Latin America News Dispatch - Asylum advocates contend the U.S. government avoids approving Mexican asylum cases for political reasons. Nationally, judges denied 86 percent of asylum applications from Mexico between 2008 and 2010.
By Ken Ellingwood
Los Angeles Times
Gunmen stormed a crowded casino in northern Mexico on Thursday and ignited a fire that trapped patrons inside, killing at least 53 people in what the nation's president called an "aberrant act of terror."
The attack on the Casino Royale was the latest bout of spectacular violence in Monterrey, an industrial hub that is Mexico's third-largest city. For more than a year, the city has been the setting for a brutal turf war between rival drug-trafficking gangs that at times have held gunfights on downtown streets in broad daylight.
Adrian de la Garza, prosecutor for the border state of Nuevo Leon, told reporters that the death toll stood at about 40. Four people remained missing. Gov. Rodrigo Medina later told Mexican media that 53 had died.
He said the five or six attackers apparently used gasoline to start the blaze. Officials did not give a suspected motive.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon went on Twitter to express dismay over what he called an "aberrant act of terror and barbarity."
"This is a night of sadness for Mexico," said Alejandro Poire, a federal security spokesman. "An unspeakable, repugnant, unacceptable act of terror has been committed."
Mexico suffered the steepest recession of any country in the Americas, bar a couple of Caribbean tiddlers. Its economy shrank by 6.1 percent in 2009.
The recession turned a reasonable decade for Mexico’s economy into a dreary one. Yet Mexico’s economy is packed with potential. Last year the economy grew by 5.4 percent, recovering much of the ground lost in 2009.
With a presidential election next year, it would be easier to keep puttering along. But Mexico’s rebound from slump and its resilience to lawlessness show its underlying strength. If it could only bust the monopolistic dams that have parched its economy, its desert might one day start to bloom.
Dow Jones - Mexican stocks fell almost across the board Thursday as investors hoping for encouraging words from U.S. Federal Chairman Ben Bernanke braced for disappointment. The IPC index lost 740 points, or 2.1 percent, to end at 33,904 points.
Reuters - Mexico's jobless rate dipped in July but still showed signs of slack in the labor market giving room for the central bank to keep interest rates on hold. The seasonally adjusted rate shrank to 5.27 percent from June's revised 5.77 percent.
Sentido Comun - PMI Trading Limited, the marketing division of Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), won a six-month contract to supply propane and butane to Ecuador to meet the needs of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in the country.
Sentido Comun - Tim Participações, a subsidiary of Telecom Italia, pulled ahead of Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim's America Movil in Brazil last month to become the second largest operator in Latin America's mobile market.
Sentido Comun - Nissan Mexicana said it expects to launch two more vehicles in the country during the last quarter. The models will be its Leaf electric car, which will be sold only in Mexico City, and the crossover Juke.
Sentido Comun - American Airlines has inaugurated new daily flights from Torreon to Dallas/Fort Worth through the airline operated by its regional partner American Eagle.
Sentido Comun - Empresas ICA, the largest construction company in Mexico, said its subsidiary ICA Panama sold the concession to the South Corridor, an expressway connecting the center of Panama City, to Tocumen International Airport for $420 million.