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Welcome to Panama Guide
Saturday, August 02 2014 @ 04:34 AM EDT

Welcome to Panama-Guide.com

Panama Guide is the #1 English Language web site about the Republic of Panama. There are currently 23,843 articles in our ever-expanding database and we update daily so check back often. More than 7,000 people visit Panama-Guide.com every day to follow current events and to use the other resources available. We provide fresh English language Panama news daily, as well as information about all of the other things you need to know if you plan to visit or live here. We focus on those topics and issues which are of greatest importance to the English speaking expatriate community. And if you can't find what you need to know, we take requests. Welcome aboard, and tell your friends.

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Louis Berger lands Panama City Metro Line 2 management contract

Infrastructure UpgradesMorristown, N.J.-based Louis Berger, as part of the Consorcio PML2, has signed a five-year, $32 million contract to oversee construction of the Panama City Metro Line 2, Central America’s first rapid transit system.

The Consorcio PML2—comprised of Louis Berger and Spanish consultant partners Ayesa and Metropolitan Transports of Barcelona—was selected for the project after receiving the highest proposal score based on technical and economic criteria.

The new 13-mile line is the second of four lines in the government’s plan to provide efficient, sustainable transport in the Panama City metropolitan area, which supports 1.2 million residents. Line 2 includes 16 stations along an elevated alignment from an interchange with Line 1 at San Miguelito serving the districts of December 24, among others.

“We are honored to play a key role in the second line of the Panama metro system and welcome the opportunity to assist in developing Panama’s transportation network,” said Sofia Berger, Louis Berger’s vice president in charge of Latin America and the Caribbean.

“Louis Berger is combining local knowledge with global expertise to deliver solutions tailored for the people of Panama,” said D. James Stamatis, president of Louis Berger’s international operations.

“As one of the largest engineering firms in the world with regional headquarters in Panama, we will work closely with our Panama Metro client to deliver a transportation solution for the people of Panama by combining our 50-year history within the transportation sector in Latin America with our extensive global rail expertise, which includes signature programs in Ankara, Turkey; Bangkok, Thailand; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Doha, Qatar; and Mumbai, India.” (Press Release)

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New Low Cost Colombian Airline Starts Service To Panama

Travel & TourismThe Colombian discount airline "VivaColombia" which has been in business for two years opened its first international route, targeting Panama City. (more)

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Scandal Splashes Another Of Martinelli's Cousins

CorruptionThe mayor of the district of Portobelo, Carlos Chavarria, said the dentist Reinaldo Della Togna Martinelli - a cousin of the former President Ricardo Martinelli - demanded $80,000 to lobby the then Minister of Economy and Finance, Frank De Lima, in order to attend to the company A2Z Strategy Construction Panamá, S.A. (more)

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Junk Cars "Burning Gas" At The Labor Ministry (Stealing Public Funds For Fun And Profit)

CorruptionThe Minister of Labor and Workforce Development (Mitradel), Luis Ernesto Carles, said in a statement on the Telemetro news he would continue to conduct audits and that "it doesn't matter what the former officials of the previous administration say." (more)

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Comptroller Will Stay In Office - Despite Varela's Objections

PoliticsThe former provisional president of the Republic, Francisco Rodriguez denied that he's participated in any sort of "negotiation" to ask the Comptroller of the Republic Gioconda Torres de Bianchini to leave office. (more)

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Varela Says Radars Don't Work - Mulino Admits Problems

Drug TraffickingHours after President Juan Carlos Varela said the radar sets purchased by Panama to combat drug trafficking cannot see the speedboats used by the traffickers to transport drugs, the former Minister of Public Security Jose Raul Mulino said this means the radars have a "calibration" problem. (more)

Editor's Comment: In these comments I describe radio wave propagation and the limitations of radar against small ocean going vessels. Still haven't subscribed? It's just $20 bucks for the year (cheap)...

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New AMPYME Director Files Complaints Over Corruption

CorruptionAda Romero, following her ratification as the new Director of the Office of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (Ampyme) said she would be filing a series of legal complaints on Friday before the Public Ministry, for the alleged irregularities they have found within the institution. (more)

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Varela Appoints Dulcidio De La Guardia As The Director of the Board for Tocumen

Travel & TourismThe Economy Minister Dulcidio De La Guardia, was appointed as the Directing President of the Board of Directors of the Tocumen International Airport for a period of seven years. This was announced by Executive Decree No. 283 of the Official Gazette. (more)

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Downpours Flood Streets, Knock Down Trees

WeatherA heavy downpour accompanied by electrical activity on Wednesday afternoon caused flooding and falling trees in several parts of the capital city. (more)

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Multiple Car Pile-Up On The Northern Corridor

Traffic AccidentsOne person was injured after a multiple collision involving a dump truck. (more)

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Bill To Repeal Security Escorts For Family of Former Presidents To Second Debate

Law & LawyersThe Government Commission in Panama's National Assembly, headed by the Deputy of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), Pedro Miguel González, adopted with five votes in favor in the first debate, a bill to repeal a law passed in the final days of the Martinelli administration, providing security guards for the former first ladies and children of current and former presidents. (more)

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PRD Members Ask Electoral Tribunal To Get Involved In Internal Party Struggle

PoliticsWith the purpose of trying to get the Electoral Tribunal involved in the internal struggle that has been going on with the National Executive Committee of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), "PRD Founding Movement," the "Coordinating Committee for the Rescue" and other party members appeared before the Tribunal yesterday to present two appeals. (more)

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UN sanctions operator of North Korean weapons ship seized by Panama

Panama NewsUNITED NATIONS – The United Nations imposed sanctions on the North Korean shipping company that operates a ship seized by Panama in July 2013 for carrying undeclared military equipment from Cuba ordered all countries to freeze its assets.

The Security Council committee monitoring sanctions on North Korea announced late Monday that it had added Ocean Maritime Management Company, Ltd., which is headquartered in Pyongyang and operates the vessel Chong Chon Gang, to its sanctions blacklist.

Panamanian authorities stopped the Chong Chon Gang as it tried to enter the Panama Canal because they suspected it was transporting drugs. Instead, they found two Cuban fighter jets in perfect condition, missiles and live munitions beneath its cargo of sugar.

The committee said it imposed sanctions on Ocean Maritime Management because "it played a key role in arranging the shipment of concealed cargo of arms and related materiel" in violation of a U.N. arms embargo imposed against Pyongyang in response to North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power accused Cuba and North Korea of "a cynical, outrageous and illegal attempt ... to circumvent United Nations sanctions prohibiting the export of weapons to North Korea."

She said that imposing a global asset freeze on Ocean Maritime Management means that the company will no longer be able to operate internationally.

Imposing sanctions on the shipping company "sends an important message to the companies directly involved in violations of U.N. sanctions regimes: we will find you and hold you accountable," Power said in a statement.

In June, a Panamanian judge absolved the captain and two other officers of charges stemming from the seizure of the ship and freed them, saying the issue of whether the ship violated the U.N. arms embargo against North Korea was not a matter for Panama to decide. The court ruled that the weapons and other equipment should be turned over to Panamanian authorities.

The ship's other 32 sailors were allowed to sail the vessel back to North Korea in February after the owner paid a $700,000 fine.

Power said the United States remains concerned about attempts by North Korea to circumvent international sanctions and will remain "vigilant" in enforcing Security Council sanctions.

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Former Directors of Financial Pacific Accused Of Irregularities

Money MattersAn employee of the Division of Financial Analysis of the Superintendency of Market Securities blamed the former Directors of the Financial Pacific brokerage firm, Iván Clare y West Valdés, for the poor management of the company, which resulted in a $12 million dollar loss in 2012. (more)

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Panama Canal Administrator Says GUPC Companies Fear Bankruptcy

Canal ExpansionThe companies that comprise the Grupo Unidos por el Canal, SA (GUPC) fear the consortium will declare bankruptcy and they will not be able to file a claim before the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), said the Administrator of the Panama Canal Jorge Luis Quijano yesterday. (more)

Editor's Comment: (Subscribers can see my comments, which explain what's going on and why. Haven't subscribed yet? Come on, you can't remain clueless forever, can you? (grin) ... )

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Attorney General Says Immigration Can Arrest And Deport Hurtado Back To Colombia

Panama NewsThe former head of the Administrative Department of Security of Colombia (DAS), Maria del Pilar Hurtado, could be deported, given that her immigration status is illegal in Panama, said Panama's Attorney General Ana Belfon. (more)

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Prosecutor Taking Statements In Financial Pacific Case

Crime & PunishmentThe Third Superior Prosecutor will take the official sworn statements from the officials who work for the Superintendence of Market Securities (VPS) who performed the analysis of the accounts and transactions made by Financial Pacific (FP), as part of the investigation against Mayte Pellegrini and 12 others who are facing charges of financial fraud. (more)

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Three Children Injured In San Miguelito House Fire

Safety & SecurityThree children were injured in a house fire in the community Jan. 9, in the district of San Miguelito. (more)

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Chikungunya Virus - Panama's Health Ministry Responding To Increasing Numbers of Cases

HealthcarePeople who have traveled from Haiti and the Dominican Republic have imported the cases of the Chikungunya Virus that have appeared in the Republic of Panama, according to a report issued by health authorities on Thursday. (more)

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Illegal Fishing Boats Seized Off Of Panama's Pacific Coast

Environmental IssuesPanama's National Air Service (SENAN) seized three boats in the past 72 hours, for allegedly fishing illegally in the protected areas of the Pacific coast of Panama. (more)

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Panama: Concession Awarded for Mini Hydro Station

Infrastructure UpgradesThe grant is for the construction and operation of a hydroelectric station of 4MW known as Analida in the province of Cocle. From a statement issued by the National Authority of Public Services Panama:

Resolution:

"...FIRST: AWARD to the company HIDROELÉCTRICA RÍO CHICO, S.A., registered on Listing 833361, Document 2597265, in the Mercantile Microfilm Section of the Public Registry of Panama, rights to a concession for the construction and operation of the hydropower plant called Analida, using the waters of the river Chico, located in the village Las Huacas, Capellania and La Toza, District of Nata, Cocle Province, with an installed capacity of 4 MW. "

"...SECOND: AUTHORIZE the company HIDROELÉCTRICA RÍO CHICO, S.A. to proceed to request from the National Environmental Authority (ANAM) approval for the Study of Environmental Impact for the Analida project and to carry out the necessary activities for the elaboration of a Water Concession Agreement with the endorsement of the Comptroller General of the Republic. "

Editor's Comment: The construction of this facility would represent a relatively small increase to Panama's generation capacity, but at this point increases are necessary in hydro, as well as other sources such as bunker, wind, solar. The hydro plants do well during the rainy season but their reservoirs tend to run dry if the rains don't come on time...

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Martinelli - Tired Of Being A Punching Bag - Is Going On A Trip "Far Away"

Politics"I'm happy now the problems are someone else's, but bored with the news. With fury and morbidity they insist on getting me into everything. I'm going on a trip, far away," said the former president Ricardo Martinelli via his Twitter account yesterday. (more)

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Increase In Power Cost Will Generate Speculation

Infrastructure UpgradesCarlos Carcache, the former secretary of energy and manager of the Power Generation Company (EGESA) noted that an increase in the cost of electricity will generate speculation. (more)

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New ANATI Director Will Revoke Questionable Land Titles Granted During (Corrupt) Martinelli Administration

Real EstatePanama's National Authority of Land Management (ANATI) will revoke land titles granted during the administration of former President Ricardo Martineli, that did not follow the correct procedures, warned the new Authority administrator, Carlos Gonzalez. (more)

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Price Controls Cause 20% Increase In Other Products

Money MattersThe savings of $58.00 per month promised by the President Juan Carlos Varela after price controls were implement is turning out to be another lie told during a political campaign, according to experts in the field of consumer protection. (more)

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Panama Will Increase Transparency At Consulates To Reduce Corruption

CorruptionPanama's Vice President and Chancellor, Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarado, presented a draft of a new law before the Cabinet Council meeting yesterday involving greater transparency of the Consular system, seeking to reform the functions Panama's consulates and the registration of ocean going ships under the Panamanian flag, which could result in a 25% increase revenue in this sector. (more)

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Copa Airlines to offer extra Panama flights during holidays

Cars & TransportationCopa Airlines will offer more flights from Tampa to Panama City, Panama during the upcoming holiday season.

The additional flights will run from Nov. 17 to Jan. 3, the airline said Monday.

"We're looking to go daily which is important for the business community to have that nice daily coverage," said Joseph Mohan, a Copa senior vice president. "We'll see how it goes in the high season, and if it does well, then we'll continue with that as a daily flight going forward."

Copa already offers four flights a week between Tampa and Panama. (Press Release)

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58% Of Panamanian Businesses Reporting Shortage Of Skilled Labor

Employment & JobsThere are many people who complain about the lack of work at the national level; however, for some employers, the shortage of talent in the labor field is greater this year than last year. (more)

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PARLACEN Deputies Might Challenge Martinelli's Swearing-In

Panama NewsThe Central American Parliament Deputy Dorindo Cortez said Tuesday on RPC Radio they might nullify the inauguration of former President Ricardo Martinelli. (more)

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Henriquez: "We will respect the rights of prisoners"

Crime & PunishmentPanama's Government Minister Milton Henriquez acknowledged there are irregularities occurring inside of the country's prisons. (more)

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