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Friday, August 22 2014 @ 03:39 PM EDT

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FARC Guerrillas Charged with Drug Trafficking

Crime & Punishment La Prensa - Six guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) were placed in the custody of Panama's Anti Drug Prosecutor yesterday. They were arrested Friday after a confrontation off the Panamanian coast of Jaqué, in the Darién province. Sources related to the case explained investigators found traces of cocaine and explosives in the boat being used by the guerrillas. Panama's President Martin Torrijos said he will not allow Panamanian territory to be used by groups on the margins of the law.
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Killer Bees Kill Man Near Panama's Tocumen Airport

Animals & Pets By Rogelio Adonican for El Estrella - It started as just another normal day of work. Twenty five inmates from La Joya were scheduled to clear an empty lot next to the installations of Panama's National Air Service (SAN) near the Tocumen International Airport. Suddenly the day took a fatal turn. Carlos Antonio Goldburn Lewis was attacked and killed by a swarm of Africanized bees when his machete accidentally struck their hive hidden among the weeds. Goldburn Lewis was stung hundreds or thousands of times and died at the scene. Considered to be a low risk or "trusted" inmate he was participating in a work release program to earn credit for early release. They work every day under the supervision of the prison system. He was imprisioned for robbery and was due to be released in 2009. Eynar Cruz, the Director of the Emergency Room at the Santo Tomas hospital said a total of nine inmates were stung by bees, that five were released and four were hospitalized for observation.
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ACS = "Astonishingly Crappy Service"

Travel & Tourism

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - This came out today - "The American Citizens Services Unit, Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Panama now located in Building 783, Clayton, announces that it will be closed to the public the last Wednesday of each month for administrative work." This is friggin' hilarious. Over the top. The inappropriately named "American Citizens Services" unit is already only open to the public from 8:00 am to 12:00 noon, from Monday through Friday. Now they have removed one more day from their customer service schedule. Rather than recognizing their present level of customer service is marginal as is, they now feel the need to take another whole day off of the schedule every month. (more)

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The power elite playbook...

History & ReferenceBy Deanna Spingola for Renew America - (excerpt) ]Theodore Roosevelt became president after McKinley's assassination. Other presidents had long dreamed of a canal connecting the Atlantic and Pacific. Roosevelt, a pragmatist, felt that a canal was practical, vital and indispensable to the globalist destiny of supremacy over U.S. coastal waters. The globalist goal, even then, was U.S. control of key islands in the Caribbean and the Pacific. [16] Roosevelt was a proponent of a doctrine proposed by U.S. naval officer and scholar Alfred Thayer Mahan (1840-1914), in his 1890 book Influence of Sea Power upon History. The theory was that supremacy at sea was an integral part of commercial and military prowess. Mahan's supremacy mentality also included the Indian Ocean and islands like Diego Garcia which the U.S. currently controls. Mahan said: "whoever attains maritime supremacy in the Indian Ocean (third largest in the world) would be a prominent player on the international scene." [17] (more)
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Panama Economic Expansion Continues

Foreign Direct Investmentfxstreet.com - Panama's construction sector expanded 25 percent last year, spurred by the Panama Canal expansion project and high-rise apartment buildings, said Michael Fernandez, economic director of an industry group. Construction was the fastest growing part of Panama's economy in 2007 and now accounts for 5.3 percent of gross domestic product, said Fernandez, whose Construction Chamber represents the country's biggest builders. ``There is no bubble here,'' Fernandez said, adding Panama is unlikely to experience a real-estate bust similar to the one that's occurring in the U.S. ``The world has discovered Panama and now they are investing.'' Panama's ex-president, Nicolas Ardito-Barletta, said 42 percent of the new luxury apartments built last year were sold to foreigners seeking a second home in Panama.
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Crap - Thought We Had Him...

Crime & Punishment

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - OK, it's unanimous. Yesterday afternoon I got a call from a reader saying "Carl Baker is at the TGI Friday's on the causeway right now." Hoping to get a picture of the guy I headed over there, but on the way I got a second call saying he had left. He splits as soon as he detects someone has seen through his scam. He also hangs around the Via Veneto area to troll for tourists so I hung out there for awhile. Then this tall muscular black guy, wearing camouflage BDU pants and speaking perfect English shows up. He was "helping" a woman tourist from Brazil. In fact this guy is NOT Carl Baker. For all I know he was just helping somebody out not trying to rip them off or run some kind of a scam at all. In any case the - $50 reward for a confirmed photo of Carl Baker still stands. The current description remains good, but he has "some hair" in a short military style cut. His head is not shaved, and has a "pencil-thin" mustache. IN addition Carl Baker is now using the alias "Terry Winner" and his rap about being in the military, having lost his documents in a cab and all of that has not changed a bit. Heads up.

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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Font Problems (Tag Plugin) Gag, hack, furball...

What is PG?

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - If it's not one thing it's another. I just installed a new "tag" plugin, and that program is now gagging (a little) on the fonts. Just please ignore the mess until I get it straightened out. Standard Sunday afternoon hacking and slashing. Don't mind us, this won't hurt a bit...

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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Follow-up on the Mark Boswell (Rex Freeman) "Expose"

Expat Tales

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - I emailed Rex Freeman yesterday, and told him "Please call me now. I have an article on my screen that I’m about to publish. It’s going out if I talk to you or not. Get back to me as soon as humanly possible." Rex replied with the following this morning (published in full, as written, no editing on my part:)

Hi Don, I saw the article. It's old news yes and to understand what it means one has to understand the setting at the time of the arrests. (more)

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Serious Incident at the Bocas del Toro Airport Yesterday

Cars & Transportation

By Teresa Loberg and Don Winner for the Panama-Guide.com - A serious and potentially lethal accident caused panic and pandemonium in the passenger waiting lounge of the Bocas del Toro airport at approximately 3:00 pm yesterday afternoon in the Republic of Panama. Three tourists who were waiting to board their flights from Bocas del Toro to Panama City were injured and taken to the local hospital by ambulance to be treated for cuts caused by flying shards of broken glass and other injuries. The propeller on the right engine of a Seneca II commercial aircraft with Panamanian registration number HP-1552RS struck a fire extinguisher as the pilot began to taxi away from his parking spot in order to depart the airfield. When the propeller struck the fire extinguisher and the cart used to move it around, metal debris was blown through the plate glass window into the waiting area of the passenger terminal, injuring the three tourists. Two tourists were cut by the flying glass and another was injured as he dove for cover as all hell broke loose in the airport terminal. (more) [tag:panama bocas_del_toro accident incident HP-1552RS]

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25 Indians on board Panama vessel feared dead

Panama NewsHindustan Times - Twenty-five Indians on board the Panamanian cargo vessel `MV Rezzak' are feared dead, a top official in Directorate General of Shipping in Mumbai said on Sunday, six days after the ship went missing in the Black Sea. The ship, which lost contact on February 18, is believed to have sank off the coast of Turkey, but a search operation was still on. A life raft had been seen floating in the sea but there were no survivors inside it or near its vicinity. "We are calling up the Turkish authorities. They are searching for survivors, but have not found anyone so far," the official said. "In the inclement cold weather in the Black Sea, a person can be alive only for 30 minutes even after wearing a life jacket." Bad weather there has further added to the woes. "We are in a hopeless situation. In all probability they are dead," the official said. The life raft breaks away from the ship when it starts sinking 10 metres. India plans to send an observer wherever the investigation into the episode takes place, the official said. The vessel, managed by Turkish people and manned by Mumbai-based Pelican marine, was carrying steel billets in bundles from Russia to Turkey. There have been reports about bad working condition inside the 25-year-old ship. However, the DG Shipping official said, "reports are all speculation". However, the official agreed that the 25-year-old ship did not have the "best of condition" to work.
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Panama Authorizes Importation of 13,000 Quintales of Potatoes

Panama News By Gilberto Pérez for La Estrella de Panama - Panama has approved the importation of 13,000 "quintals" of potatoes through the Institute of Agricultural Marketing (IMA) to avoid a shortage in the months of March and April because poor weather has caused a decrease in national production. The decision was made by the Consultative Commission on Onions and Potatoes that met Friday in Natá in the province of Coclé. The potatoes will be imported through an ordinary contingent according to the rules of the World Trade Organization. The potatoes could come from the United States, Holland, or Peru, the countries that are the main potato exporters.
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Panamanian Lawmaker Busted with 50 Kilos of Smack

Crime & Punishment La Critica - This Saturday Panama's First Anti Drug Prosecutor reported the arrest of a Substitute Deputy from the Panameñista political party to Panama's National Assembly, Fausto Misselis González, for the crime of possession of illegal substances. The arrest occurred last Thursday when the politician and three other people with him were surprised with 50 kilos of heroin, eight kilos of cocaine, and an unspecified amount of marijuana. The identity of the people with González has not been released, but official information indicates three people were arrested, two Panamanians and one Colombian. González is a substitute for National Assembly Deputy Enrique Garrido, he is on the Commission for Human Rights, Indigenous Affairs, as well as the Budget Committee, and due to his position he can not be investigated without the authorization of the Panamanian Supreme Court. Ana Matilde Gomez, Panama's Attorney General, has already requested permission to investigate Gonzalez. Gonzalez was arrested in Panama City in an apartment, according to the prosecutor.
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FARC Clash with Panamanian Border Police in the Darien

Panama News By Elio Núñez for El Siglo - Just when people were thinking the security situation in the Darién province had been controlled, a new confrontation between Colombian FARC insurgents and Panamanian police units occurred yesterday. As a result of the confrontation three Colombian guerrillas were wounded, as well as three police officers. One of the Colombians was killed according to early police reports. The exchange of gunfire occurred on the high seas when units of Panama's Border Police went to provide support to another police unit in the area. Preliminary investigations determine that several Colombians were in a boat that seemed to be adrift and were requesting help, saying their motor was damaged. When the National Police units arrived to assess the situation the Colombians tried to steal their boat, resulting in an exchange of gunfire. In this exchange one Panamanian police officer was injured superficially. (more)
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HP-1302 Crashes On Takeoff from Albrook

Cars & Transportation

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - A Piper Seneca small private airplane with registration number HP-1302 crashed shortly after having taken off from the Marcos A Gelabert (Albrook) airfield this morning at about 11:30 am. Aboard were the pilot and a mechanic, and this flight was supposed to be a check out after some maintenance and repair work had been done to the engine. Both survived the crash with minor injuries, mostly to their hands. (Photo Credit: George Trussell and Air Britain)

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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Immigration and Banking Reforms Approved By Cabinet

Immigration Issues By Ereida Prieto-Barreiro for Panama America - The new laws (by executive decree) to reform immigration and banking in Panama were ratified by the Executive Cabinet yesterday. The Second Vice President and Minister of the Presidency, Rubén Arosemena, said the law reforming immigration "will address new currents in immigration policy, since Panama has undergone an important evolution in this aspect". With regards to the banking reforms, the changes will "adapt and adequate Panamanian norms to international standards, through the fortification of the Superintendent of Banking." He also said the cabinet approved the purchase of the purchase of new products for the Ministry of Farming Development (MIDA) to lower the costs of basic food prices. Arosemena also said three loans from the Inter American Development Bank for more than $80 million dollars were approved. The first loan worth $1.6 million dollars is for the Indigenous Enterprise Development Program (PRODEI). Another loan worth $29 million dollars was for the Multiphase Development Program in Bocas del Toro. And the third worth more than $51 million dollars for the Competitiveness and Commercial Opening Program of the public services.
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The Free Trade Agreement Remains on Ice - And Time Is Running Out

Politics By Betty Brannan Jaén for La Prensa - Christopher Padilla, the Undersecretary of Commerce of the United States, said yesterday that although the government of George W. Bush continues to push for the approval of the bilateral Free Trade Agreement between Panama and the United States, "the destiny of that agreement depends on Panama, not on the United States." Time is running out and Panama should not waste it, said Padilla, talking about the possibility of Pedro Miguel González continuing as the President of the Panamanian National Assembly until the end of his term in September, when Washington will be in the final stages of the campaigning for the national elections in November. "In September the Congress will be in session for a few weeks, and then will be in recess until January 2009 when the next congress is sworn in," said Padilla. The political climate is unpredictable after November, he added. Those asked in an opinion poll think González should step down - 53.6% of Panamanians think Pedro Miguel González should resign from his position as the President of the National Assembly. La Prensa ordered the company Dichter & Neira to conduct a survey and the question was asked of 1,200 people between 15 and 17 February 2008. In addition, 51.3% think there has been growing gap between the Executive and Legislative branches of government as a result of the election of González in September of 2007. At his swearing in ceremony González said that if the commercial deal with the United States were put in risk, he would resign from the position.
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As Predicted - Okke Ornstein Goes Back Off The Deep End

Crime & Punishment

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - As predicted Okke Ornstein still can't help himself. Yesterday he published the following about me on his new website - "It's all just people like me," explained Don Wanker, a retired toilet cleaner with the US Air Force and chairman of the new group. "You know, we all lived in this great piece of occupied territory that Carter just gave away to these banana benders. And you know that John McCain, our hero, was born here. So that's why." And now, on Monday morning, I will file yet another criminal complaint against Okke Ornstein for slander and defamation. I think there are already about five or six complaints filed against him by me, Clyde Jenkins, and others. I will also send this to Tom Rowley, Rex Freeman, and everyone else Ornstein wants to write "satire" about. My goal will be to generate at least one criminal complaint against this guy, per day. Now, won't that be fun. Take a number, folks...

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High-Seas Shootout SMN vs. FARC

Crime & Punishment

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Reports are sketchy and details are still coming in, but apparently there was some kind of a shootout on the high seas this afternoon in Panamanian national waters near the Darien. Apparently an unknown number of Colombian men flagged down a Panamanian patrol boat and were saying that their boat was disabled. When the Panamanian vessel approached, the Colombians opened fire, apparently intending to take control of the Panamanian patrol vessel. There was a gunfight which the Panamanian Servicio Maritimo Nacional (SMN) officers basically won. A search of the Colombian vessel indicates the men on board were probably part of the rebel FARC organization. The dead and wounded are being flown back to Panama City right now. More details will be coming later.

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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Mexican Drug Trafficker Escapes from Panamanian Jail

Crime & Punishment Panama America - Porfirio Arévalos Cuevas, a Mexican drug trafficker wanted by the United States, escaped this Friday 22 February from the La Joya jail, according to the Ministry of Government and Justice. The fugitive was part of a drug trafficking network broken up in Chiriquí in late November 2007, and he was about to be turned over to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) next week for extradition. The Director of the Penitentiary System Luis Gordón ordered an investigation to learn how he escaped. Their working theory at this time is that one of the guards at the prison might have facilitated his excape.
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Work On The New Panama-Colon Highway 30% Complete

Infrastructure Upgrades La Prensa - Construction has started on the pilings that will support the new bridge over the Chagres river. A spokesman for the company building the new freeway from Panama to Colon said that although heavy rainfall in the past few days have caused some delays, they continue to advance at a good pace because they are working 24 hours a day with continuous shifts.
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Panamanian Reggaeton Singer Dangerman Assasinated

Crime & Punishment

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Last night someone shot and killed Panamanian Reggaeton artist Dangerman. He was shot at least four times, once in the face and the rest in his upper body - he basically died where he fell. Dangerman was one of the most popular, up and coming Reggaeton artists in Panama, and news of his murder dominated the local media today.

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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SUNTRACS Leader Saul Mendez Just Screwed Up

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - This morning on the Telemetro 13 news program SUNTRACS leader Saul Mendez challenged the fifteen nationally recognized Panamanian journalists who attended the official state intelligence briefing regarding connections between SUNTRACS and extreme leftist political organizations in Latin America to present the documents "page by page" in order to determine "who is lying." Mendez is thinking the same thing as many other people in Panama - it simply does not make any sense for one Vice President to brief journalists with official state intelligence information, and then six days later to see Panama's First Vice President, Chancellor, and Foreign Minister Samuel Lewis Navarro release an official statement saying that information is false. But, Saul Mendez is making a big mistake... -- (more)

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Panama - Venezuela Rift Deepens Over Intelligence Leak

PoliticsBy Carmen Boyd Marciacq for El Siglo - The presumed accusations against the Venezuelan government of Hugo Chávez regarding the possible financing of union sectors in Panama seems to have worsened after journalists yesterday confirmed to Telemetro Channel 13 information related to the case, provided to them at the time by the (First Vice President Samuel Lewis Navarro). (Note: This article as published in El Siglo says the controversial information was provided by Navarro, when in fact it was provided by Panama's Second Vice President Arosemena.) Yesterday morning El Siglo managed to contact the Business Adviser in the Venezuelan Embassy in Panama, José A. Guerrero, who said that in fact there exists a statement from the Venezuelan Ministry of Foreign Relations on the issue, which he would make available. "We are waiting for them to send us the position of our government, in order to then give it to you," said the diplomat at the time. But, although we made several calls in the afternoon the communication was unfruitful, because every time we were told Guerrero was in a meeting. El Siglo also made several telephone calls to the Palace of Miraflores, the presidential seat of the Chief Executive of Venezuela Hugo Chavez; nevertheless on more than one occasion, as soon as they heard of the reason for the call they left us on the line without answering.
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No Movement in Noriega Case

Panama NewsBy José Edwin Sánchez M. for La Critica - It seems the situation of ex- general Manuel Antonio Noriega will not change at least until after the next presidential election in the United States, according to his lawyer in Panama Julio Berrios. According to Berrios, the only change that has occurred in this case is the provisional suspension of Noriega's extradition to France, until the 11th Tribunal in Atlanta issues a decision on the appeal presented by Noriega's defense team in the United States.
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A "Governmental Short Circuit" - Dueling Vice Presidents

Politics"Somebody's not telling the truth," said political Edwin Cabrera after Panama's First Vice President Samuel Lewis Navarro denied information provided by Panamanian governmental intelligence sources on the connection of SUNTRACS with Fernando Bossi, Secretary of the Bolivariano Congress of the People. Cabrera said the Executive Secretary of the State Security Council presented the information which was then disclosed by Panama's Second Vice President Rubén Arosemena to the Panamanian mass media. "It seems to me this is a short circuit in the high spheres of the government is worrisome and that they are afraid of something. More when two Vice Presidents articulate radically different arguments," he added. Samuel Lewis Navarro denied the information provided by Arosemena six days later, just when Arosemena is attending a Summit on the Central American Integration System (SICA) in representation of President Martin Torrijos. The advisory minister of the embassy of Venezuela, Jose Alfredo Guerrero, said "I do not have authorization from my government to speak on this subject which is important for us to be resolved."
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85% of the Construction Boom Depends on Panamanians

Money MattersBy Marianela Palacios Ramsbott for La Prensa - It's a myth. The construction boom does not depend mainly foreigners buying houses in Panama, but rather on Panamanians. According to the Banking Association of Panama (ABP) 85% of clients who applied for mortgages in 2007 were buying houses worth $50,000 or less, and only 4.9% of mortgages granted had a value above $100,000 dollars. "That is very positive, because it demonstrates the boom does not depend on external factors, but rather on ourselves," said Gustavo Villa, the Director of Economic Studies of the Banking Superintendent. Yesterday during a presentation yesterday on the economic results of 2007 given by the National Council of Housing Promoters, their Vice President José Batista said the deficit went down by 20% in the last three years.
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SUNTRACS Leaders Admit Meeting with Fernando Bossi

Protests & Demonstrations By Julio Villalobos and Alexis Charris Palcios for La Estrella de Panama - Fernardo Bossi, the Argentinean-Venezuelan identified by Panamanian intelligence services as the connection between SUNTRACS and the radical left in Latin America, met with Genaro Lopez and Saúl Méndez in the University of Panama on 22 June 2006. Lopez and Méndez admitted yesterday having met with the Chavista leader Bossi, but they denied SUNTRACS has a plan to destabilize the country using protests and street violence as reported by Panamanian government intelligence. Both Lopez and Mendez denied that SUNTRACS receives financing from leftist international organizations like the Bolivariano Congress of the People directed by Bossi, among others. (more)
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Canada to play Panama in June friendly

Sports SectionSportsnet.ca - Canada's men's national team announced today that it will face Panama in an international friendly match on June 6, 2008 in Panama City. The match will be played at the Rod Carew National Stadium with a 20.30 kick-off. The friendly will act as a tune-up to their first 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifier in Saint Vincent & the Grenadines on 15 June. "The Panama game will be part of our preparations for the qualifying process through 2008," says head coach Dale Mitchell. "It will provide us with a quality CONCACAF opponent in a tough place to play." This will be the first "friendly" match between the two sides, although they have faced each other four times in FIFA World Cup Qualifiers (1996 and 2000). Canada posted draws in both of their visits to Panama City (0:0 in 1996 and 2000), but came away with victories in both matches at home (3:1 in Edmonton and 1:0 in Winnipeg). Mitchell is currently preparing for the upcoming run to the FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010. While CONCACAF's first phase of 2010 World Cup Qualification began in February, Canada will wait until the second phase to play their first two games against Saint Vincent & the Grenadines.
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Panama Canal Authority sees revenue growth in 2008

Canal Daily OperationPANAMA CITY, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Revenue from Panama Canal transit fees are expected to increase by about 10 percent in 2008, despite likely slower growth in world trade, the Panama Canal Authority said on Tuesday. Toll revenues should reach $1.30 billion this year, compared with $1.18 billion in 2007, Authority analyst Rodolfo Sabonage said at an event. Many of the gains are expected to come from increased transit fees. In January, the Authority reported that toll revenue had increased in the previous three months by about 8 percent to $300 million, despite a drop in transits resulting from high oil prices and slower growth in U.S. demand. The Panama Canal accounts for about 20 percent of Panamanian gross domestic product and its toll revenue accounts for a sizable chunk of the national budget. (Reporting by Andrew Beatty; Editing by Braden Reddall)
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Final eight participants join defending champion Japan in '09 WBC field

Sports SectionBy JASON COSKREY for the Japan Times - The field for the next edition of the World Baseball Classic has been set. The World Baseball Classic, Inc. (WBCI) announced on Tuesday that the final eight teams invited to participate in the tournament — Australia, Canada, China, Taiwan, Italy, Netherlands, Panama and South Africa — will round out the 16-team field for the 2009 World Baseball Classic. The initial invitations were given out in April 2007 to the eight teams — Cuba, Dominican Republic, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela — that advanced to the second round of the inaugural WBC in 2006. (more)
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