Saturday, February 07, 2004

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

Beauty Queen, cont.: Reuters' gets a telephone interview yesterday with Ms. Santa Maria who describes her "white slavery ordeal." (Note: The AP got a personal interview in Colombia with photos; see Beauty Queen, cont. on Wednesday, below. Reuters interview, by Jude Webber, was among the first interviews with Santa Maria back in Peru.) The piece includes Gabon's official denial: "'These allegations, which are without basis, could not only undermine the respectability and integrity of Gabon's head of state ... but also risk tarnishing the excellent relationship of cooperation and friendship which Gabon prides itself on having with Latin American and Caribbean countries, and particularly Peru." The Reuters story suggests (in error) that this story was limited to being in "Peruvian tabloids this week." Peru's Foreign Minister is also quoted as warning "all people who receive job offers in activities like beauty contests to conduct strict checks on the people who contact them, since illicit trafficking in people is, together with drugs trafficking, a major international criminal activity." Kenya's Daily Nation offers an expose on previous ties between President Bongo to prostitution rings. Also: "One can imagine Mr Bongo's broad grin as he considered his catch, a belated Christmas gift from a mysterious Santa Claus."

Film Review: Variety reviews Days of Santiago (Días de Santiago), "A surprisingly intense debut from Peruvian director Josue Mendez" which "details a young war veteran's tragic inability to adjust to civilian society. Though convincingly set in the lower depths of Lima, the story embodies a universal truth about the experience of former soldiers in many times and places." (See also the review and other info in "Film" in Peruvia, Jan 21.)

Talk Cheaper/Longer: BNAmericas reports that OSIPTEL plans to "boost competition in the local telephony market" beyond Telefonica. "Customers will be able to choose any authorized operator to carry their local, long distance or fixed-to-mobile calls using pre- and postpaid calling cards, Osiptel said." As a partial response, "Telefonica Moviles has extended its offer of charging long distance mobile-to-mobile calls at local rates to all of its 1.5 million customers across Peru."

Nobby #1: Britain's Daily Sun declares in bold print: "Nobby is Captain America." Nolberto Solano "makes his home debut against Leeds in a match which will be beamed" to Peru. The wonderstar suggests that now in Peru, "[e]veryone there will support Villa now. Not just in my country but South America generally." Strong words perhaps but "Solano made an impressive Villa debut in the 5-0 thrashing of Leicester at the Walkers Stadium last weekend."

USAID, Abortion, etc: A press release declares that several Peruvian "Congressmen [are] Outraged that USAID Supports Abortion in Peru." This debate has been spurred for several years by the North American nonprofit, the Population Research Institute, which is "dedicated to debunking the myth that the world is overpopulated," and the authors of the press release.


Friday, February 06, 2004

Toledo's Troubles, Cont: The Miami Herald has Lucien Chauvin write up a recap on AToledo pegged largely on an interview with CPI's Manuel Saavedra and his latest poll. (See a 29-page summary of the poll here.) The piece leads with some confusion: the economy did not grow 9.2% in two years as he suggests; it grew 5% and 4.2% respectively over the last two years). Other CPI numbers: "50.5% of voters" don't believe Toledo will finish his term;" and "Congress' approval rating stands at 10%." The piece describes Toledo as "too inept or unwilling to break the cycle of scandals and missteps." Un-named are the Congressman who defected from Pais Posible and the Cabinet Minister who says ''[t]he president knows, and we have told him this, that we cannot give the country's enemies more ammunition.'' The Associated Press offers photos to go with the polling data.

Vladi the Journalist: Reuters offers photos with captions but no story (yet) on VMontesinos' note-taking during his trial in Lima. This photo shows Vladi showing a note "to Moises Wolferson [sic], whose family owns the tabloid paper 'La Razon', during his trial in Lima, on February 3." La Razon ran headlines based on these notes, (including Toledo's past drug-use history) yesterday.

Fujimori's Defender: China's Xinhua Net reports on Japanese political leader (and former Foreign Minister) Shizuka Kamei's support for AFujimori's "aspirations to regain the Peruvian presidency." Foreign Minister Manuel Rodriguez Cuadros declared that "the Peruvian government would present a formal complaint against recent statements by Kamei, head of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party." Kamei's quote: "Let's gather the strength of Japanese citizens so that Fujimori can once again be president (of Peru)."

Seeking Sendero: The BBC's Jeremy McDermott explains that he met in Lima with "members of left-wing parties" and "put out the word that I wanted to contact" representatives of the Shining Path. He eventually spoke in a Lima hotel with 'El Flaco,' a FARC representative who declared, "We are recruiting Peruvians for the revolution, and now have almost 1000 former members of the Shining Path." Also included: Rifle Butts with the inscription: 'Thanks Fujimori.'

Climate Change in Peru: The Science and Development Network reports on a study on "Andean biodiversity 'at high risk from climate change'." (See a brief summary of the Science article: "48,000 Years of Climate and Forest Change in a Biodiversity Hot Spot.") The new research suggests that "[a]nimals and plants in the Andes may be particularly vulnerable to rapid global warming." Professor Mark Bush of the Florida Institute of Technology is one of the lead scientists in this effort. His University put out a press release for the story as well.

No Asparagus? The Tri-City Herald, a newspaper from Washington State, reports of the tension that the Andean Trade Preference Act has caused, particularly among asparagus growers in that region. "While the act has been a boon to countries like Peru, it has devastated the asparagus industry in Washington." The article details the state legislative activity which seeks the exemption of asparagus from the Andean Trade act. "It also requests that the act not be renewed."

Beauty Queen, Cont: It took a few news cycles but the story finally hit the British tabs including the Daily Mirror which starts out: "[A]n African president tried to seduce Miss Peru thinking she was a hooker ... [with] a button which opened sliding doors to reveal a giant bed." The reporter, who is the Mirror's 'Foreign Editor', names Manuel Rodriguez (instead of Oswaldo de Rivero) contacting Gabon's UN envoy to express his country's 'serious concern'. Meanwhile, the Associated Press offers a photo of her in Lima with her boyfriend. The caption states that "[a] spokesman for Bongo told The Associated Press on Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2004 by telephone from the capital, Libreville, he was not aware of the allegations." The United Press International picks up the story, largely based on BBC's stale version of the events. However, it does add that "President Bongo's office denied the incident took place, claiming it was a defamatory campaign that coincides with preparations for presidential elections expected next year."

Skulls, Cont.: The Associated Press follows up on those dozen human skulls "auctioned as ceramic figurines [which] began as a bargain-hunting trip to Miami." Now, armed with photographs, the piece adds a few details and ends with: "A message seeking comment on the Peruvian origin of the shipment was left Thursday at the embassy of Peru in Washington, D.C." (For more, see "The Odd" in Peruvia yesterday.)

Macro/Micro Econ:
- Reuters reports that the Central Bank is posting "economic growth of 4 percent in 2004, after an expected 3.9 percent in 2003." Also: "Latin America's No.7 economy should see 2003 tax revenues of 12.9 percent of gross domestic product, rising to 13.4 percent of GDP in 2004."
- BNAmericas on Mibanco.
- BNAmericas on Interbank.
- BNAmericas and Reuters on Tractebel and Yuncan.
- BNAmericas and Reuters on Credicorp.
- Latin Finance on Peru's national port authority APN.
- BNAmericas offers a longer piece on the "unresolved issue of water supply holding up development" of a USD$1 Billion investment into Moquegua's Quellaveco copper project co-owned by Anglo-American and the World Bank. "Water is the main issue that has held up the project's development but social and political issues are also important factors." The World Bank's International Finance Corporation holds a 20% stake in the project.(See also: this 2002 report; and this Friends of the Earth analysis.)


Thursday, February 05, 2004

Toledo's Troubles Cont.: The Washington Post updates AToledo's troubles. The piece includes nostalgia for BMerino, surprise at the single digit approval ratings, and perpetuates the "former World Bank official" myth. Quotes come from Gustavo Gorriti ("[Toledo's] problems exist because of political and management defects."), Jorge del Castillo, ("The government has entered a complicated phase that could easily become its terminal phase."), and staunch Toledo defender Jacques Rodrich. Reporter Scott Wilson suggests that the president "has made fighting official corruption in Peru a central element of his administration."

Beauty Queen, Cont.: The BBC joins in on the beauty queen story: "A diplomatic row has broken out between Peru and Gabon ..." But then it offers nothing new. The Associated Press updates the "Beauty Queen" story including quotes from an interview the AP wire had with Ms. Santa Maria on Wednesday, speaking from Bogota at the Hope Foundation. (AP even provides a photo of the interview.) It now describes the contest as "an alleged 'Miss Humanity' pageant." A South African Press Assoc story incorporates the AP filing but starts off: "For Miss Peru America, the offer was too good to turn down." It also suggests she was offered USD$1,000 "for a week's work, a suite in the Inter-Continental Hotel and the possibility of sponsorship deals with companies such as Air Gabon." The New York Times today prints an early and short version of the AP story and includes a photograph.

Macro Econ: Dow Jones reports that "Peru's electricity production rose 4.1% in 2003 over the previous year as stronger economic growth boosted demand" according to the Ministry of Energy and Mines. One contant worry: no rain.

The Arts: Chicago's Sun-Times reviews the Joffrey Ballet's celebration of Frederick Ashton centennial. "Born in Peru in 1904, Ashton was 14 when he first saw Anna Pavlova dance in Lima." (Of course, others say he was 17, and others claim he was born in Equador.) This biography suggests that "he was raised in Lima, Peru, the son of an unhappy marriage between a minor British diplomat (a suicide in 1924) and a distant mother. But it was the "lightness, somberness, ritual" of his Peruvian childhood that he would transmit into his ballets." It also declares that "[t]he artistic young man loved to watch the stylish Peruvian women while he was out for Sunday walks with his nurse. He adored the pageantry and processions of the Catholic Church."

The Sad & The Odd:
- an Associated Press piece reports that "[a] decapitated baby boy found on a hilltop near Lake Titicaca may have been killed last week in a human sacrifice ritual." The investigation is taking place near Yunguyo, Puno. Brought in for commentary is anthropologist Juan Ossio who declares that "human sacrifices date back to the Chavin culture."
- Florida's Sun Sentinel reports that "an abandoned crate labeled as 'clay artifacts' provided a morbid surprise ... when parts of human skulls were found in the box. The crate ... found its way to [a] discount store." The Miami Herald reports that "[t]he encased skulls were part of a lot that sold to the warehouse retailer for about $1,000 at a Jan. 15 auction at the Broward County Convention Center. They'd been abandoned after arriving from Peru in May, marked as gifts."


Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Peruvian Beauty Held in Gabon: The Associated Press is reporting on "claims that a [Peruvian] beauty pageant contestant was lured to the West African nation of Gabon to become 67-year-old President Omar Bongo's lover." Later reports suggested some charges were "exaggerated." What is known is that Ivette Lourdes Santa Maria Carty, "a 22-year-old Miss Peru America contestant, was invited to Gabon to be a hostess for the Miss Humanity pageant." Much of the early reporting comes from El Comercio. A separate wire story in the Scotsman suggests that Peru's UN ambassador in New York, Oswaldo de Rivero contacted his Gabonese counterpart and "expressed the Peruvian government's serious concern over the events."

Toledo's Two %s: Reuters files both political and economic stories today, each with a significant "%" attached to it. Reuters political story focuses on Prime Minister Carlos Ferrero's press conference where he "appealed to opposition parties on Tuesday to help the government weather a corruption storm he admitted should have been avoided, and said a new-look Cabinet could be negotiated this month." Among Ferreros' comments: no more nepotism and no drug czar. Also included: AToledo's approval rating has now "dived to just 7.3 percent;" and Congressman Edgar Villanueva Núñez (of Linux fame) snags a quote.
An accompanying Reuters piece focuses on the economic status of the country. It reports that "[e]merging market investors are holding onto their Peruvian bonds despite the president's single-digit popularity and corruption scandals pummeling his government." It also states that "Toledo has clung stubbornly to the orthodox policies that helped the economy grow 4.9 percent in 2002." Quoted are Sebastian Briozzo (Standard & Poor's), Carola Sandy (Credit Suisse First Boston), and Therese Feng (Fitch Ratings) and the business reporter's conventional wisdom on AGarcia. The Miami Herald includes AToledo's 7.3% approval rating and attributes it to the CPI polling firm.
ALSO: The Associated Press offers several photos of disgruntled members of AToledo's Pais Posible who tried to hang out some dirty laundry.

Macro/Micro Econ:
- Reuters on Southern Peru Copper Corp..
- Dow Jones reports on the Antamina mine ("expected to rise by about 40% in 2004.")
- Cardero Resource Corp.'s press release: will buy the Pampa de Pongo iron depost (near Nazca) with Carlos Ballon's help. (See Cardero's 2000 press release about gold in Peru.
- BNAmericas on the Cajamarquilla zinc refinery.
- Bloomberg reports that the Camisea pipeline will be "tested With gas in May" according to Transportadora de Gas del Peru.

The Arts:
- The Miami Herald reviews Polvo Enamorado ("Lovesick Dust") which is currently playing at the Miami International Film Festival. Directed by Luis Barrios, the film "is written, filmed and directed as a soap opera," [Peruvia note: no surprise there], "-- and a vulgar imitation of one at that." The rest of the review goes down from there.
- Western Michigan University announces that Morella Petrozzi's work 'La Locomotora Asesina' will be in production there.
- the Orion (from California State University) reports on Peru Negro's performance last week. (See more reviews, clips, etc on Peru Negro in Peruvia, Jan. 19.)

- the Toronto Star has this on Canada's new premier: "[Paul Martin] always wanted to work in the developing world and at one time planned to go to Peru for the United Nations."
- The University of New Mexico notes that Giselle Claux has joined the University golf team for the spring season.
- Sporting Life on Nobby Solano: "Statistically, the Peruvian has been one of the Premiership's most consistent performers over the past four or five years and at 29 can hardly be considered over the hill."


Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Toledo is 'Acrobat': Pravda calls AToledo "the Latin American Acrobat" and asks, "[h]e is still in office, but... For how long?" Reporter Hernan Etchaleco slips in "the US educated leader," re-uses Reuters "headaches," and declares that Toledo's only asset is the memory of one AFujimori. The 'news analysis' ends with AGarcia.

State Markets: Reuters reports that "Peru will list 10 percent of the shares of state-run firms on the Lima Stock Exchange to increase the transparency of their operations" according to Economy Minister Jaime Quijandria. "The idea is to list on the exchange a small portion of all shares in state firms, a very minor percentage of some 10 percent ... with the purpose of giving them more transparency," Quijandria said.
Also: BNAmericas reports that "Repsol YPF plans to invest USD$65-67 million in Peru in 2004." A main focus of the investment will be on Block 39 in the Maranon river basin on the border with Ecuador.

Good Asian News: Thailand's Bangkok Post reports that the Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra plans to visit Peru in November. Deputy Foreign Minister Luis Solari Tudela discussed the matter with Thai Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai during the Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation over the weekend. The Post also reports that the countries are negotiating a free-trade area arrangement and will "speed up talks on transfers of offenders, extradition, agriculture, and fisheries."

Bad Asian News: Deutsche Presse-Agentur reports that a Peruvian man is "held over baggage theft" at the Kuala Lampur airport. "Malaysian police believe they have smashed a Peruvian syndicate specialising in stealing luggage at airports with the arrest of one of the suspects." The story includes details that, unfortunately, may seem all too familiar with paisanos the world over: "One of the Peruvians trailed a potential victim, another distracted him, while the third man snatched the bag and walked away, he said." The Embassy of Peru in Malaysia has been informed of the arrest.
Also: Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun also has a Peruvian among those "arrested over 49 million yen cash van heist at a supermarket in Asao Ward, Kawasaki."

11,000 Dead: Tech Central Station" has this bit in an article entitled, "The Risky Business of Understanding Risk": "Facing a revenue shortfall during a budget crisis, Peruvian officials used this supposed threat to public health as a justification to stop chlorinating much of their country's drinking water. That decision contributed to the acceleration and spread of Latin America's 1991-1996 cholera epidemic, which afflicted more than 1.3 million people and killed at least 11,000. "

USAID and Religion: A religious opinion website which focuses on abortion issues, Lifesite, reports that USAID "funded an October, 2003 event aimed at the promotion of legalization of surgical abortion there." It claims that "[a] letter from 10 members of the Peruvian congress addressed to Andrew Natsios, administrator of USAID, expressed concern over the USAID sponsorship of an event aimed at promoting a new proposed law, Bill 7869."


Monday, February 02, 2004

AToledo, Crises, Cont.: Today's print New York Times runs a shortened version of the Reuters piece from yesterday on AToledo's press conference. (JBarba makes the cut; AAlvarez doesn't.) The BBC also reports on the Diez Canseco resignation but adds nothing new.

Quipus Questioned: The Australian ABC Network offers a piece on the quipu pegged on a museum exhibition in Florence, Peru - Three Thousand Years of Masterpieces, and "an Italian engineer professor [Nicolino De Pasquale] who says he has cracked the mathematics" of the Incas. "It took me about 40 minutes to solve the riddle. I am not an expert on pre-Columbian civilizations. I simply decoded a 16th century drawing from a book on mathematical enigmas I received as a Christmas present." However, quipu expert Gary Urton thinks otherwise.

Alianza Campeon: Reuters reports on Alianza Lima's come-from-behind victory "to beat 10-man Sporting Cristal 2-1 after extra time and win the 2003 Peruvian title." This is Alianza Lima's 19th Peruvian first division title, 11th since 1952 "in the professional era."
Also in Sports: ic Birmingham leads with: "Nobby Solano may be the biggest thing to come out of Peru since Paddington Bear."

Film Wins Award: The BBC and the London Times report that Touching the Void, "a mountaineering docudrama from Oscar winning director Kevin MacDonald, won best film at the Evening Standard British Film Awards."

Relief Aid: Reuters reports that the European Commission approved disaster preparedness action plans worth 6.5 million euros "to help local populations in the Andean Community and South Asia prepare for and respond to natural disasters."


Sunday, February 01, 2004

AToledo Responds to Crises: The Associated Press and Reuters cover AToledo's press conference (flanked by his most of his cabinet), in response to Cesar Almeyda, his ordered house arrest and the secret recordings of his secret meetings. Reuters has actual quotes from Toledo's press conference saying he knew nothing about [the brewing scandal] and "anyone who is corrupt is my enemy." Reuters also includes some opposition quotes including Jose Barba ("not enough to blame Montesinos' so-called 'mafia' ") and Augusto Alvarez (whose newspaper, Peru21, broke the story). Reuters is also alone in suggesting that Fernando Olivera has also been implicated in this affair.
- To add insult to injury: Vice President Raul Diez Canseco "announced his resignation just as [the audio] snippets" aired on national radio.
- Further Insult: AToledo was suited up in Puno.

Earlier: House Arrest: The Associated Press reports on Cesar Almeyda's "ordered house arrest" after he gave a midnight press conference. Inside the article is the Diez Canseco affair, which "compound[es] the presidential headache. Also: the New York Times includes the Diez Canseco story in a two-sentence summary. Still, it has room to include "a girlfriend's father."

Trash and Tourists in Nazca: The Associated Press updates a story headlined "Ancient Nazca Lines [are] in peril." Trash, illegal gold mines, tractor-trailers and tourists are the cited culprits. "Loosely guarded by day, the site is wide open by night," writes the AP's Drew Benson (who mispells Maria Reiche name). Alberto Urbano is "the lone state archaeologist" on site (though Italian archaeologist Giuseppe Orefici is also mentioned). Trying to come to the rescue is Ica Congressman Luis Gonzales Posada, whose district includes Nazca. NOTE: This is simply an updated Associated Press piece from last October. (Thanks for the heads up to GP, a diligent Peruvia reader.)

Less Loans: Dow Jones reports that "Peru's past-due bank loans fell sharply in December according to ASBANC.

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