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Monday, February 17

Miami Herald / AP Peruvian city bustles below volcano: "Hundreds of thousands of people settling in the path of inevitable disaster have gone largely unnoticed in Peru, where ignoring safety precautions is the norm. Peruvians have become morbidly accustomed to tragedies like the deaths of almost 300 people just over a year ago in a blaze at an unregulated fireworks market in Lima, the capital." Arequipa's risks are probably smaller than most other Andean urban centers. Volcano erruptions are less frequent than landslides, mudslides and flooding.

Sunday, February 16

MSNBC / AP Peru to review military court's terror sentences: "Some 410 cases will be turned over to a new national terrorism court that will decide whether the detainees will receive new civilian trials or be set free. The military courts have 10 days to send the 410 files to the civilian National Terrorism Court. That court's president, Pablo Talavera, said the files represent more than 700 people." Another stress load to weigh on the Peruvian court system.

Forbes / Reuters Peru telecom regulator extends rates deadline: "The basic monthly fee of 60 soles ($17) for fixed telephone service became a hot political issue after Congress last month passed a bill that would have eliminated the charge. President Alejandro Toledo vetoed the bill, saying that it was unconstitutional and would have sent a bad signal to investors. Telefonica then proposed lowering the rate by 31 percent but also said that it would eliminate the 60 free minutes." The phone bill has turned into a real soap opera.

Forbes / Reuters Peru says economy grew 5.2 pct in 2002: "Peru's economy, which has
turned around after a four-year slump to become one of the fastest growing in Latin America, grew 5.2 percent in 2002, compared with growth of 0.2 percent in 2001, the government said on Friday." Confirming the good news about the economy.

Reteurs Film opens Peru's eyes on corrupt legacy: "But when "Eyes That Don't See," by leading Peruvian director Francisco Lombardi, premieres on Thursday, the scandal's ill-fated stars will see caricatures of themselves -- if not their names -- in lights." Limbardi has been Peru's most accomplished film maker.

MSNBC / Reuters Peru drug czar says US needs to reconsider aid cut: "U.S. anti-drugs support for Peru is set to fall to $116 million by 2004 compared to $135 million in 2003. In 2004, Colombia will receive $573 million from Washington. Ericsson spoke after Peru slammed a new U.S. report that singled it out along with its Andean neighbor Bolivia for lax efforts in fighting illegal drugs."

San Diego Union / AP Peru's fallen spymaster prepares for trial with a bag of tricks: "With one of the many trials he faces scheduled to begin Tuesday and another Friday, Peruvians are hoping they'll finally get to see Montesinos squirm as he begins to answer to some of the 60-plus charges that include corruption, drug trafficking, arms dealing and running a death squad." It will be the court show of the century -- the OJ Simpson trial of Peru.

MSNBC / AP Former Peru lawmaker gets six years for taking bribe: "A special anti-corruption court Wednesday found Alberto Kouri guilty of accepting a $15,000 bribe in exchange for switching party alliances to guarantee that Fujimori would have a congressional majority." The first of many convictions arising out of the Fujimori-Montesinos regime.

Tuesday, February 11

Peruvian Art

For those in the Washington, DC area, the Peruvian Embassy and the Galeria Santa Isabelle will be hosting an exhibit of contemporary Peruvian artists from February 14 to February 28, between 9 AM and 5 PM. An opening reception is to be held on Friday at 6:30 AM. More information is available at Galeria Santa Isabelle's website. There are ten artists, all painters.

I have big stakes in this exhibit -- my wife will be showing one of her paintings. This is the first time that he's shown her work in the States so I am sure that the next couple of days with be tense at home.

Wednesday, February 5

Guardian / AP Peace Corps Resumes Work in Peru: "The current batch of 28 volunteers will work on small business development and community health projects in coastal and mountain regions across Peru, a nation about the size of Alaska. President Alejandro Toledo, who benefited from the program decades ago, invited the corps back to Peru in December 2001."

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