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Tuesday, September 02 2014 @ 05:16 PM EDT

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More Info Coming In On The Mystery Scammer

Crime & Punishment

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Isn't the Internet a wonderful thing? Of course, this moron who is now in jail in Chitré has had significant contact with other members of the English speaking expatriate community in the Republic of Panama over the past few years. Specifically, he targeted one person for extortion, saying if he was not paid $5,000 then he would kill the person's wife and child with a car bomb. This afternoon Panamanian Police Lt. Ferrero in Chitré confirmed this person still has not presented any identification such as a passport. The only thing he was carrying at the time of his arrest was a membership card from PriceMart. (more)

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Colombian Rebel Detained in Panama Admits FARC Ties

Crime & Punishment La Prensa - One of the six Colombians arrested by Panamanian National Police after a confrontation near Jaqué in the Darién province last week admitted his involvement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Although the prisoners have refused to render statements, invoking Article 25 of the National Constitution, one of them confirmed they belong to the FARC 57th Front that operates near Panama's border with Colombia, said Panama's Public Ministry yesterday through a press release. Based on these declarations judicial authorities weakened the version of one defense attorney who says the prisoners are fishermen from the area and are not guerrillas. The six Colombians, who face charges for crimes against the public health and for carrying illegal arms, were captured red handed when they fired upon units of the Panamanian National Police, said the press release. Officials seized AK-47 assault rifles, explosives, and combat uniforms from the six FARC guerrillas. Additionally Ion scan scan revealed the boat they traveled in was "highly contaminated with illicit drugs." So far Panamanian authorities have not received an extradition request from Colombia or any other state, according to sources close to the investigation.
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Panama's Manuel Corpas a big hit as Colorado closer

Sports Section By Melissa Segura, SI.com - He tried -- really tried -- to get it right, to be the good guy. It seemed like such a good idea when Manuel Corpas scooped up all the dirty clothes from the floor of the Panama City hotel room he was sharing with his girlfriend, stuffed one bag with his clothes, another with hers, and took a cab to a nearby laundromat. The couple had been staying at a hotel near his childhood home partly because the renovations he'd paid for left little room for them and partly because, for the first time, he could afford a nice room. His girlfriend, Amy Spanier, had gone to the hotel gym. Manuel wanted to surprise her when she came back, to show her how much he appreciated those moments back in 2006 when she would be stuck in his apartment stairwell of their building in Tulsa, Okla., wondering how she was going to move their double bed all by herself because he'd been promoted to Colorado Springs, and when she had to explain to her employer and the apartment manager only a week later that they were moving again, because Corpas had been called up to the major leagues. Taking care of her laundry seemed like the least he could do. (more)
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Panama economy seen growing 9 pct this year

Money MattersPANAMA CITY, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Panama's economy will grow between 8.5 percent and 9.0 percent this year, the country's economy minister said on Friday. "It will be very good growth for Panama, although less than in 2007," Economy Minister Hector Alexander told reporters. Panama's economy grew 11.2 percent in 2007 as the country benefited from a booming construction industry. The country, which depends on traffic on the Panama Canal for much of its income, has seen one of the fastest economic growth rates in Latin America over the past three years. (Reporting by Elida Moreno, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
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Panama's president vetoes law declaring anniversary of US invasion a 'day of mourning'

PoliticsInternational Herald Tribune - PANAMA CITY, Panama: President Martin Torrijos has vetoed a law that would have made the anniversary of the United States' 1989 invasion of Panama a national day of mourning, Panama's foreign minister said Friday. The measure was part of a larger package that called for a "truth and reconciliation" commission to investigate how many people died in the invasion — a provision that Torrijos said would violate Panama's constitution, which does not permit the legislature to create such committees, Foreign Minister Samuel Lewis told reporters. Torrijos informed National Assembly President Pedro Miguel Gonzalez, who authored the bill, of his veto in a note in mid-February, Lewis said. The legislature had unanimously passed the bill on Dec. 20, the 18th anniversary of the U.S. invasion.
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Adios to Chiquita Bananas in Panama

Foreign Direct Investment Panama, Mar 1 (Prensa Latina) Members of cooperatives and workers celebrated withdrawal of the Banana Transnational company Chiquita Brand from Panama, which has controlled fruit business in the country for the last 80 years. The event was celebrated with a ceremony at Baru locality, Chiriqui western province that was attended by ministers of Agricultural Development Guillermo Salaza and Labor Edwin Salamin, according to reports here on Saturday. The Multiple Services Cooperative of Armuelles Port bought assets from Chiquita on April 25, 2003 through 29 million dollars in credit granted by the government. However, it later canceled the new contract of fruit sale to the company amidst large workers protest against the conditions imposed by the company that facilitated profiteering. The General Secretary of the Chiriqui Land Company Salustiano de Gracia said that massive social changes are expected in the banana area and ratified the commitment to get the cooperative off the ground. The transnational was first operating under the name of United Fruit Company leaving a trail of suffering in the nations of the region where it imposed governments and dictatorships subordinated to the interests of US business.
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Panama to trim taxes, tariffs to curb inflation

Money MattersPANAMA CITY, March 1 (Reuters) - Panamanian President Martin Torrijos said on Saturday he planned a package of income tax cuts and reductions of import tariffs on some goods to put the brakes on rising inflation. In a speech to the national assembly, Torrijos also raised the possibility of expanding a program of low-interest mortgages and offering incentives to farmers. He said the government would continue to subsidize domestic fuel and electricity. Panama, which adopted the dollar as it national currency in 1904, has traditionally seen lower inflation than the United States. But rising international prices for oil and foodstuffs have increased inflationary pressures this year. Economists worry that Panama's economy -- which has had one of the fastest growth rates in Latin America over the past three years -- now faces overheating. Twelve-month inflation in Panama was 7.6 percent in January, driven by rises in food, housing and transport costs that are becoming a political issue as parties select their candidates for presidential elections in March 2009. (Reporting by Elida Moreno)
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Third in a Series about the Canal in the 21st Century: Panama Canal By Night

Canal Daily OperationBy Els Kroon for Allatsea.net - While undergoing a huge expansion program, the Panama Canal is currently in the worldwide spotlight. When the chance to cross the Canal on a cargo ship fell to my lot last September, I didn’t hesitate for a second and started preparing and gathering information at once. The story of the current expansion can be read in All At Sea’s January 2008 issue, and Nedra Walker told our readers in the December issue about her experiences transiting the canal from the Atlantic to the Pacific on a 36 ft sailboat. (See www.allatsea.net for both articles.) Transiting on a 300 ft cargo ship in the opposite direction is a different story! (more)
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Engineering Independence: Kosovo and Panama

History & ReferenceBy Carl Savich for EuropeNews.dk - US backers of Kosovo independence have stated that the illegal secession of the Serbian province of Kosovo was a “unique” and special case. But was the “independence” of Kosovo sui generis and unique? The illegal seizure and occupation of Kosovo by the US is not unique or special. In 1903, the US engineered the illegal secession of Panama from Columbia. The Panamanian model was applied to Kosovo by the US. How did Panama achieve “independence” in 1903? In 1904, US President Theodore Roosevelt enunciated the Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, which allowed the US to intervene anywhere in the Western Hemisphere to prevent intervention by European powers. In 1903, the US planned to construct the Panama Canal for strategic military and commercial reasons. Panama was a northern province of Columbia. Colombia, however, did not back the US plan to create a canal on Colombian territory that the US would occupy and have sovereignty over indefinitely. (more)
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Panama Goes to CONCACAF Pre Olympic Tournament

Sports SectionPanama, Mar 2 (Prensa Latina) Panama announced the sub-23 soccer team with which it will look for its ticket for the Olympic Games in Beijing, China, in the regional pre-Olympic tournament scheduled from March 11 to 23 in several US cities. The list of the players reaches 20, and it is only pendent of the selection of a third goal keeper, according to the list given by head coach Alexander Guimaraes (Brazil). Four Panamanian players now playing for foreign clubs are included: Roman Torres and Gabriel Torres, from La Equidad, Colombia; Jose Venegas, from Santos, Costa Rica and Nelson Barahona, from Fenix, Uruguay. The rest of the players play for Panamanian teams. Panama will make its debut against Honduras on March 11, to match US on March 13 and close its classification stage program matching Cuba on March 15.
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Curfew to Minors Successful, Says Panama Mayor

Crime & PunishmentPanama, Mar 2 (Prensa Latina) Panama City Mayor Juan Carlos Navarro said on Sunday that curfew imposed on minors has helped curb crime. An assessment of the measure released on Sunday says the minors' restriction of movement is in force from 21:00 local time, also applied to San Miguelito district, in the capital, and Colon city, in the Atlantic coast, 50 miles from Panama City. Authorities said this decision is aimed at curbing a wave of violence involving youngsters. It envisages fees from $25 up to the offenders' parents and more drastic measures against repeat offenders. Safety is a main concern for Panamanians, according to surveys. President Martin Torrijos announced yesterday before Parliament that an additional 2,000 police officers will join security patrol service.
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Chavez sends tanks to Colombia border in dispute

Politics By Saul Hudson CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez moved tanks to the Colombian border and mobilized fighter jets on Sunday, warning Bogota could spark a war after its troops struck inside another of its neighbors, Ecuador. Reacting to Colombia's killing on Saturday of a Colombian rebel inside Ecuador, a Venezuelan ally, Chavez also ordered the withdrawal of all his diplomats from Bogota in the worst dispute between the neighbors since he came to office in 1999. "Mr. Defense Minister, move me 10 battalions to the frontier with Colombia immediately, tank battalions," Chavez said on his weekly TV show. (more)
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Sercom Panama - Telecommunications, IT, and VOIP Solutions

Internet & Technology Sercom is a licensed Panamanian telecommunications company that provides IT services and support throughout Latin America. We have operated in Central America for nearly 20 years and specialize in providing reliable, cost effective support, hardware, and services for international corporations. We also have a variety of products designed for individuals or organizations operating in remote or austere locations. By integrating the latest in technology with reliable connectivity, we extend the telecommunications infrastructure of the US and Europe to your location. So whether you are in a 40 story office building in downtown Panama City or on an observation platform in a Honduran jungle, we will make sure you stay connected to the rest of the world. (more)
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Rangel: The US-Panama FTA Will Not Get A Vote in 2008

Politics By Betty Brannan Jaén for La Prensa - According to the American press, congressman Charles Rangel, the key figure in the Congress for the ratification of Free Trade Agreement, affirmed that the agreements with Panama and Colombia will not advance this year and that he has informed both the Panamanian and US governments as much. The Washington Trade Daily reported the following on Thursday: "Rangel said he told the government of [ George W. ] Bush that the Panamanian agreement will not see action year. Although the democrats initially felt enthusiasm for the agreement, the election as head of the Assembly of a man who is wanted by the United States for the murder of a North American soldier has caused a vote to be virtually impossible." (more)
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Unidentified and Undocumented Mystery Scammer Arrested in Chitré

Crime & Punishment

By David Ursprung and Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com - Do you know who this man is? The Panamanian National Police arrested an unidentified and undocumented English speaking expatriate today in Chitré under suspicion of being a serial scam artist. A member of the English speaking expatriate community in Panama, David Ursprung, had the unfortunate experience of having fallen for this man's stories back in August of 2006. Besides scamming him for about $120 bucks, the man made a copy of David's passport and then altered it and used that document to rent an apartment. David discovered what was going on and filed a complaint. Then, the guy took off. By total chance, David ran into the guy today in Chitré, 18 months later. He's now in jail in Chitré, and police still don't know who he is. (more)

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Panamanian Supreme Court Nullifies 2003 ARI Resolution on Kobbe Beach (Playa Bonita)

Law & Lawyers By Rafael Pérez G. Raúl Bernal for La Prensa - The Third Room of the Panamanian Supreme Court recently decided to nullify a resolution issued by the now defunct Inter Oceanic Region Authority (ARI) which granted four parcels of land in Kobbe Beach in Arraiján, saying the resolution was illegal. The ARI resolution, issued in 2003, permitted a company called the Paradise Beach Corporation to build on these lands the Intercontinental Playa Bonita Resort & Spa, whose owner is Herman Bern. According to the Third Room of the Supreme Court, the ARI failed to comply with requirements established by law regarding the modification of public contracts; specifically they failed to publish the details of the bidding docket in a nationally circulated public newspaper. (more)
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The Story of the Month - SUNTRACS Riots

Panama News

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Welcome to March 2008. Now that February is done, looking back over my shoulder at the news from last month two stories jump out - the SUNTRACS riots and the filming of the new James Bond movie the "Quantum of Solace" in Panama. I don't know how many of you know this, but there's a really nice directory function on the website. If you click this link for example, you will be taken to a list of all of the articles published in the month of February 2008. Just click on the "Directory" link from the top title bar to quickly and easily browse through titles from any year or month. Traffic to the website continues to grow and expand nicely and we broke records again in February. (more)

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Central America – Top 10 research resources

What is PG?Global Edge - In our continuing series of articles focusing on useful resource websites for agents looking to sell property in emerging destinations around the world, this week the spotlight falls on Central America. The UN’s World Tourism Barometer report showed that tourist figures for the region increased by 10.3% in 2007, one of the highest year-on-year improvements across the globe. Mexico and Panama, for example, are already established tourism and buying destinations with the North American market. They have also been attracting more attention from European investors in the last couple of years. Investment site Global Property Guide has identified “spectacular” rental yields in Panama City, Guatemala City, San Jose (Costa Rica) and San Salvador (El Salvador), with “excellent” returns in Managua (Nicaragua), indicating that the whole region could attract international investor attention. We’ve sifted through many sites to bring you this list of the most useful for those looking to find out more about Central America. Most are free-to-access, though you’ll need to pay for some to get full detailed information. We'd love to hear about your favourite sites for Central America - don't forget, you can post your comments below. (more)
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FARC Threat Came From Inside of Panama

Crime & Punishment

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - This morning at 1:45 am the Auxiliary Prosecutor executed a search warrant against an Internet business in Chorrera called "Foto Internet" confiscating hard drives from 24 computer systems in search of information related to a threat against the Republic of Panama that supposedly came from the FARC. Last week Panamanian police forces got into a firefight in the Pacific Ocean near Jaque which resulted in one FARC member killed and three wounded and hospitalized, and three more arrested. Then, a report circulated that the FARC was threatening to kidnap Panamanian government functionaries and hold them hostage until their members were released. In now appears to have been a poorly thought through hoax which originated in an "Internet" in La Chorrera. The cool part? They were smart enough to raid the place at the quack of dawn to make sure they could snatch up what they wanted without having to worry about some dumbass kid deleting evidence. "Honey, is Pablo impersonating those international drug trafficking terrorists again?" I bet he learned that in college.

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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Is my TRICARE deductible for fiscal year 2008 covered yet?

HealthcareThis is a question that is increasingly repeated in the last few weeks. This article I hope sheds a little light on the subject. At the end of 2007, there was a change in the lay out of the TRICARE 4 U, WEBSITE. Hospitals, Doctors, and billing agencies, are no longer privileged to the status of your TRICARE deductible. However, in order to receive care in some instances you need to show that you have covered your deductible, especially if you gave Hospital Nacional $300.00 and you try to get seen by someone other than them, or if you gave Hospital San Fernando $300.00 and you try to see someone else. So what do you do? Well start by registering as a beneficiary on the TRICARE 4U WEBSITE, here is the address https://www.tricare4u.com/apps-portal/tricareapps-app/static/beneficiaries/register.htm once you have registered you will be able to access your information, if you have a family, you will need to register each one individually in order to see their information, since it will not be reflected on the sponsors. Hopefully this information will make healthcare access a little less frustrating in these first few months. Nadine S. Kellys de Cruz, USAF Retired Helth Care finder and Medical Billing Services MA Health Services Administration MEDSERV PANAMA, S.A. Email: medservpanama@yahoo.com
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Colombian rebels say threaten Panama over captives

Panama News PANAMA CITY (Reuters) - Colombia's FARC guerrillas have threatened to start kidnapping Panamanian politicians and police after officers from Panama arrested six rebels, according to a statement on Wednesday. In a rare threat against neighboring Panama, a FARC commander identified as Bercerro said authorities had until March to free six guerrillas captured at the weekend at sea. Panama's government did not issue a statement and an official said it was too early to comment as the authenticity of the threat, distributed to local media, was still being checked. "If they do not comply with this, we have instructions to take necessary hostages from among members of the national police, officials and local politicians to force an exchange," the statement said. The FARC -- Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia -- is fighting Latin America's oldest running insurgency, although it has been weakened and driven back by President Alvaro Uribe's U.S.-backed security campaign. The remote Darien area between Colombia and Panama has long been a difficult region, where illegal armed groups and smugglers are common. Violence from Colombia's four-decade-old conflict is down, but the rebels are still holding dozens of hostages they want to swap for jailed rebels. Among the high-profile captives are a French-Colombian politician and three Americans. (Reporting by Elida Moreno in Panama City; Editing by John O'Callaghan)
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Off Line All Day Today - Fire in El Cangrejo

Internet & Technology

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - This morning at about 10:00 am or so there was an electrical fire in an underground junction box right across the street from the Veneto hotel. The firemen showed up and the power company cut the juice. There are several significant underground cables sharing that particular space, including electrical power, local telephone, fiber optic, as well as the main line for Cable Onda. The guys from the power company didn't get done until after 7:00 pm and then Cable Onda got their shot in the hole and patched the damage. Long story short - I was offline all day today. In any case, it's fixed. Yahoo, and Google, and everything else.

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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Canoe man gave himself up amid fears

Expat Tales The Age - A British canoeist who disappeared more than five years ago before reappearing last December says he only came back because he thought his wife was having an affair. John Darwin, 57, disappeared after taking his canoe into the sea near his home in Seaton Carew, Hartlepool, in March 2002. But after he turned up at a London police station in December it has been claimed he had been living next door to his wife and with her in an apartment in Panama City for most of the time. Darwin, who along with wife Anne is being held in custody on charges of deception, has now confided to a fellow inmate about his reasons for returning. "People were always asking him why he came back," freed prisoner Stephen Dodds told the Daily Mirror. "One day while playing pool, he told one of the lads he was unhappy with his wife. "He was convinced she was seeing another man and was going to leave him without a penny. "That was the reason for handing himself in after all that time. "So he decided to come back - which meant she had to give herself up as well." Darwin initially told police he was suffering from amnesia. However, a photograph emerged apparently showing Darwin and his wife in Panama with a property agent. The picture is said to have been taken in July 2006 - more than three years after Hartlepool Coroner Malcolm Donnelly recorded an open verdict on John Darwin's death.
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Happy Birthday, Bond, James Bond... Happy Birthday To You

Entertainment By Delfia Cortez for La Critica - Daniel Craig, who is playing the part of 007 James Bond, celebrated his 39th birthday early along with the team filming the "Quantum of Solace" movie in the Hotel Melia Panama Canal, among tight security. Craig, whose birthday falls on 2 March, celebrated with more than 300 people, among them members of the cast, crew, and executives from United Artists. It was a luxury "Black Tie" celebration with everyone dressed in tuxedos win classic Bond style. The Hotel Meliá is charging more than $500,000 just in room rentals.
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Ricardo Traad Porras, Ex SMN Commander, Goes To Trial

Crime & Punishment Panama America - With handcuffs hidden under a jacket, yesterday Ricardo Traad Porras, the former Commander of Panama's National Maritime Service (SMN), arrived at the first court hearing in the case opened against him for money laundering. (Photo Credit: Alexander Santamaría / EPASA)
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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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