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Thursday, April 24 2014 @ 04:54 AM EDT

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'Missing' canoeist pleads guilty

Expat Tales Sydney Morning Herald - Back-from-the-dead canoeist John Darwin has appeared in court to admit a charge of deception. Fifty-seven-year-old Darwin and his wife, 55-year-old Anne, have been accused of a string of fraud charges totaling more than $540,000. The couple have made their first crown court appearance in Leeds for a plea and directions hearing. Darwin disappeared after taking his canoe into the sea near his home in Seaton Carew in Hartlepool in March 2002. He turned up at a London police station in December last year claiming he'd lost his memory, but it turned out he'd been with his wife in Panama City most of the time. A photograph emerged apparently showing the couple in Panama with a property agent. Darwin has pleaded guilty to seven charges of obtaining cash by deception and a passport offense, but denied nine other charges of using criminal property. His wife denied six deception charges and nine of using criminal property.
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Altidore In Doubt For Panama

Sports Section Soccer365.com - After being pulled at halftime of their 1-1 draw to open Olympic qualifying, U.S. Under-23 strike ace Josmer Altidore's availability for Thursday's match with Panama is in question. "Jozy got knocked a couple times," U-23 coach Piotr Nowak told reporters after the game. "We did talk to our doctors, and talked to Jozy." "There's some precautionary stuff as we have another two games," he added. "Hopefully, he'll be ready for Thursday."
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Panama geisha coffee to get its own online auction

Food & Drink By Brian Harris for REUTERS - BOQUETE, Panama – Panama's Hacienda La Esmeralda gourmet “geisha” coffee, which has broken world price records in online coffee auctions, is now so sought after that the farm is planning its own Internet auction this year. In a bold step never before attempted by a single estate, the farm in the cool highlands above Panama's western town of Boquete will put its entire crop up for bidding in a private auction, farm administrator Daniel Peterson said. “We are going to auction all of the geisha together. This is the fairest form of exchange,” Peterson told Reuters in the warehouse storing this year's harvest, just 200 60-kg bags. (more)
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Book Review - "Panama Fever" by Matthew Parker

Books & Reading Reviewed by Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times - Most Americans' knowledge of the Panama Canal was acquired in a haze of junior high school history -- somewhere alongside "trust busting" and the "bully pulpit" in the unit on Teddy Roosevelt and turn-of-the-century American confidence. There was a spasm of interest in the canal 31 years ago, when the United States agreed to turn it -- along with the surrounding territory -- over to Panama, and also a flicker of notice in 1999 when the actual handover occurred. Beyond that, it's been pretty much out of sight, out of mind -- except on the political fringes, where some have tried to argue that Sen. John McCain's birth in the Canal Zone disqualifies him from seeking the presidency. (more)
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On the Radio with Bob and Paul - 98.9 Ultra Stereo

Crime & Punishment

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - This afternoon I did the 5:00 - 6:30 pm radio show with Bob Stiff and Paul May on 98.9 Ultra Stereo FM in Panama City. The general topic of discussion was "crime in Panama." The format was a sort of talk radio with live callers discussing the subject matter and relating their individual stories. Surprisingly, about half of the callers were Panamanians. One woman caller works for a prosecutor in the the Public Ministry - and she talked about how they work hard but have limited resources. The discussion sort of morphed from crime in general to the criminal justice system overall, including the courts and prisons. Whatever, it was fun and interesting. Thanks for having me on, guys.

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 Canal Seriously Backed Up ($hips Waiting to Pass Through)

Canal Daily Operation

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - More than 100 ships are waiting in the anchorages of the Panama Canal in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, waiting for a turn to pass through the "big ditch," Panama-Guide.com has learned. Some ships have been waiting for more than eight days and delays can significantly increase shipping costs. Regularly scheduled maintenance and repair work on the Panama Canal can often create backups and delays but there have been no major lane outages recently. The most recent Monthly Canal Operations Summary (February 2008) shows that the next significant lane outage is not scheduled until August of 2008. (more)

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Complaint Questions McCain Citizenship

Politics By MICHAEL R. BLOOD – LOS ANGELES (AP) — John McCain has been called an American hero. But is he a natural born citizen? A federal judge in California has been asked to determine if the Republican presidential candidate, who was born in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936, meets the legal test to qualify for the nation's highest office. The Constitution requires that only "natural born" citizens hold the presidency, a term on which the Founding Fathers did not elaborate. McCain has said there is no question about his eligibility, an assessment echoed by former Solicitor General Ted Olson, who is examining the issue for the campaign. It was also researched for his first presidential bid in 2000. (more)
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"Jugamos Como Nunca y Perdimos Como Siempre"

Sports Section

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Another Panamanian expression in Spanish - "Jugaron como nunca para perder como siempre." (They played like never before to lose as they always do.) This morning Panamanians are awakening to the news the national soccer team lost 0-1 against Honduras last night in a qualification game for the Beijing Summer Olympics. Eight teams are playing through two groups - six will be eliminated and two will advance to the Olympics. Panama is in a four team group that includes the United States, Cuba, and Honduras. This Spanish expression is often heard in Panama, used in desperation after watching a sports team play their hearts out only to lose in the end of the game. And, it's usually said as a joke in an attempt to lessen the desperation. In the game vs. Honduras the opposition scored in the last two minutes of the game, and then Panama had a free kick hit the crossbar that would have tied the game. So now Panama is in last place in their group. The US and Cuba played last night and tied.

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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Thomas leads Honduras to 1-0 over Panama in first round of Olympic qualifying

Sports Section The Canadian Press - TAMPA, Fla. — Hendry Thomas scored in the 90th minute to lead Honduras to a 1-0 win over Panama in the first round of Group A play in the 2008 CONCACAF Men's Olympic Qualifier Tuesday. Left unmarked 10 yards in front of the goal, Thomas took a pass from Oscar Morales, turned and fired with his right foot into the left side of the net. Not long after his score, Panama nearly tied it. But in stoppage time, a free kick from 25 yards out by Nelson Barahona hit the crossbar. Gabriel Torres attempted to knock in the rebound, but his shot was punched over the net by Honduras keeper Kevin Hernandez to preserve the lead. (more)
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MOFA seeks repatriation of prisoner in Panama

Crime & PunishmentTaipei Times - A glimmer of hope was brought to a 72-year-old Taiwanese ship captain serving a long prison term for murder after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday it had begun negotiations with Panamanian authorities to repatriate him on humanitarian grounds. "The Panamanian government, in principle, has agreed to repatriate captain Tuan Mu to Taiwan to serve the remainder of his prison term," Department of Central and South American Affairs Director-General Simon Ko (柯森耀) told a news briefing. "The ministry has used diplomatic channels to negotiate with the Panamanian government in the hope that captain Tuan Mu can be sent back to Taiwan as soon as possible," Ko said. (more)
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Chaotic Start to New School Year

Schools & Education

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - For the last two days about half of the news reporting in Panama has been talking about the screwed up state of affairs of the Panamanian public schools. Classes started yesterday and there has been a steady stream of news camera video showing schools in poor condition, broken toilets, bathrooms, roofs falling in, etc. In several schools teachers have gone out on strike to protest the poor conditions. Panama's Minister of Education has been making the rounds, promising fixes and repairs. That's what they say every year. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of dollars (if not millions) have been misappropriated from government funds that are supposed to be going for exactly these repairs. When are they going to start throwing people in jail (I mean, a lot of people) for this never-ending government corruption crap? Hire more investigators - they will pay for themselves with the money they prevent from being stolen.

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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Police Seize 1,572 Kilos of Cocaine in Los Santos

Crime & Punishment By Zenaida Vásquez for La Critica - Police seized 1,572 kilos of cocaine in "Operation High Seas 2" this past Sunday. The seizure occurred near the mouth of the Purio river in the province of Los Santos. Police officers exchanged gunfire with Colombians Jorge Mayorga Flores and Luis Felipe Hurtado, who were traveling in a "go-fast" speedboat loaded down with drugs. They had an AK-47 on board, as well as a full set of sophisticated communication equipment including two satellite telephones. The boat they were in had four 200 horsepower motors.
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Car vs. Motorcycle Accident in Panama City

Cars & Transportation

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - This afternoon I happened to be driving down Via Brazil in El Carmen when I came upon a traffic jam caused by a car vs. motorcycle accident. Apparently the two guys on the motorcycle were turning left and the car broadsided them. The driver took the worst part of the impact, went off the windshield of the car and was thrown about 30 feet down the road. He had an obviously broken right leg as well as other injuries. The passenger on the bike was also seriously injured. Helmets saved their lives. The driver of the car was also hurt. Video follows below. (more)

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"Hillbilly Bandit" Michael Sanders - Not Going Anywhere

Crime & Punishment

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Whew, that was close. Yesterday afternoon immigration officials were coordinating the deportation of the 'hillbilly bandit" Michael Sanders on an immigration rap. Panama had coordinated with the Consulate of the United States to deport Sanders who was in Panama illegally, without a visa or proper documentation. To be clear Panama was deporting Sanders, and the United States was not asking for his extradition. As far as US officials knew there are no charges pending against Sanders in the US. So, if he managed to get on a plane then he would have been able to practically slip away from the one-man crime wave he generated in Panama. This afternoon Panamanian immigration authorities officially and formally canceled their plans to deport Sanders, and rather handed him over to the Auxiliary Prosecutor for further investigation. (more)

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"Hillbilly Bandit" Identified

Crime & Punishment

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - This afternoon the Chief of the Investigation Department of the Panamanian Immigration confirmed they have identified the "Hillbilly Bandit" as Michael Sanders, DOB 30 August 1972, from Indiana. As of early this afternoon the Panamanians were planning on deporting him back to the United States tomorrow (Tuesday) at 2:00 pm. The people victimized by this person here in Panama are scrambling to try to update their criminal complaints against him in order to stop the deportation and to have him prosecuted here in Panama. And, they are hoping to recover some of their assets. (more)

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My "Mexican Stand-Off" with Do-It Center in Panama

Expat Tales

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Back in December I went to the Do-It Center in Multiplaza and spent about $4,500 on a whole set of appliances for our new apartment. Included in that purchase was four Samsung 12,000 BTU split air conditioners. I took delivery and hired a technician to install them. During the installation he discovered that one of the A/C units was defective. I reported this to Do-It Center, who referred me to Samsung. I make a long story short, they took the unit and repaired it, and now they want to give it back. My position is simple - I expected to buy a new air conditioning unit that was in perfect operating condition out of the box - not one that needed repair. Now, they refuse to give me a new one and I refuse to accept the "repaired" unit. (more)

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Cabo to Drill Up to 6,000 Meters for Minera Petaquilla S.A.

Gold & MiningNORTH VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - March 10, 2008) - Cabo Drilling Corp.'s Panama division has entered into a contract with Minera Petaquilla, S.A. to drill a minimum of 6,000 meters on their copper project in the District of Donoso in Colon Province in the Republic of Panama. Minera Petaquilla, S.A. is a Panamanian company that holds the Petaquilla copper concession. Petaquilla Copper Ltd. currently holds a 52% equity interest in Minera Petaquilla, S.A. and Inmet Mining Corps holds the remaining 48% equity interest. Teck Cominco has an option to earn 50% of Petaquilla Copper's interest in Minera Petaquilla, providing Teck Cominco funds all of Petaquilla's share of the cost of bringing the project to production. (more)
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Gourmet demand revives Central America cocoa farms

Panama News By Brian Harris - ALMIRANTE, Panama (Reuters) - Indigenous people grew cocoa here more than 2,000 years ago. Now, their descendants are reviving the crop to meet world demand for high-quality chocolate. Throughout Central America, farmers like Manuel Abrigo are planting cocoa, taking advantage of high world cocoa prices and the premium their cocoa commands. "I sowed cocoa because I saw my neighbor had it and I wanted more income, too," Abrigo, an Ngobe Indian, said in broken Spanish. His hillside farm, near the port of Almirante in western Panama, overlooks a glistening bay where Christopher Columbus dropped anchor in 1502. (more) (Photo Credit: REUTERS/Daniel LeClair)
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Boca volunteer heading to Panama with Peace Corps

Expat TalesBoca Raton News.com - Matthew Ferner, 24, of Boca Raton, left for Panama March 3 to provide indigenous communities with humanitarian assistance as a Peace Corps Response volunteer. Though Panama City features skyscrapers, shopping malls and expensive restaurants, 95 percent of Panamanians who live in that area suffer profound poverty. Of those citizens, 86 percent live in extreme poverty, earning less than $1 per day. Ferner will work with Winrock International to apply information and communication technologies to the development of eco-tourism in two communities in the Panama Canal Watershed. He will act as a liaison between community members and Winrock staff as well as between other organizations in the area, working on technological development. (more)
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Cayman National Bank to Open in Panama

Money MattersCayman Net News - Regulators in Panama has given the green light for Cayman National Bank Ltd to establish a Representative Office in that Central American country, one year after the process started. The green light from the Panamanian authorities came two weeks ago. The Representative Office will serve as a point of introduction to the products and services offered by the other Cayman National subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands and also the Isle of Man. Cayman National will also be in a position to facilitate Caymanian business owners desiring to trade with or invest in Panama and will use its presence in Panama to better leverage this offering, the local financial institution said. (more)
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AES Panama affirmed at 'BBB-' with stable outlook - S&P

Money MattersMUMBAI, Mar. 10, 2008 (Thomson Financial delivered by Newstex) -- Standard & Poor's (NYSE:MHP) Rating Services affirmed its 'BBB-' long-term corporate credit rating on AES Panama SA and the company's 300 mln usd senior notes due 2016. The outlook is stable. 'The rating reflects the company's strong profitability, projected cash-flow stability as a result of the diversified long-term purchase-power agreements signed with the three distribution companies in Panama, the growing prospects for power consumption in Panama, and Panama's attractive and business-oriented regulatory framework that seeks to optimize the system's efficiency,' S&P said. It added that the stable outlook on AES Panama reflects expectations that the company will maintain its long-term sales agreements and adequate margins, providing for relatively stable revenues and cash flow.
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China becomes Panama's third largest export market

Money MattersPANAMA CITY, March 9 (Xinhua) -- China has become the third largest export destination for Panama, whose exports to China soared almost 80 percent last year, the latest official statistics from the Central American country show. China was only the 17th largest export destination for Panama in 2006, but jumped to third place last year after its exports to China grew to 62.9 million U.S. dollars, a 78.6-percent rise over the previous year, media reports said Sunday. China now ranks third in terms of imports from Panama, next only to the United States and the Netherlands, importing mainly scrap iron, coffee and chicken from that country. Bao Esheng, a Chinese trade official, said China's rapid economic growth guarantees the development of trade between the two countries. About 40 percent of Panama's exports go to the United States and some 33 percent end up in Europe. With an economic slowdown in the United States, Panamanian exporters are seeking to explore other markets.
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The Annual Back to School Vehicular Kluster - Phuck

Schools & Education

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Well, I called it. Today is the first day of the new school year in the Republic of Panama, and every year on this there is widespread chaos and pandemonium throughout the land. Parents are forced to break out of their "summertime" routine to get their kids up, dressed, fed, and out the door with their brand new #2's all ready to go. They all hop into the car to drive to school and on the way they run into traffic jams - other parents and kids doing the exact same thing. Many kids ride to school in private school buses and on the first day of school the drivers have to figure out their clients and routes. No one wants to be late so they are in a rush, resulting in a rash of fender-benders. So as predicted right now at 7:20 am on Monday morning gridlock reigns in Panama City. Take your time and relax. Within two or three days the kinks will worked out.

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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Jet Set Elegancia Still Running - Hookers in Obario (Go Figure)

Nightlife, Bars, and Partying

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - It looks like the Jet Set Elegancia Spa in Obarrio is back up and running full speed. They had a run-in with their neighbors a few months ago - there are some very rich and politically powerful people living right next door and I was sure they were going to be shut down. But not so fast - I just checked their website and you can see that "Sol" is available 24/7 (pictured here), advertised as a 21 year-old submissive Russian woman, 34C, Chestnut hair and green eyes, 1.6 meters tall and weighing 125 pounds. Of course, whatever happens in the back room during your 60 minute session for $150 bucks is between you and her. Don't forget your raincoat...

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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Preliminary Results of the PRD National Executive Committee Election

Politics

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - This afternoon the ruling "Partido Revolucionario Democratico" (PRD) (Revolutionary Democratic Party) held an election at the Rod Carew stadium to select their National Executive Committee. They are still out there counting the votes, but Panamanian television is covering the painstakingly slow count vote by vote. Assuming the current trends continue with no significant deviations, the winners are... (more)

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American Killed in Traffic Accident This Afternoon

Expat Tales

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - I just caught the tail end of a news report saying an American was killed in a traffic accident in La Chorrera this afternoon. I did not catch the name of the person who was killed. The person was driving a green SUV and apparently died at the scene of the accident. If you know who this was please let me know. 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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Careening Cay Resort in Bocas del Toro

Hotels Our waterfront paradise, the Careening Cay Resort and Cosmic Crab Café, is located on Isla Carenero in Bocas del Toro. Christopher Columbus repaired his ships here in our bay in 1503 before his last voyage home and named the island based on the Spanish verb "carenar" (to careen) - cause a vessel to lie on its side, as on a beach, in order to repair, clean, or otherwise work on its bottom. The resort is located in over six acres of lush tropical landscaping and over 600 feet of waterfront. Our backyard is verdant rainforest. Because of this location the resort captures the refreshing Caribbean breeze and offers fabulous sunsets. (more)
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Bush Tax Cuts not just for the 'Rich'

Money MattersSo who did benefit from the tax cuts? Which group of taxpayers fill the US Treasury with $s? Who is paying the bills? What’s the bottom line on Federal employment and payrolls? This article will address each of those questions. I’ll separate and deal with the employment figures at the end and explain the tax cut effects first. I know many of you get bleary-eyed at lists of numbers, but there are some interesting things to think about that might help you make an informed choice in the Fall. For those who want the cliff notes version, see the table at our website www.panusatsvc.com (the .txt format to submit to p-g.com doesn’t translate tables very well). (more)
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Is This Our Boy? Michael Sanders on Federal Probation

Crime & Punishment

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - I did a little Internet digging on the name "Michael Sanders," running on the assumption this is the real and actual name of the "Hillbilly Bandit." Now of course, "Michael Sanders" is a relatively common name. But how many people named Michael Sanders are on Federal Probation and potentially involved in a robbery and murder of a armored car driver in Arizona in 1994? Sounding better. If you're interested, check out this link and search for "Michael Sanders." For those of you who don't want to wade through this decision I've boiled it down... (more)

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The "Hillbilly Bandit" Still In Custody in Panama

Crime & Punishment

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - A quick update on the "Mystery Scammer." Officials from the Panamanian National Police searched the room where he was staying in Chitré, hoping to find evidence linking him to several home invasion robberies of foreigners in Panama City. The police finger printed "Hillbilly" on Friday and have sent the prints into Interpol and the FBI in the United States to try to obtain a positive identification. He was transported from Chitré to Panama City under the name of "Michael Sanders" and supposedly law enforcement officials had a passport number associated with this individual. That name, Michael Sanders, has popped up in the past, along with other aliases such as "Jimmy" and "Hillbilly." From October 2006 to at least February 2007 he passed himself off as "David Ursprung" using the stolend identity of another US expat in Panama of the same name. To some at this point he was "Uncle Dave." (more)

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