Top Stories for April 24, 2014

After protests, Mexico steps back from telecom, internet limits

By Juan Montes

Wall Street Journal

A Senate panel in Mexico proposed late Tuesday modifications to key aspects of a telecom bill presented by President Enrique Peña Nieto, after some opposition leaders and Internet activists argued that the proposal gives disproportionate powers to the government to control TV content and Internet access.

Several groups of Internet users and activists took to social networks in recent days to protest against Peña Nieto and his proposal. On Monday, the hashtag "EPNvsInternet" was a world-wide trending topic, cited more than 400,000 times and reached more than 58 million Twitter users, according to an application that tracks trending topics around the world.

Civil organizations that defend freedom of expression, such as Internet para Todos and Artículo 19, and popular Internet users in Mexico such as Sopitas, who has 575,000 Twitter followers, have voiced objections to the bill. Several hundred protesters demonstrated Tuesday in front of the Senate building.



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AP  –  U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday he is exploring ways to deepen U.S.-Mexican defense ties, including the possibility of training exercises with Mexican forces.

Bloomberg - Mexican consumer prices fell by the most in 11 months in early April as fruit and vegetable costs declined, with the inflation rate falling to its lowest level since October.

Reuters - Mexican annual inflation likely eased further in early April, backing expectations that policymakers will leave interest rates on hold this year to bolster a wobbly economic recovery.

WSJ - Mexican stocks closed lower Wednesday, while the peso lost ground against the U.S. dollar after disappointing economic data in China. The IPC index closed down 0.4 percent at 40,296 points.

EFE - Mexico's unemployment rate rose to 4.8 percent in March, the National Institute of Statistics and Geography, or INEGI, said. The unemployment rate stood at 4.51 percent in March 2013.

Reuters - Mexico's Carlos Slim struck an 11th-hour deal on Wednesday with the Austrian government that could give him control of Telekom Austria and allow the multi-billionaire to consolidate his foothold in Europe.

Reuters - Fans and family paid last respects to much-loved Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Monday, leaving flowers and playing music in a colorful remembrance of the Nobel laureate and giant of Latin American literature.

Reuters - The U.S. government on Monday said it had approved the potential sale of 18 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters built by Sikorsky Aircraft, a unit of United Technologies Corp. to Mexico,  a deal valued at $680 million.

Reuters - A Hawker 800 jet crashed in northern Mexico late Saturday, killing all eight people on board, the Coahuila state government said. The plane came down in an industrial estate in the municipality of Ramos Arizpe.

EFE - Investigators are looking into a grenade attack this weekend on a hotel in in Chilpancingo, the capital of Guerrero, officials said, adding that no one was injured in the incident.

EFE -The Mexican government has received no reports of casualties or major damage after a magnitude-7.2 earthquake off the Aztec nation's southwestern Pacific coast, emergency services chief Luis Felipe Puente said.

NBCNews - A powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck Mexico Friday morning, shaking buildings across a large swath of the country, but officials said there were no immediate reports of damage.

Forbes - Mexico’s Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam reaffirmed that Mexico has “no intention” of extraditing drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán to the U.S.

AP - A freak spring hailstorm caused havoc for people trying to leaving Mexico City for Easter weekend. The heavy storm hit Wednesday evening on the mountain pass west of Mexico City, halting all movement on main highways.

AFP - Mexican troops have freed 179 undocumented Central America migrants bound for the United States. Soldiers discovered the migrants in Tamaulipas from April 9-13, the state prosecutor’s office said. - Central-east Mexico gave birth to the domesticated chili pepper—now the world's most widely grown spice crop—reports an international team of researchers, led by a plant scientist at the University of California, Davis.

AP - Few outsiders dare venture after dark into Tepito, a Mexico City neighborhood known for contraband. But a theater project has been taking middle-class audiences into the lives of Tepito residents in recent weeks.


Bloomberg - The U.S. plans to announce whether it will investigate allegations that Mexico unfairly subsidized its sugar exports, a step that may lead to penalties on trade that was valued at $1.1 billion last year.


AP - Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission said Wednesday it will investigate the latest apparent case of denial of medical care for poor women, after a pregnant Mixtec Indian woman died in a clinic along with the fetus.

The Guardian - "Drug trafficking is causing an ecological disaster in Central America," according to Kendra McSweeney, an Ohio State geographer and co-author of a recent report on the little-known phenomenon of "narco-deforestation.

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