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Wednesday, July 30 2014 @ 09:08 AM EDT

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Taxi Driver Who Killed Television Cameraman Has To Report In...

Law & LawyersPanama's Auxiliary Prosecutor ordered the taxi driver who struck and killed TVN cameraman Bolívar Jurado on the Northern Corridor to report to his office regularly. (more)

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Heavy Rains Cause Flooding, Mudslides...

WeatherAfter the heavy rains that fell starting at noon today, several neighborhoods in Arraiján and in Panama City were flooded, and a small river burst its banks. (more)

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President-Elect Varela Will Be Naming More Ministers This Week

PoliticsBy Friday, June 13th, 90% of the cabinet of President-elect Juan Carlos Varela should be appointed - and the only ones missing will be the Ministers of Agricultural Development and Education, to be announced after June 18. (more)

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Panama's Public Security Minister Mulino Will Travel To US This Week

Panama NewsPanama's Public Security Minister Jose Raul Mulino will sign a memorandum of cooperation and mutual exchange of fingerprint information, for purposes of criminal justice, with a representative from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). (more)

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"I didn't work for myself, I worked for the country" - Lucy Molinar

Schools & EducationEducation Minister Lucy Molinar said she changed Panama's education system to create a structure ensuring the content of the curriculum is updated every two years. (more)

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Supreme Court Keeps Financial Pacific Former Directors On The Sidelines

CorruptionThe Third Chamber of the Supreme Court denied a request made by Ivan Clare, one of the former directors of Financial Pacific, asking for the suspension of a resolution issued by Panama's Superintendency of Market Securities provisionally and indefinitely suspending his license as a securities broker. (more)

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Airbox Express Opens New Branch in Santiago!

Internet Shopping and Mail Forwarding

Santiago is the capital of Veraguas, the only province in Panama with coasts on both oceans. As of May 2014, Santiago is also the the location of the newest Airbox Express branch.

The new branch was officially inaugurated on May 24th 2014. This latest branch is located off the overpass, next to Farmacia Veraguas #2 and will be open Monday through Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm and Saturday 9:00 am – 1:00 pm.

"This is very exciting time for Airbox Express and our customers in Santiago. We want to become the online shopper of choice for the shoppers and businesses of Santiago and now with this branch we can fully serve all of their needs, whether they be Online Shopping solutions, maritime consolidation, air freight or international courier deliveries”, commented Commercial Manager Johnny Sanchez.

“We are proud to be part of the efforts to bring the services of Airbox Express to our beloved Santiago and surrounding communities. This is a step forward in helping our existing regional customers in the interior, as well as the new ones who will be joining our excellent clientele. We seek to complement their projects and ideas by bringing them closer to international commerce opportunities in a fast, affordable and friendly way!”, adds authorized agent Richie Pretto.

For customers who live in the interior, Santiago is a conveniently located branch to pick up their personal mail and packages. The Airbox Express team will be happy to serve you and help you with all your packaging needs.

Save time and hassle by enjoying the benefits of being an Airbox Express customer.

If you are not already a customer, sign up for free at www.airbox.com.pa to obtain an account number and a personalized Miami address.

PANAMA CITY BRANCH OFFICES:

Albrook: Pan Canal Plaza across from Supermercado Rey, Tel: 304-1425 M-F: 9:00 am - 6:30 pm S: 9:00 am - 1:00 pm

Brisas del Golf: Inside Brisas del Golf, Rey Supermarket. Tel: 304-1428 M-F 9:00 am - 7:00 pm S: 9:00 am - 1:00 pm

Calle 50: inside Nikos Café, Tel: 304-1411 M-F: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm S: 9:00 am - 1:00 pm

Centennial: Inside Centennial Mall, Rey Supermarket, Tel: 304-1458 M-F: 8:00 am - 7:00 pm S: 9:00 am - 1:00 pm

El Cangrejo: next to Hotel Granada Calle Eusebio A. Morales, Edificio Marinela, 1st floor. Tel: 269-9774 Fax: 269-9396 M-F: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm S: 9:00 am - 1:00 pm

La Chorrera: Ave Las Americas, across from Plaza Italia, next to local Uno Express. Tel: (507)345-0253 M-F: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm S: 9:00 am - 1:00 pm

BRANCHES OUTSIDE OF PANAMA CITY:

Boquete: enter by Restaurante Bistro Calle 1 primera Sur Tel/Fax: 720-1027 M-F: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm S: 9:00 am - 1:00 pm

Colon: inside Copymatic near Banco General Avenida del Frente, Calle 10 local,Tel: 441-8329 Fax: 441-8329 M-F: 8:00 am a 5:00 pm S: 8:00 am a 5:00 pm

David: Obaldia Avenue, in front Parque de las Madres, Local #3, Tel/Fax : 775-4512 M-F: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm S: 9:00 am - 1:00 pm

Santiago: off the overpass, next to Farmacia Veraguas, Tel: 441-933-5133 , M-F: 8:00 am a 5:00 pm S: 8:00 am a 1:00 pm

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Chong Chon Gang officers await sentence in Panama

Panama NewsBy Michele Labrut from Panama - Three of the 35 North Korean seafarers of the Chong Chon Gang vessel, detained in Panama 10 months ago, were put on trial Wednesday in Panama’s Third Criminal Court.

Those arrested for this case and for whom the Panamanian Organised Crime Prosecutor Roberto Moreno asked a conviction, are the vessel’s captain Ri Yong, the first official Hong Yong Hyon and the Chong Chon Gang’s political secretary Kim Yong Gol. The other 32 seafarers were previously released without charge.

Their Panama counsel, Julio Berrios, requested an abbreviated process. Assisted by a translator, the three defendants pleaded not guilty before Judge Carlos Villarreal.

In his plea, Prosecutor Roberto Moreno said that the three defendants acted with intent to conceal the containers with weapons of war, under the shipment of 250,000 pounds of raw sugar. He said that the Koreans modified the ship's hold to transport containers.

Moreno added that the three North Koreans on trial were the only ones who knew about the shipment of arms and did not report it to the shipping company who made the arrangements for the transit through the Panama Canal.

Counsel Julio Berrios requested absolution because international law applies to states but not to individuals. "In any case, the violation [of the UN Security Council provisions] was from North Korea and Cuba, who is the owner of the weapons," he said. (seatrade-global.com)

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Report Confirms The Missing Dutch Girls Were Not On The Mountain

Expat TalesThe regional director of the National Civil Protection System in Chiriquí, Francisco Santamaria, said the report of the results from the dog handlers from the Netherlands only served to confirm the result of their operations, which determined the two missing Dutch women were not on the mountain trails near Boquete. (more)

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Port of Los Angeles approves nearly $1B budget

Canal ExpansionLOS ANGELES (AP) -- The leaders of the nation's busiest seaport approved a nearly $1 billion budget Thursday that focuses on fending off competitors by expanding and modernizing the sprawling trade complex.

The Port of Los Angeles will spend almost a third of its $939 million budget next year on upgrades to shipping terminals and transportation infrastructure. Those improvements include $107 million for road and railway upgrades to improve traffic and cargo flow, and an additional $136 million for renovations to several of the port's 23 terminals.

The capital spending is key as the port, a major economic engine in Southern California, faces competition from near and far.

The neighboring Port of Long Beach is in the middle of completing about $4.5 billion in structural upgrades. In addition, the expansion of the Panama Canal — slated to be completed in 2016 — will allow larger ships to reach East Coast ports and bypass Southern California altogether. Last year the port finished deepening its main channel to 53 feet, a $370 million upgrade that allows ever-larger vessels to reach the docks.

Last year, about $285 billion worth of cargo — ranging from furniture to scrap metal — passed across its docks, mainly in trade with Asia.

"In the face of fierce and increasing competition from around the world, we must do whatever we can to maintain our position as the nation's premier trade gateway," said Ambassador Vilma Martinez, the president of Los Angeles Harbor Commission.

To partially pay for this year's budget, the port expects to take out $200 million in bonds.

Along with the budget, the port's commissioners also approved the appointment of former shipping executive Gene Seroka as the new director. Seroka's appointment, announced last month by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, must be confirmed by the City Council.

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Heavy Rains Cause Flooding, Traffic Accidents, and Landslides

WeatherThe heavy rain that fell on Panama City this afternoon (Thrusday) left behind several flooded roads and landslides. (more)

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President-Elect Varela's Name Appears In Lavitola Case File in Italy

CorruptionThe president-elect of Panama Juan Carlos Varela appears in the case file against the former Director of the Italian newspaper Avanti, Valter Lavitola, and the former Commercial Director of the Italian group Finmeccanica, Paolo Pozzessere, for alleged bribes paid to Panamanian officials. (more)

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Tocumen Fuel Tank Concession Going To "Friends of Martinelli"

CorruptionPresident-elect Juan Carlos Varela said yesterday the approval of a grant of 4.5 hectares of land is going to "business people who are close to the president (Ricardo Martinelli)" related to a concession for the distribution of jet fuel to aircraft at the Tocumen airport. (more)

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Television Cameraman Killed While Covering A Traffic Accident

Traffic AccidentsBolívar Jurado, a cameraman working for the Televisora Nacional (TVN), was killed on Monday afternoon while covering a traffic accident on the Northern Corridor. (more)

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Preliminary Hearing in Colon Tomorrow For North Korean Ship Crew

Panama NewsTomorrow, Wednesday, 4 June, there will be a preliminary hearing in the Third Criminal Court of Colon in the case of the North Korean sailors who were caught smuggling "weapons of war" under a load of sugar from Cuba through the Panama Canal. (more)

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Panamanian Prosecutors Travel To Italy For Finmeccanica Corruption Case

CorruptionOfficials from Panama's Public Ministry traveled to Italy to learn the details that are being released in that country regarding Lavitola Valter who faces charges of international corruption conducted in several countries, including Panama. (more)

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Crisis In The PRD Worsens: Doens Demands Navarro's Resignation, Again

PoliticsThe leader of the PRD political party Mitchell Doens is not laying off, and he again criticized the party's current Secretary General Juan Carlos Navarro, who he said should step aside after the "resounding defeat" during the May 4th general elections, during which the PRD finished in a historically low third place. (more)

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Belfon: There Is No Arrest Warrant For Hurtado

Panama NewsPanama's Attorney General Ana Belfon said there is no arrest warrant for Maria del Pilar Hurtado, the former head of the Colombian Department of Administrative Security (DAS) intelligence organization. (more)

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Sex Workers In Panama Want A New Law To Protect Them From Governmental Abuse (International Whores' Day)

Nightlife, Bars, and PartyingSex workers in Panama are demanding the passage of a new law to prevent discrimination, and to protect them from abuse by government authorities. (more)

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Panama Leads Central America - Foreign Direct Investment Up 61% in 2013

Money MattersA report released by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) said Panama achieved an increase in foreign investment, which amounted to $4.651 billion dollars. (more)

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SINAPROC Issues Alert For Rains - Coinciding With High Tides

WeatherThe National Civil Protection System (SINAPROC) issued an alert this morning, Monday, 2 June 2014 - due to light to moderate rains that will coincide with high tides. (more)

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Immigration Doesn't Know If Hurtado Is In Panama

Panama NewsThe National Immigration Service does not know if Maria del Pilar Hurtado, the former director of the Department of Administrative Security (DAS ) of Colombia, is still in Panama. (more)

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ACP to charter post-Panamax ship for training in Panama Canal's new locks

Canal ExpansionThe Panama Canal Authority (ACP) will charter a Post-Panamax vessel before the opening of the expanded Canal to be used for training purposes in the Third Set of Locks, the ACP press release said.

The Executive Vice President of Operations Esteban Saenz reported that the Panama Canal will charter a Post-Panamax ship to train pilots and tugboat captains that will assist in transits through the new lane.

Saenz said the vessel will be used several months before the opening of the expanded Canal to test the new locks.

"This is one of the best ways to train our pilots and tug captains in the joint effort required to transit through the two new lock complexes of the expanded Canal," said Saenz. He added that since 2011 the Panama Canal has promoted workforce training for the operation of the expanded waterway.

Panama Canal Updates Simulator for Expanded Canal

Since 2012, a total of 186 of the approximately 280 Canal pilots have been trained at the Panama Canal's Center for Simulation, Research and Maritime Development (SIDMAR) using Post-Panamax model ships.

"SIDMAR's mathematical modelling and simulations have been updated and parts of the expanded Panama Canal such as the locks, navigational channels and Culebra Cut have been added to train our pilots and captains in such maneuvers," added Saenz.

Panama Canal Pilots Train with Post-Panamax Vessels

The Executive Vice President of Operations said that 77% of the Panama Canal pilots have participated in maneuvers with Post-Panamax ships and more than 2,000 operations have been registered with these types of vessels at the ports located on both entrances of the waterway.

In addition, Canal pilots have participated in theoretical and practical training programs in Berendrecht Locks in the Port of Antwerp, Belgium, which are of similar size and operation.

Editor's Comment: I've been contacted by Panama Canal pilots, who have expressed their serious concerns with the design of the new locks. They are experts with decades of experience, and several of them have told me they expect there will be "serious problems" with the planned scheme of using tugboats to move and maneuver these massive ships in the tight confines of the locks. The tugboats won't have the room or space to maneuver, to be able to use their powerful engines to move the ships, especially when the wind is blowing hard. The massive post-Panamax vessels that will be using the new locks present very large side profiles that will act basically as a huge sail. The predicted bottom line is - the ships will be hitting the sides of the locks. Both the locks and the ships will be damaged. And once the ACP figures out that the new scheme won't work when the wind is blowing from X direction over X miles per hour - then they will be forced to shut down operations and delay transits until weather conditions improve. Let's see what happens once they actually start to use it...

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Pileup Causes Backup - Centennial Bridge

Traffic AccidentsTwo 18-wheelers and three cars were involved in an accident today on the road leading to the Centennial Bridge, with no injuries. (more)

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Supreme Court Hearing on Ana Matilde Gomez Sentencing Starts

Law & LawyersShortly after 10:00 am this morning a hearing started at the Supreme Court of Justice to decide on a request made by the former Attorney General and National Assembly Deputy-elect Ana Matilde Gomez. (more)

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Costa Rican Red Cross Joins Search For Missing Dutch Women

Expat TalesMembers of the Costa Rican Red Cross joined the search for the two missing Dutch women today, who disappeared on the "El Pianista" hiking trail in Boquete, Chiriqui. (more)

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SINAPROC Director Denies Wrongdoing In Search For Missing Dutch Women

Expat TalesThe Director of the National Civil Protection System (SINAPROC), Arturo Alvarado said the people who were responsible for finding the two missing young Dutch women, who have been missing since 2 April Boquete, Chiriqui have not overstepped their bounds because they are experts in the subject matter. (more)

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Panama's Supreme Court Declares Asylum Granted To María del Pilar Hurtado To Be Illegal and Unconstitutional

Panama NewsPanama's Supreme Court decided the asylum granted in 2010 to the former Chief of Colombia's Department of Administrative Security (DAS) María del Pilar Hurtado, is illegal because it violated the Constitution. (more)

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Cause Of Fire In Viejo Veranillo Unknown

Safety & Security"It's hard to watch as all of your belongings and appliances go up in flames," said Gloria Barba, one of the 16 people who were left homeless by the fire yesterday in Viejo Veranillo. (more)

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Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz provides aid to rescue friends lost at sea in Panama

Boats and Sailing Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz had just caught David Buchanan’s major-league debut on Saturday night, but baseball was quickly distanced from his mind. Three of his friends back home in his native Panama were missing after their boat capsized.

Despite the distance, Ruiz was able to aid in the effort, providing financial support to pay for extra search boats.

“Whatever he thought he needed to do, he was going to be able to do it,” Juan Samuel said Tuesday, interpreting for Ruiz.

At game time on Sunday, a game in which Ruiz did not play, only one of the three had been found. By the seventh inning, a second had been taken to safety. After the game, Ruiz got the news that the final friend had been rescued after 40 hours in the water.

All three of Ruiz's friends survived.

Editor's Comment: Dale, Chooch...

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