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Archive for April 15, 2010

Post scripts: 11 April 2010

On this day, we drove along Carretera Federal 16 from Chihuahua to Yecova in Sonora, commenting that we were stopped at four army checkpoints that day. We were unaware at the time that two days earlier, another town along that road, that we had driven through, had been ‘held hostage’ by gunmen.

From the Latin American Herald Tribune:

‘MEXICO CITY – Dozens of organized crime gunmen stormed a small town in the northwestern Mexican state of Sonora, killing four people and setting a police headquarters ablaze, state Attorney General Abel Murrieta said.

The assailants burst into the town of Maycoba at around 6:00 p.m. Thursday and stayed about five hours, according to local residents.
Between 80 and 100 gunmen bearing rifles and with their faces covered entered the town on board about 15 late-model vehicles, Murrieta told a press conference on Friday.

Their first action was to open fire on the town’s police station and then set it on fire. The police in the small town were not at the station at the time of the attack and were therefore unharmed, the prosecutor said.

But the gunmen killed the father of the local police chief and three dead bodies were found a few kilometers from the town, two of whom have still not been identified. They also looted a store.

Prior to terrorizing the town, the group of gunmen had blockaded the nearby federal highway with two trucks.’

Post scripts: S1691, 7 February 2010: Las Tunas, Cuba

Regular readers may remember the images of an Anole lizard sp. feeding on the nectar of a Euphorbia sp. that we saw widespread throughout Cuba, often used as fencing. During my visit to California in March, Petra Crist of the ‘Rare Succulents’ nursery in Rainbow, told me that this was Euphorbia graniticola, and further searching under this name on Google reveals that it is a native of Mozambique.

How did it get to Cuba? It certainly likes the conditions here and the Cubans seem to have turned this to good advantage by using it to produce self-maintaining fences.

Thank you, Petra, for the information.

Thursday, 15 April, 2010 – flight home continued

Around 6:30 a.m. we had crossed the Irish Sea and were flying over North Wales, just as Angie was setting off from Amesbury to meet me at Heathrow. She was travelling at around 70 mph. while our plane monitor told me that we were doing 500 mph. It took exactly 30 minutes from the plane landing for me to find a seat near the Costa coffee shop to wait for Angie, slowed down by rush hour traffic, to arrive.

As we approached Heathrow, the pilot announced that passengers transferring to other flights at Heathrow should contact their airline information desks as there was a threat of flight cancellations due to a cloud of ash drifting from Iceland to the UK. It looks as if I had left taken a later flight from LA, it might well have been cancelled or diverted, so a lucky escape!

From the BBC News website:

Airline passengers are facing massive disruption across the UK after an ash cloud from a volcanic eruption in Iceland grounded planes.

The Air Traffic Control Service (Nats) said no flights would be allowed in or out of UK airspace from midday to 1800BST amid fears of engine damage.

The restrictions were imposed after the Met Office warned the ash was sufficient to clog engines. Passengers were also affected in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. Passengers were advised to contact their carriers prior to travel.

Experts have warned that the tiny particles of rock, glass and sand contained in the ash cloud would be sufficient to jam aircraft engines …..