Panama’s Ex-Dictator Noriega Dies

PANAMA CITY (AP) — Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, a onetime U.S. ally who was ousted as Panama’s dictator by an American invasion in 1989, died late Monday at age 83.

Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela wrote in his Twitter account that “the death of Manuel A. Noriega closes a chapter in our history.”

Varela added, “His daughters and his relatives deserve to mourn in peace.”

Noriega served a 17-year drug sentence in the United States and was later sent to face charges in France. He spent all but the last few months of his final years in a Panamanian prison for the murders of political opponents during his 1983-89 regime.

He accused Washington of a “conspiracy” to keep him behind bars and tied his legal troubles to his refusal to cooperate with a U.S. plan aimed at toppling Nicaragua’s leftist Sandinista government in the 1980s.

In recent years Noriega suffered various ailments including high blood pressure and bronchitis.

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In 2016, doctors detected the rapid growth of a benign brain tumor that had first been spotted four years earlier, and in the following January a court granted him house arrest to prepare for surgery on the tumor.

He is survived by his wife Felicidad and daughters Lorena, Thays and Sandra.

Following Noriega’s ouster Panama underwent huge changes, taking over the Panama Canal from U.S. control in 1999, vastly expanding the waterway and enjoying a boom in tourism and real estate. Read the rest of this entry »


Friday News Dump: Clinton’s Charity Confirms Qatar’s $1M Gift While She was at State Dept 

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Jonathan Allen reports: The Clinton Foundation has confirmed it accepted a $1 million gift from Qatar while Hillary Clinton was U.S. secretary of state without informing the State Department, even though she had promised to let the agency review new or significantly increased support from foreign governments.

Qatari officials pledged the money in 2011 to mark the 65th birthday of Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton’s husband, and sought to meet the former U.S. president in person the following year to present him the check, according to an email from a foundation official to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign chairman, John Podesta. The email, among thousands hacked from Podesta’s account, was published last month by WikiLeaks.

Clinton signed an ethics agreement governing her family’s globe-straddling foundation in order to become secretary of state in 2009. The agreement was designed to increase transparency to avoid appearances that U.S. foreign policy could be swayed by wealthy donors.

If a new foreign government wished to donate or if an existing foreign-government donor, such as Qatar, wanted to “increase materially” its support of ongoing programs, Clinton promised that the State Department’s ethics official would be notified and given a chance to raise any concerns.

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Clinton Foundation officials last month declined to confirm the Qatar donation. In response to additional questions, a foundation spokesman, Brian Cookstra, this week said that it accepted the $1 million gift from Qatar, but this did not amount to a “material increase” in the Gulf country’s support for the charity. Cookstra declined to say whether Qatari officials received their requested meeting with Bill Clinton.

Officials at Qatar’s embassy in Washington and in its Council of Ministers in the capital, Doha, declined to discuss the donation.

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The State Department has said it has no record of the foundation submitting the Qatar gift for review, and that it was incumbent on the foundation to notify the department about donations that needed attention. A department spokeswoman did not respond to additional questions about the donation.

According to the foundation’s website, which lists donors in broad categories by cumulative amounts donated, Qatar’s government has directly given a total of between $1 million and $5 million over the years.

The Clinton Foundation has said it would no longer accept money from foreign governments if Clinton is elected president and would spin off those programs that are dependent on foreign governments. Read the rest of this entry »


Health & Human Services: Teen Males Majority of Illegal Aliens For Years

For Brietbart.com reports: A great deal of attention has been focused in recent months on the surge of illegal aliens, particularly unaccompanied alien children (UAC), through the southwest border of the United States. However, a federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) fact sheet points to the fact that a large number of male teens have been arriving in exponentially increasing numbers for several years.border-fence-reuters

According to an HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) fact sheet, “Most [illegal aliens] are over 14 and approximately three quarters of them are boys.” In addition, there has been a steady upward trend in the number of UAC’s entering the country since at least 2012. The number “jumped dramatically” in fiscal year 2012, almost doubling to a total of 13,625 served by ORR. That number nearly doubled again from FY2012 to FY2013 as the ORR saw “24,668 UAC referrals from DHS” for FY2013.

Most recently updated in May 2014, the fact sheet goes on to project a greater exponential increase in UAC at more than double the previous year, approximately 60,000 for FY2014. However, some estimates expect even greater numbers. Read the rest of this entry »