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Monday, March 30 2015 @ 11:15 PM EDT

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A New Crop Of Police Cadets Begin Training

Schools & Education

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - The Superior Training Center of the Panamanian National Police received about 85 new cadets, 65 men and 20 women, who will spend the next five years as cadets in officer training. Those who finish the training and graduate will be part of the 12th graduating class from this institution. The mission of the Superior Training Center (CES) is to prepare the future officers of the Panamanian National Police force, within a disciplined superior education system, oriented towards professional excellence, adjusted to the national and institutional reality, based on solid moral and ethical principles that will make the public servant respectful of the national constitution and laws. Upon graduating the cadets will receive the rank of Second Lieutenant in the National Police with a guaranteed job and Bachelor's Degree in Police Public Administration from Panama's National University.

Copyright 2008 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Panameñistas in Chiriqui Break With Varela, Look For Martinelli Alliance

Politics By Elmer Enrique Quintero for El Siglo - They are asking their members to form a grand opposition alliance. A group of Panameñistas in Chiriqui decided yesterday to take a walk in the shoes of the people and to join a movement called "Panameñistas For A Real Change" that demands that the Panameñista Party ally themselves with the Cambio Democratico political party and to form a true opposition that, according to them, should be led by Ricardo Martinelli. "We think it is evident Martinelli is leading in the polls and as good Panameñistas, we have to look for a dialog in order to form an alliance and to support Ricardo Martinelli," said Roiner González, a spokesman for the group. "We are delivering a joint opposition attack, to support the candidate who really has a chance of winning," he added. (See Comments)
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Spanish Businessman Killed In Car Theft

Crime & Punishment By Kathyria Caicedo for Telemetro Reporta - According to preliminary reports, delinquents murdered Spanish businessman Manuel Machín Ramos as they tried to steal his car in the area of Via Porras in the San Francisco neighborhood of Panama City. Apparently Manuel Machín finished exercising in the Parque Omar and then left the park using Calle 66 in San Francisco when he was intercepted by a gray Hundai Accent with license plate 452753. Manuel Machín Ramos was injured by the attackers and abandoned - the attackers fled the area in a Toyota Prado owned by the businessman. Machín Ramos was assisted by residents in the area and taken to the Santo Tomas hospital, where later died. At the moment, the Direction of Judicial Investigation is starting their investigation into this murder.
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CSS Strike Could End Today

Protests & DemonstrationsBy José Edwin Sánchez M. for La Critica - Panama's Office of Social Security (CSS) has offered a $60 per month wage increase that would be effective as of June 2009 to striking administrative workers. The administration of the CSS proposed a $60 per month wage increase effective in June 2009 for all administrative employees. In addition, they offered a productivity bonus under two different scenarios. The first - a $175 annual bonus based on a satisfactory work evaluation dated after June 2009. The second - a $200 annual bonus that would be paid starting in December 2009, based on an evaluation of work from the same year. The CSS Administration would be amenable to paying the increased wages starting in 2009 for all employees who have not received a wage increase since 1 January 2006. With this new alternative presented at the negotiation table, the CSS administration looks to end the strike that has already cost the institution more than $20 million dollars. On Monday the leadership of the ANFACSS labor union announced they would present their counterproposal but in fact they never did, and this is when the CSS administration presented their proposals in order to try to end the strike. The leadership of the ANFACSS, through its president Guillermo Gotti, stressed they cannot decide and that it will fall to the union members to decide if they will accept or not the counterproposal presented to them yesterday. "As long as there is no final decision the strike will continue and it will not be until sometime Wednesday afternoon when we might have an answer," said Gotti. If the proposal is accepted they could be signing an agreement this afternoon and everything will return to normal. Today the strike enters its tenth day and so far has cost the CSS more than $20 million dollars.
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"Transmóvil" Bid Delayed in Panama

Cars & Transportation By SHELMAR VÁSQUEZ SWEEN for La Prensa - The date for the government bid that would have selected the company responsible to supply and manage the 420 new buses for Panama City's new "Transmóvil" public transportation system, originally scheduled for the tomorrow morning, 15 January 2009, has been pushed back to the last week of this month because the the organization responsible for administering the bidding process has not yet finalized changes to the charge sheet. A group of seven vehicle manufacturers and distributors sent a document to the Ground Transportation and Transit Authority (ATTT) emphasizing deficiencies in the original charge sheet.
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Obama to work to pass Bush trade deals: Democrats

Money MattersWASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Barack Obama wants to win approval of stalled free trade deals with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, but further work is needed on two of the pacts, Democratic lawmakers said on Wednesday. "The president-elect wants to work with Republicans and Democrats to get those trade agreements moving," House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel said during an organizational meeting to outline the panel's priorities for the year. Earlier this week, outgoing President George W. Bush said failure to win approval of the three agreements was one of the biggest disappointments of his second term. Bush lost a showdown with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last year when he tried to force a vote on the Colombia free trade agreement, despite concerns that Democrats had raised against violence toward union workers in Colombia. It was never the case that Colombia was "a bad trade agreement," Rangel told reporters. Rather, the issue was "whether the administration was prepared to insist on the protection of labor leaders in Colombia." In the case of South Korea, the main issue blocking that pact was the Bush administration's unwillingness to change auto provisions that many Democrats believe favored South Korea's automakers too much, Rangel said. "If they fought as hard for cars, as they did for beef, we wouldn't have that problem," Rangel said, referring to the strong pressure the Bush administration put on South Korea to open its market to U.S. beef. (Reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by Anthony Boadle)
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Copa Holdings Announces 16.5% Traffic Growth for December 2008

Cars & TransportationPANAMA CITY, Jan. 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Copa Holdings, S.A. and its Copa Airlines and Aero Republica operating subsidiaries, today released preliminary passenger traffic statistics for December 2008. For the month of December 2008, Copa Holdings' system-wide passenger traffic (RPM) increased 16.5%, while capacity (ASM) increased 20.0%. System load factor for December 2008 was 74.2%, a 2.2 percentage point decrease when compared to December 2007. Copa Airlines passenger traffic (RPM) for December 2008 increased 17.7%, while capacity (ASM) increased 22.0%. This resulted in a load factor of 75.2%, a 2.8 percentage point decrease when compared to December 2007. Aero Republica passenger traffic (RPM) for December 2008 increased 10.8%, while capacity (ASM) increased 11.1%. Load factor for the month was 69.4%, a 0.2 percentage point decrease when compared to December 2007. Copa Holdings, through its Copa Airlines and Aero Republica operating subsidiaries, is a leading Latin American provider of passenger and cargo service. Copa Airlines currently offers approximately 144 daily scheduled flights to 45 destinations in 24 countries in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean. In addition, Copa Airlines provides passengers with access to flights to more than 120 other international destinations through code share agreements with Continental Airlines and other airlines. Aero Republica, the second-largest domestic carrier in Colombia, provides service to 12 cities in Colombia as well as international connectivity with Copa Airlines' Hub of the Americas through flights from Bogota, Bucaramanga, Cali, Cartagena, Medellin and Pereira. Additionally, in May 2008, Aero Republica increased international service by launching direct daily flights to Caracas, Venezuela from the cities of Bogota and Medellin. CPA-G SOURCE Copa Holdings, S.A.
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Emerald Monkey: Striving to be the First Ever 'Zero Carbon Footprint' Luxury Resort and Residences

Real EstateBOCAS DEL TORO, Panama, Jan. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Emerald Monkey Eco-Luxe Resort and Residences is the newest development to be announced in the Caribbean. This one of a kind development is located in the Archipelago region of Bocas del Toro, Panama on Isla Pastor (Shepherd Island). This property has been designed to be the first "Zero Carbon Footprint Project" in the world. Kimberly DeLape of Island Living Resorts states, "You can't help but to fall in love with the warm people and beautiful islands of the Archipelagos of Bocas del Toro. It's one of the finest locations I've ever visited in the Caribbean. The islands offer a great diversity of breathtaking attractions including the amazing white sand beaches, magnificent coral reefs in crystal clear water, and magical mountainous rainforests." (more)
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Beaches, jungles and a canal in Panama

Travel & TourismBy ROGER PETTERSON for MSNBC - Many people see the scenery of Panama only in passing, from the deck of a cruise ship passing through the Panama Canal. But if you take the time to visit, you'll find even more scenic countryside, tropical birds and plants, and reefs for diving. Panama's official Tourist Bureau — http://www.visitpanama.com/ — (click on the tiny U.S. flag for the English version) offers a Destination of the Month, promoting spots such as the Anton Valley, an area of wildlife, villages, festivals and long-distance hiking. If you're more interested in the coast, look under "Where to Go" for "Islands, Coasts ..." in the category drop-down menu for information on spots such as La Barqueta beach, for kite surfing, or Boca del Drago, for scuba diving. Open up the menu again for "Mountains" and places including the Baru Volcano, Panama's highest elevation. (more)
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6 nations accused of fishing violations

FishingWASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government said Tuesday that a half-dozen foreign nations are engaging in illegal or unregulated fishing. Officials said they plan consultations with France, Italy, Libya, Panama, China and Tunisia in hopes of getting those countries to take corrective action. "Illegal fishing is a global problem that is depleting fish stocks and hurting the economies of nations and the livelihoods of people who depend on sustainable fishing," said Dr. Jim Balsiger, acting assistant administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Fisheries Service. It is the first time NOAA has reported specific countries as engaged in such fishing. After consultations, the agency will either certify that a country has taken corrective action, or list it as still engaging in illegal, unregulated or unreported fishing, in which case that nation's vessels may be denied entry into U.S. ports and the president may prohibit imports of certain fish products from that nation. According to NOAA's report, in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, fishing vessels of identified nations were using illegal fishing gear, fishing during a closed season or not complying with reporting requirements. In the Pacific Ocean, it said, vessels violated an international rule requiring any ship fishing for tuna in the eastern Pacific be listed by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, which manages tuna stocks in that area.
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Salsa star Blades donates recordings to Harvard

Bands & Music BOSTON (AP) — Salsa superstar and actor Ruben Blades has agreed to give his personal papers as well as rare recordings of rehearsals and concerts to Harvard University. The university's Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library will receive a complete collection of all the 60-year-old musician's LPs, CDs and liner notes. The archive will eventually grow to include material devoted to his political career, with posters from his failed run for the Panamanian presidency in 1994. Harvard librarian Virginia Danielson said the first components of the collection will be available in mid- to late-2009. The seven-time Grammy winner holds a masters degree in international law from Harvard. He recently announced he was leaving his post as Panama's tourism minister to return to recording music.
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Courts try to decide what to do with Manuel Noriega

Panama News By Rich Phillips, CNN Senior Producer MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- What to do with an aging, all-but-forgotten former military strongman who has served his time but is also a prisoner of war? Manuel Noriega's U.S. drug trafficking sentence ended about 16 months ago, but he remains behind bars. The controversy over the next step for former Panamanian Gen. Manuel Noriega is winding its way through the federal courts. Arguments were heard Wednesday by an appeals court in Miami, Florida. Noriega, who was captured in Panama by U.S. military forces, completed his prison sentence for drug trafficking and money laundering in September 2007 but remains imprisoned until the courts can decide where he should go. Noriega attorney Jon May told the court that his client wants to return to Panama and that the United States is obligated to return him under the Geneva Conventions. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Cronin said that the government has been asked to send Noriega to France and that there is nothing in the Geneva Conventions to prevent that. (more)
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The Cuban Music Chucho Valdés at the VI Panama Festival Jazz 2009

Bands & MusicCuba News Headlines - The sixth edition of the Panama Jazz Festival 2009 was opened last 12th of January in installations belonging to the Panama Canal. About 20 halls of the Ascanio Arosemena Auditorium and Training Centre are at disposal for this event that will receive students and teachers who take part in different musical institutions, indicated. The participation of several international musicians, such as the Cuban Chucho Valdés, the US Wayne Shorter and the Panamanian Danilo Pérez, considered all of them legends of jazz, are expected to take part in the Festival. The installations of the inter ocean way will also receive the famous quintet of the Puerto Rican saxophonist Marco Pignataro as well as a recital of the US pianist Edna Golandsky. The Ascanio Arosemena centre, as well as school for students, will be the stage of concerts and workshops given by the musicians who take part in this international event. The sixth edition of the Panama Jazz festival 2009 will be held for six days, from the 12 until the 17 of January. These events started in 2003 and since that moment on it has consolidated as one of the most important cultural events of the hemisphere. The festival also has concerts in the historic centre of the Panama capital and at the Anayansi theatre of the Atlapa Conventions Centre, located next to the shore of the Panama Bay. The organisers expect to have over 16,000 spectators, which is the number of public who attended last year edition.
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Safe Foods' Cecure Heads To Panama

Foreign Direct InvestmentBy Arkansas Business Staff - Safe Foods Corp. of North Little Rock said Wednesday that its Cecure antimicrobial technology will be used in Panama. "We are pleased to see the further adoption of this proven food safety intervention in markets beyond the U.S.," Curtis Coleman, Safe Foods' president and CEO, said in a news release. The product has recently been deployed for use South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Canada. Coleman said the product has been used in the U.S. poultry industry to provide control against Salmonella, E. coli and other food-borne pathogens. Coleman also said studies are underway exploring the use of Cecure for treating the surface of certain tropical fruits to control bacteria and molds. Safe Foods’ food safety interventions are used in more than 20 U.S. food processing companies and in meat and poultry processing companies in Canada, South Africa, the Middle East and Central America.
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Templar Panama Sponsors Jazz Fest Trip

Bands & MusicPanama City, Panama (PRWEB) January 14, 2009 -- Panama City-based real estate company Templar Panama has organized a trip for children from El Valle to the 2009 Panama Jazz Festiva. The real estate company commissioned a minibus to bring 12 children and four parent chaperones to a the final performance of the festival, a free, open-air concert on in Casco Viejo's Plaza de la Catedral on January 17th. This effort grew out of Templar Panama's Christmas Toy Drive, explained Martin Lamb, Templar's President of Investment. "While organizing the toy giveaway, we had the chance to contact and develop relationships with needy families," Lamb said. "We couldn't help everyone and people's needs continue after Christmas. So we see little things like this as a way to reach more people and help them access Panama's many cultural opportunities year round." The excursion includes round-trip transportation to the concert and lunch for the group. This is the type of effort than any company can and should make, Lamb said, adding that admission to the Jazz Festival event is free, and the company rents cars for business every day. "We take things like going to a free concert for granted, but for families who can't afford transportation, even these events are usually out of reach."
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Panama's Noriega fights U.S. extradition to France

Panama NewsMIAMI (Reuters) - The fate of former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega was placed in the hands of a U.S. appeals court on Wednesday, as he fought another round to avoid extradition on money laundering charges in France. Seeking to overturn three previous U.S. court rulings, Noriega's attorney Jon May told a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that his status as a "prisoner of war" gives him special protections under the Geneva Conventions that block his extradition. "The convention trumps the extradition," May told the judges, arguing that because of his POW status Noriega should have been repatriated to Panama immediately upon completion of his U.S. prison sentence in September 2007. That argument has been rejected before, most notably by U.S. District Judge William Hoeveler, who presided over Noriega's 1992 trial on drug trafficking, racketeering and conspiracy charges. He was the judge that granted Noriega POW status in the first place. (more)
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Balbina Herrera Returns To Her "Chola" Roots

Politics

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - I caught the speech Balbina Herrera made in Penenome yesterday. Quite obviously, after having reviewed the most recent polling data, she has decided that the "nicer, calmer" Balbina Herrera simply is not working, and that it's time to go back to the screaming and yelling fiery approach she's famous for. During the PRD primary her "Balbina de Corazon" campaign had her just smiling nicely, tapping her heart, and shooting big a thumbs-up to supporters. In short, the word was that she had to try to play "nicer" in order to gain wider acceptance - that people didn't want to see the "Chola" side of Balbina Herrera. Well, yesterday she said "screw it" and went on an all-out (rather bumbling) offensive. Don't worry so much about facts and content, just come out blazing... She's down by about 15% or more depending on which poll you read so she probably thinks she had to make some kind of a change. Also, today I had the opportunity to talk to reporter who covers the political beat for one of the newspapers. I pointed out that the polling data from Jan 2004 hit the May 2004 election results just about on the head - he's going to use it because no one had picked up on that (except me, of course.) Anyway, as usual, politicians are fun to watch, especially when they're getting desperate like Balbina Herrera.

Copyright 2008 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Panama property could offer spectacular growth

Real Estate Hot Property.co.uk - Latin American Panama enjoyed a property boom from 2006 to mid-2008, but things have been quiet in the last six months. However, in the long term Panama is to the US what Spain is to the UK, so it should always have appeal. Examples of ongoing construction are the Trump Ocean Club, a “condo” tower development by Donald Trump, and the Canal Expansion Project, which should provide a massive boost to the Panamanian property market and overall economy. It is due for completion in five years. Despite the economic slowdown Panama’s annualised growth for first quarter 2008 was 6.9 per cent. However, that was down on the figure for 2007 which was 11.2 per cent. (more)
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FAQ: Is Efferdrine Legal in Panama?

Healthcare

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Received today via email: "Hello, We are going to be traveling to Panama in a couple of weeks and one of our party is taking efferdrine as a supplement for weight loss. Should she be bringing it to Panama? Is it illegal there? Thank you." I have no friggin' idea. Can anyone help this person? Please add comments below, and thanks.

Copyright 2008 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Retired Polk County judge drowns in Panama

Expat TalesBy Archie Ingersoll and Kirsten Stromsodt, Grand Forks Herald - A retired Polk County judge drowned this week while on vacation in Panama, his daughter, Jill Burggraf, said Monday. John M. Roue, 68, Crookston, died Sunday afternoon, she said. Roue was vacationing with his wife, Mary, at a friend’s villa. Burggraf said her father and stepmother were swimming when they were caught in an undertow. “She was able to escape it and Dad wasn’t. The water was waist-high, but Dad must have stepped into a hole or got caught or something.” Roue graduated from Fosston (Minn.) High School in 1957. In 1961, he graduated magna cum laude from the University of Minnesota with bachelor’s degrees in political science and history. He received his law degree from the U of M in 1964. (more)
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FBI Returns Pre-Columbian Artifacts to Panama

Panama News

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Today the FBI returned to the government of Panama more than 100 ancient artifacts uncovered during an investigation conducted by the FBI’s Portland Division. Deputy Assistant Director Daniel D. Roberts, Criminal Investigative Division, presented the artifacts to Deputy Chief of Mission Abey Saied, Embassy of Panama, at a ceremony at FBI Headquarters. The artifacts include a number of pottery pieces and gold works, including jewelry. Experts date many of the objects to the pre-Columbian period of 1100-1500 A.D. It is difficult to put a monetary value on the items, although some estimates range from $500-$3,000 per piece depending upon the item’s age, quality, and preservation status. (more)

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FREE 2006 KIA SORENTO 4X4!

Cars & Transportation

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Extra credit for a cool idea - "Hi Don from a loyal long-time Panama-Guide reader. Don, I am moving from Panama next month and have a car I need to get rid of. My time is limited, so I came up with a unique way to try to get it sold... This could turn into a phenomenal deal for somebody... the car has got to go! Check it out and share it with your readers if you think it may be of interest ?! www.Free-Kia.com. Saludos, Steve Smith cel. 6727-9615" My obvious question for Steve was "and why don't I just keep my mouth shut and go pick up the free (or really cheap) car in a couple of weeks. Nah, this is more fun. Happy hunting, campers...

Copyright 2008 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Investors want tally of salvaged gold

Gold & Mining BY KEVIN MAYHOOD for THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH - Investors complain that there has never been a proper accounting of the gold recovered from the Atlantic Ocean wreck of the Central America. Former Battelle engineer-turned-treasure-hunter Thomas G. Thompson pulled one of the largest stashes of gold known to sink in the Atlantic Ocean from the seafloor 20 years ago. But dividing the treasure among investors has proved more difficult than recovering it from the SS Central America. Estimates of the value have varied from $21 million for the gold by weight, to the $100 million to $400 million that collectors of Gold Rush-era old coins and bars might be willing to pay. In the latest court action, The Dispatch Printing Company and Donald C. Fanta, former president of the Ohio Co., complain that Thompson and the directors of companies formed to find and market the gold have failed to give investors a true accounting of what happened to it. The side-wheel steamer was carrying 578 passengers and crew members and an estimated 3 tons of gold bars, coins, nuggets and dust to New York from Panama in 1857. The ship sank during a hurricane about 160 miles off the South Carolina coast. (more)
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Rainforest loss may have been overstated, scientists

Panama News By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent for the Telegraph - Satellite data to be debated by top scientists show huge tracts of abandoned tropical forests that were once logged or farmed are regrowing. Some researchers contend that this process has been inadequately factored into estimates of future species loss – but others maintain that only 50 to 80 per cent of plant species may return to logged or altered forests. Scientists meeting at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington are debating extinction rates in the tropics. Conservationists argue that the loss of the rainforests due to logging, climate change and other factors, is fueling catastrophic rates of extinction – despite the evidence of rainforest regrowth in many places. However Joseph Wright of the Panama-based Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute has pointed out that the tropics now have more protected land than North America, Europe or Japan. (more)
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Fitch Affirms Banco General's Ratings; Outlook Stable

Money MattersNEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fitch Ratings has affirmed Banco General's (Panama) ratings as follows: --Foreign Currency Long Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'BBB'; --Foreign Currency Short Term IDR at 'F3'; --Individual Rating at 'C'; --Support Rating at '5'; --Support Floor at 'NF'. The Rating Outlook is Stable. The rating of Banco General's US$150 million issue maturing in 2010, formerly obligations of Banco Continental, is affirmed at 'BBB'. Banco General's (BG) ratings reflect its strong local franchise, market share, strengthened competitive position, consistent strategy, dependable performance, good portfolio quality and sufficient capital. They also factor in the worsening economic scenario and the increasingly competitive landscape. A long-standing dollarized economy, Panama lacks a central bank or lender of last resort. Banco Nacional de Panama, the largest state controlled bank, could only provide temporary liquidity loans - if needed. In Fitch's opinion, external support for BG, although possible, cannot be relied upon. (more)
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With U.S. economy stuck, economists look abroad

Money MattersBy Jack Chang, McClatchy Newspapers WASHINGTON — As U.S. consumers stop spending and investors keep their money to themselves, government and business leaders hoping to get the country's ailing economy moving again are playing one of their few remaining cards. They're trying to sell more U.S. goods overseas despite the decline of both global demand and U.S. competitiveness. Exports currently make up about 13 percent of the country's total economic activity, far less than the 70 percent taken up by production for domestic consumption. But that's where economic growth can still happen, analysts say, especially as the domestic housing and credit crises promise to freeze spending at home for at least another year. Economists and business leaders suggest the incoming Obama administration implement export-friendly measures such as streamlining U.S. customs operations, negotiating more free trade agreements and developing industries such as alternative energy that can become the next generation of U.S. economic powerhouses. (more)
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Panamanian writer Rodriguez Velez dies

Books & ReadingPANAMA CITY, Panama (UPI) -- Noted Panamanian writer and journalist Mario Augusto Rodriguez Velez has died of a heart ailment at age 92, colleagues said Sunday. The Panamanian Writers Association said Rodriguez Velez died Saturday at a Panama City hospital, the Latin American Herald Tribune reported. A journalist, essayist, dramatist, poet and storyteller, Rodriguez Velez was the oldest active writer in the Central American nation, said his grandson, author Jose Luis Rodriguez Pitti. He was awarded the Order of Omar Torrijos Herrera, Great Cross grade, by Panamanian President Martin Torrijos last year in recognition of his support for communications and Panamanian culture and history. From 1932 to 1989 he worked in a variety of positions, from correspondent to chief editor and director at a number of newspapers and magazines, including Mundo Grafico, La Hora, Prensa Libre, El Dia, El Panama America, Prensa, Matutino and La Republica, Preludios, Urraca, Siete, Educacion, Loteria, Mas and Semana. He also authored several story collections, starting with "Campo Adentro" in 1947.
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Martinelli Keeps Gaining in Panama

Politics (Angus Reid Global Monitor) - Ricardo Martinelli remains ahead in Panama’s presidential race, according to a poll by Dichter & Neira released by TVN Noticias. 44.3 per cent of respondents would support the candidate of the opposition Democratic Change (CD) in this year’s ballot, up three points since November. Balbina Herrera of the governing Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD) is second with 31.3 per cent, followed by Juan Carlos Varela of the Panameñista Party (PPA) with 14.1 per cent, and former president Guillermo Endara of the Moral Vanguard of the Homeland (VMP) with 2.5 per cent. PRD member Martín Torrijos—the son of Omar Torrijos, an army general who ruled Panama from 1968 to 1981—won the May 2004 presidential election with 47.44 per cent of the vote. His tenure included an ambitious plan to expand the Panama Canal with an investment of $5.25 billion U.S. In October 2006, the proposal was ratified in a nationwide referendum. Martinelli, the owner of a major supermarket chain, portrays himself as a political outsider. Herrera served as housing minister in the current government. On Jan. 9, Varela discussed his campaign, saying, "I do not intend to waste millions in advertising to attack my political adversaries with lies. We should all think about what’s best for the country." The presidential election in Panama is scheduled for May 3.
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Local woman ambassador, works for good of U,S,, Panama

Expat Tales By April Simpson for Ocala.com - During her 1976 valedictory speech at Wildwood High School, Barbara Stephenson quoted a passage from "Walden Pond" by Henry David Thoreau: "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." Stephenson, a Wildwood native, had not imagined that her drummer would lead her to a job in the Foreign Service, or to postings in Ireland, South Africa and Curacao. She had not considered such a path until a comparative politics professor at the University of Florida suggested it. But this past summer, Stephenson earned her highest calling yet when President George W. Bush appointed her ambassador to Panama. "She was a small-town girl, until she got into the big time," said Jane Clause, Stephenson's former high school guidance counselor. (more)
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Panama Faces Drop in Banana Exports

Panama News Inside Costa Rica - Panama - Panama faces a possible drop of around 20 percent in its banana exports due to the lack of financing, plagues and climate adversities. According to industry stats published by the local media, from January thru November, 2008, foreign sales of the fruit reached 17 million 689 thousand boxes. That represented a reduction of 2.7 million boxes compared to the same period of 2007. Revenues from the sales amounted to 92.8 million dollars, a setback of nearly nine million dollars. Producers consider the situation could be still worse in the short term, taking into account the effects from November floods in the provinces of Bocas del Toro and Chiriqui. As a result of the severe rains brought by a cold front in that month, dozens of acres of banana plantations were damaged.
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