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Tuesday, July 22 2014 @ 09:23 AM EDT

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Flooding in the Darién Region

WeatherBy Isabel Castro for La Prensa - Some eleven villages in the Darién region of Panama have been flooded for four days and more than a thousand people have been affected by the intense rains caused rivers to overflow their banks. Orestes Escudero, Assistant Director of Panama's National Civil Protection System, said that in Jaqué, Sambú, Pavarandó, Lucas, Llano Bonito, Borriquera, Mamey, Coco, Tornado, Guayabito and Puerto Indio at least 18 people have lost their homes and all of their belongings. He added that if the rains continue then more people will be affected. Escudero said the the flooded areas crops and domestic animals have been lost, and that in other sectors landslides and erosion are affecting residences. In Sambú water levels in the health center, the school, and houses in low lying areas contines to rise, and the people living in the area are worried because its still raining and the Sambú river, which surrounds the town, continues to rise. In Santa Fe near the Pan American Highway the river waters reached the level of the bridge. Yesterday, the SINAPROC, police, and the Governor of the province made a tour of the area to assess the damages.
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Trade in the Americas: Expanding the Panama Canal for the 21st Century

Canal Expansion By Gail Dutton for World Trade Magazine - The Panama Canal Authority is experiencing every company’s dream—a steady influx of business with more than it can handle in the wings. Fueled by the rapid growth of Asian exports, the canal has to expand to remain viable. And when it does, it will ensure that the fleet of post-Panamax (PPX) ships, which grew 143 percent since 2002, can finally transit the canal—raising the threshold of trans-Pacific trade up a magnitude. Today, ships carrying more than 4,000 TEUs generally are too big for the Canal’s existing locks. In planning a new lane, with longer and wider locks and deeper channels, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) expects to double cargo transiting capacity. With that capacity, say industry observers, should come reduced overall shipping costs and expanded shipping options after the new lane opens in 2014, in time for the canal’s centennial. (more)
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Panama to Celebrate Holidays after Mourning

Panama NewsBy Leonel Nodal Panama, Nov 2 (Prensa Latina) Many Panamanians went to work on Friday deeply affected by the memory of their late loved ones, while others were overwhelmed by rising food and gas prices, but from tomorrow, they will enjoy a four-day national holiday marking separation from Colombia and flag day. Cemeteries were full of mourners worshiping their beloved today, also marking an official tribute to the first national heroes of the country's Independence from Spain. Also on Friday, President Martin Torrijos and his Cabinet attended a ceremony at the mausoleum of Manuel Amador, the first President of the Republic. Local press reports recall the plight of many families when it comes to bury their dead, whether because of lack of space in public cemeteries or lack of money to pay for a plot in a private cemetery. However, the capital streets have been decorated with the national colors, red, white and blue, anticipating the four-day off celebrations that will start on Saturday, including band parades from schools and institutions vying for people's applause.
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Panama City - New Law Gives Additional Boost to Already Booming Real Estate Market

Foreign Direct Investment(PRWEB) November 3, 2007 -- 'Law 41', recently passed by Panama's National Assembly, created a stir throughout the region earlier this month as savvy investors recognized its potential to give a further boost to the already booming real estate market in the Republic of Panama. The Law, designed to encourage the establishment of Multinational Companies in Panama, gives exemption to Multinationals from the payment of income tax in the Republic of Panama for all services provided to any entity domiciled outside Panama. In addition, it allows licensed Corporations to hire trusted foreign employees to fill management positions in the company authorizing them to work and reside in Panama which could spell an influx of international professionals moving to Panama. (more)
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Lunch

Expat TalesBy Cristina Henriquez for The New Yorker - In Panama, family dinners happen at lunchtime. At least, in my family they did. This was something I learned as a young girl when we took summer vacations to the country where my father had lived until, with two worn suitcases and a student visa in hand, he left to study chemical engineering at the University of Delaware. There was never any discussion of alternative destinations, and I looked forward to the trips because of how different everything seemed from the United States and how, year after year, so much in Panama remained the same. (more)
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Panama's Independence Day Parades and Celebrations

History & Reference

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Panama is getting ready to celebrate its 104th year as an independent republic tomorrow and Sunday with parades in Panama City. One of the things you can always count on, every year, is that it will rain on the parade. I'm not trying to me a pessimist or anything, but it rains more in November than in any other month, and every year (like clockwork) it rains like hell, right in the middle of the parade. Panamanians laugh about it and just keep right on going. The majority of the participants are schools and their bands. Panama City Mayor Juan Carlos Navarro has declared Panama City to be a no-booze zone for the weekend so all bars (and everyplace else that sells alcohol) will be closed. Panama gained its independence from Colombia on Tuesday, 3 November 1903.

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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Panama Uncovered: New Book by Thomas Bleming

Books & ReadingLUSK, Wyo., Nov. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- An explosive mixture of international intrigue and danger and the cover-up that followed, "Panama: Echoes From A Revolution" (published by AuthorHouse - http://www.authorhouse.com) travels back to the late 1970s to tell the true story of the invasion of Panama by privately funded U.S. citizens. Author Thomas James Bleming should know. He was there. Reviewers have been blown away by this true action-thriller: "A real life Jason Bourne," writes David Mirhadi, Casper Star Tribune. "The characters, places, conditions and treatment that Bleming describes would be suitable for a Hollywood movie," writes Alan B. Johnson, U.S. District Judge, Cheyenne, Wyo. (more)
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Ex-Israeli Prime Minister Visits the Panama Canal

Panama News PANAMA CITY, Panama, October 31, 2007 – Israel’s former Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, toured the Miraflores Locks at the Panama Canal today as part of a one-day private visit to the country. Netanyahu was welcomed at the Miraflores Visitors Center by Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Minister for Canal Affairs and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Dani Kuzniecky. The ACP briefed the ex-Prime Minister about Canal operations from the Miraflores Control Center and gave a presentation on the progress of the Expansion Program. Benjamin Netanyahu was Prime Minister of Israel between 1996 and 1999. About the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) The ACP is the autonomous agency of the Government of Panama in charge of managing, operating and maintaining the Panama Canal. The operation of the ACP is based on its organic law and the regulations approved by its Board of Directors. For more information, please refer to the ACP's Web site: www.pancanal.com. For Panama Canal video, please visit www.thenewsmarket.com/panamacanal.
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Spirit Airlines Announces Non-Stop Service to Panama

Cars & Transportation FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Spirit Airlines announces weekly non-stop service between its Fort Lauderdale base and Panama City, Panama, beginning January 31, 2008. Panama City is Spirit’s 5th destination in Central America and its 40th destination overall. In addition to non-stop service from its Fort Lauderdale base, Spirit also will offer connecting service to Panama from its domestic network. Spirit serves all routes with its fleet of Airbus aircraft, the youngest in the Americas. Spirit Airlines previously announced three new destinations it will serve in 2007. Service to Ponce, Puerto Rico, begins November 1 with daily flights. The inaugural flight to Aruba is on November 10 with weekly flights. Daily service to Freeport, Grand Bahama Island begins on December 13. (more)
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Broke Every Traffic Record in October 2007

What is PG?

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - October 2007 kicked butt for traffic to the website. We broke records (again) in every category that we track. In October 2007 we saw:

  • Unique Visitors: 53,472
  • Visits: 117,671 (2.2 Average Per Unique Visitor)
  • Web Pages Produced: 870,685 (7.39 Per Visit)
  • Hits: 5,654,033 (48.04 Hits per Visit)
  • Bandwidth: 99.18 GB (883.81 KB per Visit)
(more)
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Panama - US Free Trade Agreement Shelved

Politics
Pedro Miguel Gonzalez - Wanted in the US For Murder
Pedro Miguel Gonzalez - Wanted in the US For Murder
By Brian Wingfield for Forbes - Washington, D.C. - After months of deliberation, a key Congressional panel unanimously approved a free-trade agreement between Peru and the United States Wednesday, a sign President Bush may get the bill later this year. It's great news for U.S. exporters and a brilliant bit of political maneuvering by House Democrats. The Peru deal wouldn't harm U.S. industries. As a developing country, Peru already gets to export most of its goods to the United States duty-free. If passed, the agreement would essentially make trade between the nations a two-way street. (more)
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Prosecutors Forwarding Toni Grossi-Abrams Murder Case to Trial

Crime & Punishment
Debra Ann Ridgley
Debra Ann Ridgley

Text and Photos By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Government prosecutors in the Republic of Panama are about to forward the murder case against Debra Ann Ridgley to a three-judge Superior Court for trial. Debra Ann Ridgley has been in police custody since 10 April 2007 when she was detained during questioning by Panama's Judicial Technical Police (PTJ). Ridgley was detained in the PTJ temporary holding cell for sixty days then transferred to the Woman's Prison in Panama City in the Republic of Panama where she is currently being held. Prosecutors have charged Ridgley with murder in the grisly death of American business woman Toni Grossi-Abrams, who was killed in her Panama City apartment on 9 April 2007. The murderers piled Toni Grossi-Abrams' corpse into the trunk of a taxi, dumped it near a soccer field in the impoverished Rio Abajo neighborhood of Panama City, and set afire in an attempt to destroy evidence. (more)

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World Bank Approves Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Panama

Money MattersWASHINGTON, October 31, 2007 – The World Bank Group’s Board of Directors today approved a Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Panama, the institution’s formal agreement with the Government for 2008 to 2010, which includes a lending envelop of $390-$465 million. The new strategy was discussed by the Board as the Bank plans to open the new office in Panama City November 1, 2007. “The World Bank is delighted that the new country partnership strategy is moving forward at the same time as we are opening a new office in Panama City,” explained Jane Armitage, World Bank Country Director for Central America. “Our aim is to be closer to our clients, and work closely with other development partners to ensure the success of the new program,” she added. (more)
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GET READY . . . By Wary Bradshaw

Bands & Music No one had to tell Panama’s new rock and blues group, Bitches Ghost, to “Get Ready” on Halloween night. Boy, were they good to go! The album by that name went double, double, platinum for the group Rare Earth and Rod Richards in the 70’s. The song itself never ceases to bring me to my knees, nostalgia at its finest. This classic rendition was included in Ghost’s third successful performance last night at El Hotel Panama. Those of you who weren’t there can only read this and weep. The addition of sound engineer, Gabriel Fonseca made a significant difference in the enjoyment quotient for those loyal fans who were experiencing, cheering, and applauding the event. The savvy group chose this occasion to debut their brand new signature song, Bitches Ghost, written by Rod and John. The lyrics are poignant and unforgettable . . .
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SINAPROC Recovers Drowning Victims

Panama News

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Today at 1:32 pm rescue personnel from the Panamanian National Civil Protection System (SINAPROC) recovered the bodies of 26 year old Marlene Atencia and 1 year old Jason Mendoza, specifically near the community of Chinina in the District of Chepo in the province of Panama. The Director of SINAPROC Roberto Velásquez Abood said the bodies were found by are residents at 7:40 am this morning and by early this afternoon SINAPROC and other authorities arrived to recover the bodies. The five victims have been missing since last Sunday, 28 October 2007, when the boat they were traveling in sunk between the Puerto de Coquira and Oquendo-Chiman.

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Five Drown in Boating Accident

Panama News By Luis Batista for La Critica - Five people drowned when the small boat they were traveling in sank after they left the port of Coquira enroute to the community of Oquendo in Chimán. Among the victims were four members of the same family; Marlene Atencio, her children Javier Mendoza (7 years old), Jasón Mendoza (18 months old), as well as Raymundo Valdés, the grandfather of the children. So far authorities have recovered the corpses of Javier, his grandfather, and of Elías Ábrego Duarte, the driver of the boat.
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Miguel Antonio Bernal - A Hard Row to Hoe

Politics
Miguel Antonio Bernal
Miguel Antonio Bernal
By Eneida Prieto for the Panama America - Leading a self-proclaimed "rebellion" candidacy for the Mayorship of Panama City, Miguel Antonio Bernal describes the system imposed by Panama's Electoral Tribunal (TE) on independent candidates to be "aberrant and undemocratic." He said the collection of signatures he has so far are from sympathizers who are not officially counted in the Electoral Court, but as soon as the books are opened in 2008 he will have to collect signatures from 30,000 people who are not a part of any existing political party. "They place obstacles and unconstitutionalities against us that attempt against liberties," he said. He said the law is "ambiguous" because the signature of a single person who belongs to a political party will invalidate his candidacy.
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Government and Doctors Negotiating to Avoid Strike

Protests & DemonstrationsBy Rogelio Adonican for La Estrella - Doctors and the government continue to talk to avoid a potential strike as the date set by the doctors, Tuesday 6 November, approaches. This is the second time in less than one week than the two sides have met without concrete advances. After two hours of meeting the doctors left the table empty handed. "The government sat down at the negotiation table with another thought in mind, to discuss point by point the proposals presented by the doctors in the meeting held last Thursday," said Julio Garcia, the coordinator of the National Medical Negotiating Commission (Comenenal), the union which has the exclusive right to negotiate a raise. The health authorities reiterated their position that there is a need to resolve the problems of quality of medical attention in areas like primary care, delays in getting surgical appointments, the assignments of doctors to remote areas, among others. The doctors called authorities from the Office of Social Security irresponsible for trying to expand the negotiations. The dialog to try to avoid a general strike by public doctors will continue tomorrow.
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Fire in Free Trade Zone Kills One and Injures Six Firemen

Panama News By Ana Bolena Ayarza for El Siglo - A fire in a warehouse in the France Field area of the Colon Free Trade Zone that burned for more than four hours resulted in the death of Major Dimas Sanabria, the Third Chief of the Firemen of Colon, six other firemen with electrical burns, and damages to five companies. The fire, which started at 3:00 pm in the afternoon of Tuesday, 30 October, was still burning as of this writing, and had spread to almost then entire block due to a lack of water pressure in the fire hydrants, causing firemen to try to use sea water in an attempt to extinguish the fire. The fire started in the spaces of Hisa International which distributes cigarette lighters and textiles. (more)
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Rivera and the Yankees Are Talking

Sports Section
Mariano Rivera
Mariano Rivera
By TYLER KEPNER for the NY Times - Two days after Alex Rodriguez told the Yankees he was opting out of his contract without returning ownership’s calls, another star Yankee showed up at the team offices in Tampa, Fla. It was Mariano Rivera, the free-agent closer, and the sides want to make a deal. “I think it’s important, when a player is making a decision like this, that they be involved in it personally,” said Rivera’s agent, Fern Cuza. “This is going to be his last contract, and it’s important for him to know the direction of the organization.” The Yankees have made their initial offer to Rivera, who gave parameters of what he wants. Mostly, though, the meeting was designed for the sides to tell the other that they want to stay together. Cuza said no more meetings were scheduled, and he said Rivera would soon fly back to New York. The Yankees would like to sign Rivera, who will be 38, before Nov. 12, when other teams can negotiate with him. “I know when the period is over, if we don’t have the deal we’re looking for, he’s definitely going to be in the market,” Cuza said. “It could happen, but it’s hard to speculate on what they’re going to do.”
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Petaquilla In Tangle Over Environmental Issues

Gold & Mining By Rafael E. Berrocal R. for La Prensa - Panama's National Environmental Authority (ANAM) says Petaquilla Minerals does not have the permits and permissions required to construct their gold mine and a plant to process the ore, but that has not kept the company from continuing their construction in the middle of the jungle in the Donoso District of the Colon province. ANAM tried to stop the construction of the plant citing environmental damage, but Petaquilla beat them to the punch and filed a claim before Panama's Supreme Court, saying that any such order to make them stop work would be illegal. It now falls to Supreme Court Justice Adán Arnulfo Arjona to decide the case. Natalia Young, the director of Environmental Quality for ANAM, said Petaquilla does not even have the permits and permissions required to build the road they built from La Pintada in Coclé to the area of the gold mine in the Colon province. The legal representative of Petaquilla said the company is protected by a contract which allows them to realize the construction in spite of newer environmental norms.
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Noriega Submits Another Motion to Block Extradition to France

Crime & Punishment
Manuel Antonio Noriega
Manuel Antonio Noriega
(EFE) Manuel Antonio Noriega presented another motion to try to stop his extradition to France, where he is has been tried and condemned in absentia for money laundering, according to one of Noriega's lawyers. Lawyer Joy May said they presented the motion last Friday before a federal judge in Miami and said he does not know when the judge will answer the motion. Noriega, who remains in a jail in Miami Florida, continues to insist on his status as a prisoner of war as an argument to prevent him from being sent to France. Nevertheless, last September judge William Hoeveler dismissed Noriega's request to deny extradition based on the argument that Noriega was protected under the Geneva Convention.
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Bringing In the Bacon - ST Engineering Gets Second Contract

Infrastructure Upgrades Press Release - Singapore, 26 October 2007 - Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd (ST Engineering) today announced that Panama Aerospace Engineering Inc (PAE), a subsidiary of its aerospace arm Singapore Technologies Aerospace Ltd (ST Aerospace), has been awarded a contract worth US$3.1m (about S$4.5m) by Transaero Airlines (Transaero). This makes Transaero PAE's second customer since PAE commenced operations in May this year. The contract is for C checks and maintenance work on Transaero's fleet of 10 Boeing 737-500 aircraft. PAE will commence work on the first aircraft in October, targeting for redelivery in December this year. The last aircraft is expected to be redelivered in end 2008. (more)
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Latest Link Swapper - Birding Panama

What is PG?

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Welcome aboard to our latest link-swapper, Birding Panama. From their website: "Birding Panama is a group of Panama bird guides specialists in birdwatching and natural history. We provide birding guide services for birders and nature lovers around the best natural areas of the Isthmus. We do private trips and bird photography tours to the best places of Panama. Plumbeus Hawk Personalized Birding: to offer a quality service with special attention for each individual, we spend most of the time finding birds in Panama; however the pace is modified according to special needs. We are professional bilingual guides with good eyes, fully equipped and vast experience within the most birdy destinations of the national territory." Thank God for these guys, because personally I could have a yellow-headed gob-stopper picking at my left ear and I wouldn't know what it was. And of course guys with binoculars always look smart, smart enough to swap links with us. Salud.

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Fire In Colon - France Field

Panama News

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - A fireman died this afternoon fighting a warehouse fire in France Field in Colon. Another five firemen have been injured, and firemen continue to fight the fire. I just saw some news footage on Channel 13, and they were using a guy (in civilian clothes) to drive a backhoe in an attempt to remove the burning materials from the warehouse. The driver had no breathing air or protective equipment, and there was only one truck on the scene with low water pressure. Not good.

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Heavy Rains Causes Rio Mamoní in Chepo to Flood - 239 Effected

Weather
Rescued by SINAPROC
Rescued by SINAPROC

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - We are now almost into the month of November which always brings the most frequent and heaviest rainfall. According to a press release from Panama's National Civil Protection System (SINAPROC), heavy rains and flooding on Monday night effected 53 homes and 239 people when the Mamoní river in Chepo, Panama Province, left its banks. SINAPROC Director Roberto Velásquez Abood said rescue units saved four people (two adults and two children) in Sector #3 in an area known as the Finca Bocas del Toro, after they had become trapped in their home when the river flooded. He added that an additional 92 people from an area called La Tosca #1 are taking refuge in the Gregorio Zarate gymnasium in the Las Margaritas area of Chepo.

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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Judicial Security in Panama - Editorial

CorruptionEditorial - La Estrella - Recent signals regarding the lack of judicial security in Panama from the Embassy of the United States are worrisome. And the problem is even bigger, because information we have indicates the ambassadors from the countries with the greatest amount of investment in Panama share a similar concern. Our country has managed in recent years to attract a great amount of foreign investment. Given our small population, these investors are not being attracted by our internal market but rather for the services we offer. This advantage, nevertheless, can be lost if we can not guarantee a transparent legal system and a just solution when problems arise. On that route, our authorities should establish effective mechanisms to combat corruption and the promotion of transparency, because to not do so would be to condemn our own progress. We must demonstrate that we are a serious country, not only so that foreigners trust us, but because this should always be our commitment. What does it cost us to work in that direction?
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"I'm Not Going To Cover For Anybody" - Ana Matilde Gomez

Crime & Punishment
Ana Matilde Gomez
Ana Matilde Gomez
By Gloria Leiva Gaitán for El Siglo - Panama's Attorney General Ana Matilde Gomez made it clear to the press that she will not hide any irregularity detected in the financial management of the Banco Continental. "If they think that because I worked in the Continental Bank that I am going to cover something up, absolutely not," she firmly emphasized. Nevertheless, she recognized that the controls of the Panamanian banking system are flexible, and recommended the creation of a more demanding protocol with tougher controls with regards to accepting new clients. Gomez also indicated that banks should protect themselves and hire compliance officials to make sure they are operating in accordance to international standards. Banco Continental has been involved in several cases in which people take advantage of weak controls to open banking accounts and then use those accounts to launder drug money. Some of these cases are Marc Harris, the ex-president of Nicaragua German Arnoldo, the ex-comptroller of Nicaragua, Colombian Byron Jérez, and drug kingpins Pablo Rayo Montaño and José Nelson Urrego Cárdenas.
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Huge Drug Bust on Balboa Ave

Crime & Punishment By Rafael Luna Noguera for La Prensa - Units of Panama's National Police arrested two men at dawn yesterday as they were transporting 1,100 kilos of cocaine on Balboa Avenue in Panama City. Police Director Rolando Mirones confirmed the arrests occurred after the Police Directorate of Intelligence and Investigation (DIIP) was alerted to a possible large drug shipment. Prosecutors from Panama's Anti-Drug office said the shipment was more than 5,000 kilos of cocaine. Police units deployed and surprised the suspects as they left the "Club de Yates y Pesca" (Yacht and Fishing Club) in two vehicles. Arrested were Colombian Mario Javier Murgas Medina and Panamanian Carlos José Miranda. Both were driving SUV's loaded with cocaine with a street value worth more than $27.5 million dollars.
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Sagging Dollar Makes Panama More Attractive

Panama NewsHONG KONG (Thomson Financial) - The dollar traded near a record low against the euro in afternoon trade in Asia Monday on growing speculation the US Federal Reserve will lower interest rates this week. The Fed is likely to trim rates for a second time this year to help its ailing financial sector, hit hard by unpaid housing mortgages, and keep the economy from slipping into a recession. The Fed's policy making body, the Federal Open Market Committee, will start its meeting tomorrow and announce the results of its deliberations on Wednesday. 'Expectations of a rate cut and US economic weakness are weighing on the dollar,' said Callum Henderson, head of currency strategy at Standard Chartered Bank. (more)
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