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Published Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 153
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Government struggles to handle flood of migrants
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The central government is trying to come to grips with the new flood of migrants who are entering the country illegally at the rate of from 100 to 150 a day.

Casa Presidencial said Wednesday that the Fuerza Pública would reinforce the country’s southern border with Panamá. The government also revealed that up to 80 percent of the migrants who hope to reach the United States are not Africans, as was thought. They are Haitians, said a government summary. However, there are migrants from Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the Congo, Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Guinea, Togo, Nepal, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, India, South Africa and the Sudan.

The government summary of the migrant situation may have been provoked by the death of eight persons, presumed to be migrants, in Lake Nicaragua.

The government summary said that there were  231 migrants in Paso Canoas, including 114 in a center in Bueno Aires, 70 along the border who just came into the country and 47 in Golfito. In Peñas Blancas there are 1,537 persons in three locations.

These figures might not be accurate.

Since April 21, the government counted 5,601 adult migrants and issued temporary immigration permissions to 3,778. So it is clear that many migrants have moved on with unofficial help. A.M. Costa Rica reported on a group of migrants who walked into Nicaragua along the Caribbean coast after spending the night in Barra de Colorado.

They were unimpeded by police.

Of particular government concern is an unofficial migrant camp near the northern border. There hundreds of migrants are living without adequate health and sanitary facilities and these, in the words of  Mauricio Herrera, minister of  Comunicación, represent a hidden danger that needs to be handled to guarantee the security of the national population and

Casa Presidential photo
 An unofficial migrant camp lacks utilities
 and, it appears, also garbage pickup.

other migrants. Some have scuffled with police.

The government said it will issue 20-day permits for migrant who report to immigration offices. Those who are found to be without the permits will be deported, although the government did not say to where.

The Ministerio de Planificación was given two months to come up with a plan of how to handle migrants in the long- and short-term, said the government.

Government officials have been turning a blind eye to the migrant problem and have justified inaction on the basis of human rights. The situation has been highly lucrative for some. The migrants have been paying to cross the southern border and also to enter Nicaragua, even though that country says it has closed its border.

Many of the migrants carry no identification. They follow on the heels of some 8,000 Cubans who spent time in Costa Rica before being airlifted in the direction of the United States.

Panamá also has a migrant problem, and Colombia is trying to deport some 1,200 Cubans who ended up stuck in that country.

Most zika cases still found on Pacific coast
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Reported zika cases in Costa Rica have reached 351, according to a weekly bulletin put out Wednesday by the Ministerio de Salud.

Garabito and its community of Jacó continue to lead with 119 cases. The canton with the next highest amount is Quepos with 35 reported cases.

The ministry said that 15 pregnant women had been diagnosed with zika, but so far there have been no complications from the disease. Three woman already have given birth, and there was one miscarriage unrelated to zika, the report said.

Except for a pocket of 10 cases on the Caribbean coast, the bulk of the reported zika cases are along the Pacific. San José has 10 reported cases.

Here are the top cantons and the number of cases: Orotina (27), Santa Cruz (22), Puntarenas (20), Carrillo (16) Nicoya (14), Parrita (12) and Esparza (10).

Researchers point out that 80 percent of those who are infected by zika have no symptoms, so the number of actual cases is much larger.

Residents along the coast have been able to keep the number of cases lower by eliminating breeding spots for mosquitoes and spraying.

The ministry reported Wednesday that health workers visited 429,942 homes since the beginning of the outbreak. They reported finding more than 25,000 receptacles with mosquito eggs or larvae.

Based on the statistics provided Wednesday, the number of new cases seems to be diminishing.

Compared to zika, the number of other mosquito-born diseases is much greater.

There are 1,754 reported cases of chikungunya this year and 11,484 cases of dengue, said the ministry.

By comparison, there are 623 dengue cases in the Jacó area and 606 cases of  chikungunya. These diseases also seem to have peaked.

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Our reader’s opinion
A vote for Hillary is a vote for socialism

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

There was an opinion published by a reader about 17 reasons not to vote for Trump. Like most liberals, the reasons are based on feelings, perceptions and media bias against Donald Trump. I will keep this as short as possible but, there are many reasons to vote for Trump and vote against Hillary.

1.     First, a vote for Hillary is a vote for socialism, weak ineffective foreign policy, insider special treatment and a complete disregard for the Constitution and laws passed by Congress.

2.    Fact: Hillary lied to the American public about Benghazi, about classified emails and destruction of emails and potential evidence. She was given special treatment by the FBI that no one else would have been given. Hillary and Bill and Obama intimidated the FBI and the attorney general into giving her special treatment.

3.    Fact: 69 percent of the American Public believes the U.S. is on the wrong road and 60 percent of Americans do not trust Hillary. Obamacare is a complete failure.

4.    Fact: If you vote for Hillary you are voting for more and higher taxes, more social entitlement programs and other socialistic programs that we can’t afford. We are headed the same way as the EU and countries like Greece, Spain, and other countries that are in the verge of bankruptcy.

5.    Fact: If you vote for Hillary, you are voting for open borders and no control of potential radical Muslim terrorist entering the country.

6.    Fact: The race relations are worse in the U.S. than they have been in 40 years. Policemen are being shot in the streets, and the current administration and Hillary have not and will not do anything to change it.

7.    Fact: In spite of what Obama says, the economy is in the worst condition than any time in the last 40 years. We have lower growth, lower GDP and have lost more jobs because of failed and unfair trade agreements the U.S. has signed.

8.    Fact: Our military has been weakened over the last eight years to a point that we can’t respond in many critical areas. Not one of our allies or our adversaries respect the U.S. Obama and Hillary have diminished reputation and respect for the U.S. Hillary will continue that trend.

9.    Hillary should be prosecuted, not elected. Richard Nixon was impeached for destroying a seven-minute section of a tape. Hillary destroyed 30,000 emails and lied about it. Why hasn’t she been prosecuted?

This election is about far more than Donald Trump or Hillary. It’s about traditional American values and socialism. A vote for the Democrats is a vote for socialism. Trump may not be perfect. He often responds to attacks on him without thinking it through. He does, in some cases, make outrageous statements. I wish he would think first. But, he is not a politician and somehow, it’s refreshing to hear what someone really thinks instead of the canned politically correct answers you get from the establishment.

We are at a critical, turning point in the history of this country. I am not comparing Donald Trump to Abraham Lincoln, but when Lincoln was running for president, the press and most of the establishment, primarily the Democrats, said horrible things about Lincoln, portrayed him as a man that was not qualified and did or said anything they could to slander him. That reminds me of what is happening right now. Trump may say some outrageous things, but he is right on the issues: The economy, border security, health care, radical terrorism (Hillary and Obama won’t even say the words), and putting America first again. John Kennedy said: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country). A vote for Trump is a vote for American values.       
Steve Cope

  August is the national month for science

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A ceremony today at 2 p.m. kicks off science month for Costa Rican officials and educators.

The event will be in the educational department auditorium at the Universidad de Costa Rica in San Pedro. Among other things, the government is marking the 30th anniversary of the creation of the Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología y Telecomunicaciones.

The event today is the first in a series that will be offered during the month to promote science and technology. The ministry said it plans roundtables, regional meetings, robot competitions, and workshops.

The topics will be diverse, said the ministry, and range from astronomy, aerospace studies, digital television and GPS technology.

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 153
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Latin America's gift to the dinner table to have its day in Cartago
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

One of the great discoveries during the western expansion by Europeans was the lowly potato. The plants produced a dietary staple in Germans and later in Ireland.

An adult farm worker would exist on four to six boiled potatoes a day. And many did.

The potato and its edible tubers are truly a Latin American product. Researchers think that natives in Perú and Bolivia started farming the wild potato perhaps as long ago as 10,000 years. Even today Peruvian cuisine is interspersed with great potato recipes.

The Cámara de Paperos, as potato growers are called, has 1,600 members supporting 5,000 families, it reported.

The chamber was announcing the Día Nacional de la Papa, which will be celebrated with a fair in La Lima de Cartago. The province is a big potato producer.

The fair is Aug. 12 to 14 from 8  a.m. to 6 p.m. Of course there will be potatoes, either raw or processed in many dishes.

The goal, of course, is to promote the consumption of potatoes.

The potato ranks third in the Costa Rican diet after rice and wheat flour.

Ministerio de Agruicultura y Ganadería photo
A lot of the country’s agricultural work still is done by hand, like this potato harvest.

Olympic committee officially adds surfing to the 2020 games
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

As expected, the International Olympic Committee has added surfing to the list of sports for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

That was reported by the International Surfing Association as it prepares to inaugurate the World Surfing Games in Jacó Saturday.

"This is a game-changing moment for surfing,” said Fernando Aguerre. “We are already seeing increased popularity of the

sport across the world and the Olympic Games will provide an incredible platform to further showcase surfing and its core values. With its unique and modern blend of sport performance, style and youth culture, surfing will help deliver something special to the games.” He is president of the surfing association.

The international committee voted and made its decision in Río de Janeiro where the 2016 Olympic Games are about to begin. The decision was expected.

The decision means, of course, that Costa Rica’s top surfers will have berths at the 2020 games.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 153
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Deep ocean survey is turning up unexpected assortment of marine life
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The ocean is one of the last frontiers on Earth. But the world's ever-growing need for minerals and metals is pushing humans to boldly go where no human has gone before, and they’re finding new life in the process.

Scientists at the University of Hawaii at Manoa studied a 900-square-kilometer region in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone in the Pacific Ocean. Their mission: to seek out new life and new marine civilizations. They published the results of their first deep sea dive in the latest issue of Nature Scientific Reports.

The zone is a flat expanse of seabed nearly the size of the United States, nestled between the mountainous Clarion and Clipperton Fracture Zones, between Central America and the Hawaiian islands. It is known to have an array of minerals, such as copper, nickel and cobalt, contained in potato-sized clumps. These metallic nodules are scattered along the seafloor, 3,000 to 6,000 meters below the ocean surface.

The International Seabed Authority licensed a specific area of the zone to UK Seabed Resources Ltd. for exploration. But before the company can begin mining operations, the authority mandated that it complete a biological study of the region.

That’s when Diva Amon, a post doctoral researcher at the University of Hawaii, got involved. UK Seabed Resources hired the ABYSSLINE project, to determine what marine life exists in its contract region and how those organisms depend on the mineral deposits.

“Stereotypically, us deep sea biologists think that there is not a lot living in the abyss, but we found that actually there is quite a lot living there,” Ms. Amon, assistant director of the ABYSSLINE project, said.

“More than half the animals we collected were completely new to science. It just shows how much more work needs to be done in that area because we know so little,” she added. Her group found a new species of anemone and two new species of sponges, but that's not what has them excited.

Three of the specimens Ms. Amon collected were not just newly identified species, the researchers had to create new, higher-level genus classifications for them.

Two of these new genera are in the coral family and the third is a completely new genus and species.

Biological oceanographer Paul Snelgrove, who participated in a decade-long global census of marine life a few years ago, notes that finding new species in the deep ocean is pretty common. But the Memorial University of Newfoundland

University of Hawaii at Manoa/ Diva Amon and Craig Smith
A species of cnidarian has 2.5-meter-long tentacles.

professor says the need for new genera is really quite profound.

Amon’s work also focused on the metallic potatoes. She found more than half of the animals collected were attached to the nodules. The zone terrain is soft, flat seafloor and nodules provide the only hard surface where these creatures can affix themselves.

“If mining happens across the entire area, this ecosystem will just be decimated,” Ms. Amon said.

That is why these studies are so important, says Snelgrove, who was not affiliated with the ABYSSLINE project. “It’s likely we are going to develop at least some aspect of these deep ocean environments and we should try to do that with knowledge in hand and do it in a way that’s going to minimize our impact.”

“There is a scientific push to slow things a bit so that the science can be done . . . so this can be done as sustainably as possible,” said Ms. Amon of mining.

The ABYSSLINE project has a five-year mission and Ms. Amon expects that more new species and genera will be discovered on future cruises.

“I’m looking at year two and already . . . I’m seeing . . . new stuff,” she said excitedly.

“The deep sea is just this fascinating place where there are so many things that no one has ever seen before that are weird and wonderful," she added. "This is one of the last areas where there hasn’t been wide scale impact by humans. So we need to be careful and hopefully by doing the studies that we’re doing, we can provide the data that can be used to manage the areas as best as possible.”

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 153
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Axiom new ad

Transit cop in D.C. faces
allegation of terrorism

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A Washington, D.C., transit policeman has been arrested on charges of attempting to provide support to the Islamic State, the first time terrorism charges have been filed against a law enforcement officer in the United States.

The officer, 36-year-old Nicholas Young, a 13-year veteran of the Metro Transit Police Department, has been accused by the U.S. Department of Justice of giving 22 gift card codes, worth nearly $250, to an undercover Federal Bureau of Investigation agent. The FBI said Young believed his contact had mobile messaging accounts that the Islamic State used to recruit members.

Young made his first appearance Wednesday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia. Other than requesting a court-appointed attorney, Young said little else during the hearing, which lasted less than five minutes. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

The affidavit said Young traveled to Libya once in 2011 and tried to visit there a second time. It also said Young met about 20 times in 2014 with an undercover FBI agent who posed as a U.S. military reservist of Middle Eastern descent and expressed a desire to travel abroad to join the Islamic State.

Young had been monitored by the FBI since 2010. Law enforcement authorities first interviewed Young in connection with an acquaintance, Zachary Chesser, who later pleaded guilty to providing material support to the foreign terrorist group al-Shabaab.

Young also held meetings with an undercover law enforcement officer in 2011, sometimes with another associate, Amine El Khalifi, who pleaded guilty to charges of planning to carry out a suicide bombing at the U.S. Capitol Building.

During a conversation with Young in March 2011, the undercover FBI agent said Young told him he despised the FBI and had the skills to attack an FBI facility. Young also discussed finding the residence of an FBI agent who once questioned him and then kidnapping and torturing her.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters the administration of President Barack Obama is well aware of the risk of homegrown terrorists and authorities take quite seriously the responsibility they have to protect the people.
The investigation into Young was initiated by the transit police, which "worked hand-in-glove with the FBI in the interest of public safety and to ensure that this individual would be brought to justice," General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said in a statement.

Metro transit spokesman Dan Stessel said Young was fired from his job Wednesday immediately after his arrest. Young's actions did not pose a threat to Metro's transit systems, officials said.

Young is a resident of the southern city of Fairfax, Virginia, just minutes south of Washington, D.C. He is one of more than a half-dozen people from northern Virginia who have been charged with crimes related to terrorism.

High court delays decision
on Virginia bathroom rule

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Supreme Court has put on hold a groundbreaking court ruling that required a Virginia school district to accommodate a transgender high school student’s request to use the boys’ bathroom.

The high court agreed Wednesday to allow the Gloucester County School Board to bar Gavin Grimm from using the bathroom that matches his gender identity, until the justices decide whether to review an appeals court ruling in his case.

The justices split, 5-3, on the issue, with Democratic-appointed Justice Stephen Breyer agreeing with the four Republican appointees. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan opposed the stay.

Last year, the American Civil Liberties Union sued on behalf of the 17-year-old Grimm to challenge the school board's bathroom policy, which requires transgender students to use alternative restroom facilities.

Grimm, who was born female but identifies as male, has undergone hormone therapy and has legally changed his name.

Obama commutes new batch
of drug offender sentences

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Barack Obama has shortened the sentences of 214 inmates of U.S. federal prisons, in what the White House called the largest batch of commutations on a single day in more than a century.
The early release is part of Obama's effort to correct what he views as unreasonably long mandatory minimum sentences.

The president's push to lessen the burden on nonviolent drug offenders reflects his long-stated view that the nation should remedy the consequences of decades of onerous sentencing rules, which have put tens of thousands of Americans behind bars for far too long.

Among those affected by Wednesday's presidential order were 67 individuals serving life sentences, almost all for nonviolent drug crimes, although a few also were charged with firearms violations related to their drug activities.

To date, Obama has granted 562 commutations, more than the previous nine presidents combined, and more clemency actions than by any other president in nearly a century.

White House counsel Neil Eggleston said in the White House blog that Obama examines each clemency application on its specific merits to identify the appropriate relief, including whether the prisoner would be helped by additional drug treatment, educational programs or counseling.

Presidents tend to use their powers to commute sentences or issue pardons more frequently near the end of their terms of office. Administration officials said the rapid pace will continue before Obama leaves the White House in January 2017.
"We are not done yet," Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates said. "We expect that many more men and women will be given a second chance through the clemency initiative."

Obama has long called for phasing out strict sentences for drug offenses, arguing they lead to excessive punishment and incarceration rates unseen in other developed countries. With presidential support, the Justice Department in recent years has directed prosecutors to rein in the use of harsh mandatory minimums.

Eggleston once again called on Congress to pass legislation overhauling the U.S. criminal justice system.

"It is critical that both the House and the Senate continue to work on a bipartisan basis to get a criminal justice reform bill to the president's desk," he wrote.

Trump insists campaign
is unified despite glitches

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says his campaign has never been so well united, despite several signs that the campaign and the Republican Party are in disarray.

The latest indication came Wednesday when Trump's vice presidential running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, endorsed Paul Ryan, the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, for reelection. Trump has gone against the party establishment by refusing to endorse Ryan for another term in the House.

Pence also had kind words for longtime U.S. Sen. John McCain, saying the Arizona Republican has always stood up for America and a strong military.

Trump has made his dislike for McCain well known.

A number of leading Republicans, including both former presidents Bush, ex-House speaker Newt Gingrich, and one-time rivals for the Republican nomination Ted Cruz and John Kasich, have either declined to publicly endorse Trump or have given him lukewarm support.

While many military veterans normally would throw their backing behind a conservative candidate who talks tough, Trump has created controversy with his seemingly offhanded acceptance of a Purple Heart medal from a retired officer and his feud with the Khan family, parents of a Muslim-American soldier killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq.

Trump appeared to be unconcerned by all the controversies during a campaign appearance Wednesday in Daytona Beach, Florida.

He tore into Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, calling her one of the founders of Islamic State because of what he said was her weakness as secretary of State.

The terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Center in New York may not have been allowed into the country under a Trump immigration policy, he said.

He also promised to cut taxes and put great people on the Supreme Court.

At a rally in Commerce City, Colorado, Mrs. Clinton repeated President Barack Obama's assertion that Trump is no doubt unfit to be commander-in-chief and unqualified to be president.

Instead of insulting American servicemen and women, Mrs. Clinton said she is grateful to anyone who has ever worn the uniform.

She earlier visited a necktie factory in Colorado and challenged Trump to manufacture Trump-brand ties in the U.S. instead of China.

A new public opinion poll released Wednesday night by Fox News shows Mrs. Clinton expanding her lead over Trump from a similar survey at the end of June. In the latest poll, conducted earlier this week, Mrs. Clinton holds a 10 percent (49-to-39) edge. Her previous lead was 6 percent (44-to-38).

IT professionals are fearing
hacking of election

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. cyber security professionals say suspected foreign hackers who recently attacked computer systems of the Democratic Party could do something even more sinister in the future.

The cyber pros said U.S. electronic voting systems are likely to be among the next targets.

When the whistle-blowing Web site WikiLeaks published leaked emails of the U.S. Democratic National Committee last month, it caused major embarrassment to the party, and forced U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz to quit her position as the party chairwoman.

Cybersecurity analyst Richard Forno said that outcome shows foreign hackers can achieve political goals and incentivizes them to escalate their attacks.

"Interfering with the electoral and political process of countries is a classic tool of intelligence and foreign policy,” said Forno, who directs the University of Maryland’s Center for Cybersecurity. “Even though we are moving toward an era of electronic and technology-enabled voting in more places, this reinforces the fact that the traditional threats are still with us, and are now moving further into cyberspace."

Electronic voting machines are part of that cyberspace. The vast majority of U.S. states will use them for this November's national elections.

But a 2015 study by New York University found that 43 of those states had machines that were at least a decade old.

Could they be hacked as well? Cyber security pros attending an annual Las Vegas conference known as Black Hat think so.

One of them is Toni Gidwani, research director at ThreatConnect, a cyberdefense platform used by 1,200 companies and organizations worldwide. She said there is a precedent for attacks on voting systems.

"We saw that in Ukraine in 2014, where three days before the election, the Ukrainian central election committee suffered a massive hack that threatened their ability to hold voting on schedule,” she said. “And then malware was discovered right before results were announced, malware that would have projected a totally different outcome in which an ultranationalist candidate, who in reality received less than 1 percent of the vote, would have won. So this is not science fiction. We have already seen this happen."

Some U.S. voting machines produce paper records that can be used in case of problems with a vote count. But keeping a paper trail might not be enough.

Yong-Gon Chon, another Black Hat attendee, said any organization seeking to protect itself from hackers needs all of its personnel to play their part.

"It is no longer just the responsibility of a chief security officer or CIO to protect an organization's infrastructure. Everyone has a role to play,” said Chon, who serves as CEO of Cyber Risk Management and has led global security teams for more than 20 years. “There is a shared level of responsibility, whether you are using cloud systems or your own systems within your organizations. And ultimately it is about being able to practice safe and healthy activities on a day-to-day basis."

One healthy habit recommended by Chon is being skeptical when receiving an email containing a hyperlink that could expose the local system to a hacker.

“You should determine whether or not that is something that you should trust and is acceptable for your business,” he said.

Zika vaccine clinical trial
has begun with volunteers

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. government has begun the first clinical trial of an experimental zika vaccine. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, made the announcement, “I am pleased to report that we have begun, on August 2, testing an investigational DNA vaccine intended to prevent zika virus infection.”

The experimental vaccine has shown a good response in animal models. Fauci says investigators should know soon whether it is safe for use in the first trials involving 40 human volunteers in the United States.

“If we get a good immune response and there are no safety red flags by the end of December 2016, we should know if it’s okay to move on to phase II,” he said.

He said plans are under way to begin that second round of clinical trials at the start of 2017.

Phase II clinical trials are larger human studies involving more participants. They would be conducted in endemic countries, testing not only the safety of the zika vaccine but its effectiveness in raising an immune response. 

The mosquito-borne zika virus usually causes mild illness in otherwise healthy people; but, the real danger is to the fetus of pregnant women.

If infected with the virus, women can give birth to babies with a severe condition known as microcephaly, in which newborns' heads and brains are unusually small. Microcephaly can cause mental and physical disability, seizures and even death.

Initially, the vaccine’s main target will be women of childbearing age, but, Fauci says there’s no reason to believe the vaccine would not be safe in pregnant women. And, because the virus can be transmitted sexually by an infected partner, researchers would also be looking to prevent the disease in the general adult population.

The vaccine was developed with a relatively new technology. Rather than using whole inactivated or live-weakened viruses, this vaccine was genetically engineered to contain a small piece of zika DNA, so small that it’s not infectious, but enough to stimulate an immune response.

Fauci says the DNA approach is convenient, making it easy to scale up the vaccine quickly. It would be injected into the arms of volunteers and eventually members of the public using a failsafe spring-loaded injector.

“We cannot afford to delay the development of a safe and effective vaccine to prevent zika virus infection,” he said.

Outbreaks have now occurred in 50 countries and territories, primarily in Central and South America and the Caribbean. Because of Zika, some public health officials have called for the cancellation of the Summer Olympic Games set to open Friday in Brazil.

This week, a number of zika cases were reported in the U.S. state of Florida, all caused locally by infected mosquitoes.

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Real estate for sale (paid category)

Pavo onr
FOR SALE - $270,000
Exceptional 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom, fully furnished luxury apartment for sale at the exclusive Terrazas de Escazú highrise complex in Escazú near La Paco Commerical Center.  Situated on the third floor, this apartment has an exceptional layout with stunning views of the Central Valley. 140 m2 bright and spacious floor plan with open sky terrace with 180-degree unobstructed view of the Escazú mountains and Central Valley.  One covered parking spot with additional guest parking available. HOA fee:  $250/month. Held in Costa Rica corporation for easy property transfer. Building features: 12-meter atrium with controlled access entrance to the building, surrounding landscaping, lower level pool, communal rooftop terrace and small rooftop gym. 24-hour security. Contact: José Granados in Costa Rica, phone 506- 6051-5249  email:
paco two

San Rmon
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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Jacó Beach - Super Views - Priced Right
This is a 3-bedroom, 1-bath home located at about 100-foot elevation one mile from the beach.  Remodeled 2 years ago. Everything is new including total new kitchen, windows, floors, AC units, electric, plumbing, etc.  Super fenced yard for dogs.  Very low electric bill even with the AC.  This is a zero lot line property but with room to expand up and out.  Very secure & private.  Police chief next door. $149,900.  Call Glenn at 506 6214-0056.

Costa Rica penthouse for sale
 5 -story penthouse for sale.  One of a kind penthouse on top of the Corobici Hotel in Sabana overlooking the Central Park and new Soccer Stadium in San José.  Excellent location provides you easy access to everywhere.  Other benefits include 24-hour security, 2 restaurants inside the hotel providing 1st class room service plus shared common areas in the hotel. Commercial license is in place. Seller will consider owner financing.  Asking $895K U.S.  Go to  Owners U.S. cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email

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Spectacular Horse Ranch and Spiritual/Yoga
Retreat Center For Sale

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


Luxury condominium apartments for sale in Escazú
The property located in Trejos Montealegre, has three apartments for sale. Excellent location, 400 meters east of Avenida Escazú, next to Village (new commercial and office project), Plaza Tempo, Wal-Mart, CIMA Hospital. To enter and exit Trejos Montealegre no need to pay toll. The condominium is few minutes from San José

♦ Apartment No. 1: 180 square meters, 3 bedrooms, cement walls, two floors, 1 utility room, 3 bathrooms, TV room, living room, kitchen with breakfast bar and island kitchen furniture, garage, electric gate.
♦ Apartment No. 2: 180. square meters,  3 bedrooms, cement walls, two floors, 1 utility room, 3 bathrooms, TV room, living room, kitchen with breakfast bar and island kitchen furniture, garage, electric gate.
♦ Apartment No. 3: This is the largest one. 250. square meters,  3 bedrooms, cement walls, two floors, 1 utility room, 3 bathrooms, living room, kitchen with breakfast bar  island kitchen furniture, 2 garages, electric gate. Total property measures 529 square meters.  Unique opportunity to buy it for $ 750,000 (Seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars).  For more information contact Adrian, cell phone  506-8598-9898  Email:

Ocean View Property for Sale in San Ramón
1.5-acre lot with spectacular ocean views. Ready to build. Mild climate year round with an average temperature a cool 74 degrees. Spectacular panoramic views of
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the ocean and port of Puntarenas during the day, breathtaking views of Esparza at night. Fully titled and owned under a Costa Rican corporation. Price reduced to $45,000. Short-term owner financing available. For more info: Contact: Frank

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Business for sale or lease (paid category)

Great opportunity for investor
Amount  $250,000, 100% ROI. Trucking company parts manufacturing and sales in Florida, proof of funds required. Call Jack Budd at La Habra, Calif., U.S.A. Phones 714-871-5821, 714-930-5265. Email:

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

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 153
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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
Alert issued over hurricane up north

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The national emergency commission issued a low-level alert Wednesday night as a preventative measure due to Hurricane Earl.

The tropical storm-turned hurricane made landfall at Belize City at 1 a.m. The storm is traveling west toward the Mexican Yucatan.

However, there has been some influence on Costa Rica’s already unstable weather conditions. The Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias said that Wednesday night there were significant accumulations of rain in Turrialba and la Fortuna. The greatest amount, some 67 millimeters, about 2.6 inches, fell in the mountains of the northern zone, it added.

The metro area experienced a light rain during most of the afternoon.

The emergency commission said that electrical storms were expected overnight in the northern zone, the Caribbean coast and the north Pacific.

Even moderate rain like this can cause highway problems with landslides.

The center of Earl will move across central or northern Belize this morning and over the southern Yucatan peninsula of Mexico or northern Guatemala later on Thursday, said the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

Maximum sustained winds are near 80 mph (130 kph) with higher gusts, the center said at 2 a.m.  Earl will begin to weaken as it moves farther inland over Belize, it added.

Maleku to display their native culture

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The struggling Maleku native population is putting on an exhibition starting today through Aug. 15 in the Museo de los Niños. The event will include traditional dance.

The Maleku probably are best known for their traditional dance exhibitions for tourists at la Fortuna. The estimated 600 members of the population live on a reserve in Guatuso and make money from crafts and tourism.

Backers, such as some members of Frente Amplio, say they are plagued by unemployment and lack of support from the government.

Like most native groups, they say that their land holdings are threatened by cattle ranchers. The Maleku were a major group when the Spanish arrives and held much of the land in what is now northern Costa Rica

Plenty of data on new Web site

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Presidencia has become so transparent that the public is being flooded with information.

Casa Presidencial just put up a new subdomain that contains salaries, public finances, contracts and plenty of other data about the operations of government.

The salaries, for example, can be uploaded to a user’s own spreadsheet.

The domain is

The site has been up since July 11, Casa Presidencial said, noting that users have the capacity to file a complaint through the Web site.

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From Page 7:

Another bitcoins heist might total $72 million

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

About $72 million in bitcoins were stolen in a hack of a Hong Kong-based exchange, plunging the value of the digital currency some 15 percent.

"Today we discovered a security breach that requires us to halt all trading on Bitfinex," the exchange company said in a statement posted on its Web site late Tuesday.

Bitfinex announced that it would also halt all digital token deposits to and withdrawals from the exchange.

The company said that the theft was from individual user accounts and that it was cooperating with law enforcement while looking at ways to address customer losses.

The Bloomberg business news agency reported that Bitcoin plummeted 15 percent following news of the hack, but it later rebounded.

In 2014, the Japan-based digital currency operator Mt. Gox abruptly closed after hackers stole 850,000 bitcoins, worth $450 million at the time.

Bitcoin, introduced in 2009, is one of several so-called cryptocurrencies circulating around the world. They allow individuals and companies to make digitally coded payments using alternative currencies without incurring the fees that traditional financial companies usually charge.