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Tuesday, September 02 2014 @ 12:40 PM EDT

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PRD Reigns in Panama

PoliticsPanama, May 5 (Prensa Latina) Governing PRD (Democratic Revolutionary Party, centre-left political party of Panama) was the one with most potential impact on enrollments in the country after a massive process of registration, leaders of the organization confirmed Monday. This event took place on Sunday all around the nation and PRD managed to obtain 55,000 people, according to a preliminary report the number of affiliates nears 650,000. That amount exceeds the number of people registered in the five parties of opposition, which amount to 590,000 members, according to La Prensa paper. PRD Secretary General and President of the Republic Martin Torrijos announced Sunday night the reports of zones of difficult access are not included yet, thus the number will have a slight increase. PRD had enrolled 588,362 people until March 31.
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Fire Destroys Eight Warehouses in Colon Free Trade Zone

Panama NewsBy Crisly Florez for La Prensa - A fire has consumed eight warehouses owned by several companies in the Colon Free Trade zone, leaving one fireman injured. The fireman was hurt when he fell while trying to fight the fire, resulting in some burns and fractures. The fire began in the morning hours but could not be put out easily due to a lack of water pressure; employees from IDAAN have arrived to lend the appropriate support. In addition representatives from the electrical company arrived to cut power to the building. Among the companies affected are Elbros, Abdalá and New Port.
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Eight Belles' trainer takes issue with PETA's call for Saez suspension

Animals & Pets ESPN.com - The trainer of euthanized filly Eight Belles said Monday his jockey handled the horse properly during her second-place finish at the Kentucky Derby. Trainer Larry Jones said from Lexington that if the Derby were run again tomorrow, he'd put jockey Gabriel Saez right back on one of his horses. Filly Eight Belles broke both front ankles after the wire in the Kentucky Derby. She was euthanized on the track while Big Brown's victory was celebrated. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has called for the suspension of Saez, saying the horse must have been injured during the race and he should have pulled her up rather than finish. But Jones said Saez acted exactly as he should have. Saez started whipping the horse to prevent her from running into the rail, Jones said. Saez was riding Eight Belles when she broke both front ankles while galloping out a quarter of a mile past the wire. She was euthanized on the track.
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Fist sized bats louder than loudest rock concerts

Animals & Pets New Kerala.com - London, May 5 : Fist sized bats emit much louder sounds than the noisiest rock concerts anywhere, according to a new study. Using microphone arrays and photographic methods, researchers found that bats emit ear shattering sounds exceeding 140 deciBels (dB) at 10 cm from the source, far louder than the 115-120 dB produced by a rock concert, reports Sciencedaily. This is the first comparative field study of bat echo-location sounds, illustrating the value of an interdisciplinary approach combining bat biology, ecology, behavioural biology and acoustics. Annemarie Surlykke of Institute of Biology, SDU, Denmark, and her colleague Elisabeth Kalko from the University of Ulm, Germany, studied the echolocation behaviour in 11 species of insect-eating tropical bats in Panama. The findings have been reported in PLoS ONE.
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Iberia Adds Flights To Guatemala and Panama

Cars & Transportation The FINANCIAL -- Iberia is strengthening its presence in Guatemala and Panama. Today, May 5th, it is launching a fourth weekly flight from Madrid to the capital cities of the two Central American nations. The flights depart from Madrid at 12:30 h. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Timetables facilitate connections with another 34 Spanish cities, Iberia’s 41 European destinations, and 10 cities in Africa and the Middle East. The aircraft used on the route will be Airbus A-340s, both the 260-seat 300 and the 352-seat 600 model, equipped with Iberia’s lavish Business Plus class, with more room, more comfort, and a gourmet meal service deigned by the renowned chef Sergi Arola, Business Plus passengers also get free VIP parking at the airports of Madrid, Barcelona or Valencia for seven days, special check-in facilities, and use of the fully equipped Velázquez VIP lounge at Terminal 4 at Madrid-Barajas, among many other advantages. The fourth weekly flight was added to meet demand which has grown steadily since the route was launched in October 2004. Leader in Central America - This fourth flight to Guatemala and Panama strengthens Iberia’s leadership position in the Central American market, which it has served uninterruptedly since 1971. Iberia also operates direct daily flights to Costa Rica, and connections to El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua under code sharing with local airlines. In 2007, Iberia carried 253,000 passengers to Central America, with an average cabin occupancy rate of 89.5%. In 2008, it expects to carry some 315,000 people, which would represent an 11% increase.
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Massive Corruption Case in the Panamanian Consulate in New York

Corruption By Rubén Polanco for El Siglo - From 1999 to June of 2006, the Consulate of Panama in New York was an organization susceptible to irregular handling of public funds. This, according to an audit conducted by the Comptroller of Panama covering the above period, which leaves clear the incorrect charging for consular proceedings with nonofficial receipts, additional money that was not reported, one official who was being paid two salaries, and even others who were paid a salary without reporting to work. The official audit was able to document a total of $442,118.98 in public funds that's missing. Employees from the previous administration of Mireya Moscoso as well as those of the current administration of Martin Torrijos are involved in the irregularities. (more)
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Torrijos Will Announce Cabinet Changes Today

PoliticsBy Osiris Jurado Avila for La Estrella de Panama - Panama's President Martín Torrijos will announce changes to his Executive Cabinet today after having kept everyone in suspense for a month. Information has begun to filter out on the probable changes. You can expect the resignation of the Minister of Education Belgis Castro and his Vice Minister Sonia de Smith, Housing Minister Balbina Herrera and her Vice Minister Doris Zapata, as well as the Director of the National Civil Protection System Roberto "Bobby"Velásquez Abood who is running for the position of Mayor of Panama City. Those who figure among the most likely to be tapped are businessman and President of the National Council of Private Enterprise (CONEP) Severo Sousa and the former Rector of the Technological University of Panama (UTP) Salvador Rodríguez. President Torrijos had given members of this cabinet until 30 April 2008 to resign if they intended to run for positions in the next national elections. There could also be a changed in the Ministry of Foreign Relations. Samuel Lewis Navarro could start his campaign to run as a candidate in the PRD primaries in the coming days. In fact, the chancellor, as part of this functions as the coordinator for the Ministry of Education, met this weekend in Azuero with farmers, unusual work work for a Chancellor. Also the former Minster of Agricultural Development Laurentino Cortizo will announce as a presidential candidate.
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Panama's Largest Political Party - PRD Now Has More Than 640,000 Members

Politics La Critica - The largest political party in Panama, the "Partido Revolucionario Democrático" (PRD) which is currently running the country, is now even larger. After a national campaign to sign up new members, the Secretary General of the party Panamanian President Martin Torrijos announced that an additional 55,000 people joined their ranks, increasing the total number of party members to more than 640,000. The PRD will hold their party primary elections in August 2008 in preparation for the next national elections in May 2009. (Photo Credit: Jorge Silot)
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Pedro Miguel Gonzalez Will Not Seek Reelection

Politics By Fermín Estribí for the Panama America - The President of the National Assembly Pedro Miguel Gonzalez formally announced he will not seek reelection to the position he currently holds. Without expounding on the details of his decision, González emphasized his decision is final and will take effect on 1 September 2008 when the next legislative session begins. Gonzalez added "he thinks it necessary for the National Executive Committee (of the PRD) to evaluate the possibility of advancing the election to select his replacement to the end of June or early July" due to the situation. The politician informed Panama's President Martin Torrijos of his decision through a letter that was distributed to the press. The announcement coincides with a trip Martin Torrijos is taking to meet with US President George Bush to discuss subjects of mutual interest. Among the subjects that will probably be discussed in the meeting is the bilateral Free Trade Agreement that has not been ratified by the US Congress due to the presence of González as the President of the National Assembly. The US considers González to be a fugitive from justice in the terrorist assassination of US Army Soldier Zak Hernandez in 1992. On his trip to the United States scheduled for 6 May 2008 Martin Torrijos will be accompanied by Chancellor Samuel Lewis Navarro as well as the Minister of Commerce and Industry Carmen Gisela Vergara.
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No Wonder IDAAN is Screwed Up ... 75% Loss Rates

Infrastructure Upgrades

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - In watching the newly reformatted "Debate Abierto" on Channel 4 this morning, they had on an all-star board of five of the candidates who want to be the next President of Panama. Among them, Panama City Mayor Juan Carlos Navarro pointed out that "of ever 100 gallons of water produced by the water purification plants, only half of that is delivered to customers. The rest is lost in leaks and broken pipes. Of the water that is actually delivered, they only actually get paid for 25% of the total produced." Man, I love it when politicians throw around numbers... (more)

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Fire Still Buring at Cerro Patacón Landfill in Panama City

Panama News By Urania Cecilia Molina for La Prensa - Although Abraham Goti of the Municipal Direction of Urban and Domiciliary Cleanliness of the Municipality of Panama (Dimaud) said yesterday that the fire causing smoke at the Cerro Patacón dump had been controlled, this newspaper can confirm that dense smoke continues to come from this sector. "As of dawn on Monday morning you should not smell smoke or bad odors," said Gotti. Meanwhile, residents in Rio Abajo such as María del Carmen Tovio, said she has not been able to sleep for two days. The Ministry of Health (Minsa) said those being affected by smoke are not asking for medical attention. Health Minister Rosario Turner said that the Direction of the Environment of the MINSA have started an investigation into the situation. Juan De Arco, of the Fire Department's Office of Security said yesterday that they have not found indications that the fire was intentionally started. The smoke produces problems in the sinuses, reddening of the eyes, cough and sneezing. The fire started on the morning of 30 April 2008 at Cerro Patacón. By that evening the smoke had invaded Panama City. (Photo Credit: La Prensa/Víctor Arosemena)
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Panama Sees New World Record in Trans-Isthmian Motorized Para-Glider Flight

Panama News La Estrella de Panama - The Panama Canal was witness of a new world flight record in a "Flight for Life." Eight professional pilots flew across the Isthmus of Panama in motorized para-gliders. They shattered a world record for time aloft in a para-glider with a three hour flight time (the previous record was 35 minutes.) They flew an 80 kilometer route, from Colon to Farfán.
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Filly’s injury, euthanasia mar Derby (Jockey from Panama)

Sports Section By Mike Jensen for the Philadelphia Inquirer - LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The jockey of Eight Belles said he felt his horse start to "gallop funny" yesterday after getting past the wire in the Kentucky Derby. "I tried to pull her up, but she went down," Gabriel Saez, a 20-year-old from Panama, said just outside the jockeys' room at Churchill Downs. A filly based at Delaware Park, Eight Belles had just finished second, 43/4 lengths behind the favorite, Big Brown, in this country's biggest horse race. Galloping out a good quarter-mile after it was over - part of the normal throttling-down after every horse race - Eight Belles went down because she had suffered fractures in both front legs. A bone had broken through the skin on her left leg. (more)
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Commentary on Roberto Duran

Sports Section By Anthony Coleman for eastsideboxing.com - I’ve been watching Boxing all of my life and for the last six years, it has probably been my favorite sport, and in that time, I’ve come to immerse myself in the history of this great sport. As a result, I’ve amassed a lot of knowledge which challenged or changed what I thought I knew about Boxing. I learned that Boxing doesn’t begin and end with Muhammad Ali, no matter how many times ESPN will try to convince you otherwise. I learned of the greatness of Henry Armstrong, the man responsible for the sport’s greatest achievement: Holding three world titles, in three different weight classes at the same time. But the most surprising thing that I discovered during my research was the deep reverence of one boxer: Roberto Duran. (more)
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Rafael Arosemena Requests Habeas Corpus

Law & Lawyers La Critica - Although the director of the Penitentiary System, Luis Gordón warned that this week the former general manager of the Banco Nacional de Panama, Rafael Arosemena, could return to the El Renacer prison, his lawyers presented a request for Habeas Corpus before the Panamanian Supreme Court of Justice. Gordón said based on the opinion issued by the Institute of Legal Medicine, the Technical Board of the Penitentiary System decided to revoke the house arrest provision granted 13 months ago to the 75 year-old banker. Arosemena's lawyers can appeal the decision to the Minister of Government and Justice Daniel Delgado Diamante. The request for Habeas Corpus in favor of Arosemena will go before the President of the Supreme Court, Harley James Mitchell. The banker has eight convictions for fraud in cases involving a total of more than $14 million dollars. Rafael Arosemena remained in hiding in Mexico for 16 years, but returned to Panama in December of 2006.
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Seafood Market Closed Monday for Cleaning

Food & Drink Panama America - The municipal Seafood Market in Panama City will be closed this Monday, 5 May 2008, for cleaning. The work will start at 6:00 am and will continue until 6:00 pm, and during that time the seafood market will be closed to the public. The dates for these cleanings were decided during a meeting held between the administration of the market, the vendors, and the municipal office of Health.
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Funds Approved to Move Immigration to New Offices

Immigration IssuesBy José González Pinilla for La Prensa - The National Economic Council (CENA) approved yesterday $7.1 million dollars for the Ministry of Government and Justice to help pay for the the refurbishing of the new building that will house the National Direction of Immigration, as well as moving costs, furniture, and technological upgrades. The new office will be located on Ricardo J. Alfaro according to a press release. It is estimated the move will occur before August 2008, when the Law (Decree) Number 3 of 22 February 2008 which creates the New National Immigration Service takes effect. The government purchased the four story building for $8.2 million dollars.
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How to Ride a Diablo Rojo (Public Transportation System)

Cars & Transportation

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - In Panama the public transportation system is based primarily on recycled school buses from the United States. By law those buses can only serve for so many years before they have to be retired, and many of them end up in service on the streets of Panama (where they are driven until the wheels fall off.) They don't have air conditioning, a major drawback in a hot tropical country where the temperatures average around 90 degrees during the day with 60% humidity or more. But, they are cheap and efficient and you can use them to get around the city. A video of a ride on a Diablo Rojo follows. (more)

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Another Home Invasion Robbery - This Time in Chiriquí

Crime & Punishment

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - I just received word today of another home invasion robbery of an American expat living in Chiriquí. The assault and robbery actually occurred about three weeks ago but the victim is basically a private person and did not want the details of his experience known to the general public. Now, three weeks after the original assault the victim was returned to the hospital where he had to undergo emergency surgery to relieve swelling in the brain, resulting from the trauma of the beating he took during the robbery. The details of this assault were given to me as follows, and I'm going to edit out the identifying information to protect the privacy and identity of the victim. And as usual, I'm publishing this so that the rest of the members of the community can know what's going on, and to encourage you all to take increased safety and security measures at home. (more)

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Mariano Rivera Now Has 8 Saves Thus Far in 2008

Sports Section

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - The Yankees future hall of fame star relief pitcher, Panamanian Mariano "Sandman" Rivera, picked up his 8th save (451 career) yesterday in the Yankee's game vs. the Seattle Mariners. In eleven games Mariano has pitched 12 innings, has given up just four hits and no runs, preserving his 0.00 ERA. Mariano still needs 27 more to tie Lee Smith on the 2nd all time career saves list at 478. Trevor Hoffman, who is 40 years old and still throwing for the San Diego Padres, leads the all-time list with 529 total and has 5 saves so far in 2008. Mariano trails Hoffman right now by 78.

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 Open the Books for Upcoming Party Primary Elections

Politics By Ereida Prieto Barreiro for the Panama America - The Elections Committee of the Panameñista Party announced they will open the books party members to officially register as candidates starting on Monday, 5 May 2008, at their headquarters on Ave. Peru. Anyone interested in running in the primary elections for the different positions must present a certificate and a sworn declaration of their residence before Saturday, 10 May 2008. Also, the committee established a period of two days to allow for any possible challenges to the qualifications of the candidates, as established in the electoral code. The primary elections of the Panameñista party will be held on 6 July 2008, and for that primary election the party will establish more than 1,000 voting tables in the 620 different counties throughout the country. The candidates will be listed on the ballots alphabetically by their last names.
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Bush Asks Congress to Approve Pending Free Trade Agreement Deals

Panama News White House - House leaders recently changed the previously agreed to House rules in order to put off a vote on the U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement. If this decision stands, it will kill the agreement and hurt American business and workers. By obstructing this agreement, Congress is signaling to countries in the hemisphere and around the world that the United States cannot be trusted to support its allies. The U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement will level the playing field for U.S. companies that export to Colombia. Over 90 percent of imports from Colombia enter our country duty-free, but the 9,000 American businesses that export to Colombia – including 8,000 small and mid-sized firms – face tariffs up to 35 percent on their non-agriculture products. Colombian tariffs on many U.S. agricultural products can be even higher. (more)
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Former Banco Nacional Director Rafael Arosemena Going Back To Prison

Corruption By William Sala for La Prensa - One year after having been conditionally released from prison to house arrest for health concerns, the former manager of the Panamanian "Banco Nacional" Rafael Arosemena will be returning to the El Renacer prison. This report was confirmed yesterday by Luis Gordon, the Director of the National Penitentiary System, who received a report from the Technical Board of that penitentiary. Gordon said the Board believes that Arosemena's condition of health allows him to return to the prison that he left on 5 April 2007 after having spent only 76 days incarcerated. Arosemena returned to Panama after having spent 16 years in hiding in Mexico. But last night defense lawyers for Arosemena tried to keep their client from being transferred back to prison, and sent a note "To Whom It May Concern" from Dr. Temístocles Díaz which warns that Arosemena - who has had a heart operation - suffers from "persistent asthma," which "places him at a greater risk of pneumonia lobar that could be mortal." Arosemena faces sentences in eight legal cases for having diverted as much as $14 million dollars of state funds.
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Biologists turn to captivity to try to save Panama's golden frog from deadly fungus

Animals & Pets The Associated Press - EL VALLE DE ANTON, Panama: The golden frog is a symbol of Panama — revered by indigenous cultures in the past and the lucky emblem on lottery tickets today. Now threatened by a lethal fungus that has killed other species, the national treasure may be facing life in captivity. A pair of biologists have decided that plucking the frogs from the cloud forests and putting them in quarantine is the only way to save them. Their goal is to eventually return the frogs to the wild, but these scientists cannot predict if or when the fungus will disappear. "It's sad to seem them in tanks," said Heidi Ross, 31, of Park Falls, Wisconsin. "They're so perfect. They're like our children." (more)
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Obituary: Doug Hayward - The Inspiration for "The Tailor of Panama"

EntertainmentBy Veronica Horwell for The Guardian - Doug Hayward's distinctive sense of style came out of his working-class childhood, a world where men like his dad, who had laboured all week in mucky boiler suits, went out of a Friday night scrubbed, shining and metamorphosed by their best - their only - suits, pressed to perfection. He shared the satisfaction of the better persona that a man puts on with proper tailoring, and for almost 50 years, until his death at the age of 73, he suited blokes like himself, only with more money - movie stars and footballers and snappers and hacks and even Americans. He upheld the centuries old British tradition in which male style ascends, and transcends, classes. (more)
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Alarm Over FARC Kidnapping

Crime & Punishment By Irlanda Sotillo e Hilda Bernal for La Estrella de Panama - The news was surprising. It was known that the "Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia" (FARC) operated in Panama, but a news report from the American ABC News put the country on alert. At issue is the case of Cuban-American businessman Cecilio Juan Padrón who was kidnapped in Costa del Este. Authorities of the government of the United States confirmed to this newspaper that Padrón is being held by the FARC. The FBI and authorities in Bogota are investigating the kidnapping. This crime not only aggravates the atmosphere of insecurity in the nation, but it can also cause a negative impact and scare away investors. Analyst Renato Pereira said "Panama has become a market for kidnapping, and this can cause a negative impact among investors." Sociologist Raúl Leis said he did not know much about the case, but added that because Panama is an open country for business, it becomes an "area of influence to break the law, not only by the FARC but also by drug traffickers on both borders." The information also caused restlessness in the business sector. The President of the National Council of Private Companies (CONEP) Severo Sousa was surprised, "it is worrisome to see how this type of kidnapping is intensifying." He urged the Embassy of the United States to help if they have proof. Retired General Rubén Darío Paredes was more cautious, he thinks it would be better to wait for the DIJ to confirm if the FARC was involved.
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Panama Has no Army; Give it Military Cash, Anyway

Panama Newsblog.wired.com - By Noah Shachtman - Panama has no military forces, strictly speaking. So, why, you might ask, is the Pentagon insisting on giving the Central American country cash to train its "troops?" Funny, Congress was wondering the exact same thing. In an April 23 missive to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Inside the Pentagon reports, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton and the panel’s ranking Republican, Rep. Duncan Hunter, said they wouldn't approve for the Panama proposal. “Congress explicitly provided this authority to train and/or equip the military forces of partner nations,” states the letter, which Inside the Pentagon reviewed. “We are told the purpose of this specific program is to provide support to the Panamanian National Maritime Service. However, we note that Panama has no military forces, per that nation’s constitution, and therefore do not believe that this program meets the intent of the law.” "In October 1994,' the CIA's World Factbook notes, "Panama's Legislative Assembly approved a constitutional amendment prohibiting the creation of a standing military force, but allowing the temporary establishment of special police units to counter acts of 'external aggression.'" While you consider this conundrum, enjoy a little Van Halen. I know, I know. 1984 is no Diver Down. But this song, at least, still rocks. (Shredding: DD)
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Panama to conduct underwater survey to trace missing ship

Panama NewsBy P. Manoj for livemint.com - Bangalore: A Panama-flagged cargo ship MV Rezzak, that went missing in the Black Sea on 18 February with 25 Indian sailors on board, misjudged the stormy seas, India’s maritime regulator has found. The ship “underestimated the prevailing stormy weather and sea conditions for safe navigation” when it sailed from Novorossysk port in Russia on 17 February, carrying steel billets to Bartin Limani port in Turkey, the provisional investigation report of the directorate general of shipping has said. Maritime authorities of India, Turkey, Russia and Panama have so far failed to trace the missing ship and its Indian crew. Turkish maritime authorities called off search and rescue for Rezzak’s crew a week later. Panama may conduct an underwater survey. (more)
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Cuba: Ambassador Defends Strengthening of Angola-Panama Cooperation

Panama NewsHavana – Angolan ambassador to Cuba, António Condesse de Carvalho “Toka” Wednesday expressed the desire to boost the relations with Panama. The diplomat, who showed the referred desire during a meeting with ambassadors accredited in Cuba, highlighted the need of both countries to work together in favor of world stability. António Condesse de Carvalho stressed that war is not an option to solve the conflicts among nations, therefore the need for countries to give privilege to the defense of stability. Climatic changes and its effects and the global problems that affect the humanity, in general, were the topics discussed by ambassadors accredited in Cuba, at a meeting held last April 30 in Havana. The meeting, held in a friendly and fraternal climate was witnessed by Panama`s first vice President and minister of Foreign Affairs, Samuel Lewis Navarro, and by that country’s minister of Trade and Industries, Carmen Gisela Vergara. Other official accompanying the President of Panama, Martín Torrijos Espino, in his official visit to Havana at the invitation of the Cuban President, Raúl Castro Ruz also attended the meeting, as well as the ambassadors of Angola, Burkina Faso, Guinea Conakry, Benin, Hungary, Serbia and Cambodia, among others.
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Correction - Only 40 Months on Bus Sentence

Crime & Punishment

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - (Source: Judicial Press Release) Judge Rolando Quezada Vallespi of Panama's First Criminal Circuit Court found bus owner Ariel Ortega Justavino and his brother, the driver of bus B-06 Prospero Ortega Justavino criminally responsible and sentenced them each to a primary penalty of 40 months in prison, with additional provisions to keep them from driving a motor vehicle, which expires at the same time as the primary prison sentence. Ariel Ortega, the owner of the bus, was sentenced as the author of the crime and Próspero Ortega, the driver of the bus, was sentenced as an accomplice; they are both being held as responsible for the crime of manslaughter and damages to the occupants of bus number 8-B-06, which caught fire on 26 October 2006 in the sector of La Cresta were 18 people burned to death. The judge decided that the windows of the bus were blocked and would not allow for a person to escape in an emergency. Both were sentenced to 48 months, which was reduced by 1/6th (8 months reduced) because they asked for and received and abbreviated process.

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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