Panama Canal Unions Demand An Independent Inspection

November 26, 2015 Posted by Rachel

Panama Canal workers requested an “independent” enquiry for the external parts and audit of the third-locks project. The $5.25 billion expansion of the interoceanic waterway expansion for modern boats needs more transparency to make sure the centrepiece of the project is functioning effectively.

According to Panama Workers’ Unions in a joint statement:

“When we talk about an external inspection and audit of the works, we’re referring to one in which those doing the inspecting and auditing do not belong to and are not associated with the administration of Jorge Quijano and Roberto Roy.

“By not having been transparent in managing information about the problems with (the expansion), they became part of the problem.”

Hidden Engineering Problems

The mistrust between Unions and the GUPC and even the Panama Canal Authority had raised transparency issues, which had seen several engineering and employment inspections as the lack of transparency was brought to the public eye.

Meanwhile, GUPC ranks low in the public trust index and unions said they cannot blindly believe what the consortium tells in its statements.

The trouble with the public began as videos showed water streaming through cracked concrete at the pacific side of the Panama Canal expansion project. The GUPC had to announce it had to delay the opening of the Canal for global use.

The ACP claimed the leaks would not cause further delays. However, samples from independent investigators showed massive structure problems.

Doctor Attacks Nanny, Throws Out Dog

September 30, 2015 Posted by Rachel

Netizens of South America are out on a name-and-shame campaign to shame a doctor from Chile who had thrown out an injured guide dog and force a nanny out of an elevator as he arrived with his three kids. Seen through a surveillance camera, the doctor is shown to have held the dog by his collar and thrown out of the elevator. He also tried to force out the woman from the elevator.

According to the maid Patricia Valdebenito, the doctor threw out her dog, Alai, who just had surgery on his leg.

Dr. Carlos Schiappacasse is a respected Latin American ophthalmologist from Vina del Mar. Netizens had published his name and other information about him in the Internet. A name-and-shame campaign ensued.

Meanwhile, Valdebenito described the scenario as Schiappacasse attacked her without warning and ordered her to leave the elevator. Meanwhile, Alai’s owner, Carlos Salgado, said Schiapacasse was acting out of cowardice and discrimination.

In the wake of the accident, Schiappacasse was travelling to Miami. Meanwhile, his video had made rounds in Latin American social media. Many were enraged. Comments from social networks and on his videos claim the public will know of his shame and will continue to haunt him for years to come.

Colombia-Panama Border Hit By 5.9 Magnitude Earthquake

July 29, 2015 Posted by Rachel

A 5.9 magnitude earthquake shook the border of Colombia and Panama Tuesday evening. No early reports of casualties, injured and damage was reported as of yet.


The US Geological Service said the earthquake had a magnitude of 5.9. However, Colombia’s Seismological Institute had placed the number 6.1.

Residents were frightened after the earthquake violently progressed for 30 seconds. Nearby towns Acandi and Ungia had its power knocked out for some time. Some homes showed cracks on the walls and in their foundations.

The epicentre was about 17 miles south of the town of Acandi. It was about 159 miles from Panama City. The tremor started at 7:10 PM about 6 kilometres below the surface. Panama City’s National Assembly had evacuated its members as a precautionary measure.

Meanwhile, authorities are still trying to ascertain whether there was extensive damage in the area.

Panama Police Chief Calls For The Formation Of An Army

May 28, 2015 Posted by Rachel

Panama Border Police Director Frank Abrego calls on the Panamanian government to create a military wing to combat the left-wing rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.


He said the peace deal with the Colombian government was appropriate. However, he pointed out that Colombia is the biggest manufacturer of cocaine and Panama is its first customer, more often than not.

Strengthening the border forces requires more personnel with specialised training to combat escalating armed tactics from Colombian smuggling rings and drug cartels

The impending threat of the Revolutionary Forces are also increasing the likelihood that Panama might face trouble.

The Panama Border Police is armed with heavy weaponry designed to act as deterrent against smugglers and drug cartels.

Abrego acknowledges that the rebels do not pose as a threat to Panama, but it is more important to guarantee that safety with proper defence forces. He also said that drug cartels and smugglers are fierce opponents compared to possible skirmishes with Revolutionary Forces.

Protein Analysis Solves Origins of Darwin’s Strange South American Mammals

March 26, 2015 Posted by Rachel

The Ungulates appear like a hippo, rhino and rodent fused into a single animal. The 19th Century Naturalist Charles Darwin believed them to be the strangest animals yet discovered.

Darwin first collected their fossils 180 years ago, proving their existence. Scientists were baffled about the odd creatures and their origins.

Using a biochemical analysis of bone collagen from the fossils of Toxodon and Macrauchenia, the names of the two Ungulates, researchers found them to be related to a group that includes horses, tapirs and rhinos. Initially, researchers believed them to be of African origin included in the elephant and aardvark families.

Molecular Evolutionary Biologist Ian Barnes, whose research now appears in the Nature journal, said:

“We have resolved one of the last unresolved major problems in mammalian evolution: the origins of the South American native ungulates.”

“Some of Darwin’s earliest thoughts about evolution by means of natural selection were engendered by contemplating the remains of Toxodon and Macrauchenia, which resembled so confusingly the features of a number of other groups, but had died out so recently,” said paleomammalogist Ross MacPhee of New York’s American Museum of Natural History.


Panamanian Government Develops Measures to Curb Rampant Crime

January 26, 2015 Posted by Rachel

The Panamanian Government on Monday has adopted a series of measures with the help of the Ministry of Security and the National Police to confront gangs and criminals who are the forefront of the increasing drug usage in the country.


Foreign country security forces will help keep out citizens with criminal records from entering the country. Police have been implemented in different high-crime areas in Panama.


The Public Ministry is to confront gang groups operating in the country and supporting the legal processes of different cases. They also intend to support the anti-Gang unit to lower the number of criminals in the country.


The security and approach has been upped after two days ago, the coastlines were lined with three violent crimes associated to drug trafficking and gang wars.

Suspect in the Killing of Panama Diplomat Detained

November 27, 2014 Posted by Rachel

Belize authorities have detained a man who suspected to have killed the Panamanian diplomat last Sunday. The body of the Panamanian Ambassador to Belize, Jose Rodrigo De La Rosa was found near a highway in the city outskirts with cut wounds on the neck and head late Sunday.

According to Panama’s Foreign Affairs Ministry on Wednesday a three member team of investigators and diplomats were sent to Belize to oversee the case.

De La Rosa was a 64-year old career diplomat and had served in various postings in Canada, Bolivia, Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, and Israel.

No motives are known as of yet.


Ebola-Stricken African Countries Banned From Panama

October 23, 2014 Posted by admin

The Panamanian Government had declared that Sierra Leon, Liberia and Guinea travellers will be banned from going into Panama. The three countries worst-hit by Ebola will remain until the WHO clears the Ebola threat.

The Dominican Republic on Tuesday had also banned entry to foreigners who had visited Ebola-affected countries in the last month. Colombia, Jamaica and St. Lucia had also banned travellers from such countries.

Ebola had killed more than 4,877 people and had infected around 9,936 in Africa according to a WHO statement. Liberia was majorly hit with 4,665 cases and 2,705 deaths.

In the United States, African travellers will be led to one of five major airports conducting enhanced screening for the virus. Anybody travelling from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea would go through temperature checks. The US had also placed measures for those travelling by air or land to screen any traveller coming from the infected countries within 21 days.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Drugmaker Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation had announced it has begun manufacturing a drug that could combat Ebola. It had announced the drug’s availability by December, but did not specify the amount it would be creating. GlaxoSmithKline and NewLink Genetics are making clinical tests to create a drug to fight against the virus.


Panama – The Happiest Country in The World?

October 13, 2014 Posted by admin

Could Panama be the happiest country in the world? Well, a poll by Gallup and Healthways Global suggests that out of the 135 countries surveyed, people in Panama are the most happiest.

A staggering 133,000 people were polled across the 135 countries, and Panama was the clear winner with Costa Rica and Denmark coming second and third respectively.

So why are the people of Panama so happy, and what is their secret? One expert who works for Gallup and Healthways Global commented, “it seems the population of Panama have more leisure time than many countries in Western Europe, which means they have more time to spend with the family and relax.”


It was also noted that people in Panama generally “stay young” well into their fifties and sixties, with many men and women looking 10 or 15 years than they actually are. Part of this is due to an active lifestyle and diet high in natural foods such as fruit and fish.

However, it has also been discovered that a little known supplement called phytoceramides is very popular in Panama and has been for decades. Could this be the reason why Panama is so happy, and ultimately, why the people of Panama look so young?

If this is the reason, then it’s highly likely that the USA, UK, and Canada will soon catch on, and in no time at all phytoceramides will become a huge phenomenon selling millions of bottles a day.

Actually, there is a small “subculture” of Americans who are heavily into the phytoceramide craze, and you can even buy gluten free phytoceramides that are manufactured in the USA and approved by the FDA.

In recent months even the well known and respected TV show host Dr Phil has mentioned phytoceramide supplements, calling them the “biggest breakthrough in anti-aging for decades.”

So what should you do if you want to buy a bottle of phytoceramides and try them out for yourself? Do you have to fly to Panama and visit one of the local farm markets? Fortunately, it’s much easier than that to get your hands on a bottle, as the internet site Amazon is always well stocked and ready to take your online order.

Who knows, once countries like the USA and UK start taking phytoceramides on a regular basis, then maybe they will be voted the happiest countries on earth? Until that time though we will leave that title for Panama.

Widened Panama Canal to Be Open for Business in 2016 Following Financing

September 16, 2014 Posted by admin

A $400 million loan will help the Panama Canal be open for business by 2016. Previously delayed due to strikes, delays and cost overrun disputes going over an estimated $16 billion, the Canal will finally be completed with just $5.3 billion.

According to Panama Canal Authority Head Administrator Jorge Quijano, the consortium widening the canal will help cash flow and allow the contractors to get paid and finally get the Canal finished as soon as possible.

The project was to be completed this year for the Panama Canal’s 100 year anniversary, but significant delays due to the lack of funding had the Canal’s completion re-scheduled for 2015 and opened for early 2016.

The new Canal upgrades will allow larger ships that carry up to 15,000 containers pass through the Canal. The Panama Canal could only previously accommodate ships carrying 5,000 containers.

Panama earns largely from the Canal, accounting for roughly 10% of government revenues, which makes up a sixth of the country’s economy bringing $1 billion yearly.

Panama’s traffic is only offset by the larger Suez Canal in Egypt, which had also seen upgrades with the construction of a $4 billion “new  Suez Canal, which runs parallel to the original.