Friday, January 16, 2004

Surreal Coffee: The Miami Herald has a strange story on Starbucks' arrival in Peru as sign of returning normality. "After years of guerrilla warfare, the growing Americanization of Lima's eateries signals a new investment in Peru's future." Or perhaps it is a parody. Written in the first tense by Herald reporter Tyler Bridges, the focus is on the new coffee shop at Ovalo Gutiérrez. In an attempt to label himself as some sort of auteur, he derides low-culture McD, KFC, BK as well as TGI Friday and Chili's. However, "the arrival of Starbucks here represents the continued return to normalcy." (See a less melodramatic take in the BBC from last December.)

Macro Econ: Dow Jones reports that Peru "unveiled the team it hopes will lead the Andean nation to a successful free-trade accord with the U.S." Leading the effort will be Deputy Foreign Trade Minister Pablo de la Flor and the story refers to the earlier report that Carlos Alzamora was named "Special Trade Ambassador." (See "For Freer Trade" in Saturday Below.)

Micro Econ:
- Reuters' has an interview with Peru's National Mining Society president Jose Miguel Morales. "Congressional plans to slap royalties on mining production in Peru will frighten off investors, reduce exploration and hurt bids for the Las Bambas copper concession," he declared to Reuters' Robin Emmott.
- Reuters has an update on zinc miner Volcan Compania Minera saying that the "Lima stock exchange on Friday said it suspended trade [in the company] pending clarification of a report that its creditors had signed a put option to sell a 42 percent stake to Glencore International AG."
- Business News Americas has a piece on the company doing the study for Peru's Autonomous Electric Train Authority (AATE). "The eight-month study will include cost estimates, traffic forecasting and advice on how to proceed" and is expected in October-November. "If everything proceeds as envisioned, the study will result in the development of a new underground section to link two of the major systems including Metrolima."

Moot Match: The Associated Press report that Peru beat Bolivia 3-2 in a match in which both teams have already been eliminated from the American Olympic qualifiers.

Less Coca Land: The Los Angeles Times runs a wire story that leads with: "Peru, the world's No. 2 cocaine producer, said the amount of Peruvian land devoted to growing coca, the drug's raw material, was at its lowest in 20 years" based on comments from Nils Ericsson.

Orchard Saga, Cont.: Florida's Herald Tribune updates the case of James Michael Kovach, "the central figure in the case of a rare orchid the [USA] government says was smuggled from Peru pleaded not guilty in federal court Thursday." He faces a maximum of six years in prison and a $350,000 fine if convicted of the felony smuggling charge and misdemeanor charge of possessing the flower. The Associated Press offers a cursory take as well. (See USA Dept. of Justice Indictment.)

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