Sunday, October 19, 2014

Annual El Valle Panama American Society Event

American Society of Panama:

SAVE THIS DATE AND MAKE YOUR HOTEL RESERVATIONS NOW: EL VALLE OUTING SATURDAY 17 JANUARY 2015

Please take note that we are sending this out now anticipating you will
want to stay overnight and attend the special complimentary
 Member’s Only Evening Lasagna Party.

Many have already made reservations at the hotels.  Don't wait until the last moment and find yourself without a reservation

Everyone is welcome to attend our El Valle Membership Drive Outing!

THE AMERICAN SOCIETY of  PANAMA
ANNUAL DRY SEASON EVENT
Come and enjoy the day with us!
Date:  Saturday 17 January 2015

PLEASE NOTE CHANGE IN VENUE

Where:  HOTEL Campestre
Time: 11:30 A.M. – 4:00 P.M.
Menú (Comida Typica Panamaña)
Door Prizes

Members
         Dues paid members:  $20 (Dues must be paid 17 Jan).
            Non-dues paid members: $25
            Children 12 years or under: FREE
Non-Members
    Non-members:  $35 - Children 12 years or under: $10

The party will continue that evening
at the home of Dr. Charly Garcia in El Valle with
   our complimentary Annual Lasagna Party
                   ONLY FOR MEMEBERS IN GOOD STANDING (dues paid)
       
Bus transportation
Will be available for those that wish to go just for the day.
If you are interested contact Eunice Greaves
229-4009, 6618-1896 or by email panaeac@yahoo.com

To obtain tickets please contact one of the following Board Membersor contact us at american.society.panama@gmail.com

The American Society                6747-6762

 --
The American Society of Panama
"Americans and Friends United Abroad"
www.amsoc.org

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Elks Lodge fun in Balboa, Panama

Elks Lodge fun in Balboa, Panama:

Lodge Members,
A note from ENF Chairman, John Blennhassett
Tickets on sale at your Elks Club


Get ready to Par-ty!!!

The ENF Sub-Committee is announcing their annual Halloween Party - on HalloweenCostume Par-ty!

B.P.O.E. 1414
Elks National Foundation Fund Raiser
Halloween Party
Friday October 31st
DONATION $10.00 BUCKS
"THE ONE-Hit WONDERS"
FROM 8:30pm to 11:30pm
Support the ENF Charity and have some fun!
Best Costume Contest!!
SNACKS & PRIZES

~DON’T MISS OUT~

Thursday, October 9, 2014

1st annual Wellness Fair in Ciudad del Saber

1st annual Wellness Fair in Ciudad del Saber

Saturday, October 11 from 9am to 4pm

We are proud to announce the 1st annual Wellness Fair in Ciudad del Saber! Together with Operación Sonrisa Panama we have banded together as small business and Panamanian organizations to bring to you the newest and best innovations, products and creations to help you be the best you that is possible! 

Join us for free yoga, pilates, and cooking demonstrations and check out the latest in Oriental therapy along with some of the newest, eco-friendly active wear on the market. See and feel beauty all around you. 

Where to find us..... follow this link to find us on the map: 
http://www.panamawellnessfair.com/

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The American Society of Panama information

All nationalities are welcome, FYI

The American Society of Panama
"Americans and Friends United Abroad"
american.society.panama@gmail.com
www.amsoc.org

Panama U.S. Navy League future meetings (2014)

From the Panama U.S. Navy League:
We are pleased to announce the following dinner speakers for the next two months, and our Christmas dinner in December.
This month, on the 14th, we have the pleasure of welcoming Nicolás Liakópulos Falcon for a talk in Spanish about the Historia de la Moneda Panameña -- The history of Panamanian Coins. You may know him as Niko of Niko's Cafe fame. And yes, you read correctly. It will be in Spanish.
We are also happy to inform that Hernan Arauz indicated he will join us with some of his coins.
In November, we are happy to announce our speaker will be Julian Fernandez, General Manager
Business Development Latin America of APM Terminals, for an inside look at terminal operations and a little insight on the Nicaraguan Canal.
For December, we are looking forward to another Silent Auction for our scholarship fund. If you are able to donate gift certificates, prizes, etc., please do let us know soon so we can start promoting same.
For this month's dinner, please RSVP by noon next Monday the 13th.
Time: 7pm
Place: Le Meridien
Dress: Business casual
Dinner: $30 per person inc. glass of wine
Please send you confirmation to this address.
Kind regards,
Hunter schultz
President
Navy League Panama
navy.league.panama@gmail.com

TOWN HALL MEETING – AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2014

TOWN HALL MEETING – AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2014

The following questions were addressed during the Town Hall Meeting held at the Ambassador’s Residence on Wednesday, September 17, 2014.  In addition to these general Q&A, a few audience members raised personal topics of concern that the Embassy will address privately.

Question 1) What is the likelihood that Medicare will be available to U.S. citizens residing in Panama, due to the large population of U.S. citizens here?

Answer: Medicare is only available to individuals who are residing in the United States.  This is a world-wide policy; therefore it is unlikely that there will be any change to this policy.

Question 2) I have heard that I will need to take a written test (in Spanish) to transfer my United States pilot’s license to a Panamanian pilot’s license.  Do we have a treaty with Panama that allows us to obtain a Panamanian pilot’s license just by presenting the U.S. license?

Answer:  An audience member responded that holders of U.S. pilot’s licenses should be able to bring their license to the 2nd floor of the Aeronautica Civil Office and get the Panamanian license without having to take the exam in Spanish.

Question 3) I am a dual-national and I require a certification to keep my U.S. pilot’s license valid.  I need a Certified Flight Instructor to process my pilot’s license.

Answer: An audience member indicated that he is a CFI (Certified Flight Instructor) and would be willing to assist the individual.  He also indicated that there is only one U.S. AI (Authorized Inspector) for aircraft in Albrook.

Question 4) What is the status of FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) implementation in Panama?  What impact is it having on U.S. citizens?

Answer: The United States and Panama reached an agreement on FATCA, but it has not yet been signed.  However, Panama is currently operating as if the document were in effect and already signed.  Anecdotally, we have heard of several cases from U.S. citizens where they indicated that opening a bank account or running a business overseas has become more difficult due to FATCA, and Panama is no exception.

Question 5) How do I get information on how to comply with FATCA?

Answer: You can visit the following IRS website to learn more about FATCA: http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Corporations/Summary-of-FATCA-Reporting-for-U.S.-Taxpayers.  If you have additional questions, you can also send an e-mail to the American Citizen Services unit at the U.S. Embassy in Panama at: Panama-ACS@state.gov and we will do our best to provide the requested information or direct you to the appropriate office.  From time to time, local non-profit groups may offer information sessions and we will also direct these to the attention of U.S. citizens.

Question 6) I have had my credit/debit cards cloned in Panama on two separate occasions.  Has this happened to anyone else?  Is this common in Panama?

Answer: If this happens to you, we understand that the normal procedure is to go to your bank first and file a complaint.  If you do not receive a reply in 30 days or if you are not satisfied with this initial response,  you can go to the Customer Service office of the Superintendencia de Bancos located on the first floor of the old HSBC Bank in Obarrio across from Mercurio Jewelry.  Please be suspicious of any online requests for money from individuals unknown to you.

Question 7) When you are admitted to Panama as a tourist, you are generally given permission to remain for 6-months.  The length of time that tourists are allowed to drive in Panama on their foreign driver’s license is 3-months.  Can you please bring awareness of the discrepancy to the Panamanian Authorities to have the driver’s license validity for tourists who hold foreign licenses extended to 6-months?

Answer:  We can raise this issue with the relevant Panamanian authorities, but there is no guarantee that it will have an impact on their current policy.  Each country and even each state in the U.S. makes their own rules relative to obtaining a driver’s license.

Question 8) I was told that if I don’t travel to the United States at least once a year to have a medical check-up, I will lose my Medicare benefits.  I was told this by Blue Cross/ Blue Shield.

Answer: Medicare benefits should be valid in the United States unless the individual writes directly to Social Security indicating that they no longer wish to receive Medicare benefits.  The length of time spent outside of the United States or the frequency of medical exams in the United States should have no impact on Medicare in the United States.  However, an audience member answered that, if you have Blue Cross or another secondary insurance provider, they are free to institute their own standards and often do require that you be seen yearly by an approved Physician in their network.

Question 9) I noticed that you have a list of Panamanian physicians on your website.  Do you have a list of Panamanian attorneys and accountants as well?

Answer: Yes—we have a list of Panamanian attorneys on our website at the following link:

http://photos.state.gov/libraries/panama/11567/americancitizens/attorneys.pdf.

Some of the attorneys listed specialize in tax law—please review the information below their names.  In addition, we understand that Accountants are listed in the Panamanian yellow pages under “Consultores de Impuestos or Contadores”.  Note: if any of the Physicians or lawyers on the list does not provide adequate service, please alert the U.S. Embassy so we can remove them.

Question 10)  I was told by a friend that the DHL office in David, Panama requested a U.S. citizen pay double the required fee to send a pre-paid envelope to the Embassy.

Answer:  We will contact the DHL office in David to ensure that U.S. citizens are charged the correct fee for this service.  In general, passport applicants are required to mail a pre-paid envelope to the Embassy and include the following items in that envelope: their old passport (so we can cancel it), the cashier’s receipt from the Embassy showing their passport payment, and only one DHL way-bill so we can return the items to DHL in David.  We do not require individuals to mail us the payment receipt that they receive from DHL.

In cases where there is no old passport to mail to us (replacement of a lost/stolen passport, adding pages, etc.), the applicant can contact DHL to arrange the payment and e-mail us the DHL account number to Panama-ACS@state.gov with a note indicating that we should return their passport to the DHL office in David in that pre-paid envelope.

Question 11) Why do checks from U.S. banks take so long to process in Panama?

Answer:  An audience member mentioned that Panama’s Superintendencia de Bancos has recently passed a regulation minimizing the credit of money for personal checks from Panamanian Banks to T+1 (day of deposit plus one day) so, service should speed up.  In addition, banks will standardize check sizes and will also include routing as well as account numbers in a standard format as in the U.S.  Both of these processes should be implemented by March 31, 2015.  U.S. checks deposited in local banks are not affected by this new procedure since they have to be processed through clearing houses in the U.S.

Monday, October 6, 2014

American Overseas Schools Historical Society

Robert L Webster is retired U.S. Army with two tours in Panama, last tour assigned to the BHS ROTC cadre. (Robert's wife is also Panamanian from Chiriqui). Robert lives in Wichita, Kansas & is a staff member of the American Overseas Schools Historical Society. Among other things Robert collects personal history of years people attended DoD schools. Robert can be contacted via facebook at Robert L Webster or email at AOSHSOffice@sbcglobal.net Their website iswww.aoshs.org


Robert L Webster in front of the AOSHS office in Wichita, Kansas USA