Panama passes bill to permit use of crypto assets

Panama passes bill to permit use of crypto assets

PANAMA CITY, (Reuters) - Lawmakers in Panama's National Assembly approved a bill to regulate the use and commercialization of crypto assets in the Central American country renowned as a hub of offshore financial services. The bill opens the door to private and public use of crypto assets, and will make it possible for people to pay their taxes with cryptocurrencies. Experts warned it could heighten Panama's reputation as a place lacking financial transparency. The legislation is broader in scope than measures passed by El Salvador, which last year made bitcoin legal tender, said independent lawmaker and promoter of the bill Gabriel Silva.…
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Panama makes record seizures of drugs in 2021

Panama makes record seizures of drugs in 2021

PANAMA CITY, Dec 26 (Reuters) - Panama made record drugs seizures in 2021, confiscating some 126 tonnes of contraband, chiefly cocaine, the security ministry of the Central American country said on Sunday. This year's haul compared with 81.7 tonnes in 2020, 86.8 tonnes in 2019 and 76.8 tonnes in 2018, the ministry said in a statement. In the process, Panamanian authorities confiscated more than $12 million in cash and arrested 710 people, it added. Among the seizures made on both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, as well as in airports, the national naval air service impounded 86,332 packages of drugs,…
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U.S.-bound, 19,000 migrant children cross dangerous jungle – UNICEF

U.S.-bound, 19,000 migrant children cross dangerous jungle – UNICEF

On their trek north towards the United States, some 19,000 migrant children have crossed the dangerous jungles that sprawl the border between Panama and Colombia so far this year, the United Nations children's agency UNICEF said Monday. The number of children who crossed the Darien Gap is almost three times higher than the total for the previous five years, it said in a statement, adding that one in five migrants crossing the border are children, and half of them is under five years old. In 2021, at least five children were found dead in the jungle, the agency said, adding that "more than…
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Panama to hand out AstraZeneca vaccines to visitors in tourism push

Panama to hand out AstraZeneca vaccines to visitors in tourism push

Panama approved a plan to vaccinate visitors in a bid to boost a tourism industry badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic, becoming the first Central American nation to offer vaccine doses to tourists. Tourists will receive AstraZeneca vaccines, with the recommended interval between the two doses set at eight to 12 weeks, the government said in a statement. It was not clear when the initiative would take effect, though visitors who wish to be inoculated will be expected to stay at least two nights at hotels registered with the Panama Tourism Authority (ATP). “Panama seeks to attract tourists from Central…
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Earthquake shakes buildings in Panama City

Earthquake shakes buildings in Panama City

PANAMA CITY (Reuters) - A magnitude 5.0 earthquake shook buildings in Panama City early on Saturday, a Reuters witness said, but authorities found no immediate sign of damage.  The United States Geological Service said the epicenter of the quake was some 70 km (43 miles) north of the capital, which rarely feels seismic activity. It had a depth of 27 km, near the coastal town of Santa Isabel. (Editing by Alex Richardson)
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Photo Story: Confession in times of the coronavirus pandemic

Photo Story: Confession in times of the coronavirus pandemic

A woman confesses to a father in the Iglesia del Carmen, in Panama City, Panama.  Panama reopened retail sales, beauty parlors and barbershops with limitations and maintaining mobility restrictions for the population, as part of the slow economic reopening amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Via EPA-EFE/Bienvenido Velasco
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Panama withdraws as host of 2022 Central American and Caribbean Games

Panama withdraws as host of 2022 Central American and Caribbean Games

Panama has withdrawn as host of the 2022 Central American and Caribbean Games due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Central American and Caribbean Sports Organization (CACSO) President Luis Mejia Oviedo criticised Panamanian authorities for relaying the decision to media first, rather than the body responsible for the event. Oviedo said he had recently received a letter from Eduardo Cerda, the general director of the Government agency for sport in the country, confirming Panama's commitment to hosting the Games. Panama is the Central American country with the highest number of deaths and infections from coronavirus. More than 57,000 people in Panama have contracted…
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Panama extends suspension of international flights by a month due to coronavirus

Panama extends suspension of international flights by a month due to coronavirus

Panama's civil aviation authority said on Friday it will extend a suspension of international flights by another month due to the coronavirus crisis. The additional month of suspended flights begins on July 22, according to a statement from the civil aviation authority. International flights were first suspended in March as the spread of the virus prompted authorities to impose measures to better contain it. The country's Tocumen airport is a major hub for Panama-based Copa Airlines, which like other carriers has been hard hit by the pandemic. As of Friday, Panama had reported 51,408 total cases of the coronavirus and…
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Panamanian ex-presidents banned from travel amid corruption probes

Panamanian ex-presidents banned from travel amid corruption probes

Two former presidents of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli and Juan Carlos Varela, have been banned from leaving the country while under investigation for money laundering in separate corruption cases, government authorities said on Thursday. Martinelli, who served from 2009 to 2014, is suspected to have improperly diverted public funds in the purchase of a media outlet while president as part of the so-called “New Business” case, local media and officials said. Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Martinelli called the charges “political persecution” and accused Panama’s judicial system of not following due process. “They want to involve me because they want to…
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Peru, Panama limit men and women to alternate days out to stall virus

Peru, Panama limit men and women to alternate days out to stall virus

  Peru and Panama both started on Thursday limiting the times men and women can leave their homes in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Amid a strict quarantine in Peru, President Martin Vizcarra said on Thursday that men and women will only be allowed to leave their homes on designated days divided by gender. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only men will be able to leave their homes to stock up. Women can go out on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Nobody will be allowed to leave home on Sunday. “We have to get fewer people…
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Panama and UK Cayman Islands added on EU blacklist for tax havens

Panama and UK Cayman Islands added on EU blacklist for tax havens

Finance ministers today added four countries to the EU’s blacklist for tax havens outside the bloc, including Panama and U.K. territory Cayman Islands. Ministers updated the naming and shaming exercise at the EU finance ministers meeting in Brussels, adding the four new countries to the existing eight-country list. Palau and Seychelles were the other two new entrants. The blacklist in full includes: American Samoa, Cayman Islands, Fiji, Guam, Oman, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Seychelles, Trinidad and Tobago, U.S. Virgin Islands and Vanuatu. Blacklisting the Cayman Islands, a British overseas territory, should be a warning to the U.K. in the context of post-Brexit talks…
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Pregnant woman and six children killed during religious ritual in Panama

Pregnant woman and six children killed during religious ritual in Panama

A pregnant woman and five of her children are among seven people who have been killed in a suspected exorcism in Panama. The victims, who were from an indigenous community, were rounded up by 10 lay preachers before being tortured, beaten, burned and hacked with machetes to make them "repent for their sins". Police managed to free 14 others, also from the Ngabe Bugle indigenous group, who had been tied up and beaten with wooden clubs and Bibles. Two pregnant women and several children were injured, and the area is so remote that helicopters were used to take them to…
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Panama Canal records 5th driest year in 7 decades

Panama Canal records 5th driest year in 7 decades

The Panama Canal’s watershed experienced its fifth driest year of the last seven decades in 2019, officials said this week, underscoring warnings that climate change poses a major challenge to the recently expanded waterway, a major driver of the Central American nation’s economy. The watershed is a network of rivers and creeks covering about 1,280 square miles (3,300 square kilometers). This week’s annual report from the Canal Authority said that the watershed received 84.6 inches (2,149 millimeters) of precipitation last year, about 20% below the historic average of 106.1 inches (2,695 millimeters). Steven Paton of the Smithsonian Institution’s Tropical Research…
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Photo Story: The Hypnotic art of Cruz-Diez in Panama City

Photo Story: The Hypnotic art of Cruz-Diez in Panama City

Visitors run the artistic installation by French-Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez 'El Color Haciendose' (lit: The color doing itself) at the Contemporary Art Museum in Panama City, Panama. The hypnotic works by Cruz-Diez (1923-2019) in Panama, decorate public spaces in the country. Considered one of the main examples of the so-called kinetic and optical art, Cruz-Diaz passed away in Paris at the age of 95 on 27 July 2019. Photo: EPA-EFE/Bienvenido Velasco
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Over 10.7 tons of cocaine destroy by Panama police

Over 10.7 tons of cocaine destroy by Panama police

An agent of the National Police of Panama spills gasoline on kilos of cocaine in a landfill in La Chorrera, Panama, 31 May 2019. The Panamanian authorities destroyed a total of 10.7 tons of drugs seized in the previous month in a landfill in Panama Oeste Province, and most of them correspond to cocaine. EPA-EFE/Bienvenido Velasco
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Corporate Dispatch Morning Briefing and News Review

Corporate Dispatch Morning Briefing and News Review

Good morning Your morning briefing brings you a review of the latest news headlines from Malta, Europe and around the world. For more details click on the headlines.     Gunmen kill six, including a priest during Mass in Burkina Faso Israel doesn’t exclude possibility of Iranian attack   Four commercial vessels sabotaged in UAE… reports of explosions at Fujairah port denied   6.1 Earthquake strikes in Panama   Poland to introduce harsher sentences for child abuse   Lithuanian PM Skvernelis to step down   Three people found dead in German hotel with crossbow bolts in their bodies   Amsterdam…
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6.1 Earthquake strikes in Panama

6.1 Earthquake strikes in Panama

A magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck 29 miles (47 km) northwest of Panama’s coastal city of David on Sunday near the country’s border with Costa Rica, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. The quake occurred at a depth of about 23 miles (37 km), the USGS said, downgrading it from a 6.2 magnitude quake. Panama’s firefighting association said on Twitter it had received reports of the ground shaking from residents in different regions of the country, and urged calm. There were no immediate reports of damage. Via Reuters
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Cortizo wins in Panama… vows to clean up country’s image

Cortizo wins in Panama… vows to clean up country’s image

Political veteran Laurentino "Nito" Cortizo won Panama's presidential election in an unprecedented close race on Sunday, with the electoral tribunal declaring a winner after 95 percent of votes had been counted. In his victory speech, Cortizo called for national unity, after winning just a third of the votes with the country clearly divided about its choice in the one-round election. During the campaign he vowed to clean up politics after Panama's image was tarnished by a corruption scandal involving Brazilian engineering firm Odebrecht, and the Panama Papers leak of millions of documents detailing tax evasion by the world's wealthy in…
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Corporate Dispatch Morning Briefing and News Review – Monday 6th May 2019

Corporate Dispatch Morning Briefing and News Review – Monday 6th May 2019

Good morning, The aviation tragedy in Russia, the clashes in Tripoli, a cease fire in Gaza and US's warning to Iran dominate the world headlines. The political activities leading to this months' elections take most coverage in Malta's newspapers. Start your day informed with our morning briefing. Russia’s Investigative Committee confirmed Monday that 41 people were killed after an SSJ-100 passenger plane en route to the northwestern Russian city of Murmansk caught fire before an emergency landing Sunday at the Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow. Eastern Libyan forces commander Khalifa Haftar ordered his troops, who are trying to take the…
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Corruption and lack of justice dominate Panama elections

Corruption and lack of justice dominate Panama elections

On Sunday Panama went to the polls to  elect the country's next president, 71 legislators and hundreds of local government officials. Government corruption is among the chief concerns of the country's 2.7 million registered voters, and some are sceptical of all the candidates' campaign promises to root it out. "They all say they are against corruption," Espacio Encuentro de Mujeres women's group president Juana Camargo was reported telling Al Jazeera."But there is no justice anywhere," she said, pointing out that countless allegations and investigations have so far yielded very few convictions. Corruption scandals implicating the past two administrations and all…
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Panama and Saudi Arabia included in 23-country list with serious money laundering and terrorism related risks

Panama and Saudi Arabia included in 23-country list with serious money laundering and terrorism related risks

The European Commission concluded that 23 countries have strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing regimes. This includes 12 countries listed by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and 11 additional jurisdictions. Some of the countries listed on February 13 are already on the current EU list, which includes 16 countries. The 23 jurisdictions are: Afghanistan, American Samoa, The Bahamas, Botswana, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guam, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Puerto Rico, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, US Virgin Islands, and Yemen. The European Union is open for…
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Britain is leading a group of European countries trying to block EU plan to include countries like Saudi Arabia and Panama on money-laundering blacklist

Britain is leading a group of European countries trying to block EU plan to include countries like Saudi Arabia and Panama on money-laundering blacklist

Britain is leading a group of European Union states who are trying to block an EU plan to include Saudi Arabia and 22 other jurisdictions on a blacklist of countries that pose money-laundering and terrorism financing threats, sources said. The EU’s executive commission adopted last month a draft list that adds Saudi Arabia, Panama and small Pacific and Caribbean islands to the existing list of 16 states, which currently includes Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and North Korea. The list needs the endorsement of a majority of the 28 EU nations but Britain and other heavyweights of the bloc, including…
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EU set to add Panama and Saudi Arabia to dirty money black list despite German, French and British resistance

EU set to add Panama and Saudi Arabia to dirty money black list despite German, French and British resistance

The European Commission is planning to name Saudi Arabia and Panama in a list of high-risk countries that fail to fight money laundering, despite resistance from Germany, France and the UK, the Financial Times reported on Friday. The blacklist includes the Gulf kingdom and more than 20 other territories over alleged failures to fight illicit cash flows, the paper said citing European Union officials. Via Reuters / FT
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Fear makes us crazy says Pope Francis as he arrives in Panama – He announces visits to Iraq and Japan

Fear makes us crazy says Pope Francis as he arrives in Panama – He announces visits to Iraq and Japan

There were those who had waited at the airport all day. And it was hot (33°C not counting the horrendous humidity). There were those who had practiced their dance routines for months. And they added elegance and energy to the event. There were those who had created costumes and national dresses for the occasion. And they brought colour and culture to this historical Panamanian afternoon. The flying time from Rome to Panama City is just under 13 hours. And there’s a 6-hour time difference. So Pope Francis looked justifiably tired as he walked down the steps of the Alitalia aircraft…
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MV Aquarius heading to Marseille

MV Aquarius heading to Marseille

The Aquarius migrant rescue ship is headed for the port of Marseille with 58 people on board and will seek authorisation to dock from the French government, the vessel's operators said Monday, after the ship's registration was revoked. France 24 reports that the director of SOS Méditerranée, Frédéric Penard, told reporters this was the only option they had.  The announcement followed the decision by the Panama Maritime Authority to revoke the ship’s registration. The NGOs administering the boat said was a reaction to "blatant economic and political pressure from the Italian government". The Italian government denied the accusations. The NGOS…
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Panama to revoke its flag from Aquarius

Panama to revoke its flag from Aquarius

Panama announced on Saturday it will revoke its flag from the migrant rescue ship Aquarius due to "non-respect" of "international legal procedures" relating to the rescue of migrants in the Mediterranean. Aquarius spent 19 days docked in the French port of Marseille after Gibraltar revoked its flag last month, and the ship only set sail again days ago once the process to acquire Panamanian recognition was completed. But Panamanian authorities issued a statement on Saturday saying "an official revocation procedure" had been launched following a complaint by Italian authorities that Aquarius's captain had "refused to return migrants and refugees back…
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Saturday Morning Briefing

Saturday Morning Briefing

Good morning, Your daily Morning Briefing is aimed to deliver the latest news to start the day informed, the Maltese papers review to get an overview of what the headlines are, and our headline digest in case you missed anything. Reports include the latest about the newborn found on Friday, the situation in Syria, the daily (nightly) tweet update by Trump and other news. Have a good day Jesmond Saliba  The Latest Start your day informed  The baby that was found abandoned on the doorstep of a block of apartments in Buġibba has been given the name Cristiano. It was…
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Saturday Morning Briefing

Saturday Morning Briefing

Good morning Today's morning briefing covering news from Malta, the Mediterranean, Europe and the World as reported by the main news agencies and outlets.   Special counsel prosecutors are asking the judges to sentence Papadopoulos to up to six months in prison for lying to the FBI in January 2017 about his contact in London with Maltese Joseph Mifsud. The lie set free Mifsud who since then has not returned to the US since February 2017 and has not been charged with a crime. (CNN/CD)     A group of 171 migrants who refused help by Maltese rescuers remain stranded…
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World Cup Round Up Day 5

World Cup Round Up Day 5

Sweden 1 Korea Republic 0 Following an absence of 12 long years, Sweden marked their return to the World Cup in style in the opening match of Group F. The desire of Janne Andersson’s charges was there for all to see as they emerged victorious over a disappointing Korea Republic. The Swedes were rewarded for an enterprising performance in which they created a series of goalscoring chances. As much due to their own profligacy as to the opposition backline, the hoards of Scandinavian fans in Nizhny Novgorod were made to wait until the second half before the deadlock was broken.…
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