At harvest time in the highland village of Paucho, the first crop of potatoes are baked in a hole in the ground covered with hot rocks, in a ceremony called Watia – a homage to Pacha Mama, or Mother Earth.
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Peruvians are very proud of their potatoes

For thousands of years, the potato has been the staple diet of the people of the Andes.

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It was first cultivated on the

Altiplano of modern-day Peru and Bolivia, and Peru still has some 2,800 varieties of potato, more than any other country.

Like many people, I took the humble spud for granted, but after the launch of the UN Year of the Potato in Ayacucho in the Peruvian Andes, I am repentant at my lack of reverence for the third biggest food staple in the world.

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Boost consumption

I have never seen a vegetable invoke such high passions and poetry.

It was the theme for a seamless succession of carnival floats, colourful costumes, and traditional dance and music. All this was punctuated by cries of “la papa es Peruana” – “the potato is Peruvian”, just in case anyone forgot.

Despite this, consumption of the potato in Peru has dropped to half that of many European countries, with many Peruvians turning to rice or bread.

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Many potato-producing communities are very poor

But internationally high food prices, especially wheat – 80% of which is imported in Peru – are causing hardship for the country’s poor, who make up almost half the population.

Peru’s agriculture minister, Ismael Benavides, says the native potato is the answer.

The government is trying to boost its consumption by encouraging more people to eat bread baked with potato flour, starting with schoolchildren and prisoners.

“When I went to the UN in October to launch the International Year of the Potato somebody from an Eastern European country, Ukraine I think, said to me ‘I didn’t realise that potatoes came from Peru’. That showed me that we had to claim our place,” Mr Benavides said at the festival.

“The potato is very important in the diet worldwide and in this age of rising commodity prices… a number of countries, such as China and India, are looking to double or triple their production.”

Marketing tactics

Can Peru benefit from this projected surge in consumption?

“The paradox that we find today is that it is precisely those communities which have developed and given the world the potato are some of the poorest communities in the Andean chain,” says Pamela Anderson, director of the International Potato Centre, based in Lima.

“So part of what we do at the International Potato Centre is to take the native potato and really begin seriously and systematically marketing it, so that these small, poor farmers can use the native potato as a pathway out of poverty.”

The International Potato Centre is working with the government to drive the internal consumption of native potatoes, which come in a rich variety of colours, shapes and flavours.

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The idea is not only to help poor rural communities, but also the 70% of Peru’s population that lives in urban centres.

“The price of bread has gone up and I just don’t have the money to buy it as I used to,” says Hermelinda Azurin, who supports her two daughters working as a maid in Lima.

“A kilo of potato bread is 3.4 soles ($1.16) whereas normal bread has gone up to 5.40 soles ($1.84) in my neighbourhood. A kilo of potatoes is just 70 centimos ($0.23). Nowadays we eat potatoes every day in my family.”

The Peruvian government is also looking at exporting native potatoes. They are exotic-looking, organic and have vitamins and amino acids that regular white potatoes do not have.

“We feel the quality of this product should have a market abroad, especially as we are opening markets with the US, Canada and we hope soon with the European Union,” says Mr Benavides.

“These would fall under what is called fair trade, so we feel there’s great opportunities for these potatoes, native in particular.”

‘Infinite variety’

But it is precisely those new markets and free trade deals which many Peruvian farmers believe will mean they will have to compete unfairly with agricultural imports.

Mario Tapia, an agronomist who specialises in Andean crops, says a lack of investment in infrastructure is one part of the problem.

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Colourful potatoes are seen as a gastronomic treat abroad

“The potato yields are not so high because there is not high investment in the production, so to compete with farmers who have subsidies in their own countries will not be fair for those farmers in the highlands,” he says.

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With or without an export market, the government plans to boost the internal potato market and give technical assistance to the 1.8m potato growers in Peru.

In the gastronomic world, the native potato has enthusiastic advocates.

Peruvian restaurateur Isabel Alvarez says its “infinite variety of colours, textures, shapes and flavours” has prompted positive reactions in Europe.

“The potato is a world in itself, and it is a gastronomic world which we’ve only begun to explore,” she says.

With gastronomic plaudits and its spiritual place in Andean culture assured, the question remains: can Peru’s gift to the world now be used to help those who gave it to us in the first place?

* By Dan Collyns (BBC News, Ayacucho, Peru)

Meet Jorge Fernandez Gates

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At only 18 years of age, Jorge Fernandez Gates can speak, read and write in 11 foreign languages. They are not all related languages either. Some already under his belt include Mandarin Chinese, Catalan, Galician, English, French, German, Swedish, Romanian, Italian, Portuguese, and Dutch.

Not only that, but Jorge only started learning foreign languages a little over 5 years ago, which means he’s been “picking up” a foreign lingo at the rate of two foreign languages per year. His goal is to get into the Guinness Book of Records by mastering at least 25 foreign languages.

Already recognized as the “youngest polyglot in Peru”, in several interviews given primarily in his native Spanish, he discusses some techniques he (and you) can use to develop fluency in whatever foreign language you’re striving to acquire.

He says, “For me, foreign language learning is a hobby, I can’t control it, at any moment I could open a dictionary to look up a new word for my vocabulary.”

His principal ally in the quest to master enough foreign languages to make the Guinness Book of Records is the internet which he credits with up to 70% of his foreign language learning success.

He cites in particular Radio Bucharest online at: (http://www.multilingualbooks.com/online-radio.html) that features both live and pre-recorded radio programming in 38 European and Asian languages as well as 18 African continental languages, and online language courses as aids in helping him to familiarize himself with foreign languages.

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Other tactics he has frequently employed include:

– Talking with the staff in ethnic restaurants
– Watching television programs in or about target languages
– Using the radio as a key listening and comprehension development resource “to help accustom your ear to the pronunciation of the language”
– Using the internet to listen and study foreign languages

A major concern he has had was that “one day his brain would explode” from the constant linguistic input or that he would linguistically get “his wires crossed” and become totally confused. A neurologist he consulted assured him that “there are no limits” to the brain’s capacity to take in and store knowledge.

Jorge Fernandez gives these “keys” as essential to his linguistic accomplishments:

– Learn the foreign language grammar “forwards and backwards”
– Acquire a basis vocabulary of high-frequency words and phrases
– Never stop augmenting new vocabulary in your new language – He tries to learn at least two new words each day
– Practice your new language with friends, language teachers or whomever you can regularly

And just what started it all?

“I’m not a good student and as punishment my Mother decided to take away my cell phone and prohibited me from chatting online. I couldn’t go out, so to keep from spending the entire day sleeping I enrolled in a French course.” Then things began to change for him. “I liked it and decided to take Italian too.” He later discovered a course in Romanian on the internet and “loved it”.

To “prove” his language abilities, family members have gone with him to Chinese restaurants to have him converse with the cook and contacted TV programs and foreign language professors to verify his linguistic skills in other languages.

So began the linguistic journey of Jorge Fernandez Gates. So as not to create a “Babel” in his brain, he restricts himself to “calmly learning only two languages” at a time per year. You can listen to journalist Rosa Maria Palacios do a 26 minute video interview with him (in Spanish) on his language-learning adventures at: http://www.youtube.com/

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free. For more information on entering or advancing in the fascinating field of teaching English as a Foreign or Second Language send for his no-cost pdf Ebook, “If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know”, by sending an e-mail with “free ELT Ebook” in the subject line. For comments, questions, requests, to receive more information or to be added to his free TESOL articles and teaching materials mailing list, e-mail: lynchlarrym@gmail.com

As Peru’s most celebrated writer and a onetime contender for the country’s presidency, you have written a surprisingly sentimental novel, “The Bad Girl” — a love story narrated by a bookish Peruvian who moves to Paris and devotes 40 years to pursuing a woman he first met in high school. Ricardo is a translator, which is a reflection of his temperament. He’s an intermediary. He has not much personality, and in his life there is only one adventure: the bad girl. Without her, his life is very mediocre, curtailed, without much horizon.

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Yes, he lacks ambition. Well, his ambition is the bad girl!

Do you admire him? I admire most the bad girl.

Why is that? She is cold and opportunistic, a gold digger who winds up marrying businessmen in France, England and Japan without feeling an ounce of affection for any of them. I think she is more complicated than that. Look where she comes from.

She comes from a social background in which life is a kind of jungle, a place in which if you want to survive, you become an animal. She has been trained to be a kind of fighting animal, and she fights.

Do you know any bad girls? Yes. Several. Absolutely. In Peru, there are many, but also in France and in Spain. There are a lot of bad girls in America too.

No. That’s just wrong. We don’t have bad girls here. You have been secluded in Manhattan all your life, but go to California, and you will see bad girls.

Let’s talk about your brief and futile stint in politics. You ran for the presidency of Peru in 1990 and lost to Alberto Fujimori, who just last month was thrown into jail in Lima after being extradited from Chile. I am very happy, of course. It’s an example for the future. He was a horrible dictator. He killed so many people; he stole so much money; he committed the most atrocious human-rights abuses.

You ran against him on a free-market platform styled after the conservatism of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. I am in favor of economic freedom, but I am not a conservative.

Did you ever meet President Reagan? Once. I said to him, Mr. President, I admire many things that you do, but I cannot accept that for you the most important American writer is Louis L’Amour. How is this possible?

In addition to fiction, you have written a substantial body of drama and literary criticism, including an appreciation of Gabriel García Márquez, from whom you later became estranged. I don’t talk about that. I don’t talk about García Márquez, that’s all.

Compared with his magic realism, your style is more rooted in sprawling, panoramic narratives of the 19th-century novel. My God! I hope this is true. The apogee of the novel was in the 19th century, with Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Melville and Dickens.

Like a character in a Victorian novel, you’re married to your first cousin. I fell in love with her. The fact that she was my cousin was not taken into consideration.

Your first wife was the sister-in-law of your uncle and supposedly the inspiration for your comic novel “Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter.” What does all this family romance signify? We would need a psychoanalyst to find out, but I am not in favor of psychoanalysis. So the mystery will prevail.

What do you have against psychoanalysis? It’s too close to fiction, and I don’t need more fiction in my life. I love stories, and my life is principally concentrated on stories, but not with a pretense of scientific precision.

Might you ever write your autobiography? Only if I reach 100 years old will I write a very complete autobiography. Not before.

* Questions for Mario Vargas Llosa. Interview by DEBORAH SOLOMON (New York Times; Oct. 2007)

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Yale University has agreed to return to Peru thousands of Inca relics that were excavated at Machu Picchu. (Images courtesy of Yale Peabody Museum)

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The relics were excavated from 1911-15 by a Yale history professor, Hiram Bingham.

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During three trips to Machu Picchu, Bingham dug up thousands of objects, including mummies, ceramics and bones. (Image: Michael Marsland/Yale University)

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In 2003 the artefacts went on display in a touring exhibition and the Peruvian government launched negotiations to get them back.

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In 2006 Peru threatened to take the case before a US court, saying it had agreed to the objects’ removal only on condition they would be returned.

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Under the agreement Yale and Peru will co-sponsor a travelling expedition of the collection.

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The Incas ruled Peru from the 1430s until the arrival of the Spaniards in 1532.

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They built stone-block cities and roads, and developed a highly organized society that extended from modern-day Colombia to Chile.

· BBC set. 2007
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Wednesday, September 19, 2007
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Scientists doubt that the supposed meteorite strike that sickened some 200 residents of Peru over the weekend actually involved anything from space.
Based on reports of fumes emanating from the crater, some scientists actually suspect that the event could have been some kind of geyser-like explosion rather than a meteorite impact.
“Statistically, it’s far more likely to have come from below than from above,” said Don Yeomans, head of the Near Earth Object Program at NASA’S Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

The noxious fumes that have supposedly sickened curious locals who went to examine the crater would seem to indicate hydrothermal activity, such as a local gas explosion, because “meteorites don’t give off odors,” Yeomans told SPACE.com.

Skepticism warranted
Several times in recent history, reports of meteorite impacts have turned out to be untrue after scientific examination. Doubt in the scientific community was as rampant Wednesday as the speculations out of Peru.
Details surrounding the incident are also increasing experts’ skepticism.

“Many of the reported features of the crater (“boiling water,” sulphurous fumes, etc.) point to a geological mechanism of the crater formation,” wrote Benny Peiser, a social anthropologist at Liverpool John Moores University in England, in a daily newsletter that catalogues research and media coverage of space rock impacts and other threats to humanity.

“I would not be surprised if, after careful analysis,” he added, “the alleged meteorite impact reveals itself to be just another ‘meteorwrong.'”

It’s not impossible that the crater was left by a meteorite, Yeomans said, but if so, then the impact object most likely was small, based on the size of the crater.

It would also probably have been a metal meteorite, because those are the only kind of small meteorites that don’t burn up as they plummet through Earth’s atmosphere, he added. Small stony meteorites rarely make it to the surface.

A couple features of the event reports suggest there was a space rock involved, said geophysicist Larry Grossman of the University of Chicago.

The bright streak of light and loud bangs seen and heard by locals are consistent with a meteor streaking through Earth’s atmosphere, he said. Most meteors do burn up, never becoming meteorites (which is what they’re called if they reach the surface).

Because no one actually saw anything impact at the crater site, it’s hard to say whether a space rock was involved because they are often deceptive as to where they will land.

Many times, people swear a meteor landed nearby when in fact it was so far away that it dipped below the local horizon but never actually struck the ground.

“Sometimes these things land hundreds of thousands of miles away from where [people] think they will land,” Grossman said.
Investigation needed Pictures of the crater show that the hole in the ground appears fresh, Grossman said, and the debris strewn around it is consistent with a meteorite impact but also could have been caused by digging.

And there are no previous reports of noxious fumes emanating from meteorite remnants or their craters, he said.
“If the noxious fumes came from the hole, it wasn’t because the meteorite fell there,” Grossman said, saying they would like have come from something already in the ground.

Grossman said that to determine whether the crater was made by a meteorite, the water in the hole must be pumped out and any large chunks of rock at the bottom should be examined to see if they are consistent with meteoritic composition.
Peruvian geologists are on their way to examine the crater, according to news reports.

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LIMA, Peru – A fiery meteorite crashed into southern Peru over the weekend, experts confirmed on Wednesday. But they were still puzzling over claims that it gave off fumes that sickened 200 people.


Witnesses told reporters that a fiery ball fell from the sky and smashed into the desolate Andean plain near the Bolivian border Saturday morning.
Jose Mechare, a scientist with Peru’s Geological, Mining and Metallurgical Institute, said a geologist had confirmed that it was a “rocky meteorite,” based on the fragments analyzed.


He said water in the meteorite’s muddy crater boiled for maybe 10 minutes from the heat and could have given off a vapor that sickened people, and scientists were taking water samples.
“We are not completely certain that there was no contamination,” Mechare said.


Jorge Lopez, director of the health department in the state where the meteorite crashed, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that 200 people suffered headaches, nausea and respiratory problems caused by “toxic” fumes emanating from the crater, which is some 65 feet wide and 15 feet deep.
But a team of doctors sent to the isolated site, 3 1/2 hours travel from the state capital of Puno, said they found no evidence the meteorite had sickened people, the Lima newspaper El Comercio reported Wednesday.


Modesto Montoya, a member of the team, was quoted as saying doctors also had found no sign of radioactive contamination among families living nearby, but had taken blood samples from 19 people to be sure.
He said fear may have provoked psychosomatic ailments.


“When a meteorite falls, it produces horrid sounds when it makes contact with the atmosphere,” he told the paper. “It is as if a giant rock is being sanded. Those sounds could have frightened them.”
Justina Limache, 74, told El Comercio that when she heard the thunderous roar from the sky, she abandoned her flock of alpacas and ran to her small home with her 8-year-old granddaughter. She said that after the meteorite struck, small rocks rained down on the roof of her house for several minutes and she feared the house was going to collapse.
Meteor expert Ursula Marvin said that if people were sickened, “it wouldn’t be the meteorite itself, but the dust it raises.”


A meteorite “wouldn’t get much gas out of the Earth,” said Marvin, who has studied the objects since 1961 at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Mass. “It’s a very superficial thing.

By Monte Hayes
The Associated Press
Updated: 4:45 p.m. ET Sept 19, 2007

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Peru was officially declared Sunday host of the 2008 summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC) forum.

The announcement was made on the last day of this year’s APEC meeting which gathered leaders from 21 Pacific rim economies in Sydney, Australia.

Peru assumes the role of the APEC presidency at a time when its economy is experiencing significant growth, reaching 8 percent last year with forecasts saying it is on target for similar momentum in coming years, said the Peruvian president, Alan Garcia.

The growth has been possible due to “Peruvian policies that are in line with APEC ideas on facilitating trade, promoting investment and international collaboration,” he said.

During the APEC meeting in Sydney, Garcia signed a mining cooperation agreement with Australian Prime Minister John Howard.

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The earthquake of August 15, has left 34,000 families without a home, more than 1,000 wounded, countless others severely injured that had to be evacuated to Lima, and more than 500 dead. The most affected are the people of Pisco, Chincha, and Ica. They need our support. They need blood, coats, food, tents, water and money.

Luis Campos, director of @clubdeperuanos, went to Pisco and let us know that the damage is beyond comprehension, although there are a lot of people helping, the area affected is too big they need more and more help so they can reach everyone that has been left with nothing.

One way to help all of the people is with money through Peruvian organizations that are working in the affected areas or through the North American organizations that have opened exclusive bank accounts for helping Peru.

If you would like to help with food or other items, it would be appreciated, but you must also consider that the cost of transportation of this help to Peru is going to be more in some cases, than the price of the item you are donating. That is why a monetary donation is the best way to help.

How to actually help? The Peruvian embassy in Washington DC has opened a bank account at HSBC Bank. The info for this account is at the end of the communication. Also if you prefer, you can make a direct transfer to the accounts set at the Peruvian banks such as Interbank.

Another alternative to make a donation is through North American charity organizations that have established specific accounts for the victims of the earthquake. These are:

a. Unicef: http://www.unicefusa.org
b. Save the Children: http://www.savethechildren.org
c. Oxfam America: http://www.oxfamamerica.org
d. America Cares: http://www.americares.org
e. IR Teams: http://www.irteams.org

These organizations have already created a fund for our country, so you have to be sure you are specifying a donation for the victims of the earthquake in Peru.

We would appreciate if you send this letter to your American friends, so they can also help.

Javier Justo
President
@ClubdePeruanos.com

Bank information for donations:

For Caritas Peru: (www.caritas.org.pe)
Account Name: “Emergencia por los damnificados del Terremoto en Pisco, Ica y Canete”
BANCO DE CREDITO MIAMI
Account Number: 201030010003521
ABA: 067015355
SWIFT: BCPLUS33

Un techo para mi Pais:
Please go to: http://www.untechoparamipais.org.pe (You can donate there with your credit card).

Interbank:
Account Name: “Damnificados Ica – Peru”
Account Number: 200-0000001118
The following money transfer services will not charge any commissions for transfers to the Interbank account:
Xoom, Bancomercio, Uno, Dolex, BTS, Via Americas, Transfast, Pronto Envios, Vigo, Girosol, MFIC, Intertransfers and Mateo Express. For more information on money transfers to the Interbank account please call 1-866-352-7378

Embassy of Peru:
Account Name: “Embassy of Peru – Sismo Peru 2007”
Account Number: 389060178
ROUTING NUMBER: 021001088
BANK ADDRESS: HSBC Bank , USA , NA
1130 Connecticut Avenue, NW.
Washington DC 20036

or by sending your donation by check to:

Name: “Embassy of Peru – Sismo Peru 2007” Address: Embassy of Peru
1700 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington DC 20036
Para cualquier información adicional, por favor contáctese con el (202) 833-9860 .

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A compassionate state of mind brings inner peace, and therefore a healthier body. 

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It is important to use money properly to help others, other wise you still want more and feel poor.

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PISCO, Peru – Earthquake survivors desperate for food and water ransacked a public market, while other mobs looted a refrigerated trailer and blocked aid trucks on the Pan-American highway, prompting Peru’s president to appeal for calm Friday.

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Aid reached the disaster zone on Friday morning, bringing relief to a city that had largely fended for itself for 36 hours, but hopes of finding more survivors diminished.

At least 510 people were killed in the quake and 1,500 were injured, overwhelming the few hospitals in Peru’s southern desert region, and severe damage to the only highway slowed trucks from Peru. But food, water, tents and blankets were finally arriving, and with Peruvian soldiers distributing silver caskets, the first mass funerals were being held.

“Nobody is going to die of hunger or thirst,” President Alan Garcia said following complaints that aid was not arriving fast enough for thousands who lost loved ones, homes and belongings in Wednesday’s magnitude-8 temblor and the many aftershocks that have followed.

“I understand your desperation, your anxiety and some are taking advantage of the circumstances to take the property of others, take things from stores, thinking they’re not going to receive help,” Garcia said. “There is no reason to fall into exaggerated desperation knowing that the state is present.”

Electricity, water and phone service were down in much of southern Peru. Garcia predicted that “a situation approaching normality” in 10 days, but acknowledged that rebuilding would take far longer. That was obvious to everyone in the gritty port city of Pisco, where officials said 85 percent of the downtown was destroyed.

Pisco’s center was a collection of rubble piles abbreviated by half-collapsed hulks. Even the structures still standing aren’t livable. In streets littered with downed power and telephone lines, people in blankets huddled around fires.

Two tremors shook the city after dawn, among the 18 aftershocks of magnitude-5 or greater recorded since the main, magnitude-8 quake.

Peru’s fire department said the death toll had risen to 510. Destruction was centered in Peru’s southern desert, in the oasis city of Ica, in nearby Pisco, about 200 kilometers southeast of the capital of Lima.

Also damaged was the town of Chincha, where a prison wall fell down, and at least 571 prisoners escaped. Only 29 were recaptured, a top prisons official said.

Searchers were still seeking bodies and survivors at the San Clemente church on Pisco’s main square, where hundreds had gathered on the day Roman Catholics celebrate the Virgin Mary’s rise into heaven for a memorial Mass for a man who died a month earlier.

Minutes before the service was to end, the church’s domed ceiling began to break apart. The shaking lasted for an agonizing two minutes, burying 200 people, according to the town’s mayor.

About 50 bodies had been removed from the church by dawn Friday, said Jorge Molina, the search and rescue team leader, who still held out hope of finding more people alive.

Three bodies still lay unclaimed in body bags on the plaza, where rescue workers from Lima had pitched tents and relatives held vigil.

Nearby, survivors lined up under a beating sun to receive bottled water unloaded from trucks by soldiers.

The relief effort showed signs of organization by mid-morning, with the military clearing rubble, police identifying corpses and civil defense teams ferrying food. Housing ministry officials started to assess who will need new homes.

Brig. Maj. Jorge Vera, chief of the rescue operation, said 85 percent of downtown Pisco had been destroyed. The center of the city was choked with traffic, including relief vehicles.

In the cemetery, a man painted the names of the dead in black on headstones. Some 200 headstones were lined up, along with more than 30 coffins. Some burial vaults had collapsed in the quake, and crosses tumbled over.

Felipe Gutierrez, 82, sat in his pajamas — his only clothing — in front of what was his Pisco home. The quake reduced it to rubble and he, his 74-year-old wife, their two children and three grandchildren sat staring at the ruins, a tangle of adobe, straw and all of their belongings.

“Yesterday we slept on a mattress, and now we’ll have to set up a tent, because we have no where to live,” he said.

International help includes cash from the United States, United Nations, Red Cross and European Union as well as tents, water, medicine and other supplies. The U.S. Navy hospital ship Comfort, equipped with a staff of 800 and 12 operating rooms, is in Ecuador and could quickly sail to Peru if asked, U.S. officials said.

The U.S. government said it had released $150,000 in emergency funds for emergency supplies and was sending medical teams, including one already in Peru for a training mission. It said it was sending two mobile clinics and loaned two helicopters to Peruvian authorities.

Magnitude 8 quakes are capable of causing tremendous damage. Scientists said this one was a “megathrust” — similar to the catastrophic Indian Ocean temblor in 2004 that generated deadly tsunami waves. “Megathrusts produce the largest earthquakes on the planet,” USGS geophysicist Paul Earle said.

The temblor occurred in one of the most seismically active regions in the world, where the Nazca and South American tectonic plates meet. The plates are moving together at a rate of 3 inches a year, Earle said.

___

Associated Press writers Monte Hayes, Edison Lopez and Leslie Josephs in Lima, Martin Mejia and Mauricio Munoz in Ica, Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations, Alicia Chang in Los Angeles and Sarah DiLorenzo in New York contributed to this report.

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Javits Convention Center in Manhattan has been changing significantly.

The show had products from 73 countries and territories this year, including some newcomers: Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Syria, Palestine, Russia, Benin, Rwanda, Uganda and Swaziland.

The National Association for the specialty food trade, which runs the event. And many of them especially from Africa, are doing it with help from Africa, are doing it with help from American agencies that work in international development. The interest in African products is a fairly new thing, and it’s growing. Americans are into trying new flavors.

Peru’s booths, included a light, herbaceous nut oil, sacha inchi, touted for its omega-3 content, and gluten-free amaranth biscuits from Cuzco foods, as well as a collection of crisp skewer-thin breadsticks, palitos, in 10 flavors.

· Summarized of New York Times, July 11, 2007

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Biography
Juan Diego Flórez was born in Lima, Peru on January 13, 1973 where his father, Rubén Flórez, was a noted guitarist and singer of Peruvian popular and criolla music. In an interview in the Peruvian newspaper Ojo, Flórez recounted his early days when his mother managed a pub with live music and he worked as a replacement singer whenever the main attraction called in sick. “It was a tremendous experience for me, since most of those who were regulars at the pub were of a certain age, so I had to be ready to sing anything from huaynos to Elvis Presley music and, in my mind, that served me a great deal because, in the final analysis, any music that is well structured – whether it is jazz, opera, or pop – is good music”. 
Initially intending to pursue a career in popular music, he entered the Conservatorio Nacional de Música in Lima at the age of 17. His classical voice emerged in the course of his studies there under Maestro Andrés Santa María. During this time, he became a member of the Coro Nacional of Peru and sang as a soloist in Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle.

He received a scholarship to the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia where he studied from 1993 to 1996 and began singing in student opera productions in the repertory which is still his specialty today, Rossini and the Bel Canto operas of Bellini and Donizetti. During this period, he also studied with Marilyn Horne at the Santa Barbara Academy Summer School. In 1994 the Peruvian tenor, Ernesto Palacio invited him to Italy to work on a recording of Vicente Martín y Soler’s opera Il Tutore Burlato and subsequently became Flórez’s teacher and mentor.

Flórez’s first big breakthrough and professional debut came at the Rossini Festival in 1996. At the age of 23, he stepped in to take the leading tenor role in Matilde di Shabran when Bruce Ford became ill. He made his debut at La Scala in the same year as the Chevalier danois in Gluck’s Armide. His Covent Garden debut followed in 1997 where he sang the role of Count Potoski in a concert performance (and the first modern performance) of Donizetti’s Elisabetta. Debuts followed at the Vienna Staatsoper in 2000 as Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi and at the New York Metropolitan Opera in 2002 as Count Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia. On February 20, 2007, the opening night of Donizetti’s La Fille du régiment at La Scala, Flórez broke the theater’s 74 year old tradition of no encores when he reprised “Ah! mes amis” with its nine high Cs following an “overwhelming” ovation from the audience.

Flórez is also active on the concert stages of Europe, North America, and South America. Amongst the many venues in which he has given concerts and recitals are the Wigmore Hall in London, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York, the Palau de la Música in Barcelona and the Mozarteum in Salzburg. In a departure from his usual repertoire, he sang ‘You’ll never walk alone’ from the Broadway musical, Carousel, at the Berlin Live 8 concert in 2005.

Flórez is the possessor of a light lyric tenor voice of exceptional beauty which, while not of great size, is nevertheless audible in even the largest houses due to its unusual harmonic structure. Its compass is two octaves, up to and including the high D natural, the higher part of its range being particularly strong and brilliant, with almost no sense of effort, while the lowest notes are comparatively weak. The head and chest registers are perfectly integrated, with no audible break in the passaggio. 

His breath control is impeccable, allowing the longest phrases to be sustained with apparent ease. The ornaments of bel canto, including the trill, are well executed, and stylistic errors such as intrusive aspirates generally eschewed.

Perhaps the most distinctive technical accomplishment is the singer’s total mastery of coloratura to a degree probably not matched by any other tenor who has recorded, and to be heard to best effect in his Idreno (Semiramide) and Corradino (Matilde di Shabran).

He was signed by Decca in 2001 and since then has released four solo recital CD’s on the Decca label: Rossini Arias which won the 2003 Cannes Classical Award; Una Furtiva Lagrima, which won the 2004 Cannes Classical Award; Great Tenor Arias which won the 2005 Echo Klassik award for the best arias and duets recital; and most recently Sentimiento Latino. In addition to his official discography, almost all his professionally performed roles have been preserved in radio broadcasts, and many also by television.

Juan Diego Flórez has been awarded the Premio Abbiati 2000 (awarded by Italian critics for the best singer of the year), the Rossini d’oro, the Bellini d’oro, the Premio Aureliano Pertile, the Tamagno Prize and the L’Opera award (Migliore Tenore) for his 2001 performance in La Sonnambula at La Scala.