Week in Review

LOOSE CANONS

The director of the National Customs Authority, Gloria Moreno de Lopez, announced that they discovered two Spanish colonial era canons stolen from Fort San Lorenzo in the province of Colon. Lopez Moreno said that the guns were in a container, owned by a corporation, and which was bound for Korea.

NEW FUEL DEPOT

A fuel free zone capable of storing two million barrels of oil on Isla Melones, was approved by the Cabinet. The Minister of the Presidency, Jimmy Papadimitriu, was authorized to represent the State to conclude the contract with the company Melones Oil Terminal Inc., for the operation and administration of the area. The complex of fuel storage tanks are to be built for an investment of $65 million.

QUESTION RAISED

Part of the $125 million that will be paid by Panama to the company Selex, part of the Italian group Finmeccanica, was to be spent on hiring a local company to make the necessary civil works for installation of 19 radars. So far, the name of this local company remains a mystery.

TREATY TIGHTENS RULES

Major inspections of food processing plants, changes in labeling, good agricultural practices and banning certain ingredients in food preparation are some of the new rules for food exports to the United States under the trade promotion treaty.

FOCUS ON FISHING

The European Union is in the final stage of the assessment of compliance with the laws of Panama against illegal and uncontrolled fishing, said Jose Luis Martinez, Chargé d’Affaires of the EU community to Costa Rica and Panama. A total of 35% of seafood exports from Panama will be sent to the EU.

BUDGET MISSING

While continuing the contacts to arrange direct airline frequency between Panama and Asia, the Panamanian authorities have no funds allocated this year to promote the country in long-haul destinations such as Russia and China. The reason is said to be that due to the economic crisis, tourists from these countries are traveling to countries within their regions.

COSTLY COMMENT

The Seventh Circuit Court’s Civil Circuit of Panama ordered the former secretary general of the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) and current leader of the opposition Popular Party (PP), Carlos Ernesto Gonzalez de la Lastra, to pay the sum of $1,131,000 to businessman Jean Figali in compensation and legal costs to settle a lawsuit against him for an act against Figali’s honor. The demand comes from the publication of an interview in the newspaper La Prensa on Sunday, March 9, 2008, in which Gonzalez de la Lastra, when asked what special powers he (Figali) had in the AMP, said “Powers of a girl, like the Powerpuff Girls.”

HYDRO PLANTS GROW

Since taking office in July 2009, the government of President Ricardo Martinelli has approved at least 17 hydropower projects that have become operational. The issue was already an election promise. In its campaign, the “Alliance for Change” was committed to promoting the energy market through hydroelectric projects. Two hydroelectric concessions approved and two pending applications are part of the land of the Ngäbe Bugle and Barro Blanco regions, and are of a hydroelectric generating company of the Isthmus that will build a plant of 28 megawatts of generation. Although the infrastructure of the plant remains in the territory of the province of Chiriqui, the project design includes a 10 acre reservoir that is within the comarca.

POWER FROM WATER

In the coming years, about 1,020 megawatts (MW) of power would be generated by new hydroelectric plants; it was reported by the Public Services Authority. The figure represents an increase of 53% of electricity which is now produced in Panama.

REAL ESTATE SHOWN

The Real Estate Expo 2012, held from February 1 to 5, closed transactions worth $120 million, $30 million less than expected in the initial estimates. The fair, which took place in the Atlapa Convention Center, had 22,000 visitors, according to the Panamanian Association of Real Estate Brokers, who were the organizers of the fair.

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