15-year-old Mexican wins prize in Canada for innovative fertilizer project

15-year-old Mexican wins prize in Canada for innovative fertilizer project

Jun 28, 2016

A Mexican student developed a fertilizer made with urine, and won the gold medal in the category of innovation in technology, during the Canada-Wide Science Festival. Young Victor Reynoso Martinez won the prize for his “fertiorin tablets” project, consisting of a solid slow release fertilizer made from human urine. “My work competed against 50 different juvenile science projects from several countries including Canada, Turkey and Australia, among others,” the student said in an interview to the Information Agency of the National Council of Science and Technology (Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología: CONACYT). Reynoso Martinez, 15, said the idea for this innovative product came about because there is a potatoes orchard near his house and one day he saw the owners irrigating it with wastewater and fertilizing the earth with animal feces. “I said, ‘Yuck,’ I would not eat that. But then I started to investigate and found that urine fertilizer has great power, I also learned that fertilizer tablets could be based on different substances and decided to use human urine “, Víctor continued. “The tablets I developed are made up five percent of urine”, said the young man who attends to Colegio Jean Piaget high school, located in Tultitlan, State of Mexico. The student explained the product releases chemical elements like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium whenever the plant needs them; one tablet can last up to six months. The tablet was tested with positive results in the cultivation of potato, bean and kidney bean at Reynoso Martinez’s high school. The young man said that currently, one kilo of fertilizer costs between 150 and 200 pesos ($8 to 10 USD), while one kilo of his product has a cost of about 15 pesos (80 cents US). “The idea is to make a product that is available to all people at a reasonable price”, Víctor stated. Regarding his experience in the competition, the student said he thought it would be easier, but the competition was very fierce. “They presented many interesting projects. Some of the big lessons I learned is that I have to trust myself, aspire big and always make an extra effort”. Reynoso Martínez stated that traveling to Canada allowed him to know another culture, but also helped him to appreciate even more all social, cultural, scientific and technological riches that exist in...

Canada drops Visa requirements for all Mexicans, starting December 1

Canada drops Visa requirements for all Mexicans, starting December 1

Jun 28, 2016

OTTAWA — Mexicans will be able to travel visa-free to Canada as a result of an agreement between the two countries to settle a pair of protracted bilateral disputes on Tuesday June 28. The deal comes in the run-up to a U.S. presidential election in November that could shake ties between the three North American nations. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said starting Dec. 1, Canada would scrap rules obliging Mexican visitors to obtain visas. The former Conservative government imposed the restrictions in 2009 to stop what it said were bogus asylum claims. In return, President Enrique Peña Nieto said Mexico would allow expanded imports of Canadian beef starting in October, ending 13 years of restrictions imposed after a case of mad cow disease was discovered in Canada. The men stressed their desire to deepen ties between the two nations, which along with the United States are members of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Both countries send the vast majority of their exports to their powerful neighbor. But the future of NAFTA could be uncertain after the U.S. election, which looks set to pit Republican Donald Trump against Democrat Hillary Clinton. Trump says he wants to tear up or renegotiate the deal while Clinton has taken a populist tack on free trade during her campaign. Trudeau said the importance of ties between Canada and Mexico could not be overstated. “It is my hope that through meetings like this one, we will be able to further strengthen that relationship in the years ahead,” Trudeau said after talks with Peña Nieto. Canadian officials say privately that the two nations have not done enough to develop commercial and political ties or explain the benefits of free trade to their citizens. Peña Nieto, making the first state visit by a Mexican President to Canada for 15 years, said the two nations had created a working group to study how to deepen relations. The two leaders, as well as U.S. President Barack Obama, will meet in Ottawa on Wednesday for a one-day summit. Trudeau, speaking to reporters, said he and Pena Nieto had talked briefly about the U.S. election and agreed on the need to work with the new...

Beautiful sunset: Memories of a murderous fire

Beautiful sunset: Memories of a murderous fire

Jun 25, 2016

  TEXT and PICTURES: YERZON MARTINEZ TRANSLATION and INTRO: ALFREDO AZCARATE June 23, 2015, a fire in a Mexicali valley Retirement Home killed nineteen elderly people. Authorities say it was arson. A year has passed investigations haven’t yield any results nor suspects. Police authorities give no information. “It’s an ongoing investigation, so we can’t talk about it”, said State Attorney Perla Ibarra. Mexicali Mayor, Jaime Diaz, said it was arson and murder, a year has passed and nothing has happened. The following text is Mexicali journalist Yerzon Martinez semblance of what used to be a shelter for the elderly and turned out to be hell on earth for most of them: “Life got them together and not even death could separate them, may they rest in peace”, reads a sign at the entrance of what used to be the senior citizens’ retirement home where a tragic fire took away the life of nineteen elderly and women, one year ago. Hours before dawn, a fire backdraft burnt wood, paper, mattresses, blankets, food, roofs, walls and killed old people who were not able to flee from the fire and, staring at the sky, they watched as the flames consumed their lives. Today, the only sound that can be heard is the wind whispering among twisted and rusted metal, yielding slight thunder sounds as it rubs the hanging metal sheets. Some beds remain there, remaining traces in the same place where its last dwellers rested, those who turn to charcoal before leaving their earthbound lives. Through a metal fence a painting on the wall can be seen, it is a human silhouette that seems to keep on watching and safe keeping the nineteen souls. There is a policeman looking after the site, guarding and supplying safety to what are now ashes. At the distance a dos is barking, the silky wind takes the sound of little birds’ songs which in turn caresses the green field that surrounds the place. The caution yellow tape still hangs from some walls and fences, but inside, the only life sign is a small toad hiding among the metal pieces. Besides the memories, there also remain some gas tanks scattered, burnt and...

Striking teachers meet with government in Mexico City, roadblocks continue in Oaxaca

Striking teachers meet with government in Mexico City, roadblocks continue in Oaxaca

Jun 23, 2016

Leaders of a radical teachers union met with Mexican government representatives late Wednesday June 22 to try to defuse tensions after eight people died in clashes in the southern state of Oaxaca, but managed only to schedule another meeting for Monday. Roadblocks on highways around the southern state of Oaxaca that have frozen commercial traffic for more than a week continued Thursday June 23. Leaders of the National Coordinator of Education Workers, or CNTE, hailed the accomplishment of bringing the government to the table after months of refusals. But following the five-hour meeting in Mexico City, Interior Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong said in a statement that he made clear that the reforms were law that the government had to carry out. He left open the possibility of compromise on other demands that would not affect the reforms. Both sides agreed to meet again Monday to formalize an agenda for talks. “We agreed to look for a path, to create the conditions to ease the circumstances that we have today in some points in these states and to do it in front of the society,” said Osorio Chong. Violence broke out Sunday in Nochixtlan when federal and state authorities moved in on a roadblocks obstructing traffic on the main highway between Oaxaca’s capital and Mexico City. Who started the shooting is disputed, but civilians were killed. The teachers have demanded the release of some of their leaders who were recently arrested, but their complaints are long-running. Among them is the government’s use of a single exam that decides whether a teacher is qualified to work or not. “The state says: ‘I am going to give you an exam and with that I am going to say whether you are good or bad. It doesn’t matter whether you have 20 years of experience and you know how your community works, you have all the context,” Sergio Castillo Salas, a union representative, said a day before the meeting. Castillo said the teachers see the reforms as the latest move in a long shift toward privatizing public education and shifting more costs onto families in impoverished communities. The roadblocks, which Castillo said were supported by many parents,...

México: Overpriced democracy

México: Overpriced  democracy

Jun 23, 2016

Alfredo Azcárate Varela EDITOR Mexico democracy is really expensive, millions of pesos of tax money are assigned to support for Political Parties, just to finance those organizations, no wonder everybody in Mexico wants to work for a political party or even more, to form their own party, a shameful but real matter. Mexico is one of the most paradoxical countries, and its electoral system is living proof of that, take last June 5th election in Baja California, five Mayors and twenty five State Congress Representatives, an electoral process where barely 30% of the potential voters attended the polling booths, fact that goes to show how little is Mexican citizens civic awareness. According to the Baja California State Electoral Institute (IEE-BC in Spanish) and the numbers of the Fast Preliminary Count Program (PREP in Spanish) there were 2 million 158 thousand 797 potential voters, but (at least in the five elections for Mayor) only 715 thousand 284 voted. This means that only 33.13% of the probable electors took the time to vote on Sunday June 5th and that is a disappointing figure for a so called Democratic Country. These local election in Baja California, cost the double than six years ago, figures are never clear but they can be rounded down to 6 billion 56 thousand pesos (about 324 million dollars), according to several Internet sources which vary around this figure, because it is hard to determine an exact number to show the cost of elections in Baja California and the rest of the nation, since data is scattered and confusing. Anyway, three hundred and twenty four million dollars is too high a price to drink the rotten wine of Mexican Democracy, where Political Parties take the budget lion’s share with 158 million 653 thousand 831 pesos, which is an astronomical number, too much money for so few results, which added to a 26.35 million pesos cost of the State’s electoral process can be rounded up to 185 million pesos represents a 10 million dollar expense only to carry out the election and the public funded campaigns of Baja’s political parties. With only 715 thousand 284 people showing up to vote, and a total expense...