Wednesday, May 28, 2008

News Briefs, 28/5//2008

Fred, Rickie the Cat, and Ethel

It is pouring here, and has been through most of the night.

The biggest story in most of the on-line newspapers today is the report of a mula--a large, flat-bed truck, falling on top of a house in one of the Gatún neighborhoods in Colón.  I've linked to La Prensa's front page.  

Another brief article states that while the water level at Fortuna is increasing, Bayano is still below normal, so there's increased production of electricity from "thermal" sources in order to keep up electrical production.  I'd read that earlier in the week.  I'm not exactly sure what that means.  Normally, I'd assume that meant geothermal energy; while there are hot springs in Chiriquí, I don't think they're large enough to generate electricity.  So I'm assuming that fossil fuel plants are what's meant.

Another article that appeared earlier in the week in Crítica quoted the ex-director of IRHE (no idea but a hazarded guess is some governmental agency that oversees energy), Gonzalo Córdoba, as saying that the current energy crisis is a created one, thanks to self-serving decision-makers (I assume in the electricity-generating businesses) who don't listen to the experts but only act to increase profits and against the interests of the country.  According to Córdoba, one of the big problems is that there isn't adequate regulation, and those that are in charge of regulation now are the same ones who are involved in the privatization of IRHE. 

Well, I see that they've certainly learned from the US.

Don Ray from Chiriquí Chatter sent me this link to a blog that has a post with more complete information about governmental food subsidies here in Panamá.  The blog also mentions the potential for a "social explosion" to hit the streets here if something were not done.  I have been reading brief references in the on-line papers to demonstrations: University of Panamá students, other students, labor groups.  The Panama News has mentioned "restlessness" about food prices.  I was really surprised to read in the blog that the price of a pound of rice (I would guess in Panamá) had risen to $0.70/lb.  I have not seen anything more than $0.50/lb here, but that's one advantage of living in an agricultural area (and is one big reason why we chose to live where we are)--food prices are almost always lower.  Still, we're going shopping today, and since we have to buy rice, we'll see.

I should mention, for those who are in the area that, at 3:00 pm on Sunday, there will be a presentation (in Spanish) at the Potrerillos Arriba Infoplaza about the history of Chiriquí province, as an adjunct to the celebration of the 159th anniversary of David.  We intend to go.  I'm bringing the cam corder--this time, complete with tape.  I still haven't forgiven myself for Easter's faux pas.

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