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Clipperton Island

Clipperton Island is an uninhabited 6 km2 coral atoll in the eastern Pacific Ocean off the coast of Central America. It is 10,677 km from Paris, France, 5,400 km from Papeete, 1,080 km from Mexico, it is an overseas minor territory of France, under direct authority of the Minister of Overseas France. The atoll is 1,080 km south-west of Mexico, 2,424 km west of Nicaragua, 2,545 km west of Costa Rica and 2,260 km north-west of the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador, at 10°18′N 109°13′W. Clipperton is about 945 km south-east of Socorro Island in the Revillagigedo Archipelago, the nearest land, it is low-lying and barren, with some scattered grasses and a few clumps of coconut palms. Land elevations average 2 m, though a small volcanic outcrop rising to 29 m on its south-east side is higher and is referred to as "Clipperton Rock"; the surrounding reef is exposed at low tide. The presence of this rock means that technically Clipperton is not an atoll but an island with a barrier reef. Clipperton has had no permanent inhabitants since 1945.

It is visited on occasion by fishermen, French Navy patrols, scientific researchers, film crews, shipwreck survivors. It has become a popular site for transmissions by ham radio operators. Clipperton has a ring-shaped atoll which encloses a stagnant freshwater lagoon, is 12 km in circumference; the lagoon is devoid of fish, contains some deep basins with depths of 43 and 72 m, including a spot known as Trou-Sans-Fond, or "the bottomless hole", with acidic water at its base. The water is described as being fresh at the surface, eutrophic. Seaweed beds cover 45 percent of the lagoon's surface; the rim averages 150 m in width, reaching 400 m in the west and narrows to 45 m in the north-east, where sea waves spill over into the lagoon. While some sources have rated the lagoon water as non-potable, testimony from the crew of the tuna clipper M/V Monarch, stranded for 23 days in 1962 after their boat sank, indicates otherwise, their report reveals that the lagoon water, while not tasting good, was drinkable, though "muddy and dirty".

Several of the castaways drank it, with no apparent ill effects. Survivors of an ill-fated Mexican military colony in 1917 indicated that they were dependent upon rain for their water supply, catching it in old boats they used for this purpose. Aside from the lagoon and water caught from rain, no other freshwater sources are known to exist, it has a tropical oceanic climate, with average temperatures of 20–32 °C. The rainy season occurs from May to October, when it is subject to tropical hurricanes. Surrounding ocean waters are warm, pushed by counter-equatorial currents, it has no known natural resources. Although 115 species of fish have been identified in nearby waters the only economic activity in the area is tuna fishing; when Snodgrass and Heller visited in 1898, they reported that "no land plant is native to the island". Historical accounts from 1711, 1825, 1839 show a low grassy or suffrutescent flora. During Sachet's visit in 1958, the vegetation was found to consist of a sparse cover of spiny grass and low thickets, a creeping plant, stands of coconut palm.

This low-lying herbaceous flora seems to be a pioneer in nature, most of it is believed to be composed of introduced species. Sachet suspected that Heliotropium curassavicum and Portulaca oleracea were native. Coconut palms and pigs were introduced in the 1890s by guano miners; the pigs reduced the crab population, which in turn allowed grassland to cover about 80 percent of the land surface. The elimination of these pigs in 1958 — the result of a personal project by Kenneth E. Stager — has caused most of this vegetation to disappear, as the population of land crabs has returned to millions; the result is a sandy desert, with only 674 palms counted by Christian Jost during the "Passion 2001" French mission, five islets in the lagoon with grass that the terrestrial crabs cannot reach. On the north-west side the most abundant plant species are Cenchrus echinatus, Sida rhombifolia, Corchorus aestuans; these plants compose a shrub cover up to 30 cm in height and are intermixed with Eclipta and Solanum, as well as a taller plant, Brassica juncea.

A unique feature is that the vegetation is arranged in parallel rows of species, with dense rows of taller species alternating with lower, more open vegetation. This was assumed to be a result of the phosphate mining method of trench-digging; the only land animals known to exist are two species of reptiles, bright-orange land crabs and rats. The rats arrived on large fishing boats that were wrecked on the island in 1999 and 2000. Bird species include white terns, masked boobies, sooty terns, brown boobies, brown noddies, black noddies, great frigatebirds, martins and yellow warblers. Ducks have been reported in the lagoon; the island has been identified as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International because of the large breeding colony of masked boobies, with 110,000 individual birds recorded. The lagoon harbors millions of isopods, which are said to deliver an painful sting. A 2005 report by t

PadrĂ³n peppers

Padrón peppers or Herbón peppers are a variety of peppers from the municipality of Padrón in the province of A Coruña, northwestern Spain, European Union law has protected the name Pimiento de Herbón under the protected designation of origin since 2009. These are small peppers about 2 inches long, with a color ranging from bright green to yellowish green, red, their peculiarity lies on the fact that, while their taste is mild, a minority are hot. Whether a given pepper ends up being hot or mild depends on the amount of water and sunlight it receives during its growth, in addition to temperature. It's said that watering the soil of the plant is to produce milder pimentos, whilst watering the whole plant and stalks included, produces peppers of the spicier variety; the peppers are customarily fried in olive oil until the skin starts to blister and the pepper collapses. They are served hot with the oil and a dusting of coarse salt, sometimes accompanied by chunks of bread, as tapas; these peppers are grown along the banks of the river Ulla and its tributary Sar in the greenhouses of the municipality of Padrón, hence the name.

This pepper is currently grown in various places of southern Spain, the United States, Canada and Morocco. They can be grown in a warm place in the garden in the UK; the peppers are picked while their size is still small. Traditionally, they were sold in the period going from late May until late October or, on occasion early November. However, the introduction of greenhouse plantations has made them available throughout the year. Padrón peppers are small, with an conic shape; the taste is mild, but some exemplars can be quite hot, which property has given rise to the popular Galician aphorism Os pementos de Padrón, uns pican e outros non. There is no way of determining whether a given pepper will be hot or mild, short of eating it, though some maintain that smelling each cooked Padrón for spice prior to eating is a good indicator. List of Capsicum cultivars Shishito, a similarly used pepper in Japan Pemento de HERBÓN, Regulating Council of the Protected Designation of Origin

2011 European Under-18 Rugby Union Championship

The 2011 European Under-18 Rugby Union Championship was the eighth annual international rugby union competition for Under 18 national rugby union teams in Europe. The event was organised by rugby's European governing body, the FIRA – Association of European Rugby; the competition was contested by 28 men's junior national teams and will be held in April 2011. It was hosted by the French region of Bigorre; the tournament was won by the under-18 team of Ireland, who took out the title for the first time, beating England in the final. For the first time, France finished in fourth place only; the tournament's defending champion was France, who had won five European championships and the last four in a row. The 2011 edition of the competition saw the introduction of an elite division, above division one, made up of four teams, England and Ireland; the divisions below remained unchanged. It marked the first time that all countries participating in the Six Nations Championship send a team to the European championship.

It was sponsored by French company Justin Bridou and therefore called the 2011 Justin Bridou European Under-18 Rugby Union Championship. The European Under-18 Rugby Union Championship was first held in Treviso, Italy, it replaced the held European Under-18 Emergent Nations Championship, which had first been held in 2000. The first championship in 2004 was won by France; the following two championships, held in Lille, France in 2005 and again in Treviso in 2006, were won by England. Alternating between France and Italy, the next four championships were held in Biarritz, Treviso again and once more in Treviso in 2010. All four were won by France, but of Europe's top rugby playing nations, England and Scotland did not take part in the 2010 edition; the 2011 edition saw the introduction of an Elite division, consisting of four teams, two of which and Wales, had not taken part in the 2010 competition or, in the case of Wales, never taken part in the European championship. Below the elite level, the championship was organised in First and Third Divisions, with First being the highest and Third the lowest.

Each division consisted of eight teams and each team played three competition games, with a quarter-final, semi-final and final/placing game. The quarter-finals were played according to a seeding list, with the winners moving on to the first to fourth place semi-finals while the losers would enter the fifth to eighth place semi-finals; the winner of the Elite division, was crowned European champions while the fourth placed team was to be relegated to the First division. The winner of the Second and Third divisions would move up a division for 2012 while the last placed teams would be relegated. To determine the four teams playing in the Elite Division, a qualifying tournament was held between the Six Nations U-18 sides in late February and early March, with the teams drawn into two groups of three teams each. France and England won their groups, with Wales and Ireland finishing second, qualifying all four teams for the Elite Division. Italy and Scotland finished third. For Italy, this was still a bonus as it obtained the second seed behind Scotland.

After an unsuccessful 2010 tournament, where the team had finished only fifth, it would have been entitled to only the fifth seed otherwise. Scotland made a return to the European championship for the first time since 2006; the games of the 2011 championship were played at venues in Armagnac and Bigorre, two regions in southern France. The first round of games in all divisions except the elite one was played on 16 April 2011; the elite division played their first games in Auch the following day. The second round was played on 19 April while the finals for all divisions were held on 22 and 23 April, with Division two and three playing on the 22 and the Elite and First Division on the 23; the venues for the Elite Group where: Auch Tarbes The D division forms the fourth level, below the Third division, of European Under-18 rugby. In 2011, only three teams compete at a separate tournament, it consists of the teams of Israel and Bosnia & Herzegovina. The tournament was held independently of the other divisions on 14 April at Sinj and won by the home nation.

The participating teams and their divisions are in order of their ranking after the tournament: The scheduled games: The games of the elite division: The games of the first division: The games of the second division: The games of the third division: The European Championship final was held on 23 April at 18:30 at Tarbes and was broadcast live on Eurosport 2. The final was played in wet conditions and a well organised Ireland side went up 11-3 by half time. England's head coach, John Fletcher, conceded that it was a well-deserved Irish victory but that the game was an important lesson to learn and would help his players in their future development. For Ireland, which was, for the first time, represented by a schools team rather than a Club XV, captain Luke McGrath was the most influential figure on the field, scoring twelve points. FIRA-AER official website 2010 European Under-18 Rugby Union Championship official website