By U.S. Embassy in Panama/Edited by Diálogo Staff September 21, 2020 U.S. National Security Advisor Ambassador Robert O’Brien visited Panama on August 17 to work together with one of our strongest regional partners to counter the COVID-19 pandemic.The United States has offered $4.4 million in assistance to support COVID-19 response efforts in Panama.During the visit, Ambassador O’Brien announced the signing of the expansion of the América Crece (Growth in the Americas) memorandum of understanding, which aims to promote Panama’s economic development, and spoke with senior Panamanian government officials about creating a U.S.-Panama joint task force to counter corruption and money laundering.Finally, Ambassador O’Brien took part in a ceremony marking the donation of 50 ventilators, 6,600 test kits, and other necessary supplies to fight COVID-19.Ambassador O’Brien met with Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo and spoke about the U.S. assistance to counter COVID-19, economic growth, strengthening security cooperation, and fighting against money laundering and terrorism financing.Panama was the first country to sign the América Crece memorandum of understanding in 2018, which was focused on energy infrastructure. This expanded memorandum will allow to continue channeling resources and knowledge from U.S. government agencies to promote job creation and infrastructure projects in Panama.President Cortizo and Ambassador O’Brien spoke about the creation of a task force to counter money laundering and corruption. The task force consists of training and consulting services from FBI personnel to prosecutors, security agents, and regulatory agencies in Panama. The task force will focus on dismantling money laundering networks and strengthening capabilities to investigate and prosecute corruption and money laundering cases.
GUYANA’S Commonwealth Games 400m gold and silver medallist, Aliann Pompey, will serve as the next president of the PanAm Sports Athlete Commission.Pompey, 41, was elected at the first meeting with the new PanAm Sports Athlete Commission members, who were chosen by the more than 6 600 athletes who competed at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games.The new Athlete Commission members met and held the election on December 6 at the Pan Am Sports headquarters in Mexico City.Only the three standing members of the Athlete Commission who were elected at Toronto 2015 – Carlos Santiago (PUR – Judo), Adriana Escobar (ESA – Rowing) and Aliann Pompey (GUY – Athletics) – were eligible to be elected as president of the commission.Both Pompey and Santiago stood for the election, with the six members present, participating in the election.“Honestly, I was a little bit surprised,” Pompey said following her election as the new president of the PanAm Sports Athlete Commission.“I wanted to give it a shot because I think it’s a tremendous honour to lead the Commission and it was obviously something I would love to do. So I’m very, very happy with the outcome. It is a lot of work and I quickly realised that, once we went through the timeline and what’s expected in the upcoming years; but I think we are a very collaborative group and with everyone working together we will do great things,” Pompey related.Pompey, Escobar and Santiago are joined on the Athlete Commission by new members Isabel Swan (BRA – Sailing), Melissa Humana-Paredes (CAN – Beach Volleyball), Paola Longoria (MEX – Racquetball), Tony Azevedo (USA – Water Polo) and Amber Joseph (BAR – Cycling).The new Members will stand on the Athlete Commission until the 2027 Pan American Games, while Pompey will serve as president through the Santiago 2023 Pan Am Games.“We are all thrilled to be on the PanAm Sports Athlete Commission because it’s a way for us to have meaningful impact in our sport and region outside of actual competition. I have and continue to learn so much. It’s truly an enriching experience. In a few short years we’ve experienced the commitment of the PanAm Sports Executive staff to the Commission in making sure the athletes’ voice has infiltrated pretty much all of their operations,” Pompey added.Pan Am Sports congratulated Pompey on her election as the president and look forward to working with her more closely over the next four years to ensure the athlete voice is always considered in all decisions by PanAm Sports. Pompey will sit in on her first Executive Board meeting on December 15 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.ABOUT PANAM SPORTSThe Pan American Sports Organisation (PanAm Sports) is the leader of sport and the Olympic Movement in the Americas. We propel the development of sport and support our 41-member National Olympic Committee to inspire more participation in international competitions as well as participation of the youth to prepare the generation to come in our region.Pan Am Sports works closely with athletes, National Olympic Committees (NOC), Organising Committees of all regional games, Pan American Sport Confederations, International Federations (IF) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to secure the success and celebration of our main event, the Pan American Games.
The No. 1 USC Trojans are set to play in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championship Tournament this weekend at UCLA’s Spieker Aquatics Center.After an 8-7 upset over the previously No. 1 UCLA Bruins in the season finale, USC will be tested once again against Stanford, Penn State Behrend and — if the Trojans win their first two games — potentially Cal or UCLA.Junior driver Blake Edwards, who netted the game-winning goal over UCLA in the final frame last Saturday, is excited about a potential rematch with the Bruins at their own pool. “UCLA is a fantastic team, and they really set the benchmark for all competition. The physicality of that game just demonstrated how difficult it was to beat them,” Edwards said. “You can never write off UCLA. Coming off the loss, they’re going to be extremely motivated. Playing them at their home pool will be a whole different story.”Against the MPSF this season, USC holds an untouched 3-0 record with victories over Stanford, Cal and UCLA. USC’s lone loss, however, did come against Cal in the Mountain Pacific Invitational, which was deemed a non-conference tournament. Since then, the Men of Troy have rattled off 10-straight victories by an average margin of victory of over 11 goals. Junior goalie McQuin Baron, the MPSF Player of the Week, has played lights out during that stretch, with a per-game average of 9.75 saves and just 4.42 goals allowed. Baron was especially clutch in the Trojans’ win over the Bruins as he capped off a nine-save performance with a save in the final seconds to secure a narrow one-goal victory. As much as Baron and the USC defense have shut down opposing offenses, freshman two-meter Matt Maier and the Trojans’ scoring attack have been equally as dominant down the stretch.“We felt pretty confident coming off our big win against Cal,” Maier said. “We had a feeling that our time is now. We came into [the game against UCLA] with the intention of getting back at them for beating us the past two years.”Against Stanford, a team that has allowed 6.18 goals this season, the Men of Troy netted eight goals thanks to Maier, Edwards (2), junior driver Grant Stein (2), freshmen drivers Thomas Dunstan and Marin Dasic and junior utility James Walters. Coming off of three-straight one-goal losses to top-ranked programs UCLA, Pacific and Cal, the Cardinal are hungry for an upset. Offensively, the Cardinal have averaged 11.1 goals per game as Blake Parrish (40), Mitchell Mendoza (29) and Cody Smith (29) continue to put up big numbers.Stanford goalie Oliver Lewis has impressed with an average of 10.0 saves and 6.83 goals allowed per game.As for USC’s second opponent, the Penn State Behrend Lions are still winless after 23 games this season. Along with averaging 7.69 goals on offense, the Lions have given up 428 total goals this year (18.6 goals per game). Opposing offenses have scored 20 or more goals in seven of the 23 games. Penn State Behrend nearly overcame Caltech with four goals apiece from Andre Sardaryzadeh and Isaak Hatopp, but lost the contest due to the Beavers’ offensive surge.Ultimately, USC’s focus will be on winning the MPSF Championship game in order to advance to its 12th-straight NCAA tournament appearance. “We have to treat every game like it’s the biggest game of our careers,” Maier said. “If we go into a game with that 7 and prepare the same way, if we can maintain that attitude, we can beat anyone.”
Sydney Hotel rates jump as occupancy squeeze hitsTravellers will face stiffer hotel bills in Sydney this year with rates surging by 8.7% in the first quarter of 2017.Analysis from 4th Dimension, Flight Centre Travel Group’s (FCTG) business travel consulting division, showed average nightly rates had risen to AUD$270 with occupancy levels topping out at more than 90%. The figures represented the highest increase in the Sydney accommodation market since 1996.Corporate Traveller General Manager Jess Anscombe said business travellers were especially vulnerable to the fluctuations with the uptick having strong implications for companies that regularly need accommodation in Sydney. “Sydney is now one of the highest occupied accommodation markets in the world. It even outranks New York, London and Hong Kong,” she said.“As the number one business hub in Australia, travellers need to start booking accommodation as early as they possibly can to avoid being caught in the highest rate buckets.“Companies with high volume requirements should look to consolidate with a small number of preferred hotels and lock in negotiated rates.“For those with lower booking frequency, moving to a best rate of the day purchasing strategy will be a great help. While you may not always be kicking back in luxury, it’s a great insulator against higher rates.”The analysis cited increases in domestic and international business travellers, a boom in tourism and leisure travel activity, higher demand for Sydney’s 5-star hotels due to the weaker Australian dollar and flat supply as the key factors for the surge in demand.Ms Anscombe said selecting properties outside the CBD, like in the Sydney Airport precinct, was also a good tactic for maintaining convenience and accessing affordable rates.“Airport hotels can often be up to 35 per cent lower, and 50 per cent lower in some cases, than CBD properties,” she said.“Linking your accommodation spending to frequent flyer points earning is also a great way to help alleviate the burden of a Sydney business trip.”About Corporate TravellerCorporate Traveller has been a leading supplier of business travel solutions for more than 20 years and services more than 6,500 clients throughout Australia. As part of the Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG), Corporate Traveller is backed by the global network of one of the world’s largest travel agencies.Source = Corporate Traveller