Peru: Morning News Roundup – Thursday February 14

Peru Congress ratifies contested tourism development law, residents threaten protests

Peru’s Congress on Wednesday ratified a contested tourism development law whose critics say will put the Andean nation’s rich archeological heritage at risk. The legislation would ease restrictions on private development near archeological and historic sites, opening the way for new hotels and restaurants. Lawmakers pushed to repeal the provisions after an earlier vote, but Congress instead confirmed it. It was not clear whether President Alan Garcia would sign the measure into law. Regional government officials in Cuzco, home to many ancient Inca sites, including Peru’s top tourist destination Machu Picchu, said they were planning an indefinite strike against the law starting Friday. Last week, residents in the ancient Inca capital of Cuzco in Peru’s southern Andes burned tires and blocked roads and public transportation in protest of the law, which they said threatened to their cultural heritage. The protest prompted PeruRail, the only train to Machu Picchu — ruins of a citadel built in the 1400s — to suspended service. (AP – click here to read complete article)

Peru wants to list shares of state-run companies

Many of Peru’s state-owned companies could list on Lima’s stock exchange under a plan to develop local capital markets and allow private funds to invest in state-run companies, the finance ministry said on Wednesday. About three dozen companies with combined annual revenue of more than $6 billion could list minority stakes and be required to hire independent board directors under the plan. Stakes of between 20 percent and 30 percent in each company could be sold, depending on which companies generate interest among investors, the ministry said. If approved, the plan might allow for the biggest offering of public companies since a wave of full-scale privatizations in the 1990s. "We’ve sent a bill to Congress that is awaiting approval that would allow private investors to buy shares in state companies," a spokesman for Finance Minister Luis Carranza told Reuters. (Reuters – click here to read complete article by Terry Wade)

Peru Probes US Meddling

Peruvian parliamentarians from different trends on Wednesday called to investigate denunciations against the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) for interfering in local judicial power and other instances. The statement was made after local press revealed the DEA funds Maynas’ attorney Luz Loayza, who said she refuses to comply with the order of her superiors to leave Lima and go back to her office due to death threats. Parliamentarian Karina Beteta, from UPP (Union for Peru Group), demanded to limit DEA functions and thwart any interference by the agency in the Public Ministry and other instances. She added the case must be investigated, and if DEA meddling is corroborated, it must stop operations in Peru for endangering national sovereignty. (Prensa Latina – click here to read complete article)

September memo reveals Peru concessions

Some previously undisclosed terms of a memorandum of understanding between Yale and the government of Peru over ancient Inca artifacts represent more significant concessions from Peru than were apparent in the summary of the memorandum released last September. Those concessions — detailed in a copy of the memorandum obtained by the News this week — could be contributing to political disagreement within Peru that has delayed by more than three months a final agreement about the fate of the artifacts, which were excavated from Machu Picchu by Yale explorer Hiram Bingham III almost a century ago. The memorandum, which was drafted and signed when a delegation from Peru visited New Haven in September, outlines the intention that any future legal action regarding the artifacts will be subject to Connecticut law and adjudicated by the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. In perhaps a bolder stroke, the memorandum also dictates that the Peruvian government “shall release Yale from any legal claims to the Materials resulting from prior circumstances.” (Yale Daily News – click here to read complete article by Paul Needham)

HSBC Sees Having 28 Offices In Peru By Year End – Report

HSBC Holdings PLC (HBC) plans to have some 28 offices open in Peru by the end of this year, HSBC’s chief executive Michael Geoghegan told newspaper El Comercio. In an interview published Wednesday, Geoghegan said that the bank also expects to open 15 more offices each year starting in 2009. "This year we will end with 28 offices, and each year we will open 15 more from 2009," he said. "We don’t rule out that further ahead we could consider some process of buying a financial institution, but for now we are focused on moving forward with our own resources," he was quoted as saying. The expansion heightens the competition in Peru’s banking sector, which is undergoing a boom tied to the country’s robust economic growth. Peru’s banking system has gained increased attention recently from foreign investors, including Canada’s Bank of Nova Scotia, (BNS) which now runs the third-largest bank in Peru, and Mexico’s Banco Azetca, part of Grupo Elektra. (Dow Jones – click here to see article by Robert Kozak)

Splendid Featherwork Of Ancient Peru At Metropolitan Museum

An unprecedented exhibition of luxury items from ancient Peru, embellished with brilliantly colored feathers of Amazonian rainforest birds, will go on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on February 26. Bringing together more than 70 works from public and private collections in the United States and the Metropolitan’s own holdings – many of which have never been displayed before – Radiance from the Rain Forest: Featherwork in Ancient Peru will explore the more than 2,000-year-old tradition of sophisticated feather-working that prospered in ancient Peru. (HULIQ – click here to read complete article)

Copa Libertadores: Peru’s San Martin and Bolognesi feature in excellent debuts

Peru’s Universidad de San Martin stunned River Plate 2-0 in its Copa Libertadores debut on Wednesday. In another positive result for another Peru first-timer, Clausura champion Bolognesi held 1981 Copa winner Flamengo to 0-0. Also, Brazil’s Cruzeiro cruised past Bolivia’s Real Potosi 3-0, and Brazil’s Santos was held to a scoreless draw by Colombian host Cucuta. San Martin, unfazed by River Plate’s reputation and two Copa championships, scored in the 14th minute through Paraguayan Roberto Ovelar, then Jose Diaz capped a sensational night for Peru’s Apertura winner by doubling the lead a minute into injury time. "We played against River with all we had," Ovelar said. "We went into this game like a final and it brought us results." (AP – click here to read complete article)