Tuesday, March 23, 2004

No More Spies: Agence France Press, the BBC, Reuters, the United Press International and Xinhua Net all report on the dissolution of Peru's National Intelligence Council [CNI] following years of corruption. Most articles include the tale of Ricardo Arbocco, the newly appointed spy chief who had to step down amid a corruption investigation before his first day of work. Reuters says that Prime Minister Carlos Ferrero said "Toledo had ordered the National Intelligence Council, or CNI, closed and had given experts 90 days to come up with an alternative." The Associated Press and Reuters accompany the story with photographs.

Please, No More Conversions!, cont.: Israels' Arutz Sheva has an opinion column on the recent change in the Knesset which "enforced freeze of aliya from Peru. "The Jews of Peru are poor, scared and certainly do not receive sufficient aid from American Jewry. They wish to leave the turmoil of their troubled nation behind them for a better life in a land that is truly theirs. Israel is theirs, held in trust by the Israelis, who have no more a claim to it than any of their brethren. For Israel to bar their entrance is in violation of a the Law of Return and constitutes a moral violation of the highest order." (See also, 'Please, No More Conversions!' in Friday, March 12's Peruvia.)

Macro/Micro Econ:
- The Associated Press reports with photos on Inter-American Development Bank Enrique Iglesias upon his arrival in Lima for the IADB's annual board of directors meeting.
- Bloomberg and Reuters report that Peru sold their entire stake in the oil refinery Refineria La Pampilla (majority-owned by Spain's Repsol YPF), for $71 million, cutting the price as the government seeks to revive the country's asset sales program."

Whose Coca? The New York Times includes Peru in an article on the evaluation of coca eradication in the Andes: "Peru registered a drop of 15 percent, but Bolivia charted a 17 percent increase." Meanwhile, the Miami Herald reports that "Peru expects to start formal talks with the U.S. government in May ... to negotiate a free-trade agreement that would help develop alternatives to drug trafficking for farmers in the Andean countries." For names of the sticking points/companies, see 'Free Trade? II' in March 18's Peruvia below.

McD Tried to Buy BEMBOS! Reuters publishes a feature story on ... Bembos Burger Grill chain including 42 year-old founder Carlos Camino who states, "I knew there was a market for high-quality fast-food." The 26 Bembo's in Lima now bring in USD$14 million in annual sales. Future markets: Mexico, Central America and the USA. No longer on the list: Bolivia. Most surprising detail: "We use Argentinian beef because we feel it is the best, but our fries are from the United States. Peru has so many types of potatoes that locally-produced fries were too complicated." Reuters also offers a photograph/advertisement. (Click here for a Bembo's history. Going to Lima? Print your Bembo's coupons here.)

- The Denver Post reports on Jan Folsom's current exhbity, 'Images of Peru' at the Boettcher Concert Hall, "a collection of 75 colorful images of the country and its people that she has taken during the past six years."
- Cuba's Granma offers a profile of Enrique Bernales Ballesteros, the UN special rapporteur to the Human Rights Commission (HRC), who declared that "when mercenaries are contracted under the shadowy signature of governments or state agencies that want to destabilize or destroy a country, they end up being terrorists." Bernales concludes his United Nations mandate this year.

- Footy Mad! claims that "Nobby Solano's hamstring injury is not believed to be as bad as first feared and the Peruvian international is targetting the game against Manchester City in which to make his return."
- The International Badminton Federation annouces that Lorena Blanca of Peru is one of the first two Olympic contenders set for Athens 2004.

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