T.G.I. Friday’s Causes Uproar In Tijuana

A bad choice in Halloween decoration caused uproar between clients of the Tijuana location of the american restaurant T.G.I. Friday’s this past week.

Users in social media showed their indignation after pictures of their choice of Halloween decoration, a black bag taped in the shape of a body that was placed on the entrance stairs of the restaurant, went viral.

One Facebook user said he thought that the decoration was in very bad taste, and a bad joke for the thousands of people that have lost a loved one to the growing violence in the area.

Others offered insults and accused the Tijuana location of being insensitive and even idiotic.

Some people said that they didn’t even know it was a decoration and thought that someone had left a dead body in there for real. Unfortunately not an uncommon sight in Baja these days.

After seeing all the controversy generated by the decoration, the restaurant decided to remove the decoration and publish a statement on their Facebook page:

“Friday’s is a franchise, and as every year, for the upcoming Halloween and Day of the Dead celebrations, there was a misunderstanding in one of the decorations we chose for our front door, regarding that we apologize in the name of everyone that works in T.G.I. Friday’s, and specially to the people that were bothered by it, it was not our intention and the decoration was already removed. Thank you for your comments and support.”

This is their original statement (in Spanish):

ATM Bandits Are Back! Did They Ever Leave?

A new card robbing scheme has been caught on camera recently and there are reports that is being used all over Mexico.

This is the way the scheme works:

  1. A person gets close to you while you are using the ATM so he/she can visualize your PIN number while you type it in and leaves.
  2. A second person drops money on the floor near the victim and starts picking it up.
  3. While the victim gets down to help the other person to pick up the money or just gets distracted on what’s going on, a third person removes the card from the ATM hides it and walks away.

In some of the videos, the victims actually walk to the perpetrators and confront them but when they categorically deny it, the victims just walk over to the ATM again to check if they just didn’t leave the card there.

Of course the maximum permitted cash is withdrawn from the ATM within minutes of the card theft.

Victims have been, on the majority, women. Be careful out there, check your surroundings when typing your PIN code and don’t get distracted and leave your card unattended at any moment!

This are some of the videos, they don’t need translation this time, as these images talk for themselves:

Photo by Enrique Botello

Baja 1000 Temporarily Suspended: Score International Fined $27K by PROFEPA

Score International was hit with a fine of around $27,000 USD and in order to guarantee the payment of the fine, the permits for the coming Baja 1000 race where suspended.

PROFEPA (The federal agency for the protection of the environment) was the one to fine Score because, they say, the race last year passed through unauthorized protected areas in the “Valle de los Cirios” (That’s the valley south of the city of Ensenada that has huge cacti everywhere).

Valle de los Cirios in Ensenada, a natural protected area.

The agency says race participants destroyed several specimens of protected cacti from the lophocerus schotti species.

Due to this violations, PROFEPA issued a temporary suspension of activities to Score International S. de R.L. de C.V., which effectively suspends their right to do the race until they pay the fine.

In November of 2014, PROFEPA announced that it was fining the Baja 1000 race organizers for about $162,000 USD for the same violations, although there is no public knowledge about the fine being paid or not, since it was contested in court.

 

With information from El Vigia

Airbnb Will Now Charge 3% Lodging Tax in Baja Norte

Tourism authorities, headed by Oscar Escobedo, announced that they have signed an agreement with Airbnb to start collecting the 3% lodging tax that is normally charged to all hotel room reservations.

This tax is, allegedly, used to promote the destination and bring more tourists to the destination but, of course, this has been a matter of discussion before as not all hotel owners agree on what the government uses the money for.

Airbnb has been available in Baja Norte for a few years now, and is the 11th state where an agreement to collect this tax is signed in less than a year. From January to July this year, over 200,000 travelers used Airbnb to stay in one of the 4,600 available accommodations in Northern Baja.

In 8 months, the company was able to collect about 2.2 million USD from this 3% tax in the state of Quintana Roo, with that in mind it is expected that the remaining Mexican states will start signing agreements with Airbnb to collect this tax.

Rafael Garcia, president of the Mexican association of hotels and motels, although happy that more and more states are charging this tax (that they have always had to pay), says that more needs to be done to level the playing field, as they still have to pay a lot more taxes than Airbnb hosts.

According to researchers from the Anahuac University, about 272 million USD  were lost last year in not charged income tax from Airbnb rentals, a tax that regular hotels do have to pay.

130 Federales Arrive In Baja


Just last week 130 elements of the Federal Police of the “Gendarmerie” Division, were deployed here in Baja mainly in Tijuana and San Quintin.

Juan Carlos Moran, head of the federal police in Baja, stated that the deployment of this group of police was in response to the increased requests from local authorities and the private sector regarding the increasing drug crime problems that have been going on.

Moran said that the Federal Police has been the only one in the country that has been able to increase their perception of trustworthiness and credibility between the population.

The Gendarmerie Division was created in 2014 by president Peña Nieto as part of his security strategy to combat organized crime in Mexico.

It has been widely seen as an effective police force by the general population since these officers are better prepared and better paid than almost all other police forces. In order to be accepted to the force, a candidate needs to have completed a bachelor’s degree.

Here is a promotional video of the Gendarmeria, we placed English subtitles in there for you this time, you’re welcome.

Watch Out For Those Mosquitoes

State health authorities, headed by Guillermo Trejo, warned citizens to be aware of possible breeding places for mosquitoes that can transmit dengue fever, zika and chikingunya.

David Ibarra, head of the vectors control program for Baja, stated that all actions taken are merely preventive, as no cases of any of these diseases have been reported yet in the current year.

He did say that because of the present climate change, temperature and humidity has become ideal for the proliferation of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which has already increased its population by 30%, although they haven’t been found to carry the diseases.

“It’s important to remember that tires, flower pots and any containers that contain water, are ideal for the proliferation of the mosquito, since it looks for clean water to deposit its eggs”, said Ibarra.

Ibarra also stated that his office has already installed 6,692 mosquito traps around the state and invited everyone to pitch in by not leaving any open containers with water around the house.

San Felipe Beach Open Again After Rosa

Baja’s State Government informed media that the beaches in San Felipe are safe for recreational activities.

Juan Carlos Ramirez, head of sanitary risks protection, informed that the public health labs already sampled the water quality and confirmed that they are inside the required parameters to declare the beach safe.

Aftermath of Hurricane Rosa in San Felipe

Hurricane Rosa pounded San Felipe hard last week with heavy rains, and that caused a lot of sewage and trash to overflow to its beaches.

Ramirez recommended the population to follow recommendations from the state health department to safeguard everyone’s health.

New Calimax Opening In Puerto Nuevo

Don’t run to the car just yet, the new store is not expected to be open until January of next year, but we have already confirmed that this is the reason dirt is being moved around in the lot between the north and south Puerto Nuevo entrances.

Public records filed in Rosarito City Hall state that the new Calimax will have almost 22,000 square feet of construction, along with 71 parking spaces.

Development of the new Calimax supermarket started last month and is expected to be finished in January 2019
Development of the new Calimax supermarket started last month and is expected to be finished in January 2019

Although no official comment was given from Calimax headquarters in Tijuana, a city government source (who didn’t want to be named) said that the supermarket planned here is not your typical Calimax store, but a more polished version of it that the company only uses in select markets.

The store will be especially helpful for people living or staying on the south part of Rosarito and north of Ensenada, which for now, have to travel several miles to the nearest supermarket in Ensenada or Rosarito or just settle buying limited groceries at OXXOs or other local mini markets.

Second Smoke-free Beach In Mexico Will Be In Ensenada

Ensenada city council has unanimously approved yesterday a new rule that will start a procedure to make Playa Hermosa the second tobacco smoke-free beach in Mexico. The first one was San Martin beach in Cozumel but the project is now abandoned in there.

ZOFEMAT (the ones in charge of the federal zone in the beach), will be in charge of certifying the beach before the COFEPRIS (The federal commission for protection against sanitary risks). COFEPRIS is the only authority that can certify a place as “smoke-free”.

Jorge Martinez, local councilman, stated that they will help organize, coordinate and implement the necessary infrastructure for this to happen. He said that signs will be installed on the beach and that a surveillance committee will be formed to enforce the new rule and get the federal certification.

The announcement comes just a few hours after Terra Peninsular stated that in their recent cleaning efforts of local beaches, they were able to gather almost a ton of trash which included 1,495 cigarette butts in just over half a mile of beach. And this wasn’t even in Playa Hermosa, which is the most visited beach in the city. These are the complete results of their cleanup (Yes, we know it’s in spanish, this has little icons so you should be ok):

Hopefully authorities around here will keep the designation longer than San Martin in Cozumel, where now, after only 4 years, people are mostly unaware of it’s smoke-free designation because no one bothered to replace the decaying signs or have anyone in there to enforce the non-smoking rule.

How to identify a real $500 pesos bill

The controversial Benito Juarez $500 pesos bill that was launched last August 27, and looks a lot like the $20 bill, has been, reportedly, been already forged by criminals.

In social media, several persons have stated that they have been victims of this criminals, especially since people haven’t had time to familiarize with its security features.

Don’t be one of these victims and get to know the new bill. The Bank of Mexico (Banxico) has listed its security features so you can identify a fake if you need to:

 

1. Multicolor denomination.

In the front part of the bill, over the top-right corner you will find the 500 denomination, this has to shimmer with light and slightly change color from green to blue with the reflection of light.

 

2. Dynamic thread.

The real one should have a vertical thread on the left part of the front, the elements inside this thread should move as you move the bill.

 

3. Watermark

Next to the face of Benito Juarez on the front of the bill, you should find a smaller watermark with the same face and the number 500.

 

4. Embossed Texts

Most texts on the front of the bill are embossed and you can feel them easily when touching it.

 

5. Fluorescent Inks

On the back of the bill, some inks will glow when the bill is placed under a black light.

 

Here is the official video from Banxico, it’s only available in Spanish but you will probably get most of it as the voice is just saying what you just read here:

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