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Info centers for pilgrims, residents remain confused

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Information centers for pilgrims arriving to celebrate World Youth Day (WYD) January  22-25   became operational in several locations on Saturday, January 12. while a La Prensa poll reveals that 92% of respondents do not understand the mobility arrangements for residents during the event.

Another 97 information centers, staffed by volunteers will be opened activated January 21  in transport terminals across the country and in the city of Panama.

Information will be provided on the main WYD events, the location of points of interest and on tourism in the country. Trained volunteers will be at the sites 24 hours a day until January 27.

From midnight January 12, information points will be activated in the three centers where most pilgrims are expected to arrive: The Grand National Transportation Terminal and i the Marcos A. Gelabert Airport, and Tocumen International Airport.
 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/info-centers-for-pilgrims-residents-remain-confused

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Confusion over WYD resident passes

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Merchants and residents of Casco Viejo and others around the Cinta Costera are confused and upset about the accreditation process for passes to enter and leave the areas during  World Youth Day (WYD).

Although the event does not start until January  22, The Ministry of the Presidency has declared that from Friday, January 11 until January 28 Casco Viejo is a pedestrian area and all vehicles entering must be identified with a credential granted to residents, merchants, and suppliers. Those who are not accredited must park on Cinta Costera 3   and from there walk to Casco.

Betsy Morán, the lawyer of the Merchants Association of the old city, said that communication with the Institutional Protection Service,(SPI)  in charge of accreditations has been “difficult.”

Residents bordering Avenida Balboa which, like the Cinta Costera will be closed for the celebration were told to apply for their passes at an SPI office on the Cinta Costera on January 7. The date was later moved to Jan 14, and now they have been told the passes will be issued on January 20 the day on which scores of thousands of pilgrims are set to arrive.
 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/confusion-over-wyd-resident-passes

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$12.4 million for WYD temporary structures vs permanent assets

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Campo Santa Antigua 2
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The $12.4 million allocated by the Ministry of the Presidency for temporary infrastructures for  World Youth Day (WYD) is similar to that paid for works that become assets for the country and its population reports La Prensa.

The Maracaná stadium, in the village of El Chorrillo, which is part of Cinta Costera 3, cost $8 million.

The model school Guillermo Endara Galimany, in Playa Leona, of La Chorrera, Panamá Oeste, cost $ 11.7 million. Another model school – the Republic of Costa Rica, in La Chorrera -was built for $13 million.

The Minsa Capsi de Pedasí, in Los Santos, cost $9.5 million. . and that of Burunga, in Arraiján, , $6.1 million.

Near the Transístmica highway, there is a building project (private capital) of 88 apartments, at a cost of $8 million.

The contract between the Ministry of the Presidency and the JMJ Santa María la Antigua Consortium  (integrated by Festieventos, SA, Magic Dreams Productions, Inc. and Password Production, SA) was the result of a public event. The order to proceed was delivered on August 22, 2018.

The sum to be paid includes the assembly and dismantling of the structures on   the Cinta Costera now called Campo Santa María la Antigua, and in the Metro Park area, in Juan Díaz, called Campo Juan Pablo II, and a series of technical and technological aspects. to

Ricky Ramírez, of Password Production, SA,  part of the consortium, said that they are in charge of all the infrastructures and the platforms are only one part. He said that the contract includes the placement of towers, ramps, fencing, technological equipment, energy generators, facilities with rooms and bathrooms, and all this involves human resources (personnel, salaries, and food) and other factors. Ramírez did not specify the cost for each line says La Prensa and it was not possible to obtain a breakdown of the costs through the Support Office of the Local Organizing Committee, and the specifications do not indicate the individual cost of the platforms.

The numbers that Panama manages for the organization of the WYD are very similar to those of other countries that have hosted it. In 2011, in Madrid,  according to the newspaper El Mundo, the cost was $57 million. In 2013,  in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, $59 million was invested, and for 2016, in Krakow, Poland, $53 million.

The Local WYD  Organizing Committee estimated investment of approximately $54.5 million to finance the religious event.

The visits of the leader of the Catholic Church are expensive. The newspaper El Espectador, of Colombia, published that the visit of Pope Francisco, in September of 2017, represented an investment of $1.5 million on vehicles, security, and lodging alone.

Roberto Troncoso, former president of the Panamanian Association of Business Executives, said that every papal visit has its costs, since guidelines given by the Vatican must be followed, for the security of the Pope and the parishioners.

The president of the Panamanian Society of Engineers and Architects, Gustavo Bernal, said that beyond the cost, the safety of the structure must be seen. He said  that there are risk points that must be controlled, including the placement of 80 electric generators. He said there is concern in the society, because it is not the same to build a platform for shows, as for massive events. He said that they have not been invited to verify all the structures.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/12-4-million-for-wyd-temporary-structures-vs-permanent-assets

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Prosecutor issues alert to pilgrims and potential molesters

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A target for thieves
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PANAMA’S  Public Prosecutor’s Office has issued recommendations for World Youth Day (WYD) pilgrims  -January  22-27 – to avoid being victims of crime, and a parallel warning to potential thieves that they could be sentenced to as much as  18 years behind bars, most likely in the La Joya hell hole.

With up to 250,000 people at a time expected at events on the Cinta Costera and in Metro Park,  security forces have been expanded and will be on high alert, but many individual thieves and gangs are looking for easy pickings in advance of Carnival.

Many participants have already arrived, but the principal inflow is expected on January 20.

Among the  commonsense recommendations  are:

  - Travel in groups.

– When entering and leaving an ATM, be cautious and verify that you are not being watched.

– Do not count money in public; divide it in several parts, and spread it between your wallet and in different pockets.

– When boarding a taxi, make sure it is properly identified and labeled.

– When paying by credit card, do not allow the clerk to take it.

The Public Ministry has also exhorted pilgrims to have in hand the telephone numbers of the assigned parish or diocesan coordinator.

The prosecutor Julio Villarreal warned that for crimes against domestic or foreign tourists having aggravating circumstances, for theft, the sentence can reach 18 years.

Health authorities have issued warnings about paying attention to UV alerts, and recommended the use of hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen and staying hydrated.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/prosecutor-issues-alert-to-pilgrims-and-potential-molesters

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The Pope’s route on arrival in Panama

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Pope Francis will change from a sedan to the Popemobile . near San Fernando Hospital
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Details of the arrival in Panama of Pope Francis to Panama to attend the World Youth Day (WYD),2019  and the route he will take were announced on AM news on Tuesday by Elmer Martínez of the Traffic Operations Directorate.

The Pope will arrive on Wednesday, January 23 between 4:45 p.m. and 4:50 p.m. at Tocumen  International Airport’s newly opened Terminal 2  where a red carpet will be in place on the runway for his official reception.

He will  leave the terminal, and  travel in a sedan car on Avenida Domingo Díaz and  will go through the Roosevelt roundabout to the McDonalds on Vía Cincuentenario, where the car will turn right until it arrives at Augusto 12 and Ernesto T. Lefevre, in front of San Fernando Hospital, where he  will change from the sedan to the Popemobile to continue the journey. on Vía España, take Avenida Central until Cinci De Mayo, turn right at the Caja de Ahorros towards Omar Torrijos Herrera Avenue, ending the popemobile tour at the headquarters of the National Police, where he will move back to a closed vehicle.

The route continues along the Omar Torrijos Herrera Avenue to the elevated Albrook vehicular bridge, take the viaduct and continue along the  Avenida de la Amistad until the Clayton roundabout, turn left onto Avenida Demetrio B. Lakas until reaching the  Apostolic Nunciature

Crowd control fences will be in place along the route and those wishing to get a viewing spot are advised to use public transit.

Corridors Free
The North and South corridors will be free from 1:00 pm on Wednesday, January 23, Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 said, Martinez.

The South corridor can be used from Atlapa to the exit of Chanis, and the other exits will be used for pilgrims.

Martínez reiterated that “We do not want badly parked vehicles” and advised drivers to use public transportation.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/the-popes-route-on-arrival-in-panama

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32 Hospitals 126  health centers available for WYD pilgrims

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total of 32 hospitals of the Ministry of Health (Minsa) and the Social Security Fund (CSS) will be available during the celebration of the World Youth Day (WYD), in Panama from January 22 - 27 Also available to assist national and foreign pilgrims 30 Minsa-Capsi, 26 polyclinics, 26 polycenters, 126 health centers, five health subcenters, 17 health care centers, 9 primary health care centers and 17 local primary health units. Meanwhile, some outpatient clinics for Panamanians have been canceled during the celebrations, and staff at health centers may have problems getting to work. Above, Hospital Santo Tomas close to the .principal activity center
 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/32-hospitals-126-health-centers-available-for-wyd-pilgrims

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Panama is ready to receive thousands of pilgrims

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 16:40

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The XXXIV World Youth Day edition will begin next week and will continue for six consecutive days, and it is estimated that more than 350,000 young people will gather in the Panamanian capital to meet Pope Francis. 12,000 young pilgrims have entered until Monday 14 according to the National Migration Service (SNM).

On Monday, pilgrims from Poland, Venezuela, and Brazil crowded the Tocumen International Airport besides hundreds of people arriving on special flights and landing at the Panama Pacific International Airport. From the three border posts with Costa Rica buses with groups of Mexican and Central American pilgrims also enter.

In turn, young Europeans have marked their arrival on sailboats to the Panamanian Atlantic ports. Among them, a group of 27 young French people arrived on a multi-month trip on Monday.

Ana Lorenza, one of the young French women who completed the journey, told EFE that they sailed from France to Panama on August 31. According to Lorenza, it was a “four-month journey of life, joy, wealth, and many difficulties," but always "learning from a world" totally different "and" without knowing anything about the sea."

The young pilgrim, originally from the North of France, explained that the overall cost invested by the entire group that made the journey to participate in the WYD in the three sailboats was 100,000 euros (about 115,000 dollars). He assured EFE he has many expectations and said that his participation "is another gift in my God's life."

This large number of pilgrims who have entered the country represents a logistical challenge for different institutions. The Panama Metro recognized that they will face an "acid test" and therefore, will open line 2 in advance and with line 1, which operates since 2014, will offer 38 trains.

Line 1 on average transports about 42,000 passengers per hour, and with 26 trains will have two-minute intervals with 26 seconds to collect people and line 2 expects to attend in the days of the WYD another 58,000.

Line 2 will be free during the days of the WYD for all passengers, while line 1 might be free between 12 noon (17:00 GMT) on Saturday, January 26, until 18 local times (23:00 GMT) Sunday.

From January 18 to 21, line 2 will operate on a regular schedule (05:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. local time - 10:00 a.m. to 04:00 p.m. GMT) and from January 22 to 25 it will operate from 05:00 a.m. 02:00 the next day - 10:00 to 07:00 GMT). On Saturday, January 26, it will provide service from 05:00 local time (10:00 GMT) until 12 midnight on Sunday, January 27 (05:00 GMT on Monday).

For its part, the Government of Panama presents today the national public health plan that will be carried out during the WYD. The preventive deployment will include all public hospitals in the country, from the Pre-Day, which begins tomorrow, in the dioceses of the interior and the day, which will take place from January 22 to 27 in the Panamanian capital with the presence of Pope Francis.

In terms of security, at least 30,000 Panamanian police agents were unified in a security plan that will shield the capital and the Pope with the Italian Gendarmerie support, announced the Panamanian deputy security minister, Omar Pinzon.

The agents will be involved in "57 action plans," said Pinzon, and said the authorities have "considered all the necessary aspects to ensure rapid action on aspects of security at the national level" within the framework of the WYD.

Pope Francis's visit has generated immense interest not only in this country but throughout Central America, since the only pontiff who has traveled to the region is John Paul II, in 1983 and 1996.

 

https://www.panamatoday.com/panama/panama-ready-receive-thousands-pilgrims-8953

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Young Polish of WYD accomplish dream and get married in a church in Panama

Wed, 01/16/2019 - 17:59

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A couple of Polish pilgrims who will attend the World Youth Day (WYD) today staged a dream wedding when they get married in a church in a town in the interior of Panama, surrounded by companions and friends who will accompany them on the tour.

Jakub Meehal Wloeh and Martena Katarzena Gercont made their nuptials at the San Miguel Arcángel Parish, located in the town of Monagrillo, in the central province of Herrera, a church source told to Acan-Efe.

The mass was officiated by the Polish father Marcin Michell Pilar, who gave the blessing to the couple's rings, which arrived in the Central American country last Monday.

Gercont dressed in a long white wedding dress and a bouquet of flowers with details in navy blue trimmed the evening in company with Whoeh, who wore a suit of etiquette.

The celebration was attended by some 300 Polish and members of the Panamanian parish, explained Ignacio Bonilla, coordinator of Voluntariado de la Parroquia de Monagrillo.

He said that during the previous days to the WYD other activities will be carried out with the Polish pilgrims, one of them is a concert at the José Daniel Crespo School and at the Plaza de los Toros in Chitré.

In addition, he mentioned that the pilgrims will visit churches, health centers, schools and beaches in the area until January 20. After that date, they will move to Panama City to start the World Youth Day.

Bonilla said that volunteering helps with the translation in English and Spanish of the young participants.

According to the National Service of Migration (SNM), at the beginning of this week the entrance of 12,000 young pilgrims had been reported, which began to arrive from last Thursday by air, sea and by land.

The archbishop of Panama, José Domingo Ulloa, said on Monday that the vast majority of pilgrims who have already arrived come from more than 40 countries and that many of them have gone to the Panamanian interior.

The WYD will be held from January 22 to 27 in the Panamanian capital with the presence of Pope Francis, who will arrive on the 23rd, but since Thursday thousands of young people are distributed throughout the country for the previous days before WYD, in the dioceses of the interior Panamanian, to know the local culture and carry out community pastoral activities.

 

https://www.panamatoday.com/life-style/young-polish-wyd-accomplish-dream-and-get-married-church-panama-8965

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WYD: From fainting to Ebola, Panama readies

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Hospital Irma de Lourdes Tzanetatos, home to Ebola care facility
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SOME 267 facilities of the Ministry of Health (Minsa) and the Social Security Fund (CSS) have been reinforced with personnel and supplies for the World Youth Day (WYD) Jan.22-27and plans made for every eventuality from fainting to the arrival of a visitor with Ebola symptoms.

The health network of the facilities of the Ministry of Health (Minsa) and the Social Security Fund (CSS) is prepared to attend to simple or complex emergencies that arise during the celebration of World Youth Day (WYD) and local concerns like lack of medicines for chronic patients in the CSS and the construction of a new Children’s hospital have slipped off the radar.

Iritzel Santamaría deputy director of Planning and liaison of the Minsa with the Executive of the WYD Organizing Committee said that the strategy includes simple interventions, from attending visitors fainting due to dehydration to more complex cases like suspicion of entry of people with the Ebola virus.

“Both the health infrastructures and the health personnel in all their specialties are prepared with their human resources and supplies to meet any demand that is presented, ” she said.

Controls
To deal with complex cases, such as the Ebola virus, a facility that was enabled in 2014 at the Hospital Irma de Lourdes Tzanetatos, has been re-activated The room was opened during the epidemic outbreak in Africa between 2014 and 2016.

The room, certified by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention of Atlanta, is part of the 267 Minsa and CSS facilities that will work on extended and schedules during WYD and pre-events.

Carlos Biebarach, a member of the WYD Executive  Organizing Committee, said that under international health regulations they maintain a routine health surveillance system at t ports of entry air, sea or land.

On  January 1, controls and sanitary surveillance protocols were increased in the five international airports, which, as part of the security plans, have new equipment, technology, and trained personnel.

The Irma Hospital of Lourdes Tzanetatos, , the Arnulfo Arias Madrid Hospital Complex, the Susana Jones Hospital and Pediatric Specialties of the CSS, as well as the Santo Tomás Hospital, San Miguel Arcángel Hospital and Hospital Del Nino, of the Minsa, are the hospitals of reference in the metropolitan area.

Totally some 32 hospitals, 30 comprehensive primary health care centers, 26 polyclinics, 5 polycenters, 126 health centers, 5 health subcenters, 17 care centers, among other facilities, are also available during extended hours.

Assistance centers to give immediate response to participants in the major events like the reception and opening ceremony of the WYD on Thursday, January 24 in Campo Santa María La Antigua, on the Cinta Costera , or during Saturday, January 26,vigil at the San Juan Pablo II Campus of Metro Park, in  Juan Díaz.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/wyd-from-fainting-to-ebola-panama-readies

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Public office closings for World Youth Day

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Pope Francis
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Public and municipal offices Panama and San Miguelito (north) will be closed from January 23 to 25, to reduce traffic on the streets during the celebration of the World Youth Day (WYD).

A  decree, signed by President, Juan Carlos Varela, said the closure is intended to provide an atmosphere of tranquility to pilgrims who gather on the principal avenues and streets of, where the main activities of the ecclesiastical meeting will take place.

The measure exempts the offices of the postal service, the Fire Department of Panama (CBP), the National Civil Protection System (SINAPROC), the National Immigration Service, the Passport Authority of Panama, the Transit and  Authority (ATTT). the Panama Metro.

The care centers of the Ministry of Health, the Social Security Fund, the Gorgas Health Institute, the Urban and Domiciliary Cleaning Authority of Panama, the Water Authority (IDAAN), and the Panamanian Food Security Authority. will work on a regular schedule.

The regulation will take effect on Wednesday, January 23 from 12:00 local time (17:00 GMT), the day that Pope Francis will arrive in Panama.

The Government indicated that to guarantee the success of the day, the State provides support in matters of safety, health, migration, transportation, and logistics. The closure of the entities is aimed at reducing vehicle traffic during WYD and is part of the urban mobility plan that will be executed for the religious event.

The visit of Pope Francis has generated interest not only in Panama but throughout Central America, since the only pontiff who has traveled to this region was John Paul II, in 1983 and 1996.

The pontiff’s agenda in Panama, a largely Catholic country, includes masses and meetings with the Panamanian government and the Central American bishopric, and visits to a juvenile prison and a social shelter run by the Church.

Ex-president Ricardo Martinelli, detained in El Renacer prison, reportedly wrote to the Pope asking for a visit so he could see how badly a “political prisoner” was treated.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/public-office-closings-for-wyd

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WYD preventive maintenance shuts down Metro Line 1

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Line 1 of Panama Metro had a 45-minute delayed start on Thursday, January 17 due to electrical problems.

The glitch comes as the first wave of World Youth Day(WYD)  pilgrims are arriving in Panama, and authorities plan closure of public offices to reduce road traffic and urges the population to use public transport.

It was not the first time that the system has closed down, and with scores of thousands of pilgrims carrying public transit passes set to flood into Panama on the weekend, potential transit hitches are a nightmare scenario for the organizers who anticipate an attendance of at least 250,000.

Thursday ’s problem was generated in the internal network, according to the Panama Metro and maintenance staff worked on resetting the power system.

Users who were in some of the Metro stations trying to get to work expressed their frustrations.

Liliana Aguirre, Operations Manager of the Metro said that during the night there has been preventive maintenance, for the World Youth Day and one of the systems did not react as expected.

She said that an operations and maintenance team activated a contingency program to open the public and offer the service before 6:00 am, as usual.

The Metro will continue giving the operative maintenance to give quick answers during the WYD.

Aguirre also reported that blank (no passenger) tests are continuing on Line 2 of the Metro, which is scheduled to start with five stations at 5:00 am on Friday, January

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/wyd-preventive-maintenance-shuts-down-metro-line-1

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Beware soliciting phony WYD pilgrims

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While Panama authorities have been bussing street indigents from Panama City to the interior in advance of World Youth Day,(WYD/JMJ),  better clothed local con-artists, recognizing a  new opportunity have filled the gap and are posing as pilgrims asking for money to solve a problem,
 
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Indigents removed from Panama streets

Male and female, they are operating  principally  in commercial areas in the capital  and the standard line is that the supplicant’s luggage, purse or wallet, and documents have been stolen and he or she needs money for necessities

RPC journalist Alvaro Alvarado alerted his radio audience about the fraudster activities . on Thursday, January 16

“Do not be fooled,” warned the broadcaster, who explained that each pilgrim has an identification card, and moves in a group with a chaperone and is assigned to a center or a church.

Alvarado stressed that citizens suspecting a scam of this type should notify the National Police (PN).

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/beware-soliciting-phony-wyd-pilgrims

 

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Metro line 2 partially opened for WYD

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Metro Line 2  was partly inaugurated on Friday, January 17 at the Corridor Sur Station in a ceremony led by President Juan Carlos Varela accompanied by the Archbishop of Panama José Domingo Ulloa, construction workers, and World Youth Day (WYD) pilgrims.

After a  blessing by Ulloa, a  delegation led by Varela boarded one of the new trains to make the official tour of the operating stations, Pedregal, San Antonio, and Cinquantenaire and ended at the San Miguelito station.

Groups of pilgrims were gathered at each station.

The line will be running only for WYD, from January 18 to January 28. The complete line will be opened in  April, days ahead of the national elections.

From January 18 to 21 it will operate on regular schedule 5:00 a.m. at 11:00 p.m., and from January 22 to 25, it will operate from 5:00 a.m. until 2:00 a.m. On Saturday, January 26, and Sunday, January 27 service will be from 5:00 a.m. until 12 midnight.
 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/metro-line-2-partially-opened-for-wyd

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Aguadulce bans liquor sales for WYD

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Prohibition reigns
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With some 200  WYD pilgrims in the city to participate in World Youth Day (WYD), -Jan 22-27- the Mayor of Aguadulce has signed a decree banning dance activities and the sale of alcoholic beverages until January 30.

Those who flout the decree face fines of that  of $500 to $ 1,000 or its equivalent behind bars or performing community works The measure is aimed at canteens, bars, wineries, nightclubs, barbecues, restaurants, which maintain commercial registration enabled for the sale of liquors between meals, billiards, and casinos with liquor sales and all those premises with similar purposes.

The mayoral decree also orders the suspension of the permits for the celebration of activities with the sale of alcoholic beverages in the community.

So far for pre-=World Youth Day activities a little over 200 pilgrims from Poland, Slovenia, Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico are in the city, reports La Prensa.
 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/aguadulce-bans-liquor-sales-for-wyd

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Drones on banned list for World Youth Day

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Panama’s Civil Aviation Authority has issued a  security banning order for multiple flight activities from January 21  through 27, during World Youth Day (WYD) activities

It includes the use of remotely piloted aircraft systems (drones), skydiving activities, flights of ultralight aircraft and of single students.

In addition, instruction flights made from the Calzada Larga regional aerodrome Captain Alex H. Bósquez are prohibited.

Violaters  will be sanctioned says the edict

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/drones-on-banned-list-for-wyd

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WYD events and free performances open to all ages

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Flags from over 160 countries will be seen in Panama during the WYD celebrations
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The World Youth Day (WYD) Panama 2019 is an event bringing together thousands of pilgrims from over 160 countries to celebrate with Pope Francis, and, the Local Organizing Committee (COL) insist that the international event including multiple presentations by performing groups is open to all people.

Fake news circulating on social media has indicated that there will be restrictions

The Archbishop of Panama and President of the COL, José Domingo Ulloa, told TVN Noticias that because thousands of pilgrims have registered for WYD, people may think that they will not have the opportunity to participate in the events,  and witness multiple performers, however, everyone who wants to attend can.

There will be points for pilgrims and for people who are not registered, said Archbishop Ulloa.

Spokespersons of the Local Organizing Committee (COL) of WYD told TVN2. They are motivating all the people to be part of the events in the Campo Santa Maria la Antigua (Cinta Costera), Campo San Juan Pablo II (Metro Park) and the Parque de la Juventud (Parque Omar).

“All those places are open so they can participate,” says the COL When people who have not registered come to the event, the authorities will indicate what the points are, taking into account that the pilgrims have reserved the places where they will be placed.

It is important that people keep in mind that all events with the Pope are free.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/wyd-events-and-performances-free-to-all

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The "WYD effect" injects the optimistic face of Panamanian tourism

Fri, 01/18/2019 - 14:35

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Raquel Sánchez

Only four days to the great party dedicated to young Catholics begins, it is increasingly common to meet pilgrims and tourists who are captivated by the landscape, customs and warmth of Panama, which expects to collect almost 400 million dollars in foreign currency.

This opportunity that gives strength to the motor of the tourist sector, is taken advantage of by thousands of businesses that, before the massive arrival of visitors, they organized to offer innovative services. Sounds great the economic spill that more than 250,000 people who will arrive to the country will leave in Panama.

And, according to the latest figures from the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), the World Youth Day (WYD) will have a direct impact of 388 million dollars, while the indirect could reach 700 million dollars, which is equivalent to 1.5 of the nation's gross domestic product.

With this amount, the investment made around the event, which was 45 million dollars, would be easily recovered.

The Panamanian hoteliers maintain a moderate expectation of touching the full of their establishments during the next visit of Pope Francis, an event that increased the prices of the places of the main city of the country, Panama.

The Government speaks of an 80 percent of hotel occupancy; but the guild that runs that pillar of the economy remains cautious when mentioning 60 percent of reserves in the capital; except for the outskirts, where 100 percent occupation is imposed.

The other areas of the interior, where the provinces are located as a place of passage, the accommodations are at the top, that by having a variety of activities that can offer tourists as a number of landscapes, activities and cuisine.

A spokesman for the Panamanian Hotel Association of Panama (APATEL) told Acan-Efe that before the pre-season the figure was a 40 percent occupancy in the establishments, and now they expect it to surpass it despite the increase in prices.

In a searching for online hosting pages, rates for hotels with one to five stars range from US$ 50 to US$ 350; and in special packages, costs vary from US$ 90 to US$ 175 per night. And if you talk about savings, hopefully you can find spaces in hostels at less than 20 dollars.

Panama offers 30,000 rooms to host visitors, although many of the young pilgrims will stay in homes and schools.

The administrator of Tourism of Panama, Gustavo Him, mentioned to Acan-Efe that although will not arrive more people of the predicted, by the absence of the corporate market that did not manage to offer packages of trips, the organizers stay positive by the arrival of visitors.

"We think that during the WYD it is possible to reach the expected number, even overcome it, because in smaller events we have had high numbers", he said.

He added that activities such as the International Flower Fair and the Parade of the Thousand Polleras, regional activities full of folkloric coloring, have given good results because of the large number of new visitors that arrived.

In the typical places of attraction, such as the Panama Canal, the historic Casco Antiguo and shopping centers, swells of young people identified with the flags of their countries are proudly walking, including the songs of the WYD anthem usually heard in the trains of the Panama Metro lines.

Other sectors that will take advantage of this avalanche are the souvenir shops that change their exhibitions to adapt themselves to the arrival of the Argentine pontiff, protagonist of many "souvenirs". They offer too the emblem of the WYD.

On consumption and purchases made by pilgrims, the MEF calculates US$ 1 million for the sale of promotional items, 50 million for air transport and 31 million for the trade of commemorative coins.

Since much days ago, Panama has been working on without pause, attending visitors who arrive at the country's entry points, such as airports, bus terminals and cruise ports, where bilingual staff provide information on what to do and where to go, as an extra to their main motive (the WYD).

This event, which will be held from January 22 to 27, and which is already the cause of celebrations among young people who will see the holy father, will give a different color to the picturesque tourism of Panama.

 

https://www.panamatoday.com/life-style/wyd-effect-injects-optimistic-face-panamanian-tourism-8981

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WYD Volunteers experienced an ecological morning in Panama City

Fri, 01/18/2019 - 15:50

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By Rogelio Adonican Osorio.

Nearly 2,000 volunteers from the World Youth Day Panama 2019 (WYD) met on Friday by the Costa del Este waterfront, in the capital, to collect garbage that accumulates in the Beach.

According to Pope Francis, following the promulgation in 2015 of the encyclical Laudato Si in which he invited to an "ecological conversion," the day started at 07:00 local time (12:00 GMT) with the arrival of volunteers to the area.

With the sunrise, among the hundreds of skyscrapers that frame the Panamanian capital, the songs and the praises, in different languages, put color and flavor to the cleaning job.

Precisely, Maria Andrea Quiros, in charge of the WYD event and volunteering in Panama, told ACAN-EFE that "it is an event for each of the volunteers to contribute with a grain of sand in Panama."

Until 11:00 local time (16:00 GMT), the boys stayed in the area of the sand of the Bay of Panama, happy for what they did, singing and dancing, to the point that even the scorching sun did not slow them down to carry out their mission: "collect and segment garbage in plastic, paper, glass, and organic," he explained.

"It is a great experience to clean the beach, it is a call to society to take care of our common home, so we have a future and the joy of living on this planet, which is our home," said Eduardo Beloa, who arrived from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Beloa made reference to the encyclical Laudato Si, written by Pope Francis, where it is urged that "we can all collaborate as God's instruments to care for creation, each from its culture, experience, initiatives, and also its capabilities".

"It is an encyclical that helps us understand the world's problems and invites us to take care (...) as Catholics, what God gave us, to have a better future for our next generations," he added.

The security in the area was always present, after eating a breakfast, where fruits and dairy predominated, the boys singing and praising God, decided to put hands to work.

The first was to anoint sunscreen, then repellent for mosquitoes, which are mangrove because these insects abound, and finally gloves to protect their hands, although none escaped the natural stench caused by the accumulation and decomposition of waste.

Once on the beach, at low tide and the first water line more than 1 kilometer away, everyone contributed and dedicated themselves to leaving the place as clean as possible.

"It is a good initiative that all young people should know and we must take care of our environment because it is ours," said Natali Reyes from Guayaquil, Ecuador.

This garbage collection event on the beach is part of the collateral activities of the WYD Panama 2019, which takes place throughout the country, which will take more color and heat next January 23 with the arrival of Pope Francis in the Central American country.

On average, the capital of Panama produces 2,000 tons of garbage a day, much of which arrives without any treatment to rivers and the bay of the city inhabited by just over a million people.

The thousands of pilgrims, from more than 150 countries, distributed throughout the national territory and in Costa Rica, carry out pastoral activities, cultural exchange, play, and religious tourism, as part of the previous event activities, accompanied by volunteers and cared by local safety and health authorities.

 

https://www.panamatoday.com/life-style/wyd-volunteers-experienced-ecological-morning-panama-city-8982

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Pope will speak to young people in Panama in times when the Central American migration crisis gets worse

Fri, 01/18/2019 - 19:32

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Giovanna Ferullo

Panama began receiving thousands of pilgrims who will hear next week the message of Francis during the World Youth Day, an event that will take place in a Central American region convulsed by the phenomenon of caravans of migrants to the United States.

Already about 15,000 of the nearly 100,000 pilgrims who have confirmed their registration to attend the conference are in Panama, many of them in the interior of the country as part of a pre-WYD program that includes cultural workshops, although they will go to the capital in the next days. Panama City will be the epicenter of the meeting.

Francis will arrive on January 23, when he will tour a part of the capital in the popemobile, and the next day will officiate the opening mass of the World Youth Day (WYD) in the Cinta Costera, the emblematic promenade of Panama City.

In his message, the Argentine pope will emphasize the need to give "opportunities to youth", especially in Central America, which faces a "harsh reality" and "is forced to emigrate or falls into the hands of drug trafficking", as already commented the archbishop of Panama, Monsignor José Domingo Ulloa.

The arrival of the pontiff to Panama is preceded by the departure this week of new migrant caravans of the troubled Northern Triangle, which make up Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, with the intention of reaching the United States which president, Donald Trump, promotes a hard anti-immigrant policy.

"We have to be honest. The reality of Central America, especially in recent months, has affected" the influx of people who will participate in the WYD of Panama, Ulloa acknowledged on Thursday, revealing that up to now only 100,000 pilgrims have registered for the event, when the expectation was at least 200,000.

Ulloa blamed this decline on the "circumstances" that suffer the countries of the Northern Triangle, which have prevented many young Central Americans "to accomplish that dream" of traveling to Panama to meet with Francis.

The lack of employment, poverty and extreme violence linked to gangs and transnational drug trafficking groups are the reasons given by the migrants who have left in caravan, both now and last October, when the phenomenon appeared, according to the testimonies that has collected Efe.

While the migrants walk to the North of America in search of a better life, thousands of Central American and Mexican pilgrims take the road to Panama and are assisted by the authorities of countries such as Honduras and Costa Rica, which have put in function plans to guarantee them a safe transit.

Authorities in Panama have said that at least 30,000 agents of the police forces are participating in a large security program, which includes 57 action plans and that will shield the capital and the pope with the support of the Italian Gendarmerie.

The government has decreed the closing of public offices from January 23 to 25, and confirmed the attendance of the presidents of Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Portugal to the great closing mass on Sunday 27.

Giant platforms, up to 9 meters high, plus several dozen screens are part of the arrangements in the Cinta Costera and Metro Park, on the outskirts of the capital, where Francis will lead a mass and a vigil, respectively.

The massive presence of visitors has led the local population to make abundant purchases of food in the last two weeks for fear of a shortage of supplies, an extreme that the Chamber of Commerce has rejected outright.

Boxes of bottled water and all kinds of canned food is the main offer of large supermarkets, Efe noted.

The private company and the tourism sector have said that they estimate that WYD will generate some 250 million dollars of incomes.

 

https://www.panamatoday.com/life-style/pope-will-speak-young-people-panama-times-when-central-american-migration-crisis-gets

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Just returned from a few days in the City where preparations are really ramping up for this youth festival and young pilgrims are arriving daily in droves.

Tourism is really getting a boost in that other people from neighbouring countries are coming in on special Papal tours and filling hotels.

The whole thing seems to be quite well organized. I even received a JMJ memorial $1 coin yesterday.

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Edited by Keith Woolford

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I wish I had posted this earlier.

White taking our housekeeper into town last Thursday afternoon about 4:00PM, I had to come to a complete stop on the road just below the castle (we live in the El Santuario area) because of a large group of young persons walking up the hill into our residential area. Have no idea where they were destined as there are no churches, restaurants, or venues of significant interest (to the best of my knowledge). Perhaps someone was having a reception for the group at their home???

The lead people in this processional were carrying a fairly large wooden cross. I saw no adults; the majority of the group, estimated to number about 150 to 175, were probably mid-teens to very early 20s. They were smiling, some carrying cell phones and a few had cameras, but none of them were talking or texting while in this processional (that was a refreshing thing to see so many young people NOT consumed by their electronics). I waved to several of them, and got smiles and waves in return. Rosmery (our housekeeper) immediately recognized the group as "peregrinos" (pilgrims).

I wish I had had my camera so that you could see this group. All well groomed, smiling, and enthusiastically involved. (I believe there is hope for the future.)

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5 hours ago, Bud said:

I wish I had had my camera so that you could see this group. All well groomed, smiling, and enthusiastically involved. (I believe there is hope for the future.)

I tend to admire youth groups such as One Youth Ambassadors, Volunteer Services Overseas, Global Citizen, and many others who have organized together to fight world poverty and promote human dignity. Even smaller organizations like Never Again (founded by the Parkland shooting survivors) seem to me to promise more hope for the future then religious pilgrimages of this sort. But I'm the first to agree that it's satisfying to see youth engaged in something other than their cell phones!

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Cinta Costera, Ave Balboa WYD closings

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Panama’s Cinta Costera (Coastal Strip and  Avenida Balboa will be closed to vehicular traffic from the Seafood Market to Multicentro, at  6 a.m. Monday, January 21  as the city prepares for the World Youth Day (WYD) celebrations. The area has been renamed  Campo Santa María La Antigua. For the event. The area will b closed until Monday, January 28.
 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/cinta-costera-ave-balboa-wyd-closings

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Casco Viejo open to public during WYD say merchants

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Post Views: 129
 
Mixed messages from the World Youth Day(WYD) Organizers,  about mobility routes during the event coupled with a  perceived reduction in the numbers of pilgrims attending, has led merchants in Casco Viejo  to issue an announcement  on Saturday, January 18  that they will not be closed to the general public

They said that pedestrians, private vehicles, taxis, Uber and tour buses will be able to circulate around the old city through the coming week, except on  Thursday and Friday when Pope Francis is in the area.

They also reported that as of Monday, January 21, the only access to Casco Viejo will be through Avenida A (El Chorrillo) and exit through Avenida B, and visitors should remember that the parking lots of Cinta Costera 3 and streets surrounding the old city may be full reports TVN Noticias.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/casco-viejo-open-to-public-during-wyd-say-merchants

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Nearly 2,000 volunteers from the World Youth Day Panama 2019 (WYD) met on Friday by the Costa del Este waterfront, in the capital, to collect garbage that accumulates in the Beach.

It doesn't take much knowledge of Spanish to figure out the criticism leveled in this meme

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Edited by Keith Woolford

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