Friday, August 27, 2004

Free Trade? Dow Jones reports that Pedro de la Flor, Peru's chief free-trade negotiator, questioned "the U.S. lacked flexibility in talks aimed at reaching a free-trade deal between some of the Andean nations and the U.S." Said de la Flor to Canal N, "I think that there is evidence of a certain inflexibility in the management of issues that are fundamental for us. I can refer, above all, to the issue of intellectual property."

Callao To Grow: Reuters reports that Peru "aims to unveil a $250 million container terminal by 2009 to revamp its aging, congested ports and become a major trade hub in the Pacific," according to the National Port Authority board member Guillermo Vega. NOTE: "Peru's Callao port, which handles 90% of Peru's $10 billion annual exports, is creaking under the strain of an export boom driven by U.S. and Chinese demand for goods such as minerals, textiles, asparagus and coffee." ALSO: "The transport ministry has hired U.S-based engineering company Moffat and Nichol to draw up the design for the container port, which will be presented in November." With the new terminal, "Callao's total capacity to one million containers a year." Said Vega, "Currently we move between 12 and 14 containers an hour. We need to move between 30 and 40 an hour to compete with other ports in the Americas." CITED: Ports authority director Jose Luis Guerola.

Central Bank Buys Dollars: Dow Jones reports that the Central Reserve Bank "intervened to buy a record $83 million Thursday, up sharply from central bank buying worth $30 million the day before." Bank President Javier Silva Ruete told Canal N, "We don't intervene just because the currency is rising or falling. We intervene to buy at cheap prices and increase our international reserves." NOTE: "The sol has been gaining ground on strong economic fundamentals and a perception the dollar could continue weakening." Cited: "A trader" at Banco Wiese Sudameris.

Questioning Camisea: The Miami Herald runs an op-ed by Aaron Goldzimer (Environmental Defense) and Robert Goodland (former chief environmental advisor of the World Bank Group) on Camisea and "the risks of large infrastructure projects financed by the Inter-American Development Bank. Unless changes are made to the Camisea project now and unless the IDB overhauls its environmental safeguards, some of the worst chapters in the history of development stand to be repeated." CITED: Kugapakori Nahua Reserve. ALSO: "One of the biggest problems in Camisea was that the IDB was actively considering financing the project while it was being built, meaning that the IDB had little ability to shape the design and implementation of the project to improve its outcomes, since the most important decisions (including where the project should be sited) were fast becoming facts on the ground." SEE ALSO: 'Challenges in Paracas' in yesterday's Peruvia.

Strike at Southern? Reuters reports that workers at Southern Peru Copper Corp. "will strike from August 31 unless the miner hikes their pay and rejects a merger proposed with its parent company's mining unit [Minera Mexico]," according to a union leader. NOTE: "A walk-out by some 1,500 workers at Peru's Toquepala and Cuajone copper mines would halt copper production, as the miners make up 85% of operating staff," according to Elmer Gallegos, secretary general of the Cuajone." ALSO: "Miners want an 8% pay rise, above Peru's annualized inflation rate of 4.61%, to take their pay to 81 soles ($24) a day, Gallegos said. ... Grupo Mexico spokesman Juan Rebolledo told Reuters in Mexico City that workers' salary demands were illegitimate." The Sydney Morning Herald runs a wire story that reported that "talk of potential labour problems" contributed to a boost in copper prices in the London Metal Exchange trading.

More Mining: International Minerals Corporation announced in a press release that they have "commenced a second phase drilling program at its 100%-held Pallancata silver-gold property, located approximately 240km southeast of Ayachuco in southern Peru. The program of 42 core drill holes, totaling approximately 7,500m, is scheduled for completion early next year. The drill program will be followed by a 500m underground exploration program in early 2005."

Calling for Justice, cont.: The Miami Herald (final item) reports on the new Amnesty International report which said "an inquiry into human rights violations by the Peruvian army and two left-wing militant groups between 1980 and 2000 did not go far enough, with only a handful of cases coming to court," and cited Nuria García.

LHorna Wins: Reuters reports that Luis Horna bested Jarkko Nieminen (Finland) 6-3, 6-4 in the second round of doubles of the TD Waterhouse Cup on Long Islandand. He will now face Russian Nikolay Davydenko who beat Horna's doubles partner Fernando Verdasco (Spain).

Living in the Rainforest, cont.: The Scotsman offers this headline today 'Peruvian flies love Yorkshire puddings' for their review of last nights television program 'Going to Extremes' about a brother and sister surviving in the Peruvian Amazon. "Viewers craving an impression of tribal culture, or village ritual and ceremony were scuppered. The glimpses given - the taking of hallucinogenic drugs, or hunting birds with bows and arrows - were there to illustrate Pam and Peter’s increasing distaste for and disaffection with tribal life." SEE ALSO: 'Living in the Rainforest' in yesterday's Peruvia.


Thursday, August 26, 2004

Tourism is #2: MercoPress reports that President Toledo, speaking at Lima's National Museum to launch the National Tourism Strategic Plan, announced that tourism "has become Peru's second-largest source of revenue after mining bringing in some $832 million," more significant than fishing and textile industries. NOTE: The president's strategic plan "provides a roadmap for attracting between five and ten million tourists a year by 2015."

Peru and Central America: CompliNet reports that the chancellors of Peru and El Salvador "have signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in the detection and prevention of money laundering. The mutual agreement to fight corruption springs from a commitment to democracy," the Minister of Foreign Relations Manuel Rodriguez Cuadros told the press in San Salvador. "Both countries hope that the accord will strengthen 'democratic ties', anti-corruption efforts and cultural exchange between the two nations." Xinhua News reports that Minister Rodriguez Cuadros said that the Andean Community (Ancom) is interested in signing a free trade agreement (FTA) with Central American countries," according to reports from Guatemala City. NOTE: "Rodriguez paid a one-day visit to Guatemala on Wednesday, as part of the second and final stopover of his Central American tour that started Monday in El Salvador."

Calling for Justice: Amnesty International announced in a press release and a new report on the one year anniversary of the publication of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report and calls on the Peruvian government "to show the necessary political will to put an end to impunity for human rights violations committed during the 20 years of internal conflict." The report "urges the Peruvian government to establish a National Human Rights Plan comprising concrete measures to ensure truth, justice and reparation and to eliminate impunity and discrimination in the country." CITED: Amnesty International Peru Researcher Nuria García.

Challenges in Paracas: Inter Press Service reports on "the construction of the first natural gas fractioning and liquefaction plant in Peru," next to the Paracas Marine Reserve "which holds rich biodiversity, including 160 fish species, 216 bird species and 25 types of dolphins and whales." ALSO: According to Minister of Energy and Mining Jaime Quijandría, "the site was chosen for its technical advantages and, he says, the threat is minimal thanks to cutting-edge design and the construction of a shipping platform 3.2 km from the beach." But former Minister Carlos Herrera says that originally, "the plant was slated to be built in Pampas de Clarita, 70 km from Paracas, ''sufficiently far away from the reserve'." NOTE: "PlusPetrol, the company in charge of exporting the natural gas, says it has set up an environmental monitoring system that includes 160 points of control in the bay's waters and coastline." ALSO CITED: María Elena Foronda (National Society for the Environment), Sandro Chávez (Peruvian Association of Biologists), Carlos Chirinos (Peruvian Society for Environmental Law), Patricia Majluf (Spondylus) and epidemiologist Josefa Antigoni.

Southern News: Dow Jones reports that Southern Peru Copper Corp. has "sent a letter to workers, ensuring them that any possible fusion with Minera Mexico SA won't negatively affect their benefits. Separately, the company also said it has put a number of expansion projects on hold, following the Peruvian government's plan to place royalties on mining company sales," according to a letter from Chief Executive Oscar Gonzalez Rocha to the securities regulatory agency Conasev.

LHorna Loses: The Associated Press reports that Luis Horna and Fernando Verdasco (Spain) were defeated by Frantisek Cermak and Leos Friedl (Czech Republic) 6-2, 6-2 in the first round of doubles of the TD Waterhouse Cup on Long Island. Horna is in the second round of the singles.

JPena To Racing Santander?: Sporting Life reports that "Peruvian central defender Juan Pena on Wednesday agreed to be made available on a free transfer from Valladolid, with Racing Santander the favourites to secure his signature."

SBuchuck at Workshop: The Streatham Guardian notes that Peruvian artist Sophia Buchuck will be leading a workshop for children at the Streatham Tate Library.

Living in the Rainforest: The Guardian notes that Channel 4 is showing 'Going to Extremes' at 8pm where "Fifty-year-old Pam has had a tough life, and one of the things that sustained her was her dream of spending time with a tribe in the South American rainforest. Before you can say altitude sickness and insect bites, she's off to Peru with her brother Peter, getting to know tribespeople and building her own shelter."

Tragedy in Kenya: The Scotsman reports on a Peruvian on a Kenyan holiday who was assaulted and whose boyfriend was subsequently killed.


Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Toledo and Prado: Dow Jones reports that President Toledo spoke before the American-Peruvian Chamber of Commerce and declared that the "Peru's economy could grow between 5.0% to 6.0% this year" and added that "we are seeing growth levels not realized since the government of President Prado." Toledo added, "This year we are going to pass the barrier of $10 billion in exports." NOTE: Previous growth estimates by the Ministry of Economy and Finance have been 4.0%. ALSO CITED: Polling director Aflredo Torres (Apoyo Opinion y Mercado SA) who gave "a press conference with foreign media Monday [and said] that it was unlikely that Toledo's popularity could rise above 20%."

Nuevo Continente Woes: USA Today has a travel column focused entirely on Peru with this headline: 'Frozen reservations on Aero Continente.' The ban on Americans flying Aero Continente also applies to Nuevo Continente, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury spokesperson Molly Millerwise, "so Americans still can't legally fly the new carrier either." However, Millerwise suggests that the Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) "can provide some guidance in these situations" at (202) 622-2500. NOTE: "You don't necessarily have to commit a crime to fly to Cusco: There is an official way to skirt trouble. You can petition OFAC for a license authorizing you to use Aero Continente tickets."

Reserves Up: Dow Jones reports that "Peru's net international reserves totaled $11.164 billion on Aug. 17, down from $11.296 billion on Aug. 10," according to the Central Reserve Bank. ALSO: "To Aug. 17, net international reserves this year have increased $970 million."

Borneo Out: Dow Jones reports that "Deputy Finance Minister Kurt Burneo Farfán, a key member of the government's economic team, has resigned ... and has been replaced by Luis Julián Martín Carranza Ugarte. " Burneo is also a member of the board of the Central Reserve Bank and "a separate notice in El Peruano said that he has been named as chairman of the board of the government's Banco de la Nacion." Minister of Economics and Finance Pedro Pablo Kuczynski downplayed suggestions that Burneo had disagreed with the direction of the ministry but El Comercio said that "Burneo and the ministry's director general of public finance, Felix Jimenez, had clashed with a high-level Kuczynski adviser." Jimenez also resigned.

Chains Replace Independents: NamNews reports that "the expansion of pharmacy chains over the last few months has seen them achieve 70% of pharmaceutical sales in Peru, estimated at US$350 million. Inkafarma and Fasa have both expanded rapidly, while Arcangel has associated with Albis; Boticas y Salud associated with Deco and manage 100 pharmacies and Ivax merged with BTL and have 40 branches. Pharmacy chains allow a vertical integration with distributors or laboratories, thus better conditions to negotiate prices. Inkafarma, is to end 2004 with sales of US$80 milion, following expansion and the introduction of credit cards to low income consumers."

Tragedy Near Cuzco, etc.: U TV reports on David Scollard's funeral "the young Limerick man killed in a road accident in Peru two weeks ago. Separately, Washington State's Columbian has a piece on crash survivors Yony Russell who "is hospitalized with more than a dozen broken bones, some of them shattered. [Her son] Brandon, 13, suffered serious internal injuries. Surgeons removed his spleen and repaired a punctured lung and perforated stomach. Said Brandon, "I was actually looking out the window and wondering when we were going to crash." NOTE: "Out of the 60 passengers on the double-decker bus, nine were friends and relatives of the Russell family, several from Canada." Russell's husband said there was no question that he would keep traveling to Peru. "It's family. We have to go back." Another article in the Columbian details how the Russell's insurance provider, Kaiser Permanente, came to their aid. SEE ALSO: 'Tragedy Near Cuzco' in August 13's Peruvia.

Pluspetrol Bonds: Reuters reports that Argentina's Pluspetrol, which is developing Peru's huge Camisea field, will issue up to $35 million in bonds on Wednesday," according to Credibolsa, the company broker. NOTE: "Pluspetrol will issue up to $35 million in 5-year bonds and could increase the offer if there is sufficient demand."

Arequipa Property: Amera Resources Corporation announces in a press release to announce that "it has signed a Letter of Intent to option the Esperanza Property in northern Arequipa, Peru from Arcturus Ventures Inc. This 3,000 hectare property is located approximately 45 km southwest of Newmont/Southwestern Resources' Liam gold-silver property. The Esperanza Property covers a three kilometre long epithermal system that contains values grading up to 11.42 g/t gold."

LHorna Wins: Australia's ABC News and the Voice of America note that Luis Horna of Peru, ousted German Alexander Popp 6-1, 6-3 in the first round of singles in the TD Waterhouse Cup on Long Island. Australia's Mail names Luis Horna as one of the tournaments "biggest dangers."

Peruvian Identity: Al Jazeera offers an opinion column on Arab and Israeli demographics and reviews the politics of Jewish identity. " 'It is not easy to decide who is Jewish', said the Rabbi Shlomo Amar upon his return from visiting the north-eastern Indian states of Manipur and Mizoram, adding it was possible the tribal members would be given "the benefit of the doubt" entitling them to the 'right of return'. You bet! In 2002, another delegation of rabbis travelled to Lima, Peru to convert 19 poverty stricken Peruvian Indians to Judaism on condition they immediately immigrated to Israel."


Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Toledo Accuser in Public: The Associated Press reports that Gladys Álvarez Gonzáles, the witness who alleges that Peru's President Alejandro Toledo's family registered his political party with forged signatures, rejected charges on Monday that she took money from political enemies to make the claims." She gave a press conference "after going public on a weekend television news show." NOTE: "She said Monday that she decided to go public to defend herself after Toledo's sister, Margarita Toledo, said the witnesses were on the payroll of the president's opponents." ALSO: "Alvarez says the president knew about the so-called 'signature factory' and frequently visited it. The witness also says that Toledo's wife, Eliane Karp, was involved in the alleged fraud, claiming the first lady visited an office to greet workers hired to crank out phony signatures."

LBozzo 'Accused' of Friendship: The Miami Herald (second item) using an Associated Press story reports that "more than two years after being placed under house arrest on corruption charges, [Laura Bozzo] said that she is being detained for picking the wrong friend -- former President Alberto Fujimori." The AP quotes Bozzo telling Radioprogramas, "they were my opinions and I don't think that anyone can be imprisoned for being someone's friend." [Editorial Note: The short news brief seems to be less news and more a Bozz press release.]

Exports Jump: Reuters reports that Peruvian exports "jumped 36.5% in July to a record monthly high of $1.08 billion, compared with the same month a year ago, as demand from the United States and China surged," according to the government export promotion division PROMPEX. NOTE: "Exports to the United States rose 55% to $260 million, while foreign sales to China grew 54% to $124 million in July, compared with the same month a year ago." ALSO: "Peru is currently enjoying an export boom and sales of non-traditional exports such as textiles clocked up 25 months of consecutive growth in July to rise by 38 %."

Peru/Thailand Trade: Xinhua Net reports that Peru and Thailand "have agreed to cut import tariffs on at least 3,000 products in their negotiations for bilateral free trade area agreement, according to trade negotiators." NOTE: "The two countries still need to iron out several important issues such as setting up timeframe for the elimination of tariffson goods, services, investment as well as for products deemed 'sensitive'." ... As for "sensitive" products, Peru puts rice and sugar on top ofthe list while Thailand says local fishermen need additional protection." CITED: Vice-Minister of Foreign Trade Pablo de la Flor. ALSO: "In the first half of this year, shipments from Thailand to Peru totaled 15.2 million US dollars while imports to Thailand from Peru reached 27.3million US dollars.

Peru Praises Venezuela: Venezuela's El Universal reports that Minister of Foreign Relations Manuel Rodríguez "praised the Venezuelan democratic process after the victory of president Hugo Chávez in the recall referendum on his mandate" declaring in a press conference in Central America, "I reiterate our deep satisfaction for the democratic behavior of the Venezuelan people."

Tragedy Near Cuzco, cont.: The Irish Independent reports that "the remains of [David Scollard,] the student killed in a bus accident in Peru some 12 days ago, were finally flown home." ALSO: "Mr Scollard's remains will be buried in his native Ballybricken after funeral mass tomorrow. The tragedy compounded the agony for the family who lost another son Michael in a Limerick car accident five years ago."

TEAM Peru: Reuters and Sky review Peru's squad for next month's World Cup qualifier against Argentina including Junior Ross as a replacement for the still-injured Claudio Pizarro. Also included is Roberto Palacios "who is without a club after leaving Mexico's Morelia [and] not played since the Copa America."

Coach Oblitas: Reuters reports that Juan Carlos Oblitas has been named as the new manager for Ecuadorean champions Liga de Quito. NOTE: "Oblitas played for Peru in the 1978 World Cup and coached his country's national side at the Copa America in 1999."

Candente Progress: South Africa's Mining Weekly reviews Candente Resource's announcement last week that their phase one drilling programme "has been completed on the wholly-owned Alto Dorado property located in Northern Peru. The company said that a total of 1 050 m have been drilled in nine holes, adding that eight holes were drilled in the Toril high sulphidation gold zone and one in the Olla porphyry gold-copper zone."

Biking Around the World: The Guardian reports on British bicyclist Alastair Humphreys who biked this year from Peru to Alaska. "One year ago I rode out of Lima into the grey desert. ... On an ill-chosen 'scenic route' through northern Peru I had pushed the bike uphill along a deserted track for some days when I saw a battered little bus approach ... "

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