Isthmian Update Some of the news in Panama

Darien biosphere alert

Areas in the Bagre mountains in Darien province, considered by the United Nations Educational , Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a biosphere reserve and that also function as a biological corridor, have been sold. Watchdogs are speaking out over possessory rights owned in the protected area. La Prensa reported a locally-calculated loss of 1,000 hectares to clearing and livestock.

Juan Hombron beach talk

The former Minister of the Presidency, Demetrio Papadimitriu, says that behind the decree of expropriation of the estates of JuanHombrón beach are his former Cabinet colleagues, Alberto Vallarino, Romulo Roux and the law firm Morgan and Morgan. Papadimitriu, in an interview with La Estrella, said he held a meeting in early 2012 with Roux and former deputy minister of the Presidency, Maria Fabrega, at which, he had said, decree 425 of July 12 2012, was “accepted” under which the State took back Juan Hombrón, and that this was prepared at the law firm offices of Morgan and Morgan, at which the former Deputy Minister worked.

Did you know?

Panama’s public security is handled by a database with the Integration System of Criminal Statistics (SIEC), which is one of the main sources calculating the crime rate in the country. Panama City proper has the lowest crime rate of any Latin American capital.

Uncle Sam peeking in

Panama continues advancing in negotiations for the signing of the intergovernmental agreement with the U.S. Treasury and Internal Revenue Service (IRS), for the exchange of information in order to reduce compliance costs of financial institutions. At this time, the country is defining the process of identifying all products of the FFI (Foreign Financial Institution or Financial Institutions Sector) that includes not only banks, but trust and brokerage houses, revealed lawyer Carolina Troncoso.

Port for Corozal

The widening of the Panama Canal has highlighted the need to improve the logistic infrastructure of the country, and there are plans to build a new port in Corozal. More recently it was announced that feasibility and environmental impact studies have been completed for a multimodal port in Aguadulce, Cocle province. The project will cost more than $3 billion, according to a source in the governor’s office of Cocle.

Medal for Dr. Meredith

President Ricardo Martinelli last Wednesday August 21 gave the National Medal of the Order of Vasco Nuñez de Balboa in the Grade of Grant Officer to Dr. John Meredith, for his important work in the maritime industry in Panama and other countries around the world.

Laid back Tocumen admin

Although Tocumen, S.A. was scheduled to assume the management of the airports of Chiriquí, Colón and Rio Hato in 2014, the transfer of the terminals has already begun. The corporation that runs the Tocumen International Airport has control of the Enrique A. Jimenez airport in Colon province, a project that was received by the Government on August 30, and it invested $58 million in remodeling.

Private $chool

A hike in private schools fees and annuities for next year brought the institutions under scrutiny from Panama’s National Authority for Consumer Protection and Competition (ACODEC). The entity has called for schools to show their 2014 budgets.

[Colon Free Zone]

The latest statistics from the Comptroller’s Office reflect a continuing recession in the Colon Free Zone (CFZ). In May 2013, the commercial movement registered a drop of 10.3%, compared to the same period of 2012. The slump keeps businessmen alarmed. They demand that the government intervene forcefully. Up until May 2013, the commercial movement of the zone was reported as $1.1 billion, some $12.7 million less than in the same period of 2012 when it reached $1.25 billion.

Education Heads meet

Representatives from 16 Latin American countries meet in Panama to discuss issues relevant to science in the VII Ibero-American Forum of Heads of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, organized in the framework of the XXIII Ibero-American Summit. This event is held under the coordination of the Senacyt, the Ibero-American Knowledge, the Organization of Ibero- American General Secretariat and the IberoAmerican University Committee.

Production brings water to Azuero residents

Currently under implementation for an amount of $155 million, is the Tonosí irrigation project which provides for the production of rice, vegetables and melons. Valentin Dominguez, a producer of corn in the district of Las Tablas, said the project will be beneficial, and most of all, for those engaged in producing rice. According to the projections of the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MIDA), this project will not only help increase production, but will be used to provide water to the residents of the area.

Chame protected area continues decline

The National Environmental Authority (ANAM) decreased the forest inventory for the protected area of mangroves in Chame Bay. According to a resolution published in the Official Gazette on August 23, the Anam determined that the new forest inventory will be 4,605.0 hectares. Before the inventory it was 5,957.6 hectares. When the protected area was established in May 2009, the forest inventory was 8,899 hectares.

Colombia FTA through

On September 20 the signing of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Panama and Colombia will be signed, but that does not relieve the Isthmus from taxes established on footwear and textiles re-exported from the Colon Free Zone (CFZ) to that South American country. This was confirmed to the daily La Estrella by the chief of international trade negotiations, Diana Salazar.

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