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Wednesday, April 23 2014 @ 10:28 AM EDT

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Panama cited as Bond 22 filming location

Entertainment
James Bond in Panama
James Bond in Panama
MI6 News.com - Shooting for the 22nd James Bond film could be heading to Panama if reports in local press are accurate. According to TeleMetro, location filming for Daniel Craig's second outing as 007 will take place in the country at several sites where agreements have already been signed. Although technically one of 23 countries in North America, it is expected that the coasts of Panama will double a South American country. The news in inline with an earlier casting announcement that the Bond girl will have "South American roots".
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A Threat of a Financial Bubble?

Real Estate
Sooner or Later, the
Sooner or Later, the "Chicken Little's" Will Be Right - But When?
By Jessica Tasón for La Critica - Real estate sales have taken off. The "real estate boom" in Panama seems to be boundless, which is why some are asking if this situation in the construction market could cause a financial bubble. Already in 2006, banks in Panama have granted 23,500 mortgages to buy homes, and for this year an increase of 12% is expected. That is to say there will be an additional 28,200 mortgages granted in 2007. The construction industry has made investments of more than $6 billion dollars, of which $2 billion corresponds to 2007. Annually more than $490 million dollars is paid in wages to construction workers, and more than $92 million dollars is being paid into the Social Security fund. Recently the President of the Panamanian Association of Real Estate Promoters and Agents (ACOBIR), Iván Carlucci, said that in Bogota, Colombia, real estate in Panama is being promoted all over the place with costs from $1,200 to $4,000 per meter. Carlucci said that the projects being offered are in the Panama City area, in places like Punta Pacifica, Balboa Avenue, San Francisco, Obarrio and Costa del Este. The liquid assets of Panamanian banks have increased 44%, whereas the credit portfolio has gone up 17.3%, between January and June of 2007, in comparison to the same period of the previous year, according to statistics from the Nation's Comptroller. The question is what are the banks doing to prevent a possible financial bubble? The Superintendent of Banks, through the Panamanian Banking Association (ABP), maintain a constant communication with regards to internal credit and mortgages.
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Torrijos Visits Remote Areas Where Children Are Dying

Healthcare
Health Ministry Officials Visit Remote Regions
Health Ministry Officials Visit Remote Regions
By Melquíades Vásquez for the Panama America - Panama's President Martín Torrijos said yesterday that he will do "everything humanly possible" to prevent more deaths due to acute respiratory syndrome among the children of the indigenous community of Ñurum, in Veraguas. Torrijos headed a governmental delegation with Health Minister Rosario Turner who traveled to the area to face the problem. Torrijos said that these communities live on the edge of developed areas and have been totally forgotten, but that he promised to provide all medical attention necessary to prevent more children from dying. He visited the different rooms that were established to provide attention to the patients that have been evacuated from the Nögbe Buglé region. There are about 26 children hospitalized in these rooms who have respiratory ailments, or other problems such as diarrhea or vomiting. In addition to Minister Turner, Torrijos was accompanied by officials from the Veraguas Regional Health center and a medical team to provide care to the different communities in the region.



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No Noriega in the History Books

History & Reference
By Jovanka Guardia y José Arcia for La Prensa - No body seems to want to write about Manuel Antonio Noriega. The official history books for elementary and primary schools forget about the time when the ex-strongman governed the country. The reference nearest to these times is contained in a Social Science book used in fifth grade, which says "General Omar Torrijos died in a plane accident on 31 July 1981. Other military officers followed him in power." Everything that happened from 11 October 1968, the date of the military coup that overthrew Arnulfo Arias, until 1 September 1999, the date that Mireya Moscoso took office, is condensed into one half of one page. There is not one single word about Noriega. The omission "is unjustifiable", says Edilcia Agudo, the Director of teh History Department of the University of Panama, because this absence is "terrible" for society, and the books do not form "complete citizens."
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CRIME ALERT.....

Crime & PunishmentLast night, while driving home after having dinner at my house in Palo Alto, two of my friends were surprised to see a fire burning in the middle of the road. The driver of the car has lived in other places where this kind of thing spells real trouble, so she accelerated and quickly drove around the burning blaze. As she did so, young men on the side of the road threw rocks at her car, hitting the windows. She knew better than to stop....and she continued driving quickly away from the scene. She called me, and I called the police, and then drove to the police station to make sure something was done. The desk sergeant radioed the officers that had already been dispatched, and they were on the scene. I then drove the Alto Lino circle from downtown, and found two VERY helpful and concerned police officers who were in the road with their car spotlight searching the coffee rows on the side of the road. No persons were found. These two policemen accompanied me to my house and made sure I was safely inside. They said they would continue to monitor this area. This morning the same two police officers came to my house to inquire as to my well being and to see if any other situations had occurred. I was fine and nothing else occurred last night or this morning. (more)
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OKC doctor first Hispanic to head group

HealthcareAssociated Press - OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - He arrived in Oklahoma City from Panama with only $6 to his name. Nearly 20 years later, Doctor Tomas Patricio Owens is the new president of the 1,200-member Oklahoma Academy of Family Physicians. The 44-year-old Owens is the first foreign-educated and first Hispanic leader of the state organization that was founded in 1948. Born in Panama to parents who also are physicians, Owens was educated at the university in Panama and graduated first in his class. The family name comes from his Irish grandfather, who was an accountant with United Fruit Company in Panama. Owens was attending a medical conference in Venezuela in 1988 when he met Doctor Stephen Spann, who used to be vice chairman of the OU family medicine department. Spann was interested in recruiting and training a Latin American doctor, and political pressures in Panama made the offer all the more attractive for Owens. These days, Owens also chairs the department of family medicine at Integris Baptist Medical Center and has a close involvement with area hospices.

Source: http://www.kswo.com/Global/story.asp?S=7147916

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Porter Adventist team steps up to help Panamanians

Groups & OrganizationsBy Tom McGhee Denver Post Staff Writer - Porter Adventist staff visit a Panama hospital in this photo provided by the hospital. The first lady of Panama, Vivian Fernandez de Torrijos, was at Porter Adventist Hospital this morning to thank the orthopedic staff for regularly sending doctors to her country. Porter doctors have done more than 100 free hip and knee replacements and other surgeries in Panama. (Porter Adventist Hospital) Vivian Fernández de Torrijos, the first lady of Panama, visited Porter Adventist Hospital in Denver on Saturday to thank a team of professionals who have replaced the worn-out joints of some of her country's disabled. "These are people who have no resources, people that have been waiting for years," she said, describing the patients treated by Operation Walk Denver. (more)
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South Seas Pharmaceuticals S.A. and Hospital Punta Pacifica Announce Partnership

HealthcareNewswireToday - Panama, Panama, 09/29/2007 - It was announced today that South Seas Pharmaceuticals S.A. Panama and Hospital Punta Pacifica, Affiliated with Johns Hopkins Medicine International will jointly market Panama as medical tourism destination. Panama is a new destination for the medical tourists, a destination that has every thing available in the modern world of technology. Hospitals that caters for the worlds needs, with savings of up to 30-50% less than in the USA, Europe or the United Kingdom. South Seas Pharmaceuticals are providing fully attended service from arrival to departure to cater for the patient’s individual specific needs and costs. (more)
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Jenna Bush Begins Book Tour and Media Blitz

Books & Reading By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG - WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 — Just a few short years ago, she was a party-loving college girl, sticking her tongue out in view of photographers and giving her parents heartburn. Now Jenna Bush, 25, is sporting a diamond-and-sapphire ring, engaged to be married — though probably not at the White House, her mother says — and heading out on a book tour. America is meeting this new, grown-up Jenna — twin sister of Barbara, daughter of George W. and Laura — this weekend with the publication of her book, “Ana’s Story.” It is a chronicle of Ana, 17, an H.I.V.-positive single mother in Panama whom Ms. Bush encountered while an intern there for Unicef, the international children’s advocacy group. (more)
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Is Panama Getting Serious About Tourism?

Travel & TourismWritten by casey - “The future of tourism in Panama and the World” was the theme for this year’s 7th annual International Tourism Forum, which took place on Sept. 19 at the InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort. The Forum, hosted by the Panama American Chamber of Commerce (PanAmCham), was designed to allow tourism professionals in the country to learn from sustainable models of tourism at home and abroad. This year’s feature speaker was Rohit Talwar, a market expert and futurist from London, who discussed trends in the world tourism business and how they relate to Panama’s situation in the world market. (more)
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Panama frees 5 accused on flight from Cuba

Panama NewsPANAMA CITY, Panama (AP) -- Panama freed four Syrians and a Cuban after finding no evidence they tried to open the cockpit door of a Copa Airlines flight from Cuba, officials said Friday. The five men were released late Thursday after being detained for two days. "There was no proof that they committed any crime," prosecutor Luis Martinez said Friday. Panama earlier had released two other Syrians, both teenagers. The seven people, all traveling in the plane's first-class section, were taken into custody Tuesday in Panama City after the pilot reported that several of them tried to open the locked cockpit door. The men said they mistook the cockpit door for the bathroom. Flight attendants also reported a missing knife after they served breakfast in first-class, further raising suspicions. The knife later was found in the plane. The Syrian passengers were traveling from Damascus to Haiti, for a friend's wedding, officials said. The Cuban was traveling to Argentina.
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Professional Journalism vs. Wanton Barbarism

Panama NewsProfessional Journalism vs. Wanton Barbarism - An expose of Eric Jackson, a modern day 'Atilla’ - In years past, we grew up to respect the public press and their sensitivity to their own responsibility of being sure that their stories were fact checked, substantive and in the public interest. This fostered a sense of trust in what we would read due to the general reliability and accuracy of the articles and stories we were being exposed to. Those of us with a need for some intellectual stimuli especially appreciate the professional reporter or editor who can take the bare facts of a story and present it in a way that stimulates our thought processes, provide added value with insightful perspectives and raise the important issues at hand to a new level of thoughtfulness and awareness. This is the art of professional journalism. (more)
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VFW Post 3835 and Ladies Auxiliary Luncheon (Date Change)

Groups & Organizations (Note: The original post had this event for 2 Oct, and the organizers contacted me to let me know that it is actually on 6 Oct. Sorry.) Back by popular demand... VFW Post 3835 and its Ladies Auxiliary will have its monthly luncheon at Bennigan's (Amador Causeway). We will also have the opportunity to celebrate Oktoberfest here. This luncheon is scheduled on Saturday, October 6 at 1:00. For those of you who have not had the chance to join us for our monthly luncheons, we have a great time - an opportunity to relax and enjoy ourselves. So please join us... everyone is welcomed to come. Have a wonderful day :-) Anita Littesy
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The Sports Book at the Veneto Casino for NFL Football

Sports Section
Don Winner and Rex Freeman
Don Winner and Rex Freeman

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - If you're looking for a good place to catch the games, you might want to try the Sports Book at the Veneto Casino for NFL action on Sunday afternoon. I was working last weekend when I decided to wander up to the casino to check it out and get a burger. I sat down at a table and introduced myself, and it turns out the other expat there was none other than Rex Freeman. Besides being a little more into the 9/11 conspiracy stuff than I, Rex seems like a nice guy who teaches Forex trading practices to rookies. Anyway, we swapped a few stories and watched the games. The NY Giants one their first of the season. Life is good.

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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"The Plane Was In Danger" - Copa Flight Captain

Panama News
Scare Aboard Copa Flight from Havana
Scare Aboard Copa Flight from Havana
By José Otero for La Prensa - The report rendered by Ricardo Adolfo Crosbie, captain of Copa flight 231 in which a confused incident involving six Syrians and one Cuban took place last Monday, indicates he activated the security alarm because he thought "the airplane and the passengers were in danger". The director of Panama's Judicial Technical Police (PTJ), Jose Ayú Prado, informed that this statement was part of the sworn declaration rendered by the captain of the airplane after landing in the airport of Tocumen. The elements that Crosbie captain considered to activate the security protocol aboard the plane, and which started the security operation at the airport, were three, said indicated to Ayú Prado. (more) (Photo Credit:LA PRENSA/Bernardino Freire)
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Securing Panama Canal interests

Panama News
USS Wasp
USS Wasp
By John CK Daly for ISN Security Watch - The US$18 million FA Panamax 2007 military exercises - maneuvers for which the mainstream media's radar barely registered a blip - took place between 29 August and 7 September with the involvement of 19 nations, most of them Latin American. The objective is to ensure joint security over a vital waterway of major strategic interest, especially to the US and China. Held under the auspices of the US Southern Command, the massive operation involved 30 vessels, 12 aircraft and more than 7,500 personnel from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Canada, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Netherlands, Panama, Peru, the US and Uruguay, with El Salvador, Mexico and Paraguay sending observers. The exercise was designed to improve terrorist countermeasures to protect the vital waterway. Simulated ground forces participated at the Soto Cano air base in Honduras. (more)
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Positive Numbers for Torrijos in Panama

Panama News
Martin Torrijos - Official Photo
Martin Torrijos - Official Photo
(Angus Reid Global Monitor) - Panamanian president Martín Torrijos has enjoyed three months of stable public support, according to a poll by Dichter & Neira published in La Prensa. 58.4 per cent of respondents think Torrijos has done a good or excellent job in leading the country. Torrijos—the son of Omar Torrijos, an army general who ruled Panama from 1968 to 1981—won the May 2004 presidential election as a candidate for the Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD) with 47.44 per cent of the vote. In 1999, Panama regained full control of the Panama Canal, the source of 10 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In October 2006, Panamanian voters supported the canal’s $5.25 billion U.S. expansion plan—which would add a parallel set of locks to allow giant cargo ships to pass through the waterway—in a nationwide referendum. (more)
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ACP Welcomes Bids for Second Dry Excavation Project Under Expansion

Canal Expansion
Panama Canal Expansion Underway
Panama Canal Expansion Underway
PANAMA CITY, Panama, September 27, 2007 – The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) released its request for proposal (RFP) Tuesday, September 18, for the second dry excavation project under expansion. This contract is for the second of five excavation projects to create the new Pacific locks access channel. This channel will link the new Pacific locks with the existing Gaillard Cut (the narrowest stretch in the Panama Canal). Details of the RFP are available on the ACP’s Online Bidding System: http://www.pancanal.com/eng/procsales/buy.html. The excavation involves the removal of 7.5 million cubic meters in a stretch of approximately 2.4 kilometers, which will serve as the entrance of the new Pacific access channel. (more)
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Panama Scores Low on Levels of Perceived Corruption

Panama News

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Transparency International, a global coalition against corruption, released their 2007 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) today, in which Panama scored 3.2 on a scale from 1 to 10. The 2007 Corruption Perceptions Index looks at perceptions of public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories - the greatest country coverage of any CPI to date – and is a composite index that draws on 14 expert opinion surveys. Five surveys were used to gather the data in Panama. It scores countries on a scale from zero to ten, with zero indicating high levels of perceived corruption and ten indicating low levels of perceived corruption. The poorest countries suffer most under the yoke of corruption, and it is ultimately their responsibility to tackle the problem. Low scores in the CPI indicate that public institutions are heavily compromised. The first order of business is to improve transparency in financial management, from revenue collection to expenditure, as well as strengthening oversight and putting an end to the impunity of corrupt officials.

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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Florida International University to offer MBA program in Panama

Schools & Education By Doreen Hemlock | South Florida Sun-Sentinel - Florida International University is starting a master's in business administration program in Panama to help train more professionals in Latin America's fastest-growing economy, Jose de la Torre, dean of FIU's business school announced Wednesday. The MBA for working professionals is set to start in April in Panama City's financial district and initially include 50 students. About one-third are expected from Panama's international banks and about one-third from multinational companies expanding in the Central American nation of 3 million people, de la Torre told a breakfast panel on Panama organized by Coral Gables-based media company WorldCity Inc. (more)
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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Fish Market (Schueler Case)

Panama News

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Yesterday afternoon I was planning a celebration. It was my girlfriend's birthday, and I had a special surprise planned. I picked up my son as school and headed to the fish market for some ceviche for the party at the house. On the way there, I was passing by the BBVA building so I decided to stop in and buzz up to the 22nd floor, to see what was going on in the call center Richard James Schueler had set up in Panama. I really didn't know what I would find - maybe an operating call center, maybe just a locked an vacant commercial space, or maybe a sign out front. In any case, it was on the way and I had to stop at an ATM anyway, so... (more)

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"Bitches Ghost" Playing at the Hotel El Panama

Bands & MusicRockin’ Blues Concert - Saturday, September 29, 2007. Hotel El Panama, The Panama Social Club (Formerly Coco’s Lounge), First Show: 9:30p.m., second 11:30 (separate song list for each show) $10 Cover includes both shows. Bitches Ghost, Panama’s true blues band is back by popular demand. The band is made up of expats and Panamanians and includes Rod Richards, the original lead guitar player from the band Rare Earth who topped the charts in the early 70’s with the hits Get Ready, I Just Want To Celebrate, Born To Wander and I Know I’m Losin’ You. If you’re jonesin’ for some good old rockin’ blues, put on your dancing shoes and get on out there.
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Panamanian professor kept from returning to classes at CWRU

Panama NewsCLEVELAND (AP) -- A popular professor at Case Western Reserve University has been stuck in Panama for three months because her visa is being held up at the U.S. Embassy in Panama City. Marixa Lasso's classes have been canceled while students wait for her to return. Lasso says she went home at the end of the spring semester and on July 12th reported to the U.S. Embassy to renew her visa. Her name caused a concern. A spokesman for the U.S. State Department says the government does not comment on specific visa cases. On campus, some fear Lasso is part of a growing pattern of denying foreign scholars visas with little or no explanation. Lasso joined the Case faculty three years ago as an assistant professor of history specializing in Latin America.
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Rod Spiller is in London - Spending Your Money (U Still Da Chump)

Expat Tales
Rod Spiller's Diamonds - U Still Da Chump
Rod Spiller's Diamonds - U Still Da Chump

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - This email was waiting for me when I came in this morning. Apparently Rod Spiller has pulled the plug on his operations in Boquete, Panama, and has hauled ass for London. This email was broadcast to hundreds of Udachu Fund investors yesterday afternoon. There should no be no doubt in anyone's mind that Rod Spiller has no intention of returning any money collected from any of his investors. At least that's what it looks like according to the reports I'm getting. I already spoke briefly with regards to this issue with Panama's Minster of Government of Justice, Daniel Delgado Diamante, to alert him of what's going on now, which is really the trickle-down effect of the confiscation of the smuggled diamons. (more)

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Richard James Schueler - Friggin Spam King

Expat Tales
Richard James Schueler - Spam King
Richard James Schueler - Spam King

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Well, so much for the credibility of Richard James Schueler. For the record, that too about two hours, two emails, and three web searches to verify. Here's the deal. Bennett Haselton started Peacefire.org in 1996 to represent the rights of people under 18 on the Internet and to debate freedom of speech. He sued Richard James Schueler and won, claiming he had received unsolicited email messages (spam) bearing deceptive information such as a forged return e-mail address or misleading subject line. Haselton's lawsuit against Schueler invoked Washington state's anti-spam law. (more)

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Richard James Schueler - Part Three

Expat Tales

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - This is truly absurd. On the Panama Forum Yahoo Email Group there is an active discussion regarding my reporting on the Richard Schueler case. People are are attacking me personally, specifically Jim Dutton, the owner of the Panama CEW cesspool, but since I am banned from participating in that forum by Leslie Aldridge, I am forced to respond here. The really wierd thing is that there are approximately 2,500 members on the Panama Forum email group, and I see some 60,000 plus unique users on Panama Guide every month. So I'm sure that many of you are wondering what's going on... (more)

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Murder charge against leader is ‘800-pound gorilla’ facing U.S.-Panama trade deal

Panama News
Pedro Miguel Gonzalez - The 800 Pound Gorilla
Pedro Miguel Gonzalez - The 800 Pound Gorilla
By Ian Swanson for The Hill.com September 26, 2007 - Democratic and Republican leaders of the House Ways and Means Committee said Tuesday that Panama’s election of a man wanted for murdering a U.S. soldier as head of its legislative assembly could jeopardize a trade deal with that country. “We were troubled that they would elect somebody for whom there’s a warrant for his arrest in the United States,” said Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.), who chairs the panel’s trade subcommittee. Levin spoke after Ways and Means gave its unanimous approval to a trade agreement with Peru in an informal markup. Levin said he and other Democrats, including Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), have raised the issue with the State Department, which previously had indicated the election of Pedro Miguel Gonzalez should not stand in the way of Congress approving a trade deal between the U.S. and Panama. (more)
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Syrians Who Can't Find the First Class Bathroom Make People Nervious

Crime & Punishment

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Here's the story on the six Syrians and one Cuban who were arrested on Copa Flight #231 from Havana, Cuba this morning. There were six Syrians traveling together in a group. They were seated in the first-class section of the aircraft. The people who are in first class are given "real" silverware to eat their dinners. At some point the flight crew noticed that one knife was missing. In addition, passengers noticed that the Syrians were acting suspiciously. When one of them went to use the bathroom in the first class section he tried to open the door to the cockpit "by accident." The door was locked, and he proceeded to enter the bathroom. (more)

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Syrians Detained on Panama-Bound Plane

Crime & PunishmentBy JUAN ZAMORANO – PANAMA CITY, Panama (AP) — Six Syrians were detained in Panama on Tuesday after the crew on their flight from Cuba alerted authorities to suspicious behavior. An aviation official denied police reports that the Syrians tried to open the cockpit door. "This is not a hijacking," said Victor de la Hoz, spokesman for the Panamanian Civil Aviation Authority. Panama's National Police director, Rolando Mirones, said earlier that the passengers approached the cockpit "apparently with the intention of opening a door." But de la Hoz said the Copa Airlines crew simply notified authorities on the ground that a knife was missing after they served the meal in the first-class cabin, where the Syrians were sitting. He did not say whether the Syrians were suspected of taking the knife.
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Unknown man violates security at US embassy in Panama City

Crime & PunishmentDigital Journal - An unidentified man on Tuesday was arrested for violating the security of US diplomatic facilities in Panama City. The man broke into the residence of US Ambassador William Eaton. The suspect claimed he had spent all his money at a casino and in drugs and was looking for a comfortable place to rest. Panamanian security forces were investigating the man to rule out other motives.
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