Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Peru to Chile: No to Arms Race! MercoPress reports that Peru is warning "about an arms race in the Pacific." Peruvian Foreign Secretary Manuel RodrĂ­guez Cuadros and Chilean Deputy Foreign Secretary Cristian Barros will be meeting in Santiago today "to address defence expenditure issues which are souring relations between the two Pacific neighbours," in anticipation of the 'two plus two' meeting scheduled for the end of March. Also quoted in the piece is Peruvian Prime Minister Carlos Ferrero who made a comparison between hunger and national security. Chile, among other purchases, recently bought the former (and third) HMS Sheffield. Chilean Defence Minister Michelle Bachelet downplays the acquisitions. (An earlier Sheffield was sunk by Argentina 22 years ago during the Malvinas War.)

CFerrero: No to Bank Tax: Reuters reports on Prime Minister Carlos Ferrero's press conference with foreign journalists yesterday. The piece focuses on the possible changes on the "brand new tax on banking transactions." The PM promised that in tomorrow's weekly Cabinet meeting, they will "study the policy [bank tax] 'road map.' " The Associated Press has a photo of the press conference. Reuters helpfully provides a photo of Humberto Castaneda, a Peruvian money changer, who says "a new tax on banking transactions that took effect on March 1 could put him out of business."

Peru to China: Thanks! China's Xinhua Net reports on Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhou Wenzhong's stay in Peru during which AToledo "expressed his gratitude Monday for China's donation worth 10 million RMB yuan (1.2 million US dollars), which will mainly help Peru's urban employment scheme." After the ceremony, AToledo "tried on a safety helmet, pulled a trammer and even drove a truck for a little while."

Inca Kola Gets More Coke: Just Drinks, using a Reuters story, reports that "Inca Kola and Coca-Cola are considering stepping up their alliance." IK's Jose R Lindley is set to merge operations with Coke's Embotelladora Latinoamericana. Inca Kola suggested "that the merger of bottling operations is more part of a drive for efficiency and less a reaction to the fierce growth of competitors in Peru such as Kola Real." Archive: 'Inca Kola For the World.'

USA to Peru: No More Coke: The USA State Department released their 2003 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, an annual report prepared in accordance with the USA Foreign Assistance Act. It describes the efforts of key countries to attack all aspects of the international drug trade in Calendar Year 2003. A related Associated Press story stated that coca production in Peru, Colombia, and Bolivia "underwent a combined 8 percent reduction last year."

Peru to IMF: Send More $$: Reuters reports on the IMF mission arriving in Lima tomorrow "to begin talks for a new line of credit similar to the $380 million stand-by agreement it approved in 2002." Background: "Access to capital is seen as key to reassuring investors the government will not default on the $5.6 billion it owes international bondholders." Meanwhile, Bloomberg and Reuters write on Peru's inflation rate which doubled in February "to its highest level in 11 months as a drought in the farmlands and a truckers' strike drove up the cost of food." Bloomberg quotes Jorge Luis Rodriguez (Centura SAB brokerage). See also: the IMF's current 'Analytical accounts of Peru's Central Bank.'

Watching Macaws: Grist Magazine begins a travelogue ('Day One') on macaws by Sue Kaufman, "chronicling her volunteer activities on a recent expedition with Earthwatch Institute to the Tambopata Research Center.

Boxer Hurt, Cont: The Associated Press reports that Peruvian boxer Luis Villalta "remained in a coma Monday" in a south Florida hospital. "There has been no change in his condition,' said Pam Toresco, wife of Villalta's manager, Anthony Toresco. 'We are praying for Luis' recovery." Fighting News declares that Luis Villalta "is still fighting the biggest fight of his life."

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