March 2011

Calderon replaces Mexican Attorney General Chavez, nominates Marisela Morales

By Tracy Wilkinson
Los Angeles Times

Locked in a grueling and bloody war with drug cartels, Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Thursday replaced the nation's top legal official, whose lackluster stint had failed to improve paltry narcotics conviction rates or stem human rights abuses.

Atty. Gen. Arturo Chavez Chavez stepped down after 18 months on the job. Calderon nominated Marisela Morales, head of the high-profile organized crime unit of the prosecutor's office, to replace Chavez. The Mexican Senate must ratify the appointment.

Chavez's departure comes at a time of soaring violence in the drug war that has claimed more than 35,000 lives since Calderon launched the offensive in December 2006. A poll this week showed that a slight majority of Mexicans believe the cartels have the advantage in the war as impunity goes unchecked.

Despite thousands of arrests of suspected traffickers, only a fraction are prosecuted and convicted.

The removal of Chavez, however, is not likely to portend significant changes in Calderon's strategy, analysts said.,0,4593286.story

Cemex debt payback spurs rally in bonds

Bloomberg - Cemex, the largest cement maker in the Americas, is trouncing Mexican peers in the bond market after cutting debt by 25 percent in the past two years to reverse declines in its credit rating.

Mexico posts $944.5 million fiscal surplus

Dow Jones - Mexico posted a 11.26 billion peso ($944.5 million) fiscal surplus in the first two months of the year, despite faster growth in spending than in revenues, the Finance Ministry said Wednesday. The figure was down 50 percent from a year earlier.

Primero says miners on strike at its Mexican mine

Reuters - Primero Mining said on Thursday that mill workers at its San Dimas gold-silver mine in Mexico have gone on strike due to a dispute over their bonus structure. Depending on its duration, the strike could hurt Primero's production forecast for the year.

Soriana eyes rapid expansion, no dividend

Reuters - Soriana, Mexico's No. 2 retailer, has aggressive expansion plans and will probably not pay a dividend this year, Chief Financial Officer Aurelio Adan, who added sales this year could double those last year.

Paris visits Mexico City to hawk shoes

USAToday - Paris Hilton blew kisses to her fans as she arrivds to sign autographs at a Sears in the Perisur Mall in Mexico City. She was in Mexico to promote her new line of shoes.,A8790

Peso closes at 2-week high; maket also rises

Dow Jones - Mexico's peso closed at a two-week high against the dollar Wednesday, as global investors bought into risky assets amid optimism about the U.S. labor market. The peso closed at 11.9270, while the IPC index surged 1.1 percent.

ICE offers $5 million in killing of ICE agent

KABC - The Obama Administration is offering a $5 million reward in last month's deadly shooting of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata, who was attacked and killed while driving back from San Luis Potosi to Mexico City.

Placido Domingo celebrates his 70th birthday in Mexico

Fox News Latino - To mariachi rhythms and dressed in traditional Mexican "charro" attire, Spanish tenor Placido Domingo proved in Mexico City that at age 70 he continues to be "the king."

At the end of an emotional tribute organized Tuesday night for his 70th birthday and to commemorate the half century since he made his singing debut in a country he considers to be a second home, the artist brought out the most Mexican facet of his personality and performed - charro sombrero in hand - three songs accompanied by a traditional mariachi group.

More than 10,000 people crowded into the National Auditorium to hear a varied repertoire of numbers.

Shareholders approve Banorte's merger with Ixe

Dow Jones - Shareholders of Mexican banking concerns Grupo Financiero Banorte and Ixe Grupo Financiero on Wednesday approved Banorte's acquisition of Ixe, the companies said in filings with the Mexican stock exchange.