Fresno

Warning about citrus pest infestation

VALLEYFRESNO — The California Department of Food and Agriculture is asking San Joaquín Valley residents to help keep the Asian citrus psyllid — an insect that can carry a deadly citrus tree disease — out of the region.

The insect can spread a devastating bacterial plant disease — known as Huanglongbing or Citrus Greening Disease — that causes citrus to taste bitter, appear green even when ripe, and be deformed.

Citrus trees in the Southern California counties of Los Ángeles, Ventura, San Bernadino, Riverside, Imperial and San Diego have already been infected by the insect.

“If the disease gets here, it is going to wipe out all of our trees,” said department biologist Yesica Torres. “It doesn’t only affect our commercial groves, it also affects our homeowners with their backyard trees.”

There is no cure for the disease, so Torres said the Department of Food and Agriculture is taking preventative steps to stop the spread of the insect.

She said Valley residents should only buy citrus trees from reputable nurseries, and avoid buying citrus plants from counties that have already been quarantined or from a swap meet.

Also, residents should check their own trees for any unfamiliar bugs. The adult psyllids are small, brown insects and the nymphs are dull orange and have red eyes. The eggs are bright yellow-orange and almond-shaped.

Details: For more information about the Asian citrus psyllid, call the department hotline, 1-800-491-1899, or visit californiacitrusthreat.com or peligrancitricosencalifornia.com.

MÉXICOFolk dance record

GUADALAJARA — A total of 457 Mexicans on Saturday set a Guinness record for the largest folk dance performance in the world at the International Mariachi and Charreria Conference being held in the western Mexican city of Guadalajara.

In front of the Guadalajara Metropolitan Cathedral, dancers performed for 10 minutes to typical Mexican songs like ‘Guadalajara,’ ‘El Jarabe Tapatio’ and ‘El Son de la Negra,’ a combination that got them into the Guinness Book of Records.

Mike Jenella, representative of the Guinness organization, certified the participation of the dancers who filled the Plaza Liberacion with their colorful costumes and joyous rhythms to the delight of a huge crowd.

The melodies were played by more than 300 mariachi musicians from México, Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia and the United States who took part in the international conference that ends Saturday.

Miguel Alfaro, president of the city's chamber of commerce that organized the event, said that this was the best way to promote Mexican culture.“It’s the way for the world to get to know our traditions — mariachi music, tequila and our folklore,” he said.

Largest navy ship

MÉXICO CITY — A navy logistic support ship that is the largest military vessel ever built in Mexico was launched at the Pacific port of Salina Cruz.The Montes Azules, which can accommodate 89 sailors, including up to 18 women, is 99.8 meters (330 feet) long and 15.2 meters wide with a displacement of 3,666 metric tons and maximum velocity of 12 knots, the Navy Secretariat said in a statement.

Adm. Mariano Francisco Saynez, the navy secretary, said at Tuesday’s launch ceremony that the ship is part of a plan to modernize México’s naval fleet and expressed satisfaction that “the workforce and the ship’s design are distinctly national.”

The ship features “modern equipment that will allow reliable navigation” and has facilities exclusively for women, the official said.

The navy secretary’s wife, Maria del Carmen Ruiz Duran de Saynez, served as the ship’s godmother, baptizing it by pouring a pitcher filled with liquor from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec on the vessel's stern and unchaining a mechanism to release it into the waters of the Gulf of Tehuantepec.

During the ceremony, the keel was laid for a similar logistic support vessel that is to be built at the Salina Cruz shipyards.

Logistic support ships assist the civilian population in disaster zones and transport and disembark vehicles, provisions and personnel at beaches or docks, the secretariat said.

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