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Wednesday, April 23 2014 @ 10:28 AM EDT

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The National Assembly Wants Their Slush-Fund Back

Corruption
"Partidas Circuitales" are basically officially authorized slush-funds used by politicians to buy votes
By Gustavo A. Aparicio O. y Ereida Prieto-Barreiro for the Panama America - Although opposition lawmakers have not expressed their disapproval to the possible reestablishment of the circuit funds, leaders from the main opposition parties expressed their rejection to plan out of fears that State funds will be used for political purposes. Guillermo Ford, President of the Patriotic Union Party, said his political experience indicates that these "circuit funds" often are not spent correctly, which is why he considers that to give funds to the Assembly is not advisable at the moment. The President of the Panameñista Party Juan Carlos Varela said that the Assembly should be more concerned with the approval of good laws which is its function. (more)
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Panama Lifts Import Restrictions on Live Cattle From the US

Animals & Pets
Cows Are People Too...
Cows Are People Too...
By Rafael E. Berrocal R. for La Prensa - The Panamanian cattle immediately rejected Panama's decision to lift restrictions on imports of live cattle from the United States. Imports had been blocked since a December 2003 decree, a reaction to the confirmation of the presence of Mad Cow disease in US territory. Euclides Diaz, Executive Director of the National Association of Cattle Dealers (ANAGAN), said the decision puts the European Union classification at risk, a market with great export potential. "How they are going to see us in Europe. In 2005 they lowered Panama's rating to risk level three after the importation of dog food containing beef flour from the United States," he said. ANAGAN says the decision to reopen the borders to these imports of of live cattle will only benefit the the interests of the Association of Brahman Cattle Producers of the United States. The Agriculture Department of the United States said yesterday that "Panama's decision demonstrates confidence in the capacity of the American government to protect animal health and food safety."
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Georgian Designer Maka Natsvlishvili To Participate Panama Fashion Festival

Panama NewsTbilisi. September 22 (Prime-News) – Under the patronage of the President’s Fund and with the support of the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sports of Georgia, Maka Natsvkishvili, the Georgian designer, will participate in the fashion festival organized in Panama. Maka Natsvlishvili told Prime-News that the fashion festival would be held in Panama on October 03-05 and about eight foreign designers would take part in the festival. According to the Georgian designer, it is for the first time that the Georgian designer participates in the fashion festival of the world level for the first time.
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Panama investigates hidden drug lord

Crime & Punishment
Jose Urrego
Jose Urrego
Malaysia Sun - Panama is looking into allegations that a known Colombian drug trafficker managed to obtain Panamanian residence, ID cards, bank accounts and even a US$12 million private island. Jose Urrego, who was arrested in Colombia in the 1990’s for drug smuggling, supposedly moved to Panama where he carried on his activities for three years before he was arrested last week. Urrego, 53, was working for Colombia's Norte del Valle cartel when he was originally detained. According to police, Urrego managed to arrange a Panamanian identity card in 2004 and went on to establish businesses. He accumulated enough money to buy Chapera island, valued at US$12 million and deposited large sums of laundered money in a Panamanian bank account, apparently unnoticed by authorities.
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Panama City's Old Quarter Celebrates Tenth Anniversary as World Heritage Site

History & Reference
Casco Viejo
Casco Viejo
Panama City, Panama (PRWEB) September 22, 2007 -- Ten years ago this month Panama City's three hundred year old historic district, Casco Antiguo, was named a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). At the time, few imagined the impending boom that would so radically change the surrounding city skyline. Today, with tower cranes crowding the nearby shores, residents of the historic district shudder to think what might have happened had their beloved 100 acre peninsula not been protected. "In 1994 a developer tried to build a high rise on the best site in the neighborhood," says long time resident and architect, Sebastian Paniza. "Imagine what would have happened by now." (more)
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Panama Presents New Orthopedics Surgery

Healthcare
New Hip Surgery Technique
New Hip Surgery Technique
Viñales, Cuba, Sep 21 (Prensa Latina) Experts from Panama presented the benefits of a minimally invasive procedure for trochanteric hip fracture to the ongoing International Congress of Orthopedics in Viñales, Cuba on Friday. Carlos Pareja, head of Orthopedics and Trauma at Panama's Rafael Hernandez Hospital, said the system allows for the patient's immediate mobility and recovery with minimum pain, rather than the customary period of traction. It consists of fixing a small plate through a two-centimeter incision to the proximal end of the femur that has two bone masses of strong muscles linked to locomotion. (more)
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AES Panama stable outlook, looks to hydro expansion - Fitch

Infrastructure Upgrades
AES Panama Hydroelectric Power Generation Facility
AES Panama Hydroelectric Power Generation Facility
Water Power Magazine.com - AES Panama, a subsidiary of AES Corp, has a stable risk outlook according to ratings agency Fitch, which also sees prospects improving through the planned 50MW Changuinola hydro project. Fitch affirmed the firm's foreign and local currency ratings for US$300M in unsecured notes due in nine years, and said the rating outlook is stable. The stable outlook arises from AES Panama's varied, low-cost asset base of four hydro plants, which have competitive dispatch positions and the company's power purchase agreements. The plants are of varied type (reservoir and run-of-river) and are sited in different hydrological environments. (more)
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Panama CEW - A Cesspool for Losers (Avoid At All Costs)

Groups & Organizations Leslie Aldridge wrote - "Panama Current Events World - a Yahoo group so rough and rowdy, complaints landed it in the Adult ratings with Yahoo. You will definitely find commentary there that you won't find anywhere else." Two members have been banned for using posts to file criminal complaints.

Banned from CEW: Clyde Jenkins and I have been banned from CEW for reporting death threats made by Okke Ornstein to the PTJ. Ornstein threatened to kill fellow expat Clyde Jenkins, saying he would "cut off your head, break your legs, break your arms" and do anything else he could think of to Clyde Jenkins if he refused to withdraw a criminal complaint for slander. (more)

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Foreign Couple's Car Fire-Bombed in Boquete

Crime & Punishment
Fire Bombed in Boquete
Fire Bombed in Boquete

Note The Date: This article first appeared in the Panama America on 16 September 2007.

By Jaime Saldaña for the Panama America - The vehicle fire in the district of Boquete has been classified as a terrorist act. A foreign couple said someone threw a homemade firebomb into their garage. The couple, American Jeffrey Daugherty and Brit Patricia Joy Daugherty, filed a formal complaint with the PTJ after someone set their vehicle on fire. "Fortunately the fuel tank was not on the side where the firebomb hit, because that would have caused a much greater explosion," they said. (more) (Photo Credit: Jaime Saldaña / EPASA ]

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Fighting in Colombia displaces more indigenous people, UN reports

Panama News
Colombian Refugee Children
Colombian Refugee Children
UN.org - 21 September 2007 – More than 1,000 indigenous Colombians have taken refuge in a school to escape fighting between the army and an irregular armed group, the latest victims of more than 40 years of conflict which has uprooted 3 million people and has recently had a disproportionate effect on the country’s original inhabitants, the United Nations reported today. “Armed combat, presence of irregular groups, targeted killings and landmines all contribute to the rising trend of forced displacement,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesman Ron Redmond said of the latest incident involving 1,018 Awá in southern Colombia, almost half of them children under 16. (more)
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Peru Trade Bill Moves Forward In Senate

Money Matters
Senator Max Baucus
Senator Max Baucus
(AP) The Senate Finance Committee gave its approval Friday to a free trade agreement with Peru, the first such pact since Democrats won a commitment from the administration to make labor rights and the environment key parts of all bilateral trade deals. The 18-3 vote for draft legislation to implement the agreement is a necessary step to full Senate consideration, which could take place in mid to late October. Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., cited the new requirements on labor and environmental standards worked out with the administration last May as a reason for the strong vote. "American workers and businesses deserve to know they're on a level playing field with our trading partners, and the stronger labor and environmental provisions now in the Peru Free Trade Agreement strike a better balance." (more)
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The Marion is Declared a Landmark

History & Reference
A Steam Shovel in the Panama Canal Excavation
A Steam Shovel in the Panama Canal Excavation
By Lynne Belluscio - We have just received notification that New York State has accepted our nomination for the Marion Steam Shovel on Gulf Road to become a State Historic Landmark and it will be nominated for national designation. It represents the industrial technology that was developed at the end of the 19th Century. When I wrote the nomination I included a history of the development of the steam shovel, the history of the General Crushed Stone Company and the story of the limestone quarries in Le Roy. It is very unusual that the review panel accepts nominations for equipment like Le Roy's Marion Shovel. But I am now faced with a greater challenge. The panel would like additional information that would prove that the shovel was indeed a shovel from the Panama Canal. That's going to be tough. (more)
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Panamanian treasures on display

History & Reference
River of Gold Medallion
River of Gold Medallion
By JOANN LOVIGLIO for the Associated Press - PHILADELPHIA - Visitors to a new exhibit of dazzling gold artifacts and other ancient treasures have a fickle river in central Panama to thank for it. When the Rio Grande de Cocle changed course in the early 1900s, a tantalizing cache of golden beads and pottery pieces washed upon its banks. Mysterious accounts of a river flowing with gold enticed a University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology excavation team to the site in 1940. There, they uncovered the cemetery of a thriving pre-Columbian settlement previously unknown to historians and dating from approximately 700 A.D. to 900 A.D. About 150 of the most important artifacts they excavated are on display at the museum's "River of Gold" exhibit opening Sunday. (more)
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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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