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Few things will infuriate Panama City’s environmentalists — and the neighbors — more than any suggestion that might be construed as a proposal for a theme park atop Ancon Hill.

“Just like Disney World” — again?

by Eric Jackson

The idea of a cable car to the top of Ancon Hill (along with the inevitable facilities for tourists) is back and generating heat again. The Varela administration has issued a decree to study the broad subject about what to do about the forest fragment hill that towers above Panama City, the expected business wonks are talking about tourism opportunities in the expected shallow ways and the usual folks are aghast. But wait, cautions the Ministry of the Environment! It’s just a mandate to set up a committee to study various ideas, without any speficfic thing in mind.

Executive Decree Number 6 was issued on February 13 but did not come to public notice until early March. Buried in a long edition of the Gaceta Oficial, it mandates a committee with representatives of the Ministry of the Environment, the Panama City local government, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Panama Tourism Authority, the non-governmental National Association for the Conservation of Nature (ANCON) and the Quarry Heights Residents Association. The mandate is to come up with a sustainable tourism development plan for the hilltop national park, the limits of which are being surveyed and redefined by the Ministry of the Environment and people from Panama Technological University.

Since late last year cars have been banned from entering the park. The states reason why automobile traffic can go no further than the park entrance gate is that the soil under or along parts of the road is so unstable that there is a landslide risk. Most of the neighbors in Quarry Heights have always disliked the traffic through their streets and up to the park. To go to the top of the hill one must now walk, either from the park entrance just past the residential area of Quarry Heights or by walking up the stairs that start near the back of Mi Pueblito Antillano.

Leave it to a business tycoon — or a scion of one, anyway — to propose the cable car. In this case it was Alfredo Motta. At least he had the sense not to openly propose a hilltop theme park — “just like Disney World” — to be connected to a cruiser port at the end of the Amador Causeway, as happened the last time that cable car idea surfaced. On the previous occasion the mayor of Panama City at the time, Juan Carlos Navarro, refused to issue permits to let the plan proceed and that killed it.

Environmental activists and a faction of the neighbors have been quick to raise the banners of opposition. The Comite Pro-Defensa del Cerro Ancon, a coalition of groups from the last time around, is revived and mobilizing.

 

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Blades is Panamanian but his most famous music draws on Afro-Cuban roots.

The Panama News blog links

a Panama-centric selection of other people’s work
una selección Panamá-céntrica de las obras de otras personas

Canal, Maritime & Transportation / Canal, Marítima & Transporte

MarineLink, New PanCanal daily tonnage record

Splash 24/7, Panama flag faces flak over biohazard ship

Sports / Deportes

LA Times, US soccer team to open Gold Cup against Panama

Horse Racing News, Santana Jr. and Osorio released from hospital after spill

Economy / Economía

La Estrella, Valor de los permisos de construcción baja 25%

Capital Financiero, Industria de seguros es puesta a prueba

CBC, Royal Bank of Canada closes accounts after Panama Papers review

The Brussels Times, Belgians probe Panama Papers lawyers and consultants

La Estrella, Piquete por ahorristas de Coacecss

Feedstuffs, WTO indicator suggests moderate trade momentum

Latin Lawyer, Lava Jato topples Colombian construction deal

Bloomberg, Carlos Slim loses a lot of money but gains popularity

Eyes on Trade, Trump plans to “bring American jobs back” missing from speech

Science & Technology / Ciencia & Tecnología

STRI, Love potion for frogs

EurekAlert!, BioMuseo a favorite attraction for butterflies and moths

Reuters, Ancient human tree cultivation shaped Amazon landscape

ScienceAlert, New record-high temperatures in Antarctica

Mongabay, Climate change drives local extinctions with tropics most at risk

The American Energy News, Solid-state EV battery breakthrough

Inverse, Why floating cities may make sense

News / Noticias

Newsroom Panama, Reward for information to solve American tourist murder case

La Estrella, Ngäbes rechazan acuerdo espurio suscrito con empresas chinas

EFE, Revisan tratado comercial de armas en Panamá

Telemetro, Detienen a exdiputado Osman Gómez con arma sin permiso

TVN, Cruz Roja panameña cumple 100 años

BBC, ICRC: Colombia facing violence despite FARC deal

EFE, ACNUR denuncia desplazamientos masivos en Colombia

CNN, Aleppo report accuses all sides of war crimes

Telemetro, Gigante brasileño Odebrecht pagó “impuesto guerrillero” a FARC

TVN, Odebrecht asumió gastos de campañas de Santos y Zuluaga en 2014

Reuters, Euro lawmakers press EU to impose visas on US citizens

WikiLeaks, Vault7: the CIA papers

DW, Russian hackers use Dutch polls as practice

Opinion / Opiniones

Khrushcheva, Laughing in the dark

Taibbi, Russia story is a minefield for Democrats and the media

Jackson, Ajit Pai wants to shut down the way we communicate and organize

PEN America, Aggressive interrogation of artists and writers at US border

Lewis, US foreign policy harms Latin American women’s reproductive rights

WOLA, The renewed US refugee ban and Central American kids

Gorriti, Satanizaciones

Tinker Salas, Looking for a left turn in Mexico

Bernal, Acuerdos para la impunidad

Gólcher, Las carencias del sistema educativo panameño

Jované, Panamá está al borde de colapsar institucionalmente

Culture / Cultura

AFP, Fashioning a life behind bars in Panama

English website, International Film Festival of Panama

The Collection, 71,000 historical maps online for free downloading

 

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Democrats Live with Tom Perez and Keith Ellison

They want to hear what Democrats think: click here.

 

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Migra
A group of 57 Venezuelans were left stranded as the test case, but Migracion is not excluding gringos from its crackdown on permanent tourists. Non-citizens can get a three-month tourist visa, for which there can be a three-month extension. Then they have to go back to their countries of origin rather than hopping across the border to get their passports stamped again. This is a functional interpretation of regulations in two decrees, numbers 590 and 591, that were issued in December to implement the existing immigration law. There have been contradictory statements and inconsistent actions about these, both from the Panamanian government and others.

Warning for permanent tourists

by Eric Jackson

Are you going to take the American Embassy as the authoritative word? Or how about someone on the social media who got the scoop from a Panamanian lawyer who in turn is working the gringo community for new clients? For that matter, even from Panama’s Servicio Nacional de Migracion? Do pay attention to those folks, but also understand that discretion, arbitrary interpretations, shifts with the political winds, slow and garbled transmissions of policy changes down official chains of command and from time to time the grease of bribery may affect the rules applied by a particular public official to a particular person at a particular time. If you can’t understand and adapt to the flexibility then most probably you have not fully adapted to life in Panama.

Migracion has set forth the basic rule that they are enforcing at the moment at Paso Canoa: “Foreigners who leave to Costa Rica to stamp their passports to enter as tourists will not enter Panama.” So do you say that this just means Venes? Whether that is how it may be as a practical matter, Panama’s Minister of Security warns that the law and regulations only allow a six-month continuous stay as a tourist and that “we will continue implementing our policy for the welfare of Panamanians and for persons who want to visit our country.”

There may be any number of reasons, and there is probably a mix of several. There are racist demagogues whipping up xenophobic hysteria. There are slavish imitators who have a national inferiority complex that gives them the compulsion to copy the United States, and they see what Donald Trump is doing. There are Venezuelans and Americans who believe themselves to be sovereign unto themselves and privileged persons who are necessary to the economy of a Panama that they view as hopelessly backward. There is a criminal element of many nationalities coming and going to and from Panama. The economy is slowing down and there are concerns about foreigners taking jobs from Panamanians. This country has one of the world’s worst school systems and those who get foreign educations are frequently raised in a subculture that disdains work, such that there are important jobs in the national economy for which it is hard to find Panamanians to perform.

We might argue the pros and cons of the issue but those who purport to speak for the interests of the American community are for a variety of reasons unable or unwilling to do so in any effective way.

But if you have been living the permanent tourist life, beware.

 

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Sojourner
Sojourner Truth, born a slave in 1797, escaped with her daughter, took the name Sojourner Truth and joined movements to abolish slavery and emancipate women. She died in 1883, as Jim Crow laws were reimposing badges of slavery and before women got the vote.

Ain’t I a Woman?

Sojourner Truth’s speech to the December 1851 Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio

Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that ‘twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what’s all this here talking about?

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man — when I could get it — and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what’s this they call it? [member of audience whispers, “intellect”] That’s it, honey. What’s that got to do with women’s rights or negroes’ rights? If my cup won’t hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn’t you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ’cause Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain’t got nothing more to say.

 

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Antón
Una fuerza de bomberos, Sinaproc, policias y otros rescatando los sobrevivientes del accidente del bus en Antón. Foto por el Benmérito Cuerpo de Bomberos.

Rechazamos rotundamente la idea de que “dios lo permitió”

por la Pastoral Indígena de la Arquidiócesis de Panamá

Duele nuestro corazón

El domingo 5 de marzo fuimos sorprendidos por una desgracia: el accidente en el que han muerto 19 hermanos ngäbe que venían a trabajar en Chame.

Ante esta situación expresamos lo siguiente:

1] Nos duele profundamente y estamos tristes por este hecho. Al igual que nos ha dolido los tres muertos en el accidente de la carretera hacia Cerro Viejo (Comarca Ng-B) y las dos niñas ahogadas en el río Calobébora (también Comarca Ng-B), hace poco.

2] Nos sentimos solidarios con sus familias y estamos disponibles para lo que podamos ayudar.

3] Son muchas las preguntas que se juntan en nuestras mentes pero la principal es: ¿Por qué a los más pobres les suceden estas cosas? Rechazamos rotundamente la idea de que “dios lo permitió” o que “era la hora en que tenían que morir” o que “así es el destino”. No creemos en ese dios terrible ni creemos en el futuro ya determinado. Sí creemos que hay errores y fallos humanos que propician estos accidentes mortales.

4] Son muchos los errores humanos (¿ilegalidades?) que se plantean en estos hechos. Los que conocemos los caminos de la Comarca Ng-B sabemos de lo estrechas que son la mayoría de las carreteras (donde las hay), lo mal hechas que están y cómo no hay ningún control de velocidad ni mantenimiento. No digamos la falta de puentes o zarzos para cruzar ríos peligrosos.

5] Nos parece bien y loable que el gobierno y otras instituciones se movilicen para ayudar a los afectados. Es lo menos que se puede hacer ante una tragedia de esta magnitud. Un buen número de familias humildes han quedado muy afectadas con este hecho.

6] Sin embargo, ante el accidente del domingo 5 preguntamos: ¿Quién autorizó ese viaje?, ¿qué permisos tenía?, ¿cuál es la compañía responsable del bus?, ¿cuántos venían en el mismo?, ¿tenía seguro?, ¿a qué velocidad venía el bus?, ¿en qué condiciones estaba el bus?, si es homicidio culposo, ¿quién es culpable ahora que murió el chofer?, ¿quién contrató a los ngäbe?, ¿qué tan ‘normales’ son este tipo de traslados?, ¿tienen algún contrato?, ¿cuánto les pagan a los contratados? Es obligatoria y urgente una investigación al respecto. Exigimos que se haga.

Que Ngöbö, Paba-Nana, Ankoré, Ewandam, Sboré, nuestro Dios, Padre-Madre, reciba a los fallecidos, consuele a sus familias, proteja a sus hijos, nos ayude a ayudarnos y nos dé esperanza en un futuro más justo y digno para todos.

 

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Instead of a travel ban

by Tulsi Gabbard

As we look around us at the chaos in the world today, we see people who are inflicting violence and terror upon others in the name of religion and identity. This bloodshed is only going to be stopped with a message that rings true across all religions. Love. I spoke about this on Sunday at the 10th Annual Prophet Muhammad Day at Rutgers University. The next day the Trump administration issued a new executive order revising their original, illegal travel ban.

We should not be putting in place a blanket ban of refugees, especially when we have actively been fueling the counterproductive regime change wars that have caused them to flee their homes in the first place. These people would much rather stay in their homes and live in peace. That’s why we must address the cause of this refugee crisis and end the destructive US policy of counterproductive regime change wars, as we’ve seen most recently in Iraq, Libya and now in Syria.

No matter where you’re from, no matter what religion you practice, your ethnicity, race, or anything else  — what is it that can bring us together as people? It is, what we call in Hawaii, aloha… sincere, deep love and respect for other people as children of God. I am determined to fight for the American people, to fight for peace, fight to end this counterproductive, illegal regime change war in Syria. This war does not serve the interests of the Syrian people, nor does it serve the interests of the American people.

Will you help spread my my message of aloha by sharing Sunday’s speech? In order for there to be peace, it is essential that we become ever more respectful and loving of others, regardless of our differences in religion, race, ethnicity, or nationality.

Only such mutual respect and love can unite humanity and ensure our country a bright and peaceful future that we all want.

 

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CCI

Carta abierta al rector

Doctor Eduardo Flores
Rector de la Universidad de Panamá
Ciudad Universitaria
Panamá, Republica de Panamá
E. S. D.

Respetado Sr. Rector

El Movimiento de Ciudadanos Contra la Impunidad (CCI), como es de su conocimiento, lleva a cabo, una serie de actividades ciudadanas, con el propósito de denunciar, combatir y repudiar la corrupción y la impunidad, que pretenden destruir a nuestra Patria.

Inicialmente, antes de dar vida a este Movimiento Cívico, nos dirigimos a Usted en su calidad de Rector de nuestra primera Casa de estudios, para que la Universidad de Panamá, tornara la bandera contra la corrupción y fuese Portaestandarte del sentir Nacional, por ser la llamada a jugar el papel relevante en la vida de nuestra Nación, tal como Ud. Manifestara durante su campaña para aspirar al alto cargo que hoy detenta y convocase la opinión del pueblo Panameño para que el escándalo de Odebrecht fuese debidamente denunciado e investigado y sus autores condenados de acuerdo a nuestro ordenamiento jurídico, sin dilaciones ni encubrimientos.

Su respuesta esquiva y negativa de entonces, nos sorprende hoy de sobremanera, al saber que Ud. está organizando un “Congreso Universitario “del 8 al 10 de marzo, exclusivamente para “discutir posibles cambios a la Ley Orgánica de la Universidad de Panamá”, especialmente lo relativo a garantizar su reelección en el cargo recién asumido.

La situación que vive nuestro país con motivo del Caso Odebrecht, no le es desconocida y, por ello, el CCI se pregunta qué motiva el que nuestra Universidad se abstenga de tener una activa participación en la organización de un permanente debate académico que aborde la discusión sobre la corrupción y la impunidad, de presencia rampante y ofensiva en el quehacer de la Republica, para que la juventud universitaria pueda ser instruida y vacunada contra estas nefastas prácticas.

Reiteramos nuestro llamado patriótico para que la Universidad vuelva a ser conciencia crítica y faro de luz de nuestros compatriotas y se avoque a la convocatoria de un Gran Debate Nacional en toda la sede central de nuestra capital, en todos sus Centros Regionales, en todas sus aulas, sobre el acontecer nacional con el decidido repudio público a las prácticas de corrupción e impunidad, tan en boga en nuestros días.

Ello sin duda alguna, es mucho más importante que la “reelección” de las recién electas autoridades universitarias.

Don Octavio Méndez Pereira, primer Rector de la Universidad, y antecesor suyo nos enseñó que:

Es uno de los imperativos de una Universidad Moderna, sentir y tratar de remediar las hondas conmociones que sacuden a la humanidad, abrir sus puertas y ventanas para echarse a la calle y renovar su ciencia con la vida, mezclar su cultura con las grandes inquietudes del mundo que la rodea, con los bajos fondos de la existencia colectiva.

y nosotros agregamos para que se haga la luz en la administración de Justicia en donde hoy rondan las Tinieblas de la impunidad.

En la seguridad que el Sr. Rector de la Universidad Nacional de Panamá, sabrá escuchar nuestro respetuoso llamado y por su conducto, a la conciencia colectiva universitaria orientada por la mejor intelectualidad y la Juventud de nuestro país; haciendo honor a los prohombres que le antecedieron en tan meritorio cargo.

Atentamente,

Dr. Alfredo Oranges Bustos
Coordinador CCI- Cedula 8-1121-942

 

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Isabel PantojaIsabel Pantoja. Foto por Carlos Delgado.

¿Wappin? Looking out in time and place from The Crossroads of The World

The Supremes – My World Is Empty Without You
https://youtu.be/dObwPyAKyw8

Robert Johnson – Love in Vain
https://youtu.be/SnsBlY4rKwM

Bob Marley – Wait in Vain
https://youtu.be/8WQVb_nuKvs

Carly Simon – You’re So Vain
https://youtu.be/mQZmCJUSC6g

Zahara & Robbie Malinga – Bengirongo
https://youtu.be/egbYl7UlSWo

Youssou Ndour – Djiguene Gni
https://youtu.be/zZweEsGkmIo

Panteón Rococó & Denise Gutiérrez – La Dosis Perfecta
https://youtu.be/fZbusX0dt9o

Mon Laferte & Juanes – Amárrame
https://youtu.be/l_ZyDlTfndE

Romeo Santos – Vale La Pena El Placer
https://youtu.be/Eqd03Ms1ip4

Santana – Soul Sacrifice
https://youtu.be/7dTH32ClRwI

Babatunde Olatunji – Jin-Go-Lo-Ba
https://youtu.be/ZYhFyF8dvU4

Herbie Hancock – Chameleon
https://youtu.be/UbkqE4fpvdI

Rolling Stones – Paint It Black
https://youtu.be/O4irXQhgMqg

Sippie Wallace – Murder Gonna Be My Crime
https://youtu.be/6Xzyg5V4Ks8

Isabel Pantoja – Festival de Viña del Mar 2017
https://youtu.be/xri9wGWdtlQ

 

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