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Wednesday, April 23 2014 @ 04:25 AM EDT

Welcome to Panama-Guide.com

Panama Guide is the #1 English Language web site about the Republic of Panama. There are currently 23,456 articles in our ever-expanding database and we update daily so check back often. More than 7,000 people visit Panama-Guide.com every day to follow current events and to use the other resources available. We provide fresh English language Panama news daily, as well as information about all of the other things you need to know if you plan to visit or live here. We focus on those topics and issues which are of greatest importance to the English speaking expatriate community. And if you can't find what you need to know, we take requests. Welcome aboard, and tell your friends.

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New species of orchid discovered in Panama

Environmental IssuesWashington: US biologists have described a stunning new orchid species from a mountainous area in central Panama.

The Orchid family, contains the largest number of plant species in the world - up to 30,000, researchers said.

Katia Silvera, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Riverside, stumbled upon the never-before-seen orchid while on a field trip in a mountainous area in central Panama eight years ago.

Unable to identify it, she contacted German Carnevali, a world authority on orchids.

The orchid turned out to be an unnamed species. So Carnevali recently named it after the Silveras: Lophiaris silverarum.

"Lophiaris" is the genus name, comprising about 40 species in the world.

Lophiaris silverarum is known to grow only in central Panama.

It is not known if it grows in other areas of Central America. The plant blooms only in November, the flowers lasting about a month.

It is not sold in the US because it is very rare and it reproduces very slowly.

Silvera said that because the Orchid Family is so large, there are many species that have not been found before. As a result, new orchid species are being named every year and the number is rising.

"The diversity of orchids is best seen in the tropics, where, unfortunately, habitat is being destroyed very fast," she said.

"As a result, we are rapidly losing the diversity of orchid species. Although there are many orchid species unnamed in nature, it is actually quite difficult to determine for sure that an orchid is unnamed. They are difficult to find and difficult to tell apart," said Silvera.

The Orchid Family contains the largest number of plant species in the world. They are the most collected group of plants by hobbyists.

Close to 30,000 known species exist worldwide; many remain undiscovered. Panama alone has about 1,100 known orchid species.

Orchids are unique in that the flower's female and male reproductive parts are fused together. An interesting aspect is that orchids can easily hybridise or cross.

As a result, some 300,000 orchid hybrids are man-made and commercially available to the public.

The finding was published in journal Phytotaxa.

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The Island Buyer And His Thorny Connections

CorruptionThe City Council of Taboga issued decision number 6, of March 14, 2014, which repealed agreements number 81, 82, and 83 of 2013, through which more than 78 hectares of land were sold to the businessman Ernesto Bósquez Ditrani, who has been linked to land speculators. (more)

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Water Main Breaks - And Floods A House in Bethania

Infrastructure UpgradesA house was flooded this morning in Bethania, after a break in a water main pipe located in the Via Camino Real. (more)

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Cattle Dying Of Thirst In Los Santos

WeatherRanchers in the province of Los Santos have been reporting cattle are dying due to the dry season and the lack of water in this region. (more)

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Part Removed From Metro That Was Causing Trains To Stop Unexpectedly

Infrastructure UpgradesRoberto Roy, Director of the Secretariat of the Panama Metro, reported on his Twitter account last night they moved a piece that was stopping the trains for a few minutes. (more)

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Formal Complaint Filed Against Varela And Crew - Alleging Money Laundering And Diversion Of State Funds

CorruptionA complaint for crimes against the state was filed yesterday in the Public Ministry, following the scandal linking the presidential candidate for the Panameņista political party Juan Carlos Varela to money laundering and the diversion of funds. (more)

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Former Consul Bought Juan Carlos Varela - Who Appointed Him - A Yacht ("Thanks, Buddy...")

CorruptionThe investigation by the Miami based Diario Las Americas newspaper not only left traces of how large sums of money were diverted from the Panamanian consulates in South Korea and Kobe, Japan to bank accounts in Panama in the name of the Don James Foundation. (more)

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Don James Foundation Denies Abnormalities

CorruptionJaime Lasso, the representative of the Don James Foundation, denied any link between the presidential candidate of the Panameņista political party Juan Carlos Varela and the judicial investigation in the United States for money laundering against his daughter, Michelle Lasso. (more)

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Supreme Court Rejects Lawsuit Against Barro Blanco Hydro Electric Project in Panama

Infrastructure UpgradesThe Supreme Court rejected a claim against Articles 120 and 130 of Law 6 of Law 6 of February 3, 1997, which allows the compulsory acquisition by the state of several parcels of land found in the area where the Barro Blanco hydroelectric project in the province of Chiriqui is being built. (more)

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Fatal Traffic Accident On Pan American Highway

Traffic AccidentsA 38 year old man was killed and a 33 year old woman was injured in an serious traffic accident that occurred on the Pan American highway, on the bridge over the Farallón river. The driver of the vehicle lost control, crashed into the bridge, and then overturned. (more)

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More Than 30,000 People In La Chorrera Still Without Water

Infrastructure UpgradesMore than 30,000 people living in the various communities of La Chorrera and Arraiján, in the Western part of the province of Panama, are still without drinking water service after the rupture of a 60" water main last Thursday, 17 April 2014. (more)

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Panama Court Authorizes Sale of Sugar Seized From North Korean Weapons Smuggling Vessel

Panama NewsThe Third Criminal Court of Colon authorized the sale of 200 million pounds of sugar seized the July 10, 2013 from the North Korean ship Chong Chon Gang, found to be smuggling a cargo of arms and ammunition from Cuba to North Korea. (more)

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4.6 Earthquake Hit Panama / Costa Rica Border Region This Morning

EarthquakesBy Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com - An earthquake measuring 4.6 on the Richter scale struck the Panama / Costa Rica border region this morning. (more)

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SENAN Busts Three Drug Traffickers With 525 Kilos of Cocaine

Drug TraffickingOperational units of the SENAN captured three men, two Colombians and one Panamanian. (more)

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Traffic Accident At The National Police Headquarters in Ancon

Traffic AccidentsThis morning there was a traffic accident just outside of the headquarters of the National Police, located in Ancon. (more)

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Repair Work Continues On 60" Water Main in Western Panama Province

Infrastructure UpgradesWork crews from the Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers (IDAAN) continue with the repair of a line of 60" water main which broke on Thursday April 17 in La Chorrera. (more)

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Ayu Prado Asks The US For Help To Implement The "Adversarial" System

Law & LawyersThe Board of Directors of the Supreme Court of Panama asked for help from the State Department of the United States, to continue implementing the new "adversarial" system in the judiciary. (more)

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Transactions By Varela Appointed Diplomats Exceed Their Salaries

CorruptionAnother angle investigators are exploring are the transfers made by Michelle Lasso using funds from illegal gambling activities, from accounts in Caribbean tax havens. (more)

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Major 7.2 Earthquake Strikes Southern Mexico

EarthquakesBy Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com - This is just a heads-up. An earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale struck 36km NNW of Tecpan de Galeana, Mexico this morning. The event occurred at 14:27 UTC or 9:27 am local Panama time. The epicenter was located at 17.552°N 100.816°W at a depth of 24.0km (14.9mi). Nearby Cities: 36km (22mi) NNW of Tecpan de Galeana, Mexico, 48km (30mi) E of Petatlan, Mexico, 56km (35mi) NW of Atoyac de Alvarez, Mexico, 78km (48mi) E of Zihuatanejo, Mexico, 273km (170mi) SW of Mexico City, Mexico.

Copyright 2014 Panama-Guide.com.

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American Fugitive Sage Million Arrested In Panama - Wanted In US For Terrorism

Expat TalesAn American citizen identified as Sage Million, 61, was arrested while trying to illegally enter Panama from Costa Rica, and upon further investigation it was discovered he is wanted in the United States for "terrorism" and other crimes, reported an official source. (more)

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Varela Ignored Article 5 of the "Ethics Pact" He Signed

PoliticsBy Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com - At the start of the electoral cycle, now more than a year ago, I attended an event at the Hotel El Panama where Juan Carlos Varela and other Panamanian politicians signed an "Ethics Pact" in front of the press, to great (artificially orchestrated) fanfare. (more)

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Money Diverted From Consulates Financed Varela's Campaign

CorruptionThe Don James Foundation, possibly related to the money laundering case of money derived from a network of illegal online gambling led by Phillip Gurian in the U.S., managed almost 14 million dollars in three bank accounts, two of then in the Banco Panama. (more)

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Panameņista Party Splits - Some Now Attacking Varela

PoliticsAlejandro Perez, a member of the Panameņista political party, provided additional details during an interview this morning on Telemetro about the people who have been convicted for money laundering in the United States, information reported by the Miami based Diario Las Americas newspaper last Sunday. (more)

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Presidential Debate: Varela Dodged Questions And Blamed Arias For "Varela Gate"

PoliticsGerardo Barroso, the Independent presidential candidate broke the rules of the debate and demanded an explanation from Juan Carlos Varela over the recent revelations linking him to a money laundering network. (more)

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Prosecutor Requests Maximum Penalty For Spanish Serial Killer Javier Martin

Expat TalesThe Third Superior Prosecutor Sofanor Espinosa asked the judges to apply the maximum penalty against the Spanish citizen Javier Bermejo Martin, for the murder of the U.S. citizen Don North, perpetrated in February 2011. (more)

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Serial Killer Javier Martin Went On Trial For Murder Today in Panama

Expat TalesBy Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com - Javier Martin, the Spaniard who killed the Frenchman Jean Pierre Bouhard and the American Don North in early 2011 went on trial this morning, charged with murder, robbery, the illegal use of stolen credit cards, and weapons charges. (more)

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Martinelli Gives Mi Bus An Ultimatum - Contract Will Be Cancelled If Service Does Not Improve

Cars & TransportationThe president, Ricardo Martinelli, gave an ultimatum to the Mi Bus company due to the constant complaints received about bad service from Metrobus by users who spend hours at bus stops, waiting to board a bus to take them to their destinations. (more)

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Martinelli Didn't Have Anything To Do With The Extortion Case in Italy

Panama NewsThe government spokesman Luis Eduardo Camacho said today on the TVN morning news broadcast that President Ricardo Martinelli has no relation to case against Valter Lavitola for extortion in Italy. (more)

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Don James Foundation - The "Not So Petty" Cash Fund of Juan Carlos Varela

Casinos & GamblingMichelle Lasso moved more than 27 million dollars through the Don James Foundation, chaired by Jaime Lasso, who Juan Carlos Varela appointed as the Panamanian Consul to South Korea when he became the Vice President and Foreign Minister, according to documents published last night on the website of the Miami based Spanish language newspaper, the Diario Las Americas. (more)

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The Documents Linking Panamanian Presidential Candidate (To Money Laundering)

Casinos & GamblingMultiple checks were made ​​out to the Vice President of Panama Juan Carlos Varela, who is also the presidential candidate of the Panameņista political party for the upcoming election, through accounts in several banks located in Panama, with funds derived from illegal online gambling operations, according to information obtained by Diario Las Americas. (more)

Editor's Comment: (You're really going to want to see this one - the "torpedo" that will sink the presidential campaign of Juan Carlos Varela - complete with copies of the checks he cashed...)

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