The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 2, 1997 · Page 7
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 7

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Tuesday, December 2, 1997
Page 7
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THE PALM BEACH POST TUESDAY, DECEMBER 2, 1997 7A i iltinnoloi AVENTURA Vicious search for white truffles puts prized dogs at risk Dec. 31. Black truffles have much less of the musky odor and cost PS 1 . -f!if H ', " i ! i ' A " ' f r i , - ' 1 V .ft'' i 1 ai caparros r The "Geraldine" high-heeled platform sling, 6-1 OM, 68.00. In Shoes on 1, Aventura, Miami, At least 27 dogs trained to sniff out the truffles have been poisoned, probably by competitors. The Associated Press UMBERTIDE, Italy Autumn in the wooded hills of Um-bria brings the promise of a pungent buried treasure that drives some gourmets wild: white truffles. But also hidden under the truffle's glamorous surface is a fierce competition for the pricey delicacy. Every year a dozen or so highly prized truffle dogs are poisoned in the Upper Tiber Valley. But this year, according to one tally, there have been at least 27 poisonings. No one knows who is killing the dogs, but most fingers point to truffle seekers trying to scare away competitors from their favorite hunting grounds. The stakes are high. Lack of rain during the summer, when white truffle spores begin their growth, has made for a scarce crop. Prices have skyrocketed to more than $550 a pound. Truffle hunters also may be feeling the heat from illegal and inferior Albanian imports, a recent problem. "Most of the dog victims have been truffle hunters, though sortie are game hunting dogs that gobble up the deadly bait, mainly meat laced with strychnine. Cases are centered in a swathe of land stretching about 30 miles north of Perugia and about 12 miles wide, just one of the places in the regions of Umbria, Tuscany and Piedmont known for truffles,, -.Considered a delicacy since Roman times, truffles are a fungus, that forms in symbiosis with tree roots. In Umbria, the tubers i art found unnpr oaks, nnnlars. i chestnuts, junipers and walnuts. Umbrian truffles are often gnarled, and range in size from a chick pea to an orange. vThe dog deaths began just after the Oct. 1 ODeniner of the white j truffle season, which runs until The "Dari" high-heeled evening T-strap. in black or beige crepe or black velvet, 5'A-IOM, 72.00. In Shoes on 1 , Aventura, Miami. Boca Raton and Palm Beach Gardens. btomingdale's blGDmingdole'S aerosoles 1 1 ' " -5 ' - ill fill i f i rlllltoh,.. -y .. M s " in black or ivory peau de soie with sequins,' ": Boca Raton and Palm Beach Gardens. " ", '! black or ivory leather, for sizes 6-1 OM, 50.( Palm Beach Gardens. amain For cash, you can buy a second nationality about a tenth. "When dogs are dying, people dont go looking for truffles in that area," said Inspector Rolando Radicchi, a forest ranger based in this Tiber River town. "We are investigating, but it's not easy to find the culprits." The loss of a meticulously trained dog can cost. Truffle hunters, generally part-timers who must pass an exam and be licensed, can earn as much as $18,000 a season. The latest victim was Vespina, a part-beagle game dog who died Sunday. "She was a beloved dog," said Bei Emiliano, her owner, in Citta di Castello, north of here. "While we were coming home, she began foaming at the mouth inside her carrier. Then she suddenly stiffened," he said. Vespina died of asphyxiation, the result of strychnine poisoning, said vet Luigi Bigi, who has kept track of the poisonings. The misshapen, musty-smelling truffle accounts for an industry with sales of about $24 million a year, according to Olga Urbani, whose Spoleto-based company is Italy's largest exporter and manufacturer of truffle products. She downplayed the poisonings, saying Bigi's number is exaggerated and mat tainted meat is often strewn by private landowners to discourage truffle poachers. Truffle hunters are known as a highly secretive and competitive bunch. They frequently deal only deal in cash to avoid taxes, and fraud is not uncommon, truffle regulators and buyers say. Unscrupulous ones mix tasteless Chinese truffles with the real thing to pad their sales, Urbani said. Restaurateur Pierluigi Man-froni, a nationally recognized truffle expert in Citta di Castello, said another trick is to fill truffles that have holes with dirt or buckshot to increase their weight, i 'Our governments need the income. The time when you could go and beg for money from England or the United States is gone. We've got to have some kind of income to live on.' JOSEPH ESCHER Financial analyst who heads St. Kitts and Nevis' International Financial Center of which permit dual citizenship. Escher and other offshore analysts said most Americans invest in a second nationality as a way to reduce or avoid U.S. taxes. Wealthy Russian business people invest, they said, principally to keep their global movements and investments secret from immigration officials in Russia, where such information can be sold to kidnappers or extortionists; the business people use their Russian passport only to enter and leave Russia. Most others including many mainland Chinese and Taiwanese carry passports that are either barred or subject to strict visa requirements in the West, the analysts said. Those nationals view their new citizenship as a gateway to the world. In Dominica, nearly half the island's new citizens are from Russia or other former Soviet republics, according to a review of the country's public records in the year since it began putting its nationality up for sale. Nearly two dozen others were Chinese or Taiwanese. Another dozen were Americans. The remainder were from Libya, Iran, Canada or Cuba. So popular is the nationality market that Escher said St. Kitts more than doubled its fee earlier this year. There are some potential problems, among them the risk of unwittingly providing havens for international criminals. Most of the islands use professional services that check potential new citizens with FBI or Interpol databases. But Escher acknowledged that no system is perfect h i mi I MiMY k JA MM ''77 A' f :! 7 ,!'. I ''': ' i : The "Paris" retro, double-banded platform sandal, In Shoes on 1, Aventura, Miami, Boca Raton and in The "Vogue" stiletto pump, in black, gold or silver nappa, for sizes 6-10M, 53.( Aventura. Miami, Boca Raton and Palm Beach Gardens. blGDmingdole'S blGDmingdole'S i Shoes on 1, candies r Los,Aflgeles Times "ROSEAU, Dominica The hottest product on the market these days in the cash-strapped resort islands of the West Indies has nothing to do with their sandy beaches or lush volcanic rain forests. "And it doesn't involve their booming offshore industry, which attracts millions of dollars from Americans ranging from overburdened middle-class taxpayers to Internet casino gamblers who pour their cash into companies that operate legally here free of most taxes and regulation. o, the most lucrative item forSale by the governments of these tiny island states, which are struggling to survive in a world with limited foreign aid, is far mdr'e basic. "It's their nationality. A mere $50,000 in cash, for example, can buy you a passport and lifelong citizenship here in Dominica. The island nation is almpst hidden between Guadeloupe and Martinique. But in the last year it has sold 68 passports -i for a cool $3.5 million to new citizens from points as diverse as Moscow and Miami, Libya and Lbs Angeles. ! It'll cost you $250,000 to be a KJttsian, an increase from $ 100,000 a year ago but at least you'll own a house there. The new "Citizenship by Investment" law in the two-island nation of St Kitts and Nevis requires that amount as a minimum "real estate investment" to get a new nationality:.':: !, Most of the other West Indian states offer a range of passport packages that fall somewhere in between. . Why are they doing it? C elt's simple: Our governments need the income," explained Joseph Escher, a Swiss-born offshore financial analyst who' heads St Kitts and Nevis' new International Financial Cen-ter"The time when you could go and beg for money from England or the United States is gone. We've got to have some kind of income to live on." that's in it for the buyer? The olmnct 3G varipH as .7 . . . . t 4. v7', '! - i A '. 1 A. . hh 1 The "Dreem" covered mid-heel pump, in black patent or new gold, black, porcelain or navy leather, : for sizes 5'A-IOM, 130.00. In Shoes on 1, Aventura, Miami. Boca Raton and Palm Beach Gardens. 11 The "Honey" wedge, platform slide, in coffee or black leather, lor sizes 6-1 OM, 45.00. In Shoes on 1. Aventura. Miami, Boca Raton and Palm Beach Gardens. btomingdale'S blGDmingdole'S I tne nations tney come irom, musi

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