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Sunday, April 20 2014 @ 04:56 PM EDT

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The US Congress Should Ponder the Benefits - Héctor Alemán

Politics
Héctor Alemán
Héctor Alemán
By Carlos Estrada Aguilar for La Critica - The President of the Foreign Relations Commission of the National Assembly Héctor Alemán said the congress of the United States should consider the bilateral Free Trade Agreement, just as the Panamanian National Assembly did in extraordinary sessions. "Our Parliament has been able to identify the conveniences of a Free Trade Agreement with the United States and therefore we hope our counterparts make the same objective examination," he said.
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"El Toro" is Toast in the PRD

Politics
Dead Bull, Dragged From The Ring
Dead Bull, Dragged From The Ring

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Political insiders from the Partido Revolucionario Democratico (PRD) (Revolutionary Democratic Party) tell me Ernesto "El Toro" Perez Balladares decided not to attend the general assembly meeting of the PRD last week because he knew that he would not be the center of attention. His supporters who did attend the meeting intended to propose a resolution that would have helped "El Toro's" chances in the party primary elections that will be held next March. People loyal to Martin Torrijos knew it was coming, and they presented their own proposal first, effectively undercutting the other side. (more)

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Martin Torrijos Leaving for New York

Panama News
Panama's President Martin Torrijos - Road Trip!
Panama's President Martin Torrijos - Road Trip!
By Abdiel Zarate for La Estrella - Panama's President Martin Torrijos will spend six days on a working visit to New York in the United States. This afternoon he will depart for New York. Tomorrow morning he will meet with the Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon. Tomorrow afternoon he will attend celebrations to commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States, and later will throw out the first pitch at a baseball game between the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue jays. On Monday he will attend the inauguration of the plenary session on climatic change in United Nations, and will have meeting with members of Major League Baseball. On Tuesday the 25th he will attend the 62nd Assembly General at the United Nations and at 3:00 pm he will speak before the UN. (more)
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Ex-PDF General Foils Armed Home Invasion and Robbery Attempt

Crime & Punishment
Retired General Rubén Darío Paredes
Retired General Rubén Darío Paredes
By Santiago Cumbrera for the Panama America - An increase in the numbers of home invasion robberies, often violent, have caused alarm in the area of Las Cumbres. The luxurious residences of this community have become the target of delinquents, who start off by poisoning the dogs of the residence. The most recent victim was Retired General Rubén Darío Paredes, who faced the delinquents who entered his house at dawn yesterday with a personal firearm. The robbers intended to tie up and gag their victims according to investigators, in order to control their victims while they ransacked the house. At the scene police found a large roll of duct tape and a large pair of pliers the thieves had used to gain entry to the house, indicating according to the general that they intended to "tie up and torture" him and his family in order to rob them. Paredes faced the delinquents with a revolver that he has had since he was a military commander, and in the exchange of gunfire his wife was wounded. This robbery attempt is similar to the crime committed against the ex-director of SINAPROC Arturo Alvarado early in this year in the same community.
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Transportation Law Put On Hold

Cars & Transportation
Diablo Rojo in Panama City
Diablo Rojo in Panama City
By Leonardo Flores for La Prensa - Panama's National Assembly decided yesterday to postpone the second debate on the proposed law that would reform the public transportation system. At the same time both transportation union leaders and groups of organized transportation users requested that the bill be returned to first debate for modification. Action on the bill has been frozen to allow for consultations with all sides in an effort to obtain some kind of consensus before moving it forward. All of this happened yesterday a few hours before a meeting called by the Panamanian Association of Business Executives, representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, the office of the Ombudsman, civic clubs and organizations, the Ecumenical Committee, the Catholic Church, transportation workers and users, in order to find some kind of integral solution or way to improve the public transportation system. A survey conducted by La Prensa shows that most Panamanians think the action in the National Assembly is little more than a public show to benefit carriers, or that the proposed law will not change anything for users.
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U.S., Florida officials urge passage of free-trade deals with Panama, Peru and Colombia

Money Matters
US Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez
US Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez
By Doreen Hemlock South Florida Sun-Sentinel - Top federal and state officials called Thursday for Congress to approve three pending U.S. free-trade deals with Latin American countries, saying the agreements would help boost exports, jobs and democracy in the Western Hemisphere at a critical time. Congress is studying agreements with Panama, Peru and Colombia, all U.S. allies with fast-growing economies. The new Democratic majority has warmed to deals with the first two, smaller countries but remains cold to a deal with larger Colombia mainly because of U.S. labor pressures. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez told the annual Americas Conference in Coral Gables that rejecting any or all of the three countries would "probably be one of the biggest foreign policy mistakes we can make in Latin America in our time." (more)
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Expats West on 26 Sept 2007 in Coronado

Groups & OrganizationsExPatsWest meets on the 4th Wednesday of each month. We have grown from less than 40 at our first social, to more than 150. We will be gathering on the 26th of September 2007, starting at 5:00pm or whenever you get there. Our get-together will be in Coronado at El Rincon del Chef, as usual. Because our group is so large, Chef Fernando Paredes prepares a buffet for us. The cost is a special price of $10.00 plus tax per person for the buffet with no pensiondo visa discounts. It is a great buy featuring lots of choices plus desserts! Each month, the Chef tries something new for us. What follows is an update of an article I wrote for the Panama Guide. Remember, it is always the 4th Wednesday of the month! See you there. (more)
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Caught In The Rain

Weather
Panama's Rainy Season
Panama's Rainy Season

Text and Photos by DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - I got caught in a downpour yesterday, and of course I had neglected to bring my umbrella with me so it was either get wet or wait it out. I decided to stay under cover and to make the most of my time by snapping some pictures of passers-by as they dealt with the deluge in their own way. Everyone was smiling with a "grin and bear it" attitude. Panama's rainy season really gets going starting about now, and there will be much more frequent and heavier rains through the end of November.

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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International Living Study Says Mexico Best Country to Retire

Real Estate BALTIMORE, Sept. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- International Living magazine - a leading resource for helping people live, travel, and prosper overseas - has released its 15th Annual Global Retirement Index. Mexico jumped four places to take the top spot as the world's top retirement haven. It is praised as an affordable combination of modern features and old-world charm. "Mexico offers the perfect mix of centuries-old traditions and contemporary lifestyles. Moving to Mexico means you can still have all of the amenities you grew accustomed to north of the border: cable TV, high-speed Internet, and modern home appliances," says Laura Sheridan, International Living's managing editor. (more)
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Bush says free trade pacts a test for Congress

Money Matters
President George W. Bush
President George W. Bush
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush urged Congress on Thursday not to give into protectionism and instead pass four pending free trade agreements with Peru, Colombia, Panama and South Korea. "We'll work hard to get all four trade agreements," Bush told reporters at the White House. "If they don't get through, it's a sign that the protectionists are beginning to be on the ascendancy here in Congress and that would be a mistake." The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to take the first step toward expected congressional approval of the Peru free trade agreement later on Thursday, followed by the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee next week. (more)
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TPA – What impact on exPats doing business now in Panamá?

Money MattersBy Guiselle Solano and Tom Rowley, Ph.D., CPA for Panama QuickBooks.com - We have reviewed the principal sections of the US International Trade Commission analysis of the impacts of the proposed Trade Promotion Agreement. We looked at the sections that deal with Financial Services, Investment, Professional Services and to a lesser extent, Intellectual Property Rights. Our focus was to get a feel for the potential impact to our client base and target market – exPats in the hospitality and real estate related businesses. (more)
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"Naitafun" Party on Friday Night - AMSOC

Groups & OrganizationsIf you have not yet picked up your tickets please do so as the "Nitafun" party is this Friday. We have already gotten a great response to this upcoming event. Please contact one of us to get your tickets. The tickets will be available from your usual contact as of tonight. I want to see you all "Shake your Battie's" while you twist and shout! Do you want to Dance? Do you want to dance to your favorite tunes from the 60's, 70's & 80's? Do you want to Shake, Rattle & Roll? Well, we are going to give you that opportunity! The opportunity to go down memory lane and have your "Naitafun" all over again !!! Friday 21 Sept 8 p.m. - 1 a.m. Hotel Panama's Social Club. Event Coordinator: John Beavers 233-5318, Kathie Mattson & Joe Pulvino 250-0235, Rita Sosa 260-0671, Roz Baitel Golf Plaza"Promises" 270-7457, Robert W. Samuels 232-5622, Ahmed Abdel Ghany, 270-2515, Sandra Abell 315-0565, Cedric Gittens 223-5526, Mary Arreaga 315-6029, Thomas Lord 315-2408, Robert Emerick 314-0480, Marilyn Johnson 250-0799, Eunice Greaves 229-4009 / 6616-1896, Charly Garcia 270-0931 / 6618-8877 He also has tickets at the dental clinic. Or email us at American.Society.Panama@gmail.com for tickets.
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Invasive Crab Species Identified In Panama Canal Expansion Area

Animals & Pets
Harris Mud Crab
Harris Mud Crab
Science Daily — A Smithsonian scientist and colleague report that a potentially harmful, invasive crab species that has spread to several countries is now established and reproducing in Panama. The researchers report that Harris mud crabs are reproducing in the small, man-made lake designated to become the third set of locks in Panama's new $5 billion canal expansion project. Harris mud crab (Rhithropanopeus harrisii) is an invasive species in Panama. Mark Torchin, a staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, and Dominique Roche, a McGill University pre-doctoral student, report their research in the September issue of Aquatic Invasions. (more)
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Inter-Party Opposition Primaries "Madness" - Ricardo Martinelli

Politics
Ricardo Martinelli
Ricardo Martinelli
By Santiago Cumbrera for the Panama America - The presidents of the five larges opposition political parties all speak of "unity," but any time someone mentions the phrase "inter-party primaries" they get uncomfortable. Ricardo Martinelli, President of the Cambio Democratico (CD) political party, calls this kind of a mechanism "inter-planetary" and says it's a madness created by those who are not doing well in the polls. In addition he accuses the government of promoting this mechanism to choose to "the worst" candidates as representatives of the opposition.
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Pedro Miguel Gonzalez Looking For Another Job

Politics
Pedro Miguel Gonzalez
Pedro Miguel Gonzalez
By Flor Mizrachi Angel for La Prensa - Pedro Miguel González says he never imagined the reaction by the United States to his election to the Presidency of the National Assembly would be so strong. He thought it was nothing that could not be solved through conversation. Now he is refusing to resign based on "principles," he is sure that the Free Trade Agreement with the United States will be ratified. "The question is when," he said. He said that someone, not Martin Torrijos, and someone that he preferred not to name, has offered him a position on the executive cabinet. He admitted, in addition, that he is considering running for a position on the National Executive Committee (CEN) of the PRD. (Photo Credit: LA PRENSA/Edwards Santos)
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Remarks at the AACCLA 40th Annual Meeting

Money Matters
John D. Negroponte
John D. Negroponte
John D. Negroponte, Deputy Secretary of State Washington, DC September 18, 2007 - Thank you for your kind introduction, Kathleen. It’s a pleasure to be here at the 40th Meeting of the Association of the American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America. I’d like to personally thank Kathleen and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for hosting this conference. Secretary Rice sends her best wishes and thanks for everything that the AACCLA does to promote trade and investment between the nations of Latin America and the U.S. Ladies and Gentlemen: We have defined 2007 as a year of great engagement with Latin America. We are able to see with unusual clarity a convergence of purpose in the hemisphere. This moment grows out of a long and bipartisan effort in U.S. policy, and we are building on that tradition. Our priorities and interests align closely with those of our democratic neighbors, and we are setting the foundation for a more secure and stable Western Hemisphere. (more)
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Panama legislature to debate maritime reform

Law & Lawyers Xinhua - Panama's legislature, the National Assembly, on Tuesday is debating a maritime law reform, sent by the executive to boost investment and consolidate the nation as a center for maritime services, Panama's vice president Ruben Arosemena said on Tuesday. He said he had formally presented the project to the assembly on Monday night alongside Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) administrator, Fernando Solorzano. There are four parts to the reform: a reform to the Maritime Justice Procedure, a new General Ports Law, the new General Merchant Marine Law and the Maritime Trade Law, which reforms the second book of the Panama Trade Code. (more)
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Panama Police Grills Island Czar

Crime & PunishmentPanama, Sep 18 (Prensa Latina) The Panamanian police revealed Tuesday new details of the identity and businesses by a Colombian citizen, who had purchased an island from Las Perlas Archipelago and had several companies dedicated to money laundering. Alleged drug trafficker Jose Nelson Urrego Cardenas, detained Saturday on Chaperas Island where he tried to build a tourist complex, moved at least $13 million in the bank system, supported by a false identity card. Urrego, 53, entered the country in 2001, after serving a 75-month sentence in a Colombian jail for illegal enrichment. After reporting his capture, the national police stated he had a Panamanian ID card, expired in 2003, and owned two companies in the Colon Duty Free Zone. According to information checked by attorney Jose Abel Almengor, the Migration Direction admitted the delivery to Urrego of a new identity card on November 19, 2003, with falsified documents.
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Panama, Taiwan seek to increase economic ties

Money Matters Panama City - Panama and Taiwan on Monday proposed a sharp increase in bilateral economic ties in the fields of construction, industry and the exploitation of marine resources in light of a free trade agreement between the two countries. Panamanian Deputy Minister for Foreign Trade Carmen Gisela Vergara, and the deputy director general of Taiwan's Bureau of Foreign Trade, Wu Hsin-hua, launched a business forum in Panama that would explore joint opportunities. Vergara said a free trade agreement since 2004 has opened up possibilities for investment in services, ports, airports and the technology sector. She noted that bilateral trade added up to 217.7 million dollars in 2006 and is on the rise. (more)
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Singapore Boosts Latin Business

Money Matters BY JOACHIM BAMRUD for the Latin Business Chronicle - While China's trade with Latin America is getting most of the attention, another Asian nation is also showing strong growth in trade with the region. Singapore's trade with Latin America has been growing at almost 30 percent annually the past three years. Last year's figure was twice as high as five years earlier. And trade is expected to grow thanks to recent and future free trade agreements with Latin America, according to John Price, president of InfoAmericas. (more)
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TRADE POLICY REVIEW: PANAMA

Money Matters

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - The World Trade Organization (WTO) just released their Trade Policy Review (TPR) for Panama (which follows). A generally liberal trade regime; further reforms would help maintain growth. Panama maintains an essentially liberal trade and investment regime, characterized by relatively low tariffs and few non-tariff barriers, which is in consonance with the vital role that trade plays in Panama’s economy according to a WTO Secretariat report on the trade policies and practices of Panama. Panama's service-oriented economy acts as an international hub for activities such as maritime transport, distribution services, and banking. In contrast, the production of a number of agricultural and manufactured goods receives assistance through border protection and fiscal incentives, some contingent upon exportation. (more)

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Prison Break On Location - Youtube Video

Entertainment

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - The cast and crew from the television show "Prison Break" were in Casco Viejo last week filming, and while there were there some idiot from one of the local comedy television shows did some interviews and basically made an ass out of himself. The video is on youtube, and it's available down below. In short, embarrassing. It gets old after about twenty seconds. The only reason I'm putting it up is so that if you happen to catch the episode, you'll recognize the location. C'ya.

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"They Are Not Going To Divide Us" - Martin Torrijos

Politics By Saúl Quintero Quirós for El Siglo - After a few hours of deliberation, the Partido Revolucionario Democratico (PRD), in a special meeting, decided to hold their ordinary meeting on 9 March 2008 for their elections of the delegates to their congress. The President of Panama and Secretary General of the PRD Martín Torrijos, in making the announcement, said in addition that the number of delegates who would attend the congress would be raised to 4,200. In his speech Torrijos said "we will have the PRD for a long while, and those who think they will catch us divided had better prepare," indicating the sealing of a deal for unity that would guarantee that the PRD would go together towards an electoral victory. (more)
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Charity Expat Social - 24 Sept 2007 at Rino's

Groups & OrganizationsWe are pleased to announce the next gathering for the Charity Ex-Pat Socials, to benefit the San Jose de Malambo Orphanage, which will be held at Rino's Restaurant on Monday 24th September 2007 from 6.30pm. The restaurant is located on Via Federico Boyd at the junction with Calle 50. Everyone is welcome, there is never an admission charge. Parking is available for those who wish to bring their car. For your minimum donation of $10 you will enjoy a great buffet style dinner. As always, there will be a cash bar. Smoking is permitted on one of the restaurants balconies. All donations and gifts for the children will be presented to the Nuns the night of the buffet. Thanks also to Rino who has made the evening possible by his added generosity. Come along and meet new expats, enjoy the delicious food and help an orphanage that needs it. We look forward to seeing you and thank you for your continued support and generosity. Best wishes to all - Lynda; for and on behalf of Charity Ex-Pat Socials www.charityexpatsocials.com
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The National Convention of the Union Patriotica

Politics
National Convention of the Union Patriotica Political Party
National Convention of the Union Patriotica Political Party

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Yesterday I covered the first national convention of the new Union Patriotica (UP) political party at the Hotel El Panama in Panama City. This new party was formed by the merger of two existing political parties, "Solidaridad" and "Liberal Nacional" (LN). The UP is now the third-largest political party in Panama with more than 125,000 members. The largest party in Panama is the PRD with more than 500,000 members and the Panamanistas in second. Party members attending the convention elected Guillermo "Billy" Ford as the President of the UP. (more)

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PRD Still Shooting Themselves in the Foot

Politics
Martin Torrijos (center) with Pedro Miguel Gonzalez as his right-hand man.
Martin Torrijos (center) with Pedro Miguel Gonzalez as his right-hand man.
By Leonardo Flores for La Prensa - With the bilateral Free Trade Agreement between the United States and Panama in the freezer, the pro-government Partido Revolucionario Democratico (PRD) took the first step yesterday of renewing their leadership with a view toward the general elections of 2009. During an encounter of the National Directory, a sector of the party tried to put forward a motion in support of the election of Pedro Miguel Gonzalez as the President of the National Assembly of Deputies, but it did not go forward because Martin Torrijos, the President of Panama as well as the General Secretary of the PRD, said it is necessary to handle this issue with caution, considering that Panama's primary trading partner (the United States) has expressed their disappointment over this decision. (more)
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Help Wanted - Work for Panama Guide

What is PG?

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - We're hiring. If you like to write, have some photography skills, and have access to the Internet then you might be able to make some money. Give me a call in the office at 399-4750 for details if you're interested. Thanks.

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Economic Development Delegation Arrives from Taiwan

Money Matters Panama City, Sept. 17 (CNA) A Taiwan trade delegation organized by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) and the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) arrived in Panama Sunday to conduct procurement and examine the investment climate of the Central American country.
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Gorgas Center to Conduct Historical Study Based on DNA

History & Reference
Dr. Jorge Motta
Dr. Jorge Motta
SALT LAKE CITY & PANAMA CITY, Panama--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF), a non-profit scientific organization developing the world's largest online repository of correlated genetic and family history information, today announced that it has commenced a major DNA collection and research initiative in Panama. The project, performed in partnership with the Gorgas Memorial Institute (Instituto Conmemorativo Gorgas de Estudios de la Salud Panama), will collect approximately 1,500-2,000 DNA samples and related multi-generation pedigree charts - including 100 to 200 representative samples from individuals in each of the country's nine provinces and three territories, from urban areas to rain forests, and from all major ethnic populations. (more)
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TV tonight - "Prison Break" in Panama

Entertainment
"Prison Break" Comes to Panama
BY DOUG ELFMAN Television Critic - "Prison Break" - Some of my friends who were fans of the drama have broken up with it. It got pretty silly. Can it redeem itself this third season? It begins in a prison in Panama, where Michael, T-Bag, Bellick and Mahone are all incarcerated. Maybe they'll break out? Who knows. (Editor's Comment: The writers on this show have been communicating with me for months to get details on the inside of Panamanian prisons. Maybe some of that got worked into the show, who knows.)
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