Friday, March 19, 2004

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

More/Mora Resignation: The BBC and Reuters cover the resignation of Gen. Daniel Mora, Peru's intelligence chief, [National Intelligence Council, or CNI] "amid claims that his agency had plotted to get Interior Minister Fernando Rospigliosi sacked." Once again, both base their reporting from El Correo. Note: Mr Mora is the sixth spy-chief in Peru to step down in less than three years. Reuters includes the recent "quarrel between Rospigliosi and Peru Posible lawmaker Jorge Mufarech, who traded accusations of impropriety regarding a police uniforms contract." The Miami Herald includes this story in their briefing synopsis.

Mobster Tied To Hotel Crillon Arrested: The Miami Herald runs an expose on Jose Miguel Battle Sr., "the 74-year-old Bay of Pigs veteran and alleged king of the bolita numbers rackets," who was arrested after a long search. In the 1990s, he escaped from the law by fleeing to Peru where he "apparently committed bigamy when he married a Peruvian [Evelyn Runciman] 40 years his junior so he could operate the Crillon hotel and casino in Lima." Runciman was among the 25 indicted yesterday and the Crillon was cited as a key money-laundering venture for The Corporation.

Drug Conference, Cont.: Reuters runs another story pegged on the 22nd annual International Drug Enforcement Conference held in Lima, this time on how "the Internet and cellular telephones are making drug traffickers harder than ever to catch and the job will only become more difficult as technology develops," according to Mark Malcolm, an intelligence analyst at the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. The story also runs in USA Today. See 'Drug Conference' in yesterday's Peruvia.

Grieving in Lima, cont.:The New York Times and the Washington Post, among others, notes the death of a 22-year-old Peruvian woman in Madrid, raising the death toll in the train attacks to 202. The Associated Press and Reuters offer photos of mourners at the Spanish Embassy in Lima.

Macro/Micro Econ:
- Reuters reports that "Brazilian construction company Norberto Odebrecht on Friday presented the sole bid for the first phase of Peru's Olmos hydroelectric project," according to ProInversion. The construction of a nine-mile tunnel through the Andes and the first phase of a dam will cost $118.5 million and will eventually generate 2,400 gigawatt hours a year."
- Bloomberg reports that "Peru's main stock index rose to a record, led by mining companies such as Volcan Cia. Minera SA and Minsur SA, which gained on demand for zinc, tin and copper from growing economies in China and the USA."
- Reuters Tania Malledo has an interview with Alfredo Matos of Luz del Sur, Peru's No. 2 electricity firm. Sales are expected to grow this year by 3 to 4%.

Tourist Scene: Frommers offers a tourist analysis for all of Latin America. "Peru had a rough time of it during the first couple years of Alejandro Toledo's administration, with strikes by public workers and several cabinet reorganizations, but international interest in Peru continues to grow."


Thursday, March 18, 2004

Free Trade? Michigan's Muskegon Chronicle runs a story on the USA Department of Agriculture set to purchase 6.9 milion pounds of asparagus "to help domestic asparagus growers again this year ... a welcomed sign to area farmers who face increased competition from Peru." The article demonstrates the political sensitivity over a crop that has produced an export boost for the Peruvian economy. "The culprit from the standpoint of domestic growers is the 1991 Andean Trade Agreement, which was meant to move South Americans from producing cocaine to producing food. The agreement removed a 22 percent duty on asparagus from the region."

Free Trade? II: Reuters offers a brief on the developments of the trade disputes "with U.S. companies that the government says could derail a much vaunted free-trade deal with the world's biggest economy." The article specifies several particular companies complaints including Big 3 Marine, Northrop Grumman Corp., 3M Co., and Engelhard Corp. It also notes that "a free trade agreement with the United States depends on the resolution of the conflicts, as does Peru's eligibility for the ATPDEA Andean duty-free accord, designed to promote trade and not drugs in the world's top cocaine-producing nations."

FZevallos is not an American: The Miami Herald (last item) reports that an USA Embassy spokesperson yesterday "announced the cancellation of U.S. permanent residency status" for Fernando Zevallos. "The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said in a March 9 letter sent to airlines at Lima's international airport that Aero Continente founder Fernando Zevallos was banned from traveling to the United States."

Toledo's #s Up & P-PK is not an American? The Miami Herald reports on AToledo's rising approval rates "to 12 percent," almost doubling his percentages from a month ago. (Freelancer Lucien Chauvin does not say who ran the poll.) Part of the reasoning: "The economy has grown every month but one since Toledo took office in July 2001." Quotes come from Agustín Figueroa (a former Toledo communications aide) who says that "the economy is now so separate from politics that it proves that God is Peruvian." Other items noted: AToledo's $18,000/mo salary; Zaraí Toledo; Beatriz Merino; Martín Tanaka; and Raúl Diez Canseco "sex-and-tax scandal." ALSO: discussion of whether "Miami resident" Pedro-Pablo Kuczynski had "renounced his Peruvian citizenship for a U.S. passport. Kuczynski denies that he is no longer a Peruvian citizen." ''I think things are better right now than a few weeks ago. Toledo is surviving,'' said , a political scientist with the Institute for Peruvian Studies.

DC Exhibition on Peru: The Washington Times includes the 'Tradition and Entrepreneurship: Popular Arts and Crafts from Peru,' exhibition at the Inter-American Development Bank Cultural Center Art Gallery "which examines the preservation and promotion of traditional cultural values and the best ways to help people use folk art to foster sustainable development" in an article on how embassies showcase their respective countries. The exhibit runs through April 30.

Drug Conference Cont.: China's Xinhua Net reports on the 22nd annual International Drug Enforcement Conference held in Lima and that the Peruvian government "has pushed forward a policy called 'substitution economy' in its coca growing regions in the past few years, encouraging farmers to grow cash crops to replace coca, the raw material for drug production."

WHermoza is a 'Super Reader': Connecticut's Greenwich Time reports that fifth-grader Wendy Hermoza was named a 'Super Reader' in the Greenwich Rotary Champion Readers. "She said she was surprised to find out she had won the reader award, and she plans to continue reading. 'It's fun and you don't need to go outside,' the Peruvian native said. 'You can read any time you want."

Lima's Taxi Drivers: Greece's Ekathimerini profiles Peruvian-born Heddy Honigmann, an award-winning film director, whose “Metal and Melancholy” depict "Peru’s cab drivers surviv[a]] in a most creative way. They belong to a middle class, which, due to the financial crisis, is forced to drive taxis in order to earn a living. They have a good sense of humor and sarcasm and are forced to deform reality in order to deal with it."

Florida Nanny Update: Several Florida newspapers, including the Boca Raton News and the Sun-Sentinel offers an update on the murder case of Monica Marina Rivera-Valdizan. The Palm Beach Post notes that the Fox television show "America's Most Wanted" profiled the case twice.


Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Supporting Lima: Reuters runs a feature story on the Mayor of Lima's office and the Instituto Nacional de Cultura's restoration efforts for buildings in Lima's historic center in which "some 1,300 of the 5,000 historic buildings" are close to collapse. Flor de Maria Valladolid Illescas project director of EMILIMA projects costs at "more than $500 million over some 20 years." So far US$3 million has been spent; US$4 million more has been budgeted. The article also quotes María Elena Córdova Burga (Instituto Nacional de Cultura), Carlos Milla (Peru's Chamber of Real Estate) and Gen. Enrique Yepez (Ministry of the Interior). The article begins with a fascinating setting: "Lima used to be so fashionable, like a little Paris, even up until the 1950s, said said Gonzalo de Aliaga from the balcony of his 469-year-old house, where the Aliaga family has lived uninterrupted since the founding of Lima in 1535. de Aliaga used to be the secretary of the Comité Ejecutivo del Patronato Photos: Reuters also offers several photographs to accompany the article.

Visitors to Lima:
- Reuters runs a story on the OAS' Cesar Gaviria during his trip to Lima for a forum on regional politics who offers a tough assessment on democracy declaring, "Democracy in Latin America has not brought in all our countries high levels of growth, or the eradication of poverty or the greater equality that we had all hoped for." Reuters and the Associated Press have photos of Gaviria with AToledo.
- The South African News Agency reports on US Drug Enforcement Administration Karen Tandy's visit to Lima for the 22nd annual International Drug Enforcement Conference in which she declared that "the American drug consumer is the single largest funder of terrorism in the Western Hemisphere." Americans consume at least US$65 billion worth drugs each year. See also: 'Looking for Cocaine 2' in Monday's Peruvia below.

Security in Lima: Dow Jones reports that "Peru is stepping up security for the annual Inter-American Development Bank meetings slated to take place here March 29-31," according to Manuel Boluarte, general director of social communications for the Interior Ministry. The steps follow recent terrorist attacks in Spain. Peru is hosting the IDB board of governor's meeting and the annual meeting of the Inter-American Investment Corp. "The IDB's board of governors include finance ministers and central bank presidents from 46 different countries."

Grieving in Lima: Reuters offers several photos of relatives of the Peruvian nationals killed last Thursday in bomb attacks at Madrid railway stations. The Associated Press offers one of AToledo and Ana Maria Romero (Women's Ministry) at the funeral service for Carlos Fernandez, one of the victims.

Macro/Micro Econ:
- Dow Jones reports on a Congressional committee approving last night "a proposal to gradually lower the rate on the new financial services transactions tax, or ITF." The full Congress will still have to approve any reduction.
- BNAmericas reports that the "call for bids to operate two Peruvian water utilities has been delayed until April while an agreement is sought from local governments," according to ProInversion.
- Dow Jones reports that "Brazilian mining giant Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) plans to take part in the upcoming auction for the Las Bambas copper deposit in Peru." CVRD Chief Executive Roger Agnelli met with Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo and Energy and Mines Minister Jaime Quijandria on Tuesday in Lima.

Award for Paisana: Florida's Naples Daily News reports that among the awardees of the Naples branch of the American Association of University Women was Peruvian-born Sofia Pagán, director of El Nuevo Latino, a Spanish-language biweekly newspaper. Pagán "hasn't forgotten her roots or her beloved town in the Peruvian rain forest. In Peru, Pagán provides food every day for 40 poor, retired teachers from her hometown."


Tuesday, March 16, 2004

To Tax or Not to Tax: Dow Jones reports that the Peruvian Congress' constitutional affairs committee "has voted to ask for another chance to rule on the legality of the new financial services transactions tax, or ITF."

Bryce at Biennial: London's Guardian includes Fernando Bryce in their review of the Berlin's Biennial.

Anti-Cancer Donation: The National Cancer Coalition has put out a press release announcing "a donation of over $1,200,000 worth of pharmaceuticals for the needy cancer patients of Peru." The ceremony at "the main public oncology hospital in Lima" included the USA Ambassador J. Curtis Struble and Peruvian Health Minister Dr. Pilar Mazzetti.


Monday, March 15, 2004

Econ Growth? Bloomberg and Reuters report on new INEI numbers that show Peru's $61 billion economy growing 3.01% in January, led by a record gold output in Peru's mines and higher zinc production. Dow Jones spins the story as "the latest indication of a general slowdown."

Macro/Micro Econ:
- Dow Jones reports on the IMF's visit to to review the 'Standby Arrangement' in Peru and their "upbeat" response "after recent talks geared toward signing a new lending arrangement." The mission was led by Gilbert Terrier who "emphasized Peru's good macroeconomic track record and pointed to the determination of authorities to implement prudent macroeconomic policies and reforms in order to achieve more rapid growth and higher employment."
- Just Drinks reports that Union de Cervecerias Peruanas Backus & Johnston is under investigation from Indecopi, "following allegations from rival Latin American brewer Ambev it is involved in anti-competitive practices."
- The Miami Herald's Andres Oppenheimer has a curious op-ed which demonstrates that sometimes it is the Hispanic US congressman who put up the greatest roadblocks on legislation like the Andean Trade Preference Act.

Peruvian Submarine: The Associated Press reports from aboard the USA Navy aircraft carrier, the John F Kennedy as it tests "the group's ability to counter enemy aircraft and ships, roles played by Navy and contractor jets, other Navy ships and a diesel submarine from Peru."

Looking for 'Illegals':The Miami Herald reports that US immigration officials are looking for 400,000 illegal immigrants "who evade U.S. deportation orders." The piece offers the example of the Sandivar family, "a Peruvian coupole from Hollywood [FLorida] ... who were deported Feb. 6 after agents tracked down Lourdes Sandivar and arrested her for evading a final order of deportation."

Looking for Cocaine: Agence France Press, the VOA News, and the Washington Times reports on the USA Coast Guard "seiz[ing] a huge shipment of cocaine worth an estimated $240 million on its way from Peru to the United States, according to Peru's Interior Minister Fernando Rospigliosi. Agence France Press has a photo of Rospigliosi "inspect[ing] the tonnes of drugs."

Looking for Cocaine, II: The Associated Press offers photos of AToledo shaking hands with Karen Tandy, head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, at the Government Palace in Lima.

Looking for 'Hot Destination'
- The Miami Herald, in something that sounds like a paid advertisement, declares that "the capital of Peru is rapidamente becoming a hot travel destination."
- The Los Angeles Times offers a travel piece through the Payaca-Samiria National Reserve.

Madrid Bombings, Cont: The Los Angeles Times reports from Madrid on the five Peruvian nationals killed in Madrid by the terrorist bombs. Profiled here is Juan Antonio Sánchez Quispe, "a 43-year-old janitor, was one of five Peruvians being mourned at the complex." The Associated Press relates the story of Peruivan Neil Astocondo.

El Puma, Remembered: The Miami Herald prints yet another profile of the late boxing champion, Luis Villalta. "To all but a few, he is already forgotten."

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