Welcome to the Panama Weekly News Roundup! Here’s the latest.
Panama’s new canal and Chicago: A plus for the Midwest, but also a triumph of human yearning
The Atlantic begins here, the Pacific over there, and between them lie 51 miles of deep ditch, aged machinery, steamy jungle, epic engineering, malarial history and murky politics. Every 45 minutes or so, another big boat floats past in the humidity, bearing oil or bananas or lumber or tourists through a 110-foot-wide passage of concrete and steel. This is the jewel that so many cruise-lovers are so eager to wear in their crowns.
In June the Panama Canal splashed onto front pages for the first time since the U.S. handed it back to Panama in 1999. If it were a household product, the banner would read: “New and improved!” Panama authorities unveiled a $5 billion-plus new set of locks and channels to handle larger ships alongside the original canal. The new locks are longer — 1,400 feet — and wider — 180 feet — than the original 1,000-foot-long by 110-foot-wide canal, which opened more than a century ago. The new locks are also deeper, by 18 feet, all to accommodate bigger, heavier ships.
Why is that important? Because over the years, the canal — among the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers — grew less wonderful. As ships grew bigger, the canal choked. It couldn’t accommodate the mammoth container vessels that move goods from food to clothing to cars between distant ports.
Source: Chicago Tribune
Panama Officials Head to US to Probe Odebrecht Case
Panamanian prosecutors headed to the United States on Tuesday seeking information on the alleged payment of bribes from the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht to officials of the Central American country.
The Panama attorney general’s office said investigators are looking to “obtain details of alleged acts of bribery and use of financial institutions in Panama.”
The US Justice Department recently reported that Odebrecht had paid bribes worth hundreds of millions of dollars to obtain contracts in nine Latin American countries.
It said the construction company paid more than $59 million in bribes to Panama between 2010 and 2014 to obtain contracts valued at $175 million.
Two sons of former president Ricardo Martinelli have denied Brazilian newspaper reports that they had received $6 million intended as a bribe for their father from Odebrecht.
Source: Yahoo News
21 Things You MUST DO In Panama City
Panama City is great for tourism, and full of many fun activities for both residents and visitors alike. With so much to do, it’s hard to know where to start. Here’s a great list from our friends at PTY Life, on 21 of the “must do” things here in Panama City, and why you should do them.
I’m kicking off the list with the most obvious must-do in Panama City: The Panama Canal. You just can’t leave here without seeing one of the most important accomplishments in Panama’s history. You can visit the Miraflores Visitor Center, which is about a 20 minute drive or cab ride (also accessible by Metro Bus) from Panama City and there’s an interactive museum and viewing deck where you can actually watch the locks in action as large cargo and cruise ships pass through the Miraflores Locks.
Source: PTY Life
Top 5 Beaches to Visit During Panama’s “Summer” Season
Panama is full of fantastic beaches, which are loved by both locals and people visiting, working, or retiring in Panama. From resort areas to secluded natural clearings, the types of beaches Panama has to offer runs the gamut. These beaches are incredibly popular all year round, but during Panama’s “summer”, or dry season (Jan-April), they are an especially hot ticket when it comes to visitors. If you’re planning on coming to Panama, or already live here and what to get out in the sun and sand, we’ve got you covered. Here are our top 5 beaches to visit this season!
5. Farallon/Playa Blanca. The area Playa Blanca, and town of Farallon, have some of the best beaches on Panama’s Pacific coastline. It’s also the best area if you’re looking for all-inclusive beach resorts, luxury hotels, and a trip that’s relatively close to the city, and easy to get to from the highway. Playa Blanca has many large, luxury, and classic family vacation-style resorts that are great for a few days, and offer all you’ll need for a modern escape. Farallon shares the same beach, but rather than resorts, is famous for its small town feel, and fish shacks.
Source: POLS Blog