Two hikers survived seven weeks in South American jungle

Two missing hikers survived seven weeks in a South American jungle in French-Guiana. Their saviors described the involuntary adventure of the two 34-year-old Frenchmen as a “miracle”. The 34-year-olds survived on seeds, frogs, turtles, beetles and tarantulas.

Only one of them, Loic Pillois (Pictured), was in a condition that allowed him to return home to his family in France. The other hiker, Guilhem Nayral, suffered from exhaustion and major weight loss and was committed to a local hospital where he has to recover for a few more days.

The authorities in French-Guiana, located on the northern coast of South America between Suriname and Brazil, launched about 50 helicopter flights during a three-week search but were unsuccessful. Search efforts were suspended at the end of March.

Police spokesman Martin André said Pillois eventually made it on foot to a little village on Thursday, leaving his friend behind because he was too weak to continue. Rescue helicopters were sent to pick up his friend who, according to the authorities, was resting in a dense part of the forest, under trees measuring up to 40m tall.

“Wir found him laying on the floor. He was short of breath, dehydrated and emaciated”, André said. “When I took him into my arms he started crying.” Pillois still had enough reserves left to climb into the helicopter on his own but Nayral had to be carried on a stretcher.

The two embarked on the hike form the central city of Saül in mid-February and was supposed last only ten days. They did not carry a GPS device or a satellite phone, only a few maps served as a navigation tool.

Pillois’ wife Angélique said she was never really worried about her husband and his friend. “Five years ago they explored the same area together with an insect expert. He showed them which larvae are eatable in case you get lost in the jungle”.

Guilhem Nayrals brother Gilles said both had built a small shack in which they waited for their rescue. When they heard the helicopters to the north, they lighted a fire but the rescue missions failed to notice them. After three weeks they grew impatient and decided to continue on foot in search of civilization“.

French Guiana consists of two main geographical regions: a coastal strip where the majority of the people live, and dense, near-inaccessible rainforest which gradually rises to the modest peaks of the Tumac-Humac mountains along the Brazilian frontier. Since it is a part of France, it is also a part of the European Union, the largest part in area outside Europe.

Article by Wolfy Becker

Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Florez and EVOC may team up

Members of New York’s “East Village Opera Company” (EVOC), a popular group that blends rock with classic music, announced they are preparing a record production for which they could team up with Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Flórez.

“I will probably be ashamed singing next to Juan Diego Flórez because he has such a great voice. But the possibility of recording a CD together is really shaping up because we both have the same record label”, singer Tyley Ross revealed.

The band’s instrumentalist Peter Kiesewalter chimed in by adding that another Peruvian singer, Ima Sumac, has one of the best voices he has ever listened to. Nicknamed the “Peruvian Songbird”, she is known for her astonishing 4 1/2 octave vocal range.

The band from New York will give its first ever concert in Lima on April 12th at the Vertice next to the Museo de la Nacion.

According to information from their website, The East Village Opera Company was co-founded by lead singer Tyley Ross and arranger/multi-instrumentalist Peter Kiesewalter. They assembled a full-on rock band, adding two guitars, bass, and drums to Peter’s keyboards, then synched it to a string quartet. A second superb vocalist, AnnMarie Milazzo, was recruited for impassioned duets with Tyley Ross.

EVOC’s Decca/Universal Classics debut was produced and recorded in April-July, 2005 by Neil Dorfsman, a three-time Grammy Award winner whose credits include international bestsellers by Sting, Dire Straits, Paul McCartney, and Bjork. The string arrangements were recorded in Prague by the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra featuring lead violinist Pauline Kim.

By embracing what Peter Kiesewalter calls “the pomposity of rock and the pomposity of opera” without demeaning or satirizing either form, the East Village Opera Company flies where countless other “classical-crossover” efforts have failed.

“We have a profound love and respect for the opera,” Peter insists. “But it’s so dramatic, so over the top by today’s standards, that it cannot be delivered with a straight face. You need a little bit of irreverence in it.”

“With modern recording technology and a wide variety of musical styles at our disposal, our goal has been to approach these songs the way we feel the composers would were they alive today,” says Tyley Ross.

“The East Village Opera Company” is an offbeat delight”, Calvin Wilson recently wrote in the St. Louis Dispatch. “If it sometimes teeters on the cheesy — and occasionally ventures dangerously close to self-parody — its sheer audacity is exhilarating. Vocalists Tyley Ross and AnnMarie Milazzo imbue familiar material such as Bizet’s “Carmen,” Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro” and Puccini’s “Turandot” with a heartfelt urgency.”

“While it’s unlikely that the album will persuade hardcore rock fans to become opera aficionados, it’s not just another crossover effort. “The East Village Opera Company” exudes an unconventional passion”, he opines.

Article by Wolfy Becker

Honeymoon over? Peru-Chile border dispute headed for The Hague

The International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, may soon have the last word on a century old conflict: Peruvian president Alan Garcia is contemplating to bring the historic maritime border dispute with southern neighbor Chile before the highest judicial organ of the United Nations.

Shortly before a protest march of Peruvian nationalists was thwarted last week close to the Chilean-Peruvian border, Chilean president Michelle Bachelet remarked on TV that her country has maintained its position throughout history. “If Peru decides to go to the international justice courts, then that’s up to them”, she said and added that her government will continue to work on a future agenda. “We have a lot more to gain if we cooperate and look at areas of common interest than if we remain stuck in past agendas”.

Garcia responded just a few hours later: “Following President Bachelet’s friendly declaration, the doors have been opened for us to go to The Hague”.

After decades of cold bilateral atmospheres between both countries, Bachelet and Garcia, who both took office just a few months apart last year, relations began to improve drastically. But latest indications now seem to point towards the end of the honeymoon period. According to an article published today in the Chilean newspaper “Santiago Times”, Bachelet’s words have been interpreted as an end to bilateral dialogue.

Rolando Sousa, chairman of Peru’s congressional commission for Foreign Relations, said on Monday that Peru’s next step would be the hiring of an international law firm which is supposed to analyze the legal situation and give independent advice on the issue.

“We need expert advise. We have to look for good lawyers, a good legal consulting firm with international experience, lawyers who have already litigated before the World Court”, Sousa told the Andina news agency, adding this would mark the first time that Peru goes before the ICJ based on a territorial matter.

“The main subject is to define the content of our position which is to find a clear and definitive solution to the maritime border issue with Chile and how the border is legally protected by current agreements. Obviously the two countries interpret them differently”, he pointed out.

Peru maintains that the border has never been properly defined, but Chile insists that a pair of treaties that were signed in 1952 and 1954 are legally binding.

The conflict originates from the “War of the Pacific” which was fought between Chile and the joint forces of Bolivia and Peru, from 1879 to 1884. Chile gained substantial mineral-rich territory in the conflict, annexing both the Peruvian province of Tarapacá and the Bolivian province of Litoral, leaving Bolivia as a landlocked country.

Peru’s government announces ‘zero tolerance’ on kidnappings

Since Peruvian president Alan Garcia and his ministerial cabinet took office in July 2006, three expressions have quickly become fashionable, at least according to my observation: austerity, commission, and “zero tolerance” – although creating a congressional commission for any hot topic or scandal imaginable has always been a major part in Peruvian politics.

After minister of transportation Veronica Zavala recently launched a “zero tolerance” campaign against public transportation companies, their aging, ailing, washed-out bus fleet and their sometimes unlicensed or unfit drivers, Peru’s interior minister Luis Alva Castro announced on Monday there will be “zero tolerance” against kidnappings throughout the country.

He also advanced that within the next few days the investigation into the kidnapping and murder of Limean businessman Guillermo Li Chau would reveal first results on the suspects identity. Li Chau, a chicken wholesaler, was killed last Friday after unknown kidnappers picked him up at a family party, then took him on an involuntary journey across the city to gather as much money from ATM’s and his business locations as possible. Police reports say he was later shot to death in the southern suburb of Chorrillos.

Alva Castro advanced that the investigation tries to find out if the kidnapping was planned from some penitentiary in the country or if the suspects belong to the gang of jailed criminal Jacinto Aucayari Bellido, nicknamed “Cholo Jacinto”, as some versions indicate.

“Our ‘zero tolerance’ policy is against everything that relates to the war on drugs, but also against those kidnappers who put the lives of innocent people at risk and against all other criminal actions we are fighting”, Alva Castro said while lamenting the fatal incident which he described as an “isolated crime”.

He also stated that the fight against drug trafficking is a “non-negotiable task” which involves every part of the country. “This ministry will be unrelenting and will not yield one millimeter”, he stressed.

“We fulfilled the mandate of an anti-drug policy to reduce illegal coca cultivation, to eliminate and destroy maceration pits an clandestine airfields and other means of transportation. The directive is nothing will stop us, we will fight with force to get this damn drug out of Peru”, he emphasized.

“We are not going to negotiate one bit. The fight against drugs and citizen security are the tasks to which we dedicate all our efforts”, he said at a press conference.

Article by Wolfy Becker

Peru cruises into Davis Cup World Group playoffs

Peru’s Davis Cup tennis team is through to the World Group playoffs after building up an unassailable 3-0 lead against Mexico at the end of the second day in Playa Asia, a resort town about 100km south of Lima.

Luis Horna and Ivan Miranda won Saturday’s doubles match against Santiago Gonzalez/Antonio Ruiz-Rosales with a dramatic 3-set victory, all of them decided by tiebreakers: 7:6 (6-1), 7:6 (6-3), 7:6 (6-1).

Especially Miranda and Gonzalez had to mobilize their last reserves. Just hours earlier on Saturday morning both players had to resume their singles match which was suspended in the fourth set Friday night due to darkness. At the time Miranda was in front 6:4, 3:6, 6:1 and 5:5, but Gonzalez came out the gate quicker, broke Miranda’s serve and won the set 7:5.

However, Miranda ultimately prevailed in the 5th, beating Gonzalez 8:6 and scored the very important second victory for Peru.

In the first match on Friday, Peru’s Luis Horna beat Mexico’s Daniel Garza 3-1 in a 120-minute match with sets of 6-4, 7-6, 2-6 and 6-3. In the middle of the third set, Horna suffered serious cramps but recovered and sealed the first point for Peru.

Seven nations: Peru, Japan, Korea, Great Britain, Israel, Slovak Republic and Serbia have booked their places in Wednesday’s World Group play-off draw, after winning their respective Group I second round ties with a day to spare.

These seven nations all established unassailable 3-0 leads after winning Saturday’s doubles rubbers. They will be joined by the eight losers from February’s World Group first round ties: Chile, Romania, Croatia, Australia, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Belarus and Austria, as well as the winner of the Brazil v Canada tie in Americas Zone Group I second round.

The draw for the eight ties will take place on Wednesday, April 11. Eight nations will be seeded according to the new ITF Davis Cup Nations Rankings which will be published on Tuesday 10 April.

The World Group play-off ties will take place on 21-23 September, the same weekend as the World Group semifinals. As of Saturday, Germany, USA, and Sweden have already secured their spot for this year’s semis with deciding 3:0 victories, while the encounter between Russia and France (2:1 after today’s doubles match) will be decided tomorrow.

Wolfy Becker

Two hikers survived seven weeks in South American jungle

Two missing hikers survived seven weeks in a South American jungle in French-Guiana. Their saviors described the involuntary adventure of the two 34-year-old Frenchmen as a “miracle”. The 34-year-olds survived on seeds, frogs, turtles, beetles and tarantulas.

Only one of them, Loic Pillois (Pictured), was in a condition that allowed him to return home to his family in France. The other hiker, Guilhem Nayral, suffered from exhaustion and major weight loss and was committed to a local hospital where he has to recover for a few more days.

The authorities in French-Guiana, located on the northern coast of South America between Suriname and Brazil, launched about 50 helicopter flights during a three-week search but were unsuccessful. Search efforts were suspended at the end of March.

Police spokesman Martin André said Pillois eventually made it on foot to a little village on Thursday, leaving his friend behind because he was too weak to continue. Rescue helicopters were sent to pick up his friend who, according to the authorities, was resting in a dense part of the forest, under trees measuring up to 40m tall.

“Wir found him laying on the floor. He was short of breath, dehydrated and emaciated”, André said. “When I took him into my arms he started crying.” Pillois still had enough reserves left to climb into the helicopter on his own but Nayral had to be carried on a stretcher.

The two embarked on the hike form the central city of Saül in mid-February and was supposed last only ten days. They did not carry a GPS device or a satellite phone, only a few maps served as a navigation tool.

Pillois’ wife Angélique said she was never really worried about her husband and his friend. “Five years ago they explored the same area together with an insect expert. He showed them which larvae are eatable in case you get lost in the jungle”.

Guilhem Nayrals brother Gilles said both had built a small shack in which they waited for their rescue. When they heard the helicopters to the north, they lighted a fire but the rescue missions failed to notice them. After three weeks they grew impatient and decided to continue on foot in search of civilization“.

French Guiana consists of two main geographical regions: a coastal strip where the majority of the people live, and dense, near-inaccessible rainforest which gradually rises to the modest peaks of the Tumac-Humac mountains along the Brazilian frontier. Since it is a part of France, it is also a part of the European Union, the largest part in area outside Europe.

Article by Wolfy Becker

Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Florez and EVOC may team up

Members of New York’s “East Village Opera Company” (EVOC), a popular group that blends rock with classic music, announced they are preparing a record production for which they could team up with Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Flórez.

“I will probably be ashamed singing next to Juan Diego Flórez because he has such a great voice. But the possibility of recording a CD together is really shaping up because we both have the same record label”, singer Tyley Ross revealed.

The band’s instrumentalist Peter Kiesewalter chimed in by adding that another Peruvian singer, Ima Sumac, has one of the best voices he has ever listened to. Nicknamed the “Peruvian Songbird”, she is known for her astonishing 4 1/2 octave vocal range.

The band from New York will give its first ever concert in Lima on April 12th at the Vertice next to the Museo de la Nacion.

According to information from their website, The East Village Opera Company was co-founded by lead singer Tyley Ross and arranger/multi-instrumentalist Peter Kiesewalter. They assembled a full-on rock band, adding two guitars, bass, and drums to Peter’s keyboards, then synched it to a string quartet. A second superb vocalist, AnnMarie Milazzo, was recruited for impassioned duets with Tyley Ross.

EVOC’s Decca/Universal Classics debut was produced and recorded in April-July, 2005 by Neil Dorfsman, a three-time Grammy Award winner whose credits include international bestsellers by Sting, Dire Straits, Paul McCartney, and Bjork. The string arrangements were recorded in Prague by the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra featuring lead violinist Pauline Kim.

By embracing what Peter Kiesewalter calls “the pomposity of rock and the pomposity of opera” without demeaning or satirizing either form, the East Village Opera Company flies where countless other “classical-crossover” efforts have failed.

“We have a profound love and respect for the opera,” Peter insists. “But it’s so dramatic, so over the top by today’s standards, that it cannot be delivered with a straight face. You need a little bit of irreverence in it.”

“With modern recording technology and a wide variety of musical styles at our disposal, our goal has been to approach these songs the way we feel the composers would were they alive today,” says Tyley Ross.

“The East Village Opera Company” is an offbeat delight”, Calvin Wilson recently wrote in the St. Louis Dispatch. “If it sometimes teeters on the cheesy — and occasionally ventures dangerously close to self-parody — its sheer audacity is exhilarating. Vocalists Tyley Ross and AnnMarie Milazzo imbue familiar material such as Bizet’s “Carmen,” Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro” and Puccini’s “Turandot” with a heartfelt urgency.”

“While it’s unlikely that the album will persuade hardcore rock fans to become opera aficionados, it’s not just another crossover effort. “The East Village Opera Company” exudes an unconventional passion”, he opines.

Article by Wolfy Becker

Honeymoon over? Peru-Chile border dispute headed for The Hague

The International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, may soon have the last word on a century old conflict: Peruvian president Alan Garcia is contemplating to bring the historic maritime border dispute with southern neighbor Chile before the highest judicial organ of the United Nations.

Shortly before a protest march of Peruvian nationalists was thwarted last week close to the Chilean-Peruvian border, Chilean president Michelle Bachelet remarked on TV that her country has maintained its position throughout history. “If Peru decides to go to the international justice courts, then that’s up to them”, she said and added that her government will continue to work on a future agenda. “We have a lot more to gain if we cooperate and look at areas of common interest than if we remain stuck in past agendas”.

Garcia responded just a few hours later: “Following President Bachelet’s friendly declaration, the doors have been opened for us to go to The Hague”.

After decades of cold bilateral atmospheres between both countries, Bachelet and Garcia, who both took office just a few months apart last year, relations began to improve drastically. But latest indications now seem to point towards the end of the honeymoon period. According to an article published today in the Chilean newspaper “Santiago Times”, Bachelet’s words have been interpreted as an end to bilateral dialogue.

Rolando Sousa, chairman of Peru’s congressional commission for Foreign Relations, said on Monday that Peru’s next step would be the hiring of an international law firm which is supposed to analyze the legal situation and give independent advice on the issue.

“We need expert advise. We have to look for good lawyers, a good legal consulting firm with international experience, lawyers who have already litigated before the World Court”, Sousa told the Andina news agency, adding this would mark the first time that Peru goes before the ICJ based on a territorial matter.

“The main subject is to define the content of our position which is to find a clear and definitive solution to the maritime border issue with Chile and how the border is legally protected by current agreements. Obviously the two countries interpret them differently”, he pointed out.

Peru maintains that the border has never been properly defined, but Chile insists that a pair of treaties that were signed in 1952 and 1954 are legally binding.

The conflict originates from the “War of the Pacific” which was fought between Chile and the joint forces of Bolivia and Peru, from 1879 to 1884. Chile gained substantial mineral-rich territory in the conflict, annexing both the Peruvian province of Tarapacá and the Bolivian province of Litoral, leaving Bolivia as a landlocked country.

Peru’s government announces ‘zero tolerance’ on kidnappings

Since Peruvian president Alan Garcia and his ministerial cabinet took office in July 2006, three expressions have quickly become fashionable, at least according to my observation: austerity, commission, and “zero tolerance” – although creating a congressional commission for any hot topic or scandal imaginable has always been a major part in Peruvian politics.

After minister of transportation Veronica Zavala recently launched a “zero tolerance” campaign against public transportation companies, their aging, ailing, washed-out bus fleet and their sometimes unlicensed or unfit drivers, Peru’s interior minister Luis Alva Castro announced on Monday there will be “zero tolerance” against kidnappings throughout the country.

He also advanced that within the next few days the investigation into the kidnapping and murder of Limean businessman Guillermo Li Chau would reveal first results on the suspects identity. Li Chau, a chicken wholesaler, was killed last Friday after unknown kidnappers picked him up at a family party, then took him on an involuntary journey across the city to gather as much money from ATM’s and his business locations as possible. Police reports say he was later shot to death in the southern suburb of Chorrillos.

Alva Castro advanced that the investigation tries to find out if the kidnapping was planned from some penitentiary in the country or if the suspects belong to the gang of jailed criminal Jacinto Aucayari Bellido, nicknamed “Cholo Jacinto”, as some versions indicate.

“Our ‘zero tolerance’ policy is against everything that relates to the war on drugs, but also against those kidnappers who put the lives of innocent people at risk and against all other criminal actions we are fighting”, Alva Castro said while lamenting the fatal incident which he described as an “isolated crime”.

He also stated that the fight against drug trafficking is a “non-negotiable task” which involves every part of the country. “This ministry will be unrelenting and will not yield one millimeter”, he stressed.

“We fulfilled the mandate of an anti-drug policy to reduce illegal coca cultivation, to eliminate and destroy maceration pits an clandestine airfields and other means of transportation. The directive is nothing will stop us, we will fight with force to get this damn drug out of Peru”, he emphasized.

“We are not going to negotiate one bit. The fight against drugs and citizen security are the tasks to which we dedicate all our efforts”, he said at a press conference.

Article by Wolfy Becker

Peru cruises into Davis Cup World Group playoffs

Peru’s Davis Cup tennis team is through to the World Group playoffs after building up an unassailable 3-0 lead against Mexico at the end of the second day in Playa Asia, a resort town about 100km south of Lima.

Luis Horna and Ivan Miranda won Saturday’s doubles match against Santiago Gonzalez/Antonio Ruiz-Rosales with a dramatic 3-set victory, all of them decided by tiebreakers: 7:6 (6-1), 7:6 (6-3), 7:6 (6-1).

Especially Miranda and Gonzalez had to mobilize their last reserves. Just hours earlier on Saturday morning both players had to resume their singles match which was suspended in the fourth set Friday night due to darkness. At the time Miranda was in front 6:4, 3:6, 6:1 and 5:5, but Gonzalez came out the gate quicker, broke Miranda’s serve and won the set 7:5.

However, Miranda ultimately prevailed in the 5th, beating Gonzalez 8:6 and scored the very important second victory for Peru.

In the first match on Friday, Peru’s Luis Horna beat Mexico’s Daniel Garza 3-1 in a 120-minute match with sets of 6-4, 7-6, 2-6 and 6-3. In the middle of the third set, Horna suffered serious cramps but recovered and sealed the first point for Peru.

Seven nations: Peru, Japan, Korea, Great Britain, Israel, Slovak Republic and Serbia have booked their places in Wednesday’s World Group play-off draw, after winning their respective Group I second round ties with a day to spare.

These seven nations all established unassailable 3-0 leads after winning Saturday’s doubles rubbers. They will be joined by the eight losers from February’s World Group first round ties: Chile, Romania, Croatia, Australia, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Belarus and Austria, as well as the winner of the Brazil v Canada tie in Americas Zone Group I second round.

The draw for the eight ties will take place on Wednesday, April 11. Eight nations will be seeded according to the new ITF Davis Cup Nations Rankings which will be published on Tuesday 10 April.

The World Group play-off ties will take place on 21-23 September, the same weekend as the World Group semifinals. As of Saturday, Germany, USA, and Sweden have already secured their spot for this year’s semis with deciding 3:0 victories, while the encounter between Russia and France (2:1 after today’s doubles match) will be decided tomorrow.

Wolfy Becker

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