Monday, May 31, 2004

ON THIS DATE: On May 31, 1970, the towns of Yungay and Ranrahirca were buried by an "earthquake-induced rock and snow avalanche on Mt. Huascaran. The death toll from the Debris Avalanche was 18,000 (total fatalities from the earthquake and the debris flow was 66,000). The avalanche started as a sliding mass of glacial ice and rock about 3,000 feet wide and one mile long. The avalanche swept about 11 miles to the village of Yungay at an average speed of more that 100 miles an hour. The fast-moving mass picked up glacial deposits and by the time it reached Yungay, it is estimated to have consisted of about 80 million cubic yards of water, mud, and rocks."

Whither Cabinet #6? Dow Jones reports that the Minister of Economy and Finance Pedro-Pablo Kuczynski said a cabinet shuffle "would do more harm than good. I do not believe in constant cabinet shuffles to address problems of another nature. Changing cabinets gives investors an impression of disorder," according to a interview he gave to RPP radio. This is in contrast to opposition leader Alan Garcia who "recently called on President Alejandro Toledo to shuffle the cabinet and in particular to seek a new prime minister." Premier Carlos Ferrero was named in December. The Lima dailies have been front-paging rumours of Housing Minister Carlos Bruce to be a possible replacement for Ferrero. Bruce is said to be a close, personal friend of the president. See 'Cabinet #5, cont.' in February 18's Peruvia.

More Mayors Under Attack? Reuters reports, rather breathily, that Mayors Cesar Eugenio of Molino ("central Peru") and Antolin Huaricacha of Asillo, Puno, were "terrified of being lynched like a colleague a month ago [and] gave pursuers the slip -- disguised as police." Both mayors were accused of corruption.

Massacre from 1980s Uncovered, cont.: The Miami Herald runs yesterday's Associated Press piece about the discovery of "the bullet-ridden remains of 15 peasants murdered by soldiers."

AFF Should Not Be A Candidate: Canada's Centre for Public Opinion and Democracy reports on the new Universidad de Lima poll which suggests that 67.9% or Lima/Callao residents disagreed with this question: "Do you agree or disagree with former head of state Alberto Fujimori becoming a presidential candidate once again in 2006?" ("Methodology: Interviews to 603 adults residents of Lima and Callao, conducted on May 8, 2004. Margin of error is 4%.")

Camisea On Hold? Bloomberg reports that "the Camisea natural gas pipeline, Peru's biggest energy project, may be delayed by environmental protests," according to a report in today's Gestion which cited a letter from the company to the Ministry of Energy and Mines. "A committee from the area of La Convencion-Quillabamba in the Cusco jungle said people in the area would 'take measures' against the pipeline if Transportadora de Gas del Peru SA doesn't compensate the area for $20 million of environmental damages by June 12," according to Carlos Cuaresma, the president of Cusco region.

Mining News:
- Sulliden Exploration put out a press release to announce that it has exercised its option to accelerate the remaining payment for the Shahuindo gold/silver project in Cajamarca.
- Bloomberg reports that Minsur, Peru's only tin mining company, "may fall after the London Metal Exchange tin price fell 4.8% to $9,000 a metric ton, its biggest decline since July 2002. The stock fell 26 centimos, or 2.9 percent, to 8.74 soles."

Net Reserves: Dow Jones reports that "Peru's net international reserves totaled $10.841 billion on May 25, compared with $10.886 billion as of May 18," according to the Central Reserve Bank. "As of May 25, net international reserves this year have increased $647 million."

Please, No More Conversions!, cont.: The Associated Press reports that "Israel's Supreme Court ruled Monday, after five years of deliberation, that ... many converts ... could be eligible for citizenship." The story is pegged around a "Peruvian housekeeper Ghustina Castro [who] converted to Judaism in 1996, with the help of a non-Orthodox rabbi, but was not recognized as a Jew by Israel." ALSO: "Castro, 49, said she was born Christian but was drawn to Judaism at age of 25. She soon began praying in synagogues and completed a year of Jewish studies after she came to Israel in 1983. When Castro told the Israeli family she works with that she wanted to convert, they kidded her that they would not accept strict kosher laws in their kitchen, because they are secular Jews. Castro adds: "I love Israel, and I love the Torah. I am here to stay, for better or for worse.'' (For more, see 'Please, No More Conversions!' in March 31's Peruvia.

Peru vs. Uruguay on June 1:Reuters offers two more photographs of Team Peru in Montivideo preparing for the June 1 match against Uruguay: Jefersson Farfan and Juan Jayo and Carlos Orejuela and Henry Quinteros.

SMulanovich #1, cont: A press release notes that "twenty year-old Peruvian surfer Sofia Mulanovich has defeated world #2 Keala Kennelly of Hawaii to win the Roxy Pro France in six-to-eight foot (2-2.5m) surf at La Madrague beach. Mulanovich's win is her third straight World Championship Tour victory and marks her as the undisputed favorite for this year's Association of Surfing Professionals women's world title. Mulanovich battled thunderous seas to defeat the big-name Hawaiian, riding only two scoring waves in 30 minutes."

Peruvians in Canada Disguised As Mexicans: The Canadian Press reports that "a human smuggling operation was cracked Monday at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport, resulting in the arrest of two men," according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. "Peruvians were being smuggled through the airport using Mexican passports, a spokesman for the federal force said. 'They need a visa and they have to be sponsored,' the spokesman said. 'With a Mexican passport, it's no questions asked. They can fly from Lima to Montreal with no questions asked.' The Peruvians were being charged between $1,000 and $5,000 each, police said."

Miss Peru, cont.: The Associated Press publishes one more photo of Miss Peru Liesel Holler, who is participating in the Miss Universe contest in Quito which begins tomorrow.

The Bridge of Happiness: Florida Today runs an essay on the "Inca trail, arguably the most spectacular hike in the world" in which "to cross the wicked Urubamba River and reach the trail that takes you to magnificent Macchu Picchu was a bridge only the Marquis de Sade could love. ... I should mention here the name of the place on which we stood was named Cusichaca, which is Quechuan for 'Bridge of Happiness.'" NOTE: Cusichaca, among other 'quechuan' names are thought by many to have been designated by Hiram Bingham.

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