Saturday, April 17, 2004

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

AToledo Visits Colombia, cont: The BBC and Voice of America advance the story about the drug-laden ship in Colombia that AToledo was to visit. VOA: "President Alvaro Uribe said the incident was a 'stain (on) the honor of the nation,' and he suspended the entire 75-man crew of the naval vessel Gloria." An updated Associated Press story says that "Toledo would go aboard and have dinner tonight on board the ship as scheduled. A separate Associated Press story includes Toledo saying, "Nobody can deny that drug trafficking is a problem and the events on that ship are evidence of that." The Los Angeles Times runs a version of yesterday's wire story.

Medical Research - Peru & USA: The USA Navy News reports their Naval Medical Research Center Detachment, in collaboration with the Peruvian Ministry of health, has "established three clinical infectious disease research sites at local health centers in Puerto Maldonado." Cited in the article is Lt. Cmdr. Patrick Blair, deputy director of NMRC Det. Viral Diseases Program. The NMRC has been active in Peru since 1983 and is located on the grounds of the Peruvian Navy’s flagship hospital in Callao. See also 'Medical Research - Peru & USA' in February 10's Peruvia.

LHorna in Semi-Finals: Agence France Press, Reuters and the VOA all note that seventh-seed Luis Horna defeated AmericanTodd Martin in straight sets 7-5, 6-3 at the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships in Houston, Texas. Horna plays Andy Roddick of the United States today.

Former Amb Dies: The Washington Post runs the obituary of Richard Clay Brown, "the interim ambassador to Peru" following the departure of Ambassador John Hamilton's departure in 2002. Brown had been chargé d’affaires at the Embassy and managed the issues surrounding the negotiations for the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act.

Macro/Micro Econ:
- Bharat Textile runs a wire story that suggests that an emergency World Trade Organization meeting is being organized to deny maintaining free trade policies for textiles from Peru, among other countries.
- Late yesterday, the International Monetary Fund released a new report: Peru: Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes - Fiscal Transparency Module. There is more information by the IMF on Peru.

Peruvians In New York? New York State's Daily Star begins a story like this: "Peru, Bolivia and Chile are invading New York." The article is about alpacas and 'alpacaholics.'


Friday, April 16, 2004

War of the Pacific: The BBC, Bloomberg, BNAmericas, Reuters and the Wall Street Journal all follow recent signals that Bolivia will export its gas to the Pacific through Peru. Reuters reports Peru "was delighted the Bolivian government had signaled it wanted to export natural gas via Peru instead of Chile," though the article was more sober as to whether that will actually happen. Xavier Nogales Iturri, Bolivia's new Mining and Hydrocarbons minister "gave Peru the thumbs up" when he declared: "Bolivia cannot export its gas via Chile. We have to go through a Peruvian port." BNAmericas says it was Bolivian President Carlos Mesa who telephoned Alejandro Toledo to talk about these developemnts; Reuters says it was Toledo who called Mesa.

Good News: Reuters offers an optimistic take on the economy: "Awash in a tide of export earnings from commodities, Peru launched a plan to strengthen its export sector and turn the Andean nation into a trade axis for South America." Peru will export up to US$10 billion this year, up from $8.9 billion in 2003. Mining makes up about half of Peru's total exports, followed by fishing and textiles. But exports are only 16 % of Peru's GDP, compared with 35% in Chile.
- Reuters reports that gold prices to rise to US$450/oz, "their highest since January 1988."
- BNAmericas reports that Peru's economy grew by 4.09% in March, led by mining which expanded 19.3%.
- Dow Jones reports that "the sol strengthened Thursday on renewed interest in the national currency."

Paracas in Brooklyn: The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal feature "Threads of Time: Woven Histories of the Andes," on display at the Brooklyn Museum of Art's Hall of the Americas, which has recently undergone "a complete makeover and re-opens tomorrow. The display highlights one of the most important collections of its kind outside South America." It includes the renowned Paracas Textile.

Art Can Be Endangered Species: The Washington Post reports that the international museum community is using "a new weapon in the fight against the theft and trafficking of antiquities from Latin America." The article is pegged on the USA release of the "Red List of Latin-American Cultural Objects at Risk" which suggests that many of these antiquities "can be considered the art world's endangered species."

JJameson's Peruvian Art: The New York Times says that Jenna Jameson has 'The Birth of Mary,' an 18th-century Cuzqueño work, decorating her home wall.

AToledo Visits Colombia: The Associated Press is reporting that "37 pounds of cocaine and 22 pounds of heroin" were discovered "in the engine room of the Gloria, Colombia's flagship naval vessel" that visiting President Alejandro Toledo was to tour. Toledo "was scheduled to go aboard the Gloria in Cartagena on Saturday to dine with military commanders and discuss increased cooperation in the fight against drugs." The Peruvian president is making his first presidential visit to Colombia. The Associated Press also offers p-h-o-t-o-s of AToledo with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

MVLl Visits Panama: The Medical Journal reports on Mario Vargas Llosa "visiting projects of the UN refugee agency for Colombian refugees in Panama's Darien region." Family Connection: Son Gonzalo VLl is the UNHCR's Representative in Panama.

AFF Charged with Murder: The Associated Press runs a story about Congress charging (56-5 with four abstentions) Alberto Fujimori with the murder of labor leader Pedro Huilca. The print versions of the Miami Herald and the Washington Post run edited versions of the story.

AFF Associates' Jail Terms: Dow Jones reports that Peru's Attorney General is seeking a prison sentence for Fujimori's former Finance Minister Jorge Baca Campodónico. A separate Dow Jones report states Fujimori's former Finance Minister Carlos Boloña Behr is expected to receive a suspended sentence.

Two Films in Miami: Today is the kickoff of the Miami Latin Film Festival which includes two Peruvian films:
1. Miguel Barreda Delgado's feature film, And If I Saw You, I Don't Remember (Y Si te Vi, No Me Acuerdo - though the movie was originally called, Panamericana.) Synopsis: "A Peruvian returns to his country after having spent many years in Europe. His father has just passed away, and he tries to collect his inheritance and to start a new life in Peru. A woman suddenly escapes south from her stepparents' house in Lima because life there is unbearable for her. Their lives cross on the Panamerican highway." See Also: See a clip and stills of the film or hear several parts of the soundtrack.)
2. Ernesto Cabellos's documentary Choropampa, The Price of Gold (El Precio del Oro). Synopsis: (from a recent review in Variety): "This is a documentary about the aftermath of a June 2000 spill of toxic mercury in the Peruvian gold-mining town of Choropampa -- to ask larger questions about corporate and government responsibility in Third World regions rich in natural resources but poor in material wealth." See Also: this background material. Archive: See the Yanacocha Mine's November 2002 'Final Report on the Risk Assessment of the Mercury Spill in Northern Peru'; and Oxfam's information on Choropampa.

TransOceanic Highway: BNAmericas publishes a skeptical editorial on Brazilian President Lula's design on creating a "4,269km transoceanic highway-rail corridor."

Others Are Challenged, cont: The Associated Press offers photos of the protestors in front of the Labor Ministry, including one of "Peruvian police remov[ing] a rock from a street after a march in front the Labor Ministry. Unemployed workers want the government of President Alejandro Toledo to improve labor laws and come through with promised jobs."

Macro/Micro Econ:
- BNAmericas reports that "work at the Callao port is returning to normal following the Easter break during which a strike was halted." (See 'Strike Two, cont' in April 9 below.)
- Dow Jones reports that the Toledo cabinet said it will "present a bill to Congress aimed at closing access to a costly indexed government pension plan [Law 20530] or the cedula viva." "About 295,000 pensioners receive a fully indexed pension and those payments are heavily subsidized from central government current spending."
- Dow Jones reports that Pedro-Pablo Kucynski believes the IDB funding for Camisea is "imminent."
- Dow Jones and Reuters report that "Peru has approved the environmental impact statement for Barrick Gold Corp.'s Alto Chicama mine project, according to Energy and Mines Minister Jaime Quijandria who told the foreign press, "The public audiences have been completed and the environmental impact statement has been approved." (See also yesterday's news that Doe Run "will not receive extra time" to meet a government-mandated environmental plan to combat pollution.)

Falsely Charged: The Associated Press offers photos (but no story?) of Spanish journalist Isabel Gomez who "was released from a Lima women's prison on Tuesday after being held for nine days because she had the same name as a wanted drug trafficker."


Thursday, April 15, 2004

EKarp is Challenged, cont: Reuters follows yesterday's AP story on First Lady Eliane Karp and the state auditor Genaro Matute Mejía's investigation "into a $5 million World Bank loan to a government commission [she] headed." Matute said he was following the World Bank request to conduct the audit. Marcelo Giugale, the Bank's representative for Peru, "declined to comment on the case."

Protecting the Motherland, cont: Russia's ITAR-TASS reports that Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak arrived in Peru to meet with Peruvian Foreign Minister Manuel Rodrigues Cuadros and "have political consultations with his Peruvian counterpart Deputy Foreign Minister Luis Solari," according to the Russian embassy in Lima. This will be "the third consultations on the level of deputy foreign ministers. The last meeting took place in Moscow in 2002."

Doe Run Denied: Reuters reports that Doe Run Peru will not receive "extra time beyond 2007 to meet a government-mandated environmental plan to combat pollution from its La Oroya refinery and smelter in the central Andes." Speaking before the environment commission, Energy and Mines Minister Jaime Quijandria declared that, "'We'll meet as often as need be to analyze this subject. But the current legal framework is the one that must be met." According to Quijandria, Doe Run had used "70 percent of its permitted PAMA timeframe but had only met 23 percent of its environmental obligations so far. Archive: See 'Doe Run' in February 27's Peruvia: "Doe Run Peru has admitted that 'lead poisoning of children by the facility's emissions was a serious problem.' " ALSO: 'Doe Run's Solution' in February 18's Peruvia and 'Toxic Clouds' in February 9's Peruvia.

Growing Numbers Bloomberg reports that "Peru's $61 billion economy expanded in February, led by a 29 percent increase of gold and copper production in the country's mines," according to the National Statistics Institute (INEI). Dow Jones says that "the strong expansion of Peru's gross domestic product in February shows the economic expansion has momentum." Said INEI Cheif Farid Matuk, "The period of a low economic tide has changed, and in the following months the economy will slowly continue to recover until it once again reaches substantial levels."

New Dance Company: The Miami Herald profiles Peruvian American dance choreographer Jimmy Gamonet De Los Heros, who has "announced the creation of a ballet company, with the first public event scheduled as a fundraiser Saturday and a full inaugural season projected for 2005." Ballet Gamonet will now "begin building a core ensemble of dancers "to showcase the marvelous achievements of this great matrix of culture and to share these contributions on the world stage," according to Gamonet.

How to Make a Park, cont: Knight Ridder newspapers fan out the Chicago Tribune story on Cordillera Azul National Park including it in the Kansas City Star, Minnesota's Pioneer Press, and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Your Destiny: Minnesota's Star Tribune announces that the Alvaro Velarde's feature film, "Destiny Has No Favorites," (El Destino No Tiene Favoritos) plays tonight at the Minneapolist/St. Paul International Film Festival. Synopsis: "A rich, repressed housewife finds that her husband has rented their garden for the production of a TV soap opera."

- Chicago's Northwestern Unversity states that, "[w]hen Santiago (Willy) Lock left Peru, he was one of the top-ranked players in his country. Less than one year later, as a freshman at Northwestern, he's taking Big Ten tennis by storm and quickly becoming a fan favorite."

Media Study: The International Journalists Network reports on a new study by Sandra Crucianelli "aimed at helping regional journalists overcome their lack of human and technical resources. She first had the idea for the study, which she expects to complete in July, during an international investigative journalism seminar that took place in March in Piura, Peru." The Red de Periodistas Peruanos is collaborating with her study and she has her questionairre posted online.

Kenjii Healed: According to Britain's Daily Record, Brazilian spiritualist leader, John of God, has "cured illnesses for actresses Janet Leigh and Shirley MacLaine, the son of Peru's president Alberto Fujimori and thousands of others, charging nothing for his services."


Wednesday, April 14, 2004

EKarp is Challenged: The Associated Press reviews the emerging charges against Eliane Karp "that she squandered millions of dollars" managed by the National Commission of Andean, Amazon and Afro-Peruvian Peoples, an indigenous rights commission that she once led and which she remains "honorary president." Congressman Javier Velasquez, who "heads the legislature's investigations commission, [and] said his commission planned to summon Karp to present her side of the story.

Others are Challenged: The Associated Press has some photos of "the protest in front of the Congress building against lawmakers' high-paying salaries."

Mudslides in MPicchu, Cont: Dow Jones reports that Trade and Tourism Minister Alfredo Ferrero wants to move the town of Aguas Calientes "since it is in danger from landslides." Ferrero says it " isn't a good site for a town. It wasn't before and it isn't now. The Incas never lived in Aguas Calientes." An unsourced wire story suggests that there is an effort to "evacuate part of the population living along the Alcomayo River." Apparent conflicting messages were announced by Cuzco region President Carlos Cuaresma who said that "None of the tourists was in danger," yet he maintains that "the rains and the two landslides weakened the hills, and there is a threat of a major landslide." Antonio J. Brack Egg is quoted as "an environmentalist" who believes "trees should be planted to stop erosion on the mountain."

MPicchu gets New Rail Equipment: The Harsco Corporation put out a press release declaring they had secured a new order for railway track maintenance equipment in Peru. "Harsco Track Technologies will be constructing a narrow gauge ballast tamping machine for Ferrocarril Transandino for use on its recently expanded and improved Cusco-Machu Picchu rail line."

TransOceanic Highway, cont: BNAmericas reports that Brazil's Transport Ministry has allocated US$10 million to "pave, restore and maintain federal highways" in Acre, including the highway that leads to the Peruvian border.

Protecting the Motherland: Russia's ITAR-TASS news agency reports that Peru and Russia "signed an inter-governmental military cooperation agreement," in Lima with Russian Ambassador Anatoly Kuznetsov and Defense Minister Roberto Chiabra. "Russian aircraft will be used not only for military purposes, but also for civilian tasks such as relief works after natural disasters." See also 'War of the Pacific' in April 6's Peruvia: "The Peruvian air force is equipped with advanced Russian Mig-29s possessing 'over the horizon' combat capabilities which the Chilean air force is anxious to acquire."

Macro/Micro Econ:
- Bloomberg reports that the Overseas Private Investment Corp., a development agency of the U.S. Treasury, "may guarantee $46 million in bonds to finance loans for entrepreneurs in developing nations such as Peru."
- Reuters reports that Hayduk, Peru's biggest fish exporter, "expects its sales to jump 20 percent to around $144 million in 2004 on the back of rising fishmeal prices and increased exports of products such as fish oil." Reuters interviewed Business Director Henry Quiroz. Peru is the world's biggest producer of fishmeal.
- Dow Jones reports that Finance Minister Pedro-Pablo Kuczynski told Congress late Tuesday that a water project known as Marca II is viable, but will likely only be started in the medium-term." Also cited: Congressman Pedro Morales and the Japan Bank For International Cooperation.

- The Associated Press and Reuters report on Sporting Cristal's qualification in the Libertadores Cup despite a 2-0 loss to Brazil's Coritiba. They qualify on goal differences. Reuters offers some photos of the match. The Associated Press also has some photos.
- The USA Water Ski Association put out a press release announcing the results of the 2004 Pan American Water Ski Championships which concluded in Lima on April 11. Peru won no medals.

De Soto's Prize, cont: The Human Events magazine ("The National Conservative Weekly") continues the praise on Hernando de Soto and his Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty. The author of the opinion piece, Gene Healy is associated with the Cato Institute who bestowed the award. The same article is posted at the Cato Institute with this title: "Dangerous Minds: Hernando de Soto."

Violence in Yungay, cont: Editor and Publisher (see near end of article) reports that "the mayor of Yungay province, Amaro León León was arrested March 18 as the alleged mastermind in the murder of Radio Órbita journalist Antonio De La Torre. On April 8, the national police issued an arrest warrant for a second suspect in the Feb. 14 murder, David Julca Orrillo." See also, in 'Violence in Yungay' in February 24's Peruvia and this from the Index on Censorship.

Ch-e/i-rimoyas: California's Alameda Times-Star reviews the 'cherimoya' in their food section today, and they describe it as "an aromatic blend of pineapple, banana and papaya, creamy on the palate, with undertones of strawberry and mango." Physically, the fruite is "artichoke-green, covered with fingerprint-like depressions and shaped like a deformed avocado, the cherimoya looks like something the Flintstones might snack on."

How to Make a Park, cont: Colorado State University's Collegian publishes an opinion column by Meg Burd, a graduate student, on biodiversity that includes this line: "A national park in Peru is being threatened by fossil fuel drilling and the lasting impact of a U.S. fueled drug trade." Somehow, the author doesn't refer to Monday's Chicago Tribune story.


Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Mudslides in MPicchu, Cont: Bloomberg quotes Joanna Boyen, Peru Rail's public relations manager, declaring that "all our trains left on schedule and we transported 1,400 tourists today.'' The BBC reports that "rescue workers in Peru are using heavy machinery in the search for 10 people still missing." The United Press International is relieved to note that "the ruins were reportedly not damaged in the slides." Finland's Helsingin Sanomat reports that "a Finnish group of 32 tourists was trapped on Saturday" in the mudslide. After some worries as to where the Finns were, they were found to be headed for Lake Titicaca.

Art Destroyed: The Associated Press reports that "grave robbers destroyed a 1,000-year-old mural" at the Huaca Bandera site, in Lambayeque, according to the Bruning Museum's Marco Fernandez. The damage was irreversible.

Buy Your Bamba Here: The Associated Press (belatedly) runs a full piece on the piracy issues surrounding Mel Gibson's 'The Passion of the Christ' DVD which went on sale on Lima's streets for under a US$1.00 "nearly a month before the film's opening ... prompting distributors to rush the movie into theaters early." Cited in the article: Polvos Azules, Martin Moscoso, head of copyright protection at Indecopi; and the Washington-based International Intellectual Property Alliance. Also for sale: USA & European Union international driver's licenses.

Doctor's Strike: The Associated Press, Dow Jones, and Misna all report that the Peruvian Medical Federation went on strike. The AP, which has the strongest story, said "about 12,000 of its 20,000 members went on strike" while Health Minister Pilar Mazzetti told reporters that "94.7 percent of the state doctors showed up for work in Lima and that 60 percent of them were attending patients in the provinces." Misna said it was at least "14,000 doctors." The Miami Herald (fourth item) has a short version of the AP story.

Trading with B&H: Bosnia and Herzegovina's Federal News Agency reports that Foreign Minister Rodriguez Cuadros Manuel met today with Foreign Minister Mladen Ivanic in Lima and "discussed the modalities for improving the bilateral cooperation between the two countries at political and economic levels." Ivanic and his delegation also met with "the President of the Foreign Affairs Commission in the Parliament of Peru, Jose Luis del Arco, and with representatives of the Chamber of Commerce in Lima."

Filming the Prophecy: The city of St. Augustine, FL updates the filming of 'Celestine Prophecy' and states that "Aviles Street, one of St. Augustine's most picturesque, Old World streets, will be portrayed as a street in Lima in the film adaptation."

LHorna Wins! The BBC and Reuters note that seventh seeded Luis Horna defeated American wild card Brian Vahaly 6-3 6-1 in the first round of the US Men's Clay Court Championships in Houston.

Toledo's Troubles: Pakistan's Daily Times publishes an opinion piece by La República investigative reporter Angel Páez, a skeptical review of the Toledo administration. "Toledo has invented a new extreme sport, a soccer game in which he is the sole player. Instead of kicking the ball to win, he aims so that his opponent scores."

Andean Influenza: The Pan-American Health Organization' weekly update reviewed the 'Epidemiology and Diagnostics of Influenza in the Andean Subregion' workshop held in February in Lima. The event was coordinated by the Ministry of Health of Peru, the Peruvian Epidemiological Society, and the PAHO Country Office in Peru."

Macro/Micro News:
- Dow Jones reports that Alan Garcia "opposed privatizing the state-owned oil refinery at Talara," in an interview with CPN radio. 'I think that with the abuses tied to the price of oil, it is necessary that the state maintains a possibility to regulate with a refinery,' he added. Petroperu's refinery at Talara has about half the fuel market in Peru.
- BNAmericas reports that "the bidding schedule for concessions to operate water utilities in Tumbes and Piura departments should be ready in two weeks," according to ProInversion.
- Dow Jones reports that Peru's Congress is investigating Telefonica's management of their company's expansion.


Monday, April 12, 2004

How To Make A Park, Part II: The Chicago Tribune comes up with Part II in their reporting on the Cordillera Azul National Park, this time titled, "Preservation vs. Profit," with a dateline of Tarapoto. "It's not easy to build a national park," said Avecita Chicchon, and the article relates how the challenges were countered with some "high-stakes political poker, Chicago-style." New actors introduced by today's article include the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation; U.S. Agency for International Development; Sewall Menzel, a Florida Atlantic University professor and author of "Fire in the Andes"; Luis Benitez, superintendent of the Cordillera Azul; César Rengifo Ruiz, head of CEDISA, a forestry agency working with loggers in the park area; Orlando Pereira, general manager of Occidental Petrolera del Perú; John Terborgh, co-director of the Center for Tropical Conservation; Alaka Wali, director of the Field Museum's Center for Cultural Understanding and Change at The Field Museum; and Maximo Trujillo, a coca farmer in Loboyacu, Loreto, "whose story is a parable of the power of drug money and the ecological recklessness it can create."
The "high-stakes political poker" involved Jonathan Fanton, president of the MacArthur Foundation, John W. McCarter, the Field Museum's president, Robert Abboud, a former Chicago banker and ex-president of Occidental, Ronald J. Gidwitz, then chairman of the Field Museum board, and news anchor Bill Kurtis. The discovery was that "good old-fashioned Chicago clout can work across international borders."
ARCHIVE: See also this May 2001 Chicago Tribune article on "Field Museum aids push for national park."

Mudslides in MPicchu, Cont: Britain's Independent has the best update with two reporters on the scene: "Saturday's disaster could prove ... economically catastrophic ... [u]nless the line from Cuzco is repaired promptly, Machu Picchu will be off-limits to all except those able to pay for helicopter transfers, and Peru's tourist industry will suffer greatly." Wire stories also run in the print versions of the Los Angeles Times and the Miami Herald. Australia's ABC News reports that "an Australian tourist trapped ... by mudslides has been evacuated by helicopter."The Voice of America reports that tourists have been evacuated and that "anyone still in the area is out of danger."

Kim Il Sung in Peru: The Korea Central News Agency announces that North Korea's President Kim Il Sung's works were published in Peru, including his most "famous works 'On the Three Principles of National Reunification' and '10-Point Programme of the Great Unity of the Whole Nation for the Reunification of the Country' by the Publilaser Publishing House of Peru. Summary of 'On the Three Principles of National Reunification': This book "comprehensively clarifies the three principles that call for achieving national reunification independently and peacefully on the principle of promoting the great national unity free from outside interference and the orientation and ways for the north and the south to cooperate with each other in all fields of politics, economy and culture."

SpiderMan in Peru: Silver Bullet reports that the new Spider Man (#506) begins like this: "After looking in on the mysterious Ezekiel as he pays a visit to a temple in the jungles of Peru, we see Spider-Man's bid to rescue a hostage being held a gunpoint is aided by the arrival of Ezekiel."

Sporting News: Reuters notes that Alianza Atletico's 3-1 win away to Deportivo San Martin while Alianza Lima were held 1-1 at Union Huaral.

Macro/Micro Econ:
- Dow Jones Newswire reports that Peru's Foreign Reserves crept up to USD$10.450B on April 5.
- Dow Jones notes that "Peru's economic output could reach 3.6% in the first quarter of the year," according to the Finance Ministry and its index of leading economic indicators.
- The Christian Science Monitor lists Peru among the top eight nations who receive the most economic and military aid annually from the USA.
- This week's Business Week magazine writes that "There are a few exceptions [to the global economic malaise] -- the Indian, Japanese, Peruvian, and Mexican bourses are climbing ever higher."


Sunday, April 11, 2004

Mudslides in MPicchu: A pre-dawn landslide cut through Aguas Calientes into the Alcamayo River, burying the train track that carries tourists to Machu Picchu. Afternoon updates from the the Agence France Press, the Associated Press, the BBC, Bloomberg, Reuters, the United Press International, the Voice of America and Xinhua Net report that "between 300 and 400 tourists were stranded" and some were taken out to Cuzco by helicopter before the train service was started again. So far, there are 10 missing; one person has been confirmed dead. Says the AP: "President Alejendro Toledo was in the area when the mudslide hit, but wasn't injured. He was acting as a tour guide over the Easter holiday for U.S. cable station Discovery Travel Channel for an upcoming special on Peru." [See 'Toledo Televised' in Thursday's Peruvia below.] The AFP offers the most detail with tourists walking a mile to arrive at transportation, revealing that "around 200 meters of [rails] was hit by the first landslide," and that Toledo "lent his helicopter for the rescue effort." The print New York Times uses an early Reuters story with over 1000 people stranded. The print Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald and Washington Post use an updated AP story.

Tourists in MPicchu: There are several reports of tourists affected including those from Austrailia (ABC News) and Japan (Kyodo News). The BBC offers an electronic forum to respond to the question: "Have you been affected by the mudslides at Machu Picchu?" Among the wide variety of comments: "My Mother and brother are in the area at the moment, they have called and e-mailed to say that they are ok."

Photos from MPicchu: The Associated Press has an aerial view of the damage. Reuters has photos of tourists entering buses and helicopters, tourists inside helicopters, as well as Toledo at the scene offering comfort. There is also a photo of the President describing the disaster into his cell phone. Several shots show the physical damage and the injured.
ALSO: This morning's Sunday Observer's travel section has this query: "We are doing a round-the-southern-hemisphere trip early next year. We would like to end the trip with a visit to Machu Picchu."

How To Start A Park: The Chicago Tribune begins a special report on "Saving the Cordillera Azul," a fascinating two-part story on the personal and national politics behind the creation of the Parque Nacional Cordillera Azul Biabo in north-central Peru. Reported from Nuevo Eden, Loreto, the story relates how an isolated region of 5,225 square miles, that includes "spectacular 7,000-foot mountain peaks and fog-shrouded rain forest" and that is home to "monkey colonies, lethal vipers, exotic birds, poisonous frogs, and mega-cities of deadly ants" became one of the largest parks in the world. The story starts in Chicago at the MacArthur Foundation and the Field Museum. Peruvian-born anthropologist Avecita Chicchon was the MacArthur Foundation's program officer who introduced Peruvian herpetologist Lily O. Rodríguez, director of the Centro de Conservación, Investigación y Manejo de Areas Naturales to Brazilian-born biologist Debra K. Moskovits, director of the Chicago Field Museum's environmental and conservation programs. Together, they became "the masterminds of the new park." Others cited: Minister of Agriculture Carlos Amat y Leon; Louisiana State University ornithologist John O'Neill; herpetologist and wilderness guide Guillermo Knell; and Field Museum artist Peggy Macnamara. Then-President Valentin Paniagua and then-Prime Minister Javier Perez de Cuellar's airplane rides over the prospective park are also noted. The article is accompanied by a photography gallery, graphics of new species found, and a map of the area.
Tomorrow: Occidental Petroleum's interest in the region.
NOTE: As with many news sites, you can use "Peruvia" as a user name and a password at the Chicago Tribune site. Or, you can read the text of the story here.

Have Some New Coke! The Associated Press profiles Kdrink iced tea and Vortex energy drink, "two new bottled beverages to hit Peruvian stores this year using a formula made from coca leaves, the base ingredient in cocaine. Each bottle of Kdrink contains a trace 0.6 milligrams of the outlawed stimulant." That amount "carries less kick than a cup of coffee." The story has plenty of comparisons to Coca-Cola and the likely export challenges the new products may face.

Lombardi's Eyes: California's Contra Costa Times notes that the San Francisco International Film Festival will be previewing 'What the Eye Doesn't See' (Ojos Que No Ven), Francisco J. Lombardi's latest feature film, "a gritty narrative feature from Peru that explores the insidious web of political corruption that entangles victims and perpetrators." The film will play at the Filmfest DC on April 30.

Americans Can't Fly Aerocontinente: Xinhua Net reports on the USA Embassy in Peru announcing their banning all travel by Americans on state business from using Aerocontinente, a "temporary" meaure, "adopted because of problems of trust and operative concerns."

Asparagus Wars: The Associated Press runs an article from the state of Washington on the state of the asparugus industry and repeats an oft stated line: "The Andean Trade Preference Act was intended to help countries such as Peru combat drug trafficking. The law was a boon to Peru's asparagus industry, but it devastated Washington growers. "

A Death, Re-Told: An Associated Press wire story in the United Arab Emirates' Khaleej Times updates the story of Guillermo Sobero, the Peruvian-American who was killed in the Philippines by the Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group in 2001.

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