Friday, January 30, 2004

Trouble Reading Peruvia? Press 'F11' key near top of your key board twice.

Diez Canseco Resigns: Reuters blares out the news: "[Raul Diez Canseco] Quits After Scandal" following a RPP story saying he is days away from facing Congress "over an influence-peddling scandal that led him to quit as trade minister in November." The nation's 2nd VP, David Waisman, is expected to go up one notch. Reuters' Jude Webber takes his time but finally ges to a certain "26-year-old woman" and suggestions of nepotism. The story ends with color: "The reported resignation came as Toledo flew back to Lima from distributing aid to flood victims in the south, from where RPP earlier quoted Toledo as saying into his cellphone: "Raul, don't make that decision. ... Wait for me to get back."
Note: An updated Reuters entry includes this charge: Diez Canseco "faces another charge relating to an "open skies" deal with Chile allegedly signed without the consent of Toledo or Congress." It also fits in this JBarba quote: the Toldeo government has "no feet, head, heart or soul."

More on Almeyda: Bloomberg reports on the Cesar Almeyda case, adding "Stock Regulator" to his CV. An overwhelming Congressional majority, "approved an investigation ... into whether Almeyda may have been involved in selling his influence in criminal cases."

Vladi Trial Delayed: The Miami Herald reports that VMontesinos' trial has been "delayed for a week" as a result of Charles Acelor's "acute bronchitis." Proceedings will resume on Feb. 5.

Cajamarca Spill: Reuters reports on a diesel fuel spill by Exxon Mobil in which a truck "overturned on Tuesday" near Magdalena, Cajamarca, "en route to the Yanacocha mine." The truck was subcontracted to Transportes Cesaro Hermanos whose representatives claimed the spill was 1,000 gallons. Magdalena Mayor Joel Godoy believed it was 7,000 gallons. Magdalena was one of the communities who suffered with the 150 kg. mercury spill in 2000.

JDF Reviewed: The New York Times almost took a full week but they finally review Juan Diego Florez' Sunday recital at Lincoln Center: "Arias From Familiar Sources and a Bit of Peru." Reviewer Anthony Tommasini states that Florez "has become a genuine operatic superstar ... [and] sang with his customary expressivity, generosity and exuberance."

- the Miami Herald reviews Francisco Lombardi's latest cinema effort, 'Ojos Que No Ven, (''What the eye doesn't see") and praises the film which "captures the far-reaching tentacles of government manipulation and corruption and their devastating consequences" through the stories of six ordinary people "touched by the collapsing government." The Herald states that this "is one of Lombardi's finer films."
- a piece that runs in the Los Angeles Times about how the United Nations doesn't allow Hollywood in through its doors, has this bit of movie history: In the movie, North by Northwest, "Hitchcock also had envisioned a scene in which a speaker addressing the General Assembly would declare, 'I refuse to continue until the delegate from Peru wakes up. The delegate, of course, is dead."


Thursday, January 29, 2004

Peru #1: Knight Ridder's Tyler Bridges (of late Starbucks Fame) reports on how Peru became the "giant asparagus exporter:" Labor costs and ideal climate. (The article is about to be put out by the Miami Herald.) The piece revolves around Agrokasa and Jose Chlimper. "Most of Agrokasa's 2,300 workers earn little more than subsistence wages, averaging 25 soles per day, or about $7.20." Peru is now the world's biggest exporter of asparagus. An important detail: Peru has received "a special exemption from U.S. import duties" for this crop which is based primarily in La Libertad, Ancash, Lima and Ica and employs 50,000 workers. (See Chlimper's recent power point presentation on fresh produce here.)

Titicaca Floods: Reuters' Monica Vargas reports that Lake Titicaca is "rising nearly an inch (2 cm) a day for over a week because of unusually heavy rain," and the rainy season has only just begun. "Two of the main rivers feeding the lake have already burst their banks, damaging 500 homes and 12,350 acres (5,000 hectares) of farm land, and killing about 15 percent of livestock in the area, according to official estimates." Last week, Reuters filed a piece on water rationing in Lima.

Good/Bad Taxes: Dow Jones is reporting that "miners and legislators continue to lock horns over a proposed 3% royalty tax on gross mining sales." Tax Naysayers include Barrick Gold Corp.'s Igor Gonzales; Tax Supporters include Huancavelica Congressman Alejandro Ore Mora, who says the 3% tax would generate "some $250 million annually for state coffers." Others who are quoted include Jose Miguel Morales (National Society of Mining, Petroleum and Energy), Hans Flury (Energy and Mines Minister), Jaime Quijandria (Finance Minister), Oscar Gonzalez Rocha (Southern Peru Copper Corp). Also: a report written by James Otto on the royalties at the request of the Peruvian government. (See also Otto's "Mining Taxation in Developing Countries.")

Highway Robbery 1: Bloomberg reports on a La Republica piece about 493 people being robbed by "masked bandits armed with rifles, pistols and machetes" over a three-hour period yesterday somewhere between Ayacucho and Lima.
Highway Robbery 2: An El Comercio piece has Repsol's Jose Manuel Prieto "complaining that the prices for gasoline offered to the public in Peru do not reflect the current high international price for the fuel." He says that Peruvian retail prices are "13% lower than they should be because the state petroleum company, Petroperu, has not raised its prices."

- the Associated Press sets up a few photographs for VMontesinos' trial which resumes today.
- Reuters offers a photo on Peruvian transit workers on their "one-day strike demanding traffic fines be reduced and that they be granted amnesty for past traffic violations."

- the Associated Press puts up a photograph of Comunidad Andina General Secretary Alan Wagner visiting with Bolivian President Carlos Mesa in downtown La Paz today.
- ESPN and others tell the (un)expected: "Solano joins Villa." For 1.5 million BPS/year, Nolberto Solano will be at Villa Park until 2006. "Solano became the first player from Peru to play in England when he joined Newcastle from Boca Juniors for 2.7million pounds in August 1997." Agence France Press offers a Nobby photo.
- the Japan Times headlines Former Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda's obituary like this: "Ikeda, known for work in Peru hostage standoff, dies."
- the BBC reports that Marco Kleefeld, German tourist, has been arrested in Lima "after police found some 400 live miniature toads and dozens of insects in his luggage." Kleefeld claimed he only "wanted to exhibit them in a Frankfurt private zoo."


Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Scandal, Cont.: The Associated Press puts out photographs to accompany the story about AToledo's relationship with Cesar Almeyda. Reuters adds a photo to the story as well. Businessman Victor Alberto Venero gets his own Reuters photos too. (See "Scandal Again" in Peruvia, yesterday, below.)

- the Associated Press and South Korea's Chosunilbo (among others) review "Eating Out in Pyongyang," co-authored by paisano Roberto Christen, "who left Pyongyang last year after a five-year stint" as a senior technical advisor with the United Nations Development Programme. (A different Roberto Christen with Peruvian ties?)
- the Miami Herald profiles couturier Julian Chang, a 29-year old paisano (he's only '25' in his web site.)
- the Associated Press is reporting that former Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda died today. Ikeda was foreign minister from January 1996 to September 1997, and his term "was marked by Peruvian rebels' take-over of the ambassador's mansion in Lima during a reception in December 1996."
- Sky Sports suggests that it may be the Birmingham football team that ends up with Nolberto Solano.

Macro/Micro Econ:
- Reuters asks: "Could Peru's controversial banking transactions tax be buried before it is even born?" Written by JWebber and EOrozco, the piece reports on Congress' Constitutional Commission declaring the planned new tax unconstitutional. NOTE: "Economy Minister Jaime Quijandria has said he will quit if the bank tax fails."
- Dow Jones and Reuters report that PeruPetro signed a contract with Repsol Exploracion Peru and Burlington Resources Peru Limited for exploration and development of hydrocarbons in Block 57 in Ucayali. The Mines and Energy Ministry said the investment will be about USD$45 million.
- Business News Americas reports on Banco Continental and its new net income.
- Consolidated Norsemont Ventures press release states that they have acquired "a 100% interest in the Las Princesas and Reyna properties."
- Sulliden Exploration's press release announces their work in the Shahuindo gold-silver project in northern Peru.
- Reuters reports that Telefonica del Peru will "cancel its American Depositary Receipt program effective Feb. 27."


Tuesday, January 27, 2004

'Scandal' Again: Reuters reports on Cesar Almeyda Tasayco, a former AToledo confidante and intelligence aide (the former Presidente del Consejo Nacional de Inteligencia) who brings on another "Embroiled in Peru corruption scandal" headline. This story has VMontesinos, suicides, audio tapes, and USD$4 million in bribes. The piece also includes this line from Caretas: "the men met in a Chinese restaurant and that [General] Villanueva was wearing dark glasses, a false mustache and a toupee."

Macro/Micro Econ:
- Metal Producing & Processing reports that Aceros Arequipa is about to go through a signficant 'upgrade.'

- SoccerWay gives Nolberto Solano's side of the story: he is "disappointed" with Sir Bobby Robson following his substitution during Newcastle's FA Cup game against Liverpool. "Things between Solano and Robson haven't been the best since the Peruvian publicly stated his national team was his priority."
- the Financial Times has a fine Juan Diego Flórez profile naming him 'flavour of the month among vocal heroes.' Mentioned are Opera News, the Met, and a review of last Sunday's NYC recital including the line outside: "Money in hand, a hardy horde braved the icy elements in quest of any unused tickets."


Monday, January 26, 2004

Vladi & the CIA: The Associated Press runs with the US Embassy in Peru's response to VMontesinos. AP writer, Teofilo Caso, reporting from Callao, quotes an Embassy spokesperson: "Any assertion, inference or suggestion that any agency of the U.S. government had any involvement in alleged arms or narcotics trafficking related to this trial has no basis in fact." The Voice of America, in addition to a quick take on the US Embassy's reponse, also reports that Reuters states that in addition to CIA George Tenet, the state attorney in the case has asked for other CIA, embassy and FBI officials who were in Lima at the time to testify. The Associated Press offers a few photographs. The trial resumes on Thursday.

Deportation? The Miami Herald offers a long update on the Sandivar family who face deportation from Miami. "A Peruvian husband and wife who ran afoul of immigration authorities after 10 years in the United States have been reunited, although the victory may be short-lived." Jose Sandivar has been released from Krome Detention Center and Lourdes Sandivar's electronic ankle monitoring device has been removed. However, an ankle monitor has been placed on Mr. Sandivar AND "[o]fficials said they will seek to deport the couple -- parents of two U.S.-born children -- next week." Pleading their case are five Members of the US Congress" and "Peruvian Ambassador Carlos Velasco Mendiola. Velasco is a Lima-based diplomat responsible for Peruvian nationals living abroad. (See Reuters photos of protests in Lima and Miami; also this earlier Miami Herald piece; for more info on Sandivar family in Peruvia, on Jan 12.)

- The New York Post calls Juan Diego Florez 'Juan in a Million.' But it also suggests, "to opera lovers, he's simply Juan hot tamale."
- ic Newcastle reports that "Nobby Solano has pleaded with Peruvian officials to delay a key World Cup qualifier by 24 hours . . . to allow him to play in a potentially crucial Premiership game for Newcastle." The match in question is Peru vs. Colombia in Lima, March 30. The problems: Newcastle has a a match on March 27 and April 3.
- The Washington Post's Chess Column includes Peruvian grandmaster Julio Granda Zuniga sharing a 4th place win.
- the Associated Press offers photos with summaries of Panamanian Pacifico Castrellon awaiting "sentencing on terrorism charges in a high security prison in Lima." Castrellon, who came to Peru in 1994 with American Lori Berenson, was sentenced on Friday to 15 years in prison on charges that he collaborated with Peruvian rebels in a foiled attempt to raid Congress.

Arts Abroad: A columnist in Denver's Rocky Mountain News writes about several showings of Peruvian art in her city (including the Denver Art Museum this fall: 'Tiwanaku: Ancestors of the Inca'). She anonymously quotes Maria Landaveri Porturas, Peru's Consul General in Denver declaring that "10,000 people from that country live in Colorado, most in the metro area." The newest presentation is Contemporary Artists from Peru, an exhibition organized for the Arvada Center open through March 31. (See the Center's press release.) It highlights work by Luis Castellanos, Michelle Magot, Fito Espinosa, and Jorge Castilla-Bambren. Also mentioned: Patricia Villanueva Mavil and Sol Toledo. The Center's upper gallery currently displays 'Rites and Rituals: Fiestas in Peru' suggesting: "how indigenous people employ Roman Catholic ritual to keep alive ancient culture and beliefs."

- Pravda runs a fun piece on the "Mysteries of lost civilizations" including the "stone clods in Machu Picchu and Saksahu-Amane." [Editorial Note: Please pronounce the letters slowly.] Also mentioned is ancient astronaut theorist Alexander Kazantsev, his work here described as "another revolutionary discovery made by Soviet scientist A. P. Kazantsev in Peru."
- Canada's Edmonton Journal offers a travel/spiritual piece from Cusco, "Magic moments among the remains of Inca Peru" and includes lines like these: "[A]n eagle-eyed youth clad in a white cloak, ... reminds me of an Inca nobleman walking out of the pages of National Geographic" and "the usual array of New Age tourist trinkets." In addition: lomo saltado defined as "stewed pork with vegetables and rice."

Micro Econ: Just-Drinks.com reports on the denials Empresarial Bavaria, the Columbian beer and beverage firm, is selling its Backus & Johnston (as reported by Correo). "Bavaria and Backus both published newspaper advertisements late last week in Peru, saying they had been the victims of a campaign of 'disinformation.' "

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