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(506) 2223-1327                          Published Friday, Sept. 12, 2014, in Vol. 14, No. 181                       Email us
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Marine Corps League/Patty Pucek
U.S. Marines pay tribute to those who died Sept. 11, 2001, at a 9/11 ceremony Thursday at the training academy of the Cuerpo de Bomberos, the firefighters, in Desamparados. The scene is
in front of the memorial for the victims that now is on the academy grounds. Also in the photo are representatives of the U.S. Embassy and Bomberos.

Country gears up for its independence celebration
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Independence celebrations begin today at a number of government offices.

The Archivo Nacional, for example, is hosting the Banda de Escuela Napoleón Quesada Salazar and other students for a morning ceremony.

The Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud has an event open to the public at the Centro Nacional de Cultura from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with the Fuerza Pública musicians and Mi Linda Costa Rica. Vendors will be selling food.

Municipal bands have a full schedule, and they will be called upon as the Antorcha de Libertad passes through their communities. The torch is supposed to arrive in Costa Rica this morning at Peñas Blancas to begin its 350-kilometer trip to Cartago.

Those carrying the torch faced uncertain weather conditions. But they will arrive in San José at 6 p.m. Sunday and two hours later at Cartago.

President Luis Guillermo Solís is expected to take the train to Cartago Sunday at 4:30 p.m. along with his cabinet. They leave from the Estación al
Atlántico.  He is scheduled to convene a cabinet meeting at 6:30 p.m. and receive the torch at 8 p.m.

Fireworks are planned for 8:30 p.m.

The ceremonies with the torch take place Sunday night, but Monday is the legal holiday.  There will be a parade then in downtown San José, and traffic police will not be enforcing the ban on vehicles with license plates ending in 1 or 2, they said.

This is the 193rd independence celebration.

Saturday will be another edition of  Enamorate de tu Ciudad in the Parque Morazån complex and also in Parque La Merced on Avenida 2.  As every weekend the activities range from poetry recitals to face painting.

Monday, the Orquesta Julio Fonseca  plans an independence concert in the Teatro Nacional. The admission is just 1,000 colons, less than $2.

A lot of tourism locations have special rates for Costa Ricans and residents this weekend. However, families with children in school probably will not go away because the attendance of children at the Monday independence events is obligatory.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 181

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Professional Directory
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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Real estate agents and services

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Casa Presidencial photo       
   President Luis Guillermo Solís greets Marine Gen. John Kelly
   at Casa Presidencial Thursday. The general, the head of the U.S.
   Southern Command, is making a tour of Central America and
   getting each officials wish list.

Climate change push to target citizens

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The central government plans to try to involve every citizen in an effort to reach climate objectives promised to the United Nations in an agreement.

That was the outcome of a two-day session of officials and experts on the topic of climate change. Officials said they recognized the need to strengthen their efforts. There is an international meeting planned this year for Lima, Perú, for which officials seek to state the country's position.

Irene Cañas, vice minister of  Energía, was the person who said there must be more citizen involvement. Others noted that Costa Rica is the only country in Central America that has increased its coverage of trees. However, they agreed, the transport situation is something that needs changes.

Meanwhile, on the international scene scientists involved with the European Commission said that the last decade's slow-down in global warming was enhanced by an unusual climate anomaly.

A hiatus in global warming ongoing since 2001 is due to a combination of a natural cooling phase, known as multidecadal variability and a downturn of the secular warming trend. The exact causes of the latter, unique in the entire observational record going back to 1850, are still to be identified, according to an article which analyzed the phenomena.

The earth hasn't warmed at the same pace during the 20th century. The noticeable temperature increases during some periods interspersed with fairly stable or decreasing levels during others have been explained as a combination of secular global warming, likely manmade, and natural climate variability. The world now is experiencing a hiatus period, during which surface temperatures have not risen at the same rate as higher atmospheric radiative forcing, said the study.

Strauss on symphony program tonight

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional plays tonight and Sunday with excerpts from a Richard Strauss opera "Ariadne auf Naxos."

The performance tonight is at 8 p.m. The Sunday performance is at 10:30 a.m. Both are in the Teatro Nacional.

The invited conductor is Siegmund Weinmeister. A 14-voice chorus is from the dación Jóvenes Cantantes M.P., led by Costa Rican soprano Íride Martínez.

The conductor will meet the public an hour before each performance in the foyer of the theater.

General admission is 10,000 colons, about $18.90 with substantial discounts for students and seniors.

Palmares issues dengue caution

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Municipalidad de Palmares said Thursday that 28 cases of suspected dengue have been reported there so far this year.

Municipal officials have issued a call for citizens to take preventative measures. They also noted that the chinkungunya virus is carried by the same mosquito, and that there is a danger that this illness will appear.

The municipality said it is joining with the Ministerio de Salud seeking citizens to eliminate the places where mosquitoes may develop.

The rainy season usually increases the number of places where the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes may lay eggs.

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A.M. Costa Rica

Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 181
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Opponents report a victory in battle against genetically modified seeds
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Opponents of genetically modified organisms have won a partial victory from the Sala IV constitutional court.

Some opponents filed an action of unconstitutionality against the way the Comisión Técnica Nacional de Bioseguridad handles its decisions on permitting the use of genetically modified seeds here. The court, according to a summary from opponents, said that the hearings have to be open to the public and that those opposed to the use of such seeds should be heard.

Opponents received another boost Wednesday when the minister of Agricultura y Gandería told lawmakers he favored a three-year moratorium on genetically modified seeds.

The minister is Luis Felipe Arauz Cavallini.  Lawmakers in the Comisión de Asuntos Agropecuarios are considering a bill that would impose the moratorium. The minister also said that products that use genetically modified crops should be identified on a label.

The minister said that the use of insecticides had not diminished and that there are risks to the environment, the biodiversity and health due to the consumption of genetically modified foods, according to a summary by the legislative staff.

He suggested a three-year moratorium instead of a permanent one as the original bill provides.

He said that the affirmations by producers of genetically modified
crops that they are harmless do not have a foundation. He said there were direct effects of genetically modified foods and these require long-term study.

He also said that there were laboratory studies that had found problems in the digestive tracts of animals due to these type of crops.

He seemed to be referring to a generally discredited Australian study of pigs and genetically modified crops.

The summary to the bill itself cites a 2013 study of pigs in Australia conducted by a researcher, Judy Carmen, and associates. The study purports to show that pigs fed genetically modified grains develop stomach inflammation.  

Critics immediately pointed out that the researchers were organic food activists, and other researchers quickly questioned the statistical method used and the fact the report was published without peer review in an organic journal.

The Sala IV decision has not yet been provided to reporters by the Poder Judicial.

Those who brought the case said that magistrates froze action on genetically modified projects for which proponents seek approval.

Curiously nearly every package of snack food that contains corn also contains genetically modified products. There is heavy use of the modified crops in the United States because they are resistant to some forms of herbicides and eliminate the back-breaking labor of weeding.

Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photos
Marijuana found Thursday in Heredia, on a bus stopped in Guápiles and in Cartago.
There does not seem to be a looming shortage of marijuana
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Whether there is more cocaine or marijuana being transported or sold in Costa Rica is a tossup.

The bulk of the cocaine appears to be headed north. But Costa Rica, despite its vast fields of marijuana in the Talamancas is a marijuana importer.

Then, of course, there are the cottage industries where marijuana is grown hydroponically.

Thursday Fuerza Pública officers and the Policía de Control de Drogas made three confiscations of marijuana.
They stopped a taxi driver with 50 packages of marijuana in his vehicle's trunk between San Rafael y San Isidro de Heredia.

Meanwhile, their colleagues received a tip and stopped a bus bound from the Caribbean on a highway near Guápiles and searched it.

Officers found five kilos of marijuana of the Jamaican variety in a suitcase.

There was an additional confiscation in Cartago.

Thursday was not an unusual day. Reports from police almost always show two to three arrests of persons carrying marijuana. Frequently they have other drugs.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 181
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Rich neotropic bird species said to be created by their movements
By the American Museum of Natural History news staff

An international team of researchers is challenging a commonly held view that explains how so many species of birds came to inhabit the neotropics, an area rich in rain forest that extends from Mexico to the southernmost tip of South America.

The new research, published in the journal Nature, suggests that tropical bird speciation is not directly linked to geological and climate changes, as traditionally thought, but is driven by movements of birds across physical barriers such as mountains and rivers that occur long after those landscapes’ geological origins.

“The neotropic zone has more species of birds than any other region on Earth,” said Brian Smith, lead author of the publication and an assistant curator at the American Museum of Natural History who started this work as a postdoctoral researcher at Louisiana State University. “The unanswered question has been — how did this extraordinary bird diversity originate?”

In the neotropics, bird speciation — the process by which new species are formed — is usually linked to changes in Earth’s landscape over time. When rivers change course, mountains rise, and continents drift, a once-continuous population can be divided into two or more smaller populations that eventually become different species. But an alternative model attributes neotropical bird speciation to the movement of the animals across these geographical barriers, not necessarily linked to a change in landscape.

To examine these two models, the scientists compared genetic patterns among a diverse array of bird lineages that occur in the neotropics. Each of the 27 lineages analyzed contained populations situated on the opposite side of large dispersal barriers, and with genetic data the scientists were able to estimate the time that the populations became isolated from one another. They found that most speciation occurred in the Pleistocene, which began about 2.6 million years ago, long after the origin of the Andes Mountains and the Amazonian river system, aligning with the alternative speciation model. Under this model, bird lineages with a longer occupation of the landscape have a higher likelihood of moving across geographical barriers and diversifying.

“It may be only in birds that the genetic sampling is sufficiently
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dense to examine how interactions between the landscape and natural populations of birds influence the speciation process,” said Louisiana State University professor Robb Brumfield, lead investigator on the project. “The thousands of samples used in the study represent the culmination of over 30 years of field expeditions led by generations of LSU students and scientists, plus similar work done by ornithologists at other research collections. Biological research collections such as these are priceless.”

Other institutions involved in this research include City College of New York; Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi in Brazil, Universidad de los Andes in Colombia, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Colección Ornitológica Phelps, the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Georgia in Athens.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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When you visit Costa Rica, you'll want to discover what you need to know to  make the right choice about moving to this tropical paradise.  Our familiarization tours have won hard-earned credentials that prove general excellence and the right focus.  These are the only retirement tours that are licensed and approved by the Costa Rican government and tourism institute  (ICT). In 2006 we were featured on the NBC Today Show and World News.  In 2010, we won the  prestigious Latin America-Asia Travel Excellence Award for the Best and Most Unique Tour in Latin America.

   * Discover how to make the right choices about moving here
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Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
Drop in to see some of Costa Rica's finest art
at the largest gallery in Guanacaste.

The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is a great place to find quality remembrances of Costa Rica to take home or to decorate your home or office in Costa Rica.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever.  With more than 60 artists on exhibit and fine art in 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we are easy to locate just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport. Visit our Web site at
or contact us by email:   
Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tel. 2667-0592 / 8386-6872; 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.


Here's reasonable medical care
Costa Rica's world class medical specialists are at your command. Get the top care for much less than U.S. prices. It is really a great way to spend a vacation. See our list of recommended professionals HERE!amcr-prom

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San Ramon
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 Interamerica highway. 3,200 ft. elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 baths, frig, dishwasher, washer, dryer, TV, DVD player, high-speed internet, direct TV via sling box on Internet. rent is $750 plus electricity & water. free Internet. Prefer 3 months or more. Available Nov. 1. Contact   Check out slide show HERE!

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.
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Villas Casa Loma has everything you are looking for.  Best vistas, climate, value.  Four unique homes in a secure private compound on a ridge near Alajuela overlooking the entire Central Valley.  Two are available fully furnished and equipped, each a complete home accommodating 4 persons in two bedrooms with ensuite baths.  Pool, rancho, mirador, other features.  Ask about part-month rates.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at  See virtual tour of accommodations HERE!
Get to know the real Costa Rica – you may want to live here someday.

HP Cattle rentals
Mountain homes or farm for rent
Barva volcano, Heredia province
We offer for rent a gorgeous two-bedroom mountain chalet and a one-bedroom mountain home located on the slopes of the Barva Volcano, Heredia Province. The homes are situated at 7,300 feet altitude and within a working horse ranch just three kilometers from the Braulio Carrillo National Park entrance. From our homes one can hike to the Barva volcano crater-lake.  Enjoy a spacious living room, kitchen, fireplace and breathtaking views of the Irazú volcano and the Central Valley. Observe dozens of cloud forest bird species to include the resplendent quetzal.  The homes are incomparable in beauty and attention to detail within the Barva highland area.  We are only 35-55 minutes from Costa Rica’s three principal cities (Heredia, Alajuela, and San José), less than two hours from the central Pacific beaches, and three hours from the Caribbean beaches. Enjoy the tranquility of the mountains while maintaining quick access to the conveniences of the city and rapid access to other eco-tourist destinations in Costa Rica. Additionally, we can board your horses at a reasonable fee.  We can also offer our clients rental of a small and fully functional farm complete with stables, pasture, and office space.
Mountain chalet: $750.  Basic mountain home: $400.
Boutique mountain home: One-bedroom $850. Two-bedroom $1,000.
Small Farm that includes a chalet, basic mountain home, stables, and 8,000m2 of pasture/green areas: $1,500.

Apartments Lemur
Apartment Lemur for rent
San Francisco de Dos Rios, El Bosque, furnished, 2-bedroom, 1-bath apartment, quiet area, free cable TV, WiFi. large patio area, swimming pool, parking, security. Close to San José. $440/month. Retired persons preferred. Call 8375-6838.

Beautiful 2-bedroom 2-bathroom American-style apartments with an elevator to your front door in a secure building located in Gringo Gulch the American Section of downtown San José. Costa Rica. Located between the Hotel Del Rey, the Hotel Mona Lisa and the Sportsman's Lodge and The Zona Blue (AKA) Little Habana across the street from Harry's Poas Bar, and next to the Holiday Inn.
apartment view
 There are 15 restaurants and American- style bars on this block and four supermarkets within a few blocks. There are 5 casinos within 2 blocks and dozens of hotels around this apartment. Included in your rental price, fast Internet, the best they have in Costa Rica, cable TV with 80 stations, water, washer
 and dryer. All you pay extra for is electricity. You have your own meter and receive a bill from the electric company every month.  This apartment has a American-style hot water system, hot water in both bathrooms and the kitchen. There is a 25-foot balcony to sit on and watch the people in San José walk by. The neighborhood Barrio Amón is the safest in San José For photos and more information contact:

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A.M. Costa Rica's   Fifth news page

cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 181
Real Estate
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Voice of America photo
Gulnara Karimova

Uzbek president's daughter
now is corruption suspect

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

She is Central Asia’s most famous party girl. She designed jewelry and staged fashion shows. She ran television stations. She recorded syrupy pop videos with French film star Gerard Depardieu. And she was once seen as heir apparent to the man who has ruled Uzbekistan with an iron fist for decades, her father.

Now Gulnara Karimova is a publicly named suspect in a sweeping graft investigation brought by national prosecutors in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent.

The announcement of the probe Monday was the latest chapter in a head-spinning fall from power and prestige for Ms. Karimova.

With her fashion houses and media empires dismantled, and hundreds of millions of dollars in offshore banks frozen by European corruption investigators, she appears to have been shut out of the possibility of stepping into the shoes of her aging father, Islam Karimov.

It is astonishing to watch from this distance,” said David Lewis, a senior lecturer at the University of Exeter and former Central Asia researcher for the International Crisis Group. “I’m surprised it’s gone so far, but it’s clearly a sign that the regime is having trouble dealing with this round of internal turmoil.”

A former Soviet republic, Uzbekistan is home to Central Asia's largest population, substantial oil and gas reserves, a cotton industry where child labor is rampant and a festering insurgency by Islamic radicals  spilling over from Afghanistan’s turmoil.

It was also once an ally of the United States in the war on terror, until its relations with the West soured amid reports of human rights abuses and the massacre of hundreds of civilians by government forces in the city of Andijan in 2005.

According to the statement by the prosecutor general’s office, the investigation stemmed from a probe into an organized crime group led by two men, including Rustam Madumarov, who is known as a close associate and boyfriend of Ms. Karimova. Madumarov and several others were sentenced in May for financial crimes including blackmail, extortion, embezzlement and bribery.

Prosecutors said investigators were also focusing on other alleged members of a criminal group, “in particular G. Karimova as well as other members ...”

Karimov has ruled the country since 1991 and, by accounts of Uzbek exiles, human rights groups and anti-corruption advocates, has allowed graft and nepotism to thrive.

Gulnara, the eldest of his two daughters who calls herself Googoosha, has flourished as an entrepreneur, hosting art exhibitions in Tashkent, buying exclusive nightclubs in the city and getting herself named a U.N. ambassador in Geneva. Until last fall, she was also a prolific poster to Twitter who called herself “poet, mezzo soprano, designer and exotic Uzbekistan beauty.”

Last year, Swedish journalists revealed some of the extent of Ms. Karimova’s dealings, reporting allegations that she was personally involved in negotiating bribes paid by Scandinavian telecommunications giant TeliaSonera to gain access to the Uzbek cell phone market. Ms. Karimova has denied the allegations. Other investigations were reportedly ongoing in Switzerland and France.

In October, Uzbek bank accounts belonging to companies linked to Ms. Karimova were frozen, and her television and radio stations were taken off the air. A month later, she posted a series of messages to Twitter complaining about her business partners and allies being harassed or arrested by law enforcement agencies. She lost her ambassadorship in Switzerland.

By February, police had searched her Tashkent apartment and arrested Madumarov and other associates. In March, in a letter obtained by reporters, Ms. Karimova complained about being under house arrest and being subjected to severe psychological pressure.

That same month, Swiss prosecutors announced they were investigating Ms. Karimova for possible money laundering and "alleged illegal acts taking place in the telecommunications market in Uzbekistan." The statement said around $915 million in funds had been seized by Swiss authorities.

Experts on Central Asian politics said it was plausible that the prosecution was moving forward not for political purposes, but in an effort to obtain the seized funds from European banks.

“I feel they are playing political games with her, otherwise they could fine her and put her in jail. Instead now she is just on house arrest, because simply her father is a president,” Safar Begjan, an exiled Uzbek dissident, said.

“You shouldn’t rush to a judgment that she’s in trouble with criminal justice in Uzbekistan,” said Scott Horton, a New York lawyer and longtime observer of Uzbek politics. “It could be tactical defensive maneuver by the Uzbek state.”

Whether the investigation will result in a formal indictment of Ms. Karimova is an open question.

Regardless, the process has tarnished the Karimov family and its allies, analysts said, and injected an element of instability at a time when Karimov is aging: at 76, he is the oldest ruler in ex-Soviet Central Asia.

Given the danger posed by Islamic militants, past bloodletting between Uzbeks and other ethnic groups and substantial oil and gas wealth, instability of any sort is hugely problematic for the region.

“It’s not like political succession in many systems,” Lewis said. “In these post-Soviet authoritarian systems, if you lose political power, you lose material power and possibly much more: perhaps your family, your allies, your clan loses power as well. There’s no mechanism for this peaceful transition of power….

"And inevitably these people hold on for far longer than is sensible,” he said.

Voice of America photo
Someone calling themself @_UmmWaqqas posted this photo on Twitter of what they say are her friends @UmmLayth_, Umm Haritha and Umm Ubaydiah.

Twitter is recruiting tool
for female jihadists

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Pictures of kittens and designer footwear are tweeted out alongside extremist rhetoric, descriptions of the good life in Syria, and pictures of battlefield gore.

Welcome to the so-called Umm network of well over 100 people who claim to be foreign female jihadists on Twitter.

Umm is an honorific name in Arabic, used to address women as a mother figure.

As with the Islamic State militant group, Twitter is apparently a favorite social media tool of the Umm network, according to analysts who monitor jihadist social media activity.

It is used in a variety of ways, including recruitment of women and men, dissemination of pictures and videos for would-be jihadists, and promoting Islamic State  messaging.

One of the best known members of the Umm network is @UmmLayth -  a.k.a. Aqsa Mahmood, who identifies herself as a Scottish teen of Muslim descent who left home for Syria where she is believed to have married a militant. She no longer tweets, but authorities think she was likely lured to Syria through online networking.

While the number of European women jihadists may be as few as 30, according to London’s International Centre for the Study of Radicalization, there is fear their ranks could grow.

In France, a hotline for reporting radicalization said that 45 percent of the calls concern women. Recently, a 16-year-old French woman was arrested in France as she allegedly was making her way to Syria.

Erin Saltman of the London-based Quilliam Foundation, a counterterrorism think tank, puts the number of Western women who’ve traveled to Syria at around 200 compared to 3,000 men.

Western officials have expressed concern that Western jihadist fighters returning from Syria and Iraq could stage terrorist attacks in their home countries.

Islamic State militants want to establish their version of a fully-functioning Islamic society, known as a caliphate, and to achieve that, they need women as wives and mothers.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the caliph of the self-proclaimed state, has called for both men and women to join in the state-building process.

“With the influx of men, women are needed to serve as wives,” analyst Saltman said. “Social media accounts of jihadi wives serve to spread IS propaganda, encourage other women to join and describe the life of a jihadist wife in order to reassure and give an idea of how life will be for potential recruits.

“Women are more likely to recruit fellow women to join IS, which is the primary goal of most of the female social media accounts,” Saltman said.

An American woman, 19-year-old Shannon Maureen Conley, was arrested in April by the FBI as she was making her way to Syria to join militants. On Wednesday, she plead guilty to a terror charge.

According to those who monitor recruiting efforts, the group targets women much in the same way they target men, identifying those who may have lost their way or are seeking a sense of belonging.

“The content of the Umm’s accounts strains to make extremism appear like a normal lifestyle decision,” wrote Jytte Klausen, a Brandeis University professor and founder of the Western Jihadism Project, which focuses on jihadi activities in the West, in an academic paper on the Umms. “An example is a posting of pictures with their children dressed in fan gear, much as Manchester United fans dress up their kids for fun.”

Other targets are disaffected Muslims.

Mia Bloom, author of several books on women and terrorism, said that some Umms paint a picture of a utopian society where women can live genuinely like a Muslim.

Islamic State recruiters also take advantage of a would-be target’s lack of Arabic language skills.

“You can manipulate the Quran any way you want,” Ms. Bloom said. ”And they won’t be able to counter because they may not well versed in the religion or language.”

Ms. Bloom added that once someone is recruited from a certain community, “they will be useful in recruiting from the community from which they came.”

Humera Khan of the Washington, D.C.-based social activist group Muflehun, which works to counter violent extremism, said the Umm network provided foreign female jihadist with a sense of sisterhood, while the men are away fighting.

“There’s a whole lot of internal communication there,” she said. “It’s not just outward facing.”

Further highlighting the importance of women to the Islamic State is that they don’t appear to be used in suicide bombings as is the case with other extremist groups.

“When they’re recruiting, they’re recruiting 18 to 25-year-olds, the peak childbearing years,” said Bloom. “If you’re going to set up a new caliphate, you’re going to need to populate. That’s why they aren’t usually active on the battlefield.”

Women as young as 14 have also been reportedly targeted.

Women can also give a powerful nudge to a Western man who’s thinking about coming to Syria or Iraq, Bloom said.

Some of the accounts question would-be jihadist manhood with taunts like “if you were a man, you’d step up,” she said. “Part of their goal is to shame men who aren’t going into going.”

And for those women whose husbands are killed, Khan said there are group homes for widows in Raqqah, the capital of the self-proclaimed caliphate.

The Umm accounts appear to be part of a larger strategy to create resilience into its social media communications efforts, Ms. Klausen said.

“It’s part of an overall architecture of distributing messages, that makes it impossible for governments to take down,” she said. “It acts to create a perception of normalization of something that is not normal.”

Ms. Klausen said the accounts are also used to drive traffic to other sites and social media platforms.

“Supporters back home follow the fighters who post original content and retweet content from organizational accounts,” she wrote in her paper. “Information flows from organization accounts in Arabic and English via accounts of foreign fighters to a broader network of disseminators.”

Twitter has shut down several accounts associated with the Islamic State, but a report by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors the global jihadist movement, said the company needs to do more.

According to Ms. Klausen, none of the Umm accounts she has monitored have made direct threats.

A Twitter spokesman said the company would not comment on individual accounts for privacy and security reasons. They provided a link to the company’s rules for unlawful use.

But shutting down Twitter accounts en masse might not work.

“A lot of the Twitter accounts that have been shut have migrated to LinkedIn,” Ms. Bloom said.
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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 181
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National Aeronautics and Space Administration photo   
This is an image provided by Curiosity.

Curiosity rover ready to tackle mountain

By the National Aeronautics and Space Administration news service

NASA's Mars Curiosity rover has reached the red planet's Mount Sharp, a Mount-Rainier-size mountain at the center of the vast Gale Crater and the rover mission's long-term prime destination.

"Curiosity now will begin a new chapter from an already outstanding introduction to the world," said Jim Green, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division. "After a historic and innovative landing along with its successful science discoveries, the scientific sequel is upon us."

Curiosity's trek up the mountain will begin with an examination of the mountain's lower slopes. The rover is starting this process at an entry point near an outcrop called Pahrump Hills, rather than continuing on to the previously-planned, further entry point known as Murray Buttes. Both entry points lay along a boundary where the southern base layer of the mountain meets crater-floor deposits washed down from the crater's northern rim.

"It has been a long but historic journey to this Martian mountain," said Curiosity Project scientist John Grotzinger of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. "The nature of the terrain at Pahrump Hills and just beyond it is a better place than Murray Buttes to learn about the significance of this contact. The exposures at the contact are better due to greater topographic relief."

Russian Hewlett-Packard fined for bribes

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A subsidiary of U.S. technology giant Hewlett-Packard was hit with a multi-million-dollar fine Thursday for bribing Russian government officials.

The company's Russian division will have to pay $58.7 million after pleading guilty in a California court to violating U.S. anti-bribery and accounting laws.

HP Russia admitted to paying off government officials to secure a $45 million contract with the office of the prosecutor general of the Russian Federation.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Marshall Miller of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division called the illicit deal in Russia troubling.

"Tech companies, like all companies, must compete on a level playing field, not resort to secret books and sham transactions to hide millions of dollars in bribes," Miller said in a written statement. "The Criminal Division has been at the forefront of this fight because when corruption takes hold overseas, American companies and the rule of law are harmed."

Other HP subsidiaries in Poland and Mexico were convicted under the same law earlier this year, bringing total fines to the company and its affiliates to $108 million.

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From Page 7:

Two agencies promise to do better

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Compañía Nacional de Fuerza y Luz and the Imprenta Nacional have agreed to improve the quality of services.

The companies joined Programa Cartas de Compromiso con la Ciudadanía, a program in which the firms promise to reduce the waiting times for customers and become more consumer friendly.

The program is supervised by the Ministerio de Planificación Nacional y Política Económica. The program began in 2012, and nine agencies signed on earlier. They are the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones, Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería, Municipalidad de Curridabat, Municipalidad de Santa Ana, Municipalidad de Belén, BN-Vital Operadora de Pensiones Complementarias del Banco Nacional and the Dirección General del Servicio Civil.

The Imprenta Nacional reported that it would institute a new Web page for customers of the various official publications its produces.