develop a record of hurricanes over the past centuries, but these data provide only century-level resolution.

The new research provides an annual record of Caribbean hurricanes going back to the year 1500, shortly after Christopher Columbus first reached the Caribbean.

Ship traffic between Spain and the Caribbean became commonplace. Spain kept detailed records of the comings and goings of ships. At the time, ships returning with gold and other goods provided the income for the Spanish kingdom. Storms were the major reason that ships wrecked in the Caribbean.

The team's paper is scheduled to be published online by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Professor Trouet's co-authors are Grant Harley of the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg and Marta Domínguez Delmás of the University of Santiago de Compostela in Lugo, Spain.

Professor Trouet and her coauthors hatched the idea after Harley mentioned he had tree-ring records from the Florida Keys that went back to 1707 and that the tree rings revealed when hurricanes had occurred. The growth of trees is retarded in years with hurricanes. That reduction in growth is reflected in the tree's annual rings.

Professor Domínguez Delmás, a dendroarchaelogist, figures out when Spanish ships were built by retrieving wood from shipwrecks and dating the wood.  The team discovered that books used by treasure hunters have detailed records of Caribbean shipwrecks.

The books, combined with ship logs, allowed the researchers to compile a list of Spanish ships known to have been wrecked by storms during the hurricane seasons of 1495 to 1825. The team found that the hurricane patterns from the shipwreck database closely matched Florida Keys tree-ring chronology of hurricanes from 1707 to 1825.

When they overlapped the shipwreck data with the tree-ring data, the researchers discovered a 75 percent reduction in hurricane activity from 1645 to 1715, a time period known as the Maunder Minimum.

The Maunder Minimum is so named because there was a low in sunspot activity during that time. Because Earth receives less solar radiation during lulls in sunspot activity, the Northern Hemisphere was cooler during the Maunder Minimum than in the time periods before or after

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From Page 7:

Report notes little progress for working women

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The International Labor Organisation reports gender equality in the workplace remains elusive. A new ILO report, “Women at Work: Trends 2016,” finds millions of women worldwide are not getting the same kind of quality, well-paying jobs as men. 

New data in 178 countries present a gloomy picture of the current state of working women.  The International Labor Organisation's report shows the gender gap in employment, wages and social protection has changed little in 20 years.

The report notes significant progress has been made by women in education during the past two decades, but this has not translated into improvements at work.  The data show women are less likely to participate in the labor market then men.

Lawrence Johnson, the organization’s deputy research director,  says last year nearly 1.3 billion women were employed globally, compared to two billion men.

“At the global level, the employment gender gap has closed only by 0.6 percent between 1995 and 2015.  This means progress getting women into more jobs is either insufficient or has flatlined," said Johnson.

The Global Gender Gap Index rates more than 140 countries, ranking the world's most and least equal countries for women and men, based on economic, educational, health-based and political indicators.

The report shows women are more likely to be unemployed than men, and young women in particular are at a disadvantage.  It says women continue to work longer hours per day than men in both paid and unpaid work.  In high- and low-income countries alike, it finds women, on average, carry out at least 2.5 times more unpaid household and care-giving work.

Johnson says women are overrepresented in clerical service and sales work, which are among the lowest paying jobs.

Since women both work and earn less money, the report says they lose out in terms of social and retirement benefits.  Globally, women represent nearly 65 percent of people who have reached retirement age without any regular pension. 

This, says the International Labor Organisation, means some 200 million women are living without any regular income from an old age or survivor’s pension, compared to 115 million men.