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Wednesday, July 30 2014 @ 01:11 PM EDT

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Strike by Panama's doctors leaves 22,000 people without medical care

Protests & DemonstrationsPANAMA CITY, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) -- At least 22,000 Panamanians were unable to get medical treatment as doctors across the country began a two-day strike seeking better salaries, the state-run Health Insurance Company (CSS) told media Tuesday. Julio Valarini, leader of the National Medical Negotiation Commission, said that 80 percent of the doctors at Panama's main health centers participated in the strike, which began at 7:00 a.m. local time (1300 GMT) Tuesday and planned to last until 7:00 a.m. (1300 GMT) Thursday. The purpose of the strike is to demand a salary increase, from 900 to 1,500 U.S. dollars per month. Ruben Dario Lopez, the CSS head of medical benefits, said the organization had halted all consultations and cut down on the use of emergency rooms, operating theatres and dialysis services. However, the country's Health Minister Rosario Turner said the government could not comply with doctors' demands because the measures were "excessive and unfeasible from a financial point of view". The Commission and the government are discussing a 10-point document which also calls for improvements in service provision.
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U.S. to host men's Olympic qualifiers

Sports Section CHICAGO (AP) -- The United States will host the CONCACAF under-23 championship, a qualifying tournament for the 2008 Olympics in men's soccer. Games will be played in Carson, Calif., Tampa, Fla., and Nashville, Tenn., from March 10-23, U.S. Soccer and CONCACAF announced Tuesday. The two finalists in the eight-team tournament will advance to Beijing. The U.S., Mexico, Canada, Cuba and Haiti -- as well as three to-be-determined squads from Central America -- will participate. LP Field in Nashville will host the semifinals March 20 and the championship match March 23. The Home Depot Center in Carson, outside Los Angeles, and Raymond James Stadium in Tampa will each host three doubleheaders in group play. The U.S. team will play in Tampa during the group stage. The Americans qualified for six straight Olympics from 1980-2000 before missing out in 2004. The three teams from Central America are expected to be finalized by the end of the year. Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and El Salvador are competing for the spots. The U.S. squad will convene Dec. 2 for a week long training camp, then will embark on a nine-day tour of China from Dec. 9-17 in which it will play two matches against the Chinese under-23 national team.
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LA jurors award $3.3 million to banana workers in pesticide case

Law & Lawyers By Alex Veiga of The Associated Press - LOS ANGELES — A jury awarded $3.3 million Monday to six workers who claimed they were left sterile by a pesticide used at a banana plantation in Nicaragua operated by Dole Fresh Fruit Co. The workers' lawsuit accused Dole and Standard Fruit Co., now part of Dole, of negligence and fraudulent concealment while using the pesticide DBCP in the 1970s. The chemical was used to kill microscopic worms on the roots of the banana plants. The suit also alleged that The Dow Chemical Co. and Amvac Chemical Corp., manufacturers of the pesticide, knew it could leave workers sterile and kept that information secret. (more)
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Newland, Builder of Trump Panama Resort, to Offer Dollar Bonds

Money Matters By Guillermo Parra-Bernal Nov. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Newland International Properties Corp., a real estate developer created to build a Trump Ocean Club International Hotel & Tower resort in Panama, plans to offer $220 million in secured notes as early as this week, according to a person with knowledge of the deal. Newland, based in Panama City, is offering notes due in 2014 that can be redeemed at a premium until after their third year, said the person, who declined to be named because terms aren't set. Proceeds from the transaction will be used for construction of the project and to refinance existing debt. (more)
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Bush presses Congress to pass Latam trade agreements

Politics By Doug Palmer WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Failure to pass free trade agreements with Colombia and Panama would damage U.S. standing in Latin America, President George W. Bush said on Tuesday as he urged Congress to approve both pacts soon. "Champions of false populism in the region are watching Congress. They will use any failure to approve these trade agreements as evidence that America will never treat democracies in the region as full partners," Bush said in an apparent swipe at Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a foe of the United States. The House of Representatives is expected to approve a free trade agreement with Peru on Wednesday, setting the stage for the Senate to give final congressional approval in coming weeks. (more)
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Retirees and Pensioners Support Doctor's Strike

Protests & DemonstrationsLa Critica - The Independent Retirees and Pensioners of Panama joined in to support the doctor's strike today, because they think that good medical services and a lack of adequate medical equipment is not a problem caused by the doctor's labor union. Eladio Fernandez, the leader of the Association of Independent Retirees and Pensioners declared his support for the doctor's strike and sustained claims of attempts to privatize the medical system, and reiterated the possibility of street protests if a solution is not found to the problems.
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Panamanian Government Spending $71,000 Per Day on Publicity

Panama NewsBy Marianela Palacios Ramsbott for La Prensa - The Panamanian government is spending more than $71,000 per day on publicity this year, 82% more than it spent in 2005 according to the general budgets of the state and statistics managed by the Communications Secretary. Business leaders in the private sector as well as politicians from the opposition question the increase, the over-exposure of the figure of President Martin Torrijos and the lack of transparency in the handling of the funds. The Secretary said they are not "spending on publicity, but rather investing to inform the country," and denied there is a lack of transparency, emphasizing that "this is the government of Martin Torrijos and everything that is being done has to bear a relationship to the maximum leader. This is the positioning of the presidential brand we are looking for," he said.
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The Shipping, Ports and Terminals Event for the Americas

Panama News

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - The Shipping, Ports and Terminals Event for the Americas 6-8 November 2007, El Panama Hotel, Panama City, Panama. TOC Americas, the Terminal Operations Conference and Exhibition for the Americas, is the definitive meeting place for the world's shipping, port and terminals industries. Following a successful 2006 event in Mexico, TOC returns to Panama for 2007. Exhibitors at TOC Americas 2007 are pulling out all the stops in their bid to attract visitors and delegates to their stands. The event, to be held at the El Panama Hotel, Panama City, from 6-8 November, will feature a whole range of new products and services, as well as a number of first-time exhibitors, making it a must-attend event for all those involved in the container shipping, ports and terminals industries. Advent Inc (stand A22) will be displaying a suite of products to suit terminals of all shapes and sizes, including the The Advent Terminal Operating System (TOS) for large terminals, the web-based Terminal Management System TOS for small to medium-sized and multi-cargo terminals, and the Advent Equipment Maintenance and Repair system. Company representatives will also be keen to talk to visitors about Advent’s enterprise source code licensing arrangement – the unique way in which it licenses products to customers. (more)

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Chiriqui Packed Over the Holidays

Travel & TourismBy Raúl Oscar López for La Estrella - The province of Chiriquí was one of the areas of the country most visited during independence day celebrations last week, proven by the fact that all hotel rooms in the area were booked. According to Panama's Tourism Institute (IPAT) in Chiriqui, all 26 hotels in the area were at 100% capacity. The regional director of the IPAT, Erick Orribarra, said there was an impressive number of national and international tourists filling the hotels in David as well as in the highlands of Boquete. Nevertheless, although there are projects under construction, there is a need for increased investment to be able to satisfy the growing demand. At the moment in the province of Chiriquí there are a total of 1,575 hotel rooms with 3,260 beds available. The natural variety of climate, beaches and landscapes are the main attractions of the Chiriquí province.
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Bellhaven Initiates Geophysical Survey

Gold & MiningPANAMA CITY, Nov. 6 /CNW/ -- Bellhaven Copper & Gold, Inc. (TSX-Venture: BHV) ("Bellhaven" or the "Company") in conjunction with its joint venture partner Golden Cross Resources Ltd. (ASX: GCR), is pleased to announce the initiation of a ground geophysical survey at the Los Hatillos Concession located in Panama's Veraguas Gold Belt. The geophysical survey will cover 60 kms of lines of gradient array/IP survey over four epithermal gold targets. The program has been designed to define and add to the existing drill targets at Veta Blanca, Faustino, El Tiro and Higui. Fugro Airborne Surveys, with whom the company has contracted to perform the survey, expects to complete the program by the end of this month (November, 2007). The information gathered will be used to assist in further establishing priorities for drill hole locations. A drill program at the Los Hatillos concession could begin as early as January, 2008. (more)
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FTA Does Not Have the Votes Needed To Pass

Politics
Signing the Free Trade Agreement in 2006
Signing the Free Trade Agreement in 2006
By Eneida Prieto for the Panama America - Panama does not have the votes necessary to pass the bilateral Free Trade Agreement with the United States, according to the Press Representative for Congressman Rangel, Elbert Garcia. Garcia said the FTA does not have the votes needed to pass in either the US House of Representatives (218) or the US Senate. He said that if the vote had been taken several months ago then "Panama would have been able to count on an endorsement", but political problems such as the designation of Pedro Miguel Gonzalez as the President of the National Assembly which "is having an effect." He denied that only Democrats are against free trade agreements, and said that all 435 members of the US House of Representatives all "have their own ideas." (more)
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Doctor's Strike Begins Today

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Doctors in Panama who work for the government and public health services began a 48-hour strike at 7:00 am this morning in an attempt to pressure the Panamanian government into wage increases. Union representatives assured the public that they have a strict protocol which allows for the continuation of emergency services, the continued treatment of hospital patients, and those with chronic conditions who require services such as dialysis. Most effected will be those those patients who had waited for months for routine medical appointments who had to wait for months to be scheduled, and who will now not be seen due to the strike. The government of Panama's President Martin Torrijos said last week he considered the strike to be unnecessary because this administration has indicated they are willing to continue negotiations with the 2,000 striking doctors on the issue of wages, but that any wage increase would have to be accompanied by improvements in services to the public.

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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Spirit Airlines to Begin Service to Panama

Cars & TransportationSun Sentinel - Miramar-based Spirit Airlines said it will launch service three times weekly between Fort Lauderdale and Panama City, Panama, beginning Jan. 31, 2008. The nonstop flights will depart Fort Lauderdale at 11 p.m, arriving in Panama City at 2:50 a.m.. Return flights depart Panama City at 2:50 a.m. arriving in Fort Lauderdale at 5:45 a.m. Spirit said the schedule remains subject to foreign government approval.
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Quintiles makes Panama purchase

Money MattersBy Kirsty Barnes 05/11/2007 - Quintiles has bought a contract research organisation (CRO) in Central America to extend its reach in this emerging clinical trials region. The world's top CRO is now the owner of Bio-Trials, headquartered in Panama, which gives its Latin American subsidiary an extra presence in this country, along with Costa Rica, Guatemala and Ecuador. Bio-Trials also has an office in Peru, where Quintiles is already in operation, in addition to five other Latin American locations: its headquarters in Argentina, along with Brazil, Chile, Columbia and Mexico. Bio-Trials provides clinical monitoring, clinical site coordination, regulatory support, study management and supply distribution services. Quintiles is a privately-owned CRO and the purchase price is undisclosed. (more)
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Panama Vice President Opens Cuban Trade Fair

Panama NewsBy Roberto Salomon Havana, 5 Nov (Prensa Latina) Panamanian First Vice President and Foreign Minister Samuel Lewis opened the 25th Havana International Fair (FIHAV) Monday in EXPOCUBA with the participation of 1,435 entrepreneurs from 53 countries. Lewis cut the ribbon with Cuban Vice President and Secretary of the Ministers Council Executive Committee Carlos Lage. The Panamanian official toured the FIHAV Central Pavilion and other areas accompanied by Cuban Government Minister Ricardo Cabrisas and members of the Panamanian delegation. Noting that bilateral cooperation is at an excellent political and economic level, Lewis voiced optimism about the future, especially in the fundamental area of trade. (more)
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Direct shipments from Panama

Foreign Direct InvestmentCayman Net News - Miami-operated SeaFreight Line Limited has commenced weekly, fixed-day service calls from Manzanillo International Terminal, Panama to Grand Cayman. The new service began with first vessel leaving Panama on Tuesday, 30 October and will continue every Tuesday thereafter. The service from MIT Panama to Grand Cayman will be weekly, with a seven-day transit. The company announced that it had appointed CB Fenton Panama as Agents in those respective markets. “This is an exciting time for us as we continue to expand the services that we can offer to our clients. Panama is a traditional and growing trading partner within our area and our schedule will present great opportunities for cargo to and from Panama with very attractive transits,” the carrier said. (more)
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Panama wants to learn from N.S. ambulance experience

Foreign Direct InvestmentNova Scotia News - TRI-STAR INDUSTRIES of Yarmouth and the province have inked a deal with Panama to share expertise in ambulance services. Health Minister Chris d’Entremont says the province’s ambulance system is recognized as one of the best in North America and Panama wants to know how it moved from a fragmented private system just 10 years ago, to a world-class ambulance system. The agreement focuses on discussing opportunities and does not involve a financial commitment. Keith Condon, president and CEO of Tri-Star, said he invited representatives from Panama to Nova Scotia to see the ambulance system and the Tri-Star factory earlier this year. The Central American company signed a contract for 22 ambulances that will serve as a foundation for the country’s new system.
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Bellhaven Expands Panama Holdings

Gold & MiningPANAMA CITY, Panama, Nov. 1 /CNW/ -- Bellhaven Copper & Gold, Inc. (TSX-Venture: BHV) ("Bellhaven" or the "Company") further to its news release on October 3, 2007, is pleased to announce that the company has signed a Definitive Agreement ("DA") with Glencairn Gold Corp. (TSX: GGG) ("Glencairn") to complete the acquisition of the Cerro Quema Gold Project -- a permitted exploitation concession located on Panama's Azuero Peninsula just 8 km from Bellhaven's existing Azuero property package. The total purchase price of the project is USD$10.4 million, and is equivalent to USD$23 per "measured and indicated" ounce. Upon completion of payment Cerro Quema will be 100% wholly owned by Bellhaven. (more)
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Public Ministry Investigating Deaths of Firemen for Possible Criminal Negligence

Law & LawyersLa Critica - The deaths of firemen Dimas Sanabria and Manuel Ábrego in the voracious fire in the Colon Free Trade Zone, has generated a criminal investigation within the Public Ministry that looks to determine if there was criminal negligence resulting in manslaughter. The Third Prosecutor of Colon initiated the indictments to determine who was responsible for not having turned off the electrical service in the circuit which sent 13,000 volts of electricity through the firemen, killing two and wounding the other four. The Secretary General of the Office of the Attorney General of the Nation, Rigoberto González, said that in the next days they will be receiving the autopsy reports as well as the results of the investigations being carried out by the Safety Office of the Colon Fire Department as well as the Judicial Technical Police. González indicated that they will be investigating to see if there was negligence on the part of the electrical company. Authorities of the Santo Tomas Hospital said that firemen Alberto Robinson and Marcos Porras are recovering little by little in the Intensive Care Unit and the Burn Unit of the hospital.
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More Than 1,840 Have Been Deported from Panama

Immigration IssuesLa Estrella de Panama - About 1,840 foreigners from different countries have been deported out of Panama for different reasons, according to the Director of Immigration and Naturalization, Clovis Sinisterra Frías. He said 1,161 foreigners have been deported for not meeting the minimum requirements to remain in the country, while another 679 were returned to their home countries in the Tocumen International Airport for the same reason, as they tried to enter the country through immigration control points. 30% of those returned have been for lack of economic solvency. Another 19% have been for being considered "bad faith tourists," and 25% for false visas. Sinisterra said those mostly deported are Colombians, followed by nationals of China, Ecuador, Peru, Dominican Republic, and Holland, among other nationalities. Of the total of deported, 859 are women and 435 men, and they have been restricted from entering the country in the future.
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Torrijos Calls Doctors "Unreasonable"

Protests & DemonstrationsBy Carmen Boyd Marciacq for El Siglo - President Martín Torrijos described as "unreasonable" those members of the doctor's union who insist on going on strike. He said he considers the "act of force" planned to begin next Tuesday to be unjustified because there exists within his administration the will to negotiate a conditional gradual wage increase to those who provide health services. "It is not just for those who suffer, that some intend to place politics ahead of the common good. I think that in no way a strike can be justified when we have said that we are willing to discuss the issue of salaries. But it is true that there will be no wage increases if there are no improvements in the health care provided to Panamanians," said Torrijos. (more)
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Panama Stomping Their Feet over Free Trade Agreement

Money Matters
Pedro Miguel Gonzalez, Indicted in the United States for the Terrorist Murder of Zak Hernandez
Pedro Miguel Gonzalez, Indicted in the United States for the Terrorist Murder of Zak Hernandez
By Eneida Prieto for the Panama America - Panama will insist that the Congress of the United States try to pass the Free Trade Agreement between the two countries. President Martín Torrijos said he would do everything possible so that the agreement is approved, after the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee decided that "Panama will have to solve its political problem" before approving the Free Trade Agreement. Torrijos said his government has promised to do everything within his power so that at the moment when the Free Trade Agreement comes before the congress for a vote that it will "have the votes for ratification." (more)
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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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