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Thursday, April 17 2014 @ 11:32 AM EDT

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More Astounding Hipocrisy from Eric Jackson

Expat Tales

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Today Eric Jackson writes - "McMurrain associate Tom Lennon is joining the Internet crusade with Don Winner, Roger Gallo et al in trashing me and Okke and this Nazi-style repetition of scurrilous charges will work if not steadfastly challenged." Eric Jackson has publicly admitted he suffers from Bipolar Disorder (formerly known as manic depression). In addition, he admits that he is both untreated and is not taking any medications for mood stabalization or depression. Many people who suffer from this disease which affects some 5.7 million Americans, refuse treatment because the medicines used eliminate both the "highs" (manic cycles) as well as the "lows" (depressive cycles.) "Symptoms of manic states are varied and include restlessness, increased energy, euphoric mood, racing thoughts, poor judgment, intrusive or provocative behavior, difficulty concentrating, and a decreased need for sleep. People experiencing manic episodes often speak very rapidly, seem overly irritable, and may have unrealistic beliefs about their own power and capability. (more)

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Three Americans Rescued After Yacht Sinks Nean San Blas

Expat Tales By Delfia Cortez for La Critica - Three Americans were shipwrecked near Isla Duarte along the "Costa Arriba" of the province of Colón at dawn on Saturday morning when their yacht struck a rock and sank. The National Marine Service (SMN) in Colón received a distress call and went to help the tourists. The rescued boaters, all from Florida, are Jhoany Moold Rumery, Deborah Jean Filina and Thimoty Steven Shaw who owned the yacht "Aquila." (Editor's Comment - These names are most likely incorrectly spelled.) They said they were going to the San Blas islands to meet up with some friends when in the middle of a rain storm and in poor visibility they ran aground and their boat went to the bottom.
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Balbina Herrera Would Embrace "El Toro" If She Loses

Politics
Balbina Herrera
Balbina Herrera
By Carlos Barragán Solís for La Estrella - Panama's Housing Minister Balbina Herrera said during a speech as part of her campaign to win the Presidency of the "Partido Revolucionario Democratico" (PRD), that she hopes she will be "embraced" by ex President Ernesto Perez Balladares if she wins, because she intends to support him if she is defeated. During a meeting in Chitré on 14 December 2007 (held after work hours) Herrera said it is an honor to have Perez Balladares as an opponent, and that the important thing is unity because the goal is for the PRD to win the general election in 2009.
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Prosecutor Asks for Trials Against Ricardo Traad and other SMN Functionaries

Corruption
Ricarado Traad, Former Director of the SMN
Ricarado Traad, Former Director of the SMN
By José Otero for La Prensa - Panama's First Anti Drug Prosecutor concluded its review of the Perseus V case file, and in their opinion asked for the six people implicated in the case to be called to trial, including four former employees of the National Maritime Service (SMN), as well as the former Director of the SMN Ricardo Traad Porras. The prosecutor's opinion, which was forwarded to the Fourth Criminal Court, calls to trial in addition to Traad, Eduardo Morales, the former manager of government property, Roberto Fierro, the Chief of Logistics, and Edilberto Luna, the former Chief of Operations, all of the SMN. (more)
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Coastguard aids yacht in Panama

Panama News BBC - The crew of a sinking yacht in the central American state of Panama have had their lives saved thanks to a 999 call thousands of miles away in Kent. Dover Coastguard were tipped off about the plight of the vessel in the Panama Canal and scrambled their counterparts to mount a rescue operation. The Kent-based coastguard was alerted in a telephone call from ex-Royal Navy diver Paul Wilkin, from Folkestone. He said he had heard about the mayday from a friend on a yacht in Panama. "He rang me, and I relayed that message to Dover Coastguard... and left it with them. "I have heard from my friend again since who said that the people managed to get onto the reef but, by the sound of it, the yacht was lost." Mr Wilkin said he did not hesitate in calling the coastguard to help out with the international rescue because "they could be relied upon". Coastguard Watch Assistant John Brewin said Mr Wilkin had been able to pass on the name of the yacht and its position, which was very close to the Hermanas Reef. He said Dover Coastguard was then able to pass it onto their counterparts in Panama.
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Joaquina Gallardo Singing Like A Canary Covered in FECEs

Corruption By Jean Marcel Chéry and Rafael Rodríguez for La Estrella - More than $1.5 million dollars has been embezzled from the Fund for Fairness and Quality in Education (FECE) in San Miguelito. What began with a checking account of the Gallardo family has ended in the unraveling of a complex network of public employees, businesses, friends, and those in favor with the PRD. The details of the story are all coming together now that Joaquina Gallardo has turned herself in to the PTJ. She points to other public employees, such as the ex-regional Director of Education in San Miguelito Betsy Guzaman, who until now has not been implicated in the case. Guzmán responds with another accusation.
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Anti Corruption Chief Charged With Corruption

Corruption
Alma Montenegro de Fletcher
Alma Montenegro de Fletcher

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Alma Montenegro de Fletcher is the Chief of the Panama's National Council for Transparency Against Corruption, and recently has been embroiled in a controversy involving Balbina Herrera. In a recent symposium that was supposed to promote the role of women in government, Balbina Herrera announced to the gathered crowd that she intends to officially run for the position of the Mayor of Panama City. The room was full of government employees who were supposed to be attending training and not a political event. And, Alma Montenegro de Fletcher was in attendence. Opposition political leaders have called for the resignation of both Balbina Herrera as the Housing Minister and Alma Montenegro de Fletcher as the anti-corruption czar.

Copyright 2007 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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Four consortiums compete to build new Panama Canal ship locks

Canal ExpansionPANAMA CITY (AFP) — Panama will take bids from four international consortiums seeking to build new, larger ship locks for the Panama Canal, government officials said Friday. The locks are a key part of the 5.25 billion-dollar canal expansion project begun in September, aimed at doubling the capacity of the 50-mile (80-kilometer) canal connecting two oceans. Panamanian officials hope the project will be finished by 2014. The four consortiums now have until August 2008 to present final proposals and price tags to compete for the contract, said Alberto Aleman, head of the Panama Canal Authority. (more)
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South of the border, the market's still hot

Real EstateBy June Fletcher for The Wall Street Journal - The housing slump has sent many Americans shopping south of the border. Existing-home prices in the U.S. dropped 4.5 percent in the third quarter from a year ago, according to S&P/Case-Shiller. But they are still climbing in much of Latin America and the Caribbean. Buyers are being enticed by the kind of double-digit appreciation that has all but disappeared in the States. In addition, a growing number of new developments are targeting Americans looking for good deals and a lower cost of living. Since 2003, annual home-price appreciation has been running at 20 percent in the Dominican Republic, and could reach 50 percent in the near future, according to Boomerang Unlimited, a Napa, Calif., real-estate investment advisory firm. In San Pedro, Belize, the average price of a 2,200-square-foot home was $697,500 in September, up 18.6 percent from a year ago, according to a study by Coldwell Banker; the price of a similar property in San Jose, Costa Rica, was up 20.7 percent, to $389,900, the study said. (more)
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AA offers discounts to Buenos Aires, Panama City, San Jose

Cars & TransportationCheap Flights.com - Looking for a wintertime getaway to Latin America? Consider Buenos Aires (EZE), or perhaps closer-to-home Panama City (PTY) or San Jose (SJO). The world's largest airline is offering discount airfares to both cities. American Airlines’ round-trip deals start at $354. Book and buy at www.aa.com no later than January 15, 2008. Then, fly out by February 15. Complete the trip by March 15. All the discount airfares quoted below are round-trip, have to be purchased at least seven days before departure, and entail a three-day minimum stay. Neither taxes nor fees are included in these quotes. They’re extra. Here’s American Airlines’ discount Latin line-up:
  • Albuquerque (ABQ) to Panama City (PTY) $469
  • Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) to Panama City (PTY) $474
  • Denver to Panama City $469
  • Las Vegas (LAS) to Panama City $529
  • Los Angeles to Panama City $569
  • Phoenix (PHX) to Panama City $469
  • San Diego to Panama City $529
  • San Jose, CA (SJC) to Panama City $549
  • Seattle/Tacoma to Panama City $529
  • St. Louis to Panama City $509
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Earth Swallows Dump Truck

Panama News By Rocío I. Martins A. for La Critica - Moisés Alberto de la Cruz got the scare of his life yesterday, when the dump truck he was driving was swallowed by the earth as he pulled into the Esso gas station on the Ave. de Los Mártires to fill up. His truck was loaded with dirt and a thin slab of cement covering what used to be a storage tank for the gas station which is no longer used gave way. (Photo Credit: Jorge Silot / EPASA)
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Doctor's Strike Over - They Got A 23% Wage Increase

Protests & DemonstrationsBy José González Pinilla for La Prensa - At 10:45 pm on the 39th day of their strike, and after three days of fine-tuning the final agreement, the doctors who work for the public health services in Panama said "done" and left the negotiation table with a 23% wage increase they will start to receive in July 2008. The increase will cost the government an additional $36 million dollars per years. The subject of a bonus will be discussed later. Julio Garcia, the leader of the National Medical Negotiating Committee, described the final agreement as fair, but said they had hoped for more. Panama's Health Minister Rosario Turner, visibly content, said this episode will allow for a "new pact." Meaning, she said, "an investment in human capital to begin an improvement in public health services." Commitments? They were specified in a 16-point document signed by both parts. (more)
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Mother of All Panamanian Real Estate Miracles - The Deal Is Going Through!

Real Estate

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Well, who woulda thunkit? By now almost every real estate agent in town knows I've been desperately looking for an apartment. I was trying to buy an apartment in Panama City but the "seller" had a whole raft of issues with back taxes and it looked like the deal was going to fall through. The deadline in the contract was today, 14 December at close of business. Last week on 7 December I sent a letter politely notifying the other party that I had complied with all aspects of the buy-sell contract. In the same letter I told them that I hoped they could as well, before the deadline specified in the contract. In the meantime I actually thought there was no way in hell they were going to be able to unscramble the tax mess to complete the deal on time. (more)

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Panama's Economy Grew at 9.5% in 2007 - Leads Latin America

Money Matters ECLAC - During 2007, Latin America and the Caribbean sustained a favourable economic situation that allowed for growth in nearly all the countries of the region. Despite the deteriorating external financial context over the second half of the year, the region's gross domestic product (GDP) will have grown by 5.6%, according to estimates by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). In its Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean 2007, presented today by ECLAC Executive Secretary José Luis Machinea, the UN regional commission report states that, for 2008, Latin America and the Caribbean could register a 4.9% growth rate. Should this forecast be borne out, it would signify the region's sixth consecutive year of growth, for a cumulative per capita GDP increase of 24%, or 3.5% per annum. (more)
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Prominent Lawyer Stabbed To Death in "Push Button"

Crime & Punishment By Luis Carlos Rodríguez for La Critica - The Vice President of the Panamanian National Bar Association, Juan Carlos Dudley Porras, 46 years-old, was stabbed to death last night in the Paris "push-button." There were eight stab wounds to his body, one of them in the jugular vein. Police are looking for two women, presumably Colombian, who left the scene of the crime covered in blood. Dudley was also a professor at the Universidad Santa Maria la Antigua (USMA). The Judicial Technical Police (PTJ) are questioning six women in this case. (Editor's Comment: Late this afternoon television news announced that police had arrested a woman from the Dominican Republic in connection with this murder.)
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Competitiveness program to strengthen Panama public sector

Foreign Direct Investmentfibre2fashion.com - The Inter-American Development Bank announced the approval of a US$51,323,000 loan for the first phase of a broad competitiveness program in Panama, which has reached several trade accords in recent years to expand its access to international markets. To take advantage of opportunities created by these pacts, Panama needs to boost its competitiveness and increase the efficiency of public sector agencies responsible for promoting exports. The competitiveness program will strengthen the public sector’s capacity to negotiate and manage trade agreements and increase its ability to implement plans to foster exports and attract foreign investments. An electronic platform will be developed to provide services, information and data on trade and simplify procedures for exporters and investors. (more)
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David Leigh's Panama paperchase

Panama News By Patrick Smith - pressgazette.co.uk - (How the Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror struck adeal with a Splash agency report to share the canoe-wife scoop) Reporter David Leigh who scooped the story of canoe wife Anne Darwin used five matching black BMWs, three different hotels, false names and three flights to escape the chasing Fleet Street pack. Former Daily Mirror and Daily Express news editor Leigh tracked down Mrs Darwin in Panama City with staff photographer Steve Dennet for news agency Splash. He told Press Gazette that nothing had been paid to Darwin for the exclusive. And in a bizarre twist he revealed that the 55-year-old wife, a trained receptionist, acted as a copy-taker as he dictated the story in a Panama hotel room. (more)
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Bush Signs US-Peru Trade Pact

Money Matters By JENNIFER LOVEN – WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush on Friday signed a U.S.-Peru free trade agreement, paving the way for stronger economic ties with the Andean nation and boosting the administration's efforts to shore up relations with Latin America. "The bill will help increase opportunities for workers, ranchers, farmers and business in both our countries," Bush said, standing with Peru's President Alan Garcia. In calling on Congress to pass other free-trade agreements with Colombia and Panama, Bush — without naming names — jabbed leftist leaders in Latin America like Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, an outspoken antagonist of Washington.
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US 1989 Panama Invasion to Be Probed

Politics
Pedro Miguel Gonzalez
Pedro Miguel Gonzalez
Panama, Dec 14 (Prensa Latina) The unicameral National Assembly of Panama began discussing a bill Friday to create a national commission to investigate the victims provoked by the US invasion of Panama on December 20, 1989, and to declare this a day of national mourning. The bill establishes that such a national commission will determine how many Panamanian citizens died because of the US invasion, with the Public Ministry exhuming common graves to this end, and declare those people martyrs and the survivors as national heroes. The commission would have government financing and be supported by the Statistics and Census Office of the Panamanian Controllership. The Executive would have a year and a half from passage of the law to raise a monument in El Chorrillo with the names of the victims. (more)
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ACP CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta Briefs Industry Leaders

Canal Expansion
Alberto Alemán Zubieta
Alberto Alemán Zubieta
NEW YORK, NY, December 13, 2007 – "The most important infrastructure project in Latin America," is how Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta described the Panama Canal expansion project. Addressing a crowd of 300 industry professionals at the 1st Annual Global Infrastructure Leadership Forum in New York City yesterday, Mr. Alemán outlined key elements of the waterway’s largest construction project in its history. During his keynote speech, Mr. Alemán highlighted the importance of the expanded waterway and said: "The expansion of the Panama Canal is the most important infrastructure project of the region. It will benefit not only Panama, but the region and the world as well. We are constantly working on modernizing the existing Canal, and with an expanded waterway, we will be able to accommodate larger ships with more tonnage. The Panama Canal has always been vital to world commerce and shipping. Our goal is to become the transportation and logistics hub of the Americas." (more)
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Panama Health Strike Drags on

Protests & DemonstrationsPanama, Dec 14 (Prensa Latina) Panamanian public hospital physicians on strike for 39 days have approved a governmental pay hike, but are waiting for a reasonable agreement with the government for the recovery of outpatient appointments and surgeries cancelled since the protest began. The over 5,000 striking doctors yesterday accepted the governmental proposal of a 25 percent pay hike, the issue that had led to almost six weeks of bargaining. However, the strike goes on today, due to the unexpected proposal by the government that they must give attention to another eight patients per day or work six extra hours on the weekend to recover the cancelled outpatient appointments. In addition, they would have to work four extra hours in the operating room, or the equivalent of another two operations, which the physicians oppose. According to official estimates, over 600,000 outpatient appointments and thousands of planned surgeries have been annulled since the strike began. The coordinator of Comenal (National Negotiating Medical Commission), Julio Garcia, affirmed the doctors are willing to recover the appointments and operations, but need time.
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Taiwan seeks to join in Panama Canal expansion

Canal ExpansionTaipei (dpa) - Taiwan's Foreign Minister James Huang is holding talks in Panama on cooperation including joining in the expansion of the Panama Canal, the Foreign Ministry said Friday. Panama has been mulling expanding the Panama Canal to take bigger cargo ships, and Taiwan is eager to join in the expansion in order to consolidate diplomatic ties, as Panama is one of the 24 countries which recognize Taiwan, and because Taiwan, home of the Evergreen and Yangming shipping companies, is the 12th-largest user of the canal. Half of Taiwan's allies are in Latin America and the Caribbean, and safeguarding ties with these countries became more urgent after Costa Rica cut ties with Taipei to recognize Beijing in June. In July, Vice President Anette Lu visited the Dominican Republic, Paraguay and Guatemala with a refuelling stop in Panama. The official purpose of her trip was to attend celebrations marking five decades of Taiwanese-Paraguayan friendship, but Taiwan press reports claimed it was a damage-control trip to prevent Taiwan's remaining Latin American allies from dumping Taiwan after Costa Rica had changed side.
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"Just Sign Here" ...

Law & Lawyers

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - "I, John Doe, take you, Jane Dudette, for my lawful wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part." Those are words many people have found themselves saying, and at the time they really, really meant it. In the last few weeks I've been looking into a lot of real estate transactions (including my own) which have gone south. From all of these discussions I've learned one very important fact - whatever people say to one another are just words. What matters when the deal falls apart are the contracts. What's on paper...? (more)

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A Meeting with the Developers of Pacific Sky and Pacific Sun

Real Estate

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - This week I met with Ramy Attie, and Henry Mizrachi, the primary developers of the Pacific Sky and Pacific Sun projects located in Paitilla. Obviously, they were calling in response to this article I published last week on Friday, 7 December 2007 entitled "Criminal Complaint for Fraud Filed Against Habitats Realty and Pacific Sky S.A.". Actually, I was very happy that they called and wanted to meet. Before I published last week I went over to Habitats Realty, discussed the situation with them, gave them my business card, and asked them to have someone contact me to discuss the situation. So, I was happy to meet with Ramy Attie and Henry Mizrachi. (more)

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Shiver Me Timbers! Eric Jackson - Pirates from The Panama Guide

Panama News

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - The latest from Eric Jackson - "A certain jerk whose name I won't mention has accused me over the Internet of getting the name "Tony Henry" from his copyright pirate website, of pirating a pirate, as it were. But of course, this is a lie." Well, wrong again, Eric. Go back and read the article I was the first to connect the murder of "Tony Henry" which was reported in the papers, to the case of US citizen Richard Schuler and Ruperto Antonio Henry Marshall (a.k.a. "Tony Henry). Eric stole that from me. The Panamanian papers didn't make the connection until after I did, and as a matter of fact Richard Schuler found out from my reporting. And in the same breath Eric Jackson says "I uploaded 39 news or business briefs, most of them distilled to a paragraph from reports in other media, with mention of a particular medium if it was the sole source of the tale." Well, hallelujah! Eric has been ripping off the Panamanian media for years, writing his "news briefs" as if they were his own work, with no mention whatsoever of the original journalist who actually wrote the report, or the paper it appeared in. At least now he is starting to give credit to the original source, and only after I started calling him on it. And for the record my challenge stands - exactly how did you make the connection between Ruperto Antonio Henry Marshall, Richard Schuler, and the murder of some random dude named "Tony Henry" which appeared in the Panamanian press? Answer - you stole it from me, you stinking (hypocritical) copyright thief. BIOYA.

Copyright 2007 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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New Offer of 25% From Government for Striking Doctors

Protests & DemonstrationsBy José González Pinilla for La Prensa - In a meeting that was not on the agenda, Panamanian health authorities presented striking doctors with a new offer of a 23% raise and 2% bonus. This offer would represent a $500 per month raise for the most experienced doctors of the "first category." At deadline doctors were discussing the government offer behind closed doors and neither side had made a public pronouncement regarding a decision on the offer. Some doctors consulted said the offer does not represent a "considerable" wage increase for the youngest doctors or those in the lowest category, a subject being discussed past midnight last night. Prior to this offer, the most recent government offer was for a 20% increase - 18% in wages and a 2% bonus, representing an increase of as much as $450 per month for some doctors in the highest category and about $100 per month for those in the lowest category. The leadership of the striking doctors were unable to accept the government proposal last night because some doctors thought they should accept it, and others with more radical positions rejected the offer. The negotiators for the striking doctors will now have to take the proposal back to their members for a vote, and if accepted then the strike will be lifted.
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Pranksters twin Darwin town with Panama

Expat TalesMirror.co.uk - Pranksters twin Darwin town with Panama - Jokers in the home town of John Darwin put up a sign reading: "Welcome to Seaton Canoe - twinned with Panama." The yellow sign with black lettering was spotted in Seaton Carew, Cleveland, where John and Anne Darwin lived. The hoaxers put it on a main road into town but it had vanished yesterday. Seaton Carew's twin is really Huckelhoven, near Cologne in Germany. Hartlepool council spokesman Alistair Rae said: "Seaton Carew is part of Hartlepool and we have links with Huckelhoven going back 30 years. "We have no plans to twin with Panama City just yet." Darwin, 57, is charged with obtaining £25,000 and a passport by deception. His wife Anne, 55, is accused of obtaining £162,000 by deception.
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On Anne Darwin's trail in Panama

Expat Tales The Press Gazette - (Sky News Washington Correspondent Robert Nisbet has been in Panama City covering the canoeist story. He found that 'the thirst for the tale was pretty insatiable'.) It was almost as though Anne Darwin had picked her penthouse in Panama City to make it as hard as possible for broadcast news media to do their job. The cheek of it. The flat was positioned above a bottleneck in a down-at-heel suburb, with a blaring tangle of cars, mopeds and vans beneath. Parked up across the street, the cameraman Mick Deane and I tried to get a live signal from our equipment, perched precariously on the searing heat of our hire car's bonnet. This was the first time on the road with our BGAN satellite road kit, designed to get us on air quickly using streaming broadband. We both grew up with the relative luxury of broadcast trucks with their comforting smell of spilt coffee and slowly decaying fruit which producers buy to cancel out the effects of the trans-fat soaked doughnuts, but noone ever eats.
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Search for Montreal sailors called off

Expat TalesDAKSHANA BASCARAMURTY For theglobeandmail.com - The U.S. Coast Guard has ended an extensive four-day search for two Montreal sailors who went missing during an expedition along the Atlantic coast. Brock Argyle and Paul Shore, both in their 50s, set off on a journey from Delaware to Panama on Nov. 30 in a nine-metre vessel, said Petty Officer John Miller of the U.S. Coast Guard's fifth district. The men had told family and friends they would check in on Dec. 2, but by Dec. 9, they still had not made contact, PO Miller said. A concerned friend called the U.S. Coast Guard, which launched a major search operation soon after. "We did a pretty exhaustive search since we didn't have much to go on," PO Miller said. After the search came up empty, the coast guard called off the mission Tuesday night. A large crew searched for the two men by air and water from Lewes, Del., down to Miami in an area spanning more than 171,00 square kilometres, U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant Jim Reynolds said. PO Miller said the coast guard did not know why the men may have gone missing. Canadians often sail south along the Atlantic at this time of year, he said. "When it gets cooler they want to escape the cold and extend the season," he said. "Unfortunately, several vessels do go missing."
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Noriega wants to stop extradition on money-laundering charges

Panama News The Associated Press MIAMI -- Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega is asking a second federal judge in Miami Thursday to block a French request to extradite him on money-laundering charges. Noriega's attorney says he should be returned to Panama because of his status as a prisoner of war. The U.S. government says French officials have given assurances that they will honor the POW status if he is extradited there. Noriega was convicted in the U.S. in 1992 of drug and racketeering charges involving his acceptance of bribes from Colombia's Medellin cartel to allow shipments of U.S.-bound cocaine through Panama. France wants Noriega to face money-laundering charges involving about $3.15 million in drug profits allegedly used in part to buy luxurious apartments in Paris.
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