Friday, April 6, 2012

Chavez will spend Easter in Cuba with another round of radiation treatment ...

Chavez to return to Cuba for cancer treatment
By Catherine E. Shoichet and Nelson Quinones, CNN

updated 10:27 PM EDT, Fri April 6, 2012

Cuban President Raul Castro, left, greeted Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on his arrival in Cuba last week.


He will meet with his Cabinet before he leaves Venezuela again, he says

The Venezuelan president says he is recovering from cancer
Speculation has abounded about his health and political future
Doctors have operated on him twice to remove cancerous tumors

(CNN) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will fly to Cuba Saturday night to continue cancer treatment, he said Friday.

Chavez, speaking by telephone from Caracas with state-run VTV, had returned Thursday morning from his latest round of treatment on the island.

He will meet with members of his Cabinet before he leaves Venezuela again, he said Friday.

The announcement came a day after an emotional Chavez discussed his struggle with illness, tearing up at times as he spoke Thursday night at a Mass in western Venezuela.

"Christ ... give me life, because I still have things to do for the people and this country. Do not take me yet," he said.

At a service in his home state of Barinas, Chavez described cancer as "a true threat that marks the end of the path for many people. The end of the physical path, that's the truth."

But Chavez said that he was recovering, adding that he had "much faith, much hope, much willpower to defeat this threat, as many people have, with the help of God and medical science."

He ended his sometimes somber, sometimes jocular remarks at the Holy Thursday Mass with what he said was his message for God.

"Give me your crown, Christ, give it to me. Let me bleed. Give me your cross, 100 crosses, so I can carry them. But give me life, because I still have things to do for the people and this country," Chavez said. "Do not take me yet. Give me your cross, give me your thorns, give me your blood. I am prepared to carry it. But with life, Christ. Amen."

The 57-year-old president has not specified the type of cancer he is battling, and the government has released few specifics, fueling widespread speculation about his health and political future.

He had returned to Venezuela early Thursday after a second round of radiation treatment in Cuba.

Walking unaided, Chavez held court on the tarmac of the airport in Barinas, telling well-wishers who had gathered to welcome him that his treatment went well.

"So far, there has been no adverse reaction to the treatment; the body has assimilated it well," Chavez said. He was greeted by members of his family, government officials and supporters.

Until Thursday, Chavez had been in Cuba since March 31. Doctors in the Caribbean island nation have operated on him twice to remove cancerous tumors, Chavez has said.

Since the beginning of the year, Chavez has spent 34 days in Havana.

"All the tests I've undergone have given positive results suggesting physical recovery," he said Thursday on arriving at the airport.

The outspoken, flamboyant socialist leader has led Venezuela since 1999 and has pledged to run for re-election in October.

Venezuela's foreign ministry said Wednesday that Chavez spoke about his health in a lengthy phone conversation the day before with former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva, who recently announced that his own cancer had gone into remission.

"President Chavez told his brother Lula that the treatment is going very well, and so is the political and economic situation of Venezuela," Venezuela's foreign ministry said in a statement summarizing the phone conversation.

CNN's Ana Maria Luengo-Romero and Journalist Osmary Hernandez contributed to this report.

Chavez begs for MERCY as the end nears ....

Hugo Chavez weeps and calls on God to spare his life

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez wept and asked God to spare his life during a pre-Easter Mass on Thursday after returning from his latest session of cancer treatment in Cuba.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez during a mass for his health in Barinas Photo: AFP/GETTY

9:47AM BST 06 Apr 2012

Very little is known about the 57-year-old socialist leader's condition, including even what type of cancer he has. Chavez has undergone three operations in less than a year, and received two sessions of radiation treatment.

He says the latest surgery was successful, that he is recovering well and will be fit to win a new six-year term at an election in October. Yet big questions remain about his future, and on Thursday the strain appeared to show.

In a televised speech to the Catholic service in his home state of Barinas, Chavez cried and his voice broke as he eulogised Jesus, revolutionary fighter Ernesto "Che" Guevara and South American independence hero Simon Bolivar.

"Never forget that we are the children of giants ... I could not avoid some tears," the former soldier said, his parents and other relatives looking on from the church rows.

"Give me your crown, Jesus. Give me your cross, your thorns so that I may bleed. But give me life, because I have more to do for this country and these people. Do not take me yet," Chavez added, standing below an image of Jesus with the Crucifix.


Hugo Chavez arrives in Cuba for more radiation treatment 01 Apr 2012

Chavez home after treatment 30 Mar 2012

Chavez 'thwarts terror plot' 20 Mar 2012

Hugo Chavez to return home this week after cancer surgery 12 Mar 2012

Having dominated the continent's biggest oil exporter for the last 13 years, Chavez's sickness has thrown its politics into turmoil in the run-up to the election on Oct 7.

Flying back and forth to Havana for the radiation therapy, Chavez has been forced to run a kind of "virtual" campaign via Twitter and appearances on state television, while his opposition rival Henrique Capriles tours the country.

In his speech at the Mass, Chavez soon seemed to recover his composure, joking with his brother Adan in the congregation that few people were watching because it was the Easter holiday, when Venezuelans typically hit the country's beautiful beaches.

Chavez said he had a lot of faith that his cancer would not return after his first two operations last year – which removed a baseball sized tumour from his pelvis – but it did.

"Today, I have more faith than yesterday," he said.

"Life has been a hurricane ... but a couple of years ago my life began to become not my own anymore," the president said. "Who said the path of revolution would be easy?"

He returned to Barinas late on Wednesday from Havana, where he had undergone a second session of radiation therapy. He said it went well and that all the test results had been positive.

But in the absence of detailed information on his condition, Venezuelans have hunted for clues in his appearance each time he is on state TV. One local news website ran a large photo of his heavily perspiring brow after he disembarked from the jet.

One Venezuelan opposition journalist who has broken news on Chavez's condition in the past reported that his medical team continued to disagree among themselves over the best course, and a Brazilian blogger said he might travel there for treatment.

Chavez's election rival, Capriles, has mostly kept quiet about the president's illness, preferring to wish him a speedy recovery so that he can beat him in a fair fight at the polls.

But the youthful state government has criticised Chavez for choosing to be treated abroad, saying it sends a bad message to ordinary Venezuelans if he does not trust local doctors.

Capriles, 39, took issue this week with repeated comments by Chavez and his allies that Jesus must have been a fellow leftist radical.

"This theme is an obsession of the eternal candidate," Capriles said on Twitter, referring to Chavez. "This Holy Week, we should remember Christ was neither socialist nor capitalist."

In the latest opinion poll released last month, the president had a solid 13-percentage point lead over his opponent, but many voters remained undecided.

Source: agencies

Mensaje para Chavez en Semana Santa: "Cristo no insultaba"....

A Capriles Radonski le extraña la nueva obsesión del "eterno candidato" de creerse enviado de Dios e insultar a los que no comparten su revolución. "En esta Semana Santa es bueno recordar que Cristo no era socialista ni capitalista", expresó el abanderado de la Unidad

Al candidato presidencial Henrique Capriles Radonski le resulta extraño que haya personas que profesan la bsesión por creerse seguidores de Jesucristo, pero no dejan de promover el odio y la división entre los venezolanos, lo que resulta una incongruencia o una falsedad.

"En esta Semana Santa es bueno recordar que Cristo no era socialista ni capitalista! Obsesión la del eterno candidato con el tema!", escribió en su cuenta de Twitter el gobernador de Miranda, quien actualmente se encuentra coordinando el operativo de seguridad de ese estado.

Capriles dice no entender cómo se puede seguir las enseñanzas cristianas y al mismo tiempo predicar la exclusión y emplear palabras insultantes, que degradan la condición humana de otros venezolanos.

La promoción del odio, la confrontación y su verbo es la violencia, pero "dicen ser seguidores de Jesucristo. Están bien lejos de él".

El gobernador de Miranda informó que continúa con el dispositivo Semana Santa 2012 en la entidad y refirió que al menos 4.700 funcionarios de seguridad y prevención están desplegados para dar la mejor atención. "Por esta red utilizar el contacto @gobiernomiranda Para emergencias Cantv 171 y Tlfs de emergencias de las Operadoras de Celular", destacó.

A dip in Alphonso prices around Gultekdi Market in Pune, India, may not last long ...


Atikh Rashid : Sat Apr 07 2012, 02:19 hrs

Alphonso mangoes are being sold at Rs 600-800 a dozen in retail, which sellers said was around 25-40 per cent lower than prices the fruit commanded in April last year. 

Around the same time last year, some Alphonsos were even priced as high as Rs 1,200 a dozen. The lower prices this year, sellers say, is because of the examination season that kicked off later than usual because of the civic polls.

At Gultekdi market, 850 boxes of Alphonso, 350 boxes of Konkani varieties and 500 of Madras and Bangalore varieties, have arrived. Mango traders are hoping that prices will stabilise once the school /college examinations are over.

According to traders, prices of raw Alphonsos have gone down by Rs 500-700 per box while ripe ones are being sold at Rs 100-200 lower as compared to last week. Ripe Alphonsos are being sold at Rs 2,000-4,500 per box (4 dozen) in wholesale and Rs 600-800 per dozen in retail. A small box comprising 4 to 6 dozen raw Alphonsos are being sold at Rs 1,500 to 3,000 while a bigger box of 4 to 6 dozens is priced at Rs 2,000 to 4,000.

Yogesh Desai, a trader from Gultekdi Market, said, “Though there isn’t any increase in arrival of Alphonsos this year, the demand is substantially low due to the current examination season. We are hoping that next week onwards demand would go up. 

The increase in demand may not have an impact on market prices as by then the arrival of Ratnagiri and Devgadh varieties from Konkan reason would increase. At the most, it may stabilise the prices.”

Ankush Khonde, in-charge of the fruit and vegetable section of APMC, however, said if the climate remains favourable, it may result in a good harvest of the fruit in May and hence increase chances of arrival from Konkan region. This could further reduce prices. Last year, due to erratic conditions such as heavy and untimely rainfall, sudden fluctuations in temperature, the Alphonso crop in Konkan had suffered over 30 per cent dip in production. As a result the city market had witnessed a sharp rise in prices of Alphonsos with a dozen mangoes being sold at Rs 800-1200.

Hailstorm damage

A hailstorm that had taken place on Monday might cause considerable crop loss resulting in low harvest in May, growers fear. “The hailstorm damaged immature fruits. It would bring down production at least by 10 per cent. If the weather remains humid, it may also cause disease like Powdery Mildew resulting in further crop loss,” said Anand Desai, an Alphonso grower from Ratnagiri.

Root causes of the Mali Crisis ....

Did Libya's revolution topple Mali into crisis?

Maybe, but the Tuaregs have longed for independence for decades, and Mali's security has been declining for years.

By Dan Murphy, Staff writer / April 6, 2012

Soldiers stand guard at junta headquarters in Kati, outskirt Bamako, Mali, Tuesday. With coup leader Capt. Amadou Haya Sanogo refusing to step down, surrounding nations have imposed severe financial sanctions on Mali, including the closing of the country's borders and the freezing of its account at the regional central bank.

Rukmini Callimachi/AP

This year, Mali's restive Tuareg minority has erupted into rebellion after four years of relative quiet, the army has mutinied and seized control of the capital city of Bamako, and today Tuareg separatists declared an independent republic in the country's vast north.

A fruits vendor walks with his goods at Dibidani Market in Bamako, Mali, Thursday.

Luc Gnago/Reuters

Is this all NATO's fault?

Not exactly. But the law of unintended consequences is (as usual) rearing its head. In this case, the successful popular uprising against Muammar Qaddafi's regime in Libya, which was substantially aided by the air power of NATO members, has sent Mali tumbling back into chaos, something that neither France nor the US (two of the major backers of the war to oust Qaddafi) are happy about. Far from it.

The traditionally nomadic Tuareg and their independence aspirations were championed off and on by Qaddafi for decades. During his desperate and bloody war to hang on to power, Tuaregs that had settled in Libya fought on his side. And there are claims that even more Tuaregs were recruited to come to Libya and fight as mercenaries on his behalf.

With Qaddafi's defeat and the seething rage of the Libyan victors against the "African mercenaries" who fought against them – a rage which has also been vented on multiple occasions on people simply guilty of being "in Libya while black" – armed and trained Tuaregs returned home. A renewed insurgency in the north followed.

The first domino to fall in Mali was a coup by a young army captain, Amadou Sanogo. The new ruling junta's initial complaint was that the government wasn't spending enough money and manpower in the fight against the Tuaregs. 

 But the result of the coup has been to throw the military – trained extensively by the United States and France in recent years, largely because of fears of Islamist militants in the region – into disarray. 

This in turn has created more space for the Tuaregs' National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and today's independence declaration. ("Azawad" is a territorial term whose precise meaning is unclear, but includes much of the desert region where Tuareg live.)

The declaration has been rejected from almost every quarter that matters. The African Union, which opposed the intervention to depose Qaddafi, joined France and the European Union in dismissing the notion of a new independent nation.

And an AFP report indicates that the independence declaration is already dividing Mali's Tuareg. Ansar Dine, a smaller armed group led by a Tuareg but with declared pan-Islamist aims that had made common cause with the MNLA in recent months, came out against independence.

"Our war is a holy war. It's a legal war in the name of Islam," Ansar Dine military boss Omar Hamaha said in a videotape obtained by AFP. "We are against independence. We are against revolutions not in the name of Islam." Ansar Dine ("Helpers of Religion") appears to have seized control of the desert cities of Timbuktu and Gao, in the east.

Reports from Gao and Timbuktu suggest Mr. Hamaha's group is already imposing its rough-and-ready ideas about Islamic justice, and he said they have 120 men in custody, some of whom he described as thieves. "We have tied them up and taken their weapons. We beat them well and it's likely we will slit their throats," AFP quotes him as saying. Algeria says that seven of its diplomats working in Gao have been taken hostage.

Gregory Mann, a Mali scholar at Columbia University, wrote in a piece for Foreign Policy yesterdaythat while many Tuaregs fought on the side of Qaddafi, Ansar Dine aided the Libyan rebels.

The MNLA has been in a loose partnership with Ansar Dine, an Islamist group led by Iyad ag Ghali, a Tuareg who led a major rebellion in the 1990s. Ag Ghali's career is a testament to the tangled web of alliances in the region: His most recent gig was in Libya, where, according to reports, Libya's transitional government encouraged him to lead a large-scale defection of Tuareg fighters from Muammar al-Qadaffi's security forces. Ag Ghali obliged, but the Libyan rebels' gain was the Malian government's loss when he brought several dozen men in arms into a situation in which a rebellion was already simmering in the Malian Sahara. Since then, he's fallen in with the MNLA, and he seems to have a productive working relationship with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). The warriors of Ansar Dine care less about an independent Azawad than they do about an extreme Islamist program.

Mr. Mann points out that Mali's central government was remilitarizing its northern reaches for the past 15 years and that Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb had extended its kidnap for ransom activities into the area since 2010.

"Did the Libyan conflict – and NATO's intervention in it – light this long fuse? Did Mali lose Timbuktu because NATO saved Benghazi?," asks Mann. "Informed observers disagree. Some think the conflict was virtually inevitable, with or without men and arms from Libya. Others see a direct knock-on effect from Libya that upset a delicate balance."

What seems clear is that the timing of all this is inextricably linked to events last year in Libya. But it's also true that tension between the Malian state and the traditionally nomadic Tuareg is longstanding. The Tuareg and related Berber cultures became dominant in North Africa's caravan trade after domestic camels were introduced about 1,700 years ago, with items like gold, salt, and slaves transported across the Sahara toAfrica's Mediterranean coast. In modern times, the Tuareg practice a pastoral life style, herding goats, camels, and cattle, and traveling long distances to find fodder and water for their animals.

The Tuareg maintain a fierce independence to this day, with an estimated 600,000 living in Mali. Today's independence declaration comes almost four years to the day since the last peace agreement they signed with Mali's central government – in 2008, brokered by none other than Qaddafi.

Qaddafi had a long history of reaching out to Tuaregs, both to fight in his own causes and to use as leverage against his North African neighbors. In the 1970s, drought gripped North Africa, and poor Tuaregs and other Saharan groups poured into oil rich Libya in search of work. Many of them, and not all voluntarily, ended up in Qaddafi's new "Islamic Legion," a regional fighting force that Qaddafi hoped to use to expand his territory and influence.

The legion is most associated with fighting on Qaddafi's behalf in Chad during the 1980s, a conflict that helped ignite ethnic conflict in Darfur and Sudan. After giving up on the bloody effort in Chad in 1987, Qaddafi decommissioned the legion. Some stayed in Libya; others, with arms and encouragement from the self-styled "king of kings," went home.

Qaddafi had long supported ethnic-based separatists in his neighbors, and it was unsurprising that Tuareg rebellions had broken out in both Mali and Niger by 1990. Those fights burned fitfully, and inconclusively, until 1996, when another peace was made. But Tuareg resentment, it seems, never went away.

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NMB issues inflated report to justify existence ....

IMO NOTE: How does the NMB issue such a flawed report??? 

To state that they reached 950 million consumers in 2011 is just beyond comprehension. 

Even if they reach 40% of the population of the USA as they claim, that would be just under 150 million people. 

Now maybe they want us to believe that the NMB reached these same people year in year out for four years. That would still be only 600 million consumers!

The IMO seriously questions wether the NMB actually had any direct impact on USA mango consumption at all.

Study shows increases in U.S. mango consumption

04/06/2012 2:03:13 PM
Doug Ohlemeier

The National Mango Board says its latest consumer attitude and usage study shows significant increases in mango purchases as well as new opportunities for sales to new users.


The Orlando, Fla.-based board discovered some encouraging news during the recent study, conducted in 2011, which last compared shopper practices in 2007.

According to the board, the study showed increases in mango movement, number of current purchasers, incidences of people eating mangoes plus higher consumer satisfaction.

The board exceeded its 2011 goals by influencing nearly 950 million consumers, generating a 117% increase in mango volume and working with more than five million foodservice professionals through foodservice publications and partnerships, according to a news release.

The survey shows current purchasers — shoppers who bought mangoes within the past six months — increased their purchases from 35% in 2007 to 46% in 2011. Also, the incidences of people eating mangoes increased from 67% in 2007 to 78% in 2011.

“We are thrilled to see the impact our mango key messages and marketing programs have on retail and foodservice but ultimately, consumers,” Megan McKenna, the board’s director of marketing, said in the release. “We want to eliminate barriers of uncertainty about mangos and encourage consumers to enjoy the benefits of the nutritious and tasty fruit.”

The study also showed 41% of consumers have never bought a mango.

Massive Dolphin Die-Off in Peru May Remain a Mystery ...

Thousands of dead or dying dolphins have washed ashore in Peru since January, a marine mystery potentially caused by a combination of stress, pollution and disease

April 6, 2012

                                                                                                    Image: flickr/lowjumpingfrog

LIMA, Peru -- When a retired fisherman called to report that about 1,500 dolphins had washed up dead on Peru’s northern coast, veterinarian Carlos Yaipén’s first reaction was, “That’s impossible.”

But when Yaipén traveled up the coast last week, he counted 615 dead dolphins along a 135-kilometer stretch of coastline.

Now, the death toll could be as high as 2,800, based on volunteers’ counts. Peru's massive dolphin die-off is among the largest ever reported worldwide.

The strandings, which began in January, are a marine mystery that may never be unraveled. Experts say the causes could be acoustic impact from testing for oil or perhaps an unknown virus or other pathogen. Little marine research takes place in Peru, and even in the United States, of 55 marine mammal strandings since 1991, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has classified 29 as “undetermined.”

All of the 20 or so animals Yaipén has examined showed middle-ear hemorrhage and fracture of the ear's periotic bone, lung lesions and bubbles in the blood. To him, that suggests that a major acoustic impact caused injury, but not immediate death. Most of the dolphins apparently were alive when they beached, or had died very recently.

“The animal would become disoriented, would have intense pain, and would have to make a great effort to breathe,” he said of the injuries.

Other experts say there is not enough evidence to draw a conclusion.

Stress or toxic contaminants can make marine mammals more vulnerable to pathogens such as viruses, according to Peter Ross, a research scientist at Canada’s Institute of Ocean Sciences in Sidney, British Columbia.

In a mass die-off, “there might be a smoking gun, but often we find that it’s two or three or four factors,” said Ross, who is one of the world’s leading experts on the effects of toxic contaminants in marine mammals.

Persistent organic pollutants, such as polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs, the pesticide DDT, dioxins and flame-retardants accumulate in fish, and the concentrations are magnified as they move up the food web to top predators such as dolphins, seals and sea lions.

Laboratory studies of rodents and cells harvested from marine mammals show that PCBs and dioxins “are very immunotoxic,” Ross said. “The immune system is exquisitely sensitive to exposure to environmental contaminants.”

Animals with weaker immune systems could be more vulnerable to stress from noise or climate change, or to diseases such as leptospirosis, brucellosis or distemper, Ross said.

Scientists say that immune suppression from PCBs and DDT contributed to several marine mammal die-offs in the late 1980s and early 1990s, including dolphins along the Atlantic Coast and in the Mediterranean Sea, and harbor seals in northern Europe.

Yaipén, founder of the Lima-based Scientific Organization for the Conservation of Aquatic Animals (ORCA), knows of no studies of pollutants in Peru’s marine mammals. He has stored tissue samples from some of the beached dolphins but ORCA – a largely volunteer organization – has not yet been able to arrange for analysis.

Peru’s entire coast is a desert, its sandy beaches punctuated by peninsular cliffs and dotted with tiny fishing villages. On one trip up the coast, Yaipén said he initially counted a few dolphins every 150 meters, then every 10 or 20 meters.

The first account of 24 dead dolphins came on Jan. 21 in Piura -- on the north coast, just south of the border with Ecuador -- the same region where the 1,500 were reported by the staff of a marine coastal reserve on March 10. Another 416 were counted in Piura on March 21. More than 870 were spotted in February and March on beaches in the Lambayeque region, south of Piura.

Since it's ongoing, it may wind up being the largest dolphin die-off ever reported.

In 1987 and 1988, about 700 bottlenose dolphins died along the Atlantic coast from New Jersey to Florida. That may have depleted the coastal stock by more than 50 percent. Scientists concluded that the dolphins, which had bacterial and viral infections, were immune-suppressed.

Then, in the early 1990s, large numbers of striped dolphins – estimated at several thousand -- died in the Mediterranean Sea, starting in Spain. Infection by a morbillivirus was apparently the cause, but immune suppression was suspected, too, since the dead dolphins had higher concentrations of contaminants than ones that survived.

In Peru, two species have been stranded. About 90 percent are long-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus capensis), which swim close to the surface and have probably migrated south from Central America to feast on the abundance of fish in the nutrient-rich Humboldt Current that sweeps Peru’s coast.

The rest are Burmeister’s porpoises (Phocoena spinipinnis), a deepwater species that moves closer to the surface to calve. All the Burmeister’s porpoises Yaipén has recorded have been pregnant or lactating females or calves.

Yaipén worries that pathogens or contaminants in the dolphins could pose a health risk for residents of fishing villages along the coast, who have been cutting meat off the carcasses for food.

If they avoid the blubber, they will avoid most of the toxic chemicals, Ross said, but if the strandings are due to disease, they could be at risk of infection.

After sick and dead bottlenose dolphins washed up on the Louisiana coast recently, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) ordered an oil and gas exploration company to suspend seismic testing – which uses air guns to map hydrocarbon deposits on the ocean floor – until May, when calving season ends.

Several oil leases under exploration are located off the coast or Peru where the dolphin strandings occurred, but it was not clear if seismic testing was under way. The offices of Savia Peru, which holds the leases, were closed Thursday, a national holiday in Peru.

A spokesman for Houston-based BPZ Energy said the company has been doing seismic testing since early February in an offshore lot several hundred kilometers north of where the dolphins were found.

Air guns can have “myriad impacts ... on marine mammals,” said Michael Jasny, senior policy analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group that has urged BOEM to restrict seismic testing.

Although there has been more analysis of the impact of sonar than seismic testing, studies have linked loud ocean noises to ear and organ damage in marine mammals. Sounds can also change behaviors such as dive patterns – which can result in decompression sickness or “the bends” – or drive them closer to shore, where they could beach if they were disoriented.

“Lots of sound in the wrong place at the wrong time can lead to mass stranding,” Jasny said.

Environmental groups have gone to court several times to challenge the U.S. Navy’s use of sonar in military exercises, arguing that it can change marine mammal behavior and lead to strandings. There has been no information available on whether sonar has been used off Peru’s coast.

If noise is to blame in Peru, sonar could be a more likely culprit than seismic testing, according to Brandon Southall, former director of NOAA’s ocean acoustics program. He said the characteristics of the Peru strandings would be “atypical, but not impossible” for an acoustic-related stranding.

Even if sonar were a factor, the injuries may not be due directly to the impact of the sound. “Animals may react in a way that has a cascade of physiological effects,” Southall said.

This article originally ran at Environmental Health News, a news source published by Environmental Health Sciences, a nonprofit media company.

El Corte Ingles Group visits Harvest Trading in Pakistan ...

Ahmad Jawad CEO of Harvest Trading Group, gives monument to Mr. Borja de la Cierva, Head-Procurement, El Corte Ingles Group Spain on his visit to Pakistan.

FROM AUSTRALIA: Put a mango on the Barbi-que!!!....

Chargrilled mango cheeks with maple rum sauce

Photography by Cath Muscat

Add a sprinkling of sugar to chargrilled mangoes for a sublime fruity toffee dessert.

Preparation Time

10 - 15 minutes

Cooking Time

10 minutes

Ingredients (serves 8)

4 large ripe mangoes, cheeks removed, peeled
70g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
Canola oil spray
50g butter
2 tbs dark rum
60ml (1/4 cup) maple syrup
Double cream, to serve


Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Place the mango cheeks, cut-side up, on a tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Sprinkle with half the sugar.

Heat a large chargrill or barbecue flat plate on medium-high. Spray with oil. Cook the mango, sugar-side down, for 2-3 minutes or until caramelised and golden. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Turn and cook for 2-3 minutes or until golden. Transfer to serving plates.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until foaming. Add the rum and cook for 30 seconds or until mixture reduces slightly. Add the maple syrup and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until the mixture thickens slightly. Set aside for 2 minutes to cool slightly. Spoon the sauce over the mango and serve with double cream.


Mangoes: These blushing beauties are the taste of summer. While they're in season, make the most of their sublime sweetness in salsas, salads and desserts.

Make the most of summer produce with our zucchini recipes,strawberry recipes and mango recipes.

Pakistani mangoes are less than 60 days away ....

Hail Storms threaten Mango Crop in Krishna & Chittoor districts in India ....

Krishna District

Hailstorm hits mango crop


IMD forecasts hailstorm for 2 more days

Chittoor District

Gales and hailstorm that lashed parts of the State damaged mango crop extensively in several districts, particularly Chittoor, Krishna and Mahabubnagar, whereas maize, sunflower and soybean have been partially affected elsewhere.

Mango gardens are in an advanced stage of flowering all over the State or have unripe fruit. According to preliminary reports received by the government, the orchards in Krishna and Chittoor districts, traditional pockets of large-scale mango production, faced the brunt of the freak weather development.

In view of an India Meteorological Department forecast that some more areas in the State are likely to be hit by hailstorm for two more days as part of thunderstorm activity, Agriculture Department officials fear that mango production may be hit this year, affecting exports as well as local availability.

Agriculture Commissioner V. Usha Rani said paddy crop sowed in some districts during the rabi season had already been harvested in many areas. On the whole, the crop was affected due to fall in the groundwater levels. Only 35 lakh hectares had been sowed during rabi as against a normal area of 40 lakh hectares.

As a result, the foodgrain production this year was likely to fall to 180 lakh metric tonnes from 206 lakh tonnes in 2010, an all-time record.

Meanwhile, the trough of upper air circulation persisted over Madhya Pradesh extending its impact into Andhra Pradesh. Under its influence, thunderstorm activity will continue over Adilabad, Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Warangal, and Mahabubnagar districts for two more days.

Keywords: large-scale mango production, foodgrain production

AMERICA'S FIRST FAST FOOD MEXICAN celebrates 50 years!!!....

The Glen Bell Legacy – 50 Years of Firsts
Thursday, April 5th, 2012 at 6:43 pm

On March 21, 1962, Glen Bell opened the very first Taco Bell restaurant.

The Glen Bell Legacy - 50 Years of Firsts

Irvine, CA ( Glen Bell didn’t frame the first dollar he made selling a taco.When his dream to bring great Mexican food to mainstream America became a reality, it wasn’t the first sale that he would remember for the rest of his life; it was the first customer. “He was dressed in a suit,” remembered Glen, “and as he bit into the taco…the juice dripped onto his tie. I thought, ‘uh oh, we’ve lost this one.’ But he came back and said ‘That was good. Gimme another.”

In the years following that first taco, Glen remained deeply focused on the customer. He spent his entire life looking for ways to make a customer’s experience better—and he succeeded. That’s Glen’s legacy.

And this is his story…

The Early Years

Born September 23rd, 1923 near Long Beach, California, Glen Bell’s passion for serving hard- working Americans good food stemmed from a childhood of poverty. He grew, harvested and sold potaoes and strawberries to help his family make ends meet during the Great Depression. He was never embarrassed by his circum-stances­—he just worked hard to improve them.

Glen would eventually graduate high school, but academics couldn’t contain his entrepreneurial spirit or his passion for cooking and serving good food. So in 1941, he put his studies on hold to help his great aunt Mary with her small bakery in Washington.

It was perhaps this experience that Glen first realized the value of working with women­—a lesson that would play out in his future company.

“One of the problems we had in the early days was we didn’t have enough good managers,” recalls John Gorman, Taco Bell’s first Director of Operations. “There weren’t enough of them to go around (and) they were all men.” As John remembers it, Taco Bell was “the first chain to hire women managers to run the stores.”

Glen’s days at the bakery planted another seed, one that would change his life forever. “It gave me a dream,” Bell recalled. “I imagined some day I might have a little food stand.”

But after graduating high school, Glen had to put his dreams on hold. Like many young men of his generation, he was deployed overseas in 1943 as a Marine to serve in World War II.

Even during war, Glen found a way to fuel his passion for food. He mastered the art of ordering, portioning, cooking, and serving for the military’s massive food service industry. All lessons that would prove invaluable in the near future.

Paving his Way

After the war, Glen returned home to a California that was ripe for new ideas—a sort of wild, wild west for entrepreneurs. He was itching to take advantage of it, but lacked a unique concept. And he knew it.

While in the parking lot of a new “drive-in” restaurant started by two brothers named McDonald, it came to him. “What if someone could walk up and get their food from the service window?” thought Glen. It sounds simple now, but at the time, nobody knew if it would work. Except Glen Bell.

Glen had no start-up money. But he had determination and resourcefulness. He sold his sister’s refrigerator to start “Bell’s Burgers.” She wasn’t thrilled with the idea at first, but when she saw the little hamburger stand Glen built with his bare hands, she couldn’t have been prouder.

Over the next couple of years, Glen and the McDonald brothers enjoyed a friendly rivalry pioneering the fast food business, learning from each other along the way. At the time, Glen didn’t realize that their efforts, coupled with California’s rich cultural diversity and growing car culture, would one day lead to a worldwide phenomenon. He just knew Californians were a lot like his family in the Depression and the soldiers he served in the war—hungry for fast, good food.

That’s exactly what Bell’s Burgers delivered, one customer at a time. And often faster and better than its counterparts, thanks to Glen’s idea of a commissary, the cost-effective foodservice system still used by fast food restaurants today.

The Taco Revolution

Glen and the McDonald brothers started a burger revolution. But when competitors began crowding the market by the early 1950s, Glen knew it was time for his next big idea –tacos.

At the time, few Americans had heard of a taco, much less considered it an option for fast food. After all, tacos were served in sit-down Mexican restaurants, and came in soft tortillas.

To Glen, this was an opportunity. He knew that in order to bring tacos to mainstream America, he would need to make them easier to eat. So he created the first fast food crunchy taco shell and filled it with the perfect mix of Mexican ingredients for the American palate.

When the new crunchy tacos began outselling his burgers, Glen sketched plans for a California-style food stand that only served Mexican food. In 1954, Glen opened the doors to his first “Taco Tia” restaurant. And he made sure everyone in town knew it. He drove around in an old bread truck, handing out sombreros to everyone he saw. He also hired Mariachis to stage a colorful fiesta outside his restaurant. It was a genius move for a man with almost no marketing budget.

Taco Tia was an instant hit. At only nineteen cents a taco, the restaurant grossed eighteen thousand dollars in its first month.

During that same year, Glen met the love of his life and his biggest supporter, his wife Marty Ahl. After they married and started their family, Glen was eager to continue growing. He sold his share of Taco Tia to his partner and made another big change- he moved his family to Los Angeles and started “El Taco” with a group of celebrity partners. There couldn’t have been a city more welcoming of tacos. Although El Taco was very successful, Glen was soon ready to move on again.

The Bell is Born

1st Taco Bell, 1962, on Firestone Avenue in Downey, CA.

Glen set out to combine everything he’d learned about food and restaurants so far and start a restaurant that served Mexican specialties. A friend suggested that Glen combine his name with his passion and call the restaurant “Taco Bell.” Glen liked it. He scouted the local area and chose a lot on Firestone Boulevard in Downey, Calif., for the first Taco Bell location.

It was an immediate hit.

As Glen opened more Taco Bells, he wanted to change the look of the restaurants to resemble the architecture of California’s historic Missions. In 1964, with the help of architect Robert McKay, Glen opened the first of what would become the eventual standard for all Taco Bell restaurants: An inviting, central stone fire-pit housed by adobe-like tan brick exterior walls, a red clay-tile roof and a brown back drop, in front of a simple, Mission-style bell.

Eventually, Glen was ready to let others benefit from his success. That’s when the franchising of Taco Bell began.

“I owe my business life to Glen Bell,” said Kermit Bekke, Taco Bell’s first franchisee. “He created a great affordable market for people to get into. I was a police officer. I was scared to death. Glen told me ‘Don’t worry, you’re not going to lose.’ He showed me everything. He wasn’t afraid to go back in the kitchen with me and get dirty.”

Glen later achieved his goal of coast-to-coast expansion with the opening of Taco Bell in Florida.

The Legacy Lives On

Only five years after opening his first Taco Bell, Glen’s little food stand was ready to become a national corporation. After a major Wall Street bidding war, PepsiCo won the right to keep Glen Bell’s legacy alive. The boy who once went to school wearing cement sacks, was now one of the wealthiest men in America.

After years of constant travel, Glen settled down with Marty and his children in Rancho Santa Fe, California. But the restless entrepreneur wasn’t done dreaming. By the mid-1990s, Glen created “Bell Gardens,” a produce farm and park open to the public. The Bells spent many great years there together, enjoying their time as a family and helping the local community.

Glen passed away in 2010, but his legacy lives on.

It lives on in Taco Bell’s 5,600 restaurants, 350 franchisees, and 150,000 employees.

It lives on in the millions of customers who come to Taco Bell every week for that unique experience no other restaurant can offer.

It lives on in every menu innovation brought to life.

It lives on in the smiles of those who create, serve and eat Taco Bell’s delicious food.

Glen’s legacy is in everything Taco Bell does today, tomorrow, and beyond.

Baldwin, Debra Lee. Taco Titan: the Glen Bell Story. Arlington: Summit Publishing Group, 1999.
Early Taco Bell Franchisees. Video Interview. 2012. Bell Family. Video Interview. 2012.

BANGALORE, INDIA: Mango Festival set for end of May across State ...

Bangalore | Posted on Apr 06, 2012 at 10:20am IST
Mango Mela across all districts from May

Prabhu Mallikarjunan and Vijayalakshmi Gudur

BANGALORE: For the first time, the state horticulture department will conduct a Mango Mela across 30 districts, including Bangalore. 

“The department will conduct the Mela in the 30 districts to create a direct marketing platform for individual farmer groups. The event, which happens every year in Bangalore will take place in the last week of May and continue till June,” said Additional Director of Department of Horticulture (Fruits) S P Hittalamani.

Saniha Krishnamurthy, a resident of Kumara Park in Bangalore, said he was looking forward to the Mango Mela. “On the onset of summer, we always look forward to eating mangoes. It is disappointing to see no mangoes in the market yet, but I always await the mango mela,” he said.

However, the department, which initially expected the fruit to hit the markets by mid-April, estimated an annual production of three lakh tonnes.

However, now it is said that mango production this year will be around five lakh tonnes owing to increased flowering.

“Last year, mango production had touched a whopping eight lakh tonnes and this year being an off-season, production will be low and comparatively prices will shoot up by about 25 per cent,” said Hittalamani.

He added that different varieties of mangoes ranging from Sindhura will hit the market followed by Raspuri, Malgoa, Alphonso and Neelam.

“The demand, however, remains high for Alphonso which is expected to hit the market by the second week of May,” Hittalamani added. “With unprecedented weather conditions delaying flowering till late February this year, ripening took time and will hit the market late,” said president of Chintamani Mango Growers’ Association Srinivas Gowda.

However, Gowda said excess flowering will not result in good yields as many mangoes are falling before ripening. Srinivaspura and Chintamani in Kolar together produce around 40 per cent of the total mango production in the state. Karnataka is well-known for varieties like Banaganapalli, Alphonso and Mallika.

ANDHRA PRADESH, INDIA: Mango season has yet to start in earnest for Andra Pradesh....

Andhra Pradesh | Posted on Apr 06, 2012 at 09:44am IST
No bustle at Nunna Mango Market yet

Ajey Shivarla

VIJAYAWADA: The mango market at Nunna is not bustling with activity this season. The arrival of fruit at one of the biggest mango markets in Asia is yet to pick up due to poor yield. The drop in crop yield is largely attributed to adverse weather conditions.

There are about 80 wholesale shops in the market. Normally, truck loads of mangoes used to be exported from the market everyday during the season to Maharashtra, Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat and other states by middle of April. Fruit merchants from all over the country used to visit Nunna to purchase the popular mango varieties of Banginapalli, Pedda Rasalu, Chinna Rasalu and Thothapuri.

The mango market provides direct employment to hundreds of workers every season. Due to poor arrival of the fruit, the mango market is virtually wearing a deserted look now.

Speaking to Express, Mohammad Iqbal, a fruit merchant, said he opened the shop at the market last week only this time. He has exported two truck loads of the fruit so far. The quantum of business done so far is nothing when compared to last season’s turnover, he said.

Some traders who opened shops at the mango market on March 15, closed them till the end of the month due to poor arrival of the fruit.

Nunna Mango Growers Association secretary S Venkateswara Rao is hopeful that the fruit business will pick up in the next fortnight.

P Mallikharjuna Rao, a fruit merchant who is readying his yard for import and export of mangoes, said there was a 40 per cent drop in the mango crop yield this season due to inadequate rainfall. Even if the fruit is arriving at the market, the shape and quality is not good. The fruit did not grow big in size this season due to inadequate rainfall during the harvesting season, he said.

But fruit merchants and growers are something to cheer about as they are getting a better price for the fruit this season due to drop in the mango crop yield. The price per tonne of fruit ranges from Rs 15,000 to Rs 35,000 depending on its size, quality and variety. Banginapalli variety is fetching a high price of Rs 35,000 per tonne, said Venkateswar Rao.

Scientists hope to extend mango season in Northern Territories of Australia over next decade ....

Scientists tinker with mango season

Updated April 06, 2012 14:35:41

The Top End's mango season currently runs for just three months but researchers hope to extend it to nine months.

Map: Darwin

Australian scientists are working to make mangoes available almost all year round.

Scientists in the Northern Territory plan to use hybrid trees, chemicals and changes in the weather to stagger when the trees fruit.

Dr Cameron McConchie from the Northern Territory Resources Department says the mango season could be extended from three to nine months.

"My personal opinion is it can treble in size," he said.

"It partly relies on having stable production and reliable yields and this is what we're targeting.

"It's been identified by the industry as one of their priorities."

Ian Baker from the Northern Territory Mango Industry Association says it could add tens of millions of dollars to the industry and even open up an export trade.

"Clearly the big opportunities are in to north Asia - China and India," he said.

But it will not happen immediately.

Researchers hope to slowly extend the season and expect results over the next decade.