Top Stories for April 23, 2014

U.S. rules against Mexico and Turkey in steel rebar dispute

By Hope Yen

Associated Press

President Barack Obama's administration on Monday sided with American steel producers in a politically charged international trade dispute, ruling that imported steel reinforcing bar from Mexico and Turkey unfairly undercuts U.S. prices.

The preliminary decision by the U.S. Department of Commerce means companies in Mexico and Turkey will be subject to immediate duties. 

Within a week, the U.S. government will stop distribution at the nation's borders of the imported steel reinforcing bar, which is known as steel rebar and is used to reinforce concrete, until a cash bond or deposit is posted in the amount of the newly imposed duties. U.S. Customs and Border Protection may impose retroactive duties for up to 90 days before the ruling due to the seriousness of the violations, Commerce said.

The amount of duties ranges from 10 percent to 66 percent for Mexican companies. For Turkish companies, the duties were roughly 2 percent.

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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.

EFE - Mexico's foreign reserves rose by $304 million last week to $183.62 billion, the Bank of Mexico said. Gold and foreign currency reserves grew in the week ending April 11.

BBC -The mayor of the Mexican city of Apatzingan, a stronghold of the Knights Templar drug cartel, has been arrested on suspicion of extorting money on behalf of the cartel.

UTSanDiego -Mexico’s crackdown on powerful drug cartels has succeeded in driving homicides down for the second year in a row, but it has opened the door for an increase in other crimes, says a new report.

Reuters - Mexico's telecom watchdog  set a minimum bid price of 830 million pesos ($63.37 million) for two new free-to-air channels which are up for grabs as part of an effort to increase competition in the television and phone sectors. - All three of El Tri’s games in the World Cup group stage are sold out, according to a FIFA statement released Tuesday. The only other nation to have sold all their tickets this far out from the event starting on June 12 is host Brazil.

EFE - At least four suspected criminals died in separate shootouts with police in the port city of Veracruz. State police launched operations on Monday night that set off the shootouts, Veracruz state officials told Efe.

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