El Nino Helps Mexico Duck a Potentially Bad Hurricane Season

PatriciaABC News 12/1/2015

Mexico weathered a record eastern Pacific hurricane season with almost no deaths and relatively little damage, given the intensity of this year’s storms.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its 2015 hurricane season report Tuesday, saying that “this is the first year since reliable record keeping began in 1971 that the eastern Pacific saw nine major hurricanes,” which are defined as Category 3 or higher with winds of at least 111 mph (178 kph).

Turning to the worst of those storms, the report noted that Hurricane Patricia was “the strongest hurricane on record in the Western Hemisphere” just before it struck a sparsely populated stretch of Mexico’s Pacific coast in October. But while Patricia caused tens of millions of dollars in damage, there was no confirmed death attributed to the storm — or from any of the other eight major hurricanes in the eastern pacific this year.

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Mexico City hopes floating gondolas will beat its appalling traffic

cars in trafficQuartz 11/30/2015

Mexico City officials have an elevated idea about how to deal with the city’s hellish traffic: Hover over it.

The city’s science, technology and innovation department, known as Seciti, on Nov. 26 unveiled a prototype of an aerial transportation system that would float over the sea of cars, potholes and street protests that regularly disrupt life in the enormous metropolis.

The solution is a kind of elevated monorail, with gondolas that run on a horizontal track, and it could really help unload the city’s crowded streets, officials say. A 5km (3 mile) line could move 37 million people a year—and up to 200 million if it were extended another 10 km. For perspective, the busiest subway line transports around 290 million passengers a year.

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Quake in Mexico shakes capital, no reported damage or injuries

Mexico CityReuters 11/23/2015

A 5.5 magnitude quake hit Mexico City on Monday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), shaking buildings and forcing office towers to be evacuated, although there were no initial reports of damage or injuries.

The USGS said the 5.5. magnitude quake had its epicenter 257 km (160 miles) south of Mexico City in the southwestern state of Guerrero. It said the quake occurred at a depth of 37 km (23 miles).

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Mexico review may allow more marijuana use, ease sentencing

Marijuana 2Reuters 11/14/2015

A national debate on overhauling Mexico’s marijuana legislation will consider easing custodial sentences and raising the amount of the drug that people can carry, according to the government official tasked with overseeing the process.

Deputy Interior Minister Roberto Campa told Reuters in an interview that the consultation process kick-started by a Supreme Court ruling last week aimed to present its conclusions by early April and help legislators take the next steps.

The court decision was quickly followed by a Senate proposal from within President Enrique Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party to legalize medicinal use of marijuana, which appears to have substantial cross-party support.

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Mexico City’s water crisis – from source to sewer

WaterThe Guardian 11/16/2015

If mastery over water is a marker of civilisation, then Mexico City is surely one of mankind’s most spectacular achievements.

Yet, from the point of view of sustainability and social equality, it is also among the more absurd failures. Discharging a resource that falls freely from the heavens and replacing it with exactly the same H2O from far away is expensive, inefficient, energy intensive and ultimately inadequate for the population’s needs. It also creates a paradox: although Mexico City has more rainy days than London, it suffers shortages more in keeping with a desert, making the price of each litre among the highest in the world – despite its often dire quality.

The growing costs – social, economic, health and environmental – are a source of stress and conflict. Government leaders and big businesses are pushing ahead with ever bigger hydro-engineering projects that upset conservationists and indigenous groups. Congress and NGOs are fighting over the possible privatisation of water. Meanwhile, shortages and floods are creating social tensions in the Federal District and its surrounding states.

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Cities must take lead role in tackling climate change, says Mexico City mayor

11/12/2015 The Guardian

miguel angel manceraOnce notorious for air pollution, Mexico City’s ability to clean its skies has shown it can also be a leader in reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, according to the city’s mayor, Miguel Angel Mancera.

Speaking at the signing of a new pledge to commit the equivalent of 10% of the city’s discretionary budget to “defined resilience goals” – many of which are environment-related – Mancera stressed the role that megacities will have to play in tackling global warming.

“Cities are drivers for change,” he told the Guardian. “Countries should change direction and pay attention to the lead provided by cities.”

At the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Paris – where national negotiators will try to put in place a new deal to slow the pace of global warming – Mexico City will join the C40 group of megacities in promoting cuts in CO2, managing waste more efficiently, and making better use of water resources.

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Mexico’s sugar clinics help patients gain control over diabetes

cocaPBS NewsHour 11/9/2015

In Mexico, over 70 percent of citizens are overweight or obese and 14 percent of Mexican adults now suffer from diabetes, though half of those affected aren’t even aware they have the disease. Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports on the struggle to bring the disease under control.

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