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Friday, August 01 2014 @ 11:54 AM EDT

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Watch Channel 2 at 9:00 PM

EntertainmentIf you live in Panama, watch TVN channel 2 tonight at 9:00 pm. They are having like a local version of American Idol, and it looks like it's going to be hilarious.
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Chinese Businessman Found Murdered in Colon

Crime & Punishment Chinese moneylender Feng Huan, 50 years old, was strangled with a wire, struck in the head, and his body was dumped by his killers. His wallet was missing, but there were three expensive gold rings on this fingers. Two people who were working on a farm saw a bundle covered by a coat and thought it was trash, but when they got closer they discovered the corpse. Some people said the frequently saw Feng in the casinos in Colon. He lived in the area of Margarita. His truck was found in Sabanitas, with blood stains.

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New Prison Director Appointed

Politics The Minister of Government and Justicia Olga Gólcher announced that Carlos Landero will be the new director of the Panamanian Prison System. She said that the newly designated director will be brought up to speed on the work that has been done in the prisons. Minister Gólcher has been in charge of the prisons since Dr. Jose Calderon resigned.

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Frogs: Female choice for complex calls led to evolution of unusual male vocal cord

Animals & Pets Male tropical túngara frogs have evolved masses on their vocal cords that help them woo females with complex calls, show scientists working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama. Dr. Mike Ryan, Clark Hubbs Regents Professor of integrative biology at The University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Marcos Gridi-Papp, a post-doctoral scholar in physiological sciences at UCLA, and the late Dr. Stan Rand, of STRI, published their findings in the May 4 issue of Nature. Males of the túngara frog, Physalaemus pustulosus, attract females by singing out "whine chuck chuck" calls in wetlands and puddles during the rainy season. The males may only produce whines, but females are more attracted to males that also produce chucks. The scientists surgically removed the fibrous masses in the males' larynx and found that they could no longer produce the "chuck". The frogs produced a normal whine and attempted to add chucks to it, but the sounds that they added lacked the distinctive pattern of the chuck.
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River Plate to play Panama national squad

Sports Section PANAMA CITY, May 2 (Xinhua) -- River Plate, of the Argentine league's top teams, will play a friendly game with the Panama national squad on May 20, Panama's football federation said on Tuesday. The federation said that a contract for the match, which had been postponed before, had been signed, and that the game will take place in the Rommel Fernandez stadium in Panama. Julio Cesar Daly, the famed former Panamanian player, will manage the Panama national team. Panagol, as Daly is known, is already manager of the nation's under-17 national squad. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-05/03/content_4504172.htm
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Panama Canal expansion to create many jobs

Canal Expansion PANAMA CITY, May 2 (Xinhua) -- The Panama Canal expansion project could generate between 150,000 and 250,000 new jobs in the two decades to come, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) said on Tuesday. Panamanian President Martin Torrijos announced in late April a 5.25-billion-U.S. dollar plan for widening the canal by adding a third system of locks to handle larger ships. The construction work will generate between 35,000 and 40,000 jobs by itself, according to ACP studies, with 7,000 workers taking part in the most active period of construction work, which runs from 2009 to 2011. Rodolfo Sabonge, ACP head of planning and marketing, said the work would create between 10 percent and 15 percent more employment in the Panamanian economy. It was estimated that about 1.5 million Panamanians would have jobs in 2025 if the canal is not expanded, while between 1.65 and 1.75 million would be employed that same year if the canal work goes ahead. The greatest increase in employment in the medium and long term will depend on the growth of economic activity in Panama, boosted by services -- the sector of the economy that is most immediately affected by Canal traffic. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-05/03/content_4504870.htm
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Panama: Coosemupar may leave Chiquita for Ale Fruit, Italy

Money Matters Tholen - The general assembly of Sitrachilco in Puerto Armuelles, Panama, has authorised the Coosemupar management to find new contacts in Europe and to break of the relation with Chiquita Brands. At the same time one agreed upon a trip to Italy for genereal secretary Salustiano De Gracia and the company lawyer Álvaro Muñoz. The two gentlemen will leave for an appointment with the citrus importer Ale Fruit from Turin in Italy, which supposedly had mentioned prices of $ 6 per box for the first semester and $ 4,5 per box for the second semester. Additionally Ale Fruit has offered financing, according to Muñoz. Ale Fruit, which has repeatedly imported small shipments of bananas from Ecuador, confirms the appointment with De Gracia and one expects to discuss prices amongst other things. Contact Flavio Ceruti, Ale Fruit. Publication date: 03 May 2006 Author: André van der Wiel http://www.freshplaza.com/2006/03mei/1-2_pa_coosemupar.htm


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Rob Zaleski: Retirees feeding "Panama fever"

Real Estate By Rob Zaleski: PANAMA CITY, Panama - Some call it the most seductive place on the planet, and Luis Nieves isn't about to argue. A Panamanian native, the suave and articulate 58-year-old engineer spent three decades living in various spots in the United States. But as he explained to me last week in his air-conditioned office at the Amador Country Inn & Suites - just a stone's throw from the western mouth of the Panama Canal - he returned here for good some 15 years ago, realizing there's no other place that quite compares with this small tropical paradise of 3.1 million people wedged between Costa Rica and Colombia. And that's especially true today, Nieves muses, what with despised dictator Manuel Noriega just a distant memory - thanks to the U.S. invasion of 1989 - and the country in the midst of an economic boom that locals refer to as "Panama fever" and which has transformed it into a favorite retirement spot for U.S. and European seniors.
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Cargo Ship Left With Gaping Hole After Slamming Into Seawall

Photos & Pictures MIAMI -- A 300-foot cargo ship was badly damaged Monday when it slammed into a seawall leaving the Miami River on its way out to sea. The ship the Hybur Star, registered in Panama but owned by a company based on the Miami River, was left with a gaping hole in hits hull. No one on board the ship was injured. Crewmembers were able to shut down the ship's compartment hatches to prevent the ship from sinking, but the freighter did take on some water. The Coast Guard said the ship's bulkhead was designed to withstand just this type of collision. Coast Guard crewmembers and port officials were evaluating the damage, and Atlantis Marine Towing Company was on scene to assist. Officials said that it is likely that the company that owns the ship will have to offload its cargo of frozen chickens onto another ship. The ship was bound for Haiti when the accident happened. http://www.local10.com/news/9148578/detail.html
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KC Southern, Norfolk complete joint venture

Cars & Transportation Kansas City Business Journal - Kansas City Southern and Norfolk Southern have finished the formation of a joint venture to increase capacity and improve service on the Meridian Speedway. Kansas City-based KC Southern (NYSE: KSU) owns the Meridian Speedway, which runs between Meridian, Miss., and Shreveport, La. The joint venture stipulates that KC Southern retains 70 percent ownership of the Meridian Speedway. Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC), based in Norfolk, Va., owns the remaining 30 percent and will spend $300 million for capital improvements to the line. The companies said April 11 that the U.S. Surface Transportation board had approved the proposed joint venture. KC Southern is a transportation holding company whose main U.S. property is Kansas City Southern Railway Co., which serves the central and south-central United States. KC Southern's international holdings include Kansas City Southern de Mexico SA de CV, which serves northeastern and central Mexico and the port cities of Lazaro Cardenas, Tampico and Veracruz; and a 50 percent interest in Panama Canal Railway Co., which provides ocean-to-ocean freight and passenger service along the Panama Canal. Norfolk Southern owns Norfolk Southern Railway, which operates about 21,200 route miles in 22 states, the District of Columbia and Ontario, Canada.
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Multicountry trips create Central American tourism surge

Travel & Tourism By Kathia Martinez, ASSOCIATED PRESS PANAMA CITY, Panama TEN or 20 years ago, mentions of countries such as Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala conjured up visions of soldiers and civil war. But today Central America has become a tourism hot spot. The isthmus between Mexico and Colombia is better known for its culture and wildlife than its war-torn past. And tourism revenue has surpassed that of most local industries. Now regional officials are trying to encourage visitors to experience the region the way Americans have long traveled in Europe — by taking in several countries in one trip. Some 20 companies in Europe, mostly Italy, Spain and Britain, already promote tours of Central America that include visits to multiple countries in the region. And Air Costa Rica and Air Panama are trying to capitalize on the trend by opening two new routes between the Costa Rican capital of San Jose and two popular destinations in Panama.
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Panama Canal: Overdue Expansion

Canal Expansion Shipping lines and several U.S. ports support plans to widen the strategic Panama Canal. Some say it may even be overdue thanks to the heavy increase in China-U.S. cargo traffic. Perhaps fitting, the Panama Canal may celebrate its 100th anniversary with a new look. If all goes according to plans, the 50-mile waterway will undergo a $5.2 billion construction that will add a new set of locks by 2014, 100 years after the canal opened up for traffic. Also fitting, some may argue, is that the new plans have been spearheaded by Panamanian president Martin Torrijos, whose father, Omar Torrijos, gained worldwide fame for negotiating the 1977 treaty that led the United States to hand over control of the canal in 1999. "We support an extension of the Panama Canal as it would mean a positive development for world trade," says Frederik Berling, a spokesman for Denmark-based AP Moller-Maersk Group, the world's top shipping firm and port operator and the largest user of the canal.
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Magnitude 6 quake shakes Panama

EarthquakesPANAMA CITY, Panama (AP) -- A moderately strong earthquake and at least one aftershock shook Panama early Monday, but no damages or injuries were reported. Panama's Civil Protection Agency said the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 6 and struck at 2:48 a.m. (7:48 a.m. GMT), centered on the Pacific coast near the Costa Rican border about 500 kilometers (310 miles) west of Panama City, according to the country's Civil Protection Agency. The U.S. Geological Survey reported that the earthquake had a magnitude of 5.9 and had its epicenter 380 kilometers (235 miles) from the capital. A 5.2-magnitude aftershock struck at 4:13 a.m. local time (9:13 a.m. GMT), Panamanian officials said.
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Europe, Asia for Panama Resolution

Canal ExpansionPanama, May 2 (Prensa Latina) Panamanian Vice President and Foreign Minister Samuel Lewis will tour Europe and Asia as of May 10 to foster the project of modernization of the Panama Canal Zone, official sources reported Tuesday. Lewis, accompanied by the country's Canal Zone Authority manager Alberto Aleman, traveled to Atlanta last week to analyze the issue with ex-US President James Carter. Carter signed the Torrijos-Carter Treaties in 1977 that opened the way to the return of the Canal Zone to Panama, a historic project agreed on December 31, 1999. According to the Panamanian Foreign Ministry, Lewis is readying a tour of Europe, including Austria and Germany, and Asia. The United States is another of the topics included in the Canal Zone program.
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Excavation and Dredging Will Start in 2007

Canal Expansion If the project to expand the Panama Canal is approved by referendum later this year, excavation will begin early in 2007. According to the plan approved by the board of directors of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) the third set of locks has three components. The first is the construction of two sets of locks, one at each end of the canal. The second is the excavation of access channels to the new locks and the extension of the existing navegation channels. The third is the deepening of navigation channels in Gatun Lake, and the elevation of the lake to it's maximum level of operation. To build the access channels will require an excavation 11.2 kilometers long by 218 meters wide. And it's not just any ditch. The required excavation is more or less the same distance that there is between Panama and Arraiján. For example to connect the new locks on the Atlantic side to the existing access channel will require 3.2 kilometers of excavation. On the Pacific side two new access channels will be dug, one 6.2 kilometers long going around Miraflores lake, and another 1.8 kilometers long, a little further to the south.
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Corruption Complaint to be Filed Against Aleman

Corruption Lic. Javier Enrique Justiniani, who runs the Foundation "Help for Detained Prisoners," plans to file a formal complaint with Panama's Attorney General Ana Matilde Gomez tomorrow against the ex-Minister of Government and Justice Hector Aleman for corruption and abuse of public office. He has not filed his complaint yet, and plans to do so tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 pm. Now, I know that Justiniani is basically a political operative of Ricardo Martinelli's Cambio Democratico political party, and there's not doubt that his action is politically motivated. As a matter of fact, if you call Javier's foundation, the secretary answers the phone "Cambio Democratico..." Javier has gotten hold of some information that, if true, could prove to be damaging to Hector Aleman. Let me say right up front that I do not have any independent verification of what Justiniani is alleging, and I don't know if any of this is true or not. Also, the timing is cute, considering that Aleman just left his Minister's position last week, and was bumped up to manage the expansion of the canal. This is a fairly tangled web, so try to follow along...

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Ex-PDF Officers Changing Their Names to Avoid Prosecution

Corruption Ex members of the Panamanian Defense Forces supposedly involved in the deaths or disappearances of at least 110 people between years 1968 and 1989 have changed their names in the Electoral Court to evade justice. Janeth Rovetto, the Public Prosecutor in charge to coordinate the investigations of these cases, said her office has detected these practices, but - according to her - these attempts to change their identities has not hindered her investigation. Rovetto announced that she will send to the courts the prosecutorial opinions of four files for disappearances and one for murder, in which she asks for the opening of a criminal trial for a total of 13 former military members. In total the Public Ministry has files open on 18 cases of forced disappearances, and another 18 open files for murders committed by ex-military members during the years of the dictatorship, said Rovetto.
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Auto Shop Making Double-Bottomed Fuel Tanks

Crime & Punishment Antidrug authorities frustrated another attempted shipment of cocaine to the United States (EU), this time in the fuel tank of two vehicles, according to the First Public Prosecutor for Drugs, Patricio Candanedo. On March 30th investigators from the First Public Prosecutor's Drug Office and units of the Narcotics Division of the Judicial Technical Police (PTJ) searched a body shop on 6th Street in Parque Lefevre that served as cover to make double bottoms in fuel tanks of trucks. The opertion, called "The Light," police and investigative units found that each truck had "a special addition in the fuel tank of the trucks there was a space for 50 kilos of cocaine in each one, that would be used to transport drugs to the United States." The Candanedo said two Panamanians, two Colombians and two Mexicans were arrested in the operation. He said the foreigners were arrested in captured in the Auto Shop "JGR" on 6th Street in Parque Lefevre Park, where the fuel tanks were modified to add double bottoms to transport cocaine to the United States.
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Labor Day Protestors Climb the Bridge of the Americas

Protests & Demonstrations Four men climbed the Bridge of the Americas in protest today, to demand that the Panamanian government comply with a decision from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Labor leader Manrique Mejía said the protest, the second of its type since 29 July 2005, was done to call attention to the failings of successive governments to recognize their claims. Manrique said that the peaceful demonstration on the Bridge of the Americas has a special connotation, and was held on May 1, the International Labor Day. The demonstrators demand payment of about $55 million dollars owed to 270 former employees of the state electrical and telecommunications companies that have since been privatized, and who were dismissed in 1990.
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Survivor: Panama - Exile Island - Episode 11

Entertainment The show opened on Day 28. We're really moving along with the season. Before you know it, we'll know the Final Four. Will the seemingly unstoppable Terry keep winning Immunity? Will he choose the best time to bring out that found bonus Immunity Idol? Or will the sheer numbers and probability that some ex-Casaya will knock him out come to fruition? Terry, but of course, is happy that Bruce's medical exit spared him an Immunity Challenge. He's concerned about Bruce, but the fewer challenges he has to face, the better the prospects of making it to the end. Although he seems to be a Superman, each challenge is a risk. He loses just one and he has to play the not-such-a-secret found Idol. Once he's played that, he's out of aces up the sleeve. 6 are left. Who will be voted off tonight? The show opened on Day 28. We're really moving along with the season. Before you know it, we'll know the Final Four. Will the seemingly unstoppable Terry keep winning Immunity? Will he choose the best time to bring out that found bonus Immunity Idol? Or will the sheer numbers and probability that some ex-Casaya will knock him out come to fruition?
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Panama coffees flourish despite land grab

Food & Drink By Mike Power: BAMBITO, Panama (Reuters) - Connoisseurs have nothing but praise for Panama's tiny annual crop of gourmet coffee but they warn that farms where the best beans are grown could vanish as landowners sell to wealthy foreign retirees. International tasters meeting in Panama's lush highland growing region this weekend to select its best coffees say that a real-estate boom has led growers to sell off farms just when the world is waking up to how good their beans can be. The number of judges at the Specialty Coffee Association of Panama's annual "Best of Panama" competition is double that of last year and there are nine more coffees competing to win a chance at a lucrative online auction. The winner will be chosen on Saturday by 28 international coffee experts sampling 33 single-estate, shade-grown highland arabica coffees. The top 10 beans advance to the online auction, where a 'Geisha' variety the last two years sold at a record price of over $20 a pound.
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Mission of Faith - Part 2

Groups & OrganizationsBy Sophie Soong: Panama - Imagine spending your two week vacation a thousand miles from home, working all day in primitive conditions. That's what news producer Andrea Compton and I did when we joined our church on a mission to panama. With six other local team members, we set out on the trip, not knowing what to expect. We just had our goal in mind: construct two churches. But it didn't come without obstacles. First of all, there was the rain. It was pouring most of the time we were there. Our first day of construction on the church in the village of Renacimiento got off to a soggy start. "This is going to be very difficult because every time you dig a hole, it just fills up with water," team member Jesse Walton said as he worked. Still, we did our best digging, mixing cement, and trying to get a solid foundation for the church. "It was a stretch I think for us because we're not used to it. Just different type of work than we're used to, just manual labor," Tara Love, another team member said.
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Man enters Survivor 1,000 times (South Africa)

Entertainment Johannesburg - Even sending in 1 000 entry forms does not mean that just anyone can survive the sifting process for the South African Survivor series. Pierre van Niekerk, 49, a dancing instructor in Rietfontein, Pretoria, believes so fervently that his enthusiasm will come to the attention of the organisers that he has already started practising to become a hot shot with a catapult. Van Niekerk is one of thousands of people who have entered for this popular series and, on Saturday morning, handed in no fewer than 1 000 entries at the MNet head office in Randburg. "The girl behind the counter was absolutely astounded," said Van Niekerk on Sunday. Has started practising already. "I simply did this to draw attention and I think it is everybody's dream to take part in this series." Van Niekerk is adamant that he will not only be one of the contestants, but also will be the winner. "I have already started practising. I'm honing my skills at catapult shooting and I'm doing my best with a bow and arrow. Van Niekerk said on his entry form that the only thing he would take with him to a desolate island would be his mother-in-law because, with her supporting him, nobody would dare oppose him. The selection process started on Sunday and entrants will start hearing from the panel this week whether they have been invited for an interview. The series will be filmed in Panama early in June and will be on MNet early in September during open time. http://www.news24.com/News24/Entertainment/Local/0,,2-1225-1242_1924798,00.html


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Panama, Costa Rica Shaken by Magnitude-6 Earthquake, USGS Says

Earthquakes May 1 (Bloomberg) -- A magnitude-6 earthquake struck early today along the border of Panama and Costa Rica, the U.S. Geological Service said on its Web site. The quake didn't prompt any tsunami alert by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. The epicenter was 40 kilometers (24 miles) west-southwest of the town of David in Panama and 60 kilometers south-southeast of Golfito in Costa Rica, the USGS said. The quake struck 40 kilometers below the surface, at 2:48 a.m. local time. David has a population of 77,000 and Golfito 10,000, the USGS said. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage from the earthquake, which was classified as ``strong'' by the USGS. The Central American countries are in a region where the Cocos and Caribbean plates meet and rub against each other.
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Panama government to boost trade with Mercosur

Money Matters The Panamanian government is seeking a closer relationship with the Common Market of the South (Mercosur) member countries in a bid to boost trade, government officials said on Sunday. The government was interested in attracting foreign investors to the sectors of energy, logistics and technology, local media quoted the officials as saying. The nation had moved a few steps forward in the direction by importing buses and aircraft from Brazil, they said. Panama is keenly interested in technology transfer, such as the technology for using ethanol as vehicle fuel, which would help the nation ease the economic crisis due to the skyrocketing costs of gasoline. Recently, Panama launched a charm offensive in a bid to join other regional trade blocs, such as the Andean Community of Nations, which comprises Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia, and the Group of Three, which groups Venezuela, Mexico and Colombia. Mercosur, Latin America's largest trading bloc, comprises Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay with Chile and Bolivia as associate members. Source: Xinhua http://english.people.com.cn/200605/01/eng20060501_262495.html



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The STRI's Marine Exhibition Center at Culebra Point

Travel & Tourism When visiting or exploring Panama be sure to visit the Marine Exhibition Center (CEM) located on Punta Culebra of Naos Island on the Amador Causeway. The CEM is operated by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institution (STRI), the only bureau of the Smithsonian Institution based outside of the United States. The STRI is dedicated to understanding biological diversity. The Marine Exhibition Center (Centro de Exhibiciones Marinas, or CEM) is a non-profit initiative of STRI that relies on the support of the Smithsonian Foundation of Panama and international entities. It offers visitors an open-air museum focusing mainly on marine science and education, conservation and interpretation of marine coastal environments. More than 450,000 students and visitors have visited CEM since it opened in 1996, and hundreds of schools have taken part in its educational program. (details and photos below)
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Health Seminar at the Expat Center

Groups & Organizations Today at the expat center there was Health Care event from 9 am to 4 pm. Participants were screened for pulmonary function test, blood pressure, blood glucose, and sleep apnea. Dr. Juan Carlos Afú, the General Manager of "Cuidados Respiratorios Especializados," Dr. Reynaldo Chandler,
Specialist in Pneumology, and skin cancer screening with Dra. Gioconda Gaudiano, a top dermatologist. Plus there was information of interest to new and experienced ex-pats alike including private ambulance services and some of the latest healthcare screening tools.
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TVN - Upcoming Singing Competition

EntertainmentThis morning there was a line of hopeful singers in front of the Next disco. TVN Channel 2 was holding auditions for an upcoming competition they will air. According to Juan Pablo Coronel, the Executive Producer for the show, the format will be more like a regular judged competition and a single-night event, rather than an "American Idol" kind of format. We were there early in the morning, and the line was out the door and down the street all day. This coming Wendsday, 3 May, TVN will air footage from some of the auditions that were held today. Ten finalists will participate in the final competition which will be held at the Balboa Theater and will air on 24 May. More than 800 people auditioned for the competition. (photos below)
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Panameñista Manuel Lobo - Going for Chicken Blood

Politics The Secretary General of the Panameñista Party, Doctor Manuel Lobo, thinks Health Minister Doctor Camilo Alleyne should resign. President Martin Torrijos recently recognized the contributions of the Melo company in Panama. Melo is one of several processing companies that have operations in the Ciudad Radial area of Juan Diaz. Sewage pipes clogged and overflowed causing waste water contaminated with chicken blood and parts to flow down residential streets on 24 March 2006. Lobo is the ex- Regional Director of Health in San Miguelito. "The Panameñista Party is very concerned and surprised by the way the government has acted in the last several days with respect to this subject" said Lobo. "It is inconceivable that the Ministry of Health can open an investigation and establish the possibility of sanctions against a company for possibly violating the sanitary security of the community, and in less than 24 hours the President is there personally presenting an award to the same company. I believe the government is sending an extremely negative message to the population".
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Nine Nations Participating in Naval Exercise

Panama News Panama will host naval exercise Round Up 2006 until the 6th of May under the auspice of the United States and with the participation of nine countries. More than 300 sailors are participating in the naval exercises, who are learning to combat organized crime, life saving, open ocean rescue, and first aid. Units from Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Colombia, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, the United States and Panama, are participating in Round Up 2006. The exercise is based out of the Vasco Núñez de Balboa Naval Station, formerly known as the Rodman Naval Station.
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