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(506) 2223-1327                                Published Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014, in Vol. 14, No. 190                           Email us
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Opinion poll gives everyone some ammunition
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There's something for everyone in a public opinion survey.

Casa Presidencial said Wednesday officials there were satisfied with the latest poll on President Luis Guillermo Solís.

A press release cited statistics that said 75 percent of Costa Ricans have a favorable opinion of the president, 43 percent said his work has been good or very good and 54 percent said he was producing a change for the better.

But the same public opinion poll was interpreted differently at the legislature.

Karla Prendas, a lawmaker second in command of the Partido Liberación Nacional faction in the
legislature, said that the favorable opinion of the president has dipped recently. And some 60 percent of the population think that the president is on the wrong course, she added.

She said that the economic situation has worsened, and Costa Ricans can see that.

CID Gallup did the survey for the Repretel television network. Some 1,228 adults were contacted by telephone or in person from Sept. 4 to 13.

Although opinion polls are followed closely by politicians, contradictions are not unusual, and unrelated developments, wording of questions and many other factors can influence the results.

In addition, few Costa Ricans are in a position to evaluate the Solís administration.

Prosecutors seek to shelve case of Savings figure
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Prosecutors are seeking to shelve the case against the former lawyer of Savings Unlimited, a high-interest investing scheme that may have cost 3,600 investors up to $200 million.

At least 480 investors are actively involved in prosecuting the case that also includes casino owner Luis Milanes Camacho as a defendant. The victims have been notified by various means by technicians at the Poder Judicial that the Fiscalía Adjunta de Delitos Económicos, Tributarios y Aduaneros, the office of the prosecutors, is seeking the sobreseimiento definitivo. This means "that it will be filed definitely and the investigation will no longer continue," according to an email from the Poder Judicial.

Former investors said that judicial employees also were making telephone calls to victims.

Many former investors are believed to feel that this is a prelude to dumping the entire case against Milanes. a Cuban American.

The lawyer is Adolfo José Somarribas Arias, once a prominent legal and political figure in San José. He was detained Nov. 25, 2008, in the European country of Luxembourg. Milanes has claimed that it was the lawyer who made off with most of the investor money.  Judicial sources say that there is at least $15 million in a European bank.

Somarribas is believed to have sought and received asylum in Luxembourg on the claim that his life would be in danger if he returned to Costa Rica. None of the investors are believed to know if Costa Rican investigators have ever interviewed the man who was the subject of an International Police Agency search.

The judicial workers said that the investors have the option of hiring a private lawyer to proceed against Somarribas.

Meanwhile, the former investors are losing hope that any trial will take place involving the casino owner. One was expected this year on fraud allegations, but that seems unlikely now. In
Milanes and lawyer
Interpol photos
Luis Milanes and Adolfo José Somarribas

addition, Milanes is said to have approached a judge in a private hearing to seek permission to receive stem cell therapy in México because of failing health. Permission was denied, but the details are sketchy because such hearings in Costa Rica are not in open court.

Milanes also sought in court to cancel a deal he had made with some investors that involved transferring ownership of some real estate as partial compensation. The deal resulted in the creation of a trust directed by three lawyers and two investors who are Milanes accusers. The trust has had little success in selling the downtown Hotel Europa, which was a major part of the real estate deal. Milanes continues to operate the Europa Casino at the Raddison Hotel.

Milanes still operates one of his casinos at the Europa, but he appears to have brought in new management from Venezuela. When he was in the investment business in the Edificio Colón in San José, his office was staffed by glamorous Venezuelan women.

Milanes closed the office and left nothing but bare walls when he bolted in Nov. 22, 2002. When he returned to Costa Rica in 2009, he seems to have received preferred treatment.

He spent just a night in jail. Even as the court proceedings advanced, much of his real estate and the lucrative casinos were off the table as far as compensation was concerned.The case against Milanes also has been affected by a procession of prosecutors and judges.


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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 190

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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.

Lucinda Gray, Ph.D.
California Licensed Psychologist
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Remodelling and Construction

Real estate agents and services

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Our readers' opinions
Anti-Crucitas activists want to join case

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

The Las Crucitas international arbitration case has taken a bizarre twist. Environmentalists (Apreflofas), who, along with others, were successful in their efforts in having Costa Rica cancel the mining project, now have applied to the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes to provide input as a "non-disputing party."

It would seem that this group does not place any faith in the current Solís administration or its appointed legal team. Will this group ever accept the decisions or directions of a duly elected Costa Rican government? They opposed the Las Crucitas project throughout the Pacheco, Arias and Chinchilla administrations, and they refused to accept the Sala 1V's decision which approved the project.

They share the responsibility in having the "Final" word on the case being delivered by the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes and the financial consequences that may result. The question I have is, who is running Costa Rica, the Solís administration or Apreflofas?
In addition, the shameful accusations by those opposed to Las Cructas, alleging improprieties clearly directed towards Infinito's major shareholder, an individual whose charitable foundation has contributed greatly to society, reflects the true intent of a group who will utilize any method whatsoever in a quest to obtain its goal.

Unless common sense prevails, this expensive legal case will extend over a period of two years but, will ultimately be decided on the question: Did Costa Rica violate the terms of the Canada-Costa Rica bilateral trade agreement when it annulled /canceled the Las Crucitas project after Infinito had secured all the necessary permits during the terms of three separate Costa Rican administrations together with constitutional court approval.

Last week Moody's Investors Service cut Costa Rica's credit rating to junk status, and this week Costa Rica is seeking additional funding from the World Bank, the same organization that administers the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes. The capital sought may very well be required to pay some or all of an award in favor of Infinito Gold.

The royalties and taxes that Costa Rica would have received from Las Crucitas would have provided a significant contribution in reducing the country's debt obligation.
Stewart Hay
British Columbia, Canada

We identified the wrong bug

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I think it is great that A.M. Costa Rica saw fit to run an article about INBio's insect collection.  However the photo caption misidentified the insects as cockroaches. The pictured insects are actually aquatic hemipterans called backswimmers, which are rather different from cockroaches.
Ed Alkaslassy

EDITOR'S NOTE: We accept the correction, although it conflicts with the identification provided by the Museo Nacional. We have changed the Page One text accordingly.


He disputes estimates of prostitutes

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I’m amused by the 2,000 prostitutes in Costa Rica. My numbers would be somewhere around 500-750 at the massage parlors, strip clubs, sports bars. One of the misperceptions are prostitutes can generate a $1,000 a day in revenue. A lot of girls think they can do that, but they find out quickly that is hard to make a living at this business and drop out after a week or so. 

I have been here 10 years, and I have never seen a girl locked in a room, chained to a bed or chair, and if there were, I would be making a fast report to the authorities. If a girl was being held against her will, it would not take much to escape and find some quick help.

Yes, many of the girls are from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Colombia, I have seen no Filipinos. The girls come here for many reasons. Some want to travel, get away from their mothers or hear about the possible high earnings, and they find out its not that easy . If a low life wanted to run a string of girls, he would find he could not make enough to pay for the room and board for the girls. The girls would find a way to kick his ass or have him arrested. The girls are young and like to shop and wear the latest fashions. This is the probably the first time they had some real money. Most are supporting children and mothers in their home countries.  

If the do-good people want to help women get out of abusive marriages or relationships, they could really help women and save lives. I believe a lot of this hype is from the women's movement, and they are coming up with these trumped up numbers. Diane Sawyer reported there are 300,000 child sex slaves in the United States. Sigh! With the hyper paranoia in the States, this could not be. The women's movement wants to stop prostitution. They hate it. Myself, I voted in favor of all women's rights issues, and women are gaining more and more, and thats good. I think a women-run society would be better than a male-run society.

The girls can make more money than they can in any other business and are free to be independent contractors. The ones that do make it become more business-minded and go on to other businesses.

Let's ban marriages, the true slavery for both men and women. Look at the statistics of failure. Prostitution should be called   rent a friend, and men and women could be better friends with the sex thing out of the way. The average married couple argue 200-900 times a year, and they say a lot of gay people have abusive relationships. I have been with 356 partners. and except for 3 or 4 manhaters or Gringo haters where I just got up quietly and put my pants on and left, it's been fun and profitable from  both sides. I think we are  better off solo.
John Nutter
Calle Blancos

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A.M. Costa Rica

Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 190
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Internet activity will be restricted over the weekend, officials report
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Weekend streaming movies might be restricted because there will be work on the MAYA-1 undersea cable, according to the Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones. The agency said that the work would be done between 10 p.m. Friday and 6 a.m. Sunday.

The agency said that Internet users would see a reduction in velocity and perhaps even outages. Affected would be both fixed and mobil Internet hookups.

The 4,400-kilometer cable comes to Costa Rica at Limón. It is one of two undersea cables that connects Costa Rica with the world. The Maya-1 runs from Hollywood, Florida, to Tolu, Colombia, on the northern tip of South America with additional connections in México, Honduras, Cayman Islands and Panamá.

Among other jobs, the Superintendencia said that about 1.2 kilometers of cable on land would be replaced. Also needed is the replacement of some undersea cable that has been affected by tides, said the announcement.

There also is a job of installing some new electronics, controls and some software, according to the announcement.
Maya cable
Sprint Network Administration System graphic
The MAYA cable runs from Hollywood, Florida, on the southern tip of the United States to Tolu, Colombia.

Security ministry worker faces probe in use of computerized rap sheets
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial agents detained a man who works in the central offices of the security ministry on an allegation that he leaked restricted information.

The Poder Judicial confirmed that searches were made at the man's Desamparados home, at the security ministry and at a security company that is involved in the case.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that the 58-year-old man, identified by the last name of Alfaro, had access to a data base. This is the Expediente Criminal Único maintained by the judicial police. The investigating agency said that the man is accused of using the information from the data base in investigations that he was doing for the private security firm.

Within the last year, court workers have restricted access to identifying information connected with criminal cases and, in some cases, civil. Those who make a living providing information about individual backgrounds have complained.
Background information is used to construct a due diligence report for investors, bankers and others. Without access to the criminal records, someone in business would not know about past criminal actions by a potential client, customer or partner.

Those in the information business have accused the Poder Judicial of creating a narrow view of personal privacy. The Poder Judicial maintains actions are consistent with a law.

Alfaro is being accused of using government material for his personal use, just as if he were stealing wheelbarrows. The security ministry said that Alfaro has worked there for 28 years.

This is not the first case of this nature, but it is the first that investigators have gathered enough information for an arrest. Alfaro was interrogated Wednesday by prosecutors.

In other jurisdictions this information is easily available. In fact, some Florida counties put the photo and full identifying information on the Web of those they arrest.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 190
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Solís promotes the quest for peace in talk to the U.N. General Assembly
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
and wire service reports

President Luis Guillermo Solís asked the General Assembly of the United Nations Wednesday if all the members of the international organization are abstaining from the use or threat of the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of another state.

He answered his own question by noting that some nations are and some are not. He praised Costa Rica as a nation of peace even as he presented a litany of armed conflicts in the world and said that the rise of the Islamic State has provoked a crisis.

He said that inaction in the face of such conflicts is unacceptable and that the system of the United Nations is called into action when states do not comply with this goal of keeping the peace.

The big challenge is to maintain the peace, he told the assembled delegates in his talk of about 2,600 words. He also urged the re-election of Costa Rica to the U.N. Humans Rights Commission.

Every year when the United Nations begins its annual session, countries are invited to have a representative give an address.

Also Wednesday President Barack Obama called on the world to join him in an effort to degrade and ultimately destroy the Islamic State militants.
In his talk he highlighted efforts to build an international coalition to combat the group that has taken over large areas in Syria and Iraq.

“This group has terrorized all who they come across in Iraq and Syria," he said during the 40-minute speech. "Mothers, sisters and daughters have been subjected to rape as a weapon of war. Innocent children have been gunned down. Bodies have been dumped in mass graves. Religious minorities have been starved to death. In the most horrific crimes imaginable, innocent human beings have been beheaded, with videos of the atrocity distributed to shock the conscience of the world.

“In this effort, we do not act alone. Nor do we intend to send U.S. troops to occupy foreign lands," he added, noting that more than 40 nations of the 150 assembled Wednesday have offered to join U.S.-led efforts to conduct air strikes against militant strongholds in Syria and Iraq.

"We will train and equip forces fighting against these terrorists on the ground," he said. "We will work to cut off their financing, and to stop the flow of fighters into and out of the region."

Laying out a broad vision of American leadership in a changing world, the president also emphasized U.S. efforts in areas where he sees increasing momentum among allies: containing ebola; holding forth with sanctions on Russia while supporting efforts to maintain a ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine, and executing a broad international vision for combating climate change.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

Will Costa Rica Retirement Work For You?
Find out for yourself on Live In Costa Rica Tours

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.

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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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Real estate rentals
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See our listing of real estate brokers on the for-sale page.

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Beautiful fully furnished two floor house for rent
in La Guacima

Guacima montage
La Guacima, Alajuela. 20 minutes from airport, San José or Alajuela Centro and 30 minutes from Heredia. Near highway 27. $1,200 a month. All services included (Internet, water, electricity, security). Very private, very quiet, green areas, fully furnished. Must like animals (we have three gentle dogs), look at high resolution pics HERE! U.S. citizens or Europeans preferred. No children. Call to inquiry and for appointment to visit. Available for rent in December. Contact phone number:  (506)  8839-4315.

Organic farm home
$800 plus utilities.
Two-bedroom, two-bath house, fully furnished, Internet included, cable TV available. Inside organic farm, safe and secure. In the country but close to town. Santa Bárbara de Heredia, Email for more info and pictures. Long term, NO DOGS.

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.

MONTHLY $800 TO $1,200

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

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 190
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U.S. mass shootings soar,
FBI says, blaming copycats

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A new FBI study confirms that the number of mass shootings in the United States has increased steadily over the past decade.

The bureau issued a report Wednesday that identifies 160 active shootings between 2000 and 2013.  Active shootings are defined as incidents in which a gunmen fired at a large group of people and killed or attempted to kill more than one person.

The data show that between 2000 and 2007, there was an average of 6.4 active shooter incidents per year, but that from 2007 to 2013, the rate of such incidences more than doubled, to an average of 16.4 shootings annually.

The study did not look at the motives, but it identified some of the common characteristics of the shooters. Most of them were individuals who had grievances or felt marginalized.

Most of the shootings were carried out by one person at a school or business.  Most of the school shootings were carried out by students, and only six of the shooters were women.

Officials explain the increase in the number of shootings in recent years as a copycat phenomenon.  They say past shootings and the resulting notoriety inspired new incidents.

More than 1,000 people were killed or wounded in the shootings that have occurred in 40 out of the 50 states.

The study was prepared to help train law enforcement agents in how to respond to such incidents.

Islamic State backers use
social media to rip attacks

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Supporters of Islamist extremist movements took to social media streams Tuesday to slam U.S.-led air strikes in Syria against the militant group calling itself the Islamic State.

And as a new front in the Syrian civil war has opened, analysts say militant fighters could change the way they use social media.

Islamic State militants, who use social media with particular skill, could be affected more than some of the other groups, such as Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaida offshoot in Syria, analysts say.

Verifying the identity, location and affiliation of the accounts of extremists groups is nearly impossible. But they seemed to make no effort to cloak their anger on social media.

One user calling himself @Khalid_Maghrebi posted a photo of what he said was an innocent child killed in the strikes. The same image of the same dead toddler was used across numerous jihadist accounts, all though it was impossible to verify if the child was a victim of the strikes.

This user added that the strikes killed fighters from the UK and the Netherlands.

Another pro-extremist account, @MohammedGhazzal, who claims to have been on the ground where some of the strikes occurred, warned jihadists to be careful.

​Extremists also noted that the Islamic State was not the only group targeted.

And there was anger at the U.S.

“Abu Rumaysah,” an influential disseminator of jihadist information, tweeted a veiled threat.

One account claiming to be on the “battlefields of Syria” and calling themselves @chechclearr, called the strikes “a war on Islam.”

Anger among militants was also pointed at the Arab states which reportedly joined the U.S. in the strikes, including Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Qatar.

This category of tweet could be harmful to the militants, particularly Islamic State’s, cause, says Erin Saltman of the London-based Quilliam Foundation, a counterterrorism think-tank.

“The depiction of the enemy is becoming larger and larger,” she said, noting the countries joining the U.S. are large Sunni Arab countries. She said adding Muslim countries to the enemies list could leave the Islamic State “marginalized as the extremist terrorist organization that they are.”

One user, @ArmyOvJustice, who claims to be “witnessing the birth of the caliphate,” predicted the Arab countries would soon stop participating in the strikes.

Ms. Saltman said air strikes could change the way extremists, particularly the Islamic State, uses social media.

Compared to al-Qaida, which used a very centralized method of disseminating its propaganda, the Islamic State is extremely decentralized, she said.

“ISIS took a new approach so that information could be spread out in as many languages and as fluently as possible,” she said.

First off, the bombing could simply make it harder to tweet, said Jytte Klausen, a Brandeis University professor and founder of the Western Jihadism Project, which focuses on jihadi activities in the West.

“Bombing Raqqa may take down Internet connectivity for a while,” she said, adding that temporary satellite connections would likely limit the impact of any terrestrial disruption.

Ms. Saltman said that now that the U.S. is bombing Syria, the Islamic State might try to more tightly control its social media output, because some of the information could be used against it. But she said it would be hard to do that with “such a decentralized group of actors in different localities.”

“You wonder how much that's monitored,” she said.

Robbed of a freewheeling social media presence, the Islamic State could find itself hamstrung.

“With social media it’s easier to tell people you’re stronger than you are, she said. “Many researchers are arguing that this is not an incredibly strong army. The longer they are left alone, the more validity they seem to have. The more successful they seem, the more people will join.”​

'Star Spangled Banner' marks
its bicentennial in Baltimore

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

This year, the U.S. city of Baltimore, Maryland, is celebrating its role in the birth of America’s national anthem.

National Park Service Ranger Vince Vaise is chief of interpretation, or head storyteller, at Fort McHenry in Baltimore harbor. He says that two of the greatest symbols of the United States came out of a British attack on the fort during the War of 1812.

“The American flag and the national anthem.  Now, the flag had already been invented, but it hadn’t really caught on yet. It was really the words of Francis Scott Key, who, upon seeing the flag over this fort on September 14th, 1814, 200 years ago, that really led to the flag becoming the great national icon for the United States that it is today,” he said.

When darkness fell Sept, 13, 1814, the British were shelling Fort McHenry, and through the night observers of the battle strained to see whether the fort had fallen. But when the sun rose the next morning the sight of the American flag flying over Fort McHenry prompted Francis Scott Key, a lawyer and amateur poet, to write a poem he called “The Defence of Fort McHenry.”

“Word choice was very important to him," Vaise said. "We know that he thought about it because the original manuscript four verses are on display for this week and if you look at the first draft, you see that he scratched out a few words.  ‘Oh say can you see through.’ No, no, no.  ‘By the dawn’s- yes, by the dawn’s early light….’ So, clearly he thought about it.“
Vaise says Key didn’t immediately run to Washington, D.C. and announce he’d written the national anthem for his young country.

“Just the opposite.  Francis Scott Key gave those four verses to his brother-in-law and good friend, who was a captain in the fort during the battle," he said. "So he might have just given it to him as a personal thing, like ‘hey, you were there, here’s something I’ve written.”

Key’s brother-in-law began giving away copies of the poem and soon it appeared in newspapers with the title “The Star Spangled Banner.”   Someone set it to the tune of an old British drinking song and within weeks it was being sung outside of Maryland.

Park Ranger Kristin Schenning says it’s interesting that the poem that eventually became America’s national anthem isn’t about the war but is about the flag.

“Yes, it’s about a battle, but it’s really about the emotions that Francis Scott Key captures," she said. "It’s not necessarily about guns, and beating the British and all of that. It’s about this idea of asking is the flag still there and answering it with yes, it flies over the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

It wasn’t until 1931 that an Act of Congress made “The Star Spangled Banner” the official U.S. national anthem. Ms. Schenning says there’s still a connection between the flag and the song for many people, which could explain why some people react so strongly when they hear the song performed in non-traditional ways.

Rocker Jimi Hendrix’s unconventional performance is one of 15 that beat-boxer and vocal percussionist included in an exhibit at Baltimore’s Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History and Culture. The exhibit is called “For Whom It Stands,” and it brings together culturally alternative versions of the anthem as part of the bicentennial celebration.

Russian growth may stagnate,
World Bank report estimates

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Russia's economic growth is slow and may stagnate over the next two years, according to a World Bank study published Wednesday.

The bank says Russia's economic growth may be just one-half of 1 percent this year and forecasts it may be slightly slower in 2015 and 2016.

The bank's new Russia Economic Report highlights geopolitical uncertainty, clearly a reference to Moscow's actions against Ukraine, and uncertainty about the Kremlin's economic policies as key factors in the country's economic slowdown.

The World Bank estimates are more pessimistic than forecasts prepared by Russia's government. Experts at the global lender said they are skeptical of the Kremlin's assumptions about future investment growth.

The lead author of the World Bank report, Birgit Hansl, also notes there has been little movement on structural reforms in Russia, so its economic outlook over the medium term through 2015 is pessimistic. Bank economists have recommended better management of Russia's public finances, improvements in education and infrastructure, and greater efforts to encourage competition within the economy. 

The forecast assumes there will be no further sanctions against Russia related to the Ukraine crisis, so if that conflict worsens, Russia could slip into recession.

Western nations have imposed a series of economic sanctions to punish Moscow for its actions in Ukraine, and Russia has retaliated with some sanctions of its own.

New home sales in U.S.
showed a surge in August

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U. S. sales of newly-built homes surged 18 percent in August.

Wednesday's report from the Commerce Department says if sales continued at that pace for a year, half a million homes would get new owners.

It is the fastest rate of new-home sales since 2008, and a hopeful sign of recovery in a housing market that has seen a mix of positive and negative reports in recent months.  But new home sales are about one-tenth of the housing market that is dominated by sales of previously-owned homes.

Sales in the larger market of existing homes slipped in August after several months of gains.

Economists and investors watch the housing sector closely because severe problems here were a major contributor to the most recent recession.

India's Mars craft makes
orbit there to study terrain

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

India successfully placed a spacecraft into orbit around Mars, making it the first country to reach the Red Planet in its first attempt. The low-cost, inter-planetary mission puts the spotlight on India’s growing ambitions in space exploration and its homegrown technology.

Scientists of the Indian Space Research Organization erupted into cheers, shook hands and beamed as the Indian spacecraft entered Mars orbit early Wednesday.

Before that moment of triumph came, they watched for a tense hour from the mission center in Bangalore as the 1,350-kilogram spacecraft went through a critical maneuver, reorienting its trajectory and firing the engine of the spacecraft for about 24 minutes to slow it down so that it could be captured by Mars orbit.

The scientists called it a dream come true. They were joined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who congratulated the nation.

He noted proudly that India has become the first country to reach Mars in its maiden attempt although the odds were stacked against it. More than half the missions to Mars having failed.

“History has been created today. We have dared to reach out into the unknown and have achieved the near impossible,” said Modi.

Mangalyaan, Hindi for “Mars Craft,” began its 670 million-kilometer journey to the Red Planet 10 months ago.

India has dubbed the ambitious project a technology demonstrator showcasing the nation’s ability to conduct an interplanetary mission put together by its own scientists. India is in a unique group to have had a space mission reach Mars, joining the United States, Russia and the European Space Agency.

Space analyst Ajay Lele at the Indian Institute of Defense Studies and Analyses in New Delhi called it a major milestone for India’s space program.

“India without any outside help has achieved this feat and at a very low cost. So it is a demonstration of India’s technological achievement and at the same time cost effective mission… India is supposed to be a developing country and none of the developing countries so far has achieved this feat,” said Lele.

The mission’s approximately $74 million price tag, as Prime Minister Modi has pointed out, is less than the cost of Hollywood blockbuster "Galaxy."

Loaded with five instruments, the objectives of India’s Mars mission are modest: To study the surface of the Red Planet and look for signs of methane, which can give an indication of any form of life.

It is expected to circle Mars for about six months and will send back photos and data.

The Mars mission demonstrates India’s growing ambitions in the sphere of space as it sets its sight on space exploration. So far, the country’s five decade old program has largely concentrated on areas such as weather forecasting and communication.

Prime Minister Modi appears to be backing those ambitions.

“Let today’s success drive us with even greater vigor and conviction. Let us set ourselves even more challenging goals and strive even harder to achieve them. Let us push our boundaries and then push some more,” said Modi.

As the Mars mission puts India in an elite group of space faring nations, some say it could prompt the country to embark on new programs, such as a manned space mission.
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Visit our Web Site:

English calls: (Cristian Arce) Phone: 
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Español calls: (Luis G. Jiménez)  Phone:   
(506) 8707-4016
house 865
Beautiful chalet in Grecia, with the best fresh natural weather, 1.040 m2 of land, Price $135.000. Click HERE!
House 868
Beautiful house  in Grecia, with the best fresh natural weather, 810 m2 of land, Price $178.000. Click HERE!
House 866
Beautiful large house  in Grecia, with the best fresh natural weather,1.006 m2 of land, Price $290.000.  HERE!
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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 Interamericana 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, appliances included. High-speed internet iinstalled, Direct TV via sling box on Internet. $199,000 Contact   Check out slide show HERE!

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Cariari luxury condo for sale
This is not an ordinary condo.
Completed one year ago, a $45,000 renovating made it an exquisite dwelling. As soon as you walk in you know it is a special home. No detail has been overlooked, even minuscule ones. The owner has a need to move on, and someone lucky will be the beneficiary of the fine detailed work. The home itself has three bedrooms, two and half bathrooms plus a maid’s quarters with its own bathroom. Also, it has a living room, dining room and a gorgeous kitchen with a kitchenette. There’s also a small outdoor patio. Being the end unit of this four-home condo complex, there’s parking space for three vehicles.  Approximately 240 sq. meters. All this near the Cariari Golf and Country Club and its renowned Tom Facio golf course. The club also has amenities such as a fitness centre, exercise room, Olympic swimming pool, sauna, 12 tennis courts and many other benefits. Tel:  8384-9608 or 2293-9054  Price $214,500.

Two lovely homes on one big lot in Esterillos Oeste, (Central Pacific)
Located on a breezy hill just 4 minutes walk to the beach, surf and tide-pools, only 20 minutes drive north to Jacó nightlife and shopping or south to the rural town of Parrita.

First, a 2-story, 2-bedroom (sleeps 4), 1½-bathroom house with big kitchen and living room.  Full-width verandah with eating and sitting areas, overlooking lawn, pool and gazebo. Sitting balcony at upper, bedroom level.  Carport and laundry. 

Second, a completely private single-story 2-bedroom (sleeps 4), 1-bathroom home with big back yard at a lower level on the same, big fully titled 1,100M2 lot. Full security bars at all doors and windows, plus locking vehicle access and pedestrian gates at the street. In a very safe neighborhood, with private and natural surroundings

Well maintained, fully and tastefully furnished and equipped, hot water, local phone, cable TV/DVD and high speed wireless internet.   The houses have been rented for both long-term and vacation for $100/$80 per day and $1,500/$1,200 per month respectively. See this place, you will love it! Then make an offer. E-mail or call (506) 8386-8825.  Rodney, asking $350,000.

house photo
More photos HERE!
Another 'live in the view' home in Puriscal
$179,900 includes:
Lot on river, concrete road, custom kitchen & bath with granite counter tops, PEX plumbing, 2” Styrofoam, sandwiched in steel roof, 4” concrete/recycled Styrofoam & steel walls, laminated, bronzed windows, custom wood doors, appliances and all transfer taxes, and fees.

2, 900 sq feet under roof, 1,250 sq feet inside walls, 2 bedroom, 2 ½ baths, laundry room, three separate patio areas, covered carport, shade trees, in upscale, secure project.  This project has river with protected areas & walkways. It is only 10 minutes on all paved roads to Santiago de Puriscal, 45 minutes to La Plaza Mall/Hospital CIMA and SJO airport, and 1 ½ hours to Pacific Beaches. It has recently upgraded public water supply and dependable ICE electric and high-speed internet.
Please come visit our projects and meet four new homeowners who have recently moved into their new “live in the view” homes to verify how happy they are and that they all came in under budget. CONTACT: George Lundquist  Home phone: 2417-1041 Cell phone: 8888 4543 Skype glundquist.
To see more Photos of this house, click HERE!

Beautiful home and separate apartment
The land is 289 square meters with  329 square meters of construction. Three bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, 2 floors, covered parking, with room for  a second parking space. A first floor patio and a second floor balcony with view. Attached apartment rented for $500 per month. Live free. House valued, @ $330,000. asking price with agents is $295,000. With no agent, asking $279,000, negotiable. Must see to appreciate,  Contact: Wayne Winstead,, 8820-1501/8379-7947

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Guanacaste, Liberia Farm
$64,000 NEGOTIABLE and owner financing available.
9 hectares (24 acres). Riverfront property and amazing views of 3 volcanoes.


Beach Front Home - Central Pacific Coast
Pristine condition, recently renovated. The best surfing and boogie boarding in the country. The most magnificent ocean and sunset view. New 20-year, fully registered concession on one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. Easy access from San José (1 hour 25 minutes) located between Jacó and Manuel Antonio, in Esterillos Oeste.  2 or 3 bedrooms. Center room can be living room. House with 2 1/2 baths. Separated rancho with kitchen and large entertainment patio. Landscaped garden with no water shortage. Has both municipal and well water with automatic watering system. Direct access to the beach as no road is in front of property. Protected land on one side of the property for additional privacy.  Alarm system and complete shutters for security while away. Lot approximately 1,725 square meters, Asking price: $385.000.  Contact to Paul at local phone 506- 2637-8858  Cell phone 506- 8823-8550 .  US Mobile 908-400-9772  Emails:  and

New 5,000-sq. ft. home in the middle of coffee plantation
Four bedrooms and five baths. Superb mountain views and privacy. 3.3-acre property on top of mountain. 15 minutes from local shopping. One hour from all San José has to offer. Two hours from the beaches and attractions at Quepos. Balconies for each bedroom, two large decks with stunning mountain views, octagonal gazebo, extensive rock walls and landscaping. Surrounded by trees. New home never lived in. Very quiet mountain location in exclusive coffee farm area. Two-story open dining and living room with guest bath. Spiral staircase leads to common area for parties, etc. Has room with bar and another spiral staircase leads to the skydeck. This is a balcony high up above the house that has extensive mountain views. All ceilings are wood accented with large beams. Balconies are tile and the decks are stained teak. Decks have balustrades. The second floor balcony and common area have custom wrought iron. All services available from satellite Sky TV, to high-speed Internet. All block and steel construction. Many hiking trails and rainforest zone a few miles away. If nature, quiet life and privacy is your thing, this could be for you. Juan Santamaria SJO Airport 1 hour 15 minutes away. $470,000. Picture gallery emailed on request to serious inquiries. Contact Jim Alfaro,   Cell 8714-8274.


Spectacular view property on a ridge near Alajuela.  Large home and 3 rental homes totaling 7,300 square feet (678 square meters) live-in construction.  Property area is 3,376 square meters (0.83 acres) including a vacant lot for expansion options.  In total there are 10 bedrooms, each with an ensuite bath.  Property has pool, rancho, mirador, courtyard and covered parking.  Homes have romantic fireplaces, built-ins, storage, other luxury features.  Turnkey sale includes all appliances, furniture, fixtures, equipment.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at  See property video here:

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:

ARenal property
Location: Near Arenal        Price: $2.7 million
Size: 113 acres
Web site:

The farm is at the highest point on a stunning ridge bordered by pristine Costa Rican primary forest on all sides of the property, with active wildlife all throughout the area. On each of its gently rolling terraced lomas you get a glimpse of Volcán Arenal from a distance. This property has four different lagunas, a working organic farm and nursery, mature fruit trees, sheep corral, ideal for grazing horses with stunning views from all the hillsides. The Northern Zone of Costa Rica is the country's best kept secret, providing a perfect home base location to travel the country's many destinations while still maintaining the best climate at 400 meters above sea level.

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A.M. Costa Rica's
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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 190
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News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are disalbed on archived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Big metro area storm fails to materialize

 By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Transport officials closed Ruta 32, the scene of many landslides, at 2 p.m. Wednesday in anticipation of a major thunderstorm.

However, the expected deluge did not materialize.

Transport officials are nervous after some 1,200 motorists and passengers were trapped on Ruta 32 Thursday night by multiple slides.

The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional issued a 2 p.m. bulletin calling for as much as 100 millimeters of rain in the northern zone, the Pacific coast and the Central Valley Wednesday afternoon. That was the news that led to the road closing.

There was more than an inch of rain in La Cruz in Guanacaste and about a tenth of an inch in San José, but there was not the powerful thunderstorm similar to the one that swept through the Central Valley Tuesday.

The weather institute blamed a low pressure area along the Pacific coast for the unstable conditions that forecasters thought would lead to another big storm.

That low pressure area is moving away, but the weather institute said it still would figure in today's conditions.

Orchestra in running for Latin Grammy

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional has received a Latin Grammy nomination for its album “Música de Compositores Costarricenses Vol. 1.” The work is competing in the best album of classical music category, said the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud.

There are five other entries in that category, including works by artists such as Plácido Domingo, José Serebrier and Berta Rojas, the ministry said.

Nominations in some 48 categories were announced Wednesday. The awards will be made known Nov. 20 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Mayor to seek action against strikers

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The mayor of Montes de Oca, which includes San Pedro, said he was going to court to have a strike by municipal workers declared illegal. He said he was going to the Juzgado de Trabajo of the II Circuito Judicial.

The mayor, Fernando Trejos B., said that the employee union met Wednesday morning and voted to continue the strike. He said, however, that all municipal services were normal, including trash pickups.

Workers walked out Monday.

Pacific quake felt on the coast

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An earthquake estimated at a 4.8 magnitude took place today at 3:23 a.m. about 50 kilometers (about 31 miles) west of Tamarindo on the far Pacific coast.

The quake was felt moderately in Santa Cruz and Nosara, said the Laboratorio de Ingenieria Sismica ast the Universidad de Costa Rica.

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From Page 7:

World Tourism Day marked with special deals

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The tourism ministry said that some 40 firms are offering special deals to mark World Tourism Day, which is Saturday.

There will be expositions of some of the firms at Lincoln Plaza in Moravia Saturday, said the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo.

The emphasis is toward national tourists, and the ministry said it is making use of social networks. Alejandro Castro of the institute's marketing department said use would be made of something called Twibbon that incorporates material from Twitter and Facebook.  Those who participate will be entered into a contest, the ministry said.

The exposition will run through Sunday. Some of the participants are giving discounts of as much as 50 percent.

This is the low season of a year that has not been good to tourism operators.