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Obama nominates Maria Echaveste as ambassador to Mexico

           By Alfredo Corchado / Dallas Morning News

President Barack Obama has nominated Maria Echaveste, a former Clinton White House official, to be U.S. ambassador to her parents’ homeland, Mexico.

The White House announced the nomination, noting her support for immigration reform, and said “she understands that the relationship between the United States and Mexico goes well beyond issues of immigration reform, including critical trade and commerce alliances.”

A native of Texas, Echaveste later moved with her Mexican immigrant family to California.

In recent years, Echaveste has worked on efforts to increase the political empowerment of Hispanic voters and to bridge the gap between Mexico and Americans of Mexican descent, whose numbers surpass 35 million.

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/nationworld/mexico/20140918-obama-nominates-maria-echaveste-as-ambassador-to-mexico1.ece

Mexico rights body probes gun battle after army leaves 22 dead

           By Mark Stevenson and  E. Eduardo Castillo / AP

Mexico’s Civil Rights Commission says it is investigating the circumstances of a June confrontation between the army and a suspected drug gang that left 22 people dead.

The revelation came Thursday after The Associated Press quoted a woman as saying she saw soldiers fatally shoot her 15-year-old daughter in the incident even though the girl was lying wounded on the ground. 

Twenty others also were shot to death after they surrendered and were disarmed, the mother said. She said one youth was slain earlier in a gunbattle with the troops.

The Mexican government has maintained that all 22 died during a fierce shootout when soldiers were fired on in the early morning of June 30. That version came into question because government troops suffered only one wounded, and physical evidence at the scene pointed toward more selective killings.

 

"We have an investigation and are discussing the case to find out what really happened," Human Rights Commission President Raul Plascencia said.

http://www.thenewstribune.com/2014/09/18/3387417/mexico-rights-body-probes-deadly.html

Mexico boosts security in Los Cabos after looking in wake of hurricane

Associated Press

Federal police on Thursday vowed to restore order in the hurricane-stricken resort area of Los Cabos after looting emptied store shelves and unnerved residents who worried their homes could be next.

Enrique Galindo, national commissioner of the Federal Police, said seven people, two of them carrying firearms, had been detained on suspicion of attempted looting. He said police would aggressively enforce the law.

There were reports of gunfire during Wednesday night, and residents in Los Cabos lit large bonfires to try to protect their neighborhoods as they faced a fourth day without power or running water following the blow from Hurricane Odile. 

Police announced they would stop and question anyone on the streets after nightfall to make sure they had legitimate business at that hour.

"The problem is no longer the hurricane," resident David Garcia said in a radio interview. "Everything started with the looting. Not even eight hours had passed since the hurricane before people started destroying stores."

Baja California Sur state prosecutors reported the first known death from Odile, saying a Korean citizen had drowned when he and another man tried to cross a swollen creek in the port town of Santa Rosalia during the storm. The second man was missing, officials said.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/09/18/los-cabos-security/15866241/

Chaos and looting in Los Cabos after Odlie slams Mexico

           By Michelle Broder Van Dyke / Buzz Feed

On Sunday hurricane Odile hit the resort town of Los Cabos, destroying hundreds of structures and shutting off power in the area where more than 200,000 people. An additional 30,000 tourists reportedly were stranded in the popular destination.

Three days later, people are still without water or electricity and chaos is starting to ensue with looters stripping stores of goods, and tourists reportedly banding together to protect themselves from mobs.

At least one supermarket decided to give away its food for free, the AP reported. Grocery workers had customers line up and were allowed in the store for five minutes to take as much as they could carry away. Employees held machetes, air rifles, and other weapons in an attempt to keep the order.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/mbvd/chaos-and-looting-in-cabo-after-hurricane-odile-slams-mexico#br7kvy

AT&T meets with Mexico officials as America Movil prepares sale

By Patricia Laya and Scott Moritz  

Bloomberg

AT&T Inc. Chief Strategy Officer John Stankey met with Mexican telecommunications regulators earlier this month to discuss perspectives on the market as the U.S. phone company eyes potential investments abroad.

Stankey and AT&T’s vice president of international external affairs, Karim Antonio Lesina, met with Federal Telecommunications Institute President Gabriel Contreras and other commissioners on the afternoon of Sept. 4, according to a disclosure published on the regulator’s website. 

They discussed laws passed earlier this year that seek to ignite investment and spur competition in the heavily concentrated Mexican market, according to the disclosure, which didn’t provide more detail.

AT&T is among the companies that have been contacted by billionaire Carlos Slim’s America Movil, which is seeking to sell part of its network in Mexico, Bloomberg News reported this week, citing people familiar with the matter. 

America Movil, the nation’s biggest carrier, is planning to sell assets along the east coast of Mexico that could fetch as much as $17.5 billion, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

America Movil aims to use the assets to bring a new competitor to Mexico because of the revamped laws, which force the company to cut fees and share infrastructure as long as it controls more than half of Mexico’s mobile and landline users.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-09-17/at-t-meets-mexico-officials-as-america-movil-plans-asset-sale.html

Weakening Odile pushes up Baja California coast

           Associated Press

A weakening Tropical Storm Odile pushed up Mexico's Baja California Peninsula early Tuesday, dumping heavy rains that could bring dangerous flash floods and mudslides but also a potential boon to the drought-stricken region.

Mexico's government said late Monday night that army and commercial planes would be sent to La Paz and Los Cabos airports to ferry out some of the tens of thousands of tourists stranded in temporary shelters in hotels. Los Cabos international airport was damaged by the storm.

Emergency officials in Baja California reported that 135 people have been treated for minor injuries from flying glass or falling objects, but there were no serious injuries or deaths so far. About 30,000 tourists were in temporary shelters.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2014/09/16/odile-weakens/15705863/

Toyota pauses on Mexico expansion to review growth strategy

BY Norihiko Shirouzu and Maki Shiraki

Reuters

Toyota Motor Corp. is reconsidering a move to open a new compact car assembly plant in Mexico after company President Akio Toyoda told planners searching for a site to pause and review its rationale, executives familiar with the matter said.

According to four Toyota and group executives, momentum had been building for a decision this summer on the expansion, with the aim of starting production of the mass market Corolla in Mexico in a few years.

But Toyoda then asked the team to "re-review" the project by year’s end, the people said.

"There’s absolutely no unused capacity lying around anywhere in North America? Installing production capacity to try to trigger growth is the old way that got us in trouble before," one of the executives said, referring to questions Toyoda posed in asking for a comprehensive last-minute re-examination.

The upshot was that a decision on the expansion is unlikely before the start of 2015, two Toyota executives who spoke on condition of anonymity said.

One said Toyota would probably go ahead with the plant, but might scale it down or delay the start of construction.

Toyota already has a pick-up truck plant in the northwestern Mexican state of Baja California, capable of producing 63,000 Tacoma vehicles a year, but does not have any capacity for passenger cars.

http://www.businessinsider.com/r-exclusive-toyota-pauses-on-mexico-expansion-to-review-growth-strategy-2014-9

Mexico's educational system faces $3.96 funding gap

           EFE

Mexico's educational system faces a funding gap of up to $3.96 billion annually due to problems and omissions detected in the sector's recent census, the report's author, Marco Fernandez, told Efe.

The report, which was released by the Mexico Evalua public policy think tank, found that the educational system's funding gap ranges from an optimistic estimate of 16 billion pesos ($1.23 billion) to a worst-case scenario of 51.48 billion pesos ($3.96 billion), or the equivalent of 13.6 percent of the national education budget.

The difference is due to the fact that the official educational system census, which was conducted by the national statistics office, is incomplete and shows "regrettable ommissions," missing 15 percent of the country's teachers, Fernandez said.

"It is essential to have a complete database to thoroughly analyze what is happening in educational administration," Fernandez said, adding that having complete information would lead to more efficient management of resources.

http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2014/09/14/mexico-educational-system-faces-36-bn-funding-gap/

Hurricane Odile, packing 125 mph winds, slams celebrity resort cities on Baja Peninsula

By Victor R. Caivano

Associated Press

Residents and tourists hunkered down in shelters and hotel conference rooms overnight as a powerful and sprawling Hurricane Odile made landfall on the southern Baja California peninsula.

The area is home to gleaming megaresorts, tiny fishing communities and low-lying neighborhoods of flimsy homes. 

Forecasters predicted a dangerous storm surge with large waves as well as drenching rains capable of causing landslides and flash floods.

The resort city of Cabo San Lucas is popular with superstars like Jennifer Aniston and George Clooney, NBC reported.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said satellite imagery indicates Odile's center made landfall at about 9:45 p.m. PDT near Cabo San Lucas. It said at landfall, Odile had estimated intensity of 125 mph (205 kph), and an automated station near Cabo San Lucas reported a sustained wind of 89 mph (144 kph) with a gust to 116 mph (187 kph). The storm was moving north-northwest at 17 mph (28 kph).

As howling winds whipped palm trees amid pelting rain outside, people bedded down and used magazines to fan themselves in crowded, stuffy safe rooms. Some did crossword puzzles or listened to iPhones. In one hotel near San Jose del Cabo, power went out not long after nightfall and a generator was keeping minimal lights on.

Denise Mellor, a traveler from Orange County, California, was frustrated about a lack of information about the storm and said she was learning more from her daughter back home than from hotel workers.

 

"It's a little bit (unsettling) that we don't have a choice but to sit in here and hope for the best," Mellor said. "So that makes me a little bit scared."

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/hurricane-odile-packing-125-mph-winds-slams-celebrity-resort-city-mexico-article-1.1939892

Mexico to change how it uses minimum wage amid debate over low pay

           Reuters

Mexico's government will present a bill to stop using the minimum wage to calculate fines, levies and contributions Finance Minister Luis Videgaray said on Thursday, paving the way for a possible increase in base pay levels.

Mexican policymakers have long favored lower wage increases to keep inflation in check and attract foreign investment. But Mexico City's leftist mayor and the opposition conservative National Action Party have both proposed minimum wage increases ahead of midterm elections next year.

Videgaray said Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto would submit a plan to lawmakers to stop using the minimum wage as a basis to set fines, fix worker contributions for subsidized home loans and determine public financing for political parties.

Putting an end to the practice is a "necessary condition for us to have the debate we need to have," Videgaray told Mexico's Senate, referring to the minimum wage.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/11/mexico-wages-idUSL1N0RC2TK20140911

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