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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 228
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Caja official outlines strategy against breast cancer
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The public medical service is developing a strategy that will increase the number of mammograms over the next two years, and there is an effort to purchase more equipment. The goal is to reduce the incidence of breast cancer.

That was the report by María Eugenia Villalta, the medical manager of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social.

She appeared before the Comisión Especial de la Mujer at the legislature Wednesday.

According to the Caja official, there is an average of three new diagnoses of breast cancer every day. The Caja has had its problems.

A lab that does biopsies was found to be months behind, and appointments for

mammograms often were months in the future.

The woman said that the death rate from breast cancer is 12 per each 100,000 inhabitants.
  She said that the Caja hopes to perform  82,889 mammograms on women between 45 and 69 by the end of 2018.

She said that Montes de Oca,where San Pedro is located, has the highest incidents of breast cancer, followed by León Cortes, San José, Tibás, Escazú, Coronado, Belén Goicoechea, San Rafael and Moravia.

León Cortés is in first place for mortality, followed by Tibás, Escazú, Montes de Oca, Santa Bárbara, Moravia, Golfito, among others, she said.

The Caja has created an operations manual for handling such cases and also plans to set up a data base to follow breast cancer patients.

South Park kids
Graphic from YouTube
These are the south Park kids, all bundled up for Colorado's winter
There's a chill in the air and Costa Ricans see icicles
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

This is not a good time to promote responses to global warming. Another cold front is headed south, and Costa Ricans already are complaining about the temperature.

Expats in the Central Valley would call this good sleeping weather. Many Costa Rican mothers will be dressing their children up in winter garb to the extent that they resemble the characters on the “South Park” television series. That was supposed to take place in Colorado where they wrote the book on freezing ears and numb toes.

From an expat standpoint, the weather is not so bad. Parts of the Central Valley were expected to see 11 degrees C over night. That is about 52 degrees F.

Meanwhile, those in the lowlands and at the beaches will be seeing temperatures around 24 degrees C or 75 degrees F. Still good sleeping.

When the sun comes up, the mercury will jump, of course.

Cold fronts bring rain, even though the country is fast approaching the dry season. Expats can figure on colder weather in spells until April.

Although expats may joke about the vendors selling Peruvian woolens on the downtown walkway, cold has affected the country’s history.

Cerro de la Muerte is called that because oxcart drivers used to freeze to death when overnighting. The spot is one of the highest in Costa Rica at 3,335 meters or 10,942 feet.

The cold really is not something to ignore. Hikers can run into serious problems at temperatures well above freezing.

Considering that Costa Rican homes lack insulation and sometimes windows, a dip in the 50s F can be challenging.

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An analysis of the elections
Trade treaty needs a detailed study

This is the third of three articles assessing the impact of Donald Trump’s election victory on Latin America.

By Jay Brodell
editor of A.M. Costa Rica

Is the Central American Free Trade Treaty a good deal for Costa Rica? How about for the United States?

These are questions for the incoming Donald Trump Administration. Campaign rhetoric aside, Trump seems sincere in revamping U.S. trade treaties with overseas partners.

The Central American trade treaty may not have a high priority in Washington, but the agreement is very important here. Costa Rica’s part of the agreement went into force on Jan. 1, 2009, after the document won narrow approval in a referendum.

Large portions of the treaty have not gone into effect yet. For example, some local agricultural products are protected for years from foreign competition.

Expats have not seen a lot of consumer benefit from the trade treaty.  Some investors have filed claims against Costa Rica based on jurisdiction awarded by the treaty, but only a few, smaller cases have been decided. A big one is about to go before an arbitration panel.

The agreement did open up the insurance and telecom markets here. In pre-treaty days long waits were the norm to obtain a cell telephone number. Now private firms sell phones on the street.

There appears to be more actions against fake products bearing popular names.

The treaty is a very complex document, and it warrants close study by experts with plenty of input from the commercial sector.

From a consumer standpoint, there does not seem to be any cheaper California wines even though wine in bottles was declared exempt from Costa Rican import duties on Day One of the treaty.

Costa Ricans and expats still pay high import duties on automobiles. U.S. treaty negotiators claimed that these fees, sometimes 80 percent of the value of the vehicle, were internal taxes and not import duties. They were under a lot of pressure to produce a treaty.

This month the Costa Rican customs service said it had impounded 5,000 packages being shipped to purchasers here. Most probably are from the United States. Would not respect for the free trade treaty require extra effort by officials to resolve these problems instead of consigning who knows what to storage? This is something that should be studied.

Banks, too, from time to time restrict financial transactions. Sometimes the ATM limit is around $100, although users are encouraged to make repeated withdrawals and generate more fees for the bank.

Some expats got the drug lord treatment when they tried to bring large sums of dollars into the county to complete a major purchase.

Yet the trade treaty calls for free movement of funds.

The trade treaty also calls for access by service firms from all the signatory countries to government contracts. Yet Costa Rica still restricts many contracts offered for bid to national firms. No U.S. construction firm has won a major highway contract.

These small issues should be looked at along with the big ones before the new U.S. president moves to shake up or abandon the free trade treaty.

Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
Workers rebuild a shelter for a sea turtle nursery that was destroyed by high seas.

High seas ravage turtle nursery in Jacó

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The seas have been so high on both coasts that the national emergency commission has declared an alert for 19 cantons that have beaches.

The emergency commission attributed the seas to the proximity of the moon and the location of it and the sun that generated the second highest seas of the year. There is a warning out for small boats.

The seas destroyed a sea turtle nursery in Jacó, and members of the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas and employees of the Municipalidad de Garabito have been rebuilding it. They also erected what amounts to a small sea wall of stones and other permanent material to keep the waves away.

Some turtle nests had to be relocated, said the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública. The nests are of olive ridley sea turtles  (Lepidochelys olivacea), which, like all sea turtles, are endangered due to loss of nesting grounds and poaching.

The Fuerza Pública has operated turtle nurseries on the central Pacific for four years.

Bad news on those mosquito viruses

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There was bad news involving the zika virus Wednesday.

The Ministerio de Salud confirmed that a child in Limón province has become the first sufferer of microcephaly whose mother contracted the zika virus in Costa Rica.

There already is one case of a child whose mother had been exposed in Nicaragua.

Microcephaly stunts the growth of the brain and skull in infants. Other countries have hundreds of such cases.

Tests showed that the Limón tot tested positive for zika.

Meanwhile, Colorado State researchers announced that their studies show that a mosquito can transmit zika and chikungunya viruses simultaneously and can secrete enough in their saliva to potentially infect humans with both viruses in a single bite.

The research was presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in Atlanta, Georgia. The same scientists are investigating the interaction of the dengue virus with zika and chikungunya, said a report from the association.

All three viruses are found in Costa Rica.

A recent study in Nicaragua revealed that about one in five patients who tested positive for dengue, chikungunya or zika also had a co-infection with at least one of the other two diseases. Some even tested positive for all three, said the association.

Researchers from Brazil reported on serious neurological problems found in adults who had had the virus.

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 228
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No tree is an island when the ants have their vine highways
By Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute news staff

Internet and phone connections are essential for effective communicators and for success in business. A new study at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panamá shows that connections between trees may also be important for maintaining the rich species diversity in tropical forests.

From below, the tropical forest canopy looks like a giant, backlit jigsaw puzzle. A thin, bright outline of light isolates each tree from the others. Biologists call this tendency for each tree to stand alone crown shyness.

Tropical forest canopies harbor more than 40 percent of all of the world’s terrestrial species. Toucans fly and monkeys leap across the void between trees. But for raccoon-like coatis, scuttling possums and tiny ants, each tree is an island.

Despite their tendency to be shy, some trees remain highly connected via a complex network of woody vines known as lianas. Stefan Schnitzer, an institute research associate and professor at Marquette University, authored a slew of papers showing that vines and lianas are taking over many tropical forests. He invented a daunting experiment to find out what the impact of this entanglement could be, cutting all of the lianas from the trees in one section of the forest, leaving the lianas in another.

One of ecology’s long-standing rules-of-thumb is that big islands, the ones surrounded by water, have more species on them than little islands do. This also applies to isolated patches of forest surrounded by agricultural fields. Big patches of forest generally have more species than small patches.

“Nature is so variable, it is sometimes frustrating to try to explain even what seems like an obvious pattern,” said research associate Steve Yanoviak, of the University of Louisville. “In this case, we were very pleased to see that something as complicated as diversity in the tropical forest canopy could be explained simply by viewing trees as islands.”

Yanoviak spends as much time as he can climbing up into the treetops, where he studies tropical insect communities, from mosquito and dragonfly larvae breeding in the tiny pools of water that form at the center of the pineapple-like plants growing on branches, to the ants that glide back to the tree trunk when they are brushed off a limb.

Yanoviak’s doctoral student Ben Adams compared the number 
tree guy
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute photo
Ben Adams is up a tree at the Barro Colorado Nature Monument in Panamá.

of ants in more than 200 trees crowns representing more than 30 tree species. Adams and his assistants used a mixture of
honey and meat (ham, tuna or chicken) as bait to trap 128 ant

species. Baiting is a very effective way of determining which ant species are living in a tree, as it provides a combination of carbohydrates, salts, fats and proteins.

They collected 92 species in trees with lianas versus 58 in trees without lianas. They discovered that on average, from two to 20 different species of ants live in a single tree crown. Bigger trees tended to be home to more ant species than smaller trees, but only when the trees were not connected by lianas. Trees connected to other trees by vines and lianas had more than 10 species of ants, whereas unconnected trees had an average of 8 ant species.

Trees with lianas often have more of the sort of ant species in which single foragers go out to look for food alone, rather than foraging in groups as other ant species do. And ant species that build big colonial nests were equally common in trees with and without lianas.

Think of lianas as the telephone lines or those lines on a map showing the geographic connections between cities via the world-wide-web. Understanding why these connections matter is especially important in a world where continued timber harvesting and road building break these vital connections.    

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 228
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Getting the marchamo is easy . . . but the window sticker is a pain
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Road tax for vehicles is an expense that has to be paid by Dec. 31 to avoid fines and tickets.

Expats who wait until the last minute will find their favorite banking institution closed for New Year’s. So paying the fee is easy since the Instituto Nacional de Seguros put everything in an electronic data base.

No longer do vehicle owners have to bring a file full of paperwork. An identification document and the vehicle plate number is all that is needed. There are hundreds of outlets accepting payments as well as the insurance institute.

This also is a time to find out if some data input operator incorrectly attached a stiff fine to the vehicle. Removing such a notation can be a nightmare, and some wrongly accused expats simply pay the fine rather than visit the Fiscalia de Transito and argue.

Along with other paperwork, the payment of the annual macharmo brings a sticker to put in the front windshield. This is more easily described than done.

The stickers are in two parts, a small piece of paper identifying the vehicle and a sticky window to affix the piece of paper to the window.  Naturally there are plenty that are upside down or

YouTube video in Spanish is subtitled . . . also in Spanish.

reversed. Police do not seem to notice if everything else is in order.

Expats can find out how much they owe for each vehicle HERE! Language skills re not required. The data base produces mostly numbers.

The marchamo includes payment for basic insurance, the annual vehicle tax and a number of other fees. The Ministerio de Hacienda sets the road tax and is notoriously inconsistent. There is a video in Spanish about how the tax is figured and a Web site where vehicle owners can protest the tax.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

HIdden Garden graphic
Put Costa Rica on your walls
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).

Visit our Web site at:
Contact us by email:  
Find us on Trip Advisor, Facebook, Twitter,
Moon Travel Guides & Frommer's

Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tel.  8386-6872 / 2667-0592; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073
International shipping available.

Click photo for another video

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

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

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

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

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

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

George Lundquist

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Contact us: 
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Cells:  +506-8380-5919  and +506-8302-5877

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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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Real estate for rent (paid category)

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2-bedroom, 2- bathroom, fully furnished American-style apartments with elevator in a secure building in Barrio Amón. Cable, internet, water included. Shared laundry. Convenient to Parque Morazán,  hotels, restaurants, casinos, city government, national registry.   Rate  $650 per month plus electricity. 1/2 month security deposit. No lease.  Larger bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens. It would be the best for the prospective tenants to visit the building to see the apartment.  For more information contact
Or call Hilda at 506-2221-7161.

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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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A.M. Costa Rica's
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Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 228
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Axiom new ad

Mrs. Clinton
Voice of America photo  
Mrs. Clinton in her first post-election talk.

Mrs. Clinton describes week
in her first post-election talk

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said all she wanted to do for most of the past week was take her dog, "curl up with a good book and never leave the house again."

Mrs. Clinton made her first public appearance Wednesday night in Washington after conceding the presidential election to Republican Donald Trump a week ago.

She appeared at the Children's Defense Fund's Beat the Odds program, which honored five young people who overcame tragedy to become excellent students and are on their way to outstanding professional careers.

Mrs. Clinton admitted that coming to the event "wasn't the easiest thing for me." But she said the five young men and women the fund was saluting never gave up after facing violence, poverty and abandonment.

She called the Beat the Odds event a very poignant night for her, noting that it was the first event she and former president Bill Clinton attended after he won the 1992 presidential election.

Children's Defense Fund President Marian Wright Edelman called the Wednesday event a love-in for Mrs. Clinton because of her contributions to the fund and her lifelong dedication to child welfare.

Despite the outcome of last week's election, Ms. Edelman pointed out that Mrs. Clinton won the popular vote and called her "the people's president."

Trump expected to less timid
and not overly aggressive

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Even as the transition team for U.S. president-elect Donald Trump works to assemble his cabinet, a consensus is emerging on what the world may be able to expect from the new administration on counterterror policy.

The view, from longtime Washington veterans and from those close to members of the transition team, is one of an administration likely to place a premium on innovation and the selective but convincing use of force. And it will put America's interests above all else.

The approach, in some ways, is intended as a rebuke to the administration of President Barack Obama as well as that of his predecessor, president George W. Bush. One is seen as too timid and the other as overly aggressive on the international stage.

"You're going to see a lot more resolve," said Tony Shaffer, a retired intelligence officer and vice president of Strategic Initiatives and Operations at the London Center for Policy Research.

Shaffer, who has worked with retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a key Trump military adviser, believes that resolve will be most evident in the Trump administration's approach to counterterrorism, specifically in the fight against the Islamic State terror group.

"One of the first things that will be fixed is the fact that the Pentagon has sought and was denied more authority to approach ISIS on a global basis," he said, using an acronym for the terror group. "I'm sure the Pentagon is going to get that authority in the new Trump administration."

Still, Trump supporters emphasize the new administration will also be pragmatic, and the desire to remove restrictions on the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies does not mean scrapping efforts that have gotten results.

Counterterrorism efforts "will simply be accelerated," said Michael Pregent, a former intelligence officer now with the Hudson Institute. "It will be done more often. It will be empowered to succeed."

Some Washington insiders say that in some ways, what Trump has in mind may not actually be all that different from what the world saw from Obama.

"There will be some adjustments, maybe most of them rhetorical," said P.J. Crowley, a former State Department official in the Obama administration. "Somewhat like the Obama administration, there's going to be greater caution in terms of where and how the United States intervenes directly."

But Crowley said he also expects the incoming Trump administration will be much more focused on American interests, probably a little less focused on American values.

"We're not necessarily going to worry about the character of our allies," he said. "We're going to worry about what they can do to solve a problem."

Yet how these likely changes will actually affect U.S. counterterror allies is less clear.

"We just have to wait and see, because really nobody knows," Najmaldin Karim, the governor of Iraq's Kirkuk province, said Tuesday during a visit to Washington.

"He's a smart guy," he added. "I think the campaign rhetoric is different than the reality."

Yet, Trump critics see plenty of reason to worry, highlighted by comments of Trump supporter and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, said to be a possible candidate for U.S. secretary of State.

Giuliani on Monday portrayed the Islamic State not just as a key counterterrorism priority but as the incoming administration's top foreign policy priority, ahead of other Middle East issues, like the Iran nuclear deal.

"ISIS, short term, I believe, is the greatest danger and not because ISIS is in Iraq and in Syria," Giuliani told The Wall Street Journal CEO Council. "ISIS did something al-Qaida never did. ISIS was able to spread itself around the world."

"I don't believe the Trump administration can look beyond ISIS," said Malcolm Nance, a former counterterrorism and intelligence officer who now heads the Terror Asymmetrics Project. "Trump sees the jihadi threat as equal to the entire Muslim world. They have bought into the clash-of-civilizations myth created by Osama bin Laden."

Nance and others fear that a single-minded focus on the Islamic State, combined with Trump's rhetoric on Muslims from his presidential campaign, could backfire within a year.

Facebook CEO denies fakes
change the election outcome

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has rejected criticism that bogus stories that appeared on the social networking site influenced the outcome of Tuesday's U.S. presidential election. The site's news algorithm does not distinguish fake stories from verified ones.

"Personally, I think the idea that fake news on Facebook, which, it’s a very small amount of the content, influenced the election in any way is a pretty crazy idea," Zuckerberg said at a technology conference near San Francisco, California.

"Voters make decisions based on their lived experiences. … You don’t generally go wrong when you trust that people understand what they care about and what’s important to them and you build systems that reflect that," he said.

Zuckerberg not only defended his company, but pointed out that anyone could have analyzed data from Facebook to see the vast amount of support Donald Trump received from across the country.

"It’s not a surprise, or it’s not news, that Trump has more followers on Facebook than Hillary does; I think some of his posts got more engagement," the social network founder said, responding to a question about whether Facebook knew from its access to user data that Trump had been poised to win the election over Hillary Clinton.

Zuckerberg remained nonpartisan and defensive of his company throughout the hourlong talk, maintaining that Trump had won the election because he had the support of over half of the U.S. electorate.

"We really believe in people," he said. "I think there’s a profound lack of empathy in asserting that the only reason someone could have voted the way they did is because they saw some fake news."

Facebook, however, is aware of the role it plays in perpetuating bogus news. In September, the company teamed up with members of First Draft Coalition, which includes companies such as Twitter, CNN and The New York Times, to combat the growing trend of false news.

The trend caught the public's attention when Facebook announced that its trending news feature would be decided by an algorithm instead of human editors.

Some unsubstantiated reports have still circulated, raising questions about the algorithm and the vulnerability of such programs to hoax articles posted with the intent of generating online ad revenue.

Senators select their leaders
for next congressional term

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. Senate leadership positions are being filled for the new session that will start in early January, reflecting the balance of power determined in elections held across the country last week.

The veteran New York Democratic senator, Chuck Schumer, was unanimously elected minority leader Wednesday. He will succeed Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, who is retiring.

Saying he was humbled and honored by the position, and pointing out the diversity of the Democratic Senate class, Schumer said the party was ready to work with Republican Donald Trump but also "go toe to toe against the president-elect whenever our values or the progress we've made is under assault."

In addition to Schumer's election, Democrats re-elected Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois as the minority whip, the party's No. 2 position in the Senate.

Sen. Patty Murray of Washington will serve as the third-ranking Democrat, forgoing a challenge to Durbin but assuming a new title of assistant Democratic leader.

In a gesture to his party's progressive wing, Schumer added Sens, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts to his newly expanded leadership team.

Warren will be a vice chairwoman of the conference and Sanders will serve as the chairman of outreach. Sanders is an independent who caucuses with the Democrats and challenged former secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the party's presidential nomination.

On the Republican side, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky will continue in his leadership position.

Republicans will control the White House, House and Senate in the coming year, but a potential stumbling block exists in the Senate, which they will dominate 52-48. Assuming Republicans don't eliminate the rule allowing filibusters, Schumer should be able to keep the GOP from reaching the 60 votes they'd need on some issues to break procedural delays.

Illustrating a GOP openness toward Trump, Sen. Deb Fischer of Nebraska said, "Mr. Trump is ready to get to work, and we're there with him.''

Jeff  Flake of Arizona, one of Trump's most outspoken congressional critics, said he'd back Trump's efforts to repeal President Barack Obama's health care law but added, "I'll oppose him when it's warranted.''

The congressional leadership positions take effect prior to the Jan. 20 inauguration of Trump as the 45th president of the United States.

Obama picks 21 to receive
U.S. Medal of Freedom

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Twenty-one extraordinary Americans, legends in their professions, have been chosen to receive the top U.S. civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The nation’s highest civilian honor is “a tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have the opportunity to change this country for the better,” President Barack Obama said in an announcement Wednesday.

“From scientists, philanthropists and public servants to activists, athletes and artists, these 21 individuals have helped push America forward, inspiring millions of people around the world along the way,” Obama said.

This year’s roster of medalists includes sports legends Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and veteran sports broadcaster Vin Scully; actors Robert Redford, Robert DeNiro, Cicely Tyson and Tom Hanks, and entertainers Ellen DeGeneres, Diana Ross and Bruce Springsteen.

Other honorees are philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates, polymath physicist Richard Garwin, architect Frank Gehry, designer Maya Lin, television producer Lorne Michaels, attorney Newton Minow, mathematician and computer scientist Margaret H. Hamilton and Eduardo Padrón, president of Miami Dade College in Florida.

Posthumous honors will go to Native American advocate Elouise Cobell and Rear Adm. Grace Hopper.

The current version of the award was established by former president John F. Kennedy more than 50 years ago to honor those who have made outstanding contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to other significant public or private endeavors.

Twitter bans far-right activists
in efforts against hate speech

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A number of Twitter accounts belonging to far-right, or alt-right, activists were suspended Wednesday, following the company's announcement that it would crack down on hate speech.

Self-declared white-nationalist National Policy institute, its magazine, and its head Richard Spencer all had accounts that have been suspended, as well as alt-right activists such as Pax Dickinson and Paul Town.

Spencer, who had a verified account on Twitter, has said he wanted a number of minorities kicked out of the country, and has called for peaceful ethnic cleansing, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

"The Twitter Rules prohibit targeted abuse and harassment, and we will suspend accounts that violate this policy," Twitter said in a statement.

But alt-right supporters have said the suspensions are a purge.

"I am alive physically, but digitally speaking there have been execution squads across the alt-right," Spencer said in a video he posted on YouTube. "It is corporate Stalinism."

The alt-right has been described as an alternative to mainstream conservatism, but others say it is a collection of white supremacists and racists.

Twitter has suspended high-profile accounts before, including those of alt-right activists, but never so many at once. Normally, suspended accounts are unlocked after a short period of time, but earlier this year it permanently banned Breitbart technology editor Milo Yiannopoulos over accusations that he helped incite abuse of actress Leslie Jones.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 228
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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
Online game helps study of dementia

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

An online game following the journey of an elderly former sea explorer who has lost his memories has helped scientists lead a vast international dementia study and given important preliminary results about human orientation skills.

The game, called Sea Quest Hero and developed by Deutsche Telekom and Alzheimer’s Research UK, was launched in May and has generated enough data to help create a global benchmark for the human brain’s navigational processes and how they vary between men and women, and between the young and old.

It has been played more than 2.4 million times worldwide, giving more than 9,400 years’ worth of equivalent lab-based research, the scientists said Wednesday and is showing the potential to be able to help diagnose dementia earlier.

According to the World Health Organization, the total number of people with dementia in 2015 was estimated at 47.5 million, and that number is rising rapidly as life expectancy increases and societies age. Case numbers are projected to reach 75.6 million by 2030, and to more than triple between now and 2050.

The incurable condition is a leading cause of disability and dependency, and it is starting to overtake heart disease as a cause of death in some developed countries.

Dementia is caused by brain diseases, most commonly alzheimer’s, which results in the loss of brain cells and affects memory, thinking, behavior, navigational and spatial abilities and the ability to perform everyday activities.

Hugo Spiers, a neuroscientist at Britain’s University College London who led the research team, said the Sea Hero study was unprecedented in both scale and accuracy.

“The findings the game is yielding have enormous potential to support vital developments in dementia research,” he said.

In preliminary results, published and presented at a neuroscience conference in the United States, scientists found that spatial navigation abilities start to decline from early adulthood continue on this trajectory.

Players age 19, for example, were 74 percent likely to accurately hit a target during the game, compared with 46 percent among 75-year-old players.

Spiers said this was in stark contrast to findings of previous small studies, which suggest declines start much later.

While memory deterioration is a fairly normal part of aging, Spiers explained that becoming completely disoriented is not. It is, however, common in people developing dementia.

This means the benchmark established by the initial data from Sea Hero Quest players paves the way to finding the earliest spatial navigational changes, he said. This makes dementia potentially diagnosable long before someone displays symptoms of general memory loss. In turn, this could allow for earlier diagnosis and treatment of patients.

Since the game’s data shows changes in spatial navigation abilities, both declines and improvements, it could also be used in future drug trials to assess the effectiveness of possible treatments, the researchers said.

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From Page 7:

Movies by Costa Ricans will be featured

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Canal 13, the state television station, said Wednesday that it would begin Saturday broadcasting a series of five movies made by Costa Ricans through Dec. 24.  This is the Sinart network.

The programs, called CineTico also involves the Centro de Producción Cinematográfica Costarricense. The goal is to make the country aware of the full-length movies produced here.

This also is a time when lawmakers are giving next year’s budget a close look.

The movie Saturday at 7 p.m. is “A Ojos Cerrados,” by Hernán Jiménez. After Dec. 24, the station will broadcast movies each day at 9 p.m. though Jan. 8.

The station is carried on different channels by cable television stations. This also is a station known for all sorts of cultural programming.