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(506) 2223-1327               Published Friday, June 18, 2010,  in Vol. 10, No. 119        E-mail us
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Graph shows the monthly total of vehicles reported stolen
Sharp decline is reported in thefts of vehicles
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The head of the judicial police said Thursday that vehicle thefts have dropped from the monthly high of 226 in 2009 to 133 in May. That is a decline of nearly 100 vehicles a month, said the police director, Jorge Rojas.

As he was talking Thursday morning, prosecutors were questioning some of the 14 persons picked up in raids earlier in the day.

Agents and prosecutors said they broke up a ring in Alajuela that has been stealing up to 40 vehicles a month.

Gang members would either ransom the vehicles back to their owners or they would dismantle them for parts, said the Poder Judicial. In some cases they simply would take the vehicle to an isolated location and torch it, said investigators.

The raids took place in El Carmen, Montecillos, Monserrath, el Invu, San Antonio del Tejar and in San Joaquín de Flores, said the Poder Judicial. Agents said the key to the arrests were the cell telephones that crooks used to contact owners who had lost their vehicles. Investigators were able to trace the telephones to some of the individuals detained Thursday, they said.
Cell telephones were confiscated as part of the raid. Agents also found key blanks, master keys and other types of tools for defeating the locks on vehicles.

This investigation began in 2009, said the Poder Judicial. Nearly all the cars taken were parked on the public streets in Alajuela. In some cases car thieves will pretend to ransom a vehicle back to its owner but then just take the money, agents have noted.

Frequently vehicles that have been ransomed and returned are not the topic of a police report, so the actual number of stolen cars could be higher than the figures released by Rojas say.

The monthly figures also included some quadracycles and motorcycles. The Alajuela ring had a tendency to steal sport utility vehicles, agents said.

All but one of the individuals detained Thursday are Costa Rican. Agents said the leader is Nicaraguan.

Stolen vehicle reports hovered around 200 per month until December when they began a steady decline to the 127 reported stolen in April and the 133 reported in May. The figures reported by Rojas are only for San José metro area, although far fewer vehicles are stolen in the rural areas.

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He'll always be No. 2,
but it's still his day

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Sunday is Father's Day, but the day does not get as much hype as the similar day for mothers. That day is Aug. 15, here.

Perhaps that's because fathers need not be feted on their day. Most are happy with the television remote in one hand and a cold beer in the other. Or maybe there is the recognition here that mothers are the heart and soul of the Costa Rican family.

Love and respect for mothers is entwined with the religious devotion to the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus. Her day is Aug. 2 here. But Aug. 15 is the religious feast day of the Assumption of Mary. It's even a paid holiday for workers.

The Museos del Banco Central once had an exposition that said Costa Rican culture stood on three legs: One was La Negrita, Nuestro Virgen de los Ángeles, who is the patroness of the country. The other two were guaro, the cheap but potent alcohol, and soccer.

Actually guaro and soccer go together, and the fever is running high because of the World Cup matches that are broadcast each morning. That's why Dad needs the report.

There are some commercial announcements for Father's Day, but nothing compared to the guilt-laden full-scale campaigns that mark the runup to Mother's Day.

That Dad should be No. 2 reflects the transitory nature of Latin fatherhood, perhaps all fatherhood. Some men have several families without benefit of divorce. Mothers, on the other hand, might roam from home but their kids usually are close by.

Then, too, there are whole classes of men who are pushing so hard for money that they hardly are home. Taxi drivers are in this category. Some work 14 hours a day and seven days a week. If they take a break to surf with the remote and drink down a cold beer, the family's income suffers. Another category are security guards, many of whom work 24-hour shifts, local laws notwithstanding.

Of course, that can't be compared to the 24-hour, seven-day shifts of a young mother.

Anti-drug phone system
reported with problems

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The special telephone line 176 that is designed to generate complaints against drug traffickers needs to receive more resources, according to the Defensoría de los Habitantes. Calls frequently go unanswered, and the system does not alert callers that those answering the calls are busy with other cases, said the Defensoría.

So callers think that no one is there.

The Defensoría noted that police agencies have promoted use of the confidential line. But those who work taking the calls frequently take as much as 30 minutes to take down all the data from a caller. For that reason, calls sometimes are backed up, said the Defensoría.

Allan Solano Aguilar, director of the Policía de Control de Drogas, said that he has been trying to upgrade the system for more than a year. When someone calls and the line is occupied, the caller still hears the phone ringing, he said.

Museums to host music
for fiesta Saturday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Museos del Banco Central will host musical groups from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the entrance to the museums Saturday. This is part of the Fiesta de la Música sponsored by  Alianza Francais.
Among other performers will be the Escuela de Música de Tres Ríos, Picnic, Los Franchutes, Diesel, Cabeza de Vinil and Transfusión.

There will be other locations around town where performances will be presented.

Volcano scientist sought

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There is a big opportunity for someone who loves volcanoes.  The Observatorio de Vulcanología y Sismología, Campus Omar Dengo Heredia has an opening for a master's degree holder or someone close to that degree.

The observatory, associated with the Universidad Nacional in Heredia, put the job posting on its Web site.

The degree should be in geology with study of physics of volcanoes.  The observatory also would like the candidate to have experience in doing field work around volcanoes and be bilingual.  Applications are open until Aug. 30.

Have you seen these stories?

A.M. Costa Rica guide

This is a brief users guide to A.M. Costa Rica.

Old pages
Each day someone complains via e-mail that the newspages are from yesterday or the day before. A.M. Costa Rica staffers check every page and every link when the newspaper is made available at 2 a.m. each weekday.

So the problem is with the browser in each reader's computer. Particularly when the connection with the  server is slow, a computer will look to the latest page in its internal memory and serve up that page.

Readers should refresh the page and, if necessary, dump the cache of their computer, if this problem persists. Readers in Costa Rica have this problem frequently because the local Internet provider has continual problems.

The A.M. Costa Rica search page has a list of all previous editions by date and a space to search for specific words and phrases. The search will return links to archived pages.

A typical edition will consist of a front page and four other newspages. Each of these pages can be reached by links near the top and bottom of the pages.

Five classified pages are updated daily. Employment listings are free, as are listings for accommodations wanted, articles for sale and articles wanted. The tourism page and the real estate sales and real estate rentals are updated daily.

Advertising information
A summary of advertising rates and sizes are available for display and classifieds.

Contacting us
Both the main telephone number and the editor's e-mail address are listed on the front page near the date.

Visiting us
Directions to our office and other data, like bank account numbers are on the about us page.

For your international reading pleasure:

News of Nicaragua
News of Central America
News of Cuba
News of Venezuela
News of Colombia
News of El Salvador

News of Honduras
News of the Dominican Republic
News of Panamá

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Costa Rica
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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, June 18, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 119

Rapid Respose
Rock and Roll

One suspect still sought in Escazú telemarketing fraud
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

On man implicated in the long-running business opportunity fraud here still is on the loose. Authorities are seeking the help of the public to locate the man, identified as Gregory Britt Fleming.

Two men were detained this week in Costa Rica and face extradition proceedings. They are Silvio Carrano and Patrick Williams, as reported Thursday.

A third man, Donald Williams, was arrested in Houston May 7.

The U.S. Justice Department said that all four defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and with committing their offenses via telemarketing. In addition, Carrano was charged with 10 counts of mail fraud and three counts of wire fraud, said the U.S. Justice Department.  Patrick Williams was charged with 10 counts of mail fraud and three counts of wire fraud, the department said, adding that Donald Williams was charged with eight counts of mail fraud and three counts of wire fraud. Fleming is charged with six counts of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud.

If convicted, Carrano, Patrick Williams, Donald Williams and Fleming face a maximum statutory term of 25 years in prison, a possible fine and mandatory restitution on the conspiracy count. They also face a maximum statutory term of imprisonment of 25 years on each of the mail and wire fraud counts, a possible fine and mandatory restitution, said the Justice Department. Carrano is 68, and Patrick Williams is 64.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Fleming should contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Miami at 954-436-7200, said the Justice Department.

The arrests stem from the USA Beverages, Inc., case. Others have been arrested and sentenced in this operation that was headquartered in Escazú and later in La Sabana.

Beginning in June 2004, Carrano, Patrick Williams, Donald Williams, Fleming and their co-conspirators are alleged to have fraudulently induced purchasers in the United States to buy business opportunities in Apex Management Group Inc., USA Beverages Inc., Twin Peaks Gourmet Coffee Inc., Cards-R-U Inc., Premier Cards Inc., The Coffee Man Inc. and Nation West Distribution Company, said the Justice Department.

According to the indictment, the business opportunities the defendants sold cost thousands of dollars each, and most purchasers paid at least $10,000. Each company operated for several months, and after one company closed, the next opened. The various companies used bank accounts, office space and other services in the Southern District of Florida and elsewhere, the Justice Department said.

The indictment alleges that the defendants, using aliases, participated in a conspiracy that used various means to make it appear to potential purchasers that the businesses were located entirely in the United States. In reality, Carrano, Patrick Williams, Donald Williams, Fleming and others operated out of Costa Rica to fraudulently induce potential purchasers in the United States to buy the purported business opportunities, the indictment alleges. The companies used voice-over-Internet to make it seem they were located in various parts of the United States.

According to the indictment, the companies made numerous false statements to potential purchasers of the business opportunities. Among the misrepresentations alleged in the indictment are that purchasers would likely earn substantial profits; that prior purchasers of the business opportunities were earning substantial profits; that purchasers would sell a guaranteed minimum amount of merchandise, such as greeting cards and beverages; and that the business opportunity worked with locators familiar with the potential purchaser’s area who would secure or had already secured high-traffic locations for the potential purchaser’s merchandise stands. Potential purchasers also were falsely told that the profits of the companies were based in part on
the profits of the business opportunity purchasers, thus creating the false impression that the companies had a stake in the purchasers’ success and in finding good locations.

Many of the victims were older Americans and retirees looking for ways to supplement their income.

The indictment alleges that the companies employed various types of sales representatives, including fronters, closers and references. A fronter spoke to potential purchasers when the prospective purchasers initially contacted the company in response to an advertisement. A closer subsequently spoke to potential purchasers to close deals. References spoke to potential purchasers about the financial success they purportedly had experienced since purchasing one of the business opportunities.

The indictment alleges that Carrano, aka Bob Orr, John Kirby, Paul Bently and Dave Jakovich, was a fronter and reference for USA Beverages, a fronter and reference for Twin Peaks, a fronter and reference for Cards-R-Us, a reference for Premier Cards, and a reference for Coffee Man. He was also listed on a corporate document as the treasurer of USA Beverages.

The indictment alleges that Patrick Williams, aka Bill Gardner, Peter Burns, David Price and Matt Skaggs, was a fronter for Apex, a reference for USA Beverages, a fronter and reference for Twin Peaks, a fronter and reference for Cards-R-Us, a reference for Premier Cards, a reference for Coffee Man, and a fronter and reference for Nation West.

The indictment alleges that Donald Williams, using assumed names, was a fronter for USA Beverages, a fronter and reference for Twin Peaks, a fronter and reference for Cards-R-Us, and a fronter and reference for Premier Cards.

The indictment alleges that Fleming, using assumed names, was a fronter for USA Beverages, a fronter and reference for Twin Peaks, and a fronter and reference for Nation West.

The Justice Department said that each of the companies was registered as a corporation and rented office space to make it appear to potential purchasers that its operations were fully in the United States. Apex was registered as a Florida corporation and rented office space in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., while USA Beverages was registered as a Florida and New Mexico corporation and rented office space in Las Cruces, N.M. Twin Peaks was registered as a Florida and Colorado corporation and rented office space in Fort Collins, Colo., and Cards-R-Us was registered as a Nevada corporation and rented office space in Reno, Nev. Premier Cards was registered as a Colorado and Pennsylvania corporation and rented office space in Philadelphia, and The Coffee Man was registered as a Colorado corporation and rented office space in Denver. Nation West was registered as a Colorado corporation and also rented office space in Denver.

One of the principals of the operation is a man named Jeff Pearson, who is now facing a murder charge here.  He has been identified by investigators as the intellectual author of two contract killings. The killings were prompted by disputes over a franchise vending business, agents said. Also held in the murder case are two Costa Ricans identified as the actual gunmen.

Agents said the trio were linked to a murder Nov. 1, 2006, of a Colombian man at the Las Garantías Sociales traffic circle and the killing of a pirate taxi driver Sept. 9, 2007, in Los Anonos de Escazú.

Others involved in the telemarketing fraud are a British citizen identified as Sirtaj Mathauda, who uses the name of Mark Boland, and a man named Stephen Schultz.

Schultz, who was extradited from Costa Rica last Dec. 3 and pleaded guilty Jan. 21 to 12 counts, including one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, eight counts of mail fraud, and three counts of wire fraud.  He got an 86-month federal prison sentence in April.
Mathauda also was sentenced in April to a term of 115 months in prison and five years of supervised release. He also has to make restitution.

Blast from the past proves the adage about change
Lately I have received a lot of e-mails from friends full of nostalgic pictures and comments about the world of my childhood and youth — the good old days.  But I have been thinking more about my recent good old days, my early days in Costa Rica back in the 90s. 

One sure way to accurately recall those days is to read some of the letters I wrote.  In 1994, my second year in San José, I moved into a smaller apartment in Barrio California.  I wrote:

My apartment is  comfortable for one person:  two small bedrooms, a  kitchen and living-dining room, plus a bathroom and pila (laundry area).  It was unfurnished, so I had to buy everything including  stove, fridge and curtains.  It has nice big windows that give me a view of distant mountains and sky — I’m on the second floor.  It also gets street noise and dirt, and there is no outside area like a balcony or patio.  It would be nice to take my coffee on a balcony in the morning sun.

The weather here is incredible, seldom too hot or too cold.  I feel like Goldilocks who has found everything just right.  As much as I love the ocean, I don’t want to live at sea level.  It’s too hot for  year-round living, and it’s hard to walk in such heat and humidity.  I can walk downtown from here.

I do wish, however, I had bought that $5,000 piece of property  in Tamarindo.  Prices  have gone up the way they did in California in the 70s, but  it may  go bust if they can’t solve the problems of the infrastructure, crime and pollution. All progress seems to bring is more THINGS, most of which don’t make us  happier, they just mean more to fix or worry about.
About the only money I spend, other than rent, electricity and cable is for transportation, the movies and food, eating out with my friends.  I buy no clothes because ready made things are too expensive, and I can’t find a seamstress.    I’m not interested in dressing up anymore.  When I first visited, the dress code was quite formal, now even Costa Ricans dress casually.

Part of me wants to use Costa Rica as a jumping off place for travelling, but  a greater part of me wants to stay put in this safe small,  easy-to-live-in country, tending my own little garden, or in my case, my own little kitchen where I invent new 
recipes or try Julia Child’s or those in the newspapers.  I could have been a really fine cook.
Butterfly in the City
. . .  Musings from San José

By Jo Stuart

Jo Stuart

I did try the catering business for a while.  My former roommate Ann and I made frozen entrees to sell  to temporary residents who didn’t want to cook.  I made dishes like smoked pork chops, stew and scalloped potatoes, pasta and chicken and spinach crepes.  I didn’t think they were that good, and I always seemed to be broke or buying supplies.

In October Banco Anglo went belly up when it was discovered that the directors had bought nonexistent Venezuelan bonds and made loans to people who never paid them back.  Quite surprising to everyone, the eight or nine people involved were actually arrested (all are from prominent families).  A friend who teaches at an exclusive private school said that the teachers had an emergency meeting to discuss how to help the children of the culprits handle the trauma.  Since it was a national bank and like the United States, Costa Rica insures deposits, I didn’t panic — but many people did, lining up for hours to withdraw their money.  I just transferred mine when the dust settled.  But the loss of three hundred million dollars could undermine the solvency of  Costa Rica.

Meanwhile, prices are skyrocketing.  Land prices have tripled since 1989 when I first visited, and  they are already beyond my reach. Do I want to own a house anyway?  I keep thinking the tourism boom is going to bust. 

The present infrastructure won’t support it and crime, mainly theft and robbery, is increasing.  The traffic and pollution in just the past two years is noticeably worse.

In spite of that, I still love living here though I admit I’m keeping Plan B in abeyance in case I have to leave.  Plan B being to buy an RV and drive around the U.S.

Reading this sixteen years later is a revelation.  It looks like the old adage is true--- the more things change, the more they stay the same.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007  and 2008 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, June 18, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 119

Escazú Christian Fellowship
Guoadalupe Missionary Baptist Church

drug storage
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photos
Agents found cocaine well hidden in locations used for assembling large quantities for shipment

Drug ring basically was in the import-export business

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The goal of the ring accused of trafficking drugs was to move cocaine in small quantities from southern Costa Rica to the Puntarenas vicinity where enough would be accumulated for a major shipment to the north.

That is how agents described the operation run by 14 persons detained Wednesday in raids all over the country.

The Puntarenas prosecutor's Office asked a criminal judge to put 12 of the individuals in jail for one year of preventative detention. Lesser restrictions were asked for one man and a woman.

Anti-drug police said they confiscated 248 kilos of cocaine, a kilo of heroin and many weapons and vehicles.
The individuals were shipping the cocaine for the benefit of la Familia Michoacana, the dreaded Mexican cartel. In fact, five Mexicans were among those grabbed Wednesday.

Despite the name of the Mexican state, the cartel is being run out of Guatemala now.

This operation used vehicles with hidden compartments and even boats in the Costa Rican fishing fleet to move the drugs north. Costa Rica is a major transit location for drugs, particularly now that U.S. Navy sailors and Coast Guardsmen have made direct shipments by boat from Colombia to México risky.

The extent to the drug operation became clear little by little, beginning with the arrest of low-level couriers at highway checkpoints in southern Costa Rica.

Some in Europe fear that the euro currency is doomed

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Storm clouds have been brewing over Europe, and not even the biggest and most prudent economies are exempt from their threat.  Europe's decade-old currency, the euro, is in crisis with some eurozone members mired in massive debt and others having to provide bailout-loan guarantees to prevent default and shore up the common currency.

Europe's economic giant, Germany, has put up a large share of those guarantees.  Many Germans, however, are not happy about having to bail out what they consider Europe's big spenders, such as Greece.  Some are even questioning whether the euro can survive in the long-term.

Germany has introduced the country's most ambitious austerity plan since World War II, to bring its public debt within European Union limits and hopefully encourage others to follow suit, thereby stabilizing the euro.

The austerity plan has calmed markets down, says Artur Fischer, head of the Berlin Stock Exchange.

"The normal retail investor, he understands and realizes that serious measures have been taken," said Fischer.  "The professional investors, they understand that what happened right now is significant and going in the right direction."

The markets had been jittery for months about the stability of the euro.  The crisis was triggered by the Greek government's inability to pay back loans.  Fears spread about a possible default that could drag the entire eurozone with it.  Germany agreed to a bailout package of loan guarantees, but in return, Greece had to implement strict austerity measures. Those have not been popular on the streets.  The bailout was not popular in Germany either,
where many felt they were being called on to help those who had simply spent beyond their means.

Fischer says that Germans need to understand why the bailout is important for the German economy.
"Let's just say we let Greece go into bankruptcy - well, their loan is in euros so going into bankruptcy the ones who are lending them the money they would have to take a cut," says Fischer.  "Who lent that money?  Well to some extent, quite a lot of German banks.  So, if Greece would have gone into default, as a consequence a number of banks in Europe, and in Germany especially, would have another big problem."

Since then Europe's big economic players and the International Monetary Fund have hammered out an additional loan guarantee plan worth around a trillion dollars to shore up other fragile European economies.

It has Michael Stuermer worried.  He is a historian and chief political correspondent for the influential German newspaper, Die Welt. He has doubts about the long-term viability of the euro and sees a break-up as quite possible.

"Some of the more solid partners in the euro system led by Germany would turn around and say, 'Look we've had enough of that.'  In order to save you, we first have to save ourselves.  We suspend our membership and we go back or we go forward to a kind of north European franc or guilder or something which sounds good and solid.  And, of course the southern part of the euro would fall apart," said Stuermer.

Many analysts have pointed to structural flaws in the euro, noting that countries in the eurozone may share the currency, but have little say over member budgets.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, June 18, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 119

Medical vacations in Costa Rica

Deforestation in Amazon
linked to malaria increases

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A new study from the Amazon links deforestation with an increase in malaria.

Despite eradication efforts, malaria remains a significant health problem in Brazil. There are around a half-million cases a year, mostly in the Amazon basin, a region heavily affected by deforestation.

Sarah Olson and her colleagues at the University of Wisconsin used satellite data to assess loss of forests and combined that with government surveys of malaria cases.

"We show that a 5 percent increase in deforestation was associated with a 50 percent increase of malaria risk in these health districts," said Ms. Olson.

She says the apparent explanation is that the mosquitoes that transmit malaria like the landscape that's left after the forests have been cleared.

"The habitat preference for this mosquito appears to be these partially-sunlit pools of water for the larvae. And that's the type of thing that we get when we start deforesting an area, and deforestation creates the ideal habitat," says Ms. Olson.

This is not the first study to show a link between deforestation and malaria, but Ms. Olson says her study is notable because of the rigorous way Brazilian health officials gathered the malaria data.

"This is super-high quality, and all of the cases are slide-confirmed. That means they take a drop of blood and they look at it under a microscope, and they can confirm that this was an actual case of malaria. Whereas a lot of studies are limited to basically asking, 'Did you have a fever in the last month or six months?'"

Ms. Olson's study appears in the July issue of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, which is published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

485 arrested in probe
of U.S. mortgage fraud

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Justice Department says authorities have arrested 485 people in a major crackdown on mortgage fraud.

Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday the suspects in "Operation Stolen Dreams" were responsible for $2.3 billion in losses.

He noted one scheme that targeted the Haitian-American community. He said the defendants would claim to offer immigration and housing assistance, and then use the victims' personal information to obtain mortgage loans.

Holder said these schemes ruin people's lives and are dangerous to the economy.

The operation was organized after huge losses from home loans in the United States triggered a broader economic crisis.
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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, June 18, 2010, Vol. 10, No. 119

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Malaria parasite much older
than thought, study says

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

New research published Thursday shows that malaria is tens of thousands of years older than previously thought. An international team, led by researchers at Imperial College London, have found that the potentially deadly tropical disease evolved alongside anatomically modern humans and moved with them as they migrated out of Africa around 60 to 80,000 years ago. The research is published in the journal Current Biology.

The findings and the techniques in the study could be important in informing current control strategies aimed at reducing the prevalence of malaria. There are an estimated 230 million cases each year, causing between 1 and 3 million deaths, and around 1.4 billion people are considered to be at risk of infection.

"Most recent work to understand how malaria has spread across the tropics has worked on the premise that the disease arose alongside the development of agriculture around 10,000 years ago. Our research shows that the malaria parasite has evolved and spread alongside humans and is at least as old as the event of the human expansion out of Africa 60-80,000 years ago," said Francois Balloux. He is a physician with the Medical Research Council Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling at Imperial College London. He was lead researcher on the project, which was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council

The international team worked on the largest collection of malaria parasites ever assembled. By characterizing them by DNA sequencing they were able to track the progress of malaria across the tropics and to calculate the age of the parasite. The scientists discovered clear correlation of decreasing genetic diversity with distance from sub-Saharan Africa. This accurately mirrored the same data for humans suggesting strong evidence of co-evolution and migration, said the study.

Another wave on the way

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, said Thursday that a strong tropical wave is moving into the Caribbean.

The system only has a 20 percent chance of developing into a cyclone, the weather service said.

The system appears to be in the vicinity of Puerto Rico now and probably will not reach Costa Rica until late Sunday or early Monday. However, the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional said there is plenty of instability and low pressure to go around.

The local weather experts predicted continued mornings of cloudy skies followed by afternoon rains.

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