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Published Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 233
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Third alert
Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias Map   
This map, updated this afternoon, shows areas under red alert.
Hurricane Otto continues its march as a category 2
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
Updated at 3:15 p.m.

Hurricane Otto made landfall just north of the Nicaraguan town of San Juan de Norte  as a category 2 storm 110 mph (175 kph) with higher gusts.  The system picked up speed as it moved well inland but retained its strong hurricane status.

The compact storm may cause less damage than had been estimated.

Th U.S. Hurricane Center said Otto is the southernmost landfall of a hurricane in Central America on record. Communities in northern Costa Rica are well within the storm’s strongest grasp.

Emergency cancels many events

At least one home in Barra del Colorado was washed out to sea. One hotel there lost its roof, a report from the town said. And there was some looting. Trees were down blocking roadways in the extreme northeast part of the country. But by 3 p.m. The storm had passed over with much less damage than expected. The speed over land was estimated at 18 mph.

The hurricane picked up strength earlier today before moving into Nicaragua near the community also known as Greytown. The community is just north of the mouth of the Río San Juan, which is the international border.

The hurricane center had said that Otto is expected to begin weakening and become a tropical storm by tonight as it moves due west along the Costa Rica-Nicaraguan border. That had not been seen by 3 p.m. when the storm was well into land along the international border.

That area has seen from 100 to 170 millimeters or rain in the last six hours, according to the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional. That’s about four to nearly seven inches.

The Central Valley, the Pacific coast mountains and the Nicoya peninsula were getting rain of from five  to 15 millimeters, some .2 to .5 of an inch.

The full force of the hurricane extends 30 kilometers or nearly 20 miles from the center, said the weather institute, adding that the rest of the country will see strong wind gusts of up to 120 kph or 75 mph.

The storm surge in the Caribbean is four meters, said the weather institute.

Thousands have been evacuated from northern Costa Rica.

The national emergency commission is using cell telephone technology to tell residents to stay in their homes or offices until told otherwise. The commission also said that only it and the weather institute were official sources of information, perhaps with a concern about false reports on social media outlets.

The commission did say that Ruta 32, the main highway from San José north had been reopened after a landslide had been cleared.

*Earlier story follows*

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Posted at 2 a.m.

A high probability exists that Hurricane Otto will not make landfall in Costa Rica.

The system collapsed into a tropical storm Wednesday morning and started movement to the north. That gave hope to Costa Ricans that the system would miss the country completely. That was not to be.

By later Wednesday the storm increased in strength and regained hurricane status. And the system started to move south. At midnight the center of the storm was reported at 11.2 degrees north latitude and 90 miles east of the province of Limón.

The Costa Rican community of Tortugero is at 10.3 degrees north latitude, which means

police wiating
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
Police evacuated residents in vulnerable areas Tuesday and spent Wednesday finding stragglers and just waiting.

the hurricane is likely to make landfall in Nicaraguan territory about 60 miles north of Tortugero and about 23 miles north of the mouth of the Río San Juan.

The storm is on a track due west, said the U.S. Hurricane Center in Miami.

Although Costa Rica may avoid technically being hit by the first hurricane in nearly 200 years, the northern part of the county will not duck the devastation. The storm is growing stronger, and now packs sustained winds of 85 mph.

The prediction is for the storm to sweep across the border area between the two countries and move into the Pacific by Friday.

Hurricane force winds extend 10 miles or 20 kilometers from the storm center, and tropical force winds extend 70 miles or 110 kilometers, said the hurricane center.

The Instituto Meteorológical Nacional said at 1 a.m. that the first bands of clouds from the hurricane were expected to pass into the country by 4 a.m. and the landfall was expected about 10 to 12 hours later.

The institute noted that the storm had strengthened during the previous three hours  and had picked up forward motion.

The U.S. hurricane center said that from six to 12 inches of rain with isolated amounts of from 15 to 20 inches could be expected across northern Costa Rica and southern Nicaragua.

They warned of life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.

Any rain would fall on ground that already is soaked from a week of storms.

Costa Rica is as prepared as it could be. Thousands of residents have been evacuated from the northern zone and Limón province. Most activities have been suspended through Friday.

All public schools in Costa Rica are closed today and Friday. The education ministry said this decision was made to prevent injury of the students, teachers, and staff from the storm.

The ministry said it would move certain tests necessary for graduation to Dec. 10.

Caribbean and northern zone hospitals have sent home as many patients as they could and restricted services to emergency cases. They have been clearing the decks for storm victims.
The hospitals in San Carlos, Upala and Los Chiles that are located in the red alert area that is set to be the pathway for the hurricane are among the ones suspending the services.

The central government declared a national emergency and told all but emergency workers to stay home until Monday.

It noted that the red alert extends through 18 cantons, 14 of them in the central and south Pacific. They are Montes de Oro, Esparza, San Mateo, Orotina, Puntarenas, Garabito, Parrita, Quepos, Pérez Zeledón, Buenos Aires, Osa, Golfito, Corredores and Coto Brus and four in Alajuela, Zarcero, Valverde Vega, Naranjo and San Ramón.

Also covered by the red alert are Pococí, Guácimo, Siquirres, Matina, Toro Amarillo in Valverde Vega, Río Cuarto in Grecia, Sarapiquí, La Cruz in Guanacaste and the northern cantons of  Los Chiles, Upala, San Carlos and Guatuso.

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Oxcart parade among postponed events

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Sunday oxcart parade has been suspended until further notice.

The event originally was scheduled for Sunday.  A traditional sesteo or campout was to be held before the parade Saturday. The parade with more than 300 teams of oxen was supposed to start at 10 a.m at the Statue of León Cortés before continuing down Paseo Colon and ending at the Plaza de la Democracia.
The Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud and the Municipalidad de San José said they regretted not being able to celebrate the event that featured the oxcarts and drivers that have been declared intangible heritage by the United Nations. They blamed Hurricane Otto.

The parade has been held since 1997 to celebrate the origins of the nation as much as also giving a nod to Costa Rican country culture. The event marks the beginning of the Christmas holiday. The sesteo event is when boyeros and animals rest before participating in the Sunday parade. It stems from a tradition where these breaks were necessary to continue on the journey along bad roads.

Both institutions said that they will try to coordinate the rescheduling of the event, but failed to give an exact date at this time.

National routes closed due to storm

Route 32 is closed due to multiple slides with a major one seven kilometers south of  the Zurquí tunnel. Debris removal on the troubled highway should begin this morning as current weather conditions in the area did not allow an immediate effort to repair the damage, according to highway officials.

The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes also reported five more national routes being totally closed and four under restricted passage. Those routes also closed in addition to Route 32 are: 708 Sarchí-Bajos del Toro, 741 Zarcero-Palmira-Bajos del Toro, 219 Cartago-Volcán Irazú and the 141 Naranjo-Zarcero-Ciudad Quesada around the area of the La Vieja bridge going the same way as the canton routes 607-209 Comte-Alto Comte.

The routes having passage restricted are: 14 Río Claro-Depósito Libre de Golfito, 245 Chacarita–Puerto Jiménez, Ruta 126, San Rafael Cariblanco, and Ruta 612 San Vito-Gutiérrez Brown.

Power will remain on, says electric utility

A recent release notifying that electrical services would be suspended in some parts of the country has proven to be false. The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad confirmed that it will continue to provide their services in conjunction with the Compañía Nacional de Fuerza y Luz. The firm said its working groups have also been reinforced in order to remain attentive to any alteration that could be necessary due to weather conditions.

Substations and power generation plants will also continue to operate under normal conditions and they promised to work 24 hours a day to guarantee the national power supply.

Reservoirs based at Cachí, Reventazón, Peñas Blancas and Pirrís have reduced levels of water as a security measure to prevent substantial flooding to communities downstream of the generation centers, the firm said.

Banco Nacional offices closed in certain locations

The Banco Nacional has closed its branches today effective until the hurricane and bad weather end.  Local branch closings will be in the following locations: Bribrí, Puerto Viejo de Limón, Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí, Limón, Plaza Limón, Bataán, Santa Rita de Río Cuarto, Los Chiles, Upala, Guatuso, Ciudad Cortés, Puerto Jiménez, Zarcero, Muelle de San Carlos, and La Cruz.

University suspends its classes

The Tecnológico de Costa Rica will be suspending all activities until Monday in response to the recent national emergency.

The suspension includes all the activities of the Fundación Tecnológica throughout the country as well as the internal dependencies located on and off campus. Despite this action, security personnel will maintain guard over the facilities.

Any students living in the residence halls have been requested by campus officials to remain in their residences and follow all instructions given by the residence authorities. The academic calendar will be adjusted as needed, the Cartago school said.

Cultural organizations suspending activities
Multiple organizations dedicated to the arts and culture throughout Costa Rica are moving to suspend or cancel their events in the wake of bad storms.

The Encuentro Nacional de Mujeres Jóvenes, that was scheduled Thursday and Friday by the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud and the Instituto Nacional de las Mujeres is rescheduled for Dec. 3-4.  The Sistema Nacional de Educación Musical canceled school activities at Pococí, Guácimo, Siquirres and Limón until Monday.

The Teatro Nacional de Costa Rica has suspended its showing of  “Sensaciones y percepciones humanas” by the Escuela de Artes Musicales de la Universidad de Costa Rica.

The Centro Nacional de Música reported that the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional concert Friday at the Teatro Nacional was cancelled. However the performances on Saturday and Sunday remain scheduled. The Museo Nacional announced that the Museo Finca Seis in Palmar Sur will reopen Tuesday, Nov. 29.

Public libraries are closed in Limón Centro, Ciudad Quesada, Matina, Siquirres, Aguas Zarcas and Pital through Friday. They are expected to reopen at their regularly scheduled hours Monday Nov. 28.

National parks closed, too

Temporary closure of the national parks was ordered by the Sistema Nacional de Áreas de Conservación and the Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía. All foreign tourists and Costa Ricans are expected not to enter or attempt to enter the specified conservation areas in the interest of their own safety, an announcement said.

The following parks within these conservation areas are closed off: Área de Conservación Tortuguero, Área de Conservación Arenal Huetar Norte, Área de Conservación Guanacaste, Área de Conservación Tempisque, Área de Conservación La Amistad Pacífico, Área de Conservación La Amistad Caribe, and Área de Conservación Osa.

These closures could potentially be extended into Saturday, but the representatives said they would consider it on a case-by-case basis. The ministry also noted that even more parks and conservation areas could be closed.

Black and white fundraiser postponed

The sixth annual Black and White fundraiser is being postponed to Friday, Dec. 2 due to the approaching storm. It will be held at 6:30 p.m at the El Be! Club in Tamarindo. Tickets are $50 and include the dinner and a drink. The fundraiser itself will include a buffet-style dinner, music, silent auction, and wine bar.

The organizers said all proceeds to the event are going towards the Culture, Education and Psychology for Infants and Adolescents organization, a non-profit that supports children living in extreme poverty. Specifically, the money would allow the non-profit to purchase food and school supplies for around 350 children, it said. The event had been scheduled for Friday.

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 233
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San Ramón prepared for its unique festival spiced with candy
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

For more than 100 years, the streets of San Ramón de Alajuela ring with the call and response of children and young people shouting “¿Quién causa tanta alegría?” to which is responded “Las Melcochas de María.” However, this is what happens Dec.7 as the climax to the entire series of events held in the Parque Municipal Alberto Manuel Brenes.

This week-long celebration, called Festival Familiar Navideño, is unique to the residents. It is supposed to open Friday, Dec. 2, with the 6 p.m. lighting of a Christmas tree followed an hour later by the public showing of "Merecumbré" that seeks to showcase over 25 years of the original Colombian style of music that is a combination of the words merengue and cumbia. 

The next day, Dec. 3, will consist of a night parade of bands starting at 6 p.m. Festivities will continue on to Sunday morning at 9 a.m with the “Avenida Cultura” until finally the event unique to San Ramón begins on Wednesday Dec. 7: the “Melcochas de María.”

That particular day will start with an hour-long Mass at 5 p.m. followed by a serenade of the Virgin Mary. The Fiesta de las Melcochas de María, as it is called, is a Catholic-based celebration of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. It is organized by a cooperation between the municipal government, the local parish, as well as the wider community.

By 6:30 p.m., 10,000 melcochas, a specially handmade candy resembling a long tootsie roll and made from tapa de dulce, will be thrown from the balcony of the municipality and the bell tower of the church. They will fall to the crowd below to eat as they enjoy music and fireworks.

Meanwhile, children run through the streets forming large groups called barras to visit houses where women named María live. They all then shout, “María, María! Melcochas, melcochas!” when that woman named María comes to the door or the balcony of her house to throw the melcochas or even a few coins.

That is when the children shout “¿Quién causa tanta alegría?” That means who is causing such joy. The candies are the response.

The week is finally capped with events Dec. 10 starting at 10 a.m. where children’s activities include a parade of wooden horses, floats, and face painting. On Dec. 11 there is another round of the “Avenida Central” beginning at 9 a.m. Lastly, the following Sunday, Dec.18, will also have an outdoor cinema show starting at 6 p.m.
sna Ramon

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 233
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Dogs show their memory is much better than had been thought
By the Cell Press news staff

People have a remarkable ability to remember and recall events from the past, even when those events didn't hold any particular importance at the time they occurred. Now, researchers reporting in the journal Current Biology have evidence that dogs have that kind of episodic memory too.

The study found that dogs can recall a person's complex actions even when they don't expect to have their memory tested.

"The results of our study can be considered as a further step to break down artificially erected barriers between non-human animals and humans," says Claudia Fugazza of MTA-ELTE Comparative Ethology Research Group in Budapest, Hungary. "Dogs are among the few species that people consider clever, and yet we are still surprised whenever a study reveals that dogs and their owners may share some mental abilities despite our distant evolutionary relationship."

Evidence that non-human animals use episodic-like memory has been hard to come by because researchers can't just ask a dog what it remembers. In the new study, the researchers took advantage of a trick called Do as I Do. Dogs trained to Do as I Do can watch a person perform an action and then do the action themselves. For example, if their owner jumps in the air and then gives the "Do it!" command, the dog would jump in the air too.

The fact that dogs can be trained in this way alone wasn't enough to prove episodic memory. That's because it needed to be shown that dogs remember what they just saw a person do even when they weren't expecting to be asked or rewarded. To get around this problem, the researchers first trained 17 dogs to imitate human actions with the "Do as I Do" training method. Next, they did another round of training in which dogs were trained to lie down after watching the human action, no matter what it was.

Cell Press/Mirko Lui
Claudia Fugazza and her dog demonstrating the Do As I Do Method.
After the dogs had learned to lie down reliably, the researchers surprised them by saying "Do It" and the dogs did. In other words, the dogs recalled what they'd seen the person do even though they had no particular reason to think they'd need to remember. They showed episodic-like memory.

Dogs were tested in that way after one minute and after one hour. The results show they were able to recall the demonstrated actions after both short and long time intervals. However, their memory faded somewhat over time.

The researchers say that the same approach can most likely be used and adapted in a wide range of animal species, to better understand how animals' minds process their own actions and that of others around them.

"From a broad evolutionary perspective, this implies that episodic-like memory is not unique and did not evolve only in primates but is a more widespread skill in the animal kingdom," Researcher Fugazza says. "We suggest that dogs may provide a good model to study the complexity of episodic-like memory in a natural setting, especially because this species has the evolutionary and developmental advantage to live in human social groups."

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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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centers, but are surrounded in lush, tropical forest. Villas are also available for sale in our inventory, so you can enjoy yearly vacations to this mesmerizing rainforest paradise. Please visit our rental inventory HERE!  or call us toll free at 877-815-4227, International: 603-516-0200.  Email:

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Fully Furnished American Style Apartment for Rent

San Jose Central 2-1/2-bedroom 2-bathroom apartment on the 2nd floor. Fully furnished American-style apartments with elevator in a secure building in Barrio Amón. Large balcony. Adult Building. Free cable television with two television both in the living room and in the main bedroom. High speed internet cable, WiFi, fully equipped large kitchen with microwave, toaster oven, coffee maker, water cooler, total utensils. King-sized bed in the principal bedroom, all bedding, sheets, towels, etc. It has an over-sized soaking tub off of the second bathroom. Water included. Free laundry rooms on all floors. Convenient to Parque Morazán, 100 meters north of downtown Holiday Inn, other hotels, restaurants, casinos, city government, National Registry. For a single individual it is $650 per month plus your electric usage just inside your apartment. $300 security deposit promptly refunded except your final electric bill. For personal inspection and more information contact: Hilda or Frank at 506-2221-7161.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 233
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South Carolina governor
picked as ambassador to U.N.

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The transition team of president-elect Donald Trump has picked South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to serve as his U.N. ambassador.

Gov. Haley, a frequent critic of Trump early in his bid for the presidency, rose to the national spotlight when she led efforts in 2015 to remove the confederate flag from South Carolina State buildings after the massacre of black worshipers at a historic Charleston church.

In a statement on her Web site, Gov. Haley said she had agreed, pending Senate confirmation, to serve in the U.N. post.

"When the president believes you have a major contribution to make to the welfare of our nation, and to our nation’s standing in the world, that is a calling that is important to heed," Gov. Haley wrote.

Nikki Haley is Indian-American and is the first non-white woman or person of color to be named to the president-elect’s cabinet.

While Gov. Haley is not well known in international circles and does not have the foreign policy experience most U.S. ambassadors possess, diplomats and analysts welcomed her nomination.

“In my previous position as France’s ambassador to Washington, I had the pleasure and opportunity to meet with Governor Haley,” France’s U.N. ambassador, François Delattre, said. “We had a very good contact. She is a highly regarded, very respected professional.”

Britain's U.N. ambassador, Matthew Rycroft, told reporters “she will bring to the U.N. a strong track record of achievement from South Carolina, and I know that the U.K.-U.S. relationship will continue to go from strength to strength.”

Israel’s U.N. envoy, Danny Danon, issued a statement saying Gov. Haley "is a longstanding and true friend of Israel and is an outspoken fighter against the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement in her state, and throughout the U.S.” He referred to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement seeking to apply economic pressure on Israel.

U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said leaders of the world body are aware of her laudable comments against racism in the wake of the Charleston, South Carolina, shooting. In that 2015 shooting, a white man killed nine black worshipers at an historic Charleston church.

“She has a reputation of being fairly conservative,” said Robert Oldendick, a political science professor at the University of South Carolina. He noted that she has in most estimations, done a fairly credible job as governor and easily won re-election.

Not much is known, though, about her foreign policy views.

She tried to stop the resettlement of Syrian refugees in her state based on security concerns over the vetting process. During the presidential campaign, however, she criticized candidate Trump for proposing a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country.

Her position on a key U.N. issue, climate change, is unclear. She has criticized a clean-power initiative, saying it would hurt job creation.

At the U.N., she will have to negotiate resolutions and diplomatic deals with tough and experienced envoys, including those from Russia and China. She governed South Carolina with a Republican majority in her state legislature, so she was not forced into too many political negotiations with an opposing party.

“I think it would be a mistake to underestimate her and to think that she is just going to be not able to compete in that arena," Oldendick said, "because every challenge she has had to this point in her political career, she has been able to meet it."

But the analysts agree that Gov. Haley will have a steep learning curve in learning to deal with a raft of issues confronting the U.N., including the war in Syria, terrorism, conflict and hunger in Africa, the global refugee crisis and climate change.

Ohio man sentenced to prison
for planning terror attacks

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

An Ohio man was sentenced Wednesday to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to planning attacks in support of the Islamic State group against a police station and a member of the U.S. military.

The man, Munir Abdulkader, 22, was sentenced in Cincinnati by U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett. After completing his time in prison, the West Chester Township man faces lifetime probation.

"Using social media to communicate with the now-deceased Syria-based ISIL terrorist Junaid Hussain, Abdulkader coordinated and planned violent murders of military members and police officers. … Identifying and stopping such ISIL-directed and -inspired plots is and will remain one of our highest priorities," Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary McCord said.

Prosecutors asked for a 25-year prison sentence. Defense attorneys, however, argued that similar cases received sentences of 15 years or less.

"Abdulkader's plan was to murder a specific employee of a military base at the employee's home. He planned to videotape the murder so that it could be used in an ISIL propaganda video to further ISIL's cause. Following the murder, Abdulkader would then launch a violent attack on a police station in the Cincinnati area," a Department of Justice statement said.

Officials said Abdulkader watched a police station, learned how to operate firearms, practiced shooting and received a targeting package about the victim. He also bought an AK-47 assault rifle for the attack.

Mrs. Clinton's margin reaches
2 million votes over Trump

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Democrat Hillary Clinton has now amassed more than a 2 million popular vote lead over U.S. president-elect Donald Trump, who won the White House by winning where it matters: the Electoral College.

As vote counting continued in some states, Ms. Clinton's advantage stood Wednesday at 2,017,563, a figure that could grow because uncounted ballots remain in states where she won, especially in California, the country's biggest state along the Pacific Ocean shoreline.

No matter how large it ends up, Clinton's popular vote lead will not change the outcome of the Nov. 8 election. She will become the fifth presidential candidate in U.S. history, and the second in the last 16 years, to win the popular vote but lose the election because of the country's two century-old, constitutionally mandated Electoral College system of picking its presidents.

U.S. presidential elections are essentially individual elections in each of the 50 states and the national capital city, Washington, with the winner in each state getting all of its votes in the Electoral College. Winning candidates need a majority of at least 270 of the 538 electoral votes, with the biggest states holding the most sway in the outcome.

Trump won numerous states by relatively small margins, while Clinton, a former U.S. secretary of State who was looking to become the country's first female president, piled up a huge vote count edge in California and New York. That has left her with a popular vote lead nationally, with Trump likely winning the Electoral College vote 306-232 when all the state-by-state results are finalized.

Tuesday, Trump told New York Times reporters he would rather do the popular vote and was never a fan of the Electoral College until now, through use of which he is now president-elect.

Skin patch monitors the body
and transmits vital statistics

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A soft, flexible skin patch that monitors biomarkers in sweat can determine whether the wearer is dehydrated, measure the person’s blood sugar level and even detect disease. The invention is part of an emerging field of wearable diagnostics.

Human sweat contains many of the same biomarkers as blood. However, analyzing sweat using a skin patch doesn't hurt like a needle, and the results can be obtained more quickly.

The first-of-its-kind patch is aimed primarily at athletes, but the flexible electronics device will in all likelihood find a place in medicine and even the cosmetics industry.

The skin patch, described in the journal Science Translational Medicine, is made of flexible material, and is about the size and thickness of a U.S. quarter. The so-called microfluidic device sticks to the forearm or back like an adhesive bandage, collecting and analyzing sweat.

"We've been interested in the development of skin-like technologies that can mount directly on the body, to capture important information that relates to physiological health," said John Rogers, a materials scientist and bioengineer at Northwestern University in Illinois, and one of a number of developers of the skin patch. "And what we've demonstrated here is a technology that allows for the precise collection, capture and chemical analysis of biomarkers in sweat and perspiration."

The sweat is routed through microscopic tubules to four different reservoirs that measure pH and chloride, important indicators of hydration levels, lactate, which reveals exercise tolerance, and glucose. It can also track the perspiration rate.

The skin patch could potentially be used to diagnose the lung disease cystic fibrosis by analyzing the chloride content in sweat. Wireless electronics transmit the color-coded results to a smartphone app, which analyzes them.

To test the patch's accuracy and durability, scientists studied it in two different groups of athletes. One group used an indoor cycle and the other group participated in a long-distance bicycle race called the El Tour de Tucson in Arizona's arid desert. The sweat patch was placed on the arms and backs of the subjects.

Researchers compared the four biomarker results of the indoor athletes to conventional blood tests and found the results were the same.

With the outdoor long-distance cycling group, scientists wanted to test the sweat patch's durability. They found that the electronic device stayed adhered to the athletes' skin, didn't leak and provided the same accurate information as blood tests.

For now, the skin patch is intended for use by sweaty athletes to measure biomarkers of performance, and Rogers sees the patch being sold with sports drinks. But, he said, a number of industries have expressed an interest in the sweat-based technology.

"Cosmetics companies are interested in sweat using these devices in their research labs to evaluate their antiperspirants and deodorants and so on,” Rogers said. “So sweat loss and sweat chemistry is interesting in that domain, as well. And then we have contracts with the military that are interested sort of in continuous monitoring of health status of war fighters."

Rogers says he thinks the inexpensive, disposable skin patches should become available to consumers in one to two years.

Pregnant women who prefer
laying on back stress fetus

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A new study has found that women who lie on their backs late in their pregnancies could be increasing their risk of stillbirth.

Researchers at the University of Auckland in New Zealand say that when an expectant mother rests in a supine position, her unborn baby's heart rate and activity level change, indicating that the fetus is responding by decreasing the amount of oxygen it takes in.

Investigators studied 29 healthy women in their third trimester of pregnancy. The women were asked to lie in different positions for 30 minutes at a time. The fetal behavior state, a measure of fetal health, was recorded for each position.

Researchers found that lying face up late in pregnancy can add stress to the fetus and may reduce the amount of oxygen, possibly contributing to stillbirth.

If a woman has an underlying health condition, say investigators, that could add to the risk of stillbirth.

Each woman in the study was followed through birth and each baby was born healthy.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 18 babies out of 1,000 are stillborn, mostly in low- and moderate-income countries.

Unusual pollen burst kills
Australian asthma sufferers

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Four people, including two students, were confirmed dead in the city of Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday from a rare condition known as thunderstorm asthma.

Hundreds more were rushed to hospitals while suffering from asthma attacks. Many had no history of the disease. The local ambulance service, Ambulance Victoria, responded to 1,870 cases Monday evening, about six times the normal traffic, they said.

A wild thunderstorm passed through the area Monday, causing rain-sodden rye grass pollen to explode and disperse all over the city, triggering the attacks and breathing problems, authorities said.

Typically, pollen fragments released on hotter days are too big to enter a person's airway. But heavy rains can cause the pollen to burst into smaller particles and affect breathing when inhaled.

Experts say there is no way to predict the phenomenon, as storms on high-pollen-count days do not always result in thunderstorm asthma.

New York security beefed up
for Macy's Turkey day parade

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Increased security measures, including sand-laden dump trucks and bomb-sniffing dogs, are being put in place for the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City today, police said.

Last week, an Islamic State online magazine called the parade an excellent target and suggested its readers use motor vehicles to kill and injure people.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for an attack in Nice, France July 14, Bastille Day, when an attacker drove a cargo truck into a crowd, killing more than 80 people.

While they have verified no credible threats, the New York City Police Department said it was deploying more than 3,000 officers, both in uniform and plainclothes, along the 4-kilometer (2.5-mile) route through Manhattan. The parade beings at 9 a.m. Eastern.

As an added safety measure, more than 80 city sanitation trucks filled with sand were parked Wednesday afternoon at intersections and at strategic spots along the parade route. Parade officials expected nearly 3 million people to line the route.

The use of the trucks was prompted by the Nice attack. Metal barricades also are lining the parade route.

"The Nice attack was an indicator of something we had to make adjustments because of," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday. "That's why the sand trucks are there. And you will not see vehicles crossing the route of the parade."

The New York police have an additional security challenge this year as well: President-elect Donald Trump's high-rise residence is just a block from the parade route. But Trump and his family are spending the holiday in Florida.

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Costa Rica Sotheby's International Realty is a boutique residential property brokerage firm in San Jose Costa Rica dedicated to creating long-term value for its customers and assist you to reach your property goals in Costa Rica. Whether purchasing or selling, our guarantee is an amazing experience for you and your family. You can rely on bespoke advertising and discretion, independent guidance interchangeable with the brand of the Sotheby since 1744. To those who value the exceptional, Sotheby's International Realty® is identifying properties throughout Costa Rica and local Real Estate service providers that offer unrivaled access to qualified individuals. We encourage you to meet with our representatives and preview our on-line portfolio of outstanding properties in Costa Rica.
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                                  Tamarindo The experts in buying property in Costa Rica, with more than 20 years experience and the largest networked team of agents in the country.  We can help you learn if investing in Costa Rica is right for you with our low-key, educational approach to sales. Our professional agents can tell you more about Costa Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and & commercial real estate. Twelve (12) agents to serve you, from Playa Marbella to Playa Dante in the Guanacaste, through our Tamarindo and Flamingo offices.

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Sierra Collection. Meridian House or Chateau Montage.
Near Parque Nacional Marino Ballena,
Pacific Coast. 
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Axiom two
The Terraces at San Martin.  Discover the essence of Costa Rica on our Luxury Ocean View Villas . Near Dominicalito Beach and Parque Nacional Marino Ballena.
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Axiom three
Ellan At Ballena Beach.  Welcome to a world of endless adventure on our beachside condominiums at Ballena Beach, Pacific Coast.  For more information click  HERE!
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Vote San Ramon, New Construction, and Ocean View
Possible Owner Financing on this brand new home with 4-plus bedrooms and 3 bath all overlooking an incredible 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean and mountains. The lower level could be used as a separate apartment or mother-in-law setup. Home includes HUGE master suite, CLOSETS, custom cabinets, granite counter tops, high wood ceilings, and all in an area that is 70-80 degrees year round. Priced at $199,000. Completion date is late November.  See the Virtual Tour:   
or click here If you would like to take a look at this amazing house, please give me a call at
8755-6743 or if calling from the States call 509-570-1928
or email

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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For sale 5,200 m2 Escazú
Fantastic location for condo, hotel, restaurant. Large lower lot, incredible views. Flexible zoning. Easy to get liquor license. Low interest financing. Up to 40% financing / get residency through investor status / includes a corporation that is 27 years old and offshore banking account with  Banco National / possible 50/50 partnership. Super location in front of the Bosques de Escazú  Condos  / Monthly rentals available
Call for more info:
Free US phone 877-778-8515  or 410-975-6703
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Bruce Cohen

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 $795K U.S.  Also available for monthly rent for $3,400 per month on an annual basis. Go to  Owners U.S. cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email

horse ranch
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:

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 233
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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
Sharp decline reported in zika cases

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There has been a big drop in reported cases of the zika virus.  The Ministerio de Salud said Wednesday that there were just 23 cases in the last week for which reports are available.

That is a big drop from the 127 or 125 weekly cases that were reported three months ago. Still, the ministry said there are 1,491 reported cases so far this year. Reported cases means that the infected person sought medical treatment. Uncounted thousands contracted the virus from the bite of a mosquito but did not develop serious symptoms.

Puntarenas Centro continues to lead as the canton with the most reported infections, 207. Garabito, the canton in which Jacó is located, has 164, said the ministry. Orotina with 107 and Esparza with 101 complete the municipalities with infections in the triple digits.

By contrast, the ministry reported a total of 20,798 dengue cases this year so far and 3,254 cases of chikungunya. All three viruses are spread by the same mosquito species, the Aedes aegypti, but zika can have more serious consequences. The ministry said there have been four cases of Guillian-Barré syndrome and two women have given birth to a child with microcephaly, brain anomalies.

All three viruses showed sharp decline of new cases in recent weeks, in part due to cleanup campaigns and perhaps due to seasonal changes.

Brazilian studies target anomalies

By the Radiological Society of North America news staff

Two new studies trace the effects of the zika virus outbreak in Brazil. They will be presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.

One study analyzed the imaging results of three target groups affected by zika: adults who developed acute neurological syndrome, newborns with vertical infection with neurological disorders, and pregnant women with rash outbreaks suggestive of zika.

Many of the adults had symptoms of Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare disorder in which the body's immune system attacks the nervous system causing rapid onset muscle weakness. A few showed inflammation of the brain and spinal cord or brain stem and spinal cord lesions. Common MRI findings included enhancement of certain spinal and facial nerves. In the newborns, MRI showed anatomical changes in brain tissue.

"It was alarming to find so many cases of neurological syndromes in adults, some very serious, related to zika virus infection," said study author Emerson de Melo Casagrande from the Department of Radiology at Antonio Pedro University Hospital, Federal Fluminense University. "We have also noticed a difference between these syndromes, even though the trigger was the same."

In another study, ultrasound and fetal MRI were performed on pregnant patients with zika virus infection at different gestational ages. Once the babies were born, they underwent ultrasound, CT and MRI. The researchers then created 3-D virtual and physical models of the skulls. More than half the babies had microcephaly, brain calcifications and loss of brain tissue volume, along with other structural changes.

"The emergence of zika virus in the Americas has coincided with increased reports of babies born with microcephaly," said study author Heron Werner Jr., from the Department of Radiology at Clínica de Diagnóstico por Imagem. "An early diagnosis may help in treating these babies after birth. Moreover, the knowledge of abnormalities present in the central nervous system may give hints about the pathophysiology of the disease."

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From Page 7:

Funny Chinese device has a heavenly body

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

It’s called LingLong DingDong, and while it may have a funny sounding name to some ears, it’s simply a Chinese version of a smart speaker.

The device, which is similar to Amazon’s Echo, can do most of the same things, such as playing music, making online shopping easier, setting alarms and getting the weather, but for Chinese speakers. LingLong DingDong comes in a Mandarin and Cantonese version.

According to Wired, the device costs $118 and is a $25 million project involving, China’s largest online shopping destination, and iFlytek, a voice recognition company.

LingLong DingDong reportedly weighs just under two kilograms and is about 25 centimeters tall.

It’s circular at the top and squared at the base and comes in white, red, black and purple. The shape is influenced by a Chinese saying that heaven is round, Earth is square. The two colors are equally symbolic, as white is associated with purity and red with prosperity.

Most people are using DingDong for music, but developers hope third parties will drive broader use. The developers also hope to incorporate some kind of artificial intelligence to the device.

Despite the similarities with other devices like Echo, DingDong developers say they were working on it before Echo launched in 2014.