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Thursday, August 21 2014 @ 11:55 PM EDT

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Balboa Ave - Closed and then Back Open 7:33

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - SUNTRACS construction workers came out early and closed Ave Balboa briefly, but then they returned to their job site relatively quickly without provoking any kind of exchange of rocks or tear gas with responding riot police. Ave Balboa is now back open, and the SUNTRACS workers are back at work. Now it appears the SUNTRACS leadership, representatives of the Panamanian government, and the Panamanian Construction Board (CAPAC) will sit down to meet at the Defensoria Del Pueblo at 9:00 am this morning.

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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Near Via Israel - 7:30

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Striking SUNTRACS construction workers started exchanging rocks for tear gas with riot police in front of the ATLAPA convention center on Via Israel early this morning. The riot police have a full contingent there and actually outnumbered the protesters. They pushed the protesters off of the street using their wall of shields, and have maintained control of the critical intersection where the Southern Corridor connects to the coast near ATLAPA.

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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Here We Go Again, At Least For A Little While

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - It looks like the conflicts between SUNTRACS and riot police are starting up again today. As of right now there are protesters on Via Israel (near Atlapa) and Ave. Balboa. I'm just getting a handle on the locations, so stand by...

Copyright 2008 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Panama Releases Report on ’06 Poisoning

Healthcare By WALT BOGDANICH for the NY Times - Panamanian investigators have concluded that at least 174 people were poisoned, 115 of them fatally, by counterfeit cold medicine linked to an unlicensed Chinese chemical plant. The report was the government’s first effort to offer a precise toll of those killed and disabled in the mass poisoning in 2006. But the head of the agency that prepared the report, Dr. José Vicente Pachar, said the number of victims was bound to be much higher because many in remote areas of the country were unlikely to report their cases to the government. “The figures we have are the tip of the iceberg,” Dr. Pachar, director of the Institute of Legal Medicine of Panama’s Public Ministry, said in an interview. “We will never know the full extent.” (more) (Photo Credit: Ángel Franco/The New York Times)
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Panama, Guatemala sign free trade agreement

Money MattersPANAMA CITY (Xinhua) -- Panama and Guatemala inked a free trade agreement (FTA) Wednesday to boost bilateral trade after nine rounds of negotiations. The pact, which still requires the ratification of the two countries' legislatures, will help Panama expand its trade not only with Guatemala but with the whole of Central America, said Panama's Commerce and Industry Minister Alejandro Ferrer. Guatemala is Panama's second biggest trade partner in Central America, and their bilateral trade volume reached 120 million U.S. dollars in 2007, up 15 percent from the 2006 figure. After the accord comes into effect, 93 percent of Panama's exports to Guatemala and 80 percent in the reverse direction will be tariff-free, according to a communique released by Panama's Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Panama has to date signed FTAs with all the other four Central American countries, namely El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, besides Singapore, China's Taiwan, Chile and the United States.
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Photos of Protesters From The BBC

Protests & Demonstrations From the BBC: Panama Protests in Pictures - There's a good shot of the new water canon being deployed for the first time against protesting college students near the University of Panama who came out to close Transistmica yesterday afternoon. Hit the link to see the photos.
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Property values in Panama will 'double' over the next few years

Real EstateChoices.co.uk - Panama is set to become an "opportune" location for property investment this year, it has been claimed. David Redfern, managing director of overseas market specialists David Stanley Redfern, maintained that the country would see property values double over the next three to five years. He said that there were many other factors which made Panama appealing to investors, such as low living costs, which are 25 per cent of those in the UK, and "enticing" tax incentives. "Combined with its unrestricted foreign ownership and straightforward purchase processes, it's certainly appealing." Mr Redfern also added that the country had a great potential for tourism, which was as yet unrealised. "Panama's a coastal country situated between the popular Caribbean and Pacific oceans and has stunning palm trees and beaches to finish, everything you could want from a holiday destination in that part of the world. "Panama hosts great potential for both financial and recreational investment indeed."
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Petaquilla working on new mine plan for Panama project

Gold & MiningBy Liezel Hill for Miningweekly.co.za - Vancouver-based Petaquilla Copper (PTC) is developing a new mine plan for its jointly-owned Petaquilla copper project, in Panama, after initial results from a front-end engineering and design (Feed) study into the project cast doubt on whether construction would begin by the January 1, 2009, deadline agreed to with the country's government. PTC holds 52% of Minera Petaquilla SA, which owns the project, and fellow Canadian Inmet Mining owns the balance. A third Canada-based miner, Teck Cominco, has the right to buy half of PTC's interest by committing, before March 31, to participate in work plans and budgets leading to commercial production, and by committing to fund 52% of the development costs for the project. (more)
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Panama Relatives Say Hundreds Poisoned

Panama NewsBy JUAN ZAMORANO – PANAMA CITY, Panama (AP) — Panama's government has vastly underestimated the number of people who died from taking medications tainted with a chemical commonly found in antifreeze and brake fluid, family members and a lawyer for the victims said Thursday. The official death toll, set late last month in a report by the attorney general's Legal Medicine and Forensic Science Institute, is 115. But victims' families dispute the methodology used to produce that figure and estimate the number of poisoning deaths at up to 300. "We do not agree with that investigation and we don't share their methodology," Gabriel Pascual, the leader of a committee representing victims' families, told The Associated Press. Pascual says his grandmother died after taking poisoned cough syrup in October 2006. (more)
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Hey, Officer Rivieri - Chill, Dude...

Entertainment

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - I'm sorry, this was just too funny to pass up. Here's some fat-assed cop in Baltimore venting rage on a couple of 14 year-old kids for skateboarding in public. Apparently what really pissed off "Officer Rivieri" is the kids calling him "dude." This has nothing at all to do with Panama, and I'm sure the kids were terrified of an over-the-top (dumb assed) cop going off on them in a rage, but try this. Play the tape once, and then play it again and you'll see the real reason why this guy is pissed off. He has to wear those pants and drive in that dumb little car. He's been both spayed and neutered, and he apparently doesn't like it. Wait, I have to call Baltimore... If this guy didn't look like a cross between an Umpa-Loompa and a bumble bee it wouldn't be so bad. Hey, try this - run his speech with a "Daffy Duck" accent (makes it even more funny.)

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Panama-Guide as Freak Magnet

What is PG?

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - I have no idea what drives some people. Lately I've noticed there are people who come to the website simply to give low ratings to all of the articles. Awhile ago I installed a little plugin program allowing readers to provide some feedback with a single click of a button - 1 star is "bad" and 5 stars is "good." I left it open for anonymous users to rate articles. As usual some weird obsessed freak out there has taken it upon himself to rate every article with a low rating. As a result you now have to log on as a user in order to rate the articles. Whatever, this is just another example of the stupid little things I have to put up with. I've also blocked several IP's as a result. In any case have a great day (non-freaky) day.

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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Protests and Riots Hurt Tourism and Cause Millions in Losses

Protests & Demonstrations By Mireya Rodríguez for the Panama America - The riots yesterday in Panama City and Colon brought serious losses to the economy. Cruise ship activity was paralyzed, as was commerce in the Colon Free Trade Zone and tourism in general. Jaime Campuzano, manager of the El Panama hotel, said some clients called to cancel reservations they had in the restaurant today to celebrate Valentine's Day. Other activities within the hotel were delayed because of the disturbances, he added. Other hotel owners agreed that these kinds of protests damage tourist activity. Some 2,000 passengers on a cruise from Miami aboard the MSC Lirica could not enjoy tourist activities in Colon. Riots and protests in the area made it impossible and not safe for them to go out on the tour that was programmed for them. Augusto Terracina, the manager of Aventuas 2000, said the cruise ship was docked at Pier 6 in Cristóbal. The passengers aboard the cruise ship were Italian, German and French, among other nationalities. These types of situations, said Terracina, harm the tourist industry as well as the image of the country. There are two cruise ships programmed to arrive on Sunday, and the 2007-2008 season is only half over. Commercial activity within the Free Zone of Columbus was also affected by the disturbances. David Cohen, the President of the Users Association said losses are in the millions because in some companies workers could not get to their jobs.
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SUNTRACS Causes Chaos

Protests & Demonstrations La Prensa - Protests and riots yesterday in Panama City, Colón, Coclé and Chiriquí left at least 26 wounded, about 500 people under arrest, dozens of people affected by tear gas, endless traffic jams, and significant material losses. The protests were led by the SUNTRACS construction union after a striking labor leader died in Colon on Tuesday in an incident involving a police officer. After lamenting the death of the worker, the Minister of Government and Justice Daniel Delgado Diamante warned that "measures to control public order" will be applied in order to guarantee the right to free circulation, to include "police force" when necessary. "We are going to restore the order, [ in addition ] to apprehend to all those that violate that right", he added. Labor Minister Edwin Salamín called upon SUNTRACS leaders to meet with him on Friday in the Defensoria del Pueblo" to discuss issues of job safety. SUNTRACS Secretary Genaro López said last night, after a union meeting, that they are not going to yield until safety measures are approved, even if they "intimidate us with bullets and pellets" and he called upon the workers to "close ranks." In addition he announced a march today to the Presidency. The Panamanian Chamber of Commerce rejected the protests and the violence promoted "by those who do not share the democratic values nor the state of rights that govern the country," and said they trust that the security of "the majority" who do not share protest methods will be guaranteed.
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The Driving Forces Behind Panama’s Economy - Developing Sustainable Growth

Money Matters SAAM Consulting is organizing an economic conference: "The Motors Behind the Panamanian Economy: Working Towards Sustainable Growth Over Time" which will be held at the Marriott Hotel on 19 - 20 February 2008 (click here for brochure). Throughout history Panama has been a pivotal trade route and a crossroads for world commerce. In the past few years an influx of new foreign investors have recognized the investment potential represented by Panama's excellent geographic position as well as its human and natural resources. Economic projections predict strong and uninterrupted growth for the near to midterm. Economic risk in Panama is reduced thanks to fundamental strengths as well as significant political and institutional changes implemented since in the last ten years. With the transfer of the Panama Canal to Panamanian control and monetary stability provided by having the US dollar as the national currency, the Panamanian economy has been booming as the strongest growing economy in Latin America in 2007. Panama enjoys a stable political and macroeconomic environment as well as low inflation. There have been sector consolidations and increasing foreign direct investments over the last 5 years. But growing foreign debt, budgetary constraints, and an open economy susceptible to global influences could potentially have a negative impact on the Panamanian economy. (more)
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A Replay of August 2007 SUNTRACS Demonstration

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - On 26 July 2007 four construction workers were killed in an accident on the job in San Francisco. The accident occurred on the job site of the Torre 7400 and is being built by the Corcione Group, and this job site was not organized by the SUNTRACS labor union, but rather by another construction union. Of course the accident causing the death of the four construction workers was a terrible thing but it was in fact an accident. The worst thing for SUNTRACS was that their representatives were literally thrown off of this job site by the workers there, and it appeared they would be unable to "use" the issue of job site safety for their own political purposes. So, they decided to create a reason and to make the issue their own. (more)

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SUNTRACS Has Called A March for 4:00 PM This Afternoon

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - One of the leaders of the SUNTRACS labor union Saul Mendez said their organization has called for a "massive" march this afternoon at 4:00 pm. As of 7:00 am there are no strikes or demonstrations in the city.

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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U.S. Embassy Warning Message for Tomorrow Morning

Protests & DemonstrationsDate: Wed, 13 Feb 2008 16:57:26 -0500 From: Panama-ACS@state.gov - Dear Wardens: Please disseminate to U.S. citizens in your area. Thank you! WARDEN MESSAGE - UPDATE The U.S. Embassy would like to alert the American Community to the following information: Due to the possibility of violent protests throughout Panama City during morning rush hour, the Consular section, will delay its opening on Thursday, February 14 to 9:00 a.m. The demonstrations are in response to the killing of a member of Suntracs, a construction worker's union in the city of Colon. (more)
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Riots and Protests - What To Expect For Tomorrow

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Tomorrow according to SUNTRACS union leader Saul Mendez, construction workers will be returning to the street to continue the protests they started today. Most of the protesting is being done by members of the Sindicato Único Nacional de Trabajadores de la Industria de la Construcción y Similares (SUNTRACS) (Single National Union of Construction and Similar Workers). They received support from the different university student organizations as well as administrative workers from the Office of Social Security who came out to close Transistmica later in the afternoon. (more)

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"Lynx" Officer Shoots and Kills Protester in Colon (Yesterday)

Protests & DemonstrationsLa Critica - A SUNTRACS member and college student Al Iromi Emoir Smith Rentería, 28 years old, died yesterday after having been shot by a member of the "Lince" (Lynx) motorcycle forces of the Panamanian National police outside of the Hugo Spadafora medical clinic, during a long day of protests in the city of Colon. SUNTRACS leader Saúl Méndez said "they will have to kill them all one by one", because they will remain in the streets. In addition, he alleged that government "thugs" are responsible for the murder of Smith. According to the police version of events, striking construction workers attacked and struck the police officers from behind; that one of the police officers fell to the ground; and that the construction workers began to kick him and tried to take his service weapon; which is why his partner opened fire.
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Photos of SUNTRACS and Sutdents Strike

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Several people have been sending me photos of the strikes and demonstrations today. Several have asked to remain anonymous, primarily because they don't want the protesters knowing who's taking pictures of them. I went down to Transistmica today and got around behind the striking university students for about an hour. This article is a collection of the photos I've received from readers and a few I've taken myself. Thanks, and keep 'em coming... (more)

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Construction Worker Dies in Protests (In Colon, Yesterday)

Protests & Demonstrations By Ana Bolena Ayarza and Saúl Quintero for El Siglo - One construction worker died, two were injured, and more than 30 were arrested as a result of a conflict between the Panamanian National Police and striking SUNTRACS construction workers which occurred during the morning hours yesterday in Colon. The protests started in the early morning hours near Puerto Escondido in the area of Cristóbal. National Police units responded to the protest with orders to reopen the road being blocked by the protesters. Félix De León, 24 years old, was injured and was taken to the Manuel Amador Guerrero hospital in Colon. Donaldo Pinilla González, 28 years old, was injured in his hand and was taken to the Hugo Spadafora clinic in Coco Solo. The medical attention the workers received caused an argument with the police officers who tried to enter the hospital. As a result one of the motorcycle units ("Linces") was hit several times and injured in the confrontation. But 28 year-old Iromit Smith Rentería took the worst part of the confrontation, because he was shot several times and died in the operating room. (more)
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Riot Police Unit Surrounded

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - A small group of riot police on Transistmica are basically surrounded in front of the Social Security hospital. According to the on scene reporter from TVN 2, the police units appear to be out of ammunition (tear gas and rubber bullets) and they are worried that the protesters who are surrounding them on all sides might rush them. If that happens then they will have no recourse but to use their service weapons. And then of course, this being Panama, the live coverage of the riots was interrupted in order to watch the lottery numbers being pulled.

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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Tear Gas Effecting Patients in CSS Hospital

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - The tear gas being fired against protesters is effecting patients in the Social Security hospital. Someone just called into TVN 2 to report that a patient went into convulsions because of the gas.

Now Tumba Muerto Now workers from a building that's going up near the entrance to Condado del Rey have come down to close Tumba Muerto, and are currently trading rocks and tear gas.

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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Now Southern Corridor Closed at Costa del Este

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - This is what's going on. There are construction projects all over the city, many of them being built by construction workers loyal to the SUNTRACS labor union. In each one of these buildings there are at least 50 to 100 workers. What they are doing is coming down out of their building to protest, close the street and throw some rocks for a few hours, and then they just stop and go back to work. At this moment a group of workers has come down out of a building being built in the Costa del Este and they have closed the Southern Corridor highway and the entrances to the highway at the Costa del Este business park. (more)

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Photos from Dale

Protests & DemonstrationsPhotos by Dale Knipple for Panama-Guide.com -



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Live Coverage Dropping from Television - 10:20 am

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Channel 4 and 13 have dropped their live "stone by stone" coverage of the protests and riots currently raging all over Panama City in the Republic of Panama. This is an overview of the situation at this time:



Heading Out: I'm going to head out to my local neighborhood riot to get some images. Back in a few.

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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New Group on Calle 50 in San Francisco - 10:06 am

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - A new group of protesting SUNTRACS workers have materialized in San Francisco near the McDonalds restaurant near Calle 54 and are expected to close Calle 50 at or near that point.

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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Transistmica and Tumba Muerto Closed At Overpass - 10:04 am

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - A "massive" group of SUNTRACS construction workers have arrived at the intersection and overpass where Tumba Muerto crosses Transismica, and they have taken control of that intersection and closed the road. Now the following roads are closed - Transistmica, Ave Balboa, Tumba Muerto, Justo Arosemena, Ave Cuba, Via Israel, as well as all roads leading into Colon and the exits from the Southern Corridor leading into Panama City.

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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Ave. Balboa and Frederico Boyd Intersection Closed - 9:57

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Riot police units were recently surrounded and forced to withdraw from the area near the Parque Urraca, in front of the Miramar building at the intersection of Ave Balboa and the Frederico Boyd road that comes down the hill from Via Espana. Police units have pulled back, and the workers control the entire area. In addition, the group of workers that marched up toward Transismica have reached the road, confronted police, and Transistmica is now closed.

Copyright 2008 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Police Trying to Enter Vista Marina Building - 9:50

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Right now riot police are trying to enter the construction site of the Vista Marina building, and construction workers inside of the building are resisting heavily, throwing everything they have at the police. Riot police are filling the building with tear gas.

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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