Reporters on the Job

Fujimori's Fusillade: Correspondent Lucien Chauvin says that the opening of the trial of former President Alberto Fujimori was "three hours of boredom and two minutes of excitement" (see story).

The routine presentation of the witness list was shattered by an unexpected outburst by Mr. Fujimori, who asked for a second of the court's time and launched into a loud defense of his government and proclaimed his innocence.

Lucien, who was standing with about 25 reporters in the Lima courtroom, says Fujimori's supporters nodded as he spoke, while family members of victims shook their heads in disbelief.

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Finally, the judge told Fujimori, "I'm in charge here; you have to stop speaking." After about 30 seconds, he stopped, says Lucien, and the judge adjourned the hearing.

Lucien says it reminded him of a similar outburst he witnessed in 2004 during the trial of the leader of the Shining Path, a Maoist guerrilla group. Abimael Guzman turned to the cameras and brought the proceeding to a halt by shouting, "Long live the Communist Party of Peru! "

The judge declared a mistrial.

Treasure Hunt: Reporter Lisa Abend has been following the battle over ownership of ancient Spanish coins since earlier this year (see story). In October, she was in the port city of Algeciras, Spain, when authorities forced one of Odyssey's ships to shore. "Odyssey execs knew it would happen and invited the international press on board. I was waiting on the dock. The police confiscated all photos. They weren't looking for silver coins but the location of the salvage site," she says. Spain sees Odyssey as greedy capitalists stealing cultural treasures." Of course, the gold and silver was once taken from Latin America. She says there's no indication yet if one of those countries might also sue for ownership.

– David Clark Scott

World editor

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