TCRLA_Public/060411.mbx         T R O U B L E D   C O M P A N Y   R E P O R T E R

                    L A T I N   A M E R I C A

          Tuesday, April 11, 2006, Vol. 7, Issue 72

                            Headlines

A R G E N T I N A

BALUARTE S.A.: Creditors Must Submit Proofs of Claim by June 12
BRANDO HERMANOS: Claims Verification Deadline Set for May 31
DULCE REINA: Files Petition for Reorganization in Buenos Aires
EQUIS S.A.: Submission of Creditors Claims Ends on June 28
ESTABLECIMIENTO FARAON: Trustee Won't Accept Claims After May 19

MACRO BANSUD: Plans to Change Name to Banco Macro
TELECOM ARGENTINA: Signs Telecom Contract with Government

* ARGENTINA: Uruguay Seeks Mercosur's Council Intervention

B E R M U D A

DAVID HESKETH: Creditors Must File Proofs of Claim by Mar. 17

B O L I V I A

COMIBOL: Adds Processing Plants into Joint Venture with Franklin

* BOLIVIA: Presidential Talks on Gas Pipeline Set for April 19

B R A Z I L

BANCO NACIONAL: Finances Asem-NPBI Expansion With R$11.5 Million
BANCO NACIONAL: Inks Pact With BID to Create US$1.5B Credit Line
CAIXA ECONOMICA: Maria Fernanda Coelho Heads Federal Bank
COMPANHIA VALE: Seeks 24% Hike on Iron Ore Prices This Year
PETROLEO BRASILEIRO: CEO Says Bolivia, Venezuela Problems Are OK

TELEMAR: Launches VoIP Service for Residential Customers
USINAS SIDERURGICAS: Considering US$3B Steel Plant's Location

C A Y M A N   I S L A N D S

BLUERIDGE FINANCE: Liquidation Accounts to be Presented on May 4
METROPOLITAN CAPITAL: Liquidators Presented Accounts on Meeting
ORANGETREE LTD: Trustee to Present Wind Up Accounts on April 20
TOKYO CHELSEA: Holds Final Shareholders Meeting on May 3
TOP ADVANCE: Final Shareholders Meeting Set for March 23

C H I L E

BANCO DE CHILE: Central Bank Opts Cash Payment for Debt

C O L O M B I A

COLOMBIA MOVIL: Has 7 Interested Buyers for Controlling Stake
COLOMBIA TELECOM: Telefonica Wins Auction with COP853.6 Bil. Bid
D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C
AES CORPORATION: Earns US$630 Million of Net Income in 2005
AES CORPORATION: Inks US$600M Credit Facility with Merrill Lynch

FALCONBRIDGE LTD: Resumes Exploration of El Morro Deposits

E C U A D O R

* ECUADOR: New Hydrocarbons Bill Undergoes Changes
* ECUADOR: President Asking Congress to Revoke Tax Exemption Law

G U Y A N A

* GUYANA: Awaits Conclusion of Talks on Crude Refining Pact

H O N D U R A S

* HONDURAS: World Bank Pardons US$1.18 Billion in Debts

J A M A I C A

KAISER ALUMINUM: Asks Court to Okay US$67.2M Hartford Settlement

M E X I C O

BALLY TOTAL: Hires Designkitchen to Activate Online Component
EMPRESAS ICA: S&P Puts B Corp. Credit Rating on Watch Positive
GRUPO MEXICO: Rescuers Resume Search at Collapsed Mine
METROFINANCIERA: Fitch Puts Low B Ratings on Currencies

P A R A G U A Y

* PARAGUAY: Holds Presidential Talks on Gas Pipeline on April 19

P U E R T O   R I C O

MUSICLAND HOLDING: Has Until Aug. 10 to File Lease Decision Plea
MUSICLAND HOLDING: Wants Until July 12 to Remove Civil Actions
W HOLDING: Filing Delay Spurs Nasdaq to Issue Delisting Notice

T R I N I D A D   &   T O B A G O

DIGICEL: Launching in Trinidad & Tobago Ends 100-Year Monopoly

U R U G U A Y

* URUGUAY: Presidential Talks on Gas Pipeline Set for April 19
* URUGUAY: Seeks Mercosur's Intervention on Argentine Dispute

V E N E Z U E L A

PDVSA: Oil Firms Offered Vouchers Under Joint Venture Contracts

* VENEZUELA: Presidential Talks on Gas Pipeline Set for April 19
* VENEZUELA: Seniat Seeks US$1 Mil. Back Taxes Payment from OPEN


                            - - - - -

=================
A R G E N T I N A
=================


BALUARTE S.A.: Creditors Must Submit Proofs of Claim by June 12
---------------------------------------------------------------
Baluarte S.A.'s creditors are required to submit proofs of claim
by June 12, 2006.  Infobae relates that the claims will undergo
a verification phase after June 12.  

According to Infobae, verified claims will be presented in court
as individual reports on Aug. 8, 2006.

A general report, which will contain the company's audited
business records as well as a summary of events pertaining to
the liquidation, will be submitted in court on Sep. 20, 2006.

Baluarte S.A. was declared bankrupt by a Buenos Aires court.  
Mabel Herrera was appointed as trustee.

The trustee can be reached at:

         Mabel Herrera
         Rodriguez Pena 694
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


BRANDO HERMANOS: Claims Verification Deadline Set for May 31
------------------------------------------------------------
The verification of creditors' claims for the Brando Hermanos
S.A. insolvency case is set to end on May 31, 2006, states
Infobae.  

Mirta Ana Calfun de Bendersky, the court-appointed trustee, will
submit the validation results as individual reports on July 3,
2006.  She will also present a general report in court on Aug.
21, 2006.

An informative assembly will be held on Dec. 6, 2006.  During
the assembly, the company will present a settlement plan to its
creditors for approval.

A Mendoza court handles the company's reorganization case.

The trustee can be reached at:

         Mirta Ana Calfun de Bendersky
         Humahuaca 4165
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


DULCE REINA: Files Petition for Reorganization in Buenos Aires
--------------------------------------------------------------
Court No. 21 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal is
studying the request for reorganization submitted by local
company Dulce Reina S.R.L., says La Nacion.

The report adds that that the company filed a reorganization
petition following the cessation of debt payments on Oct. 21,
2005.

The city's Clerk No. 41 assists the court on this case.

The debtor can be reached at:

        Dulce Reina S.R.L.
        Avenida Asamblea 264
        Buenos Aires, Argentina


EQUIS S.A.: Submission of Creditors Claims Ends on June 28
----------------------------------------------------------
Creditors with claims against Equis S.A. must present proofs of
the company's indebtedness to Claudina Beatriz Badino -- the
court-appointed trustee -- on or before June 28, 2006.

Infobae relates that validated claims will be presented in court
as individual reports on Aug. 11, 2006.  The court also requires
the trustee to prepare a general report on the company's
reorganization case and submit it on Oct. 9, 2006.

An informative assembly is scheduled on April 12, 2007.  During
the assembly, creditors will vote on a settlement proposal
prepared by the company.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Equis S.A.
         9 de Julio 1769
         Ciudad de Mendoza
         Mendoza, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Claudina Beatriz Badino
         Perito Moreno 1077
         Godoy Cruz
         Mendoza, Argentina


ESTABLECIMIENTO FARAON: Trustee Won't Accept Claims After May 19
----------------------------------------------------------------
Hector Eduardo Palma, the trustee appointed by the Buenos Aires
court for the Establecimiento Faraon S.A. bankruptcy, will no
longer entertain claims that are submitted after May 19, 2006,
Infobae reports.  Creditors whose claims are not validated will
be disqualified from receiving any payment that the company will
make.

Individual reports on the validated claims will be presented in
court on July 4, 2006.  The submission of the general report on
the case will follow on Aug. 30, 2006.

The trustee can be reached at:
          
         Hector Eduardo Palma
         Rodriguez Pena 694
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


MACRO BANSUD: Plans to Change Name to Banco Macro
-------------------------------------------------
Argentina's Macro Bansud will change its name to Banco Macro,
Business News Americas reports.  It is currently awaiting
shareholders' response.

According to the local stock exchange, Macro Bansud will propose
the new name to its shareholders during a meeting it scheduled
on April 28.

BNamericas relates that Macro Bansud is one of the most
aggressive banks in Argentina during the last couple of years
and is now the ninth largest bank in terms of deposits.

Macro Bansud, says BNamericas, raised about US$89 million on
March 24 through the issuance of 9,718,281 American Depositary
Shares.   

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on April 7, 2006,
Macro Bansud made the highest bid for Nuevo Banco Bisel at
ARS830 million, surpassing rival Banco Hipotecario's ARS608
million bid.  The auction winner will be announced in two weeks.

Banco Macro Bansud S.A. is headquartered in Buenos Aires,
Argentina.  As of June 2005, the bank's total assets were US$2.4
billion.

                       *    *    *

On Dec. 13, 2005, Moody's Investors Service affirmed the credit
ratings of Banco Macro Bansud S.A. following the latter's
announcement that it has acquired the 75% stake in
Banco del Tucuman S.A. from Banco Comafi S.A. for US$17.3
million.

The following ratings of Banco Macro Bansud S.A. were affirmed:

    -- Bank Financial Strength Rating: E -- Positive Outlook
    -- Long- Term Global Local Currency Deposits: Ba3
    -- Short -Term Global Local Currency Deposits: Not Prime
    -- National Scale Rating for Local Currency Deposits: Aa2.ar
    -- Long -Term Foreign Currency Deposits: Caa1
    -- Short -Term Foreign Currency Deposits: Not Prime
    -- National Scale Rating for Foreign Currency Deposits:
       Ba1.ar.


TELECOM ARGENTINA: Signs Telecom Contract with Government
---------------------------------------------------------
The Argentine government and Telecom Argentina S.A. inked a
contract that calls for the continuation of the provider's
telephone services.  However, Telecom's US$2.834 million legal
demands filed with the International Centre for Settlement of
Investment Disputes will not be withdrawn.

Under the agreement,

  -- hours where normal rates operate will be increased,
  -- conversion to dollar of incoming international calls,
  -- Telecom's US$300 million investments for 2006 and
  -- Telecom will start a program related to Internet services.

Of Telecom's total investments for this year, the company will
spend US$120 million dollars for the reconversion of technology
in Argentina.

                        *    *    *

On March 23, 2006, Standard & Poor's Ratings Agency has placed
the B- local and foreign currency issuer credit ratings of
Telecom Argentina S.A. to Watch Positive from Stable.

S&P revised its T&C assessment on Argentina in conjunction with
the upward revision of the sovereign rating and it remains two
notches above the sovereign foreign currency rating on
Argentina.  This assessment reflects our view that the
probability of the sovereign restricting access to foreign
exchange needed for non-sovereign debt service is lower than the
probability of the sovereign defaulting on its foreign currency
obligations.


* ARGENTINA: Uruguay Seeks Mercosur's Council Intervention
----------------------------------------------------------
Uruguay requested an urgent and extraordinary meeting of
Mercosur's Council to address the conflict with Argentina
regarding the construction of two pulp plants, Merco Press
reports.  The meeting could be held on April 18 or 20.

Reinaldo Gargano -- Uruguay's foreign minister -- said in a
press conference that the period of negotiations regarding the
blocking of international bridges and the pulp mills was over
and that his government would appeal for intervention from
members of the Common Market of the Southern Cone aka Mercosur,
which was founded by Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay.

Merco Press states that Uruguay had enough of the negotiations
with Argentina.

Dow Jones Newswires reports that the governments of Argentina's
President Nestor Kirchner and Uruguay's President Tabare Vazquez
both threatened international action against each other after
failure to meet on a summit.

Mr. Gargano told Merco Press that Uruguay's Foreign Affairs
Ministry will request the immediate convening -- either April 18
or 20 -- of the Mercosur Council, which is the block's main
authority.  The ministry will request the council to rule on
Article 1 of the Mercosur founding Asuncion Treaty.  Uruguay
believes the article has been repeatedly violated, Mr. Gargano
said.

The minister also informed Merco Press that a letter will be
sent to the International Court of The Hague describing the
situation, indicating there has been a systematic violation of
International Law and detailing all efforts undertaken by the
Uruguayan government to overcome the conflict.

Merco Press recalls that for the last few weeks, Uruguay's
presidential secretary Gonzalo Fernandez and Argentina's cabinet
secretary Alberto Fernandez tried to come up with a solution to
the conflict that resulted at Argentina's refusal to the
building of two pulp mills on the Uruguayan side of the
Uruguayan River, which is shared by the two countries.

Dow Jones reveals that Uruguay said that it had lost hundreds of
millions of dollars as a result of blockades of border-crossing
bridges by protesting Argentines who are against the building of
the plants on the Uruguayan side.

According to Dow Jones, the protesters have continued their
blockades this week after a brief truce before the postponed
summit.

Argentine cabinet chief -- Alberto Fernandez -- was quoted by
Dow Jones saying that his government would go ahead with filing
a lawsuit at the International Court of Justice in The Hague and
press environmental claims against the pulp plants.

Dow Jones states that the cabinet head blamed the failed talks
on the refusal of the Finnish consortium Metsa-Botnia to stop
construction for a period of time.

Mr. Fernandez said in a radio interview that Argentina has done
all that it has promised to do.  He added that Argentina will
push through with going to the court in The Hague.

"Let's see how things evolve. Yesterday I heard the secretary-
general of the Uruguayan presidency exhorting Botnia to change
its decision, so let's see if this new exhortation is
successful," Fernandez said, according to Dow Jones.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on April 3, 2006, a
meeting to discuss a pulp mill construction dispute between the
presidents of Argentina and Uruguay on March 29 has been
postponed.  The reason for the cancellation, according to
reports, is that one of the pulp mill contructors -- Oy Metsa-
Botnia AB -- refuses to postpone construction for 90 days.

Uruguay's construction of two pulp mills along the border with
Argentina has caused protests to erupt.  Uruguay later agreed
for a 90-day construction suspension to allow for an
environmental impact study.

Argentine protesters alleged that the US$1.6 billion two pulp
mills will cause water and air pollution due to their chlorine
bleaching processes.

On the other hand, Uruguayan officials said the plants will meet
international environmental standards, create 600 jobs and bring
in millions of dollars (euros) annually.

Protesting environmental group Environmental Assembly in
Gualeguaychu agreed to end their 45-day protest for an
indefinite time to give way for negotiations between the two
governments.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Argentina:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling     RD      Dec. 14, 2005
   Long Term IDR       B       Dec. 14, 2005
   Short Term IDR      B-      Jun.  3, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating      B       Jun.  3, 2005

                       *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Uruguay:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling     BB-      Mar. 7, 2005
   Long Term IDR       B+      Dec. 14, 2005
   Short Term IDR      B       Dec. 14, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating      BB-      Mar. 7, 2005


=============
B E R M U D A
=============


DAVID HESKETH: Creditors Must File Proofs of Claim by Mar. 17
-------------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of David Hesketh Limited are given until May 2, 2006,
to prove their claims to Nicholas Hoskins -- the company's
liquidator.  Failure to do so would mean disqualification from
receiving any distribution or payment that the company will
make.

Creditors are required to send their full names, addresses,
descriptions, the full particulars of their debts or claims, and
the names and addresses of their lawyers, if any, to Mr.
Hoskins.

A final general meeting will be held at the liquidator's offices
on May 9, 2006, at 11:00 a.m., or as soon as possible, for the
purposes of:

   -- receiving an account laid before them showing the manner
      in which the winding-up of the company has been conducted
      and its property disposed of and of hearing any
      explanation that may be given by the Liquidator;

   -- by resolution determining the manner in which the books,
      accounts and documents of the company and of the
      Liquidator will be disposed of; and

   -- by resolution dissolving the company.

The company began liquidating assets on April 5, 2006.

Mr. Nicholas Hoskins, the liquidator, can be reached at:

         Wakefield Quin
         Chancery Hall, 52 Reid Street,
         Hamilton, Bermuda


=============
B O L I V I A
=============


COMIBOL: Adds Processing Plants into Joint Venture with Franklin
----------------------------------------------------------------
Bolivia's state-run mining company Corporacion Minera de Bolivia
aka Comibol and Nevada-based Franklin Mining Inc. have
considered adding one or more processing plants into their joint
venture at the Cerro Rico silver mine in the Potosi department,
according to Franklin Mining's press release.  

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on March 15, 2006,
Comibol received a proposed contract for a joint venture from
Franklin Mining.  The joint venture would cover the Cerro Rico
silver mine in Bolivia's Potosi department.

The Troubled Company Reporter also reported on April 7, 2006,
that Comibol and Franklin have signed the joint venture pact
agreeing to include four silver veins in the mine.

Franklin Mining had said in a statement that expanding
production would mean higher revenues for Comibol, significant
cash flow for Franklin, and better wages and working conditions
for the cooperative miners.

Jaime Melgarejo -- Chief Executive Officer at Franklin Mining
-- told BNamericas that Comibol executives are preparing a
formal estimate of the probable silver content for each of the
four veins identified in last week's meeting.

As agreed, Comibol would make the mines available while Franklin
would provide the capital as well as the mining know-how.  The
two firms have also considered including into the joint venture
a group of local cooperatives that would supply the necessary
work force.

"We feel that our Friday meetings in La Paz were productive,"
BNamericas quoted Mr. Melgarejo saying.

Mr. Melgarejo said that Franklin and Comibol could be few steps
away from finalizing their joint venture agreement aimed at the
improvement of Cerro Rico's productivity, BNamericas reports.


                        *    *    *

Corporacion Minera de Bolivia aka Comibol is undergoing a
restructuring initiated by the Bolivian government.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Feb. 6, 2006,
the restructuring of Bolivia's state mining company Comibol
could take a long time.

Bolivian President Evo Morales' initiative for the company's
restructuring will take time as currently Comibol mines are
under joint venture contracts or leasing agreements.

Comibol has US$85 million in assets including equipment and
machinery, which cannot be used by small and medium-scale miners
and cooperatives.  According to Cabrera, only some of that
equipment can be employed in the restructuring; the rest is too
old or is unsuitable.


                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on Bolivia:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling    B-       Jun. 17, 2004
   Long Term IDR      B-       Dec. 14, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating     B-       Dec. 14, 2005


* BOLIVIA: Presidential Talks on Gas Pipeline Set for April 19
--------------------------------------------------------------
Presidents of Paraguay, Venezuela, Bolivia and Uruguay will meet
on April 19 in Paraguay to discuss a gas pipeline project, the
Associated Press reports.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez announced on a national
television Sunday that he would meet with Presidents Nicanor
Duarte, Evo Morales and Tabare Vazquez.

AP relates that the leaders will tackle on the development of
the pipeline around Parana River.  According to President
Chavez, they would also decide on a proposal to construct a
pipeline to carry gas from Bolivia through Paraguay.

"We're going to help them with fuel distribution along the
Parana and in Uruguay," Chavez was quoted by AP as saying.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on April 3, 2006,
President Duarte expressed interest in Paraguay's joining a
potential project for a pipeline to carry natural gas from
Bolivia to Uruguay.

Paraguay's commitment to consider taking part in the prospective
initiative was one of the points in a joint declaration signed
by President Duarte and visiting Uruguayan counterpart President
Vazquez.

"The president of Paraguay manifested his government's interest
in participating in such negotiations, particularly in the
construction of a gas pipeline, taking into account that the
shortest distance (from Bolivia) to the centers of consumption
is through Paraguayan territory," according to a joint
declaration signed by President Vasquez and President Duarte.

Though Bolivia and Paraguay share a common border, a conduit
would still have to cross Argentine or Brazilian territory
to reach Uruguay, the EFE states.

Bolivia having estimated reserves of 48 trillion cubic feet of
natural gas, most of it in southeastern fields near its borders
with Argentina and Paraguay, discussed the idea of a pipeline
with Uruguay in 2004.

President Vazquez and Bolivia's new president, Evo Morales,
decided to revive the plan and to invite Paraguay's
participation.

"The energy crisis is an issue that requires much imagination,
much talent and, as President Vazquez said to me, not only
solidarity, (but) fundamentally justice, fair treatment,"
President Duarte said in a joint press conference with the
Uruguayan President.

               *    *    *

Moody's assigned these ratings on Paraguay:

     -- CC LT Foreign Bank Deposit, Caa2
     -- CC LT Foreign Curr Debt, Caa1
     -- CC ST Foreign Bank Deposit, NP
     -- CC ST Foreign Currency Debt, NP
     -- LC Currency Issuer Rating, Caa1
     -- FC Curr Issuer Rating, Caa1
     -- Local Currency LT Debt, WR

                        *    *    *

Standard & Poor's assigned these ratings on Paraguay:

     -- Foreign Currency LT Debt B-
     -- Local Currency LT Debt   B-
     -- Foreign Currency ST Debt C
     -- Local Currency ST Debt   C

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Uruguay:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling     BB-      Mar. 7, 2005
   Long Term IDR       B+      Dec. 14, 2005
   Short Term IDR      B       Dec. 14, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating      BB-      Mar. 7, 2005

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Bolivia:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling    B-       Jun. 17, 2004
   Long Term IDR      B-       Dec. 14, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating     B-       Dec. 14, 2005

                        *    *    *

Venezuela's foreign currency long-term debt is rated B2 by
Moody's, B+ by Standard & Poor's, and BB- by Fitch.

                        *    *    *

On Nov. 29, 2005, Fitch Ratings assigned expected 'BB-' ratings
to the pending issues of Venezuelan government bonds maturing
Feb. 26, 2016, and Dec. 9, 2020.  The 2016 bond has a 5.75%
fixed coupon and the 2020 bond has a 6% fixed coupon.  The bonds
are being marketed in Venezuela to be purchased in local
currency at the official exchange rate but under New York law,
with all coupon and principal payments in U.S. dollars.

Venezuela's sovereign ratings are supported by superior
international liquidity and low external financing
requirements relative to similarly rated sovereigns.  The
ratings are constrained by vulnerability to external shocks
because of oil dependency; diminished capacity of the private
sector to absorb shocks because of heavy government
intervention in the productive sector; recent spending
increases that reduce fiscal flexibility; and concerns about
the rule of law and potential political instability.  Fitch said
the Rating Outlook is Stable.


===========
B R A Z I L
===========


BANCO NACIONAL: Finances Asem-NPBI Expansion With R$11.5 Million
----------------------------------------------------------------
The board of Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Economico e
Social aka BNDES approved a financing program for Asem-NPBI
Produtos Hospitalares Ltda. -- a manufacturer of bags for
collection of blood, filters and reagents -- for R$11.5 million.  
The fund will be used for the expansion and modernization of its
productive capacity.  The project needs a total investment of
R$13.9 million.

The credit, which embodies the acquisition of equipment to be
installed in the Asem-NPBI's new plant, in the municipality of
Itapecerica da Serra, state of Sao Paulo, will enable the
company's consolidation with a bigger manufacturer of products
for blood transfusion in Brazil.

Until 1985, the demand for collection bags and equipment for
blood transfusion was supplied by six Brazilian producers and by
eventual imports.  At the time, an international inspection
ordered by the Ministry of Health, performed by specialists of
the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health
Organization, verified the total inadequacy of bags for blood
collection and transfusion manufactured in Brazil.  The
government then determined the closing of all companies,
starting to import the products.

That situation lasted until 1990, when a group of entrepreneurs,
with only 2% of the shareholding of NPBI, which is a traditional
Dutch group in the sector, acquired the rights of the old
national company Griven, to reinitiate the national production
of blood bags and equipment. Thus, it was created in June 1990,
Asem Hospitalar S/A, investment that in its implantation had the
support of BNDES, in the amount of approximately R$2.5 million.

Four years later, the group NPBI overtook the control of the
company, which changed the name to Asem-NPBI Produtos
Hospitalares Ltda. and incorporated in September 1997 the
national company Biotest, which produces reagents for blood
identification.

In January 1998, Asem-NPBI integrated the German group
Fresenius, which had acquired the Dutch parent company of NPBI.  
Its expansion in Brazil carried on in 2001, when Asem-NPBI also
overtook the control of Hemoblu, equipment factory for blood
banks, located in Blumenau, Santa Catarina.

Thus, Asem-NPBI, which currently operates the plants of
Itapecerica da Serra and Blumenau, became leader in the national
market in the sectors of filters and collection bags, besides
producing reagents and other equipment for blood banks.

                     *    *    *

As reported by Troubled Company Reporter on March 3, 2006,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services raised its foreign currency
counterparty credit rating on Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento
Economico e Social S.A. aka BNDES to 'BB' with a stable outlook
from 'BB-' with a positive outlook.  The company's local
currency credit rating was also shifted to 'BB+' with a stable
outlook from 'BB' with a positive outlook.


BANCO NACIONAL: Inks Pact With BID to Create US$1.5B Credit Line
----------------------------------------------------------------
The presidents of Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Economico e
Social, Demian Fiocca, and Banco Interamericano de
Desenvolvimento, Luis Alberto Moreno, signed on April 2, a joint
statement that supports a Covenant of Conditional Credit Line,
estimated at US$1.5 billion, to finance projects in basic inputs
and infrastructure sectors.  The document was executed during
the works of the 47th BID's General Meeting, which is carried
out in Belo Horizonte.  The goal is to enable large investments
performed mainly by the private enterprise.

The technical staffs of BNDES and BID will jointly negotiate the
financial conditions of the future credit line.  According to
the joint statement, BID's support may be in two aspects:

   -- indirectly, upon loan by BNDES, which would transfer the
      resources to private enterprises and wholly undertake the
      operations' risk; and

   -- indirectly, upon co-financings, in which the credit risk
      is shared.

In the same joint statement, BNDES and BID agreed to collaborate
to improve the Brazilian capital market, exploring other co-
financing areas.

                   *    *    *

As reported by Troubled Company Reporter on March 3, 2006,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services raised its foreign currency
counterparty credit rating on Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento
Economico e Social S.A. aka BNDES to 'BB' with a stable outlook
from 'BB-' with a positive outlook.  The company's local
currency credit rating was also shifted to 'BB+' with a stable
outlook from 'BB' with a positive outlook.


CAIXA ECONOMICA: Maria Fernanda Coelho Heads Federal Bank
---------------------------------------------------------
Business News Americas reports that Maria Fernanda Ramos Coelho
has been appointed head of Brazilian federal bank Caixa
Economica Federal after a scandal brought down Jorge Mattoso.

Mr. Mattoso stepped down following allegations he violated the
public trust.  Mr. Mattoso admitted he provided the account
information of a CEF client to former finance minister Antonio
Palocci, who also resigned from his post.  Mr. Palocci had been
a target for some time of an illegal campaign financing
investigation, Business News relates.

Becoming CEF's first female president "is an important step
towards sexual equality," Ms. Coelho said in a statement.  Ms.
Coelho has worked for CEF for 22 years, most recently as
business development director.

CEF is the second largest bank in Brazil in terms of assets
behind fellow federal bank Banco do Brasil.

                        *    *    *  

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on March 9, 2006,  
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services assigned a 'BB' currency  
credit rating on Banco Itau S.A.  

                        *    *    *  

On Oct. 19, 2005, Moody's Investors Service upgraded Caixa  
Economica Federal's long-term foreign currency deposit rating to  
B1 from B2 with a positive outlook.  

The action followed Moody's upgrade of Brazil's foreign currency  
ceiling for deposits to B1, from B2, and the foreign currency  
country ceiling for bonds and notes to Ba3, from B1. The country  
ceilings have a positive outlook.


COMPANHIA VALE: Seeks 24% Hike on Iron Ore Prices This Year
-----------------------------------------------------------
Companhia Vale Do Rio Doce, aka CVRD, confirmed reports that it
is seeking a 24% increase in iron ore prices for 2006, company
spokesman Fernando Thompson told Dow Jones Commodities News.

The spokesman declined to make further comment on negotiations
with its European and Asian steelmaking clients.

Last year, the main iron ore mining company managed a 71.5%
increase in benchmark prices.

Headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Companhia Vale do Rio   
Doce -- http://www.cvrd.com.br/-- engages primarily in mining   
and logistics businesses. It engages in iron ore mining, pellet  
production, manganese ore mining, and ferroalloy production, as  
well as in the production of nonferrous minerals, such as   
kaolin, potash, copper, and gold.   

                        *    *    *   

On Jan. 5, 2006, Fitch Ratings assigned a long-term foreign   
currency rating of 'BB' to Vale Overseas Limited's proposed   
US$300 million issuance due 2016.  Vale Overseas is a wholly   
owned subsidiary of Companhia Vale do Rio Doce, a large   
diversified mining company located in Brazil.  The notes are   
unsecured obligations of Vale Overseas and are unconditionally   
guaranteed by CVRD.  The obligation to guarantee the notes
rank pari passu with all of CVRD's other unsecured and
unsubordinated debt obligations.  Fitch expects the proceeds of
this issuance to be used for general corporate purposes and
primarily to pay down US$300 million of Vale Overseas' 9.0%
guaranteed notes due 2013.   

Fitch also maintains these ratings for CVRD and CVRD Finance   
Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of CVRD:   

  -- CVRD foreign currency rating: 'BB', Outlook Positive;   
  -- CVRD local currency rating: 'BBB' Outlook Stable;   
  -- CVRD national scale rating: 'AAA(bra)', Outlook Stable;   
  -- CVRD Finance Ltd.: series 2000-1 and series 2000-3:
     'BBB';   
  -- CVRD Finance Ltd., series 2000-2 and series 2003-1: 'AAA'.


PETROLEO BRASILEIRO: CEO Says Bolivia, Venezuela Problems Are OK
----------------------------------------------------------------
Jose Sergio Gabrielli, chief executive officer of Brazil's state
oil company, Petroleo Brasileiro SA, dismissed the difficulties
the firm has faced in trade relations with Bolivia and
Venezuela, Reuters reported.

"Where in the world of oil are there not problems? The world of
oil is this way," Mr. Gabrielli was quoted by Reuters as saying.

The CEO affirmed that his company is accelerating efforts to
produce gas in Brazil.  He however, denied that the move is
related to Bolivia's demands for higher gas prices.

Mr. Gabrielli previously said that his company is halting US$5
billion of investments in Bolivia "...until the entire situation
is well defined."

In Venezuela, Petrobras signed a memorandum of understanding
with Petroleos de Venezuela SA that will migrate its contract
from operational to a joint venture.  Under the joint venture,
PDVSA takes majority interest of at least 60% in the company.

Headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Petroleo Brasileiro
S.A. aka Petrobras was founded in 1953.  The company explores,
produces, refines, transports, markets, distributes oil and
natural gas and power to various wholesale customers and retail
distributors in the country.

                        *    *    *

Petroleo Brasileiro SA's long-term corporate family rating is
rated Ba3 by Moody's and its foreign currency long-term debt is
rated BB- by Fitch.

                        *    *    *

Fitch assigns these ratings to Petroleo Brasileiro's senior
unsecured notes:

  Maturity Date           Amount        Rate       Ratings
  -------------           ------        ----       -------
  April  1, 2008        $400,000,000    9%          BB-
  July   2, 2013        $750,000,000    9.125%      BB-
  Sept. 15, 2014        $650,000,000    7.75%       BB-
  Dec.  10, 2018        $750,000,000    8.375%      BB-


TELEMAR: Launches VoIP Service for Residential Customers
--------------------------------------------------------
Brazilian telecoms group Telemar aka Tele Norte Leste
Participacoes SA (NYSE: TNE) has launched its Voice-over-
Internet Protocol service for residential customers, Business
News Americas reports, citing a company's press release.

VoIP allows telephone calls using a broadband Internet
connection instead of a regular (or analog) phone line.  

Telemar aims to attract 50,000 VoIP clients in the coming 12
months, reported local newspaper Valor Economico.

According to Business News Americas, Telemar -- through its
mobile unit Oi -- will launch a package of services for
consumers in Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte cities that wish
to call Canada or the United States.

Furthermore, Telemar will provide virtual numbers in Canada or
the US through which people in those countries can make calls to
Brazil as if they were local.  The operator aims to increase its
range of options to other countries and regions in the coming
months.

Telemar provides telecommunication services in South America.  
It offers local, intra-regional long distance, and data  
transmission services in 16 Brazilian states, which covers  
approximately 64% of the country.  Mobile services are provided  
through its wireless unit Oi, and it has acquired data  
transmission services provider Pegasus.  

                        *    *    *  

As reported on Mar. 2, 2006, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services  
said it placed the 'BB' ratings of Telemar Norte Leste S.A. on  
CreditWatch with positive implications following the raising of  
the foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on  
Brazil.


USINAS SIDERURGICAS: Considering US$3B Steel Plant's Location
-------------------------------------------------------------
Steelmaker Usinas Siderurgicas de Minas Gerais S.A. aka
Usiminas is evaluating where in southeast Brazil to build its
US$3 billion steel plant, a company press official told Business
News Americas.

The official denied press reports that said it would build the
plant in the city of Cubatao in Sao Paulo state.

"It is definite that the plant will be located in the southeast
region because it offers better logistics conditions, since the
output will be earmarked for exports," the official said in its
email message.  The region has four states: Sao Paulo, Rio de
Janeiro, Minas Gerais and Espirito Santo.

Usiminas looks to its investment partners to pay for 50% of the
new export plant, BNamericas states.

"The new mill should be built in partnership with other
companies to achieve scale and minimize risk, while the
production should have secured demand abroad through long-term
contracts with international partners," Usiminas said in
December 2005.

Headquartered in Minas Gerais, Brazil, Usiminas is among the
world's 20 largest steel manufacturing complexes, with a
production capacity of approximately 10 million tons of steel.
Usiminas System companies produces galvanized and non-coated
flat steel products for the automotive, small and large diameter
pipe, civil construction, hydro-electronic, rerolling,
agriculture, and road machinery industries. Brazil consumes 80%
of its products and the company's largest export markets are the
U.S. and Latin America.

                        *    *    *

As reported by Troubled Company Reporter on March 2, 2006,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services placed the 'BB' corporate
credit ratings of Usinas Siderurgicas de Minas Gerais S.A. aka
Usiminas on CreditWatch with positive implications following the
raising of the foreign and local currency sovereign credit
ratings on Brazil.


===========================
C A Y M A N   I S L A N D S
===========================


BLUERIDGE FINANCE: Liquidation Accounts to be Presented on May 4
----------------------------------------------------------------
Accounts on the liquidation of Blueridge Finance Ltd. will be
presented during the shareholders' final general meeting on May
4, 2006.  The meeting will be held at:

          Maples Finance Limited
          Queensgate House, George Town
          Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Accounts on the company's liquidation process will be presented
during the meeting.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Feb. 28, 2006,
Blueridge Finance Ltd. started liquidating assets on Jan. 18,
2006.  Creditors were given until March 9, 2006, to submit
claims against the company.

The liquidators can be reached at:

          Helen Allen
          Emile Small
          Maples Finance limited
          P.O. Box, 1093, George Town
          Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands


METROPOLITAN CAPITAL: Liquidators Presented Accounts on Meeting
---------------------------------------------------------------
Shareholders of Metropolitan Capital Corporation held a final
general meeting on April 10, 2006, at:

           HSBC Financial Services
           (Cayman) Limited
           P.O. Box 1109, George Town
           Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

During the meeting the company's liquidators -- Janet Crawshaw
and Jamal Young -- presented accounts on the company's
liquidation process.  The shareholders also authorized the
liquidators to retain the records of the company for a period of
five years, starting from the dissolution of the company.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on March 30, 2006,
Metropolitan Capital entered voluntary liquidation on Feb. 15,
2006

The company's liquidators can be reached at:

          Attention: Marguerite Britton
          Janet Crawshaw
          Jamal Young
          P.O. Box 1109, George Town
          Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
          Tel: (345) 949-7755
          Fax: (345) 949-7634


ORANGETREE LTD: Trustee to Present Wind Up Accounts on April 20
---------------------------------------------------------------
Alun Davies -- the liquidator of Orange tree Limited -- will
present wind up accounts at the shareholders' final general
meeting on April 20, 2006.  The meeting will be held at 10:00
a.m. at the offices of:

           Cayman Financial Consultants Limited
           Waterfront Centre, George Town
           Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

The shareholders will also require the liquidator to retain the
records of the company for a period of six years, starting from
the dissolution of the company.

Any person who is entitled to attend and vote at this meeting
may appoint a proxy to attend and vote in his stead.  A proxy
need not be a member or a creditor.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on April 3, 2006,
Orangetree Limited started liquidating assets on Dec. 29, 2005.  
Creditors of the company were given until April 6, 2006, to
submit claims to the company's liquidator.

The company's liquidator can be reached at:

           Alun Davies
           P.O. Box 10034 APO
           Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
           Tel: (345) 946-5353
           Fax: (345) 947-5353


TOKYO CHELSEA: Holds Final Shareholders Meeting on May 3
--------------------------------------------------------
Tokyo Chelsea Limited will hold a shareholders' final general
meeting on May 3, 2006, at 10:30 a.m. at the offices of:
         
            NCB Consulting Ltd.
            P.O. Box 1168 George Town
            3rd Floor, Harbour Place
            103 South Church Street, George Town
            Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Accounts on the company's liquidation process will be presented
during the meeting.  

The liquidator can be reached at:

            David A. Bodden
            c/o M&C Corporate Services Limited
            P.O. Box 309, George Town
            Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands


TOP ADVANCE: Final Shareholders Meeting Set for March 23
--------------------------------------------------------
Shareholders of Top Advance Group Ltd. will have their final
general meeting on May 4, 2006, at 2:00 p.m. at:

           5F, No. 75, Sec. 1
           Shintai 5th Rd., Shiji City
           Taipei, Taiwan, 110

Accounts on the company's liquidation process will be presented
during the meeting.  The shareholders will also authorize the
liquidators to retain the records of the company for a period of
five years, starting from the dissolution of the company.
Destruction of the records may then be allowed after such
period.

Any person who is entitled to attend and vote at this meeting
may appoint a proxy to attend and vote in his stead.  A proxy
need not be a member or a creditor.

For inquiries, Mr. Tim Fu the company's liquidator can be
reached at:

          Campbells
          P.O. Box 2804 George Town
          Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands


=========
C H I L E
=========


BANCO DE CHILE: Central Bank Opts Cash Payment for Debt
-------------------------------------------------------
Chile's central bank has opted for cash payments over shares in
the repayment of long-term debt by Banco de Chile SA, Chile's
second biggest bank.

"As a result, Banco de Chile will transfer...the annual quota of
approximately 77.049 billion pesos (US$146 million),
corresponding to the 42.8% of the net profit obtained" by the
bank last year, the monetary authority said in a statement on
March 28.

Shareholders in Banco de Chile on March 23 decided to capitalize
up to 30% of net profit through a share issue.

Banco de Chile is the sole local bank that still needs to repay
long-term debt to the central bank.

The bank incurred the debt in a massive financial system bailout
during Chile's 1983 debt crisis.

The two sides in 1996 agreed to a repayment of the debt within
40 years.  As of December 31, 2005, the debt totaled US$1.8
billion.

Quinenco SA, the Chilean Luksic family's investment holding,
controls Banco de Chile.  Quinenco also controls mining,
manufacturing and beverage companies, among other investments.

                        *    *    *

Moody's Investor Service rated Banco de Chile's bank financial
strength at C+.  The rating was effective September 22, 1995.


===============
C O L O M B I A
===============


COLOMBIA MOVIL: Has 7 Interested Buyers for Controlling Stake
-------------------------------------------------------------
Seven telecommunication companies have shown interest in
acquiring a controlling stake in Colombia Movil SA.  

Colombia Movil aka Ola is jointly owned by state-owned Empresa
de Telecomunicaciones de Bogota SA ESP or ETB and Empresas
Publicas de Medellin or EPM.   

EPM and ETB decided to sell a majority stake in Ola after
investing US$658.5 million since November 2003 but not realizing
profits since then.

EPM and ETB's previously announced 15% stake sale in an initial
public offering in the Colombian stock market won't be affected
by the proposed majority stake sale, a company representative
said a press statement.

Also in a press statement, ETB disclosed the seven companies
which showed interest in acquiring a majority stake in Ola:

     -- Mexico-based America Movil SA,
     -- Venezuela's CA Nacional de Telefonos de Venezuela,
     -- Luxembourg-based Millicom International Cellular SA,
     -- Chile-based Entel SA,
     -- Spain's Telefonica SA,
     -- London-based Cable & Wireless and
     -- Swedtel, the Swedish unit of U.K.- based WorldTel Ltd.

South Korea's SK Telecom Ltd. and Brazil's Telemar Norte Leste
SA rejected the offer ETB and EPM's invitation to bid.

Ola controls about 10% of the Colombian market with 2.2 million
subscribers and competes with the local units of America Movil
and Telefonica.

EPM and ETB also obtained four positive answers among the nine
banks invited to handle the sale:

     -- ABN Amro Holding NV,
     -- BNP Paribas SA,
     -- the local investment unit of Banco Santander Central
        Hispano SA and
     -- local investment bank Colcorp.

The shareholders did not disclose the exact number of shares
they are selling.


COLOMBIA TELECOM: Telefonica Wins Auction with COP853.6 Bil. Bid
----------------------------------------------------------------
Spain's Telefonica won the Colombia Telecomunicaciones auction
on Friday with a COP853.6 billion bid, outbidding Venezuela's
Cantv by COP40 billion.  Telefonica will now own the Colombian
firm's 50% plus one stake.

"It's a pretty fair price," said Ronald Gruia -- senior telecom
analyst at consultancy Frost & Sullivan in Toronto.

Telefonica and Cantv both began with a COP80 billion bid at the
first round of the auction.  Cantv, however, lost in the final
round with Telefonica offering about US$18 million more than the
initial bid.

During the auction, each bidder was given 15 minutes to raise
its offer.  The Colombian government had set the minimum price
at $233 million.

The sale was opposed by union leaders and leftist politicians,
complaining that the government is bargaining Colombia's assets.  
Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe, however, countered that it is
better to be the owners of 50% minus one share of a thriving
business than be the owners of 100% of a dying one.

According to Alberto Carrasquilla -- Colombia's finance
minister, said that the deal was good for the country.  

"I don't want to imagine what would have happened if Colombia
Telecom had not found a strategic partner.  Right now, all
Colombians, we would be preparing for new taxes to pay for the
pension liabilities," Mr. Carrasquilla said.

Telefonica will assume Colombia Telecom's COP7.58 trillion debt,
which will have to be paid gradually by 2022.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on April 6, 2006,
only Telefonica S.A. and CA Nacional Telefonos de Venezuela aka
Cantv committed to present technical bids required by the
government.  Colombia Telecom said to Reuters that by presenting
technical bids, Telefonica and CANTV promised to pay the $233
million minimum price set for the auction.

Other pre-qualified bidders -- Telefonos de Mexico S.A. aka
Telmex, Cablecentro S.A. and Phone 1 -- backed out of the
auction.

Jorge Lagunas, an equity analyst with Mexico-based Interacciones
Casa de Bolsa S.A., told Dow Jones that the withdrawal of Telmex
from the auction could be a result of the CANTV acquistion.  
Telmex said Monday it would team up with America Movil S.A. for
the purchase of the 28.5% stake Verizon Communications owned in
CANTV.  Telmex came close to acquiring Colombia Telecom for $350
million in 2005 was interested in trying again.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on April 5, 2006,
Alfonso Gomez Palacios -- chief executive of Colombia Telecom --
expected that the auction would bring at least $350 million to
his firm.

The Troubled Company Reporter also reported on March 22, 2006,
that municipal telcos Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Bogota
S.A. aka ETB and Empresas Publicas de Medellin S.A. aka EPM
backed out of the auction due to discriminatory bidding
conditions.  Among the conditions ETB president Rafael Orduz
considered discriminatory is the requirement that no monies
belonging to the Colombian people may be used in the
partnership.  ETB, which could only finance a strategic
partnership with the state telco through currently held assets,
would be forced to take out a loan.

According to Business News Americas, the tender also required
the winning company to surrender its Internet and data unit to
Telecom, which Orduz found absurd.  Mr. Ordiz said that with
this condition, ETB would lose one of its more important units.

Telmex made an offer in 2005 for the 50% plus one share of
Telecom.  The company was willing to pay about US$350 million,
but the Colombian government backed out of the deal to embark on
a broader bidding process.

Gina Paola Achuri -- Cablecentro's executive director -- told
BNamericas that the sale process has been overly favorable
for Telmex, which has had access to Telecom's key information
since August 2005.

Former central bank board member and director of think-tank
National Association of Financial Institutions, Sergio Clavijo,
had said to Dow Jones that the state-run company needs a foreign
partner to exit from its precarious financial condition.  
Colombia Telecomunicaciones is facing a COP5 trillion of pension
liability that, according to Mr. Palacios, the winner would have
to pay by 2022 and only then would the ownership be transferred.

"Neither the company nor the government have a financial muscle
needed to keep investing in this company," Mr. Clavijo had told
Dow Jones.


===================================
D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C
===================================


AES CORPORATION: Earns US$630 Million of Net Income in 2005
-----------------------------------------------------------
The AES Corporation (NYSE: AES) reported strong results for
the fourth quarter and full year, with annual revenues of
$11.08 billion, up 17% from last year.  Fourth quarter net
income was $177 million.  This compares to net income of $101
million the fourth quarter of 2004.  Fourth quarter income from
continuing operations was $179 million, compared to $19 million
in the prior year quarter.  

Full year 2005 net income was $630 million compared to
$298 million in 2004.  Income from continuing operations was
$632 million, compared to $264 million last year.  

"We ended 2005 on a very strong note, and achieved record
revenues and operating cash flow for the year," said Paul
Hanrahan, President and Chief Executive Officer.  "We
successfully managed through a period of increased energy costs
and generated higher free cash flow to improve our credit
quality.  Over the course of the year, we achieved many
strategic milestones, including the acquisition of a major wind
energy company in the U.S. and the start of many new projects
and platform expansions in various markets around the world."

The Company also identified certain errors in its 2003 and 2004
financial results during its 2005 year-end closing process that
resulted in a need to restate those results.  2003 net income
was reduced by $17 million or $0.03 per diluted share and 2004
net income increased by $6 million or $0.01 per diluted share.  
The 2003, 2004 and interim period 2005 previously issued
financial statements and report of the Company's independent
registered public accounting firm, Deloitte & Touche LLP, should
no longer be relied upon.  

The Company also said that as of March 31, 2006, it was in
default under its senior bank credit facility due to the
restatement of its 2003 financial statements.  As a result, $200
million of the debt under the Company's senior bank credit
facility has been classified as current on the balance sheet as
of December 31, 2005.  The Company currently is seeking a waiver
of this default and an amendment of the representation relating
to the 2003 financial statements.  Upon receipt of the waiver
and amendment, the Company will be able to borrow additional
funds under the revolving credit facility, if needed.

                    Fourth Quarter Highlights

Consolidated key financial highlights for the fourth quarter of
2005 as compared to the same period in 2004 are:

   -- revenue increased 18% from the fourth quarter of 2004 to
      $2.973 bil., primarily due to favorable foreign currency
      exchange rates in Brazil and tariff increases in the
      Company's Brazil and Argentina regulated utilities.  
      Excluding the estimated impacts of foreign currency
      translation, revenues increased 11%.

   -- gross margin increased 32% to $929 million, principally
      due to the higher revenues and favorable tariff increases.  
      Gross margin as a percent of sales increased to 31.2% from
      28.0% largely due to the tariff increases.

   -- income before tax and minority interest increased 102% to
      $411 million due to higher operating earnings at the
      Company's subsidiaries, the lack of asset impairment
      charges and lower foreign currency translation losses
      versus the prior year.  These gains were partially offset
      by higher other expenses and increased corporate costs,
      the latter primarily due to external fees related to the
      prior year restatement effort.

   -- interest expense of $504 million increased $11 million
      reflecting higher short-term interest rates and adverse
      foreign currency translation effects, partially offset by
      lower hedge related derivative expense.  Interest income
      increased $20 mil. to $111 million largely as a result of
      the higher short-term rates and higher cash balances.

   -- income tax expense decreased $55 million to $93 million
      versus the prior year.  The 2005 tax expense had an
      effective rate of 23% and was positively impacted by a
      reduction of foreign subsidiary-related taxes, adjustments
      related to prior year tax returns and a favorable shift in
      composition of income relative to tax rates.  The fourth
      quarter 2004 tax expense had an effective rate of 73% and
      was heavily influenced by taxation of unrealized foreign
      exchange gains on dollar-denominated debt held at certain
      of the Latin American subsidiaries and taxes on dividend
      distributions from certain foreign subsidiaries.

   -- income from continuing operations increased to $179
      million from $19 million in 2004 due to higher income
      before tax and minority interest and a significantly lower
      tax rate, partially offset by higher minority interest
      expense related largely to higher earnings contributions
      from Latin America.

   -- net cash from operating activities of $699 mil. increased
      54% from $454 million in 2004.  Free cash flow (a non-GAAP
      financial measure defined as net cash from operating
      activities less maintenance capital expenditures) was
      $577 million, up 86% from $310 million for the same period
      in 2004.  Maintenance capital expenditures were $122
      million compared to $144 million in the prior year period.   
      Maintenance capital expenditures are defined as property
      additions less growth capital expenditures.

Full Year Highlights:

   -- full-year revenues were a record $11,086 million, an
      increase of 17% over $9,463 million in 2004.  Excluding
      the estimated impact of foreign currency translation,
      revenues increased 10%.

   -- gross margin was $3.178 million, an increase of $396
      million or 14% compared to $2.782 million in 2004, with
      gains across all segments.  Favorable currency translation
      effects and higher prices led the increase, partially
      offset by $192 million of receivable reserves recorded by
      the Brazilian regulated utilities in the second quarter of
      2005.  Gross margin as a percent of sales declined 70
      basis points to 28.7% due to the receivable reserve and
      the pass-through of higher energy costs in revenue without
      additional gross margin contribution.

   -- interest expense declined $36 million to $1.896 billion
      compared to $1.932 billion in the prior year, reflecting
      the benefits of debt retirement and lower interest rate
      hedge related costs, partially offset by unfavorable
      currency translation effects and higher short-term
      interest rates.  Interest income increased $109 million on
      the higher rates.

   -- income before taxes and minority interest increased 77% to
      $1.458 billion, compared to $822 million in 2004.  The
      improvement reflects higher gross margin, lower net
      interest
      expense, lower foreign currency transaction losses, a loss
      on sale of investments in 2004 and a lack of asset
      impairment charges in 2004 versus 2005.

   -- the effective tax rate in the 2005 period was 32% compared
      to 44% in the prior period.  Income tax expense was
      positively impacted in 2005 by a reduction in the taxes
      imposed on earnings of, and distributions from, foreign
      subsidiaries as well as adjustments derived from the
      Company's 2004 income tax returns filed in 2005.

   -- income from continuing operations increased 139% to
      $632 million from $264 million in 2004 due to higher
      operating income before tax and minority interest and a
      lower effective tax rate, partially offset by higher
      minority interest expense related to an increase in the
      earnings of certain subsidiaries in Brazil.

   -- net cash from operating activities was a record
      $2.165 billion and 38% above 2004.  Higher earnings and
      relatively stable working capital levels contributed to
      the increase.

   -- free cash flow was $1,534 million in 2005, up 44% from
      $1.064 billion in 2004.  Maintenance capital expenditures
      were $631 million compared to $507 million in 2004.

   -- AES reduced total debt in 2005 by 5% to $17.706 billion
      including a $270 million reduction in recourse parent debt
      and a $612 million reduction in non-recourse subsidiary
      debt.

                     2006 Earnings Guidance

AES expects expects net cash from operating activities of
$2.2 billion to $2.3 billion and subsidiary distributions of
$1.0 billion.  The Company is increasing its business
development efforts and parent growth investments in 2006
consistent with its long-term growth objectives.

"Our 2006 earnings guidance is fully consistent with our 2008
financial targets, which remain on track," said Mr. Hanrahan.
"We're starting 2006 on a strong note, with a high quality
development pipeline."

"This new credit facility will help support our growth
objectives and add to our financial flexibility," said Victoria
Harker, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.  
"At the same time, we remain committed to further improving our
credit quality as evidenced by last week's credit upgrade from
Standard & Poor's."

AES Corporation -- http://www.aes.com/-- is a global power
company.  The Company operates in South America, Europe, Africa,
Asia and the Caribbean countries.  Generating 44,000 megawatts
of electricity through 124 power facilities, the Company
delivers electricity through 15 distribution companies.

AES's Latin America business group is comprised of generation
plants and electric utilities in Argentina, Brazil, Chile,
Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Panama and Venezuela.  
Fuels include biomass, diesel, coal, gas and hydro.  The group
also pursues business development activities in the region.  AES
has been in the region since May 1993, when it acquired the CTSN
power plant in Argentina.

                         *     *     *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on March 31, 2006,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services raised its corporate credit
rating on diversified energy company The AES Corp. to 'BB-' from
'B+'.  S&P said the outlook is stable.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Jan. 11, 2006,
Moody's affirmed the ratings of The AES Corporation, including
its Ba3 Corporate Family Rating and the B1 rating on its senior
unsecured debt.  Moody's said the rating outlook remains stable.


AES CORPORATION: Inks US$600M Credit Facility with Merrill Lynch
----------------------------------------------------------------
AES Corporation entered into a $600 million senior unsecured
credit facility agreement on March 29, 2005 with

   * Merrill Lynch Capital Corporation, administrative agent;

   * Merrill Lynch & Co., lead arranger;

   * Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated, as lead
     arranger; and

   * Merrill Lynch Bank USA, as fronting bank.  

The credit facility is a syndicated loan and letter of credit
facility.  The facility matures on March 31, 2010.

The Company would use $100 million of the loan for general
corporate purposes; and $500 million of letters of credit to
support the Company's construction of a coal-fired generation
plant in Bulgaria, called the AES Maritza East 1 project.

A full-text copy of the Credit Agreement is available for free
at http://ResearchArchives.com/t/s?778

                          Default

As of March 31, 2006 the Company is in default under this credit
facility also to the restatement of the Company's 2004 financial
statements.  As a result, the Company needed to obtain a waiver
of this default and an amendment of the representation relating
to the 2004 financial statements before the Company can borrow
additional funds under the credit facility.  The Company
obtained the default on April 3, 2006.

AES Corporation -- http://www.aes.com/-- is a global power
company.  The Company operates in South America, Europe, Africa,
Asia and the Caribbean countries.  Generating 44,000 megawatts
of electricity through 124 power facilities, the Company
delivers electricity through 15 distribution companies.

AES's Latin America business group is comprised of generation
plants and electric utilities in Argentina, Brazil, Chile,
Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Panama and Venezuela.  
Fuels include biomass, diesel, coal, gas and hydro.  The group
also pursues business development activities in the region.  AES
has been in the region since May 1993, when it acquired the CTSN
power plant in Argentina.

                         *     *     *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on March 31, 2006,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services raised its corporate credit
rating on diversified energy company The AES Corp. to 'BB-' from
'B+'.  S&P said the outlook is stable.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Jan. 11, 2006,
Moody's affirmed the ratings of The AES Corporation, including
its Ba3 Corporate Family Rating and the B1 rating on its senior
unsecured debt.  Moody's said the rating outlook remains stable.


FALCONBRIDGE LTD: Resumes Exploration of El Morro Deposits
----------------------------------------------------------
Metallica Resources Inc. reported that Falconbridge Limited is
commencing work on an underground exploration decline into the
La Fortuna coppergold deposit of the El Morro project.  Along
with the ongoing 26,500-meter core-drilling program announced
previously, the decline would help form the basis of a
prefeasibility study that Falconbridge intends to complete by
the end of 2006 at a total estimated cost of approximately US$40
million.  Metallica's Exploration Agreement with Falconbridge
also calls for Falconbridge to complete a definitive feasibility
study by mid-September 2007.  The cost of both the
prefeasibility and feasibility studies is being borne by
Falconbridge as part of its agreement with Metallica.  Metallica
owns a 30% interest in the El Morro project with Falconbridge,
Metallica's joint venture partner and project operator, owning
the remaining 70% interest.

The decline will transect the core of the La Fortuna deposit,
beginning with an 800 meter drive across the secondary copper
enrichment zone followed by a 350 meter drive into the
underlying primary sulfide zone. The purpose of the decline is
to provide additional validation of the deposit's grade, provide
additional material for metallurgical testing and allow detailed
geotechnical studies to be completed for mine design and
engineering.  It is estimated that the decline will take ten
months to complete.

In conjunction with the decline and core-drilling program,
Falconbridge is conducting a wide variety of engineering,
metallurgical, environmental and socio-economic studies that
will also be an integral part of the prefeasibility study.  The
prefeasibility study is designed to advance the project's
engineering and cost estimation accuracy to within 20% of the
ultimate design and cost.  Falconbridge has retained Hatch
Engineering of Santiago, Chile as the study manager for the
project.

At a copper-equivalent cut-off grade of 0.4% using metal prices
of US$1.00/lb copper and US$400/oz gold, the La Fortuna deposit
includes indicated resources totaling 209 million tonnes grading
0.67% copper and 0.59 g/t gold and inferred resources totaling
538 million tonnes grading 0.46% copper and 0.39 g/t gold.
Metallica's 30% interest in the La Fortuna resource equates to
approximately 930 million pounds of copper and 1.2 million
ounces of gold in the indicated category, and 1.6 billion pounds
of copper and 2.0 million ounces of gold in the inferred
category.

The resource estimate for the La Fortuna deposit is classified
as an indicated and inferred mineral resource in accordance with
Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum
definitions for mineral resources and mineral reserves.  The
estimate is based entirely on data provided to Metallica by
Falconbridge.  The qualified persons responsible for the design
and completion of the updated resource estimate, as defined by
National Instrument 43-101 - Standards of Disclosure for Mineral
Projects, are:

   -- Bruce M. Davis, Fellow - AusIMM and Chief Geostatistician
      for Norwest Corporation and

   -- Mark Petersen, Certified Professional Geologist - AIPG and
      Director of Exploration for Metallica Resources.

                    About Metallica Resources

Metallica Resources is an emerging gold and silver producer
focused on the exploration and development of precious metal
rich properties throughout the Americas.  It currently has 83.6
million shares outstanding.

                   About Falconbridge Limited

Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Falconbridge Limited
-- http://www.falconbridge.com/-- produces nickel products.  It   
owns nickel mines in Canada and the Dominican Republic.  It
operates a refinery and sulfuric acid (used in refining) plant
in Norway.  It is also a major producer of copper (38% of
sales) through its Kidd mine in Canada and its stake in Chile's
Collahuasi mine and Lomas Bayas mine.  Its other products
include cobalt, platinum group metals, and zinc.

                        *    *    *

Falconbridge's CDN$150 million 5% convertible and callable bond
due April 30, 2007, carries Standard & Poor's BB+ rating.


=============
E C U A D O R
=============


* ECUADOR: New Hydrocarbons Bill Undergoes Changes
--------------------------------------------------
Changes are being made on Ecuador's new hydrocarbons bill
approved by the Congress last week, Enrique Proano -- the
presidential press secretary -- told Dow Jones Newswires
Thursday.  

Energy Minister Ivan Rodriguez told press, "The reforms are made
in a general framework for the distribution of excess revenues
that are obtained from high oil prices, but to determine other
factors, each contract will be analyzed."  Factors include:

   -- the state's participation in production,

   -- the level of investments on the part of private companies,

   -- what type of adjustments should be made if oil prices were
      to fall, and

   -- others that will guarantee an economic balance between the
      companies and the state, which is the owner of the oil.

Dow Jones relates that private oil firms had demanded for veto
of the law.  They said the bill is unconstitutional.  They
threatened to reduce their investments in the country if the
bill becomes law.

President Alfredo Palacio however will not completely veto the
bill and Mr. Proano said to reporters that the bill is fair and
will allow for investment in social programs.  

Regarding the threat of investment reduction in the country, the
minister said he will ensure that the law and the contracts that
establish determined amounts of investment are upheld, Dow Jones
states.

Mr. Rodriguez told Dow Jones that there are companies that are
interested in investing in Ecuador.  If there are firms that are
not comfortable remaining in the country, the government will
have to look for alternatives.  There are others that are very
interested in entering the oil sector, he said.  Companies from
China, Russia, India, Iran and Latin America expressed interest
to enter Ecuador.

According to Dow Jones, Mr. Rodriguez said that Brazil's
Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. aka Petrobras and Chile's Empresa
Nacional de Petroleo S.A. want to raise its investment in the
country.  Colombia's energy minister had also shown interest to
be Petroecuador's -- the state-run oil firm of Ecuador --
strategic partner.

The minister, says Dow Jones, expects negotiation with private
companies to end within 45 days after the law is approved.

The government will renegotiate contracts with the private firms
regardless of reforms to the new hydrocarbons law, Mr. Rodriguez
revealed to Dow Jones.

Dow Jones states that the firms have said they want contracts to
be renegotiated on a case-by-case basis.  The companies, except
Occidental Petroleum Co., have not made any concrete alternative
proposals on how to improve government participation in
contracts.  

According to an internal communication, Occidental would agree
in contract renegotiation to study paying Ecuador 50% of the
difference between contractual prices and current prices once
the long-running contractual dispute with the country has ended.

Dow Jones relates that Mr. Rodriguez did not rule out that
Ecuador might accept the contract period extension requested by
the companies but he made it clear that conflicts on taxes
between the companies and the government were nonnegotiable.  He
said that he could intervene with the Attorney General to try
and resolve past problems but this cannot be part of the
negotiation as it has a different legal process.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on April 4, 2006,
Ecuador's Congress passed a bill reforming the country's
hydrocarbons law.  

Under the new bill, contracts with foreign oil producers will be
revised giving the government a 60% split of profits whenver oil
market prices exceeds what's established in existing contracts.   

The old contracts give the state about 20% of profits, while
prices were pegged at US$15 per barrel.  

The Hydrocarbon Industries Association said that "the will of
the parties reflected in the contracts cannot be changed by a
law."

"This means that the National Congress and the Executive, if it
approves this law, (are) violating the basic principles of a
contractual relationship," HIA president Rene Ortiz told the EFE
news agency.

The group asked President Alfredo Palacio to veto the bill on
grounds that it violates lawful, economic and technical
principles.

The trade group contented that existing contracts can only be
changed through renegotiations between the partiers involved --
not unilaterally through a new law.

Ecuador produces about 535,000 barrels of crude daily, between
state-run Petroecuador and private companies, and oil revenues
account for 43% of the national budget.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Ecuador:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling     B-      Aug. 29, 2005
   Long Term IDR       B-      Dec. 14, 2005
   Short Term IDR      B       Dec. 14, 2005


* ECUADOR: President Asking Congress to Revoke Tax Exemption Law
----------------------------------------------------------------
President Alfredo Palacio will ask the Congress to revoke the
tax exemption law for the Huaquillas municipality, Dow Jones
Newswires reports.  The president would send a bill on the
cancellation of the law.

Enrique Proano -- the presidential press secretary told
reporters on Friday that President Palacio made the decision to
ask for a repeal to preserve productivity, employment and
economic stability in Ecuador.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on April 10, 2006,
other Andean nations could sue the Ecuadorean government due to
the tax exemption law implemented in Huaquillas, a municipality
near the Peruvian border.

The central bank said in a report, "The imports this law would
benefit would come from member countries of the World Trade
Organization...Ecuador would fail to fulfill its obligations
with the Andean Community of Nations by not imposing the Andean
general duty that the countries have to apply to imports from
third-party nations."

This would open the door for lawsuits and sanctions that could
affect Ecuador's exports, the central bank was quoted by Dow
Jones saying.

The Troubled Company Reporter also reported on April 7, 2006,
that the Congress passed in March a new tax exemption law in
Huaquillas, which has about 40,000 inhabitants.  The law will
take effect on Jan. 1, 2007.

Each inhabitant will have an annual quota of up to $400,000 to
import any goods, tax free, from Peru, Dow Jones relates.
Huaquillas could import, duty free, about $16 billion a year.

According to The Troubled Company Reporter, Ecuador's total
imports last year was $8.91 billion, for which the national tax
agency SRI charged $800 million in tariffs and $1 billion in
value-added tax aka VAT.

The tax exemption law may result to an annual US$400 million
reduction in tax collection starting next year, the economy
ministry told Dow Jones.

Central bank director, Maria Belen Freire, said to Dow Jones
that the Huaquillas law -- as well as similar ones now being
studied in Congress -- threatens Ecuador's competitiveness and
productivity.  The laws, according to Ms. Freire, promote an
unfair competition with Ecuador's formal sector, which pays
taxes.

Those laws don't boost investments, Ms. Freire revealed to Dow
Jones.  They are against principles of gradually reducing taxes,
which countries such as Ecuador are demanding in their free
trade agreement discussions with the US as well as with the
European Union.

The Troubled Company Reporter states that Wilson Ruales -- an
advisor to the SRI -- complained that the Huaquillas law will
encourage contraband, raise the fiscal deficit and inflation,
damage the productive structure, and affect the dollarization of
Ecuador's economy, and provoke the closing of firms as well as
an increase in unemployment.

"It is a complicated problem because there are other similar
bills in Parliament.  We know that Huaquillas needs special
treatment, but we don't want to harm the rest of the country,"
Dow Jones quoted Jose Modesto Apolo, the administration
secretary, saying.

The Guayaquil chamber of commerce, says Dow Jones, sought for
the law's cancellation at the Constitutional Court last week.
Congressman Ernesto Pazmino of the Democratic Left party also
presented his own proposal to abolish the law.

According to Dow Jones, Congressman Pazmino was supported by the
40 members from his own party as well as from the Pachakutik
indigenous party, the Social Christian Party and some
independents.

Dow Jones reveals that Congressman Pazmino was the only lower
house legislator to vote against the law while 74 voted in favor
of it.  The 74 congressmen now said they regret that vote.
Wilfrido Lucero -- the president of Congress -- had apologized,
saying that they did not realize what they were approving.

While some congressmen have regretted passing the law, there are
also people behind the law who have hidden interests linked to
contraband and money laundering, Congressman Pazmino said to Dow
Jones.

Jose Modesto Apolo, the administration secretary, said to Dow
Jones that the government is looking for ways to terminate the
law.  In fact, President Alfredo Palacio is considering whether
to declare the law unconstitutional, or whether to send a new
law to Congress to overturn the original law.

Dow Jones states that President Palacio cannot reject the new
law for the second time, after it was reintroduced this year and
finally approved.  In such cases, laws are put immediately into
effect.  The Congress had first passed the law in 2005.

President Palacio could however send the Congress a bill that
will revoke the law, says Dow Jones.  The Congress could also
make the said bill.

Huaquillas' inhabitants and authorities have said they are
planning protests to ensure the law stands, Dow Jones reports.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Ecuador:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling     B-      Aug. 29, 2005
   Long Term IDR       B-      Dec. 14, 2005
   Short Term IDR      B       Dec. 14, 2005


===========
G U Y A N A
===========


* GUYANA: Awaits Conclusion of Talks on Crude Refining Pact
-----------------------------------------------------------
Guyana is waiting for the result of the talks on the crude
refining accord between Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela,
Stabroek News reports.  The country is hoping that the talks
would end in an arrangement where Caricom countries could buy
crude oil from Venezuela and have it refined in Trinidad.

Stabroek states that Prime Minister Sam Hinds -- who holds the
portfolio for energy -- said that Guyana was encouraging an
agreement between Venezuela and Trinidad to send crude to
Trinidad for processing.

In an interview, Mr. Hinds -- who holds the portfolio for energy
-- said that if T&T and Venezuela agree on that arrangement, the
countries purchasing the oil as well as T&T, Venezuela and the
whole region would have economic and political benefits.

"Such an arrangement would create a desirable partnership
between Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago and Caricom," Mr.
Hinds was quoted by Stabroek saying.  He hoped T&T would also
have the option of buying crude oil under the Petrocaribe deal
and reselling it to Caricom countries.

However, Mr. Hinds clarified that while some Caricom members
agree on this issue, he was not speaking on behalf of the whole
Caricom, Stabroek relates.

Countries participating in the Petrocaribe Initiative are
scheduled to meet again, Mr. Hinds said to Stabroek.  

Mr. Hinds told Stabroek that 40% of the fuel bill would be
financed through a soft loan, which would make adjustment to
higher fuel bills easier if countries could avert the
extravagant use of fuel.  Payments, however, would still have to
be made.

Guyana, according to Mr. Hinds, was interested in joining
Petrocaribe.  Stabroek says that discussions on Guyana and
Caricom's participation were being led by Patrick Manning --
T&T's Prime Minister, Caricom Chairman and leader of the main
Caricom oil-producing country.

Manning is talking with Venezuela at the bilateral level as well
as on behalf of Caricom, after it was agreed he should do so at
the Inter-sessional Meeting of Heads of Government in February.

And the discussions have moved away from what obtained in early
January this year when Manning, on assuming the chairmanship of
Caricom, had said that while there may be distinct negatives for
T&T's oil industry from the Petrocaribe agreement it could be
even more dangerous for Caricom states looking for oil on soft
terms.

Stabroek reports that Guyana currently gets all its fuel from
T&T, except special fuel products imported from Venezuela.  
Guyana used to buy its fuel from Venezuela but stopped after the
demonstration at PDVSA four years ago.

While the prices would not be cheaper under Petrocaribe due to
conditions laid down by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting
Countries aka OPEC, there would be advantages in terms of
economies of scale through fuel processing in T&T and onward
shipment to Guyana, Stabroek quoted Mr. Hinds saying.


===============
H O N D U R A S
===============


* HONDURAS: World Bank Pardons US$1.18 Billion in Debts
-------------------------------------------------------
Honduras has received debt relief for US$1.18 billion from the
World Bank.

Honduras is among 17 countries that the World Bank has included
in its debt relief program as well as an increased financing
scheme to help poor countries meet an internationally agreed set
of development goals.  
According to the bank, the 17 countries eligible for 100 per
cent debt relief are Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Senegal,
Guyana, Tanzania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Mali, Rwanda,
Ethiopia, Honduras, Ghana, Uganda, Zambia and Madagascar.


Moody's Investor Service assigned these ratings on Honduras:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Senior Unsecured    B2       Sept. 29, 1998
   Long Term IDR       B2       Sept. 29, 1998


=============
J A M A I C A
=============


KAISER ALUMINUM: Asks Court to Okay US$67.2M Hartford Settlement
----------------------------------------------------------------
In May 2000, Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corporation filed an
insurance coverage action against certain insurers, including
certain "Hartford Parties," in the Superior Court of California
for the County of San Francisco, styled as Kaiser Aluminum &
Chemical Corporation v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyds, London,
Case No. 31241.

The Hartford Parties are:

    (1) "Hartford" -- Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company,
        First State Insurance Company, New England Reinsurance
        Corporation, and Nutmeg Insurance Company;

    (2) The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc.;

    (3) each of Hartford's and Hartford Financial's parents,
        direct and indirect subsidiaries, divisions, holding
        companies, merged companies, acquired companies,
        predecessors-in-interest, successors-in-interest and
        assigns; and

    (3) Hartford's and Hartford Financial's directors, officers,
        shareholders, agents, attorneys and employees.

The insurance coverage, which is the subject of the Products
Coverage Action, spans the period from 1959 to 1985 and involves
more than 300 insurance policies.  These insurance policies
include the policies issued by the Hartford Parties insuring
KACC.

                       The Coverage Action

In the Products Coverage Action, KACC seeks a declaratory
judgment that the Insurers are obligated to cover the asbestos-
related bodily injury products liability claims that have been
asserted against KACC.  The Products Coverage Action also seeks
damages for breach of contract and breach of the covenant of
good faith and fair dealing against several of the Insurers.

According to Kimberly D. Newmarch, Esq., at Richards, Layton &
Finger, in Wilmington, Delaware, the Products Coverage Action --
if successful -- would establish KACC's rights, and the
Insurers' obligations, with respect to the Asbestos Products
Claims and would allow KACC to recover its costs from the
Insurers in connection with the defense and settlement of the
Asbestos Products Claims.

KACC also sued a limited number of insurers, including one of
the Hartford Parties, on premises claims in a companion action,
styled Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corp. v. Insurance Company of
North America. et al., Case No. 322710, which is also pending in
the San Francisco Superior Court.

Ms. Newmarch explains that in general, a product claim is a
claim for injury resulting from a product manufactured or sold
by KACC, while a premises claim is a claim for injury resulting
from exposure to an allegedly hazardous product or condition at
a facility owned and operated by KACC.

                     The Settlement Agreement

KACC and the Hartford Parties reached a settlement that resolves
all claims against the Hartford Parties with respect to the
Hartford Subject Policies, including coverage for Channeled
Personal Injury Claims, as well as other present and future
liabilities.

The Channeled Personal Injury Claims are the asbestos personal
injury claims, the PI claims related to coal tar pitch volatile,
the PI claims related to noise induced hearing loss and the
silica-related PI claims.

The principal terms of the Settlement Agreement are:

    (a) Hartford will pay $67,200,000 to the Funding Vehicle
        Trust, or if the Funding Vehicle Trust is not in
        existence at the time any payment becomes due, then to
        the Insurance Escrow Agent.  Upon the payment of the
        $67,200,000 settlement amount to the Insurance Escrow
        Account, legal and equitable title to the Settlement
        Amount will pass irrevocably to the Insurance Escrow
        Agent to be distributed pursuant to the Reorganizing
        Debtors' confirmed Plan of Reorganization;

    (b) The Hartford Parties specifically contracted to receive
        all of the benefits of being designated as Settling
        Insurance Companies in the Plan, including, but not
        limited to, the Personal Injury Channeling Injunctions.

        The Hartford Parties will be entitled to, upon Court
        approval of the Settlement Agreement and following the
        Plan's Effective Date, the protections provided by that
        designation and treatment without further Court order;

    (c) KACC, on behalf of itself and the other KACC Parties,
        will release all of its rights under the Hartford
        Subject Policies, and will dismiss each of the Hartford
        Parties from the Coverage Actions;

    (d) The Settlement Agreement covers all claims that might be
        covered by the Hartford Subject Policies.  Accordingly,
        KACC will sell, and the Hartford Parties will buy back,
        the Hartford Subject Policies pursuant to Secs. 363(b)
        and 363(f) of the Bankruptcy Code, free and clear of all
        liens on, claims against, or interests in, the Hartford
        Subject Policies, with Hartford's payment of the
        Settlement Amount constituting the consideration for the
        buy-back.

        The order approving the Settlement Agreement must
        include a finding that the Hartford Parties are good
        faith purchasers of the Hartford Subject Policies
        pursuant to Section 363(m).

        The Hartford Parties also contracted to receive the
        benefits of the Approval Order Injunction, enjoining
        parties from asserting any claims against the Hartford
        Parties relating to the Hartford Subject Policies;

    (e) If any claim is brought against any of the Hartford
        Parties that is subject to a PI Channeling Injunction,      
        the Funding Vehicle Trust will exercise its reasonable
        best efforts to establish that the claim is enjoined as
        to the Hartford Parties by the PI Channeling Injunction;

    (f) The Hartford Parties will not seek reimbursement of any
        payments that Hartford is obligated to make under the
        Settlement Agreement, or any other payments Hartford has
        made to for the benefit of KACC or, upon its creation,
        the Funding Vehicle Trust, under the Hartford Subject
        Policies, whether by way of contribution, subrogation,
        indemnification or otherwise, from any entity other than
        the Hartford Parties' reinsurers.  In no event will the
        Hartford Parties make any claim for, or relating to
        insurance, reinsurance or retrocession against KACC or,
        upon its creation, the Funding Vehicle Trust; and

    (g) The Settlement Agreement contains certain rights of
        termination, including asbestos legislation were to be
        enacted into a law prior to the last scheduled payment.

A full-text copy of the Settlement Agreement is available for
free at http://bankrupt.com/misc/HartfordPartiesSettlement.pdf

                    Settlement Must be Approved

Ms. Newmarch informs the Court that the Settlement Agreement
will eliminate KACC's continuing costs of prosecuting the
Coverage Actions against the Hartford Parties, as well as
uncertainty regarding future payments by the Hartford Parties.  
The Settlement Agreement will also secure the payment of a total
fixed amount from Hartford without further delay and cost to
KACC.

Accordingly, KACC asks the Court to approve the Settlement
Agreement.  KACC further asks Judge Fitzgerald to:

    (a) authorize the sale of the Hartford Subject Policies to
        the Hartford Parties free and clear of liens, claims,
        interests and other encumbrances; and

    (b) enjoin all claims against the Hartford Parties relating
        to the Hartford Subject Policies, including, but not
        limited to:

        -- any claims arising out of or attributable to:

           * asbestos or asbestos containing products,

           * coal tar pitch volatiles,

           * noise induced hearing loss,

           * silica or silica containing products,

           * benzene in any form and from any source, or

           * any other type of personal injury, wrongful death,
             property damage, or products liability claim; and

        -- any claim arising under any federal, state or local
           statute, rule, regulation or ordinance governing,
           regulating or relating to health, safety, hazardous
           substances or the environment.

Headquartered in Foothill Ranch, California, Kaiser Aluminum
Corporation -- http://www.kaiseraluminum.com/-- is a leading  
producer of fabricated aluminum products for aerospace and high-
strength, general engineering, automotive, and custom industrial
applications.  The Company, along with its Jamaican subsidiaries
-- Alpart Jamaica Inc. and Kaiser Jamaica Corporation -- filed
for chapter 11 protection on February 12, 2002 (Bankr. Del. Case
No. 02-10429), and has sold off a number of its commodity
businesses during course of its cases.  Corinne Ball, Esq., at
Jones Day, represents the Debtors in their restructuring
efforts.  On June 30, 2004, the Debtors listed $1.619 billion in
assets and $3.396 billion in debts.
(Kaiser Bankruptcy News, Issue No. 93; Bankruptcy Creditors'
Service, Inc., 215/945-7000)


===========
M E X I C O
===========


BALLY TOTAL: Hires Designkitchen to Activate Online Component
-------------------------------------------------------------
Bally Total Fitness hired Designkitchen, a global Web site
design and brand development firm located in Chicago, to
activate the online component of its "Meet Your Potential"
campaign.

Featured on the home page of Ballyfitness.com, the new micro
site, http://meetyourpotential.ballyfitness.com/,sets the stage  
for sweeping changes to the company's online presence --
including a contemporized look and feel, and the use of leading-
edge technology including multimedia, Flash and video, to create
rich end-user experiences that will elevate the brand from a
mere health-club operator to a Total Fitness partner committed
to the overall well-being of its members.  The revamped site
will also separate Bally Total Fitness from the competition and
is expected to boost customer acquisition and retention, as a
result of the added value it offers.

Bally's "Meet Your Potential" Campaign was developed in-house as
part of the company's pledge to personalize the fitness club
experience, by offering customizable exercise and nutrition
services that allow members to personalize their membership to
suit their needs.  Produced in modern testimonial fashion, the
advertising campaign features eight people who describe real
situations that encouraged them to get fit, and follows them on
a 30-day program, tracking the strides they've made to a
healthier, more fit, lifestyle.  The campaign extends across
television, radio, print and in-club promotions, in addition to
the online component.

In choosing an agency partner to execute the online component of
its "Meet Your Potential" campaign, Bally selected Designkitchen
for its strategic expertise, deep experience in creating
compelling online experiences, and its proven track record in
the health and fitness industry.

"Designkitchen has been a great partner for us. Their ideas are
innovative, effective and play well to our consumer as well as
our company goals," said Jim McDonald, chief marketing officer
for Bally Total Fitness.

Designkitchen's history of success in executing the global web
strategy for Life Fitness, the leading fitness equipment
manufacturer, assured Bally of the firm's interactive expertise
and experience in the fitness segment.

The "Meet Your Potential" microsite is the focal point of
Bally's home page, placing real people with real goals front and
center, in a hip and engaging format.  Featuring the same cast
of characters from the TV commercials, the eight individuals
represent a broad range of demographics - from a couple trying
to shed "baby weight" after the birth of their first child, to a
scrawny twenty- something aiming to bulk up, to a 45-year old
mom trying to fit into a bridesmaid dress. With a simple click,
users can access upbeat, inspirational before and after
testimonials, in addition to a summary of each individual's
results after completing the 30-day program tailored to their
unique goals.

The microsite gives users a mere taste of the rich online
experiences in store when Bally launches its new corporate web
site.  The "Meet Your Potential" sitelet incorporates embedded
Flash videos, an interactive Personal Fitness Profile that users
can complete to create a customized fitness plan, a Club Locator
that identifies the most convenient location based on ZIP code,
and a Free 2-week Membership pass to encourage users to try the
club and "Meet (their own) Potential."  Site analytic software
is being used to track lead generation and conversion - a
primary goal of this online initiative.

"We see this microsite as the first step in transforming
Ballyfitness.com into a rich, self-contained experience for site
visitors," said Sol Sender, president, Designkitchen.  "As a
company, Bally has made a fundamental shift in its business.  
Bally is no longer just a gym, but a Total Fitness leader -
focused on helping people from all walks of life meet their
unique fitness goals through a balanced combination of exercise
and nutrition. It is a powerful proposition and our charge is to
effectively convey that commitment to both new and existing
Bally customers," Sender added.

                      About Designkitchen

Founded in 1992, Designkitchen, a global web site design and
brand development firm located in Chicago, specializes in
creating brand singularity across multiple platforms, including
web, motion and print. The firm's unified approach to brand
messaging guides its creative product and helps its clients
measurably advance their business objectives.

                      About Bally Total

Bally Total Fitness -- http://www.ballyfitness.com/-- is the     
largest and only U.S. commercial operator of fitness centers,  
with approximately four million members and 440 facilities  
located in 29 states, Mexico, Canada, Korea, China and the  
Caribbean under the Bally Total Fitness(R), Crunch Fitness(SM),  
Gorilla Sports(SM), Pinnacle Fitness(R), Bally Sports Clubs(R)  
and Sports Clubs of Canada(R) brands.  With an estimated 150  
million annual visits to its clubs, Bally offers a unique  
platform for distribution of a wide range of products and  
services targeted to active, fitness-conscious adult consumers.

                         *    *    *  

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on March 17, 2006,  
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services held its ratings on Chicago-  
based Bally Total Fitness Holding Corp., including the 'CCC'  
corporate credit rating, on CreditWatch with developing  
implications, where they were placed on Dec. 2, 2005.  

The CreditWatch update follows Bally's announcement that it will  
not meet the March 16, 2006, deadline for filing its annual  
report on SEC Form 10-K for the year ending Dec. 31, 2005.  
Bally currently anticipates filing its 2005 10-K in April 2006.  

Bally's ratings were originally placed on CreditWatch on Aug. 8,  
2005, following the commencement of a 10-day period after which  
an event of default would have occurred under the Company's $275  
million secured credit agreement's cross-default provision and  
the debt would have become immediately due and payable.  
Subsequently, Bally entered into a consent with lenders to  
extend the 10-day period until Aug. 31, 2005.  Prior to Aug. 31,  
the company received consents from its bondholders extending its  
waiver of default to Nov. 30, 2005.  


EMPRESAS ICA: S&P Puts B Corp. Credit Rating on Watch Positive
--------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said that it placed its 'B'
long-term corporate credit rating on Empresas ICA S.A. de C.V.
on CreditWatch with positive implications.
      
"The rating action reflects our belief that an upgrade is likely
after we complete a review of the group's financial policy and
liquidity prospects, particularly those related to El Cajon,"
said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Jose Coballasi.
     
The ratings assigned to ICA consider the company's position as
the largest engineering, construction, and procurement concern
in Mexico. The ratings reflect more favorable operating and
financial performance and the improvements in ICA's capital
structure and maturity schedule. The ratings also reflect the
inherent cyclicality of the construction industry and the
company's dependence on government spending in infrastructure to
sustain its backlog.  The ratings on ICA have been predicated on
the expectation that key financial measures and liquidity would
remain relatively weak as a result of the group's investment
program and working capital needs, particularly in El Cajon.  
The ratings have also been constrained by the risk of operating
losses and swings in working capital associated with cost
overruns that have hurt the company's financial performance and
liquidity in the past.
     
ICA is the largest engineering, procurement, and construction
company in Mexico.  The company is engaged in a full range of
construction and related activities, involving the construction
of infrastructure facilities, as well as industrial, urban, and
housing construction.  In addition, the company is engaged in:

   -- the development and marketing of affordable housing and
      real estate;

   -- the construction, maintenance, and operation of airports,
      highways, bridges, and tunnels; and

   -- the management and operation of water supply systems and
      solid waste disposal systems under concessions granted by
      the governmental authorities.


GRUPO MEXICO: Rescuers Resume Search at Collapsed Mine
------------------------------------------------------
Rescue workers will resume search for bodies of the 65 miners at
the collapsed mine shaft, the Associated Press reports.

According to AP, the rescue workers had been unable to get to
the part of the Pasta Conchos coal mine -- about 1.5 miles down
the mine-shaft and about 220 yards below ground -- where the
miners were working.

Francisco Salazar -- the head of Mexico's Labor Department --
complained to AP that mine operator Grupo Industrial Minera
Mexico, a subsidiary of mining company Grupo Mexico S.A. de
C.V., has pumped out poisonous methane gas that made it
dangerous for rescue workers to enter the mine.  

Mr. Salazar said to AP that without proper safety conditions,
the rescue workers cannot work.  The first thing they had to do
was get the methane out.

Recently, Grupo Industrial began using a conveyor belt to more
quickly remove the debris blocking passageways.  They were able
to get the conveyors going when the mine was safer, Mr. Salazar
said to AP.  Now they are going to get all the debris out.

Inspectors would already be able enter the mine to determine the
exact cause of the blast, which apparently was triggered by a
buildup of methane, Mr. Salazar said to AP.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on March 1, 2006,
the 65 miners trapped inside Grupo Mexico's Pasta de Conchos
mine were believed to be dead, as more than a week had passed
since the accident.  

A gas explosion 600 feet underground on Feb. 19 caused the three
main tunnels into the coal mine to collapse.  Rescuers arrived
at the spot where two miners were believed to have taken refuge,
but found no one.

Ruben Escudero, administrator of the Pasta de Conchos mine, said
in a news conference that rescuers had advanced 680 meters
inside the mine, more than 100 meters beyond where two conveyor
belt operators were believed to be trapped.

Coahuila state Gov. Humberto Moreira said in reports that he
didn't like how the mining company has handled delivering of the
news to the miners' relatives.  The governor wanted the families
not to be given false hope.  Late last week, there was
tremendous confusion over whether rescue efforts were continuing
or had been halted.

According to EFE News, Mexican President Vicente Fox assured
everyone that his government will thoroughly investigate the
incident.

Grupo Mexico had offered to pay the miners' relatives 750,000
pesos ($71,428) for each trapped worker and create a trust fund
to cover their children's education costs, EFE reports.

Grupo Mexico SA de CV -- http://www.grupomexico.com/--   
through its ownership of Asarco and the Southern Peru Copper
Company, Grupo Mexico is the world's third largest copper
producer, fourth largest silver producer and fifth largest
producer of zinc and molybdenum.

                        *    *     *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings to Grupo Mexico SA de CV:

     -- foreign currency long-term debt, BB; and
     -- local currency long-term debt, BB.


METROFINANCIERA: Fitch Puts Low B Ratings on Currencies
-------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings has assigned the following ratings to
Metrofinanciera, a Mexican mortgage lender:

   -- Foreign Currency Long-term Issuer Default Ratings 'BB-';
   -- Foreign Currency Short-term IDR 'B';
   -- Local Currency Long-term IDR 'BB-';
   -- Local Currency Short-term IDR 'B';
   -- Individual Rating 'D';
   -- Support Rating '5'.

The Rating Outlook is Stable.

Fitch expects to assign a 'B' rating to an upcoming issuance of
US$100 million subordinated perpetual non-cumulative securities.  
The expected rating on the issue reflects the fact that
securities will be ranked junior to unsubordinated debtors,
which comprise the vast majority of total liabilities that
include funding from government entities, bank facilities and
domestic commercial paper.  This rating will be made final upon
receipt of conclusive documents confirming information already
received.

Metrofinanciera's ratings reflect its adequate asset quality and
strong profitability but also consider its tight capitalization,
low liquidity, systemic risks and high loan concentration.  
Similar to its peers, pressures on profitability, asset quality
and capitalization are slightly increasing.

The company's profitability has remained strong, owing to a
rapidly expanding asset base, tight non-interest cost control
and historically low provisioning, but also challenged by
narrowing margins, branch expansion, growing loan loss provision
and the increasingly competitive environment.  The on-balance
nonperforming loan ratio increased to 3.0% of total loans at
year-end 2005 from 1.4% at year-end 2004 while reserve coverage
declined to 90% from 100%.  Construction loans account for 60%
of its loan portfolio and the balance is comprised of mortgages.  
Loan concentrations are high, albeit improving.  Since mortgage
lenders like Metrofinanciera are not allowed to receive
deposits, the company has successfully accessed local and
international debt capital markets to obtain on-balance sheet
funding and securitize a large portion of loans in order to
support growth.  Common to its peers, Metrofinanciera's capital
is tight.  At year-end 2005 the equity-to-assets ratio stood at
7.2%, although it has been improving recently.  Despite strong
internal capital generation and recurring securitizations,
capital remains constrained due to rapid asset growth.

Metrofinanciera is a Sociedad Financiera de Objeto Limitado or
SOFOL, a mortgage non-bank bank, founded in 1996.  At year-end
2005, it was the fourth largest SOFOL in terms of loans, with a
market share of 8.3%. The SOFOLES were created, as a result of
NAFTA, to allow financial intermediaries such as non-bank bank
institutions, to begin operating in Mexico and spur greater
competition and specialization in the financial sector.  After
Mexican banks were privatized during the 1990s, they curtailed
lending to the lower income housing market. Moreover, given the
effects of the 1995 Tequila Crisis on banks, SOFOLES
concentrated most of home financing over the following decade,
while banks basically resumed mortgage lending last year.


===============
P A R A G U A Y
===============


* PARAGUAY: Holds Presidential Talks on Gas Pipeline on April 19
----------------------------------------------------------------
Presidents of Paraguay, Venezuela, Bolivia and Uruguay will meet
on April 19 in Paraguay to discuss a gas pipeline project, the
Associated Press reports.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez announced on a national
television Sunday that he would meet with Presidents Nicanor
Duarte, Evo Morales and Tabare Vazquez.

AP relates that the leaders will tackle on the development of
the pipeline around Parana River.  According to President
Chavez, they would also decide on a proposal to construct a
pipeline to carry gas from Bolivia through Paraguay.

"We're going to help them with fuel distribution along the
Parana and in Uruguay," Chavez was quoted by AP saying.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on April 3, 2006,
President Duarte expressed interest in Paraguay's joining a
potential project for a pipeline to carry natural gas from
Bolivia to Uruguay.

Paraguay's commitment to consider taking part in the prospective
initiative was one of the points in a joint declaration signed
by President Duarte and visiting Uruguayan counterpart President
Vazquez.

"The president of Paraguay manifested his government's interest
in participating in such negotiations, particularly in the
construction of a gas pipeline, taking into account that the
shortest distance (from Bolivia) to the centers of consumption
is through Paraguayan territory," according to a joint
declaration signed by President Vasquez and President Duarte.

Though Bolivia and Paraguay share a common border, a conduit
would still have to cross Argentine and/or Brazilian territory
to reach Uruguay, the EFE states.

Bolivia having estimated reserves of 48 trillion cubic feet of
natural gas, most of it in southeastern fields near its borders
with Argentina and Paraguay, discussed the idea of a pipeline
with Uruguay in 2004.

President Vazquez and Bolivia's new president, Evo Morales,
decided to revive the plan and to invite Paraguay's
participation.

"The energy crisis is an issue that requires much imagination,
much talent and, as President Vazquez said to me, not only
solidarity, (but) fundamentally justice, fair treatment,"
President Duarte said a joint press conference with the
Uruguayan President.

               *    *    *

Moody's assigned these ratings on Paraguay:

     -- CC LT Foreign Bank Deposit, Caa2
     -- CC LT Foreign Curr Debt, Caa1
     -- CC ST Foreign Bank Deposit, NP
     -- CC ST Foreign Currency Debt, NP
     -- LC Currency Issuer Rating, Caa1
     -- FC Curr Issuer Rating, Caa1
     -- Local Currency LT Debt, WR

                        *    *    *

Standard & Poor's assigned these ratings on Paraguay:

     -- Foreign Currency LT Debt B-
     -- Local Currency LT Debt   B-
     -- Foreign Currency ST Debt C
     -- Local Currency ST Debt   C

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Uruguay:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling     BB-      Mar. 7, 2005
   Long Term IDR       B+      Dec. 14, 2005
   Short Term IDR      B       Dec. 14, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating      BB-      Mar. 7, 2005

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Bolivia:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling    B-       Jun. 17, 2004
   Long Term IDR      B-       Dec. 14, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating     B-       Dec. 14, 2005

                        *    *    *

Venezuela's foreign currency long-term debt is rated B2 by
Moody's, B+ by Standard & Poor's, and BB- by Fitch.

                        *    *    *

On Nov. 29, 2005, Fitch Ratings assigned expected 'BB-' ratings
to the pending issues of Venezuelan government bonds maturing
Feb. 26, 2016, and Dec. 9, 2020.  The 2016 bond has a 5.75%
fixed coupon and the 2020 bond has a 6% fixed coupon.  The bonds
are being marketed in Venezuela to be purchased in local
currency at the official exchange rate but under New York law,
with all coupon and principal payments in U.S. dollars.

Venezuela's sovereign ratings are supported by superior
international liquidity and low external financing
requirements relative to similarly rated sovereigns.  The
ratings are constrained by vulnerability to external shocks
because of oil dependency; diminished capacity of the private
sector to absorb shocks because of heavy government
intervention in the productive sector; recent spending
increases that reduce fiscal flexibility; and concerns about
the rule of law and potential political instability.  Fitch said
the Rating Outlook is Stable.


=====================
P U E R T O   R I C O
=====================


MUSICLAND HOLDING: Has Until Aug. 10 to File Lease Decision Plea
----------------------------------------------------------------
As previously reported, Judge Stuart M. Bernstein of the U.S.
Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York
authorized Musicland Holding Corp. and its debtor-affiliates to
sell substantially all of their assets to Trans World
Entertainment Corporation pursuant to an Asset Purchase
Agreement.  Any and all objections not withdrawn, waived,
settled or otherwise resolved are overruled.

The Court also authorizes the Debtors to enter into an Agency
Agreement with their GOB Agent.

The Court permits the Debtors to hold in escrow, pursuant to an
arrangement to be agreed in writing by the Secured Trade
Committee, the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors and the
Debtors, the balance of the cash portion of the Purchase Price
and to not pay any prepetition debt or adequate protection claim
related to it.

Judge Bernstein clarifies and confirms that the Excluded Assets
are:

   (a) the insurance program or other agreements related to the
       Debtors' previous insurance coverage by American
       Insurance Company and the claim administration services
       provided by ESIS, Inc.;

   (b) any agreements related to ACE's or ESIS' administration
       of claims made against the Debtors;

   (c) any collateral posted pursuant to the High Deductible
       Agreements;

   (d) any third party administration service agreements
       relating to claims against the Debtors that require them
       to pre-fund loss and expense payments; and

   (e) funds provided pursuant to those third party Service
       Agreements.

The Debtors will not transfer to TWEC any asset, equipment or
software it leases or licenses from Advanced Communication
Design, Inc.  The Debtors will return to ACD all of its
equipment, software and proprietary data.

Pursuant to Section 365(d)(4) of the Bankruptcy Code, the Court
extends the time within which the Debtors must file a motion to
assume and assign or reject their unexpired non-residential
property leases through and including August 10, 2006.

The Court authorizes the Debtors to sell, transfer and convey
the TWEC Store Lease Rights to TWEC pursuant to the APA.  TWEC
will have until August 10, 2006, to direct the Debtors to assume
and assign any TWEC Store Lease to it or its affiliates.

Judge Bernstein rules that from the first proceeds of the
Debtors' sale of substantially all of their assets, $416,000
will be placed in a segregated account to be held by the
Debtors:

   Claimant                                           Amount
   -------                                            ------
   Local Tax Authorities, represented by             $275,000
   Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson, LLP

   Texas Ad Valorem Tax Authorities represented        65,000
   by McCreary, Veselka, Brag & Allen, PC

   Texas Ad Valorem Tax Authorities represented         4,000
   by the Law Offices of Robert Luna

   Texas Ad Valorem Tax Authorities represented        72,000
   by Perdue, Brandon, Fielder, Collins & Mott, LLP

A full-text copy of the 26-page TWEC Sale Order is available for
free at http://bankrupt.com/misc/MusiclandTWECOrder.pdf

The Court also approved certain procedures to be applied to any
Sales to be held at the Stores.

A full-text copy of the GOB Sale Guidelines is available for
free at http://bankrupt.com/misc/MusiclandGOBSaleGuidelines.pdf

                          About Musicland

Headquartered in New York, New York, Musicland Holding Corp., is
a specialty retailer of music, movies and entertainment-related
products in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin
Islands.  The Debtor and 14 of its affiliates filed for chapter
11 protection on Jan. 12, 2006 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. Lead Case No.
06-10064).  James H.M. Sprayregen, Esq., at Kirkland & Ellis,
represents the Debtors in their restructuring efforts.   Mark T.
Power, Esq., at Hahn & Hessen LLP, represents the Official
Committee of Unsecured Creditors.  When the Debtors filed for
protection from their creditors, they estimated more than $100
million in assets and debts.  (Musicland Bankruptcy News, Issue
No. 9; Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc., 215/945-7000)


MUSICLAND HOLDING: Wants Until July 12 to Remove Civil Actions
--------------------------------------------------------------
Pursuant to Section 1452(a) of the Judiciary and Judicial
Procedures Code, "a party may remove any claim or cause of
action in a civil action other than a proceeding before the
United States Tax Court or a civil action by a governmental unit
to enforce such governmental unit's police or regulatory power,
to the district court for the district where such civil action
is pending, if such district court has jurisdiction of such
claim or cause of action under section 1334 of this title."

Rule 9027(a) of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure
provides that if the claim or cause of action in a civil action
is pending when a case under the Bankruptcy Code is commenced, a
notice of removal may be filed in the bankruptcy court only
within the longest of:

   (a) 90 days after the order for relief in the case under the
       Code;

   (b) 30 days after entry of an order terminating a stay if the
       claim or cause of action in a civil action has been
       stayed under Section 362 of the Bankruptcy Code; or

   (c) 30 days after a trustee qualifies in a Chapter 11
       reorganization case but not later than 180 days after the
       order for relief.

With respect to postpetition Actions, Bankruptcy Rule 9027(a)(3)
provides for removal only within the shorter of:

   (a) 30 days after the receipt of a copy of the initial
       pleading stating the claim or cause of action sought to
       be removed; or

   (b) 30 days after the receipt of summons if the initial
       pleading has been filed with the Court, but not served
       with the summons.

Bankruptcy Rule 9006(b) provides that the Court can extend the
time periods imposed by Bankruptcy Rule 9027(a).

Musicland Holding Corp. and its debtor-affiliates are party to
several lawsuits pending in various state courts.  Additional
actions may be filed against the Debtors.  The Debtors reserve
the right to subsequently assert that any or all of the
Postpetition Actions are stayed by the provisions of Section 362
of the Bankruptcy Code.  

Since the Petition Date, the Debtors and their professionals
have been focusing on:

   -- preparing and filing their schedules of assets and
      liabilities and statements of financial affairs;

   -- responding to the Official Committee of Unsecured
      Creditors' numerous discovery and due diligence requests
      for the production of documents;

   -- obtaining final approval of their postpetition financing
      arrangement; and

   -- undertaking and completing the sale and liquidation of
      substantially all of their assets.

As a result, the Debtors have been unable to undertake a
thorough analysis of the Actions and to develop a strategy with
respect to those Actions.

Accordingly, the Debtors ask the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the
Southern District of New York to extend the time within which
they may file notices of removal under Bankruptcy Rule
9027(a)(2)(A) to the later of:

   (a) July 12, 2006;

   (b) 30 days after the entry of an order lifting the automatic
       stay with respect to the particular action sought to be
       removed; or

   (c) with respect to postpetition actions, the time periods
       given in Bankruptcy Rule 9027(a)(3).

David A. Agay, Esq., at Kirkland Ellis LLP, in New York, asserts
that extending the removal period will give the Debtors an
opportunity to make fully informed decisions about the potential
removal of all Actions and will assure that the Debtors do not
forfeit valuable rights under Section 1452.  

The rights of the Debtors' adversaries will not be prejudiced by
an extension because in the event that a matter is removed, the
other parties to an Action may seek to have that action remanded
pursuant to Section 1452(b), Mr. Agay points out.

                       About Musicland

Headquartered in New York, New York, Musicland Holding Corp., is
a specialty retailer of music, movies and entertainment-related
products in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin
Islands.  The Debtor and 14 of its affiliates filed for chapter
11 protection on Jan. 12, 2006 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. Lead Case No.
06-10064).  James H.M. Sprayregen, Esq., at Kirkland & Ellis,
represents the Debtors in their restructuring efforts.   Mark T.
Power, Esq., at Hahn & Hessen LLP, represents the Official
Committee of Unsecured Creditors.  When the Debtors filed for
protection from their creditors, they estimated more than $100
million in assets and debts.  (Musicland Bankruptcy News, Issue
No. 9; Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc., 215/945-7000)


W HOLDING: Filing Delay Spurs Nasdaq to Issue Delisting Notice
--------------------------------------------------------------
W Holding Company, Inc. (NYSE: WHI) received on April 5, 2006, a
notice from The Nasdaq Stock Market indicating that the
company's Series B, C, D, E, F, G and H preferred securities are
subject to potential delisting from The Nasdaq Stock Market as a
result of company's inability to file its Annual Report on Form
10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2005, on time, as
required under Marketplace Rule 4310(c)(14).

The Company previously announced that it expects to complete its
previously announced restatement and file its Annual Report on
Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2005, on April 16,
2006.

                     About the Company

W Holding Company is the parent of Westernbank Puerto Rico,
which provides consumer and business banking services through
almost 55 branches.  Services include deposit accounts, credit
cards, and trust and brokerage services.  Subsidiary Westernbank
Insurance sells a full range of coverage.  One of the largest
banks on the island, Westernbank has been expanding in San Juan,
some new locations offer a smaller, more casual setting
(espresso is served) to attract more consumer clients.  The
company's overall loan mix, however, leans toward business
lending, including commercial mortgages and asset-based loans,
which accounts for about 65% of its portfolio.


=================================
T R I N I D A D   &   T O B A G O
=================================


DIGICEL: Launching in Trinidad & Tobago Ends 100-Year Monopoly
--------------------------------------------------------------
Digicel, a mobile telecommunications company in the Caribbean,
began offering service in Trinidad & Tobago last week in a
highly anticipated launch that has finally given customers a
choice of wireless providers and marks the conclusion of a 100-
year telecommunications monopoly.

Digicel opened its retail doors from as early as 6.30 a.m. to a
swell of excited customers that crowded the new Digicel stores,
trying new handsets, inquiring about plans, and signing-up for
Digicel's "Expect More, Get More" service, which aims to be a
superior offering compared to service from Telecommunication
Services of Trinidad & Tobago or TSTT, the incumbent partially
owned by the London-based telecommunications company, Cable &
Wireless.

"Our history shows that if people are under serviced and
dissatisfied, they vote with their fingers and that has happened
in every market that Digicel has entered, effectively punishing
the incumbent for bad service and high prices for the past 100
years," said Denis O'Brien, Founder and Chairman of Digicel
Group.

"Digicel and the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago prevailed in
creating competition in the market delivering benefits for
customers and businesses that want better communication services
despite the incumbent's deliberate attempt to delay our entry
through a slow interconnect process.  Communications technology
is at the heart of all nations and the needs of customers in
Caribbean markets such as Trinidad & Tobago have gone
underserved for far too long.  That has all changed starting
today with the launch of Digicel's service in Trinidad & Tobago.  
This is a great milestone in the country's history, and we are
proud to be a part of it as we approach our five year
anniversary," added Mr. O'Brien.

With a population of 1.3 million people and significant energy
based natural resources, Trinidad & Tobago represents one of the
largest markets in the Caribbean.

Since winning a license in June to provide wireless service,
Digicel had quickly ramped up its operations investing nearly
US$200 million to create a state-of-the-art network and a well
trained workforce of over 300 employees that are key to
providing superior support that separates Digicel from its
competition.  Digicel T&T is led by 15-year telecommunications
expert, Stephen Brewer, former CEO of Vodafone Ireland,
previously Eircell.

In the past week, Digicel launched services in Antigua & Barbuda
and secured an operating license in Turks & Caicos Islands
following the landmark conclusion in January this year of the
106-year telecommunications monopoly held by Cable & Wireless.  
The company has moved quickly in the first quarter of 2006 as it
continues its expansion across the region including the imminent
launch of service in Haiti.

"Digicel has consistently demonstrated its commitment to
providing mobile services in emerging markets and possess the
technical capabilities for navigating the deregulation process
combined with speed to market," said Ana Hermoso, North America
and Caribbean Senior Telecoms Analyst for Informa Telecoms &
Media.

Digicel's investment in the region currently stands at US$1
billion. The Company expects its current staff base of 1500 to
increase 33 percent by early 2007.

Digicel Limited is a wireless services provider in the Caribbean
region founded in 2000, and controlled by Denis O'Brien.  The
company started operations in Jamaica in April 2001 and now
offers GSM mobile services in 13 countries of the Caribbean
including Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Aruba, Grenada,
Barbados, Cayman, and Curacao among others.  Digicel finished
FY2005 with 1.722 million total subscribers -- 97% pre-paid --
estimated market share of 67% and revenues and EBITDA of US$478
million and US$155 million, respectively.

                    *    *    *

On Mar. 10, 2006, Fitch affirmed the 'B' rating of Digicel
Limited, senior unsecured debt, including the US$300 million
senior notes due 2012, following the announcement that it is in
the process of acquiring Bouygues Telecom Caraibe.  Fitch said
the Outlook for the Ratings is Stable.


=============
U R U G U A Y
=============


* URUGUAY: Presidential Talks on Gas Pipeline Set for April 19
--------------------------------------------------------------
Presidents of Paraguay, Venezuela, Bolivia and Uruguay will meet
on April 19 in Paraguay to discuss a gas pipeline project, the
Associated Press reports.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez announced on a national
television Sunday that he would meet with Presidents Nicanor
Duarte, Evo Morales and Tabare Vazquez.

AP relates that the leaders will tackle on the development of
the pipeline around Parana River.  According to President
Chavez, they would also decide on a proposal to construct a
pipeline to carry gas from Bolivia through Paraguay.

"We're going to help them with fuel distribution along the
Parana and in Uruguay," Chavez was quoted by AP saying.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on April 3, 2006,
President Duarte expressed interest in Paraguay's joining a
potential project for a pipeline to carry natural gas from
Bolivia to Uruguay.

Paraguay's commitment to consider taking part in the prospective
initiative was one of the points in a joint declaration signed
by President Duarte and visiting Uruguayan counterpart President
Vazquez.

"The president of Paraguay manifested his government's interest
in participating in such negotiations, particularly in the
construction of a gas pipeline, taking into account that the
shortest distance (from Bolivia) to the centers of consumption
is through Paraguayan territory," according to a joint
declaration signed by President Vasquez and President Duarte.

Though Bolivia and Paraguay share a common border, a conduit
would still have to cross Argentine and/or Brazilian territory
to reach Uruguay, the EFE states.

Bolivia having estimated reserves of 48 trillion cubic feet of
natural gas, most of it in southeastern fields near its borders
with Argentina and Paraguay, discussed the idea of a pipeline
with Uruguay in 2004.

President Vazquez and Bolivia's new president, Evo Morales,
decided to revive the plan and to invite Paraguay's
participation.

"The energy crisis is an issue that requires much imagination,
much talent and, as President Vazquez said to me, not only
solidarity, (but) fundamentally justice, fair treatment,"
President Duarte said a joint press conference with the
Uruguayan President.

               *    *    *

Moody's assigned these ratings on Paraguay:

     -- CC LT Foreign Bank Deposit, Caa2
     -- CC LT Foreign Curr Debt, Caa1
     -- CC ST Foreign Bank Deposit, NP
     -- CC ST Foreign Currency Debt, NP
     -- LC Currency Issuer Rating, Caa1
     -- FC Curr Issuer Rating, Caa1
     -- Local Currency LT Debt, WR

                        *    *    *

Standard & Poor's assigned these ratings on Paraguay:

     -- Foreign Currency LT Debt B-
     -- Local Currency LT Debt   B-
     -- Foreign Currency ST Debt C
     -- Local Currency ST Debt   C

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Uruguay:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling     BB-      Mar. 7, 2005
   Long Term IDR       B+      Dec. 14, 2005
   Short Term IDR      B       Dec. 14, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating      BB-      Mar. 7, 2005

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Bolivia:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling    B-       Jun. 17, 2004
   Long Term IDR      B-       Dec. 14, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating     B-       Dec. 14, 2005

                        *    *    *

Venezuela's foreign currency long-term debt is rated B2 by
Moody's, B+ by Standard & Poor's, and BB- by Fitch.

                        *    *    *

On Nov. 29, 2005, Fitch Ratings assigned expected 'BB-' ratings
to the pending issues of Venezuelan government bonds maturing
Feb. 26, 2016, and Dec. 9, 2020.  The 2016 bond has a 5.75%
fixed coupon and the 2020 bond has a 6% fixed coupon.  The bonds
are being marketed in Venezuela to be purchased in local
currency at the official exchange rate but under New York law,
with all coupon and principal payments in U.S. dollars.

Venezuela's sovereign ratings are supported by superior
international liquidity and low external financing
requirements relative to similarly rated sovereigns.  The
ratings are constrained by vulnerability to external shocks
because of oil dependency; diminished capacity of the private
sector to absorb shocks because of heavy government
intervention in the productive sector; recent spending
increases that reduce fiscal flexibility; and concerns about
the rule of law and potential political instability.  Fitch said
the Rating Outlook is Stable.


* URUGUAY: Seeks Mercosur's Intervention on Argentine Dispute
-------------------------------------------------------------
Uruguay requested an urgent and extraordinary meeting of
Mercosur's Council to address the conflict with Argentina
regarding the construction of two pulp plants, Merco Press
reports.  The meeting could be held on April 18 or 20.

Reinaldo Gargano -- Uruguay's foreign minister -- said in a
press conference that the period of negotiations regarding the
blocking of international bridges and the pulp mills was over
and that his government would appeal for intervention from
members of the Common Market of the Southern Cone aka Mercosur,
which was founded by Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay.

Merco Press states that Uruguay had enough of the negotiations
with Argentina.

Dow Jones Newswires reports that the governments of Argentina's
President Nestor Kirchner and Uruguay's President Tabare Vazquez
both threatened international action against each other after
failure to meet on a summit.

Mr. Gargano told Merco Press that Uruguay's Foreign Affairs
Ministry will request the immediate convening -- either April 18
or 20 -- of the Mercosur Council, which is the block's main
authority.  The ministry will request the council to rule on
Article 1 of the Mercosur founding Asuncion Treaty.  Uruguay
believes the article has been repeatedly violated, Mr. Gargano
said.

The minister also informed Merco Press that a letter will be
sent to the International Court of The Hague describing the
situation, indicating there has been a systematic violation of
International Law and detailing all efforts undertaken by the
Uruguayan government to overcome the conflict.

Merco Press recalls that for the last few weeks, Uruguay's
presidential secretary Gonzalo Fernandez and Argentina's cabinet
secretary Alberto Fernandez tried to come up with a solution to
the conflict that resulted at Argentina's refusal to the
building of two pulp mills on the Uruguayan side of the
Uruguayan River, which is shared by the two countries.

Dow Jones reveals that Uruguay said that it had lost hundreds of
millions of dollars as a result of blockades of border-crossing
bridges by protesting Argentines who are against the building of
the plants on the Uruguayan side.

According to Dow Jones, the protesters have continued their
blockades this week after a brief truce before the postponed
summit.

Argentine cabinet chief -- Alberto Fernandez -- was quoted by
Dow Jones saying that his government would go ahead with filing
a lawsuit at the International Court of Justice in The Hague and
press environmental claims against the pulp plants.

Dow Jones states that the cabinet head blamed the failed talks
on the refusal of the Finnish consortium Metsa-Botnia to stop
construction for a period of time.

Mr. Fernandez said in a radio interview that Argentina has done
all that it has promised to do.  He added that Argentina will
push through with going to the court in The Hague.

"Let's see how things evolve. Yesterday I heard the secretary-
general of the Uruguayan presidency exhorting Botnia to change
its decision, so let's see if this new exhortation is
successful," Fernandez said, according to Dow Jones.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on April 3, 2006, a
meeting to discuss a pulp mill construction dispute between the
presidents of Argentina and Uruguay on March 29 has been
postponed.  The reason for the cancellation, according to
reports, is that one of the pulp mill contructors -- Oy Metsa-
Botnia AB -- refuses to postpone construction for 90 days.

Uruguay's construction of two pulp mills along the border with
Argentina has caused protests to erupt.  Uruguay later agreed
for a 90-day construction suspension to allow for an
environmental impact study.

Argentine protesters alleged that the US$1.6 billion two pulp
mills will cause water and air pollution due to their chlorine
bleaching processes.

On the other hand, Uruguayan officials said the plants will meet
international environmental standards, create 600 jobs and bring
in millions of dollars (euros) annually.

Protesting environmental group Environmental Assembly in
Gualeguaychu agreed to end their 45-day protest for an
indefinite time to give way for negotiations between the two
governments.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Argentina:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling     RD      Dec. 14, 2005
   Long Term IDR       B       Dec. 14, 2005
   Short Term IDR      B-      Jun.  3, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating      B       Jun.  3, 2005

                       *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Uruguay:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling     BB-      Mar. 7, 2005
   Long Term IDR       B+      Dec. 14, 2005
   Short Term IDR      B       Dec. 14, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating      BB-      Mar. 7, 2005


=================
V E N E Z U E L A
=================


PDVSA: Oil Firms Offered Vouchers Under Joint Venture Contracts
---------------------------------------------------------------
Private oil companies operating in Venezuela who agreed to
migrate their contracts under new joint venture agreements with
Petroleos de Venezuela were offered vouchers instead of cash in
compensation for investments made, according to the El
Universal.

The same report said that PDVSA's partners balks at the idea as
a voucher is difficult to account for in a company's financial
statements.

The proposed voucher would be issued in two cases:

   -- if the capital contribution of the private partner in the
      new joint venture is less than the amount PDVSA's owes it:
      or

   -- if the partner opts out of the venture.

El Universal relates that the voucher or bond could be redeemed
by the company when it bids for new E&P areas or licenses in
bidding rounds called by the government, of which there will be
several in coming years.

Under the old operating agreements which PDVSA terminated at the
end of last year, companies received hard currency every three
months as compensation for capital investments and operating
costs, while the oil they extracted was bought by PDVSA at a
percentage of market prices.  Such an arrangement cost PDVSA
US$4 billion in 2005 for 500,000 barrels a day, a situation the
government described as detrimental to its finances, El
Universal relates.

PDVSA' chief financial officer -- Eudomario Carruyo -- told
Business News Americas that the company is studying ways to
cover the expenses of the operating agreements for the first
quarter of 2006.

PDVSA is Venezuela's state oil company in charge of the  
development of the petroleum, petrochemical and coal industry,  
as well as planning, coordinating, supervising and controlling  
the operational activities of its divisions, both in Venezuela  
and abroad.  

                        *    *    *  

On Jan. 23, 2005, Fitch Ratings upgraded the local and foreign  
currency ratings of Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. aka PDVSA to  
'BB-' from 'B+'.  The rating of PDVSA's export receivable future  
flow securitization, PDVSA Finance Ltd, was also upgraded to  
'BB+' from 'BB'.  In addition, Fitch has assigned PDVSA a  
'AAA(ven)' national scale rating.  The Rating Outlook is Stable.  
Both rating actions follow Fitch's November 2005 upgrade of  
Venezuela's sovereign rating.


* VENEZUELA: Presidential Talks on Gas Pipeline Set for April 19
----------------------------------------------------------------
Presidents of Paraguay, Venezuela, Bolivia and Uruguay will meet
on April 19 in Paraguay to discuss a gas pipeline project, the
Associated Press reports.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez announced on a national
television Sunday that he would meet with Presidents Nicanor
Duarte, Evo Morales and Tabare Vazquez.

AP relates that the leaders will tackle on the development of
the pipeline around Parana River.  According to President
Chavez, they would also decide on a proposal to construct a
pipeline to carry gas from Bolivia through Paraguay.

"We're going to help them with fuel distribution along the
Parana and in Uruguay," Chavez was quoted by AP saying.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on April 3, 2006,
President Duarte expressed interest in Paraguay's joining a
potential project for a pipeline to carry natural gas from
Bolivia to Uruguay.

Paraguay's commitment to consider taking part in the prospective
initiative was one of the points in a joint declaration signed
by President Duarte and visiting Uruguayan counterpart President
Vazquez.

"The president of Paraguay manifested his government's interest
in participating in such negotiations, particularly in the
construction of a gas pipeline, taking into account that the
shortest distance (from Bolivia) to the centers of consumption
is through Paraguayan territory," according to a joint
declaration signed by President Vasquez and President Duarte.

Though Bolivia and Paraguay share a common border, a conduit
would still have to cross Argentine and/or Brazilian territory
to reach Uruguay, the EFE states.

Bolivia having estimated reserves of 48 trillion cubic feet of
natural gas, most of it in southeastern fields near its borders
with Argentina and Paraguay, discussed the idea of a pipeline
with Uruguay in 2004.

President Vazquez and Bolivia's new president, Evo Morales,
decided to revive the plan and to invite Paraguay's
participation.

"The energy crisis is an issue that requires much imagination,
much talent and, as President Vazquez said to me, not only
solidarity, (but) fundamentally justice, fair treatment,"
President Duarte said a joint press conference with the
Uruguayan President.

               *    *    *

Moody's assigned these ratings to Paraguay:

     -- CC LT Foreign Bank Deposit, Caa2
     -- CC LT Foreign Curr Debt, Caa1
     -- CC ST Foreign Bank Deposit, NP
     -- CC ST Foreign Currency Debt, NP
     -- LC Currency Issuer Rating, Caa1
     -- FC Curr Issuer Rating, Caa1
     -- Local Currency LT Debt, WR

                        *    *    *

Standard & Poor's assigned these ratings on Paraguay:

     -- Foreign Currency LT Debt B-
     -- Local Currency LT Debt   B-
     -- Foreign Currency ST Debt C
     -- Local Currency ST Debt   C

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Uruguay:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling     BB-      Mar. 7, 2005
   Long Term IDR       B+      Dec. 14, 2005
   Short Term IDR      B       Dec. 14, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating      BB-      Mar. 7, 2005

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Bolivia:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling    B-       Jun. 17, 2004
   Long Term IDR      B-       Dec. 14, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating     B-       Dec. 14, 2005

                        *    *    *

Venezuela's foreign currency long-term debt is rated B2 by
Moody's, B+ by Standard & Poor's, and BB- by Fitch.

                        *    *    *

On Nov. 29, 2005, Fitch Ratings assigned expected 'BB-' ratings
to the pending issues of Venezuelan government bonds maturing
Feb. 26, 2016, and Dec. 9, 2020.  The 2016 bond has a 5.75%
fixed coupon and the 2020 bond has a 6% fixed coupon.  The bonds
are being marketed in Venezuela to be purchased in local
currency at the official exchange rate but under New York law,
with all coupon and principal payments in U.S. dollars.

Venezuela's sovereign ratings are supported by superior
international liquidity and low external financing
requirements relative to similarly rated sovereigns.  The
ratings are constrained by vulnerability to external shocks
because of oil dependency; diminished capacity of the private
sector to absorb shocks because of heavy government
intervention in the productive sector; recent spending
increases that reduce fiscal flexibility; and concerns about
the rule of law and potential political instability.  Fitch said
the Rating Outlook is Stable.


* VENEZUELA: Seniat Seeks US$1 Mil. Back Taxes Payment from OPEN
----------------------------------------------------------------
Venezuelan oil company, OPEN, is being asked by the country's
tax authority -- Seniat -- to pay 2.2 billion bolivares (US$1
million) in back taxes.

The company, which mined the Casma-Anaco field for state oil
firm Petroleos de Venezuela SA under an operating agreement,
became in August 2005 one of the first firms to accept a
minority stake in a PDVSA joint venture to mine the same
property, Business News Americas explains.

The company faces up to 300% of the original figure if it
rejects Seniat's claim.

Venezuela's government and oil companies have been at odds after
Seniat imposed a 50% tax rate last year on companies operating
oilfields for PDVSA.  Companies had been paying 34% for more
than a decade.

                        *    *    *

Venezuela's foreign currency long-term debt is rated B2 by
Moody's, B+ by Standard & Poor's, and BB- by Fitch.

                            ***********


S U B S C R I P T I O N   I N F O R M A T I O N

Troubled Company Reporter - Latin America is a daily newsletter
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Hills, Pennsylvania, USA, and Beard Group, Inc., Frederick,
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Copyright 2006.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1529-2746.

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