Panama's Cortizo declares victory in presidential vote

Panama City, May 6 (AFP) Former Panamanian minister Laurentino Cortizo declared victory in the country's presidential polls on Sunday, though the electoral commission has yet to announce the official winner of the vote.

"I feel very happy. I won. We won. What we have to do now is join forces as a country," Social Democrat Cortizo told reporters.

Pope says fear of migrants is making us crazy

PANAMA CITY (AP) — Pope Francis said Wednesday that fear of migration is “making us crazy” as he began a trip to Central America amid a standoff over President Donald Trump’s promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border and a new caravan of migrants heading north.

Francis was asked by reporters about the proposed border wall Wednesday on the way to Panama, where he is looking to leave the sex abuse scandals buffeting his papacy behind. Francis responded: “It is the fear that makes us crazy.”

Panama awards $1.4 bn bridge project to Chinese group

5 Dec 2018; AFP: The government of Panama awarded Tuesday a Chinese consortium a $1.4 billion contract to build a bridge over the Panama Canal, a day after a visit by President Xi Jinping.

That tour was part of China's efforts to extend its political and economic influence in Latin America.

"Panama is moving ahead in its relations with China and without a doubt this project that begins its construction today is part of that message and trust between the two countries," Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela said.

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