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Friday, January 31

Telegraph (UK) Truck tyres erase Peru's land lines of the ancients: "From the air, the scale of the devastation is inescapable. Vehicle tracks have created lanes that bisect the lines, goats and sheep graze amid them, and the Pan-American Highway dissects one of the largest images, a giant lizard. The very fact which has enabled the lines to survive - the almost total absence of rain in one of the driest of deserts - means that any new marks also remain for posterity, as there is no climatic reason for them to be erased."

Yale Shows Off Hiram Bingham

Machu Picchu: Unveiling the Mystery of the Incas is an exhibit at the Peabody Museum until May 4. It makes use of the some of the 11,000 photographs taken during the expedition to Machu Picchu between 1911 and 1915. There will be a more elaborate site put up soon. The exhibit was unveiled on January 26. So if you're near New Haven, Connecticut, stop by.

CNN / AP Peru investigating sea lion slaughter: "The sea lions' sex organs were cut off, apparently taken to be dried and ground into a powder used as an aphrodisiac in Asia, Fabiola Morales, who heads congress's environmental commission, said Wednesday."

iWon / Reuters Peru vetoes law eliminating monthly telephone fee: "The draft law, passed by Congress in December, had triggered a dispute between advocates of a cheaper telephone service in this poor nation and those who argued the government could not renege on the terms of a contract it signed in 1994 with Telefonica del Peru, controlled by Spain's Telefonica." With the way that the telecom industry is internationally, Telefonica is going to fight for every cent that it can get.

Tuesday, January 28

Yahoo / Reuters Peru's Toledo Names New Interior Minister: "Alberto Zanabria, a deputy transport minister who is a member of Toledo's Peru Posible party, was appointed less than an hour after the interior minister, Gina Costa, stepped down."

Sunday, January 26

NY Times 'The White Rock': The Quest for an Incan Ruin: "Toward the end of this engrossing book, Thomson attempts to summarize the allure the Incas offer to the 21st century and the attractive essence of Peru itself. What, he asks himself (and us), is it that we hope to find here that may not be on offer anywhere else? He believes that Peru is one of the last places where we can satisfy a deeply primitive need to discover the unknown, an opportunity that is partly created by what a Peruvian friend describes as 'the wonderful but impossible geography of the country.' But the haunting memory of the Incas and the vibrant traces of their civilization are also prime factors in this proposition. The Incas were, Thomson points out, one of the last people to have reached an extremely sophisticated level of autonomy before they were discovered by Europeans. As such, they take on a quasi-religious significance, fulfilling 'a need for the unfathomable and incomprehensible.'"

Friday, January 24

MSNBC / AP Peru court sentences ex-attorney general to 10 years on corruption charges: "The court late Thursday found former Attorney General Blanca Nelida Colan guilty of charges including cover-up of a crime and illicit enrichment, mostly involving cases related to Montesinos. Prosecutors said she illegally received $10,000 a month from Montesinos, failed to show how she paid for a $750,000 house and shelved an investigation into a bribery case involving the ex-spy boss."

Thursday, January 23

BBC Human cost of Peru's war 'higher': "Although these revised figures are some 50% higher than previously estimated, the commission's head says they may fall short of the true numbers of people killed or who disappeared between 1980 and 2000." While it is conceivable that many deaths went unregistered during the years of violence, it's hard to conceive of them being so numerous -- 45,000 without human rights groups or the Catholic Church noticing the missing bodies.

Tuesday, January 21

MSNBC / Reuters Approval of Peru's Toledo rises to 30 pct: "The survey, conducted in the capital by pollster Apoyo Opinion y Mercado on Friday and Saturday, showed Toledo's disapproval rating standing at 59 percent, three percentage points lower than in December. Eleven percent of those polled were undecided or failed to respond."

Sunday, January 19

iWon / Reuters Peru November GDP grows 5.9 pct-official: "INEI also said in a report that the gross domestic product grew 4.8 percent from January to November of last year." Peru stands out in the region for its economic growth.

MSNBC / Reuters Peru keeps life term for terror; parole possible: "The law, published in the official gazette, maintains life sentences for serious terrorism-related crimes but allows for the possibility of parole after 35 years. It also establishes maximum sentences of 25, 30 and 35 years for various crimes." No Peruvian politician is going to go soft on terrorism.

LA Times Peru Begins Revision of Anti-Terrorism Measures: "Decree 25880, for example, made it "treason to the fatherland" for a teacher or professor to speak in favor or defense of terrorism. The sentence for violating the decree: life in prison. That decree was one of four overturned by Peru's Constitutional Tribunal." Just one example of several Draconian laws to fight terrorism. It was not just the laws, but their interpretation by military prosecutors and judges. Speaking out against local abuses could become treason. (Registration is required, but free.)

Saturday, January 11

Guardian Peru tourism back on track: "The train route, due to reopen on 17 April, reaches a high point of 4,829 metres at Ticlio, and passes through Galera, the highest station in the world, at 4,781m above sea level." The train ride over the Andes is spectacular. I did it 25 years ago and still remember the views.

Washington Post Plane Wreckage Found On Mountain in Peru: "Pieces of the TANS airliner were scattered over an area 1,300 feet wide and about 1,600 feet below the peak of the mountain, Transportation Minister Javier Reategui said." The outcome that most people expected.

Friday, January 10

NY Times / Reuters Peruvian Jetliner Carrying 46 People Feared Down in Jungle: "Mr. Belevan said the aircraft was traveling from the coastal city of Chiclayo to Chachapoyas, about 390 miles north of Lima. Chachapoyas is often visited by tourists traveling to Kuelap, a mountain citadel predating the Spanish conquest of the Americas."

Thursday, January 9

NY Times Study Looks at Squatters and Land Titles in Peru "Preliminary studies by the Peruvian government have not found much evidence that access to credit has increased for families that gained titles. But Ms. Field notes that increased access to credit may come at a later stage, as has been the case for government loans for housing materials. The irony may be that although title reform has been touted as a boon for capital markets, at least in the short run its greatest benefit is in the labor market for poor workers."

Wednesday, January 8

Yahoo / AP Group to appeal Peru high court's anti-terrorism decision: "Fajardo said the court did not observe recommendations from the OAS' Inter-American Court of Human Rights against the use of testimony by police officers without allowing their cross examination in an open trial."

Guardian / AP Peru's President Gains Terrorism Powers: "Peru's Congress granted President Alejandro Toledo special powers Wednesday to create new anti-terrorism laws, days after a court struck down tough decrees passed in the early 1990s to fight rebel insurgencies. Toledo asked for the powers night in a national address Tuesday night aimed at assuring Peruvians that imprisoned rebels would not be freed."

Tuesday, January 7

NY Times / Reuters Peru's Leader Says Ruling Doesn't Open Prison Gates: "Seeking to reform those Draconian laws — which created secret military trials run by hooded judges, for example — the court overturned a clause that allowed rebels to be tried for treason, and declared life sentences unconstitutional. The ruling caused an outcry across Peru, which remains wary of lenient treatment of guerrillas and is still nursing its wounds from a long, violent struggle, which lasted from 1980 to the late 1990's."

Saturday, January 4

NY Times / Reuters Top Peru Court Throws Out Stringent Antiterror Laws: "The 60-page ruling was in response to a petition from 5,000 people, mostly relatives of detainees, calling for four of Mr. Fujimori's laws to be declared unconstitutional. Full details are to be released after the court notifies the petitioners and Congress. The court president, Javier Alva Orlandini, said the ruling brought Peru fully in line with international human rights requirements." Looks like the courts are going to be busy for the next few years.

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