Peru: Morning News Roundup – Thursday February 28

Unmarked graves haunt Peru despite Fujimori trial

Far from the high-profile human rights trial of former President Alberto Fujimori, scientists are trying to match DNA samples with bones dug from unmarked graves to identify thousands of victims of Peru’s civil war. Fujimori is charged with ordering the deaths of 25 people but nearly 70,000 people were killed or disappeared during the war, and the worst violence was in the decade before he took power in 1990. Some Peruvians say Fujimori’s trial is now drawing attention from the work of identifying war victims and allowing their families to give them proper burials. "Corruption and human rights abuses started long before Fujimori," said Jose Pablo Baraybar, an anthropologist who heads a forensics team that swabbed dozens of cheeks this week to get DNA samples from families of Peru’s disappeared. (Reuters – click here to read complete article by Dana Ford)

Prisoners sing in Peru version of "American Idol"

"Bad Luck," "Free Like the Wind," and "Waltz of the Prisoner" were top crowd pleasers as convicts faced off at a prison in Lima to sing in the Peruvian underworld’s version of the popular TV show "American Idol." Augusto Flores won first prize for a song he wrote called "Your Visit," about waiting for news from his family and friends. He won a guitar, a trophy and a pair of shoes. Winners of "American Idol" competitions, which gives ordinary people a chance at stardom, win recording contracts and global fame. Not all of the contestants made it to the finals of the "Melodies of Freedom" competition, billed as a settling of scores between a dozen convicts from prisons across Peru’s biggest city. Juan Jose Gutierrez, under house arrest after being released on parole, sent in a choppy music video. Promoters jazzed it up by flanking the screen with psychedelic lights and a smoke machine. (Reuters – click here to read complete article)

Off to Peru; Notre Dame headed to Yancana Huasy school in Conta Grande

Notre Dame College School students will soon be destined for Peru, where they will help children with disabilities by assembling wheelchairs. For more than 20 years, Notre Dame has supported the Yancana Huasy school through its annual pilgrimage. The school, located in Conta Grande, is for students with developmental and physical disabilities. "It’s a pretty poor community," said school chaplain Stephanie Jarrett. "The students are looked at as a burden and rejected by the community. Yancana provides therapy, assistance …" For one week, the nine students will be in Conta Grande assisting Yancana students by assembling a shipment of wheelchairs, as well as helping families make their homes more accessible for when their children get their new equipment. A second week will be a bigger adventure. Students will fly to Cusco and take a four-day trek through the mountains. They will spend three days exploring the rain forest, said Jarrett. (The Tribune – click here to read complete article by Maggie Riopelle)

CM students spend their vacation in Peru

A dozen Catholic Memorial students and two teachers took a few last steps up the ancient stone staircase that led up the mountain from the remote, nearly inaccessible village of Aguas Calientes below on a morning last week. A rainbow formed in the valley nearby between two 15,000-foot peaks. What they saw as they reached the top took their breaths away as it has for so many thousands of pilgrims. It was the ancient city in the clouds of Machu Picchu. As the first Catholic Memorial group to make such a momentous journey to that holy Incan mountaintop, this group got more than it bargained for. Deciding to spend their February vacation in service and in immersion in Peru’s culture, politics and places, these students logged 10,000 miles on planes, trains, buses, taxis and foot. (Wicked Local – click here to read complete article by Joe McGonegal)

Copa Libertadores: Brazil’s Flamengo defeats Peru’s Cienciano 2-1

Reserve striker Marcinho scored with two minutes left to give Flamengo an unexpectedly hard 2-1 victory over Peru’s Cienciano and the lead in Copa Libertadores Group 4 on Wednesday. Unbeaten Flamengo has 4 points, one more than Cienciano and Uruguay’s Nacional. Peru’s Bolognesi trails with 1. Flamengo, playing before a raucous hometown crowd at Maracana, smothered Cienciano with an aggressive offense and created numerous scoring chances. But the Peruvians packed the defense, clogged the middle and held Flamengo scoreless in the early going. The visitors had the best early chance, when striker Gustavo Vassallo picked up a rebound on a free kick and fired a right-footer across the goalmouth, forcing Flamengo goalkeeper Bruno to make a diving save in the far corner. (AP – click here to read complete article)