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.



Panama Canal Turns 100 Years Old

August 19, 2014 Posted by Rachel

On Friday, the Panama Canal had turned 100 years old. The canal, crucial to world trade by improving transport situations and precise procedures, is surrounded with success, despite its history of oppression and failure.

One of the world’s best engineering marvels, the Panama canal faced many engineering setbacks because of diseases and welfare concerns during the 19th century. The project was abandoned, only to be picked up by the United States President Teddy Roosevelt during 1902. Panama was part of Colombia, and the US began negotiations with the Colombian government. Conflict began between the two countries due to payment disputes, leaving Panama independent through an anti-Colombian revolution supported by the United States.

In total, the canal began its service on August 15, 1914, costing 5,600 worker’s lives for the harsh living conditions and rumoured inhumane treatment. The bridge was built with $10 million and $250,000 annual annuity to Panama from the US government.

The canal helped reduce the length of travelling for water transports by cutting the time and danger in crossing oceans between Europe, America and Asia. After half a century of dispute, the US surrendered management of the canal to Panamanian authorities in 1999.

Today, the canal is being expanded with a $5.25 billion project from 2007 to support modern vessels with larger cargo. The project had become controversial with the Panamanian Canal Authority reportedly withholding payment for contractors.


Former Panama Dictator Sues US Game Developer For Violations

July 16, 2014 Posted by Rachel

Former Panamanian Dictator Manuel Noriega, arrested in 1990 and had become dictator of Panama from 1983 to 1989, had accused Activision for its Call of Duty franchise for unfair business practices and violation of common-law publicity rights in using his name in the game. He filed the lawsuit on Tuesday.

Activision, a famous US-based game developer, had developed the ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 2’, released in November 2013 with much fanfare and success, held the largest revenue of games of all time. The games’ likeness of using his name in-game had prompted Noriega to file the lawsuit.

The lawsuit reads as follows:

“In an effort to increase the popularity and revenue generated by BLACK OPS II, defendants used, without authorization or consent, the image and likeness of plaintiff in BLACK OPS II. Defendants’ use of plaintiff’s image and likeness caused damage to plaintiff. Plaintiff was portrayed as an antagonist and portrayed as the culprit of numerous fictional heinous crimes, creating the false impression that defendants are authorized to use plaintiff’s image and likeness. This caused plaintiffs to receive profits they would not have otherwise received.”

Activision has yet to comment on the matter.

Noriega had been convicted in 1992 in the United States for drug dealing, racketeering and money laundering.


Missing Panama Tourists Linked to Rucksack Found by Authorities

June 17, 2014 Posted by Rachel

Young Holland Tourists Lisanna Froon and Kris Hemmers, respectively 22 and 21 years old were missing. Authorities have found a rucksack that where they found mobile phones, two pairs of glasses and underwear. The two Holland backpackers have set out on a hike on April 1 at Boquete, Chiriqui province. They were reported missing by a hiking guide on April 2.

The rucksack was found in a river in the northeast, near the Costa Rica border. A Dutch rescue team had scanned the highlands of Boquete, which was 260 miles away from Panama City. Sniffer dogs are checking footpaths and three helicopters have searched for the missing young women.

Panama police are also conducting their own investigation regarding possible kidnapping or any other foul play.

They also estimate the indigenous residents in Boquete found the rucksack just 8 hours after the girls were spotted missing.

The two girls have reportedly travelled the “Pianist” path, which is the area around Bocas del Toro, which was near the river the rucksack was found. The search area has limited aerial visibility because of the dense forests in the area.

Search Team Researcher Jerome Van Passel had said that they are still holding out hoping that the two girls are still alive.


Royal Navy Vessel Passess Through Panama at Nighttime

May 18, 2014 Posted by Rachel

The ice patrol HMS Protector had travelled the Panama Canal, which is under renovation, at a speed of 7 knots through the canal and took 7 hours and 38 minutes to pass from the Pacific to the Atlantic through the canal.

According to Submarine Lieutenant David Campbell, it was amazing to go through the Panama Canal and see a fantastic and amazing piece of engineering while cutting through the canal itself. He said it was a tiring night’s work but he also finds it worthy of a bucket-list item check. The submarine passed through the 48 mile passage in the dark.

The HMS Protector came from Antarctica for its double deployment to underpin the UK’s commitment to the Antarctic Treaty, which is to maintain and lend a hand to icebreaking. The HMS Protector had also provided logistic support to sites in the Peninsula, South Sandwich Islands and South Georgia. It is currently in Charleston, South Carolina for technical maintenance.

It is then set to proceed with its Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief Duties in case of any hurricane or other events and survey tasking in the Caribbean. It will then return to Antarctica in September before it returns home to Devonport on 2015.