January 29, 2015

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January 21, 2015


The Panama News marked its 20th birthday on December 29

We passed our 20th birthday caught in a website crisis, which is not yet over

In mid-December hackers had apparently gotten into our website much earlier began sending streams of spam out of it, and just after Christmas blocked our access to upload things. Not only could we not get into our WordPress dashboard — we got this “incorrect password” message — but we also could not correct the password. For a  month a computer guy hired by a friend of The Panama News worked, or said that he did, on the problem without resolving it. He made a suggestion that would have required at least two more weeks of experimentation that empirical evidence and the advice of other computer folks indicated was along the wrong track and that was rejected. At that point the guy pulled off the job. I did a bit of trial and error tinkering myself and managed to get into the older html part of the website and turn off one of two emails — but one that I could not suspend I didn’t even know existed. A bit more probing and, lo and behold, I could reset the password to the WordPress dashboard. But the offending code is still here and needs to be cleaned out, the website needed some design corrections anyway and we will surely have to move to another server. A major goal is not to lose online archives going back to 2000.

I thank everyone who has helped during the crisis, and everyone who will help to get us finallly out of it.

The Panama News has been using a Facebook page as an extension and a backup since 2009, when Balbina Herrera was campaigning against Ricardo Martinelli and promising to shut down “malicious websites.” This was the acid test for that. It appeared that our mailing list was a trigger for some of the email spam, but then we got waves of spam without emails. Still, we have shifted the email over to Mail Chimp and some of you who are on the email list may, because of the new address, be getting our email notices sent to your spam folder. If you want to subscribe to our email list send us an email and ask to be put on it. We also send out our articles via Twitter and you may want to get on The Panama News Twitter feed.

These are the links to the stories we posted, mainly in the form of Facebook notes or photos, while the website was down:

American Fair on the US Embassy grounds, the morning of January 31
Theatre Guild of Ancon Newsletter
Vic Brown’s Panama Jazz Festival scenes, part 4 — Thursday night at the Ateneo
STRATFOR, Europe rediscovers nationalism
Gandásegui, Las promesas del presidente Varela
Vic Brown’s Panama Jazz Festival scenes, part 3 — Wednesday at the Teatro Nacional
Crowd-funding a turtle conservation project in Panama
Vic Brown’s Panama Jazz Festival scenes, part 2 — Monday night at the Ateneo
Boff, Standing up to Pope Francis’s critics
Scenes from the 2015 Panama Jazz Festival — the opening press conference
The spread of Panama’s “other” dengue vector mosquito and what it may mean (by STRI folks)
Battered by arrests, revelations, court cases and calls for accountability, Martinelli talks flight
In season
Children of the Light guide an up-and-coming generation
La Cucarachita Mandinga: Evolving takes on how Panama presents its own culture
Panama pays its respects to French victims of jihadi violence
Two former national security chiefs under arrest for electronic eavesdropping
Judicial move to decapitate the legislature
Paso Ancho neighbors annoyed by rowdy bar, local officials’ inaction
2015 brings shift changes in key government posts
Moratorium on new mine concessions, move to revoke existing one will probably kill Petaquilla
President Varela’s speech before the National Assembly
Editorial: The appointments of two very different judges
Up in smoke, but people are still laughing
José Luis Lacunza, the Basque-born freedom fighter and archbishop of David, to be a cardinal
Festival de Diablos y Congos de Portobelo — 14 de marzo
PanCanal goes conglomerate — again
PanCanal loses to the tune of $233 million in contract dispute
Spy vs Spy stuff
From 9°N, the top ten stories of 2014
The Third World peasant aspect of The Panama News

This annoying crisis is not yet over, so do consider signing up for the email list or the Twitter feed, and do check out the Facebook page. But maybe a corner has been turned here and things will be fixed sooner rather than later.

Eric Jackson
the editor


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