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The Panama News blog links, June 20, 2016


The Panama News blog links

Marketplace, Panama Canal expands as trade falls flat

Container Management, Alianz questions the use of tugs in the new locks

La Estrella, ACP admite a la Fiscalía que GUPC presentó montos inflados

BBC, How to inspire a new generation of female engineers

Tanker Shipping & Trade, Tankers locked out of expanded PanCanal benefits

NPR, Russia launches biggest and most powerful icebreaker

Navy Times, US Navy and Coast Guard need more icebreakers now

MarineLink, Demolition: spring cleaning for the fleet?

Telemetro, Gabriel Torres deja el fútbol de Venezuela para jugar en Suiza

Scout, SF Giants sign Rubén Tejada to a minor league contract

Luxemberger Wort, Mossack Fonseca demands prosecution of arrested employee

Fair Observer, Panama Papers point to shifting regulatory landscape for banks

Lexology, Panama and the corporate failure to prevent tax evasion

ANP, ATP tomará acciones contra Airbnb

Gordon, El Bloqueo: the continuing US embargo against Cuba

The Guardian, Rio de Janeiro state declares financial calamity

CBC, How Canada got into bed with tax havens

Video, Bases del CD exigen renuncias de Martinelli y Cortés

Chiriquí Natural, Actualización Río Tabasará y situación Barro Blanco

TVN, Corte Suprema revive el voto plancha en las elecciones generales

The Tico Times, Nicaragua expels three US officials

Reuters, Six killed in clash between Mexican teachers and cops

La Jornada, Asesinan a balazos a reportero en Juchitán

Newsroom Panama, All night lines for flu shots

Saludiario, Alerta en Panamá por presencia del virus de influenza AH1N1

WHO, Yellow Fever situation report

Video, Red-eyed tree frog embryos hatch to escape snake

Science Alert, Why there are no monkeys native to North America

Video, Tres jaguares nacen en zoo de México

Mongabay, How well have “conservation fads” worked in Latin America?

NASA, The new X-57 hybrid electric research plane

El Comercio, Holanda se despide del petróleo

Autoevolution, Germany may ban registration of non-electric cars

Nature, The physicist who studies ISIS online communities

Ars Technica: Smile, you’re in the FBI face-recognition database

Blades, Sobre el Honoris Causa de la Universidad de Panamá

Keillor, The punk who would be president

The Smoking Gun, DNC hacker releases Trump opposition report

Parry, The State Department’s collective madness

Targ, Planning a 21st Century New World Order

Morozov, They made him a moron

Greenwald, Why is the killer of British MP Jo Cox not being called a “terrorist”?

El Confidencial: ‘Los diarios de Turner’, que pudo inspirar el asesinato de Jo Cox

Cohen, Argentina expels TeleSur and RT

NPR, Egypt finalizes death sentence for Al Jazeera journalists

The Atlantic, The singular experience of the queer Latin nightclub


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¿Wappin? Set The Wayback Machine for…

Andre Williams: “Seventeen and a half is STILL jailbait….”

Many stops tonight on The Wayback Machine

Shangri-Las – Leader of the Pack

Chiffons – One Fine Day

Gene Vincent – Be Bop A Lula

The Edsels – Rama Lama Ding Dong

Sam and Dave – Don’t Pull Your Love

Frank Zappa – Later That Night

Martha and the Vandellas – Heatwave

The Robins – Riot in Cell Block #9

Andre Williams – Jailbait

Wendy O. Williams – Reform School Girls

James White – The Devil Made Me Do It

George Clinton – Atomic Dog

Prince – Unplugged Musicology

Wendy and Lisa live at Baden Baden 1989


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Spay day in San Carlos — dogs, cats, vets, retirees, kids and people who care

spay 1
Who stuck out whose tongue first — the dog or the doctor?

San Carlos to have fewer and healthier dogs and cats

story and photos by Eric Jackson

New Jersey native Lil Miller, now a resident of Altos del Maria, does not flaunt trappings of authority. She just manages a Spay the Strays Panama show that works on a shoestring budget and lots of donated labor of many sorts, and if nobody had pointed her out it would take some long and careful observation to discern her role. It’s not as if there is no organization — there are specialized roles, some more skilled than others. From the registration table to the veterinarians and assistants to the pre-op and post-op tables, to those who taxi animals among these places, to the tick pickers to the kids who pat the recovering kitties, people have their jobs and go about them. Some clean the surgical instruments, some clean the tables between operations, some make the coffee, snacks and lunch. Then there is a community of volunteers who bring in their own pets to be neutered, those of friends and neighbors as a favor, and homeless animals who will be released where they were found if they can’t be placed for adoption. Yes, there are dramatic moments like a cat that puts up fierce resistance to an injection — leaving a veterinarian bleeding — to a woman who comes in late without a reservation and won’t take no for an answer to her demand to bump someone who has been waiting in line so that she can be served. But everything runs smoothly, with neither insignia of rank nor proclamations of authority. As in well managed.

Spay the Strays is one of the several local organizations that sprang up in the wake of the Spay Panama project that Pat Chan started. Call it a “spinoff” if you must, but this group, which serves the beaches and mountain communities of Panama Oeste’s Chame and San Carlos districts, began in 2007 in partnership with two groups, Spay Panama and the McKee Foundation. It now has a life of its own. In its nine years it has neutered about 3,000 animals. Along with its independent existence Spay the Strays also has needs of its own. Most of all it needs funds to buy medicines and surgical supplies.

The needs that received priority on their June 18 spay day at the San Carlos Casa Comunal were about 75 dogs and cats — nobody brought in a rabbit or goat or boa constrictor to be neutered this time. Except from that one lady, the only complaints that this reporter noticed were from dogs and cats who objected to being stuck with needles.


spay 2
A ferocious attack cat, doing hard time in maximum security. Or is it just a dislike of needles?


spay 3
At the sign-in table.


spay 4
A doggie adventure.


spay 5
A beautiful and gentle retired working dog, looking for a permanent new home.


spay 6
The needle and the damage done — here the damage was to the doctor, who was clawed by a cat who objected to being stuck with a needle.


spay 7
Cleaning the surgical tools. Spay the Strays uses chemicals to sterilize them, instead of an autoclave that uses steam.


spay 9
The “taxis” do the light and heavy lifting, carrying the anaesthesized animals to and from the various stations in the surgical process.


spay 10
Cutting away further parental concerns, and part of the future dog population of San Carlos.


spay 11
Filling the syringes for the post-op phase.


A big guy on the post-op table.
A big guy on the post-op table.


spay 13
From post-op they go to the recovery area.


spay 14
Coming to….


spay 15
While they are recovering, dogs get cleaned up, including some major tick picking here.


spay 16
The cats have their own recovery area, where special care is taken to protect their sensitive eyes from the light.


spay 17
Retirees form the core of the volunteer force, but there are also a lot of kids.


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Fiesta de Música 2016 — gracias Punto Bohemio


Music fest


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MOVADUP, Carta abierta a los docentes


MOVADUPCarta abierta a los docentes de la Universidad de Panamá

por el Movimiento de Adecentamiento de la Universidad de Panamá (MOVADUP)

Respetados profesores de la Universidad de Panamá:

El próximo 29 de junio de 2016 se efectuarán las elecciones en la Universidad de Panamá (UP) para elegir rector, decanos y directores de centros regionales. Con ellas debiera resultar el cambio por desalojo de autoridades y funcionarios que por los últimos 20 años han sepultado la visión de Méndez Pereira y han convertido a la UP en botín politiquero y antro de corrupción al mayor nivel, sumiéndola en el más atroz atraso académico.

Gustavo García de Paredes no solo debe irse él, sino todo lo que ha significado. Por lo tanto, tenemos que expulsar de la actividad directiva a todo lo que le haya estado relacionado. Solamente así podrán iniciarse las transformaciones que, debemos reconocer, no son posibles de alcanzar en los próximos cinco años, pero sí iniciarlas. Por eso debes sopesar tus posibilidades.

Apelamos a ti, docente de la UP, por ser a quien le corresponde la mayor responsabilidad, ya sea para el cambio o para que continúe lo que la UP sufre.

Lamentablemente, entre vosotros está la lacra de los juega vivo y los oportunistas que venden su conciencia por hasta una mínima extra salarial en concepto de botellas, ya sea con cargos ficticios en funciones de coordinador o bien de investigador.

Pero tú que no entras en ello eres también responsable y más por la apatía, por el no querer sacudirte de lo que bien sabes conoces o estás al tanto. A ti, sobre todo, apelamos.

Ha llegado la oportunidad en que te empoderes y pongas fin a la intimidación y coacción a la que te has visto sometido por el rector, vicerrectores, decanos, directores de centros regionales; a que sigas siendo amenazado con la asignación de horas de clase y horario; a que tengas sobre ti la amenaza de la expulsión y otras sanciones para que ni siquiera te expreses; a que te obliguen a asistir a actos de apoyo al Rector u otras autoridades; a que te traten como mercancía comprándote a través de ofertas improcedentes de aumentos.

Recapacita, analiza tus condiciones de trabajo y posibilidades de desarrollo académico, y con toda seguridad reconocerás que BASTA YA y les dirás ¡NO MÁS, FUERA! Entonces cantarás con Antonio Machado:

      Caminante, son tus huellas/el camino y nada más;
caminante, no hay camino,/se hace camino al andar.
Al andar se hace camino,/y al volver la vista atrás
se ve la senda que nunca/se ha de volver a pisar.



Comité de Coordinación Nacional


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Editorials, Fun with numbers; and Responding to Orlando

PISA shame
Comparative 2010 PISA test scores. Numbers by the UN, graphic by Erick Simpson Aguilera.

Fun with numbers for a nation that flunks math

Panama’s education system is world-class horrible, intentionally so because an inbred ruling elite sees everything as a zero-sum competition and has rigged things in the hope that their kids get a special advantage over everyone else their age. But it’s no way to run a society or its economy.

It’s worse yet when the government and the corporate mainstream media play to the widespread ignorance.

For example, when the lead story in La Prensa is that Panama’s public debt is up to $21.415 billlion, which is $7.749 billion more than it was four years ago. With most of Panama’s economic sectors slowing down and the regional economy across Latin America and the Caribbean a mess, it ought to be cause for concern.

But not to worry, says the Ministry of Economy and Finance. On the ministry’s composite of ratings issued by bond rating agencies — mostly before the Panama Papers revelations and the Waked bust — across the region only Chile has a lower perception of risk than does Panama. Gee, numbers based on the hunches of the companies that didn’t see the 2008 financial melt-down coming — OBVIOUSLY those kind of statistics can’t lie. Or at least it should be obvious to anyone who learned what the powers that be wanted him or her to learn in Panama’s public schools.


Orlando: better the jab to the nose than
the roundhouse that hits someone else

“We should keep the pressure on ramping up the air campaign, accelerating support for our friends fighting to take and hold ground and pushing our partners in the region to do even more,” [Clinton] said.

“We have generals that feel we can win this thing so fast and so strong, but we have to be furious for a short period of time, and we’re not doing it!” Trump complained.

A mean, abusive security guard in a dead end job with a multinational corporation went into a downward spiral and shot more than 100 people on his way down. He was allowed to purchase a weapon that should not be readily available in society. He pledged allegiance to the world’s most obnoxious organization in the course of his death mission, on which he alone sent himself.

There is no doubt that the Islamic State is doing its utmost to incite life’s hateful losers to do such stuff. It is properly part of the world’s indictment. More serious counts are genocide and slavery, crimes against all humanity for which any nation may try and punish any perpetrator. The world did not need the Orlando massacre to justify war against the Islamic State.

But do we lash out in rage, carpet bombing towns that the jihadis control to kill innocent people who already have to endure the fanatics’ rule? Do we arm “our” jihadi fanatics to fight against “those” jihadi fanatics? Do we restore Western colonialism and issue orders from Washington about which people will hold which ground and follow which policies there?

Before the shooting started in Orlando there was ample reason to give any significant Islamic State leader the same status as Nazi war criminals had. The nightclub attack does not change that. These people must be politically, religiously and militarily defeated and hunted to the ends of the Earth and to the ends of their lives as the most dangerous of criminals. But lashing out in blind rage is never a good way to fight.

It seems that neither of the presumptive presidential nominees of the two major US political parties have much to say about discrediting the ideas that are at the core of the jihadis’ appeal, about marginalizing their movement within the cultures of Islam. It seems that neither of them convey a sense of restraint that keeps Americans from trying to fix that which it is not up to Americans to fix, that keeps Washington from trying to govern that which Washington can’t govern.

Does President Obama have the balance right? Probably not, but that he is trying to strike balances among contending powers in Syria and Iraq while limiting direct US participation does at least indicate a basic sense of reality. That’s something that’s lacking in the discourse of those whose first and only response is to bomb somebody else whenever a maniac with some real or claimed international tie explodes into a violent rage in the USA.


Bear in mind…


Another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.
Margaret Atwood


It has yet to be proven that intelligence has any survival value.
Arthur C. Clarke


Before a war, military science seems a real science, like astronomy. After a war it seems more like astrology.
Rebecca West


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Prudence and a bit of panic in the face of the flu


Seguro Social would do well to put English and Chinese subtitles on such videos, but with the graphics this message should be understandable to many people who do not understand Spanish.

The flu: prudence and a bit of panic

by Eric Jackson

From whence this reporter usually writes, looking through the window in the morning’s first light, not long after the roosters have announced their presence to the world, there begins this procession of people walking up the muddy footpath from the hollow. First it’s mostly men, including SUNTRACS members getting the early bus to construction sites mainly in the beach communities, some as far away as the capital. The neighborhood’s working women tend to have jobs closer to home, so they follow a bit later to catch buses to jobs in Penonome, or in Anton or beyond. Then come the school kids, the youngest with mothers escorting them, heading to the local elementary school while the high school kids head for the bus stop en route to schools in Anton or Penonome.

This past week, however, the traffic has altered. Hardly any kids have been going to school. The ministries of health and education may be telling us that the flu outbreak that took off with the belated advent of rainy season is a concern but not such a big one, that schools are open as usual and above all, don’t panic. But at the government health care facilities people have been showing up at droves to get flu shots, at public and private schools attendance is way down and the official death toll of confirmed flu deaths is up to 22.

The problem is that we don’t know precisely what we are dealing with here. It seems like the A(H1N1) strain of influenza, but what doctors are seeing are on the whole more severe symptoms than had been previously reported from that and La Prensa has reported that most of the flu patients tested have come up negative for that particular strain. Samples have been sent to the US Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta for evaluation and advice. The combination of deaths and the unknown is a sure formula for fear. One with a bit of scientific and historical knowledge will understand that influenza strains tend to mutate as they spread — sometimes becoming more dangerous, sometimes more benign — and surmise that we are probably seeing a recent variation here. That would likely mean that the vaccines, which are not formulated to precisely what ails Panama, would be a bit less effective but would still be better than nothing, offering immunity to most and less severe symptoms to many of those who get sick anyway. But doctors are not gods and most government officials and journalists are not doctors, and the rumor mill is not known for its subtlety. Both reasonably and beyond reason, many people are afraid.

Leave it to the government to panic.

The administration’s woes are partly unrelated. As the flu outbreak spread, the first lady was to go to New York for a UN General Assembly session on HIV and AIDS along with Health Minister Javier Terrientes. But Terrientes, begging off about another commitment, sent the vice minister, Miguel Mayo, instead. That other commitment was a trip to Chicago to see the Panama versus Argentina soccer game, in the company of another government employee, the minister’s female companion. When President Varela found out about it he was not amused, called Terrientes onto the carpet about it, at which point the minister resigned. That came during the course of a cabinet shuffle that was ongoing anyway, but at a terrible time in the Ministry of Health. The replacements were orderly: Dr. Mayo moving up to the minister’s spot, the ministry’s secretary general Dr. Erick Ulloa moving up to the vice minister job.

Meanwhile, during that transition the Gorgas Institute’s Dr. Néstor Sosa held a press conference to announce to the selected rabiblanco mainstream media reporters that unspecified “false information” about the flu situation is circulating in the social media and that a criminal law against economic sabotage by way of unfounded and damaging rumors would be invoked. He claimed dibs for the government as the only source of proper information about influenza. “Let us remember that the Penal Code provides for prison sentences for those who spread false news or rumors for the purpose of affecting national or economic security,” Sosa warned, as if the parents ignoring his advice and keeping their kids out of school — or anyone else — has that specific intent.

As people moved offices in the health ministry and word from Atlanta was pending, the public health care system pretty much ran out of vaccine. But fresh supplies were coming from France and elsewhere and flu shots will again be available at most public health facilities on Saturday.

[Editor’s note: Wash your hands with soap and water more often than you usually do. Avoid crowds to the extent that you can. If you have any flu or cold symptoms, don’t leave home unless they are so bad that you need to seek medical attention. Don’t share eating or drinking utensils. Show more reserve than is the friendly Panamanian norm, by avoiding handshakes, kisses and embraces for the moment. Know that the flu shots are safe and probably helpful. It is quite possible, you see, to be reasonably prudent without having all of the information that you would like to have at your disposal.]


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Miranda, Corre fría la sangre de mis venas


Río TabasaráCorre fría la sangre de mis venas

por Ricardo Miranda G.

Corre fría la sangre de mis venas, cada paso que doy es una tortura,

Palpita silencioso mi corazón.

Observo como agonizas…

Me traiciona mis sentimientos y me dan ganas de llorar y me pregunto que mas me falta hacer para no verte en estas condiciones?

Que mas puedo hacer?

Mas tu silencio me deja con un nudo en la garganta…

Ya no eres aquel que deja escuchar tu rugir.

Rugir que pregona la libertad, la libertad de mi alma.

La reivindicación de mis huesos, herencia de mis ancestros.

Mi amado bien cuyo valor no existe…

Solo dejas sentir el olor de la muerte que te rodea… Espero un poco mas…hay un silencio total.

Ya no me respondes… no me dices nada.

Me duele el corazón… mas decirte quiero que esos cantos tan bellos recodaré por el resto de mi vida y también tu dulzura que poco a poco se pierde en la lejanía…

Tengo tus recuerdos que hace que me ahogue el sentimiento…

En cada paso que doy lo único que me quedan son las esperanzas.

Es agobiante mi tristeza, se aguan mis ojos…

Mis enemigos me observan, nuestros enemigos se ríen.

Están seguros de que van a ganar…

No se cuanto mas puedas soportar.

En este momento cuando te veo a punto de sangrarte completamente.

Decirte quiero que desde lo mas infinito de mi corazón gritare con voz de trompeta Tabasara LIBRE.


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Abandoning the old in what was the CZ part of Curundu…

I'm Number 6! I'm Number 6!
Excellency Number Six in a minor governmental hierarchy used to park here. That was in Panamanian government times, after the old warehouse’s reversion to Panama from its prior existence in Canal Zone times.

Part of Curundu, now in the way of the National Police headquarters expansion

photos by Eric Jackson


Old cop cars as organ donors
The National Police already have a presence in the dilapidated area of the old Canal Zone part of Curundu. It’s where they have their vehicle maintenance shop, a small fleet of junk cars and paddy wagons that are cannibalized for parts, and where they park some of the trucks they have seized in raids.


ferocious attack cat
The whole neighborhood is patrolled by feral cats. But these days the members of this feline force are fewer and healthier, thanks to interventions and collaborations by cops and other government workers in the area and Spay Panama.


what China isn't buying these days
Scavengers are still finding things to take, without a great deal of interference from anyone. During this photographer’s visit a man was collecting ceiling panels.


Led Zep never played here
Somewhere now, or in our primitive past, has there ever been a denomination that considers this a stairway to heaven?


Isn't he the guy who...?
You never know what people believe, or whom you might meet, in a place like this.


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The Panama News blog links, June 15, 2016


The Panama News blog links

AP, New challenges for boat captains with expanded Panama Canal

Bayano digital, Denuncian plan de privatización del Canal de Panamá

Hydro International, New electronic navigation charts needed for expanded canal

Hellenic Shipping News, New Panama Canal isn’t expected to attract more tankers

South China Morning Post, HK company defies Nicaragua Canal doomsayers

GCaptain, Ship detained after launching drone in Suez Canal

SB Nation, Wild soccer action as Panama beats Bolivia

Video, Messi et al rout Panama

Goal.com, Chile 4 – Panama 2

TVN, Gobierno amenza sanciones para informes falsas sobre el gripe

La Estrella, Un viaje a Chicago y la renuncia del ministro Terrientes

NDTV, US sanctions threaten 167-year-old Panamanian newspaper

COHA, The Panamanian government damns the Ngabe-Bugle Comarca

Lexology, Developer’s claim against Panama rejected for jurisdiction maneuver

Videos, Foro FRENADESO sobre los Panama Papers y el caso Waked

Australian Financial Review, The Panama Papers and Turnbull’s $3 million windfall

Colombia Law & Business, Who is on the Clinton List and can they get removed?

Bloomberg, SEC won’t pay for Panama-based Canadian hustlers’ adventure

AFP, Millions of Latin Americans may fall back into poverty

Eyes on Trade, US agro exports lag under trade deals

Campanella, Generation Jobless

China Post, Tsai hoping for stronger Taiwan-Panama ties

Nikkei Asian Review, US strings in Tsai visit to Panama?

Xinhua, Promueven en Panamá reunificación de China bajo nuevas condiciones

Caribbean News Now!, Marijuana conversation advances in CARICOM

Página 12: MORENA, nuevo actor en México

The Independent, Massive swing to Brexit

BBC, US embassy’s rainbow flag prompts criticism in Jamaica

Christian Science Monitor, Panama’s original nations use drones to protect their land

STRI, Evolution painted onto butterfly wings

Telemetro, Instituto Gorgas envía al CDC de Atlanta cepa del virus de la influenza

Khor, Facing up to the world’s health crises

The New York Times, Is shell shock more physical than emotional?

Video, Electric eel shocks imitation predator

E&N, El cambio climático amenaza a los patrimonios de Latinoamérica

Science Daily, Saving North America’s salamanders and newts

El País, Hallado el primer fragmento del asteroide que cambió la vida en la Tierra

Fortes & Chazkel, Latin Americanists say “no” to the coup in Brazil

Video, Bill Clinton’s eulogy at Muhammad Ali’s funeral

Video, Attallah Shabazz’s eulogy at Muhammad Ali’s funeral

Video, Rabbi Michael Lerner’s eulogy at Muhammad Ali’s funeral

Blades, Los sucesos de Orlando

ANSUR, Mandatarios de la región repudian atentado en Orlando

Calvo, Estados Unidos: prohibido ser inocente

Aronson, How the FBI’s pursue-every-lead policy allowed the Orlando shooting

McLaughlin, A warning: Senator Leahy’s story about J. Edgar Hoover

Stiglitz & Schiffrin, Learning from Nambia


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