“The News” Is Back

By David Simmonds

Before cyber-cafes, cable TV and USA Today, Mexico travelers weren’t able to get much news in English, which had a definite on-the-road appeal. The world was much larger then and the simple act of crossing the border threw you into a land that could have been half-way around the world, where you would go days or weeks without hearing of floods, discoveries, scandals or baseball scores from home. The one single news source that you searched for, usually found in the larger cities and tourist locales, was an English-language newspaper out of Mexico City called The News. Founded in 1950, the tabloid-format paper ran wire stories from the States and abroad and domestic news compiled by staff reporters, as well as from stringers who lived in the expat communities. And, of course, in the summer, the baseball scores.

The News had a well-deserved reputation as being an editorial propaganda tool of the dictatorial PRI, which ran the country for over 70 years until the inauguration of Vicente Fox in 2000. Nonetheless, it was a staple of information for English-speakers and was our link to the rest of the world. A news-junkie like me would read every word. And then, after nearly 60 years of publication, it shut down, reportedly due to financial woes.

Now, after a nearly five-year hiatus, The News is  publishing once more, owned by Victor Hugo O’Farrill Avila, the grandson of the original owner. He has indicated that there would be no editorial content pressure from the government or advertisers and that the paper would be independent and unbiased. In a country with one of the highest journalist murder rates in the world, it will be interesting to see the direction that they take.

Protecting the Monarchs

MP News Staff

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico will enforce a “zero tolerance” policy against logging that threatens to wipe out the monarch butterfly and will act to stop a rare and ancient oasis from drying up, President Felipe Calderon said on Saturday.Calderon said soldiers will be deployed to clamp down on illegal logging in a protected forest where monarch butterflies winter after migrating thousands of miles from Canada and the United States.

“We will work intensively to establish a zero tolerance policy to illegal logging in the monarch zone,” he told villagers in the region at the launch of a five-year conservation plan.He said 10 million trees would be planted in the butterfly reserve, part of a goal to plant 250 million trees across Mexico in 2007.Calderon said soldiers and federal police would patrol the zone looking for loggers, while the number of personnel in the zone and in other wildlife sanctuaries would increase by 15 percent.Every autumn, millions of monarch butterflies leave Canada and the United States, flying distances of 2,800 miles (4,500 km) to the oyamel fir forests of Mexico’s Sierra Madre Mountains. Experts say the butterfly will become extinct unless illegal logging is stopped soon.

LIFE ON MARS

Calderon also promised to apply stricter controls on the extraction of water from a giant reservoir that sits beneath an ancient oasis in the Great Chihuahuan Desert. Scientists say the Cuatro Cienegas pools in northern Mexico can help them understand Earth’s beginnings, global warming and the possibility of life on Mars. But farmers could dry up the warm water pools by the end of the decade if they keep tapping underground water supplies to grow green alfalfa leaves to feed dairy cows, biologists say.

Prized by NASA researchers, the 170 cactus-ringed pools at Cuatro Cienegas contain fish, snails, turtles, bacteria and unique living rock structures that offer a glimpse of the life forms that flourished on Earth 200 million years ago. A loophole in current Mexican legislation means anyone can dig a well and extract water in the Cuatro Cienegas area. Scientists and locals in Cuatro Cienegas blame big dairy groups in the nearby city of Torreon, northern Mexico’s main milk-producing center, for drilling wells to grow alfalfa and buying milk from producers who feed the crop to their cows.

Mexico will also extend and create new wildlife reserves along the coasts of the Baja California peninsula and in the surrounding seas. Calderon did not mention the total budget for the conservation plan, but said $5 million would be spent protecting endangered Mexican species like jaguars, Mexican wolves, leatherback turtles and the Gulf of California harbor porpoise.

Boating To La Paz

MP News Staff

Touted as the largest nautical event to ever hit Mexico, FUBAR ODDYSEY 2007 will set sail on November 7.

Fleet Underway to BAja Rally, sponsored by the Del Rey Yacht Club in Marina del Rey, CA will consist of 62 luxury power boats departing from San Diego with stops in Ensenada, Turtle Bay, Magdalena Bay, Los Cabos and ending up in La Paz. The 16-day sail is being co-sponsored by the Mexico Tourism Board. http://www.fubarodyssey.com/

Boo-hoo! Catholic Church Says Halloween = Satan

MP News Staff

Buaaaaahhhaaahhaaa!According to a report on Mexico City’s El Universal newspaper, the Catholic Church has issued a warning about Halloween to it’s millions of devotees through its weekly publication Desde la Fe, or From the Faith.

Linking this yearly festival to Satanic cults, the Archdiocese urges Catholics to avoid dressing as monsters, as the holiday goes against everything the Church represents.

The ecclesiastical institution dedicated the entire issue to the topic of the Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, comparing this traditional Mexican Celebration with Halloween. In one of the articles it stated that “Halloween honors a culture of death, a product of a mixture of pagan customs” and considers the feast “has identified closely with neopagan groups as well as celebrations of the occult and the Satanic.”

It warns that the festivities have become so closely related to the occult that on the night of the 31st of October, celebrants in Ireland, the United States, Mexico and many other countries hold Black Mass, ghostly cults and other congregations “related to evil and the occult.”

“If we want to be true to our faith and the values of our Gospel, we would have to conclude that today’s version of Halloween has nothing to do with the actual celebration of origin, that it has become harmful and against our Faith and our Christian way of life,” affirmed the Archdiocese.

The institution also disapproves of the traditional monster costumes, which it insists is related to “evil (witches, black cats, vampires, ghosts and terrifying monsters) promoted by satanist trends.”

The text advises Catholics to participate in the activities that take place in several of Mexico City’s parrishes to counteract the influence of Halloween, such as contests based on the lives of saints and the Catechism that is taught to the children in the days previous to the Feast of All Saints.

The SoCal Fires

By David Simmonds

This is a web site about Mexico, so how do I tie in the California fires to make sense? Try this: I live in San Diego and one of the fires spread across the border near Tecate. OK, I’m covered, now for my thoughts on what went down this past week here in America’s Fire-Prone City, where well over 1,000 families lost their homes and the damage estimates are over $1 billion.

I’ll ignore the fact that San Diego has a long reputation of back-room deals where developers ensure that they can build where ever they want, which is often in areas surrounded by dry, flammable brush. I get that money buys influence.

What I find perplexing is why in the hell, in 2007, are we fighting fires in much the same way we did 50 years ago? We can send a computer-driven missile a hundred miles, up the tailpipe of a small car, but we’re still fighting fires with helicopters and buckets filled with water? We have perfected the ability to maim and kill, but have done little with new technology to save the homes and lives of our citizens. This is insane.

And get this for a Catch-22 Yossarian replay: after a 48-hour delay in having access to the large C-130’s planes that can carry cover large areas with water and fire-retardant, they couldn’t fly them because of the wind. You see, the fires burn wildly when the Santa Ana wind blows, but you can’t use the planes because it’s too windy. The unbelievably brave and dedicated firefighters deserve the best equipment and technology in the world, but there doesn’t seem to be the will to pay for it or the leadership and vision to find a better way.

These fires did not surprise anyone. The local news had been talking about the fire danger for days as the Santa Ana’s were predicted and the terrain was Sahara-dry from a multi-year drought. Like all fires, they started small and then spread. These fires should have been hit hard and knocked down fast by aircraft that should be, but aren’t, permanently stationed in the area.

It has been four years since the last large inferno here in San Diego, and not much has changed or improved in our ability to fight the fires. And to be sure, it will be pretty much the same when the next one hits, unless we start to elect people to office with vision, integrity, and the huevos to tell the people that we can improve this situation but it’s going to cost you some serious money.

Standard Time Change

MP News Staff

If you plan to travel to Mexico this next week, be aware that they will begin Standard Time a week earlier than the U.S. this year. Mexico will dial back the clock an hour this Sunday, October 28th. Presumably, all of the airlines will make the necessary adjustments, but it would be a good idea to call in advance to verify flight departure times and arrivals. Then again, missing your return flight back to the grind might work out just fine.

BookIt.com: 50% off Sale at Dreams Los Cabos

by Lola

Dreams Los CabosI love a good sale as much as the next gal, and I have to hand it to BookIt.com for coming up with some darn good ones. It’s a great time of year to go to Cabo and they’ve sliced a stay at the luxury AI (that’s “all inclusive”) Dreams Los Cabos by half.

Check it out (SALE ENDS OCTOBER 31!!!)

Regular $300 pp/pn now only $149 – 50%
Travel Nov. 25 thru Dec. 23 & SAVE 50%
All Meals in 5 Specialty Rest.
Top Shelf Premium Drinks
24 Hr. Room Service Included
PLUS Stocked Mini Bar
ONE WEEK ONLY, ENDS 10/31
Valid: 11/25 – 12/23
Not valid: 12/04 – 12/05