State & National News

BY: DAVID FLORES

Another train attempt. Two months ago Mexico awarded a Chinese company a big contract to build a bullet train and then quickly cancelled it due to pollical pressure. Now India is bragging they’re bringing their super luxury Maharajas’ Express train to us. And this would be for you, our precious readers, as they don’t see a market for locals, this white tablecloth service is to build tourism.

The Mexican ambassador to India is taking a keen interest in the project but India is whining about our druggies who are active in the part of the country they want to build their railroad. Oh for crying out loud. When Americans built the railroads across the continent, did you hear them bawling about the Indians that kept attacking? Of course not, they just hired Chinamen to build it. And 150 years later we still have not run out of those, so India needs to get a clue.

We will be able to travel like the maharajas of India on this train, with butlers and all the elegance of a bygone era, enjoying spirits in the exclusive Safari Bar served in imported hand cut crystal glasses, with world cuisine and Indian delicacies served on fine Limoges plates and gold, and silver plated cutlery in one of two exclusive restaurants.

There will be Wi-Fi in the rooms, plasma TVs with satellite channels, DVD players and individual climate control. We can hardly wait. Let’s hope Mexico doesn’t cancel this one.

Maybe corruption is worse than we thought? In a recent poll 90% of Mexicans believe politicians and the police are the worst institutions for corruption. The legislative branch of government didn’t do much better at 83%, nor did the judiciary at 80%.

The lack of faith in the country’s institutions is not surprising considering the lack of law enforcement around corruption: only 2% of those charged with it are actually punished. Of the 444 denunciations made by the Federal Auditor’s Office (ASF) since 1998, only seven — or 1.5% — have actually been processed.

The study also reveals 14% of household income goes toward bribes and 44% of businesses reported having paid a bribe, which on an international scale is only step better than Russia.

Most of the bribes paid by business — 75% — are to speed bureaucratic procedures and obtain licenses and permits. One third of those payments are made at the municipal level.

Government helping our wine industry. At least that’s the plan, Stan. For six months eight people have worked on designing a public policy to help business and Baja is getting attention to their wine industry. The tax structure, financing, consumer promotion, standardization, technology, tourism product development, export, marketing, and increased consumption are some of the issues that will get special attention.

How do we love Facebook? Let us count the ways. An estimated 60 million Mexicans are users of social networks, and in Baja alone there are 2.5 million registered Facebook accounts. That’s Baja north and south, which includes the big city of Tijuana.

Shut the front door! Uruguay president José Mujica apologized for calling Mexico a failed state, but we’re still mad about it. Their president said the disappearance of 43 students from the mainland suggests authorities have lost control.

Well, just because the mayor’s wife hired drug thugs to kill the students and burn their bodies doesn’t mean we’re a failed state. Maybe that’s a failed city. She didn’t want the kids to protest at her speech she was going to give so she had their bus waylaid and had the kids “disappeared”

Under pressure, the Uruguayan president mumbled an apology, saying, “Mexico is not a failed state because they have the historical foundations of pre-Columbian nations and democratic decisions above and beyond the difficulties of today.” Yes, that sounds better.

But wait, there’s more! At the end of this hangdog apology, President Mujica appeared to place the blame for turmoil in Mexico on the United States: “All of Central America is paying the price for being a clandestine bridge towards the great market that not only consumes, but which also profits the most from this commerce,” he said. That would be the Great Satan, of course. The United States. The U.S. doesn’t have wives of mayors ordering the execution of school kids, but nevertheless, the U.S. is the failed state here. We’re scratching Uruguay off our bucket list.

Dolphins saved. Three rough toothed dolphins (Steno bredanensis) that beached in at Tecolote beach north of La Paz were rescued by Profepa, (Mexico’e environmental watchdog), officials last week. The wayward dolphins were reported to Profepa by Navy officials on patrol. The critters were stabilized in a horizontal position so that they could breath while they were persuaded to go back into the ocean. It took nearly three hours to coax them back to sea and after that they were followed by a Navy boat to make sure they didn’t try that stunt again.

Baja cuisine does L.A. Los Angeles is about to make a quantum leap in modern Mexican cuisine later this year when chef Diego Hernandez of Valle de Guadalupe’s Corazon de Tierra opens +52, named after the country code to dial into Mexico. Hernandez represents a small group of Mexican chefs from the new generation that are 100 percent Mexican trained. The Baja California native studied under  Enrique Olvera who recently opened Cosme in New York City.

Hernandez has been racking up the accolades—Corazon de Tierra has held a spot on the coveted Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants in the two years the list has existed and has earned many awards in Mexico for his modernist Baja California cuisine.

“It will be similar to the way we are cooking in Baja, with more emphasis on the things people in L.A. associate with Mexican food—we’ll use more chilies than we do at Corazon de Tierra,” Hernandez says of the menu, which he’s still developing. Well, if it’s going to be like L.A. people like their Mexican food, they’re going to need to keep Taco Bell on speed dial.

Foreign investment breaks record. During the first quarter of this year, $5.7 billion crossed the border into Mexico, a figure 30% higher than last year, said Mexico’s economy ministry.

It is the largest foreign investment figure recorded in our history. 61.8% of it came from profit re-investment, and 37% from new investments. Manufacturing industries received 34% of the cash flow, while 29% went to social media, 20.4% to financing institutions, 8.2% to commerce, 6.9% to construction and the rest to various business sectors. As usual, 59.4% of the investment came in from the U.S., 14.3% from Spain, 8.2% from Japan, 4.8% from South Korea, 2.3% from the Netherlands and 8% from several different nations.

The bulk of it was the purchase of telecommunication companies Iusacell and Unefon by AT&T. Total foreign investment for the past three years of President Peña’s administration totals a staggering $75 billion, up 44.5% from the previous administration. Tell this to his detractors who only pay attention to the drug wars and think he’s failing at that. Most of life in Mexico has nothing to do with the wars, but the president gets very little credit for anything else. He brought home millions of dollars in investment from the UK several months ago, but social media was all a buzz with how much his plane spent in fuel to take him there.

Homes washed away in Tijuana. A major mud slide at the Miramar barrio in Tijuana destroyed 19 homes and severely affected 21 more, which caused the city’s Civil Protection agency to evacuate them. The cause of the mud slide was not identified at press time, but some sidewalk superinetenants are blaming it on  a years old water leak that the local public services agency did not repair. On the other hand, it’s been raining there pretty hard. Coinky dink or water leak? The head of the civil protection agency denied it was a water leak, saying there was no leak from their pipes. Truth or another dodge?

How productive is Mexico? Not very, but we already knew that. The Organization for Cooperation and Economic Development (OCDE) reported last week that Mexico is in the lower end of productivity among the nations members of the OCDE. That’s like being in the slow part of the slow group, sigh.

The report, which bases its results on gross domestic product churned out for each hour worked, places Mexico at the bottom of the report, which includes the European Union (67.4%), Germany (61.1%), the OCDE average (49%), South Korea (32.8%), Chile (25.9%) and Mexico (19.5%). This is where my boss would rush in with her 2 cents worth, saying for the thousandth time that there is no supervision in this country. “There is no middle management because there is no middle class”, yada, yada yada.

Ensenada rally. Bajarallymoto.com has announced Rancho El Coyote Meling as the first of three overnight bivouac spots for this year’s Baja Rally taking place September 28th to October second. The race starts in Ensenada in northern Baja.  More information and videos at www.bajarallymoto.com.

No more Internet addys. Techies who created 4.3 billion Internet Protocol addresses back in 1981 probably thought that by the time we ran through all those, we’d be puttering around in flying cars. Flying cars are not going to be here for a while, but it looks like our IP numbers are finally used up: The American Registry for Internet Numbers, the company that hands out the numerical codes, says there are only 3.4 million IPv4 addresses left, and that well will probably run dry up by summer. Major companies like Amazon and Microsoft are scooping up remaining addresses while they can, while others such as Facebook decided to bite the bullet and simply upgrade to the newer IPv6 system (IPv5 never really took hold).

It’s not exactly an online End Times, as dire as it sounds: Asia depleted its supply of IPv4 addresses in 2011, Europe the following year. And there’s quite a bit of capacity under the newer IPv6 system—it can accommodate up to 340 undecillion (that’s 340 followed by 36 zeros) addresses. The main obstacle to upgrading right now seems to be the expense, not resistance to more advanced technology. To see if your Internet connection supports IPv6 and/or check out IPv6-only websites, Slate points you toward the Test-IPv6.com site. (We haven’t exactly been blindsided with this news, either.)

Cold fins, warm heart In a discovery that defies conventional biology, a big fish that lives deep in the Pacific Ocean has been found to be warm blooded, like humans, other mammals and birds. Who knew? Apparentlly nobody. Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) determined that unlike other fish, opah generate heat as they swim and distribute the warmth throughout their entire disc-shaped bodies by special blood vessels. Special “counter-current heat exchangers” in their gills minimize heat loss, allowing the deepwater predators to keep their bodies several degrees above the water temperature 250 feet down.

The odd looking Opahs, which don’t swim in schools, are regularly caught either by longline fishermen from California to Hawaii to New Zealand seeking tuna or unintentionally in commercial driftnets.  About a year ago three were caught off Baja and we featured them on our front cover.