Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Vladi: "I Am Guilty": Reuters reports that VMontesinos "admitted guilt in court" yesterday, in a trial on corruption and embezzlement charges over alleged bribery of media barons. Said Vladi: "Having admitted responsibility in the matters that are the subject of the trial ... I am not going to make comments to the bench or to prosecutors." Until now, he had only spoken in court once before.

Sendero Suggests Strikes, cont: The Associated Press has a screen-shot of "ski-masked rebel leader 'Artemio'," during his interview on Sunday's television program Cuarto Poder. The Miami Herald runs yesterday's Associated Press article on the story.

Coca Rises: Reuters reports "some 10,000 coca growers are expected to march to Lima, arriving on April 26," organized by CONPACCP (Confederación Nacional de Productores Agropecuarios de las Cuencas Cocaleras del Perú). The piece presents different numbers, first by Nancy Obregon, deputy secretary of the coca growers' group, and then by Nils Ericsson, head of DEVIDA, the state anti-drug agency. For more detail: see 'Coca Rises' in February 12's Peruvia.

Protecting the Motherland, cont:The BBC Monitoring Service reports that Peru signed a deal with Russia for upgrade of military aircraft that includes five Mi-35 armoured helicopters "to be used in the fight against subversives." (See 'Protecting the Motherland' in April 15 below.)

Sofia in Quarterfinals: Surfer Sofia Mulanovich is in the Roxy Pro competition in Tavarua Island, Fiji, and has advanced to the quarterfinals. Australia's Courier-Mail offers her "contentious opinion" about who ranks as better surfers in the competition. Reuters offers a photograph of her riding the wave. Sportal has all the rankings of the event.

Rodrigues' Rifles: The East African Standard reports on shady weapons deals in Rwanda and Congo and states that "documents revealed how a Peruvian, Antonio Rodrigues was at the centre of arms shipment from South Africa, aimed at equipping FERA. In the arrangement, the arms were to be channeled through the NRA."

AToledo's Falling Numbers, cont: The Associated Press offers a photo of "Union workers shout during a protest against the government as police guard, in front of the Justice Ministry." The photo is pegged to yesterday's new poll swhich shows Toledo's popularity dropping to 8.0% in April.

Taxing Mining: Bloomberg reviews the new tax policies that Peru and Chile may impose on mining companies. These two countries make up more than a third of the world's copper. "Both countries are considering a levy of as much as 3 percent on copper production as the price of the metal surged to an eight-year high last month." Peruvian Congressman Alejandro Ore states, "There won't be anything for our children and grandchildren when this runs out.'' Also cited: Energy and Minining Minister Jaime Quijandria.

Doe Run Responds: Mine Web gets an exclusive interview with Doe Run CEO Jeffrey Zelms who says he believes that his company will get an extension to meet a government-mandated environmental plan to combat pollution. The article includes recent public relations efforts by Doe Run in Peru and has Zelms offering paeans to the Ministry of Energy and Mining: "They do a yeoman's job with trying to communicate with all parties" with respect to the PAMA. For more: see 'Macro/Micro Econ' in April 16 below; and 'Doe Run Denied' in April 15.

More Mining:
- Minas Buenaventura is offering a First Quarter 2004 Conference Call next Monday, April 26.
- BNAmericas reports that the Energy and Mining Ministry will hold a public meeting in Jaen on April 23 on mining in Cajamarca. A separate BNAmericas piece says that a public meeting on Las Bambas copper-gold project is set for April 21.
- Cleveland-Cliffs put out a press release that announced Clifford T. Smith has been named vice president and general manager of Cliffs Michigan Mining Company. Smith was mine manager at Southern Peru Copper Corporation's Cuajone mine.

Macro/Micro Econ:
- Reuters reports that Calpers, (the California Public Employees' Retirement System), the largest U.S. pension fund, voted to add Peru to the list of emerging markets in which it invests, "citing progress by those markets." (Earlier: see 'Macro/Micro Econ' in February 12's Peruvia.)
- Dow Jones reports that the sol "weakened slightly Monday when the Central Reserve Bank of Peru intervened in the market, buying $10 million."
- BNAmericas reports that Banco Financiero is "seeking to increase its client base of individual accounts as well as those of small and medium-sized enterprises through the purchase of other institutions' client bases," according to general manager Ramón Larrea.
- Dow Jones reports that Telefonica still has not asked government approval for a venture with BellSouth.
- Dow Jones reports that Finance Minister Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said "Peru's gross domestic product should end the year with an expansion of more than 4.0%," according to an interview with CPN radio. Monthly growth rates by the end of the year should surpass 6.0%.

Orchard Saga, cont: Florida's Herald Tribune publishes an opinion column that begins: "It was news to me that taking a flower from Peru to the United States without a permit was such a serious crime." The piece is a flaccid defense of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens and its staff who were accomplices to James Michael Kovach "who bought an orchid at a roadside stand in Peru, recognized its potential, took it on a flight to Florida and brought it straight to" the Garden. The real worry in Peru seems to have been that one flower's removal could soon make it become anything but rare." See 'Orchard Saga, Denied?' in January 17's Peruvia.

DeSoto Praise, cont: In a Town Hall opinion piece, former USA Vice-Presidenial candidate Jack Kemp states that "Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto and Empower America are working together to assist the Egyptian government ... and we hope that Egypt can serve as a platform and a model from which similar reforms can spread throughout the Arab and Muslim world."

Re-Runs: The Washington Times runs several stories with reference to Peru including a United Press International piece on "a climate model that can predict El Niño events with a lead time of two years." This Associated Press piece on trash at Nazca has run several times over the last year. (See for example, 'Trash and Tourists in Nazca' in February 1's Peruvia.) And this Associated Press piece on "Kdrink iced tea and Vortex energy drink" ran on April 11 below (see 'Have Some New Coke!')

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