World Humanitarian Day

La Prensa (20 August) and Panama America (20 August) both published an article about the World Humanitarian Day, celebrated the day before. August 19th marks the day on which 22 UN people got killed by a bomb attack in Bagdad. At the UN House in Panama several humanitarian aid workers told their stories in order to commemorate this day. Panama America published a message from Ban Ki-moon, stating that on World Humanitarian Day “we renew our commitments to life-saving relief efforts and remember those who died while serving this noble cause”.

Two UN peacekeepers kidnapped in Darfur

El Siglo (17 August) and La Prensa (15 and 17 August) state that two peacekeepers with the joint UN-African Union force in Darfur (UNAMID) have been kidnapped. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his concern over the safety in the Sudanese region. Mr. Ban urged the Sudanese government to investigate the incident and guarantee humanitarian aid for all Sudanese people. At the same time he appreciated the restoration of some humanitarian access to the refugee camp of Kalma, which had been of limits to UN humanitarian agencies for nearly two weeks.


Pakistan – more help needed

La Estrella (15 and 17 August) reports on the flooding in Pakistan, which already cost the lives of 1,600 people. On top of this 3.5 million children run the risk of getting infected with fatal diseases such as dysentery. According to the United Nations only a quarter of the 459 million dollars needed for initial assistance have arrived until now. Last Saturday the United Nations reported a first case of cholera. According to the UN, however, the disease is not spreading. La Estrella even states that the cholera case has not been confirmed.



Ban Ki-moon urges Myanmar to hold free elections

La Estrella (14 August) states that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Myanmar “to honor their publicly stated commitments to hold inclusive, free and fair elections in order to advance the prospects of peace, democracy and development”.

Request for International Court of Climate Justice

La Prensa (15 August) states that the ambassador Pablo Solón of Bolivia asked to United Nations to create an International Court of Climate Justice. According to Solón this court is needed to guarantee that countries comply with the Kyoto Protocol.


World Meteorological Organizations warns about unprecedented climate change

La Prensa (15 August) states that, according to the United Nations, we are facing an unprecedented climate change. As an example the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) refers to the heat wave in Russia, the flooding in Asia and parts of Central Europe, the drought in Sub-Saharan Africa and the landslides in China.



North and South Korea – situation still tense

La Estrella (16 August) and La Prensa (16 August) published an article about the crisis between North and South Korea. North Korea continues threatening South Korea, saying the country will be subject to the “severest punishment” if it does not stop all military drills. The latest threat comes before the beginning of a war games exercise, in which 56,000 South Korean troops and 30,000 US troops will be participating. At the same time Seoul proposed a three-step reunification road map with North Korea. The first step to a unified Korea would be a “peace community” with a denuclearized Korean peninsula. The next step would be to “create an economic community” and eventually tear down the wall and establish a community based on dignity, freedom and basic rights for everybody.



Colombia – Venezuela

La Estrella (15 August) and El Siglo (15 August) report on the relationship between Colombia and Venezuela. President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia and Hugo Chávez of Venezuela agreed last week to reestablish diplomatic relations, which had been severed by Caracas on 22 July. Santos confirmed that a Colombian delegation will soon travel to Caracas.


Clash between Álvaro Uribe and Fidel Castro

La Prensa (17 August) states that former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe said to Fidel Castro in a communication that “he has to analyze the achievements of his government before echoing the lies of political protectors of terrorism”. Uribe’s statement was an answer to what Fidel Castro said earlier. Castro considered Uribe’s appointment as a member of the UN committee that is to investigate the Israeli attack on a humanitarian flotilla earlier this year “absurd”.



Draft bill Public-Private Associations

La Prensa (16 August) states that the Panamanian government put forward a bill for the establishment of Public-Private Associations (APP). The purpose of the bill, which has already been put into practice in Chile and Mexico, is to divide or share the risk the government would take with investments of more than 13.6 billion dollars. Minister of Finance Alberto Vallarino first mentioned the plan a few weeks ago in a meeting with bankers, where he told there were opportunities for Panamanian banks to participate in turn-key projects and public-private participations. The bill, however, is still a rough draft that will be subjected to comments and recommendations first.



Panamanians ask to withdraw law 30

El Siglo (15 August) states that the National Workers Centre of Panama (CNTP) announced that the trade unions agreed to unite in order to fight against the controversial law 30. Elberto Luis Cobos, Secretary-General of the CNTP, said that the joint force would consist of 25 trade unions – meaning 35,000 members – and people from the civil society and other sectors. The unions are threatening with a national strike if the government does not withdraw the law.



Ninth scientific forum “Mental Health and Healthy Cities”

La Prensa (14 August) published an article about the ninth scientific forum “Mental Health and Healthy Cities”. According to a report the transformation of current urban models is essential for the establishment of cities that provide tranquility and balance for its inhabitants. Joaquín Molina, representative of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), stated that 50% of all people deal with stressful situations and depressions caused by living in a metropolis.


Mia Farrow asks for support Darfur

Ego published an article about Mia Farrow, who has been active in humanitarian campaigns for many years. Farrow has been fighting for different causes, like the conflict in Darfur. At the moment the actress is asking to help Pakistan.