Tuesday 29th November 2022.

November 29, 2022


Between January and September of this year, the gross yield of the Panama Savings Fund (FAP) was -10.95% or a loss of $160.8 million, because of the volatility of the markets and their downward trend. It has been the worst result obtained by the FAP since 2013, the first full year of operations since it was created as heir to the Development Trust Fund. Abdiel Santiago, FAP’s technical secretary, explained that several factors are affecting the capital markets and therefore FAP’s investments, which are mainly concentrated in the United States. He recalled that the FAP’s investment strategy is long-term and the historical results of national savings are higher than the reference indices with which it is compared. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is taking longer than expected and there is still uncertainty about when the conflict will end, a situation that affects different markets, such as raw materials. The financier Álvaro Naranjo recalled that the Fed applied an aggressive rate hike policy in a short period of time. And as interest rates rise, this has an inversely proportional effect on the price of fixed income, where a good part of the FAP’s investments are. Naranjo explained that if these instruments are held until maturity, at that time the issuer will return the invested capital. In a situation like the current one, he pointed out that what should not happen is that the government makes a withdrawal of funds from the FAP and that this requires materializing the losses through the sale of titles at a time of low prices.What is reflected in the FAP results report is a photograph of the situation at the end of each quarter. The reported losses are, for the  most part, unrealized, that is, if the value of the assets picks up, so will the patrimony of national savings. The FAP report that reports the results at the end of September already points to a recovery of $39 million with a cut-off date of November 15. Asked about the expectation for the end of the year, it was said that the yield could close in negative territory between 7% and 9%, therefore better than the fall of 10.95% registered up until September. This, considering that the markets interpret that the greatest effects as a result of the war in Ukraine have already passed and that inflation levels have moderated.

Genomic surveillance carried out by the Gorgas Memorial Institute for Health Studies (Icges) has identified the circulation of two new lineages of the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in Panama.This is the BE.1.2 lineage detected in countries such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Costa Rica; as well as the BQ.1.1 that also circulates in France, the United States, the United  Kingdom, Denmark and Canada.The head of the Department of Genomics and Proteomics Research at Icges , Alexander Martínez, indicated that in the last three weeks of November 45 samples have been sequenced, of which 59% correspond to the BE.1.2 lineage, a descendant  lineage of the Ómicron variant. In fact, after about 10 weeks of the number of hospitalized for covid-19 in the wards and ICUs did not exceed 100 patients, the situation changed with the celebrations of national holidays, among others reasons The latest epidemiological report from Minsa from November 13 to 16 showed that there were 122 patients in the ward and 6 in the ICU. While in the epidemiological week from September 11 to 17, there were 79 patients in the ward and 7 in the ICU.Most of the hospitalized people correspond to unvaccinated people, with an incomplete vaccination scheme or older adults with comorbidities, according to the Minsa. The director of PAHO, Carissa Etienne,  asked the countries of the region not to relax in the face of the increase in cases. “The situation can change quickly. Every time we rest on our laurels with this virus, we risk a resurgence. We cannot let our guard down,” she warned.

Figures from the Public Ministry (MP) shed light on the growing participation of minors in criminal activities. In the last three years, 8,820 complaints related to the involvement of young people under 18 years of age in a variety of crimes have been received. The numbers indicate that the increase in the participation of minors in criminal acts has been sustained. Until last October, the MP had received a total of 3,487 complaints, that is, 624 more than those registered in 2021, when 2,863 complaints were filed.Both figures are higher than the number of complaints filed against minors in 2020, when 2,470 were reported. In these three years, the crimes that register a large participation of minors are: against life and personal integrity, crimes against sexual freedom, domestic violence, drug-related crimes, thefts, and robberies.

A former Public Ministry (MP) official was charged with the alleged commission of the crime against individual liberty in its form of extortion, and for this reason he will be provisionally detained. In multiple hearings, first the covert surveillance and monitoring operations carried out by the Special Anti-Kidnapping and Extortion Unit of the Judicial Investigation Directorate were legalized. The arrest was also legalized, charges were made and the precautionary measure of provisional detention was imposed.This is an investigation carried out by the First Prosecutor’s Office against Organized Crime, in which the victim, a 22-year-old man, reported being threatened and intimidated, like  his family members, by a MP official, who repeatedly had asked him for different sums of money. The apprehension took place on the night of Friday, November 25, as part of the Non-Stop operation, which was carried out in the San Cristóbal square in the Chepo district, through a surveillance and follow-up action. That day the defendant – who worked at the Chepo Subregional Primary Care Agency – had summoned the victim to deliver the requested money, making it effective with money that was authorized for the operation. Subsequently, the former official was apprehended in flagrante delicto.

Perhaps the name of Anthony Coates (Windsor, England) is not familiar to many Panamanians, but his work and legacy is surely known to all. Coates was the geologist who developed the most accepted theory about the age of formation of the isthmus: about 3.5 million years ago. This, among many discoveries and contributions, make his recent death -on November 21, 2022- a great loss for science.  He arrived in Panama in the 1980s and together with a group of scientists from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) began his research on the emergence of the isthmus and its impact on the world. “The isthmus caused great consequences on the planet. As the north and south sides of the continent connected, the two oceans parted, changing ocean currents and changing the climate, creating the Caribbean as we know it. It was the last great global change in the history of the world. Panama has been the last great link in the evolutionary chain”, the professor, had declared in past interviews with the La Prensa newspaper. These investigations lasted around 30 years, in which he not only studied but fell in love with the country. “I feel Panamanian at heart,” he affirmed.But his studies in Panama did not focus solely on his training, the also university professor was the first geologist to study the region of the Bocas del Toro archipelago, where he claimed to have  found a history of 20 million years ago. Furthermore, in 1991 he was deputy director of STRI and conceptualized the theoretical content of the Biomuseo. Although Tony’s theory, as his closest friends told him, about the age of the Isthmus of Panama is the most accepted, there are other studies that ensure that it is older than previously believed: with more than 20 million years. Although for him this refutation was another example of how science works.



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