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Mexican authorities investigate find of 12 bodies in stolen pickup

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Mexican authorities said on Saturday they were investigating the deaths of 12 men, whose bodies were found with signs of gunshot wounds, inside a stolen pickup truck abandoned in the violent western state of Michoacan.

Cartels have been clashing over territory in the region known as Tierra Caliente, Spanish for “Hot Land,” that contains some areas of the states of the neighbouring states Michoacan, Guerrero and Mexico State.

Michoacan State’s Attorney General said in a statement the men, who have not yet been identified, were found in the municipality of San Lucas that the three states border.

The pickup was reported stolen last year in Mexico City, authorities said.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

Babatunde Abdulfatah: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

Entertainment

Mexican Televisa grapples with steamy soaps in social-distancing era

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Some of the top creative minds at Mexican broadcaster, Televisa, are puzzling over an unexpected challenge: crafting their signature soap operas without a single love scene, or even a tender kiss.

As cases of coronavirus mounted in Mexico, producers were forced to scratch physical contact from their typically steamy telenovelas. Then the cameras stopped rolling altogether.

“We follow the motto: The show must go on,” said producer Lucero Suarez, who halted production of her hit “Te Doy La Vida” (“I Give You Life”) in March.

“Never in my life have we stopped a novela.”

After decades of keeping viewers on the edge of their seats with its high-octane soap operas, Mexico’s largest broadcaster is facing a cliffhanger of its own.

When will Televisa’s army of producers, actors and actresses return to the set? Even the company’s top executives can’t say for sure.

Like its Hollywood peers, Grupo Televisa was forced to suspend production of series and novelas – the soaps that typically air daily episodes during the week – to avoid spreading coronavirus among cast and production crews.

The broadcaster hopes to resume filming in late May or early June, albeit with fewer moments of passion.

Televisa’s shares have slumped 78 per cent over the past five years amid anemic earnings growth.

More recently, advertising has waned as the federal government and companies make cuts.

Streaming giants such as Netflix Inc and Amazon.com Inc have also made a run for an audience that Televisa long had almost to itself.

Like all broadcasters and media companies that rely on advertising income, the coronavirus has further complicated Televisa’s fortunes, analysts say.

“On the one hand, with everyone staying home, ratings are through the roof,” said Gilberto Garcia, an analyst with Barclays.

“On the other hand, given that everybody has to stay in, advertisers are very much cutting back on their budgets.”

With more people staying inside, Televisa’s audience in Mexico has risen 19 per cent over the past three weeks, a spokesman said.

Novelas, which dominate the primetime lineup, are crucial to the equation.

The company’s stash of fresh content should last well into the summer, Co-Chief Executive Alfonso de Angoitia said on an earnings call last week.

Televisa’s unit providing cable TV and broadband has become its biggest moneymaker.

Yet content still accounts for 27 per cent of net sales and could become even more vital as growth in the cable unit slows, Garcia said.

For decades, Televisa profited handsomely from low-budget novelas that dominated Mexican airwaves and were successfully exported to far-flung markets overseas, too.

The broadcaster still holds a commanding lead in Mexican ratings, but in recent years it has lost viewers to streaming services that have invested heavily in Latin America and hooked audiences with flashy dramas such as Netflix’s Spanish thriller “Money Heist”.

Televisa has an admirable record of holding novelas to their production schedules in the past, even after a devastating earthquake struck Mexico City in 1985.

Strikes that occasionally delay filming in Hollywood have been virtually unheard of.

At least two of its shows have been disrupted by the coronavirus, however. Crime drama “Imperio de Mentiras” (“Empire of Lies”) was only able to complete about 20 per cent of filming before production ground to a halt.

Once scheduled to debut in late April, its premier has been pushed back to the summer.

Suarez’s show, “Te Doy la Vida,” is focused on a love triangle involving the adoptive and biological parents of a boy with leukemia and debuted in March to strong ratings.

As cases of coronavirus rose in Mexico, Suarez and her team ramped up production, tacking on an additional day of filming on Saturdays.

With the finale tantalisingly close, Suarez said she was tempted to press on. But as her team grew more nervous, she halted production.

In the last stretch, scenes were filmed with social distancing measures – no hugs, kisses or other physical contact between cast members.

At times, actors struggled to channel their characters’ emotions within the new rules of the game. Cesar Evora, a Televisa veteran of roughly 27 years, recalled filming a wake in which characters gathered to mourn without ever embracing.

“It was pretty surreal,” he said.

Suarez has churned out hit novelas for decades, soldiering on through injuries to her leading men and other unforeseen obstacles.

She is nervous about navigating the return to the set, fearing it will be like “starting over”.

Most vexing of all could be the love scenes.

But Suarez said she has already reworked some, opting to show the moments just after passion, such as one character touching up her appearance at the vanity while the other lounges in bed.

“You get the idea,” said Suarez, who spoke with Reuters by phone last week.

She noted she had taken to watching a lot of Turkish soaps, which have borrowed Televisa’s formula with great success, though intimacy is only implied.

“If my last scene is not a kiss … we will make do,” Suarez said.

“Sometimes you can convey love with just a glance.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Mexican firm swaps millions of barrels of Venezuelan oil for food

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Reuters on Friday reported that Venezuela has exchanged millions of barrels of crude for supplies of corn and water trucks under a joint deal with a Mexican firm, citing PDVSA export programmes.

It said this was in a bid to safeguard imports amid stricter U.S. sanctions.

The private Mexican firm Libre Abordo, which has hitherto had no expertise in the oil sector, has so far taken 6.2 million barrels of Venezuelan heavy crude to further resell it on international oil markets.

The news agency specified that it has two more oil and fuel cargoes due to be processed.

Meanwhile, Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDBSA has seen its international customer portfolio drastically shrink in the wake of U.S. limitations slapped on Venezuela, its top officials, and state-run companies.

In a statement sent to Reuters, Libre Abordo said the contract to export Mexican corn and water to Venezuela in exchange for oil cargoes was inked in 2019 and it still applies with no fixed deadline.

The company said, “ these are not buy-sell contracts. Libre Abordo has been very cautious.

“The contract is considered humanitarian aid.’’

It said that received oil cargoes, stipulated by the deal, are being resold quickly and the clients are taking possession of them at PDVSA’s ports with Libre Abordo unaware of the final destination or use.

According to the company, as was concluded from consultations with lawyers, the exchange is not in violation of the U.S. sanctions since there are no cash payments involved in the deal: oil serves as a compensation for food aid.

The lawyers, whose names and employer Libre Abordo declined to name, gave some findings in their review.

“Based on the information we have received, it appears that Libre’s acquisition of title to PDVSA cargo in satisfaction of the pre-existing debt obligations occurred entirely outside of U.S. primary sanctions jurisdiction,’’ they said.

Governments around the world have called on Washington, an ardent critic of Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, to ensure that sanctions do not cause the country to wind up in a real humanitarian crisis.

Political woes mounted in Venezuela in January 2019 when Juan Guaido, the head of the opposition-controlled Congress, proclaimed himself interim president in a bid to oust re-elected Maduro from power.

Maduro has called Guaido a U.S. puppet, conspiring with Washington to push through a coup in the country so that they can grit out control over Venezuela’s natural resources.

The U.S. government has introduced sanctions against Venezuela and its officials in recent years, as well as withdrawn its assets from oil firm PDVSA in a bid to force President Nicolas Maduro to resign.

It has brought about a severe economic crunch in the Latin American country, with the authorities struggling to overcome soaring inflation, as oil exports – key to the Venezuelan economy – have largely been paralysed.

According to lawyers cited by the company, the practice does not contradict U.S. primary sanctions jurisdiction since the swap, which is in no way a buy-sell contract, entails no cash transactions.

Edited By: Hadiza Mohammed/Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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U.S. Supreme Court blocks suit on Mexican killed in cross-border event

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The U.S. Supreme Court, on Tuesday, narrowly decided to block a lawsuit by the family of a Mexican teen who was killed by a its border guard in a cross-border incident.

The 15-year-old Mexican teen was shot on Mexican soil in 2010.

The border guard, Jesus Mesa, was on the U.S. side of the border.

The teen, Sergio Adrian Guereca, was part of a group of boys playing ball near the border area between El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico.

The border guard had claimed there was rock throwing, but video footage showed this to be untrue.

The result was largely expected and was handed down by the five members of the conservative majority, while the more liberal justices dissented.

Lawyers for the family had argued there should be a way to claim compensation for such a cross-border shooting. However, human rights groups argued the government should be held to account for the killing of an innocent person.

According to Lee Gelernt, an attorney for the the U.S. Civil Liberties Union, border agents should not have immunity to fatally shoot Mexican teenagers on the other side of the border fence.

Gelernt added that the Constitution does not stop at the border.

However, the Federal Government had pushed back, saying it would set a precedent that could hamper the administration and border security, and open up the way to more lawsuits on numerous issues outside the country’s borders.

The conservative justices ruled that it would be up to Congress and not the courts to allow foreign victims on foreign soil to sue in the U.S. judicial system.

Edited By: Yahaya Isah/Emmanuel Yashim

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Son of Mexican drug lord extradited to U.S., minister says

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The Mexican Government, on Friday extradited the son of one of the country’s most-wanted drug lords to the U.S., Public Security Minister Alfonso Durazo said.

Ruben Gonzalez, 30, is the son of Nemesio Oseguera, also known as “El Mencho”, who heads the powerful cartel Jalisco New Generation and is accused of large-scale drug trafficking into the U.S.

“Gonzalez has since been delivered to the U.S. authorities,” Durazo said.

However, the U.S. Embassy had issued a security alert for its citizens regarding the possibility of “retaliatory measures” in Guadalajara, the cartel’s stronghold.

Durazo said the extradition process had been lengthy due to various legal remedies sought by Oseguera Gonzalez’s defense team since his arrest in 2014 during a military operation in Zapopan, a city near Guadalajara.

Jalisco New Generation is considered one of the most powerful drug cartels in Mexico and is regularly involved in attacks on police and other violent activities.

Edited By: Yahaya Isah/Isaac Aregbesola

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Mexican president defends stance on femicide as women take to streets

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 Mexican President, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador defended his government’s handling of the country’s rising femicide rate on Friday as at least 100 women gathered to protest outside the presidential palace.

Scores of women, some of them wearing hoods, descended on the presidential palace during Lopez Obrador’s news conference holding banners with slogans including `They are killing us, Justice and Indifferent president.’

“I am not putting my head in the sand, I am not evading responsibility, we are addressing the problem of femicide,’ he said at his daily news conference, during which the angry shouts of protesters could be heard.

More than 3,800 women were murdered in Mexico in 2019, including about 1,000 cases that were classified as gender-based killings or femicide.

That was a 10 per cent rise compared to 2018, according to official statistics.

The brutal murder of a 25-year-old woman by her partner in Mexico City last week reignited the debate about femicide, prompting feminist groups to organise the series of rallies in the capital on Friday.

According to UN data, two-thirds of women over the age of 15 have experienced some form of violence in Mexico, and around 35,000 women have been killed as a result of their gender in the past 25 years.

Edited By: Halima Sheji/Felix Ajide

 

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Former Mexican oil chief detained in Spain on corruption charges

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  Emilio Lozoya, former chief executive of Mexican state oil company Pemex, has been arrested in Spain on corruption charges, Mexican prosecutors said.

“His arrest is for extradition purposes,’’ Mexican Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero told Formula radio on Wednesday.

Spanish police confirmed the 45-year-old’s arrest in southern Spain.

Lozoya is one of the highest-profile suspects wanted on corruption charges in Mexico, and his arrest is a success for President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has vowed to root out corruption.

The Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht has admitted to having paid 788 million dollars in bribes in 12 countries, 10 of them in Latin America.

Bribes paid in Mexico amounted to 10.5 million dollars between 2010 and 2014, according to the U.S Justice Department. Lozoya has denied receiving bribes from Odebrecht.

Edited By: Halima Sheji/Felix Ajide

 

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Bolivia expels Mexican ambassador over asylum dispute

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Bolivia’s interim government on Monday asked the Mexican ambassador and several Spanish officials to leave the country.

This has raised the tension over Mexico’s decision to grant asylum in its La Paz embassy to nine people including some allies of Bolivia’s former socialist president, Evo Morales.

In a statement, Bolivia’s conservative caretaker President Jeanine Anez said Mexican ambassador María Teresa Mercado and a number of Spanish government officials were “persona non grata” and asked them to leave within 72 hours.

Mexico’s foreign ministry said it instructed Mercado, who has worked in the foreign service since 1982, to return to Mexico to ensure her safety.

It described Bolivia’s move as “political in nature”.

On Friday, Mexico’s government said Bolivian authorities had harassed and intimidated its diplomatic staff and impeded the departure of Spanish officials visiting its embassy in the capital.

A number of allies of Morales holed up in Mexico’s embassy in La Paz after the long-term leftist leader resigned under pressure last month and left the country.

Meanwhile some of them are wanted by Bolivia’s new caretaker administration.

Anez took over by default after Morales stepped down, and has made sharp policy shifts away from his socialist government, fraying ties with leftist allies in the region.

Anez said the Bolivian government would not tolerate people “trying to cover up and protect criminals who have committed crimes of sedition, armed uprising and terrorism” and that Bolivia would not be a “colony” of any other country.

According to Bolivia’s government, a former senior aide to Morales, Juan Ramon Quintana, is among nine people who have taken asylum in the Mexican embassy.

Some are wanted by the government for crimes including sedition and armed revolt.

On Thursday, Mexico said that it was asking the International Court of Justice to mediate the dispute.

Edited by: Abiodun Oluleye/Maharazu Ahmed
(NAN)

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Elegant skeletons welcome Mexican president on Day of the Dead

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  Mexico on Friday marked the Day of the Dead, an annual festival filled with colour and joy during which families welcome back the souls of the departed.

“We must not forget our traditions,’’ President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said before inaugurating an altar filled with flowers and skulls in Constitution Square in central Mexico City.

The president and Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum were welcomed by dozens of people disguised as elegant skeletons.

The women wore long black or colourful dresses, some adorned with fancy collars and purple flowers, and the men, tail suits and top hats, with skulls painted on their faces.

The Day of the Dead, which forms part of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, combines pre-Hispanic and Christian elements.

On Nov. 1, the souls of dead children are believed to return to the earth to visit their families, and the souls of adults, on Nov 2.

Families visit cemeteries where they eat, drink and sing at the tombs of their loved ones, placing offerings such as candles and food both on the graves and on altars in their homes.

“A musician must have no barriers’’ between life and death, said Jose Alfredo Jimenez Silva, a musician who makes a hefty sum by singing at Mexico City’s biggest cemetery on the Day of the Dead.

“You need to really love what you do to be able to sing to a dead person,’’ he told dpa.

Meanwhile,  Mexico City was preparing the main parade of the Day of the Dead, which will feature 2,500 artists, 11 carriages and gigantic cardboard skeletons.

Two million people are expected to come to watch the parade on Oct 2.


HS/AFA

Edited by Halima Sheji/Felix Ajide

 

 

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Mexican soldiers release El Chapo’s son after gun battle

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President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, on Friday said that Mexican soldiers have released the son of jailed drug boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman after his arrest sparked gun battles in Culiacan in the north-west.

“The situation became very difficult and many citizens were at risk,’’ Lopez Obrador said at a news conference in Oaxaca in the south of the country.

“The capture of a criminal cannot be worth more than people’s lives,’’ he added.

Ovidio Guzman Lopez was identified in a residential building which was being used to shoot at soldiers on patrol, Security Minister Alfredo Durazo said earlier.

Several groups of organised criminals then surrounded the house, forcing security forces to abandon their position because they were outnumbered, the minister added.


HS/IS

Edited by Halima Sheji/Ismail Abdulaziz

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Mexicans, Brazilians march against climate change

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Hundreds of Mexicans on Friday joined worldwide protests against climate change in the capital, chanting that they wanted a “future, not fossil fuels.”

“Globally, we are taking decisions that do not take us to a sustainable future,” architecture student Manuel Serna, 23, told dpa.

Protesters were planning to march from the Independence Monument to the Constitution Square in Mexico City.

“It is seen, it is felt, the Earth is hot,” demonstrators chanted.

Some held placards reading “Clean energy, no refineries” and “Our planet, our future.”

“Our world is already being finished and … we shall not have anywhere to live,” said 10-year-old Adrian Reyes, who had come to the rally with his mother.

In addition to the protest in the capital, dozens of rallies had been called around the country.

Brazilians also demonstrated against President Jair Bolsonaro’s environmental policies, which are seen as threatening the Amazon rainforest, dubbed “the lungs of the planet.”

Protesters in Rio de Janeiro displayed slogans such as “SOS Amazon” and “Change the system, not the climate.”

In the Chilean capital, Santiago, demonstrators held placards reading “Take care of the planet” and “If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the pollution.”

Protests were also due elsewhere in South America, including Argentina, Bolivia and Peru.

YEE

Edited by Emmanuel Yashim

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Mexican president thanks Trump for ‘willingness to dialogue’ on migration

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Mexican President Andres Lopez-Obrador on Wednesday thanked U.S. President Donald Trump for his “willingness to dialogue” after Washington acknowledged Mexico’s efforts to curb migration and the threat of punitive tariffs appeared to fade.

A meeting in Washington on Tuesday between U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard had been “very successful,” Lopez-Obrador said at his daily news conference.

He said he was grateful for Trump’s “willingness to dialogue and his will for there to be an understanding on the subject of migration and on what has to do with trade relations.”

Trump tweeted after the meeting that “incredible progress” had been made since Mexico agreed in June to reduce the number of Central American migrants crossing its territory to the U.S.

Washington had threatened to impose tariffs on Mexican imports. Mexico was given 90 days to show progress.

Mexico subsequently deployed 25,000 troops on its northern and southern borders.

The number of migrants apprehended by U.S. law enforcement decreased to 64,000 people in August from 144,000 people in May, according to U.S. data.

However, Pence and Ebrard agreed that “more work remains’’ to be done, according to Pence’s office.

The possibility of new punitive tariffs was not discussed at the meeting, Ebrard said afterwards, because the reduction in the number of migrants was now “a permanent trend.”

Lopez-Obrador urged the U.S. and Canada to ratify the new free trade deal between them and Mexico, which will replace the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The deal, which was signed in November, has been ratified only by Mexico.

The two other countries should also ratify it before Canada holds federal elections in October and Trump seeks re-election next year, Lopez Obrador said.

“Hopefully it is done soon because, since there are electoral processes coming up, we don’t want this matter to get entangled in the natural disagreements that occur when there are elections,” he said.
FAT/AFA

Edited by Fatima Sule/Felix Ajide

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Five killed in attack at Mexican bus terminal

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(dpa/NAN) Five people were shot dead on Monday at a private bus terminal in central Mexico, a spokeswoman for prosecutors in the state of Morelos, confirmed.

The spokeswoman told dpa that one person was also injured in the attack, saying nothing was immediately known about the attackers, who escaped.

The daily Diario de Morelos report that five people were targeted while entering a bus at the terminal of the company Estrella de Oro in Cuernavaca, about 100 kilometres south of Mexico City.

Mexico suffers from high levels of violence linked to organised crime.

The country recorded more than 20,000 killings in the first seven months of 2019.

However, nearly 36,000 assassinations were recorded in 2018, the highest level since comparable records started being kept more than two decades ago. (dpa/NAN)
YI/AIB

Edited by Yahaya Isah/Abdfulfatah Babatunde

(NAN)

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Mexicans take to streets to protest disappearances of 40,000 people

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(dpa/) Hundreds of Mexicans marched on Friday to demand more action to clarify the fate of over 40,000 people, who remain missing in the country.

“We want them alive,” protesters chanted in Mexico City, where they had gathered to mark the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.

In front of the government building, an artistic installation featured the number 40,000, white and red flowers, and pictures of those missing and black figures on which people could write messages.

Most of the victims had disappeared since 2006.

The Under-secretary for Human Rights, Alejandro Encinas, said the search for them is “the priority” of President Andres Lopez-Obrador’s government.

Lopez-Obrador took office on Dec. 1.

Karla Quintana from the National Search Commission said 3,024 mass graves and more than 4,800 bodies have been found since 2006.

Many of the bodies have still not been identified.

The government announced that it will allow the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances to investigate the situation in Mexico.

The problem of the disappearances had long been downplayed, leaving many families to search for the victims by themselves, without help from the authorities, Encinas said.

The disappearances are attributed mainly to organised crime and to security forces.(dpa/)

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El Paso shooting: Mexican president urges U.S. to adopt stricter arms control 

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Arms

Lopez Obrador made the call in his daily press conference.

“We very much respect what other governments decide, but we think the unfortunate events that occurred in the U.S. should lead to reflection, analysis and the decision to control the indiscriminate sale of weapons.

“In the two main parties of the United States, there has been little attention to gun control,” he added, in reference to the Republicans and Democrats.

“They will find the most convenient solution and I do not rule out possible modifications to their constitution and legislation.

“These are new times, it is necessary to always be adjusting the legal framework to the new reality.

“I hope this happens,” he added.

The president said that the problem affected Mexico as well as the U.S.

According to government data, about 70 per cent of the weapons used in criminal acts in Mexico are brought in across the northern border.

Mexico registered a record 36,000 killings last year.

Mexican Foreign Ministry Marcelo Ebrard tweeted that the death toll of Mexicans in the El Paso “terrorist act” had risen to eight.

U.S. President Donald Trump, in his address on Monday, sent condolences to the Mexican president and the Mexican people.

Ebrard travelled to El Paso on Monday to lend support to the injured victims, several of whom were Mexicans, and to the victims’ family members.

(Edited by Emmanuel Yashim)

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Mexican police rescue migrant family kidnapped on way to U.S.

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 Mexican police have rescued a five-member family of Honduran migrants kidnapped in eastern Mexico, while travelling towards the United States, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Tuesday.

The father, mother and their three small children were abducted in the city of Coatzacoalcos on July 19, according to local media.

The kidnappers were demanding a ransom of 15,000 dollars but the kidnapped man’s father said he was only able to collect a few hundred dollars.

“Today the federal police reported to us that the family  was already freed, rescued, by the authorities,’’ Ebrard said at the daily news press conference of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

He did not give further details.

It is not unusual for Central American illegal migrants heading for the U.S. to be kidnapped for ransom, but abductions of entire families are rare.

Tens of thousands of migrants cross Mexico annually in an attempt to cross into the US. Under pressure from Washington.

Mexico has deployed 25,000 troops on its northern and southern borders and along routes used by migrants over the past two months.

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Mexican judge issues arrest warrants for ex-Pemex CEO Lozoya, 4 others

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Mexican judge issues arrest warrants for ex-Pemex CEO Lozoya, 4 others

 

Mexico city, July 5, 2019 NNNMexico’s attorney general’s office said on Friday that a judge has issued  arrest warrants for the former chief executive of state oil firm Pemex, Emilio Lozoya.

Lozoya and  four other people were involved in a graft case concerning Brazilian builder Odebrecht.

The four other people include, Lozoya’s wife, mother and sister, said a government source.

The Finance Ministry said in May that it presented the attorney-general’s office with three charges against Lozoya related to “acts of corruption”.

 

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Pope Francis joins global outrage at drowning of Mexican migrant father-daughter

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This is contained in a statement by the Vatican on Wednesday.

The Vatican said: “With immense sadness, the Holy Father has seen the images of the father and his baby daughter who drowned in the Rio Grande river.

“The Pope is profoundly saddened by their death, and is praying for them and for all migrants who have lost their lives while seeking to flee war and misery.’’

The incident, involving a man from El Salvador and his daughter, aged around 2, took place on Sunday.

El Salvador President Nayib Bukele issued a statement on Tuesday promising to repatriate “as soon as possible’’ their bodies, and offered economic help for their grieving relatives.

“One day we will manage to build a country where migration will be an option and not an obligation. Meanwhile, we will do what is possible. God help us,’’ he said.

Mexican magazine Jornada published a picture of the victims, and it has been circulating widely on social media, evoking comparisons with the 2015 picture of Alan Kurdi.

Kurdi was a 3-year-old Syrian boy whose body washed up on the Turkish shore. The image shocked the world and became a symbol of the global migrant crisis.

Edited by Halima Sheji

 

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Migration: Mexican president targets deal with U.S.

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Mexican President, Andres Obrador, on Thursday expressed hope of a deal with the United States to resolve a migration dispute.

He said that the deal would also help the country to avoid Trump’s administration imposing trade tariffs on it in the coming week.

Obrador, at his regular morning news conference, said he was confident that the two sides would reach a deal, and repeated that Mexico would act prudently in talks with senior officials from the U.S. government.

“The U.S. authorities have behaved very well; President Trump and the administration haven’t closed themselves off to dialogue, and we hope that a deal is reached today,” he said.

Trump recently said he would apply escalating tariffs of five per cent on all Mexican exports to the U.S. if Mexico did not contain a surge in migration, mostly from Central America.

This has sparked a jump in apprehensions on the U.S.-Mexico border.

“The tariffs will begin on June 10 and will gradually rise to 25 per cent by October if there was no deal,’’ Trump said.

A Mexican delegation led by Foreign Minister, Marcelo Ebrard, is in Washington seeking to broker a deal with the U.S. government, and high level meetings continue.

Obrador, when asked whether Mexico would strike back in the event of U.S. tariffs, said all options were being considered by his government.

However, he did not want to talk about possible retaliation for the time being.

The president was insistent that Mexico needed to apply its laws to stem illegal immigration, while reiterating that the problem needed to be addressed at the point of origin.

Most of the migrants caught trying to enter the U.S. illegally are from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Obrador expressed particular concern about Honduras when talking about the circumstances that were leading to increased migration.

Edited by: Abiodun Oluleye and Olisa Ifeajika
(NAN)

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Trump renews threat to close Mexican border, send more troops

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Trump renews threat to close Mexican border, send more troops

Troops

“A very big Caravan of more than 20,000 people started up through Mexico,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

“It has been reduced in size by Mexico but is still coming. Mexico must apprehend the remainder or we will be forced to close that section of the Border & call up the Military.”

Trump also said, without offering details, that Mexican soldiers recently had “pulled guns” on U.S. troops in what he suggested was “a diversionary tactic for drug smugglers.”

“Better not happen again! We are now sending ARMED SOLDIERS to the Border. Mexico is not doing nearly enough in apprehending & returning!” Trump tweeted.

It was not clear what Trump meant by “armed soldiers’’ since at least some of the troops on the border already are armed. It also was unclear what specific caravan Trump was alluding to.

U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said they are expecting a request from the Department of Homeland Security in the coming days for additional troops, although that number is expected to be in the low hundreds.

About 5,000 active duty and National Guard troops already are at the border.

The U.S. Defence Department said earlier this month that six Mexican military personnel questioned two U.S. Army soldiers near Clint, Texas, about 30 miles (48 km) southeast of El Paso.

The U.S. military said the Americans were in an unmarked car and an inquiry had found that they were in U.S. territory.

Newsweek magazine, citing the military report on the incident, said the U.S. soldiers were briefly held at gunpoint by the Mexicans, who took one American soldier’s gun and put it in the car.

The Mexican troops had believed the U.S. soldiers were south of the border and therefore in Mexico.

After a brief discussion, the Mexican troops left the area, a Mexican official said.

The two U.S. soldiers were traveling in an unmarked vehicle, according to a brief statement issued later on Wednesday by the Mexican foreign ministry, which added to the confusion.

Asked about Trump’s tweet at a news conference, Mexican President Andres Obrador said his administration would investigate the incident Trump mentioned.

“But we’re not going to fight with the U.S. government,” he said. “We are not going to allow ourselves to fall into any provocations.”

Trump has made a tough stance on immigration a cornerstone of his presidency.

He called the situation at the southern border a national emergency as a way to get money to build a border wall after Democrats in Congress thwarted traditional means of funding.

Officials arrested or denied entry to more than 100,000 people along the Mexican border in March, more than twice as many as during the same period in 2018, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

In March, Trump threatened to close the border if the Mexican government did not immediately stem illegal migration, although later he praised Mexico for efforts to stop people from crossing illegally into the U.S.

Mexico has returned 15,000 migrants in the past 30 days, a senior government official said on Tuesday, pointing to an uptick in deportations in the face of pressure from Trump to stem the flow of people north.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments on Wednesday on the Trump administration’s controversial policy of sending asylum seekers back to Mexican border towns to await their U.S. immigration court hearings.

A lower-court judge ruled against the policy but the 9th Circuit said it could continue while the legal fight continues.

The Trump administration says the policy is one way to reduce the number of asylum seekers being released into the U.S. for the months or years it can take their deportation cases to be decided.

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Trump: U.S. plans tariff on Mexican cars if no help on immigration, drugs

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Trump: U.S. plans tariff on Mexican cars if no help on immigration, drugs

Mexican

Trump made the threat on Thursday at the White House, saying that if the tariffs do not yield the desired result, he will close the border.

“If the drugs don’t stop we are going to tariff the cars,’’ Trump said.

“If that doesn’t work we will close the border.’’

Trump insisted: “You know I will do it, I don’t play games.’’

He further said that a lot of good things are happening with Mexico.

“Mexico understands that we will close the border or I’m going to tariffs the cars.

“One or the other, probably start off with the tariffs.

“That will be a powerful incentive, because Mexico has the strongest immigration laws anywhere in the world.

 

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