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Published Friday, Oct. 21, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 209
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axiom new d

bus scene
Cruz Roja/Rodolfo Matiew
Rescue crews work to free the injured from the wreckage.
Costa Ricans pull together in face of bus disaster
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The response Thursday to a bus disaster showed the country at its best. Not only did the Cruz Roja, fire fighters, hospital workers and police demonstrate their training, but even farm workers and hotel employees pitched in.

The mishap claimed 12 lives and injured the rest of the 31 persons on the bus. The northbound bus went out of control on a two-lane highway known for dangerous curves just a kilometer short of  Cariblanco in the mountains north of Heredia.

The bus passengers were Universidad Nacional retirees who were planning to do social work on a native reserve near Guatuso. They experienced some seconds of panic as the bus weaved to both sides of the highway before it slipped off a steep drop and rolled.

The crash tore the roof off the bus and exposed the dead and injured inside.

The Cruz Roja rescue workers faced a confusing situation as they arrived. So did fire fighters who frequently respond to such incidents.

The injured were sorted, and those severely hurt were transported to the Hospital de San Carlos or by air to other hospitals. Others were treated temporarily at the scene.

At Hospital México in La Uruca, the medical staff and attendants were participating in a disaster drill involving helicopter transportation. So there were plenty of hands when the five of the most badly hurt began arriving by helicopter. Two patients went to Hospital San Juan de Dios in San José.

Some of the air transportation was by private medical helicopters whose crews pitched in.

One woman victim died after arrival at the San Carlos hospital. There were four men and seven women dead at the scene. Judicial investigators said later they were having

Cruz Roja/Rodolfo Matiew
Crash tore the roof off bus.

trouble verifying names of the dead because most of the passengers did not carry identification. By late evening the Morgue Judicial said that all but one person, a woman, had been identified. The youngest was 42 and the oldest was 85.

Many of the dead suffered severe head injuries as the bus rolled down a slope that was estimated to be about 40 meters, about 130 feet, and the impact tore off the roof.

Even before the last of the injured were removed from the scene, the call went out for blood. The Banco Nacional de Sangre said that the immediate need for blood was met in a short time as donors showed up. But staffers said they would work Saturday, too.

The government has declared three days of national mourning. President Luis Guillermo Solís ordered that the nation’s flags be flown at half staff for three days, starting Thursday.

The driver of the commercial bus has not been identified. A Universidad Nacional official said that the trip was a private one arranged by an association of retirees. The group left from Heredia Cento.

The investigation most certainly will include a detailed study of the bus steering system as well as the brakes.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Oct. 21, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 209
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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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Legislative committee axes budget requests

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A legislative commission Thursday cut 40 billion colons, some $73 million, from the 2017 budget of the Patronato Nacional de la Infancia. The vote was 6 to 5.

The Patronato is the child welfare organization, but the committee, the  Comisión de Asuntos Hacendarios, decided to give 25 billion colons to the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública to add 1,500 officers to its law enforcement.

The Poder Judicial and the Ministerio de Trabajo received some of the money, too.

Meanwhile, the Patronato raised the issue of a previous Sala IV decision, suggesting that it might go to court again.

The committee does not have the last word. The entire budget has to pass the full legislature, and nearly every governmental organization is complaining about cuts.

The Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología y Telecomunicaciones said that cuts in its budget line jeopardize a number of programs.

The Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía said 700 million colons, about $1.28 million, was cut from its budget and this jeopardizes a number of strategic programs.

The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes said a proposed cut of $7.2 million in its budget will leave the Policía de Tránsito without resources for anti-alcohol operations and also leave vehicles without fuel.

By way of making its point, the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública held a meeting of the nation’s mayors Thursday where the municipal officials were expected to push for more local security efforts.

Despite the efforts of lawmakers, there are problems. For example, the Costa Rica Constitution says that the annual budget must include an amount equal to 8 percent of gross domestic product. The estimated percentage in the proposed 2017 budget is 7.63 percent.

Voter fraud probably unlikely here

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some expats have praised Costa Rica for setting up a voting system where fraud is unlikely.

Although voter identification laws are controversial in the United States, the expats note that the procedure is common here. When a Costa Rican goes to vote, the poll workers have full identification and even a photo that originated with the national identification card.

Venezuela and some other Latin countries take anti-fraud one step further. As Venezuelans vote, the pinky is dipped in ink that will not wear off for several days.

The issue comes up because Donald Trump, the U.S. presidential candidate and some of his associates are suggesting that the Nov. 8 general elections are rigged.

Their claims are quickly rejected by most sources, including both Chicago newspapers.

Historically, however, voter fraud was common. The joke in Chicago is to vote early and often. In fact, then mayor Richard J. Daley is credited with generating an unusually high Chicago area total for John Kennedy in the 1960 elections. The votes were enough to put Illinois in the Kennedy column.

More recently, members of the New Black Panther Party were accused of trying to intimidate voters at a polling place in the 2008 elections. The  charges did not stick, and some claimed the Obama administration should have prosecuted more vigorously.

Also in Illinois, the Kankakee County State's Attorney's office said this month it is investigating allegations after three people said they had been offered bribes for votes, according to a newspaper there.

The Kankakee allegations involve absentee ballots which are easy for fraudsters to check before they pay bribes.

A Democratic operative was videotaped in a recent presidential election telling an undercover investigator that she could vote twice because she was registered in two states. Thousands of Americans are registered in multiple locations because they have moved.

And just this week, two high ranking Democratic workers quit after undercover video showed them talking about how they disrupted Trump campaign events and also discussing ways to effect voter fraud.

The Chicago Sun-Times was one newspaper that said this week that Trump was wrong on his claims about voter fraud. But the same newspaper won acclaim several decades ago when an unknown copy editor infiltrated the Chicago election board and wrote about massive irregularities.

But also true is that voter fraud is an allegation that many Latin American candidates spew out after they have lost an election. In one case, a Venezuelan morning newspaper favorable to a candidate had two front pages set up awaiting vote totals. One page that was ready to be printed said their candidate won. The second carried the blaring headline in Spanish saying “Fraud at polls.”

Our reader’s opinion
Incineration toxins can be gender benders

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I read with interest your article about endocrine disrupters. (“Gender Benders”)  I first became aware of these chemicals and their prevalence in our environment as a chemist and an activist protesting the garbage burning incinerators. 

We learned that some of the most dangerous chemicals escaped all efforts to remove them from the waste stream and were incredibly toxic in small amounts.  These dioxins and furans and related organochlorides were caused by burning plastics with other things and making many, many new products of incomplete combustion. 

More dramatic effects of the organochlorides can be seen in the he-she fish of Lake Apopka, Florida, fish with both male and female characteristics after a pesticide spill.  They are called gender benders because they disrupt the endocrine system. 

Already because of the worldwide prevalence of these chemicals the sperm count in men worldwide is half of that of the sperm count of men in their grandfather’s generation and at the critical level for procreation.  Women have a special concern because these chemicals seek out fat and as they bio-accumulate up the food chain the dioxins are contaminating the mother’s milk to such a level that the La Leche League in Sweden took notice.

Carol Meeds
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Oct. 21, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 209
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Teatro Nacional floor being moved to create platform for orchestra
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Orquesta Sinfónica de Heredia will celebrate the 119th anniversary of the Teatro Nacional tonight with a concert at 8 o'clock.  On the program are works by the Costa Rican Alejandro Cardona, the Spanish composer Lorenzo Palomo and Aaron Copland of the United States.

Theater officials said that the audience tonight is in for a treat.

The movable floor of the theater will be activated to make a

level platform for the orchestra. In use will be the mechanism put in place by the Italian designer Cesare Saldin in 1896 and 1897.

Theater officials said this is the first time this year that the floor would be moved.

Usually the floor level is changed for events like state dinners. And at those times the theater usually is off limits, so not many Costa Ricans or even frequent theater goers have seen the floor in this position.

Former Cartago home hailed as a classic Victorian structure
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

They didn’t have in the early part of the 20th century, but when a Cartago woman sought to replace a home destroyed by the 1910 earthquake, she went through a catalog and picked a prefabricated Victorian dwelling to be imported from Europe.

The woman was Micaela Sancho Oreamuno, who hosted so many religious events and figures in the home that it received the nickname The Vatican. It faces the convent of the Franciscan Order. The building was declared historic in 1985.
The home also was called Casa Jiménez Sancho after the mid-19th century president who lived on the site in a building that was demolished by the earthquake.

The current owner, the Universidad Estatal a Distancia, purchased the property in 1992 and has been conducting restoration work under the supervision of the Centro de Patrimonio del Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud.

The centro invested 100 million colons in restoration in 2012, and the university invested 82 million colons this year, said the

Centro de Patrimonio photo
Home shows how the upper class lived 100 years ago.

centro. Among other improvements, air conditioning was installed and the electrical system was upgraded.

The centro considers the building to be an excellent example of Victorian style and also a product of Europe’s Industrial Revolution. Curiously, although the parts were imported from Europe, much of the interior is American pine.

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Vista Ballena
Palermo Hotel

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Oct. 21, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 209
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So-so wine is focus of the annual French promotional celebration
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Expats once again this year can enjoy the highly successful promotion of French wine with the Fiesta Francesa del Beaujolais Nouveau.

This is an international event that will be in its 10th year in Costa Rica.  The festivities promotes the red wine produced in the Province of Beaujolais.

The wine is more hype than taste. The Chambres de Commerce et d'Industrie has promoted a less than unusual local wine into a worldwide event since World War II.

In Costa Rica, the celebration will be a week late on Nov. 24. Typically,  Beaujolais nouveau is released with much fanfare on the third Thursday of November. The event here this year is on the fourth Thursday, which also happens to be U.S. Thanksgiving.

Liking the fruity, slightly chilled Beaujolais is not obligatory. The event in the Hotel Real Intercontinental in Escazú features many other drinks, including Grand Marnier, Johnny Walker, Don Julio tequila and Taqueray gin.

And the meal is what one would expect at a French gathering, ending up with crème brûlée. The $120-a-couple admission includes dancing to the Son de Tikizi and a complimentary bottle of  Beaujolais nouveau.

The wine is unusual in that it is bottled only six to eight weeks after harvest. And fermentation is done anaerobically with carbon dioxide to enhance the taste.

France is the traditional home of great wine, but Italy produces more.

Growers in Europe this year faced floods, drought, frost and
Chambres de Commerce et d'Industrie graphic
Map shows location of Beaujolais north of Lyon.

hail, but they say the quality of the 2016 vintage shouldn’t unduly suffer. They are not talking about Beaujolais nouveau, because that wine does not improve with age and probably should be consumed within a year of harvest.

Overall global wine production fell 5 percent from 2015 levels to 259 million hectoliters, one of the weakest levels of the past 20 years, according to the International Organization of Vine and Wine, wire services said. U.S. production is up 2 percent.

Beaujolais can only be produced in Beaujolais, and the gamay grapes are not very popular in the U.S. And certainly not in California where nearly all of the U.S. fine wine originates.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is the perfect place to find quality Costa Rican and international art for your home or office.  With over 60 artists and 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we have been your source for fine art since 2010.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever. Located just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport (towards the beaches).

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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.

George Lundquist

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Contact us: 
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Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for  your stay in this beautiful part of Costa Rica.We are offering homes for every budget and every need. Please visit our Web page at or contact us at or call at (506) 2654-5442

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About us
What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2016 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. 
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Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Oct. 21, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 209
Real Estate
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Axiom new ad

Most reject Trump’s claim
that the U.S. election is rigged

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. political analysts say Republican Donald Trump's assertion that next month's presidential election is rigged, and that he might not accept the outcome if he loses, is unprecedented in the country's long electoral history.

Trump debated Democrat Hillary Clinton for 90 minutes late Wednesday on a host of issues, trading taunts and policy stances in their third and final face-to-face encounter. But when asked whether he would accept the result of the Nov. 8 election, win or lose, Trump wavered, stunning many by declaring: "What I'm saying is that I will tell you at the time. I'll keep you in suspense, OK?"

Mrs. Clinton called his remarks horrifying, adding, "You know, every time Donald thinks things are not going in his direction, he claims whatever it is is rigged against him."

In 240 years of quadrennial presidential elections in the United States, occasional very close outcomes have been disputed, because of perceived voting irregularities or mistaken vote counts. But in every case, political analysts and historians noted, disputes have been resolved and there was a peaceful transfer of power to the next administration.

The 2000 election was perhaps the closest vote ever, with a ballot-by-ballot review in key areas in Florida and a court battle between the Democratic and Republican parties over details of the recount. The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court which, in a ruling 34 days after election day, decided the case in favor of George W. Bush, sending him to the White House as the 43rd U.S. president instead of former vice president Al Gore.

The Bush-Gore election divided the nation sharply, but both sides agreed to abide by the court's ruling, and the transfer of power was peaceful and cordial.

Never before this year, analysts say, has a major-party candidate like Trump claimed the election was rigged against him weeks before the actual vote. Although early voting is available in some of the 50 U.S. states, only a few million votes have been cast so far, out of an expected eventual total of more than 130 million votes.

By Thursday, Trump had modified his comment on the debate floor slightly, no longer declaring outright that he would challenge an unfavorable outcome. Instead, he said he reserved the right to contest voting irregularities that, in his view, might affect the election overall.

"It's unprecedented that a candidate would say that he wouldn't accept the result," political scientist John Gilmour of the College of William & Mary in Virginia said. There would be no reason for Trump to accept an election loss in the unlikely event of widespread vote fraud, the professor added, but that the candidate does not know now that there is any election fraud.

Gilmour said it is preposterous that the U.S. presidential election could be stolen, because it is decided through a decentralized system of state elections, rather than by the federal government in Washington. The vote totals in the states with the largest populations have the most influence on the overall outcome, not the national popular vote, under the U.S. system of electoral college voting.

James Gimpel, a political scientist at the University of Maryland, said the U.S. presidential elections raise a question of loser's consent in the outcome,  "consenting to be governed by the winners, that the losers will go along with the result."

Gimpel said the debate comment by Trump was "an admission he's likely to lose, a rationalization for the loss that does not place the blame where it belongs, on the inadequacies of his candidacy."

Clinton, a former U.S. secretary of State looking to become the country's first female president, has surged in the last couple of weeks to more than a six-percentage-point advantage over Trump in national polls, and also moved ahead of him in closely contested battleground states that will determine the outcome. Polling analysts give her a 9-in-10 chance of becoming the country's 45th president, succeeding President Barack Obama when he leaves office in late January.

Trump's political fortunes have slumped in the aftermath of the disclosure two weeks ago of a 2005 tape in which he made lewd comments about women and boasted how he could grope them with impunity because he was a celebrity host of a television entertainment program. He apologized for his comments, dismissing his ribald tone as just locker room talk and declaring that he had not actually made unwanted advances on women.

Within days, however, nine women came forward to make public their accounts of Trump making unexpected and unwanted sexual advances on them that sounded much like what he had described in the 2005 tape. Trump has denied the claims.

University of Virginia political analyst Geoffrey Skelley said if Trump "loses,  and there's no reason to think otherwise, he'll look like a sore loser."

Skelley noted that a recent national poll showed Republicans and Democrats alike believe the losing presidential contender should follow U.S. political tradition and concede to the winner.

Edward Foley, an election law expert at the Ohio State University, said that in the U.S., "it's extraordinarily unlikely that any statewide election could be rigged . . . to manipulate the results."

"And it's especially unlikely with respect to presidential elections," he continued, "because the way presidential elections work is that they are 50 different state elections. It's not just one big national election. The risk of this is exceedingly low, but it's not zero."

Americans, he said, should have a very high degree of confidence that the election will be carried out fairly. He said Trump's claim that the election is rigged is way overstated, irresponsibly so.

Foley said there is very strong evidence that voter impersonation at balloting locations across the country is minuscule. He suggested that a person is more likely to be struck by lightning than to encounter a voter trying to claim he is someone else to cast a fraudulent ballot.

Intelligence director promises
says transition will be OK

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Growing concerns about the contentious U.S. presidential race, fueled by doubts about the candidates' qualifications and even their own rhetoric, have not gone unnoticed by the U.S. intelligence community.

But the top U.S. intelligence official wants Americans and people around the world to know there is no need to worry.

"A lot of people out there are nervous about what will happen, and understandably so," James Clapper, director of national intelligence, said Thursday. "I think it will be OK."

"In contrast to any uncertainty surrounding an election and the transition to the next administration, one constant in national security are the people of the intelligence community," Clapper told an audience at the Capitol Visitors Center in Washington, calling the collection of U.S. intelligence agencies a pillar of stability.

Clapper also said the U.S. intelligence community would be heavily involved in making sure the next president is informed about the world and, hopefully, is ready to make decisions."

There have been persistent questions about both major party candidates, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, regarding national security.

Mrs. Clinton has been heavily criticized for her handling of sensitive and classified emails while serving as U.S. secretary of State. Intelligence officials and critics said her use of a private email server potentially made those emails more vulnerable to hacking.

Trump has been criticized for refusing to accept the findings of the U.S. intelligence community, which concluded this month that Russia was responsible for hacking the email of some U.S. political organizations, as well as high-profile individuals. Some have also criticized him for using language that seemed to encourage Russia to carry out additional cyberattacks on the U.S.

Thursday, Clapper defended the U.S. intelligence assessment, though he admitted the intelligence community statement this month that pointed the finger at Russia was pretty unusual.

"We wouldn't have made it unless we were very confident," he said, noting the U.S. had sufficient evidence, both forensic and otherwise.

In the meantime, concerns about attempts to hack into U.S. election systems have prompted more than 30 states to reach out to the Department of Homeland Security for assistance.

But while such cyberattacks could cause some problems, intelligence officials say there is no overall threat to the U.S. election process.

"This election will happen on November 8," Clapper said. "We assess it would be very difficult for someone, anyone, to alter our actual ballot counts with a cyber intrusion, particularly since voting machines aren't connected to the internet."

Mexican judge rejects bid
by Guzmán to avoid U.S.

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A Mexican federal judge on Thursday rejected an appeal by drug lord Joaquin Guzmán against his extradition to the United States.

The Mexican foreign ministry approved the extradition request in May, but Guzman's lawyers have been fighting the decision in a district court.

One of Guzman's lawyers, Andres Granados, vowed to seek a supreme court hearing.

"We are not defeated," Granados said, adding that he could still take the case to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

The head of the Sinaloa drug cartel was recaptured in January after escaping for a second time from a maximum-security prison. He is currently imprisoned in the northern border state of Chihuahua.

Mexico has said it expects to extradite Guzmán by February.

Guzmán is facing two extradition bids, one in California for drug distribution and another in Texas on charges that include murder and money laundering.

His extradition would set up a major trial in the United States for the head of a cartel accused of providing tons of drugs to the United States while fueling violence in Mexico.

Russian nabbed in Prague
is a suspect in hacking case

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Russian national who was accused by American officials of hacking U.S. targets and arrested earlier this month in the Czech capital is 29-year-old Moscow resident Yevgeny Nikulin.

Czech authorities this week said the suspect was detained Oct. 5 in downtown Prague in response to an Interpol warrant requested by the United States, and he now faces a Czech extradition hearing, according to the program “Current Time.”

The program's investigation uncovered Nikulin's Instagram account under the handle "i.tak.soidet," displaying a taste for luxury cars and jewelry and a digital trail that led through Belarus and Poland to the Czech Republic in the weeks before the Prague arrest.

The Instagram account went private shortly after the Russian-language report was published Thursday. Soon after that, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova confirmed Nikulin’s identity for journalists in Moscow.

"The Russian foreign ministry and the Russian Embassy in Prague are actively working with the Czech authorities to prevent the extradition of a Russian citizen to the United States," she added.

The detention of Nikulin shows Washington is mounting a global manhunt against Russian citizens, Zakharova said Thursday.

Hours after news emerged of Nikulin's arrest, the professional networking service LinkedIn issued a statement suggesting the development was connected to a 2012 breach of its members' information. In May, LinkedIn acknowledged that intrusion compromised more than 100 million of its users' passwords.​

No date has been set for Nikulin's extradition hearing, but Czech authorities said the man would remain in custody until that process.

The Russian Embassy in Prague said that Moscow will be seeking his return to Russia. Moscow, an embassy source said, rejects "the U.S. practice of forcing the entire world to enforce its extraterritorial jurisdiction."

Interpol had issued a so-called red notice ​for the alleged Russian hacker, a designation for wanted international fugitives.

Modified tobacco plants seen
producing anti-malaria drug

 By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Scientists say they have figured out a way to use tobacco plants to produce artemisinin, a highly effective anti-malaria drug.

Malaria infects an estimated 200 million people each year, resulting in 400,000 deaths. The drug artemisinin is sometimes used to treat the mosquito-borne illness, clearing the parasite from the bloodstream within 48 hours, according to experts. However, it is very expensive.

Artemisinin comes from an herbal plant grown in China called sweet wormwood. It takes 18 months to grow, extract and produce only a small amount of the effective compound, according to bioengineer Shashi Kumar at the U.N. International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in New Delhi.

“That increases the cost of this drug, and the people who are suffering most and poor are not able to afford this costly drug," Kumar said. "That is why we are looking at some source which can be grown everywhere, like the African continent or the Indian continent, easily. Tobacco is that crop.”

Kumar and colleagues have figured out a way to insert wormwood genes into tobacco plants.

Tobacco is a hardy plant, and when the gene is inserted, a precursor compound of artemisinin shows up in its broad sturdy leaves.

Scientists at the U.N. Center tested the effectiveness of tobacco-produced artemisinin on rodents infected with Plasmodium berghei, a parasite that causes malaria in rats and is often used as an experimental model for genetic engineered treatments. Kumar said the artemisinin from tobacco leaves was more effective than the currently available drug.

But more tests are needed to see whether the tobacco-derived artemisinin drug is equally effective against P. falciparum, the parasite that causes the most dangerous form of the disease in humans.

Kumar and colleagues are now looking at ways to grow the anti-malaria drug in other, more edible plants.

“What we can do, we put this drug into edible plants like lettuce or spinach, where you can just make a powder, put that powder in a capsule and the capsule can be stored like in medical stores or anywhere from where the people can easily buy at a very cheap or very affordable price.”

News about tobacco-grown artemisinin was published in the Cell press journal Molecular Plant.

Kumar says no big tobacco companies have come forward volunteering to produce artemisinin. However, he is hopeful, given that the technology will be made freely available, that there will be some takers.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Oct. 21, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 209
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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
Lithium-ion batteries called toxic dangers

By the Elsevier news staff

Dozens of dangerous gases are produced by the batteries found in billions of consumer devices, like smartphones and tablets, according to a new study. The research, published in Nano Energy, identified more than 100 toxic gases released by lithium batteries and also carbon monoxide.

The gases are potentially fatal, they can cause strong irritations to the skin, eyes and nasal passages, and harm the wider environment. The researchers behind the study, from the Institute of NBC Defence and Tsinghua University in China, say many people may be unaware of the dangers of overheating, damaging or using a disreputable charger for their rechargeable devices.

In the new study, the researchers investigated a type of rechargeable battery, known as a lithium-ion battery, which is placed in two billion consumer devices every year.

“Nowadays, lithium-ion batteries are being actively promoted by many governments all over the world as a viable energy solution to power everything from electric vehicles to mobile devices. The lithium-ion battery is used by millions of families, so it is imperative that the general public understand the risks behind this energy source,” explained Jie Sun, lead author and professor at the Institute of NBC Defence.

The dangers of exploding batteries have led manufacturers to recall millions of devices: Dell recalled four million laptops in 2006, and millions of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 devices were recalled this month after reports of battery fires. But the threats posed by toxic gas emissions and the source of these emissions are not well understood.

Dr. Sun and her colleagues identified several factors that can cause an increase in the concentration of the toxic gases emitted. A fully charged battery will release more toxic gases than a battery with 50 percent charge, for example. The chemicals contained in the batteries and their capacity to release charge also affected the concentrations and types of toxic gases released.

Identifying the gases produced and the reasons for their emission gives manufacturers a better understanding of how to reduce toxic emissions and protect the wider public, as lithium-ion batteries are used in a wide range of environments.

“Such dangerous substances, in particular carbon monoxide, have the potential to cause serious harm within a short period of time if they leak inside a small, sealed environment, such as the interior of a car or an airplane compartment,” Dr. Sun said.

Almost 20,000 lithium-ion batteries were heated to the point of combustion in the study, causing most devices to explode and all to emit a range of toxic gases. Batteries can be exposed to such temperature extremes in the real world, for example, if the battery overheats or is damaged in some way.

The researchers now plan to develop this detection technique to improve the safety of lithium-ion batteries so they can be used to power the electric vehicles of the future safely.

"We hope this research will allow the lithium-ion battery industry and electric vehicle sector to continue to expand and develop with a greater understanding of the potential hazards and ways to combat these issues,” Dr. Sun concluded.

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From Page 7:

Business show to feature technical discussions

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Costa Rica Business Show begins a two-day run Wednesday at the  Centro de Eventos Pedregal. This is the second annual edition sponsored by Eka Consultores Internacional.

Although there is expected to be 52 display stands, the heart of the event is a series of some 60 discussions by business leaders on a variety of themes.

The event is from  9 a.m. to 7 p.m. both days. The sponsor says these are technical discussions directed to business operators or executives who want to obtain more information for effective management. Some 600 businesses are expected to be represented.

More information is HERE!