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Saturday, November 30

Shiny New Buttons

Andean Cross, folk art by Nicario JimenezI have added some discrete navigation buttons to the left sidebar. For years, I have resisted putting much window dressing on the site, but the time has come to make a change. The addition brings to a conclusion my overhaul of the site that began back in May. I've had to do it in stages. Behind the scene is a lot more use of cascading style sheets (CSS) and XHTML. The design ain't nothing to win prizes and I continue to emphasize content. I've still got a lot to learn and not much spare time to do it.

There are still some nagging flaws -- mainly some issues of cascading style sheets issues in Netscape and Opera. There is also a problem with the archive listing on the right side of this page -- it has not been updating so there are no additions since May. I've tried to figure it out on my own, but have now sent an inquiry to the Blogger administrator.

I have started playing around with my digital camera to see if I can use it to add more content to the site. I have started taking pictures of some of my favorite pieces of Peruvian folk art. I start with an Andean cross by Nicario Jiemenez, an Ayacuchan craftsman/artitst that I became close to during my research and writing in Peru. These ceramic pieces are modeled after the real ones that populate the Andes at significant (sacred) places.

Friday, November 29

Forbes / Reuters La dolce vita: Is Peru's feelgood factor spreading?: "Toledo never tires of telling voters -- many of whom are underwhelmed by his progress in creating jobs in a nation where more than half the people live on $1.25 a day -- that he has sacrificed his popularity for the sake of economic prudence. The U.S.-trained business school professor, whose approval rating has climbed nearly 10 points recently but is still only around the mid-20s in polls, told reporters this week that rises in the numbers of moviegoers, cellphone users and supermarket sales showed an increasing feelgood factor." Sometimes, you have to look in all directions to find something good to report. In Peru, things like cellphone use can be more telling about the state of the economy, than the standard statistics.

Wednesday, November 27

BBC Pressure on Peru's fugitive ex-president: "Martin Rivas was one of 10 army officers sentenced to prison terms of up to 20 years for the killing of university students in 1992. He was released from prison in 1995 when Mr Fujimori declared an amnesty for army officers involved in the fight against left-wing militants."

Engineering News Peru defends maligned gas project: "He [Energy and Mines Minister Jaime Quijandria] said the government of President Alejandro Toledo was bending over backward to make sure the consortia heading the project, with investment estimated at $3,1-billion, were making good on pledges to protect the environment and respect local residents." All the bad news about the investors connections to the White House has rubbed the Peruvian government the wrong way.

Journal Net (Idaho) Thankful giving -- Mission to Peru is just the beginning: "A little more than a month has passed since Operation Condor’s trip to Huanuco, Peru. Thirty-one volunteers, including 25 from southeast Idaho, spent five days providing free medical care to indigent Peruvians at the DeClercq Clinic in Huanuco in mid-October." A medical mission went to Peru to provide treatment to the poor. Also see Memories of Peru in which mission members give their own accounts of the experience.

SoccerWay Sulky Solano set for Newcastle recall: "[Midfielder Nolberto] Solano was angered at being left on the bench for the key first phase clash against Feyenoord and has been among the substitutes ever since after publicly complaining about his fate."

Forbes / Reuters Peru mulls new bond issue while mkts good-Toledo: "Peru on Monday placed $500 million of five-year bonds at a yield of 9.35 percent and a spread of 612 basis points over five-year U.S. Treasuries, its second successful issue this year." Peruvian bonds are a hot item on Wall Street. Who would have thought?

Zenit News Agency Cardinal Wants to Keep Peru's Door Closed to Abortion: "Last month the full Congress approved a change in Article 2 of the Constitution, which prohibits the death penalty, and points out specifically: 'abortion is prohibited but for the exception permitted by law.' ACI-press [Agencia Católica de Informaciones] explained that with this line, Peru not only would have the first Latin American Constitution that speaks of abortion, but also one that opens the door to the legalization of the procedure, since it does not define the scope of the exception."

News24 (South Africa) / DPA 'Doctor Sex' gives up: "Since then, Alvarez also has been accused in the death of Argentine night club dancer Carla Badaracco (31) who died of internal bleeding during plastic surgery to her nose. Alvarez was romantically involved with Badaracco at the time of her death."

Tuesday, November 26

Forbes / Reuters World Bank to lend $1 bln to Peru over 4 years: "He said the bank would shell out $920 million at the low end of expectations or $1 billion at the top end over the next four years to help Peru reach its goals of a fairer society."

Sunday, November 24 TechnoServe Helps Coffee Growers in Nicaragua and Peru to Connect with Specialty Markets: "In Peru on Thursday, November 21, Lamas Coffee S.A., a two-year-old coffee marketing business that TechnoServe helped to create, will inaugurate its new headquarters in Tarapoto. The recently constructed 2,625-square-foot building houses Lamas Coffee's administrative offices, a warehouse and dry-milling facilities. Lamas Coffee financed the building's construction with its own profits and with a bank loan backed by TechnoServe. The new plant is the first and only one in the region to have an excellent ventilation system, a quality-control laboratory, and enough space to transfer and rotate inventory."

Reuters Reading Between Lines, Peru Unravels Nasca Riddle: "Furthermore, his team's excavations of mounds covered over at the end of some of the trapezoids, and of tombs, turned up offerings such as fragments of orange spondylus shells that can be found in Ecuador during the El Nino weather phenomenon and which have been considered symbols of water and fertility in the Andes for thousands of years."

Forbes / Reuters World Bank says to fund Peru regions through Lima: "According to La Republica, Toledo said that new regional powers would need to demonstrate economic stability, work with civil society groups, and cooperate with Lima in order to access international funding. It was not clear whether the regions would be able to receive World Bank funds directly or exclusively through the central government."

NY Times As Andean Glaciers Shrink, Water Worries Grow: "Their disappearance, scientists now say, is nearly unavoidable and could lead to water shortages in places like Bolivia and Peru that depend on glaciers and the rain and snow that fall on the mountains for water for drinking, irrigating fields and generating electricity." I've seen a couple stories about melting Andean glaciers in the past two years. It's not something that's just dawned on people.

Friday, November 22

Pravda Huge Gas Extraction Project Threatens Rain Forests in Peru: "Why Peru is interested in destroying its richest biological area? This $1.45 billion project in its first stage will provide Peru with full energy independence and allow the country to pay off its $230 billion [sic] foreign debt through exports to the United States. The pipelines will cross the Andes Mountains and reach country's ports on the Pacific coast."

Wednesday, November 20

Political party brought out of a decade's shadow in Peru: "[Former president Alan] García said APRA will not become an anti-government bloc, despite its strength. The party won nearly all the departments, Peru's equivalent of U.S. states, along the coast, and in areas that traditionally have spurned the party. It carried the highland department of Ayacucho, where the Maoist Shining Path got its start in 1980, and Arequipa, Peru's second most important department." APRA is the only real organized politcal force in the country so it was bound to pick up on opposition to the government. We'll see if it has learned any lessons from its five years of incompetence during the Garcia administration.

Japan Today Fujimori says he wants to return to Peru: "Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori marked the second anniversary of his self-imposed exile in Japan on Tuesday with a vow to return to Peru." I think the reason that Fujimori's promise to run for the presidency again gets so much coverage is that it is so brazen that it grabs your attention. Fujimori is not going to get out of his current legal tangle in time for the 2006 elections. It took Garcia 10 years to ride out the judicial appeals following his presidency.

Washington Post Texas Firms Line Up U.S. Aid in Peru: "But officials reviewing the Camisea loan applications, who asked not to be identified, say the project is proceeding despite warnings that it may run afoul of international environmental standards. Independent reviews commissioned by project developers have also noted numerous problems, including fuel spills, unauthorized pipeline route diversions, and destructive erosion and landslides."

MSNBC / Reuters Peru captures notorious army death squad chief: "Maj. Santiago Martin Rivas was leader of the so-called Grupo Colina death squad. The unit was convicted of carrying out the grisly murders of 15 party-goers in the Barrios Altos district of Lima in 1991 and of killing nine students and their professor at La Cantuta university in 1992. He was arrested at his Lima home."

MSNBC / AP Peru high court orders new trial for No. 2 Shining Path rebel: "Constitutional tribune judge Delia Revoredo said Wednesday the 1979 constitution — in effect at the time of Iparraguirre's trial — did not allow civilians to be tried in military courts unless Peru was at war." Elena Iparraguirre was not No. 2 in Sendero. She was a personal aide to Abimael Guzman and his lover. The courts are starting to challenge anti-terrorism laws on constitutional grounds.

Tuesday, November 19

MSNBC / Reuters Peru's Toledo faces tug-of-war after regions vote: "Analysts said their chief worry was that the new regional leaders -- who could clamor for more anti-poverty spending or fight to preserve tax exemptions that cost the central government just under $1 billion a year -- could block Toledo's promises of strict fiscal discipline in step with market-friendly International Monetary Fund recommendations." This struggle for resources did not start happening under Toledo. It dates back to the earliest days of the Republic because Lima has always dominated the interior.

Monday, November 18

NY Times Her Long-Distance Connections Came Through: "That was when a path began to be worn between Lima and Lawrence. Every spring semester, Dr. Mayo headed north to chip away at a master's degree and then a doctorate in psychology, and every summer Dr. LeBlanc went south with a steadily increasing cadre of students and professors in tow. Dr. Mayo estimates that more than 300 people from the university have made the trip, often using tickets provided by American Airlines." An amazing story about working with autistic kids and adults in Lima. It just confirms that Peru is inhabited by a scattering of madmen (and madwomen) who undertake eye-opening endeavors under extremely adverse circumstances, and pull the whole thing off. Some day, I will put together a page of these giants in the Andes.

Washington Post / AP Peru Party Seeks to Reclaim Power for Native People: "The Llapansuyo party, which means "all regions" in Quechua, was founded in October by members of 17 Peruvian native groups -- including mountain dwellers like the Quechua, Aymara, Chanca and Wari, as well as the Ashaninka, Bora and Shipibo from the steamy jungle."

NY Times Opposition Party Makes Strong Showing in Peru Election: "Political independents, who had cast the central government as aloof and more keen on helping multinational companies than poor Peruvians, were leading in eight regions, and the traditional Union for Peru party won three. Officials of Mr. Toledo's Peru Possible party asserted this afternoon that it had won in two districts, but early results showed the party had only one victory."

Sunday, November 17

Boston Globe At polls today, an angry electorate: "But the good economic numbers haven't trickled down fast enough in the form of higher employment and improved social services. Critics also say Toledo has shown disorganized, indecisive leadership and a habit of promising more than he can deliver." Another pre-election analysis piece.

Miami Herald Brother is scapegoat for ex-chief Fujimori: "Santiago Fujimori also faces a long list of court cases linked to his brother's alleged misdeeds during a decade in power. The younger Fujimori is accused of helping plot the April 1992 palace coup when then-President Fujimori closed Congress, of covering up human rights violations, of manipulating the justice system, and of profiting from government malfeasance." In addition to relying on spy-master Montesinos for political manipulation, Alberto Fujimori relies on his family for key roles in the government and behind the scene. Prosecutors figure that if they can follow family members' tracks, they will eventually lead to evidence that could convict Fujimori himself.

St. Petersburg Times Peru plants seeds of self-sufficiency: "The first batch of seeds, which arrived in Kabul in late September, will be used to build new stock. "We don't want them to eat them," said Dr Enrique Chujoy, a plant geneticist at the CIP's Crop Improvement and Genetic Resources Department. "They are too valuable. They need to create their own stockpile of seed potatos to distribute to farmers," he added, saying it will take about three to five months for the first batch to produce new seed potatos." The International Potato Center, where I worked two years, comes to the rescue of Afghan agriculture.

MSNBC / Reuters Peru bids to empower poor regions in vote: "Politicians have clashed on what kind of powers new regional leaders should have, but all agree the task must be shouldered. Some 53 percent of Peru's gross domestic product comes from the seaside capital Lima, home to around a third of the 27 million population, while many in isolated provinces scrape out a living through subsistence agriculture."

MSNBC / Retuers At least 5 killed in Peru ferry accident: "Some 70 people were traveling on the rustic ferry headed from Pucallpa, some 470 miles (785 km) northeast of Lima, to Peru's biggest jungle city, Iquitos, a Navy official told Reuters, from Contamana, about three hours from the spot where the accident occurred. Most were heading to vote in Sunday's municipal and regional elections, he said."

Saturday, November 16

Forbes / Reuters Peru cement output up 7.4 percent yr/yr in October: "Economy Minister Javier Silva Ruete was quoted on Friday in the business newspaper Gestion as saying gross domestic product grew a preliminary 6.5 percent in September and that the Andean country should achieve 2002 growth of 4.2 percent, surpassing an earlier target of 3.7 percent." The economy continues to improve.

Morningstar / Retuers Mudslide kills mineworker: "In Peru, the mine's operators said Santos Leonardo Tantarico, 46, was killed while operating a bulldozer in the area of the mudslide. Two other workers were slightly injured. The incident happened while the workers were removing waste material and sediment from the bottom of a small lake which had been drained before production began in October last year." Life is tough in Andean mining.

NY Times Peruvian Leader's Party Fears Setback in Regional Voting: "Mr. Toledo's popularity had risen in a poll released last Sunday by Apoyo, a polling firm in Lima. His approval rating of about 23 percent was up from 11 percent earlier this year, but that was still among the lowest for a Latin American leader. The low ratings have grated on Mr. Toledo. He listed improvements for Peru under his watch, with economic growth for the year forecast at more than 3 percent, highest among Latin America's largest countries, a low inflation rate and steady reserves of $10 billion." Toledo like to be out on the stump. It's what got him into trouble in the first place.

PRNewsWire Takeover of Brewer may be overturned: "Empresas Polar (Polar), a minority shareholder in Backus, filed a complaint before the CONASEV alleging that Bavaria and Cisneros colluded to illegally take control of Backus. Drs. Lehn and Barry were retained to provide independent opinions about whether the transactions were likely to be an effort by Bavaria and Cisneros to acquire control of Backus." This may seem like an obscure story, but it deals with big bucks and control of one fo the most important companies in Peru.

Legal Advice

The International Red Cross Peru section has a compendium of articles and references that have appeared in the past. The most recent article is about several Peruvian law schools including humanitarian law in their curriculum. The Red Cross has also been working with the Peruvian police forces.

MSNBC / Reuters Peru regional polls -- a risk for Toledo, economy?: "Cerritelli said Sunday's vote to select 25 new regional governments, along with 1,828 mayors, could ''dilute'' Toledo's power base as the central government is forced to share power with regional authorities as never before. The vote is the first electoral test for Toledo, who took office in July 2001 pledging millions of jobs and revival of a lackluster economy. But complaints he has not made good on promises have soured his popularity to near 20 percent."

MSNBC / Reuters Peru police captain killed in clash with rebels: "Interior Minister Gino Costa said earlier there had been rebel incursions in three areas in recent days and Shining Path was threatening violence against locals who did not back a strike this weekend designed to disrupt the vote."

MSNBC / AP Peru truth commission exhumes remains of Shining Path massacre: "After guerrillas killed a handful of peasants in 1982, community self-defense groups known as ''ronderos'' began to fight back armed only with clubs and slingshots. In March 1983, a rondero patrol rounded up 10 guerrillas, marched them into Lucanamarca's central plaza and killed them, burning one man alive. Shining Path guerrillas retaliated the following month, shooting or hacking villagers to death with machetes. Guzman took credit for the massacre in 1988."

MSNBC / AP Election Pledge could backfire as Peru tries again to clip its capital's vast wings: "Polls and analysts predict that most of the departmental presidencies will be won by independents, but about one-third are expected to go to the populist Apristas led by charismatic former President Alan Garcia. Garcia plans another presidential bid in 2006, making the Aprista party's cooperation with the government doubtful."

Wednesday, November 13

International Herald Tribune Bush policy sells Amazon treasure down the river: "Once widely available throughout Central and South America, broadleaf mahogany has been harvested to the brink of commercial extinction in most of its former range. It now survives in significant quantity only in the Amazon, where it is under siege." So much for Bush's credentials as a conservative interested in conservation.

Reuters Alertnet Sowing promises, Toledo blitzes Peru before polls: "Toledo, denying he is electioneering, says he is just getting on with his job of improving the lot of the poor. But the national electoral board on Wednesday admonished his party for taking advantage of Toledo's travel to promote its candidates." Toledo knows how to stick his foot in his mouth.

Sunday, November 10

Back online

After a hectic week finishing up another course at UMUC, I am now reviewing Peruvian news. I hope to do a few additions over the next couple of weeks until classes start up again.

My San Antonio This time they're free: "Tom Connell, author of "America's Japanese Hostages," said the U.S. government and nearly a dozen Latin American countries, including Peru, together enabled the removal and internment of the Japanese. The 'benefit' was twofold: Peru was able to rid itself of an apparently hard-working population that had taken over entire industries there, and the United States was able to use them as human currency to exchange for prisoners of war from Japan." A dark page from U.S. and Peruvian history.

NY Times Museum's Goal: Save the World's Wild Places: "Just six months after their expedition, the researchers completed a vivid and richly illustrated report for the Peruvian government. Working with local conservation groups, they proposed that the entire area they had studied, a tract bigger than Connecticut known as the Cordillera Azul, be declared a national park." The environmental activism of a museum has an impact in Peru.

Reteurs Peru Devotes Museum to 'Tutankhamen of Americas': "The Lord of Sipan may have had it good when he died in the third century, but his new home in Peru's most modern museum -- to be inaugurated by President Alejandro Toledo on Friday -- could rival even the grandeur of his elaborate burial site." The mummy that put Peru on the cover of National Geographic deserves a worthy resting place.

Hampshire Gazette MarKamusic’s fusion purely Latino: "MarKamusic's fusion is purer and subtler. Rather than connecting South to North America with Afro-Caribbean drumming and electric guitars, this music is a lesson in an amazing variety of cultures that North Americans may all too easily lump together in one pile, probably with Ricky Martin sitting on top." A Peruvian making music in New England.

Editor and Publisher Peru Detains Suspect In Slaying Of Journalist: "Police captured Pedro Roberto Villacorta on Sunday in Tumbes, 625 miles northwest of Lima near the Ecuadorean border, police Lt. Armando Rodriguez told The Associated Press on Wednesday by telephone from Trujillo." More news about the killer of Todd Smith. See the article below for more information.

East Day (Asia) Fujimori again denies having secret bank accounts: "Peru's Ministry of Justice hired Kroll Associates to investigate Fujimori's suspected secret bank accounts abroad."

Tamp Tribune Rare Justice Emerges From Jungle: "In a country like Peru, where murder is commonplace and police resources are few, the arrest is nothing short of amazing, said one journalist who has worked in the country." I was not related to Todd Smith, but followed his death closely. I contributed an article to a memorial issue in the Tribune. His was a tragic death that might have been averted if he had practiced sound journalism -- and if the Peruvian war had not been so ruthless. Del Solar cleared of drugs charges: "After the doping charge was made public, Club Universitario de Deportes club doctor Jorge Alva said that, according to friends, Del Solar had drunk camomile tea before the test and that the positive result could have been explained by the fact that some brands on sale in Peru contained coca leaf." José del Solar was a fixture of the Peruvian national team for more than a decade. It's relief to know that his career is not going to be stained and he can continue his involvement with football (soccer).

Pittsburgh Business Times Alpacas offer golden fleece on Butler County farm: "The couple bought three alpacas, a number that in five years has quickly mushroomed to 60. Some of the new animals came by way of purchases the Fellers made, while the rest are crias — baby alpacas — that were born at Sunset Hills Farm, one of the state's 65 alpaca farms."

Daily Camera (Boulder, CO) Local businesses support Peruvian knitters, weavers: "Inspired by the weaving skills of the indigenous people living in the Andes Mountains, Linton started her own company — which she named E'Bella — to bring handmade rugs, pillows and other home accessories from Peru to the United States." Tales of cooperating between Andean women and US merchants.

CNN / Reuters Loophole may allow for ex-Peru leader's extradition: "Peru and Japan do not have an extradition treaty -- and Japan does not as a rule extradite its nationals anyway -- but Calderon told El Comercio newspaper that she had been checking the legislation and had concluded that 'extradition is possible.'" More jockeying to get Fujimori out of Japan.

Saturday, November 2

Reuters AlertNet Peruvian experts say El Nino "not all bad": "Experts argue that El Nino has been an occasional visitor to Peru for thousands, perhaps millions, of years, and is a key factor behind the high productivity of Peruvian waters. 'El Nino may actually be necessary in the long run to maintain the extreme productivity of the marine ecosystem,' Bakun said."

SF Examiner Perusing Peruvian: "Helado de Lucuma ($3.50), a burnt-orange-colored, caramel-flavored ice cream imported from Peru, has haunting tropical overtones and makes for a refreshing dessert." Peruvian restaurants in the Bay area -- devotion to flavors and savors.

Friday, November 1

iWon / Reuters Peru Finds Pre-Inca Ruins Beneath Lake Titicaca: "But Villavicencio said the discoveries -- made in the past two weeks by a team of navy divers and oceanographic experts -- were not the vestiges of a lost underwater world. 'There are studies that show that the lake used to be ... around 66 to 98 feet lower, and that was where ancient Peruvians built,' he said."

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