Monday, December 28, 2009

The Best Place to Invest in Real Estate

I was reading a blog the other day about some amazing real estate deals in Detroit. The author proposed this as the Best Place to Invest in Real Estate right now. By now we have all heard about the super low prices for homes in that area but would you really want to live there? There are many other hyped up cheap places to live and buy real estate - Kirkland Lake in Northern Ontario has been marketed as THE retirement 'hot' ??? spot. Whenever I read opinions like this I tend to pause. let my common sense kick in and then look a little further. Who is the blogger? Whenever anyone talks only about the U.S. I immediately discount the advice and check to see where the author is based. If he or she is American I discount the advice a whole bunch further. Regretably, Americans writing about the Best Places to Invest are typically off base simply because they forget there is a whole big world out there outside of their orders. I'm sure one day, in fact lets make it today, when someone (me) will compare American Investment Gurus to the Europeans of the dark ages who were conviced the world was flat! If you are serious about your investments and truly want to find the best places to invest in real estate or anything else for that matter I encourage you to look at credentials and seek out people who have a more global perpspective on the best place to invest. In this new era of world politics and global economics I know you will be glad you did!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Cheap Place to Live with Job Opportunities

I was searching blogs today for the Cheapest Places to Live and read this interesting conversation. This fellow asked, whether Phoenix, Vegas or Orlando would be a cheap place to live with job opportunities and low taxes. Some intewsrting comments - the first perosn didn't like any of his choices claiming Phoenix to be crowded with snow birds and 'very polluted'. He did reocmmmend Tucson or Flagstaff if one was to choose Arizona.

Vegas too came up as crowded and with 'crime out of control'. But one plus is the lack on income tax and the gaming business keeping it one of the cheapest places to live in the U.S. Another fellow brought up, 'these three cities have no jobs whatsoever'. Good point - if you want a cheap place to live just go where no one wants to go! Read my last post about Detroit. And you might even consider teaching jobs overseas for Americans if you really want to make a change in your life.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cheapest Places in New York

Came across an interesting feature today on the New York Times site it's called - FrugalTraveler Blog. Today Matt Gross blogs about going Cheap in New York.

Now New York is far from the Cheapest Place to Live but Matt does a decent job of sharing tips and tricks to bring the cost of a New York vacation way down. He's pt together a 'frugal traveler's guide' specifcally for New York City.

Anyhow, I know if you're reading this your into find cheap ways to travel and the cheapest places to live and visit so check out Matt's blog over at the!

If you're interested in a dialogue about Phoenix, Vegas or Orlando as cheap places to live read my next post.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Providing Cheap Places to Live for Artists

Local civic organizers and supporters of the arts are working with a national nonprofit organization called Artspace to foster the arts scene in El Paso.

So what's Artspace? - it's a concept for El Paso, and also a concept that has worked in 2 dozen places around the U.S - the idea of affordable live/work space for artists.

Why is affordable Housing for Artists Important?

“We want to use the arts as an economic development tool,” Cummings says, “but we’re not treating the artists as dispensable.” The artists get the great, cheap places to live and work. The surrounding neighborhood becomes a trendy place with new shops, bars and restaurants that draw tourists and other residents. It’s a win-win … however, Cummings stresses this is a make-it-or-break-it opportunity for El Paso.

You can check out the rest of the discussion  over at

'What's Up'

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Cheap Places to live near Westminster

For my U.K. readers I picked this up off the net. It seems Sir Christopher Kelly has some recommendations as MPs’complain over changes.

Sir Kelly thinks it's a "Bad day for homeowners" as an MP doesn't need to move into rental accommodation until 2015. Any capital gains on a home sold today til 2015 need to be paid back. Suposedly there is going to be some kind of agency to over see rent payments that MPs make on 2nd homes. But this could be more expensive than making a mortgage payment for some. MPs who rent now end up paying less than MPs who own a mortgage. Of course there are still plenty of cheap places to live near Westminster or of course they could always move to Sheffield! (As I noted in a previous post it's one of the cheapest places to live in England)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Could Detroit be the Cheapest Place to Live?

In a recent Money Magazine article  a Detroit home with "surprisingly little work needed' sold for just $6,900! All the new owner, a guy from Chicago, needed to do was put in a little paint, replace some old, dirty carpets, and install a new water heater.

Detroit is full of great real estate deals like this one with foreclosed homes in relatively good condition selling within hours of hitting the market.

Could Detroit's loss become the real estate investors dream or is it simply destined to beocme one of the cheapest places to live in America?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Rankings come Second Place to 'Familiarity' for Ex-Pats

Yes, Norway and Australia and even Iceland have been ranked as the best places to live in the world but that doesn't mean Americans are going to make a rush to move there.

When it comes to retirement and second homes they tend to look to more familiar locations.

The United Nations' human development index came out earlier this week and ranked those as the hot spots. It also gave a thumbs up to Canada and Ireland by placing them among the top five places to live in the world.

Click Here for the Whole Story

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cheapest Places to Live for Lucinda Williams

Lucinda Williams maybe a well known and successful singer now but when she was working on her craft she traveled extensively living "like a musical vagabond'.

She traveled anywhere and everywhere that had the cheapest places to live and places where songwriters and performers were welcomed.

Williams just recently married her long time fiance and manager, Tom Overby at the end of one of her concerts.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Best and Worst Places to Live

The Mail & Guardian online recently posted an article naming Norway as the best place to live or in their words, 'the most desirable country". Now Norway certainly isn't one of the cheapest places to live but it brings home he reality of 'cheap' not necessarily be 'good' or even 'desirable' for that matter.

The ranking was actually based on UN data which just got released last Monday. The UN report went on to label 'sub-saharan African states' as the worst places to live due to war and HIV/aids.

Notes of interest -
  • Life expectancy in Norway is 8o years vs 50 for Niger.
  • The ratio of $ per person earned in Norway vs Niger was 85 to 1.
  • Japan boasts the longest life span at 82.7 years compared to just 43.6 years in Afganistan.
  • Liechtenstein has a GDP of more than $85,000 per capita even though it only has a populaiton of 35,000.
  • Norway, Australia and Iceland have the best standard of living in the world.
  • Niger, Afghanistan and Sierra Leone have the worst. 
It doesn't talk specifically about the Cheapest Places to Live but I image some of those poor countries would be pretty low.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sheffield England is one of the Cheapest Places to Live in the UK

UK most popular destination for International Students

According to the Sunday Times.

"Amazing when you think UK has just over 100 fully accredited universities and US well over 4,000."

Sheffield England is one of the Cheapest Places to Live

The City of Sheffield is located near the confluence of five rivers, and is one of the eight largest cities outside London. The beginning of the 21st century has shown extensive redevelopment in some British cities, including Sheffield. The city's GVA (gross value added) increased by 60 percent in recent years which also indicates the stability of the industry and employment opportunities available. Sheffield is one of the cheapest places in UK to live and study according to a survey of 26 university towns and cities (Natwest Student Living Index 2008).

As a vibrant, modern and cosmopolitan city, two of the top universities in UK, are located in Sheffield, University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University The University of Sheffield founded as the Sheffield school of medicine in 1828, Sheffield now boasts Nobel Prize winners and famous alumni in the arts and politics, sport, journalism and law. It ranked within the World's top70 Universities published by the - QS World University Rankings and constantly ranked amongst the top 20 universities in Britain and Europe according to The Good University Guide. The university is one of the original 'red brick' universities and a member of the Russell Group. The University of Sheffield is a premier-league, research-led institution with a population of over 25,000 students including more than 3,700 international students from 120 countries and has a worldwide reputation for quality, operating at the forefront of research and training.

Sheffield Hallam University is one of UK's most progressive and innovative universities. International students voted for SHU No.1 in UK for overall learning experience. (International student barometer, spring 2007) The university is the sixth largest in UK, with more than 30,000 students, over 4,000 staff and 650 courses. One of its priorities is to promote regional wealth creation through enterprise and knowledge transfer. Universities' industry partners Sony, BP, NHS, Network Rail, Cisco, SAP and Microsoft choose Sheffield Hallam because of a flexible business led approach and a high quality research. The University is recognised as a Centre of Excellence for Teaching and Learning, e-learning and employability.

UK is one of the leading study destinations for Sri Lankan students. The key question is how do you make your decision on selecting a good university in UK? Fortunately help is here on Saturday September 12 " A Day with -University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University", an event hosted by ANC Education. Sri Lanka's leading private tertiary education provider offering post O/Level and post A/Level access routes to many of UK's top universities with guaranteed entry for students who successfully complete their courses.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Does Cheap Rent make it one of the Cheapest Places to Live?

Bob McPhail writes in the San Diego Reader about Cheap Rent in Tijuana.

“The loss of employment in the United States and the impossibility of paying rents over a thousand dollars a month has prompted many families to change their residence to Tijuana, where they can pay rents between 400 and 600 dollars,” reports the Tijuana daily El Mexicano.

Sounds a lot like many other Latin American destinations like Panama where Americans can find some of the Cheapest Places to Live.

Bob says that, "According to real estate agents, there has been an increase in emigrados (Mexican residents with legal permission to work in the U.S.) who have moved to Tijuana in search of a house.

By paying cheaper rent, the hope is that they can improve their financial situation. Even though Tijuana rents are high compared to the rest of Mexico, those who have lost their jobs can still afford to rent here with their unemployment insurance, said the report.

Meanwhile, the influx of emigrados is having a negative effect on Tijuana residents, who are also looking for less-expensive places to live during the economic crisis.

“They are trying to change to more economic housing whose rents are fixed between 250 and 300 dollars a month, but emigrados are renting many of these available homes,” according to El Mexicano. Real estate agents told the newspaper that when they show an emigrado a home that rents for 500 or 600 dollars a month, “for an emigrado, that’s cheap because over there on the other side you’re talking about thousands of dollars.”

Because of the effect of emigrados' on the housing market, real estate agents have adopted a new policy to protect themselves from the fluctuating value of the peso (currently about 13 pesos to the dollar): they are fixing prices in dollars instead of pesos in new rental contracts.

Source: San Diego Reader | Home Is Where Cheap Rent Is

Thursday, September 17, 2009

How about the Cheapest Places to Stay!

Just came across this interesting review at TripAdvisor. Of course Luna's in Panama City, Panama caught my eye. Now this may not be about the Cheapest Places to Live but it does give you some of the Cheapest Places to Stay. It seems to reason that the Cheapest Places to Stay might also have the Cheapest Places to Live, you think?

Cheapest Places to Stay - 10 Hotels less than $19/nt (Seriously!)

Hotel Lion d'Or Buenos Aires, Argentina $14/nt
Mandalay Inn Siem Reap, Cambodia $13/nt
Tod Motor Hotel Las Vegas, Nevada $17/nt
Shiva Guest House Kathmandu, Nepal $9/nt
El Panchan Palenque, Mexico $6/nt
Ani Motel Kas, Turkey $14/nt
Luna's Castle Hostel Panama City, Panama $12/nt
Venus Hotel Luxor, Egypt $9/nt
Dai Hoang Kim Hotel Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam $12/nt
Bling Bling Hostel Krakow, Poland $16/nt

*average price/night

Friday, September 4, 2009

best places to live in Canada for professionals

Here's one I found at the Oshawa Express. It seems Oshawa could be considered one of the Best Places to Live in Canada for professionals but it doesn't aspire to be one of the Cheapest Places to Live.

The article says,

"According to the Next Generation Consulting (NGC) ‘Next Cities’ list, Oshawa ranked 23 out of 27 Canadian cities, after the company collected and analyzed 45 measurements for cities with a population of more than 100,000. NGC studied residential and relocation patterns of 20 to 40 year olds since 1998 and has developed an indexing system that evaluates a city based on assets that are important to workers. The cities were assessed based on earning,
learning, vitality, around town, after hours, cost of lifestyle, and social capital.

The recent rankings are based on a city’s total score in all seven areas.“Simply being the cheapest place to live, or the city with the most jobs is not a long-term workforce strategy,” says NGC’s founder Rebecca Ryan in a press release.“The next generation is very savvy about choosing where they’ll live. They look carefully at quality of life factors like how much time they’re going to spend in traffic commuting, if they can live near a park or hike-and-bike trail and whether a city’s downtown stays awake after five.” Victoria, British Columbia ranked first among the cities.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Looking for the Best wages in the World? Try Switzerland

It pays to work in Switzerland: employees in Zurich and Geneva have the highest net wages in the world, a study by banking group UBS shows, while those in India's Mumbai take home the lowest but enjoy one of the Cheapest Places to Live.

The Swiss cities were also ranked among the top five most expensive in the world in the bank's 2009 "Price and Earnings" international study.

"With its extremely high gross wages and comparatively low tax rates, Switzerland is a very employee-friendly country," the Swiss bank said in a statement.

"No other cities allows workers to take home more income at the end of the month than Zurich and Geneva."

The study, published every three years, compares the income and purchasing power of employees in 73 cities across the globe, highlighting wide discrepancies in wages between different regions, and even within the same country.

The biggest gaps were found in Asia, the study said, with Tokyo ranking as one of the world's five costliest cities while the capitals of developing countries such as Malaysia, the Philippines and India were all at the bottom of the price range.

Oslo was this year's most expensive city, based on a standardized basket of 122 goods and services, followed by Zurich, Copenhagen, Geneva, Tokyo and New York.

When rents are factored in, however, New York rises to the top spot, the study said.

This year, the bank said currency fluctuations caused by the global economic crisis affected the rankings of several cities, most notably London, which was the second most expensive city in 2006, but which fell nearly 20 places following the pound's drop earlier this year.

The analysis involved more than 30,000 data points, collected by several independent observers in each city, in March and April, the bank said. All amounts were converted into a single currency before being compared.

The world's cheapest places to live were Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur, Manila in the Philippines, and India's Delhi and Mumbai. But the average employee in many of these cities, as well as Jakarta and Nairobi, gets paid some of the world's lowest salaries which have between 11 percent and 15 percent of the purchasing power of a salary in Zurich.

"An average wage-earner in Zurich and New York can buy an iPod nano from an Apple store after nine hours of work. At the other end of the spectrum, workers in Mumbai need to work 20 nine-hour days, roughly the equivalent of one month's salary," the study said.

Working hours also varied in the cities surveyed, with the study finding that on average, people in Asian and Middle Eastern cities work much more than the global average of 1,902 hours per year. Overall, the most hours are worked in Cairo, followed by Seoul, while the least hours worked were in Lyon and Paris.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Switzerland Boasts World's Best Wages but it's not the Cheapest Place to Live

Employees in Zurich and Geneva have the highest net wages in the world, a study by banking group UBS shows, while those in India's Mumbai take home the lowest.

The Swiss cities were also ranked among the top five most expensive in the world in the bank's 2009 "Price and Earnings" international study.

"With its extremely high gross wages and comparatively low tax rates, Switzerland is a very employee-friendly country," the Swiss bank said in a statement.

"No other cities allows workers to take home more income at the end of the month than Zurich and Geneva."

Oslo was this year's most expensive city, based on a standardised basket of 122 goods and services, followed by Zurich, Copenhagen, Geneva, Tokyo and New York.
When rents are also taken into account, however, New York rises to the top spot, the study said.
London, which was the second most expensive city in 2006, fell nearly 20 places following the pound's drop earlier this year.

The analysis involved more than 30,000 data points, collected by several independent observers in each city, in March and April, the bank said. All amounts were converted into a single currency before being compared.

The world's cheapest places to live were Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur, Manila in the Philippines, and India's Delhi and Mumbai.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Forbes Names Greeley as the one of the Cheapest Places to Live

Forbes named Greeley as the 13th cheapest place to live in the U.S. but where the heck is Greeley?

I love the first comment for this article on the Forbes page,

"Yeah but whats in Weld county but cows and wetbacks that run stop signs and kill people, no thanks but I will stay in Buffalo Fart Wyoming."

OK, it may be one of the Cheapest Places to Live but where the heck is Greeley???

Greeley is in The Forbes article, "Where to live cheaply," looked at 380 U.S. metro stats areas and divisions. 1st it ranked all the cost-of-living data from Moody's and then home affordability from the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo.

But, go figure as the commentor said, "whats in Weld county but cows and wetbacks that run stop signs and kill people!".

At least places like Panama offer low cost, exotic living with tropical weather and tranquilo people!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tax Haven Myths and Facts

If you're looking for the cheapest place to live this is a very interesting and important lesson. Taxes have a dramatic impact on creating the Cheapest Places to Live.

Watch it once, watch it twice. If you find yourself resisting - defending, justifying - pause, write down your objection and then keep watching!

Tax Haven - Myths and Facts

Having previously discussed the Economic Benefits, as well as the Moral Necessity of Tax Havens, and their role in creating legitimate tax competition and liberalizing economies, Dan Mitchell discusses the facts surrounding six of the biggest myths about the idea of tax havens:

1. Tax havens promote tax evasion.
2. Attacking tax havens promotes more compliance with tax laws.
3. Tax havens create higher taxes elsewhere.
4. Tax havens promote bad policy.
5. Tax havens are all rogue political regimes.
6. Tax havens promote money laundering.


Click Here - Organized Exploitation: Tax Havens: Myths vs. Facts - to watch the presentation.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Panama Travel 101: Who are the Kuna Indians?

An interesting trip to see the Kuna Indians in San Blas. As you saw in my post from last season I spent a few days enjoying the beautiful San Blas archipelago and the beautiful, peaceful people of San Blas - the Kunas. Enjoy!

Panama Travel 101: Who are the Kuna Indians?

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009

Auto Shipping Helps Canal Recovery Says Panama Canal CEO

By Andrea Jaramillo and Eric Sabo

July 23 (Bloomberg) -- The Panama Canal Authority has begun to see “signs of recovery” in shipping traffic, including from freighters transporting cars, said Alberto Aleman, the authority’s chief executive officer.

Aleman said he expects traffic in the fiscal year ending in September to total about 295 million tons, up from a previous range he had given of about 290 million to 295 million tons. Traffic in the 95-year-old canal totaled 310 million tons in 2008. Revenue this year will be “similar” to last year’s record $2 billion, Aleman said.

“Amid the crisis, amid the recession, this is good,” Aleman, who’s run the canal since 1996, said in a telephone interview from Panama City. Car shipments have “declined as was to be expected given the problems that we’ve seen in the automobile industry worldwide but we’ve seen signs of recovery in this segment.”

U.S. auto sales have run at an annual rate of fewer than 10 million vehicles for each month this year, after averaging 16.8 million from 2000 through 2007. Domestic sales through June slid 33 percent for Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn, Michigan and 40 percent at Detroit-based General Motors Co., which emerged from a U.S.-backed bankruptcy reorganization this year.

The Panama Canal, which connects the Pacific Ocean with the Caribbean Sea, is undergoing a $5.25 billion expansion project through 2014 to handle larger vessels. The authority has secured $2.3 billion in funding from loans from overseas banks and plans to fund the rest with cash it generates from shipping fees, said Aleman.

‘Very Flat’

Shipping traffic through the canal between October and June dropped 3 percent compared with the year-earlier period, according to Aleman. Total transits from April to June fell 6.4 percent compared with a year ago, the authority said in a statement today.

Aleman predicted traffic will “stabilize” in 2010 near this year’s levels.

“I see a very flat year, a year very similar to this year,” Aleman said. “Maybe a little bit higher, but we’re being conservative in our analysis.”

The authority in June temporarily cut reservation fees for larger vessels and eased penalties for ships that arrive late in a bid to lure more shipping companies amid the recession. Aleman said he’ll review the measures at the end of September, the original deadline, before deciding whether to extend them.

Reduced Traffic

A May increase in what the canal charges for tolls helped compensate for lower income this year from reduced traffic and the temporary drop in fees, according to Aleman. He predicts income from tolls, which accounts for about 70 percent of the authority’s total revenue, will rise 9 percent this fiscal year to about $1.44 billion.

The Panama Canal Authority will transfer some $740 million in revenue this year to the Panamanian government, up from $700 million last year, said Aleman.

The U.S. is the largest customer for the waterway, representing about 70 percent of traffic, almost a decade after it handed over the canal authority to Panama. China is the canal’s No. 2 user, the authority has said. The canal, which shortens the route for Asian goods destined for the U.S. East Coast, handles about 5 percent of the world’s seaborne freight.

To contact the reporters on this story: Andrea Jaramillo in Bogota at; Eric Sabo in Panama City at

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

U.S. Developers Find Haven from Recession in Panama Project

CHICAGO, July 14 /PRNewswire/ -- During a sluggish economy here in America, real estate developers are finding a growing number of intriguing opportunities overseas. With the Wall Street Journal recently reporting a rise in unemployment in all but two states last month -- and with economists predicting it to increase even further -- the sliding economy continues to severely cripple domestic real estate development.
"The reality of what's going on is that there is no private development going on in the U.S.," says Randy Johnson, AIA, Principal of 4240 Architecture Inc., an award-winning national design firm contracted by Amble Resorts for their new Panama resort project, The Resort at Isla Palenque. "At the same time however there are exciting prospects overseas."
Properties in Panama are emerging to present those prospects to American developers. Panama enjoys one of the fastest-growing and best-managed economies in Latin America. The expansion of the Panama Canal, combined with a blossoming free trade agreement with the United States, is expected to continue to boost economic expansion and real estate development.
Founder and President of Amble Resorts, Ben Loomis, has been well-aware of the growing economy in Panama compared to the slowing economy here at home. That's why in 2007 he selected a Panama real estate project for his newest venture: The Resort at Isla Palenque. The resort will be comprised of an ecologically and culturally sensitive hotel and string of environmentally sustainable vacation homes. Amble will break ground on the eco resort project in early 2010. Loomis said of Amble, "Although the economic climate is not the only reason we chose to build our property in Panama, we were definitely attracted to the growth and stability there."
And Amble Resorts is far from alone in this sentiment. American companies are flocking to Panamanian development projects in droves. Several top-tier U.S. firms have joined forces with Amble on this new eco-tourism-focused Panama resort project. In addition to 4240 Architecture, East Bay Group, Design Workshop, and RCLCO are also among the distinguished firms teaming with Amble to take advantage of Panama real estate.
"In the last couple of years, domestic projects have fallen off dramatically," says Rick Reikenis, P.E., Principal for East Bay Group, a renowned engineering firm. "We are very excited about the possibilities in Panama and our current projects there."
About Amble Resorts
Based in Chicago, Amble Resorts develops and owns distinctive upscale hotels and resorts focused on ecologically and culturally sensitive travel experiences. Their new Panama island resort project, The Resort at Isla Palenque, is designed to be a secluded and sustainable resort community with a unique boutique hotel, ingeniously designed residences, and sumptuous amenities. For more information about Amble Resorts or their new property, Isla Palenque, visit
Artist's rendition of The Resort at Isla Palenque provided by 4240 Architecture:
Media contact: Frances Limoncelli, Marketing Manager,

This release was issued through eReleases(TM). For more information, visit

Panama Advances at Gold Cup

Blas Perez scored his third goal of the Concacaf Gold Cup, and Luis Tejada added two in the second half to send Panama through to the quarterfinals with a 4-0 victory over 10-man Nicaragua in a game played in Glendale, Ariz.

Gabriel Gomez also scored for Panama, which finished Group C play with 4 points and ensured it would advance, even if it finishes third in the group.

¶Gerardo Torrado and Miguel Sabah each scored, and Mexico beat Guadeloupe, 2-0, to win Group C in the Gold Cup without the suspended coach Javier Aguirre. Mexico will face Haiti in the quarterfinals on July 19 in Arlington, Tex. Guadeloupe, the second-place Group C finisher, will take on Costa Rica on July 19, also in Arlington. Mexico

¶Sky Blue F.C. moved into a tie for third place in Women’s Professional Soccer by beating the Boston Breakers, 2-0. Natasha Kai and Rosana scored goals. Skyblue (NYT)

Monday, July 13, 2009

U.S.-Panama, Canada-Honduras in Gold Cup Quarterfinals

How cool! My two 'home' countries in the quarter finals.

With Mexico's 2-0 win over Guadeloupe and Panama's 4-0 rout of Nicaragua in yesterday's final Gold Cup first-round doubleheader at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., the quarterfinal doubleheaders are set.

At Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday night, the United States will meet Panama in the second game, following the Canada-Honduras opener.

But the crowd for those games should be significantly smaller than the one expected at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas the next day for the first sports event at that new 80,000-seat facility.

That's because Mexico will be playing a "home" game with Haiti, following the Costa Rica-Guadeloupe game.

Gerrado Torrado and Miguel Sabah scored Mexico's goals against Guadeloupe yesterday. Luis Tejeda had two goals and Blas Perez and Gabriel Gomez one each in Panama's win.

The U.S. had to rally on a goal by Stuart Holden in the third minute of added time to tie Haiti 2-2 Saturday night in Foxborough, Mass., to clinch first place in its first-round group. Holden also assisted on a first-half goal by Davy Arnaud.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

CONCACAF Gold Cup 2009: Mexico vs. Panama

The 12-team tournament for the championship of North and Central America and the Caribbean continues with a doubleheader tonight in Houston, Texas, with Guadeloupe facing Nicaragua and Mexico vs. Panama in the nightcap.

Despite Mexico’s 2-0 victory against Nicaragua on Sunday, the squad received bitter criticism because of their disappointing performance.

Tonight, El Tri will try to notch their second win of the tournament at the Reliant Stadium. Mexico and Panama have played a total of eight times and El Tri has won six and tied twice. Panama must at least squeeze a draw against the Mexicans to stay alive.

The match kicks-off at 10:00 p.m. EDT.

You can watch Mexico vs. Panama here (free live stream). You can also check out the live online coverage of the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup at the tournament’s official website.

Noriega Wants US Supreme Court to Stop Extradition

As reported by Curt Anderson on the AP wire -

Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to stop his extradition to France to face money-laundering charges.

Attorneys for Noriega filed papers Tuesday seeking a Supreme Court review. Three federal judges in Miami and a federal appeals court have refused to stop the extradition. The Supreme Court will likely decide whether to hear Noriega's case in the fall.

Noriega contends that the Geneva Conventions rules for prisoners of war require that he be returned home to Panama. Noriega was declared a POW by a federal judge after his 1992 conviction on U.S. drug racketeering charges. Noriega finished serving his prison sentence in 2007.

Noriega was ousted from power after the 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama.

Safety tips for the adventure tourist visiting Panama

Safety tips for the adventure tourist visiting Panama

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Anselmo Moreno retains Bantamweight Title

Anselmo Moreno of Panama has retained his World Boxing Assn. bantamweight title in Poitiers, France, with a split decision over Mahyar Monshipour of France.

Moreno (26-1-1) kept his composure Saturday as Monshipour pressured strongly between the eighth and 10th rounds. Two of the judges scored the bout 116-113 and 116-112 in favor of Moreno, while the third gave the fight to Monshipour, 115-113.

Moreno, whose only loss was in 2002, started strongly, catching Monshipour with a left hook in the first round and several sharp jabs in the second.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Earthquake shakes Panama

WASHINGTON — An earthquake measuring magnitude six shocked Panama early Saturday. There were no reports of casualties or damage, said the US Geological Survey report.

The epicenter of the tremor, which occurred at 1:49 am (0649 GMT), was located 97 kilometers (60 miles) northeast of the capital Panama City.

The reading was based on the open-ended Moment Magnitude scale, now used by US seismologists, which measures the area of the fault that ruptured and the total energy released.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ousted Honduran President Travels to Panama

01 July 2009

Deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya traveled Wednesday to Panama, after he delayed plans to return to his own country, where he faces the threat of arrest.

Mr. Zelaya is to attend the inauguration of incoming Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli.

Ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya speaks during a news conference after a meeting of the OAS in Washington, 01 Jul 2009
Ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya speaks during a news conference after a meeting of the OAS in Washington, 01 Jul 2009
The Organization of American States early Wednesday threatened to suspend Honduras from the regional grouping if the coup leaders do not restore Mr. Zelaya to power within three days.

Mr. Zelaya was planning to return to Honduras Thursday, but postponed the trip to coincide with the OAS deadline.

Authorities in the interim Honduran government, led by Roberto Micheletti, have vowed to arrest Mr. Zelaya.

Soldiers forcibly expelled Mr. Zelaya from Honduras Sunday, the day he had planned to hold a referendum on reforming the country's constitution. Critics said he wanted to alter the constitution so he could run for another term - a charge he denies.

Mr. Zelaya says when he returns to Honduras, he will be accompanied by the presidents of Argentina and Ecuador, as well as the heads of the OAS and the U.N. General Assembly.

The interim government's attorney general, Luis Alberto Rubi, says Mr. Zelaya is accused of 18 offenses, including treason and abuse of power. Foreign Minister Enrique Ortez told CNN en Espanol that he would also be charged with drug trafficking.

In an address to the U.N. General Assembly Tuesday, Mr. Zelaya called his ouster undemocratic and illegal. He said he intends to finish his term, which ends next January.

There have been protests this week in the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa both for and against the coup. The city is under a night-time curfew.

The United States has joined other countries and the United Nations in condemning the coup, and calling for the Honduran president to be restored to power.

Spain announced it is withdrawing its ambassador from the Central American country in protest, adding to a list of countries that have recalled their envoys. Also, the United States announced it is suspending joint military activities with Honduras.

Interim President Roberto Micheletti, appointed to the post by parliament, says the only way Mr. Zelaya will return to power is by force.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

Pro-business president takes office in Panama

PANAMA CITY (AP) — Businessman Ricardo Martinelli was sworn in as Panama's new president on Wednesday, promising to start the biggest job-creation push ever in the country.

Martinelli said he wants to make the nation of 3.3 million inhabitants the best place to do business in Latin America.

"The people have given us a clear mandate to bring change to the government, from top to bottom, and that is what we will do," Martinelli said at the ceremony attended by various foreign leaders, including Honduras' ousted president, Manuel Zelaya.

Martinelli, 57, a conservative supermarket magnate, also expressed a desire to become "an active partner" with Colombia and Mexico in the fight against drug trafficking during his five-year term.

One of the new government's proposals is a billion-dollar plan to build a train system for the capital's metropolitan area.

Martinelli's predecessor, Martin Torrijos, launched a $5.25 billion project to increase the Panama Canal's capacity and allow it to accommodate larger ships.

The canal is Panama's economic motor and Martinelli supported its expansion, but the world's economic woes have generated uncertainty over the project, which is receiving $2.3 billion in international financing.

And the country's real-estate boom, another driving force of the economy, has also been affected by the international financial crisis and economic downturn.

Martinelli acknowledged "our administration will not have the resources the previous administration had."

Latin American Construction Might Be Down, But It's Not Out

Note: Latin American Construction Might Be Down, But It's Not Out," at 2:17 GMT June 29 and repeated at 11:36 GMT June 30, misstated the market to which Levy-Yeyati was referring, in the 13th paragraph. Levy-Yeyati intended to refer to Panama, not Brazil. The correct version follows:

By Joan R. Magee

NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--Not too long ago, real-estate development in Latin America was hot, foreign money was flowing in, and local companies were going public as the construction industry boomed.

The global credit crisis put the brakes on that euphoria, as seen in plummeting commercial and residential expansion, though not all countries in the region have been hit the same way.

One barometer of construction and development is cement output, which is set to decrease 4.1% this year in South America from the previous year. It will fall another 1.4% in 2010, according to a Portland Cement Association report released earlier this month.

The association predicted a 1.7% global decrease in cement consumption for 2009, with growth in China and India masking declines in both developed and developing markets.

Mexico, close to the U.S. both geographically and economically, is one of the worst-hit in the aftermath of the U.S. housing implosion. The country's growth decelerated to 1.3% in 2008 from 3.2% in 2007, and the economy is expected to contract by close to 6% this year.

Mexican Finance Minister Agustin Carstens recently said demand for housing this year will likely fall 7.1% from 2008, even though available financing will be up 2.5%.

The government's National Infrastructure Program calls for public and private investment of around $40 billion a year between 2007 and 2012. And while private investment is down sharply in the current recession, public investment has filled some of the gap, thanks to counter-cyclical government spending.

Public support for infrastructure has been such that shareholders of construction firm Empresas ICA (ICA) have approved a plan to sell up to $350 million in shares to finance infrastructure projects that are already under way or ones the company plans to bid on. And Desarrolladora Homex (HXM), one of the largest Mexican home-building companies, said it expects 8% to 10% revenue growth this year.

Panama, once hyped as a hot destination for U.S. and European retirees looking for second residences, has faltered. Overall construction activity plunged 25% to $97 million in April from $130 million in April 2008, government officials said.

The slowdown follows several years of solid economic growth, buoyed in large part by the Panama Canal widening project. Fast development had even led to concerns about overbuilding among some Panamanian policy makers.

Latin America's largest economy, Brazil, has taken measures to counter a first-quarter drop in construction, which fell 9.8% in year-on-year in the first quarter.

The government recently approved $15.2 billion for low-income housing over the next 15 years, which bodes well for an uptick in growth.

"Most other markets were buttressed not by mortgage credit, but by the incomes of the middle-upper class," said Eduardo Levy-Yeyati, a director and head of emerging markets strategy at Barclays Capital.

The Brazilian economy shrank for a second straight quarter in the first quarter of this year, although the government still has hopes for modest growth in all of 2009, following 5.1% expansion in 2008.

And the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament, though somewhat in the distance, will span 12 cities in Brazil and spur more development.

Brazil's government is already pouring money into World Cup infrastructure, from new hotels to stadiums, in preparation for the waves of tourists to come.

"Construction will weaken as in a typical recession, but will not tank as in the U.S., the U.K. or Spain," Barclays' Levy-Yeyati said.

Indeed, Portland Cement Association predicts cement output in South America will rise 6.9% from 2010 by 2011, auguring a turnaround in the near future.

-By Joan R. Magee, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2672;

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cheapest Places for Americans to Live Abroad

When considering the cheapest places to live abroad it is insufficient to just look at cost of living indexes - real estate, taxation, health care, accessibility, are a few other considerations to be keep in mind.

This article has been written to answer a question asked by many Americans reaching retirement as well as younger people seeking to escape the rat race. It seems that there are many US citizens seeking an affordable overseas destination in which to live and work or retire and there are many options available to them.

Countries such as Mexico, Panama and Belize are well known as lower cost locations for US citizens seeking an affordable overseas location. All have very low costs of living, low real estate costs and low or no taxation. Naturally enough all of these factors make the destinations favourites of ours too! But when it comes to younger Americans in search of a cheaper country in which to live many struggle to find decent employment or education for their children in Mexico, Panama or Belize. One option for some might be teaching jobs overseas for Americans but this is not a option for some unless they have a degree.

Healthcare is a major concern for retiree Americans abroad whether they remain at home or move abroad; those who have been signed up to a particular health insurance provider for many years may find that they are able to maintain payments into retirement and even extend cover to the overseas country in which they choose to live as well. Alternatively, once an individual becomes non-resident in the US they will find that their expat health insurance costs usually fall dramatically and sometimes healthcare is actually free – so affording healthcare abroad needed be restrictively expensive – one just has to do a certain amount of research into which providers cover which countries and how much one will have to pay for the necessary level of health cover.

Americans of working age who are looking for overseas jobs and a good country in which to live and work don’t necessarily need to look too far from home. A growing number of US citizens are choosing to move north to Canada where real estate can be cheaper, taxation can be lower, healthcare is far cheaper and the standard of living as high as in America. Canada has welcomed a new generation of Americans who generate their income via the internet and who can effectively live anywhere in the world for example.

For those simply looking to reduce their taxation burden tax free countries like Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Qatar may appeal – although the US IRS like to keep tabs on all their citizens’ earnings no matter where in the world they live!

Eastern Europe is emerging as a destination of choice for some of the more pioneering Americans who want affordable real estate, a low cost and nice standard of living. Countries like Poland, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Croatia and Romania all have emerging economies and real estate markets and are working hard to attract foreign investment – whether direct investment or in the form of welcoming expatriates to live and even work among them.

In conclusion, the cheapest places to consider for Americans living abroad are plentiful in number and an individual’s choice will ultimately be dictated by many personal factors. The internet is probably the best place to begin a search for new horizons and anyone thinking about moving abroad should write their own ‘destination must have’ checklist to enable them to find the best countries available that fulfil all criteria and meet all objectives. Amazon have a whole range of books dedicated to retiring abroad as well and those who don’t want to buy the books online can at least read about the titles before ordering them from the library!