Is basketball now a rising star in soccer-loving Mexico?

October 29, 2013

bballThe Christian Science Monitor, 10/28/2013

Soccer may be king of sports in Mexico, but the rising popularity of basketball is giving fútbol a kick in the shin. “We’re seeing a new wave of young people showing great interest in basketball,” says Jaime González Rodriguez, director of the municipal sports institute in Nogales.

Mr. González Rodriguez points toward dozens of teens dribbling and shooting hoops in a gym at a sports complex here in the border state of Sonora. At a special basketball clinic, the youngsters share the court with former Phoenix Suns players Tom Chambers, Steven Hunter, Tim Kempton, and Horacio Llamas, the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) first Mexico-born player.

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Why Are Mexico And Mike Bloomberg Battling Coca-Cola?

October 28, 2013

Michael-Bloomberg3Forbes, 10/28/2013

Mexico is going to war with Coca-Cola and other makers of sugary, high-calorie drinks. In a recent article for The New York Times Elizabeth Malkin explained, “In a bet against an epidemic of obesity and diabetes, President Enrique Peña Nieto has proposed a tax on sales of all sugary drinks. If it goes through, the tax will make Mexico a rare test case of a national soda tax directed at a severe obesity problem.” The measure is similar to a proposal made by New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg, and with good reason. The billionaire mayor is advising Mexico’s government on the topic. A few years back, when Mexico City was dealing with a crime epidemic, former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani came down to advise the city’s government on public security. Now Mexico faces a new problem: obesity. According to a recent study, Mexico currently holds the unflattering distinction of being the world’s fattest country.  Bloomberg’s foundation has agreed to help Mexico’s government tackle the problem.

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Mexico’s soda companies fear junk-food tax

October 28, 2013

Coca Cola BottlesThe Washington Post, 10/27/2013

Sweet tangerine sodas and strawberry kiddy drinks have been good for the Guzman family.

Over 60 years and three generations, their Gugar soda company has offered them hard-won prosperity in one of the poorest states in Mexico. It’s allowed the youngest to study at the University of California at Berkeley and vacation in Las Vegas, and enshrined the eldest in a bronze bust with a nameplate that reads: “Creator of entrepreneurs.”

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Mexico blocks Foster Farms chicken imports amid salmonella fears

October 25, 2013

Los Angeles Times, 10/24/2013

medicine healthcare - stethoscopeMexico has blocked imports of Foster Farms chicken from three Central California processing facilities linked to an outbreak of salmonella. The Mexican government told the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday that it was removing from its list of approved exporters two Foster Farms plants in Fresno and one in Livingston, where the poultry company is headquartered.

The blocked three plants were identified by the USDA as the likely origins of a salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least 338 people across the U.S. since March.

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Following Bloomberg’s Lead, Mexico Aims To Fight Fat

October 24, 2013

shutterstock_76369150NPR, 10/24/2013

Nearly a third of all Mexicans are obese, putting Mexico at the top of the list of overweight nations — ahead of the United States.

In the battle against the bulge, lawmakers are taking aim at consumer’s pocketbooks. They’re proposing a series of new taxes on high calorie food and sodas. Health advocates say the higher prices will get Mexicans to change bad habits, but the beverage industry and small businesses are fighting back.

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Haitian Cholera Strain Spreads To Mainland With Mexico Outbreak

October 23, 2013

Photo by Flikr user Gov/BaNPR, 10/23/2013

A South Asian strain of cholera that was introduced into Haiti three years ago this month has now spread to this continent’s mainland.

Mexico is the fourth Western Hemisphere country to experience the cholera outbreak. It’s a disease that’s very hard to stamp out once it gets into an area with poor water and sanitation.

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Organic Waste Energy Fueling Latin American Cities

October 23, 2013

garbageWorldcrunch, 10/22/2013

Dr. Emmett Brown takes banana peels, leftover beer, and some other pieces of garbage from the trash to charge his car — a DeLorean equipped with the Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor. Although in this scene from the movie Back To The Future (1985), the technology was invented in 2015, energy generated from garbage can now be seen in real life, and right here in Latin America.

The system, called biodigestion or anaerobic digestion, generates electricity from gases produced by different organic materials. While Chile and Argentina have just discovered this type of energy source, Peru and Mexico have been using it for the past for 30 years. In fact, the Monterrey subway in northern Mexico operates with electricity from garbage.

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Ex-Patients Police Mexico’s Mental Health System

October 22, 2013

hospitalThe New York Times, 10/22/2013

On a recent morning, a collection of people grappling with mental illness roamed the grounds of a psychiatric hospital here, stepping into dirty, dilapidated rooms; exchanging tales of anguish; and peppering administrators with questions.

But they were not patients. They toted notebooks, pens and cameras as they documented conditions at the crumbling hospital, part of a fledgling movement by former patients to hold the mental health system in Mexico accountable for a record of neglect and abuse that is considered among the worst in the Americas.

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Mexico Tries Taxes to Combat Obesity

October 18, 2013

Obese manThe Wall Street Journal, 10/18/2013

Congress’s lower house of Congress passed late Thursday a special tax on junk food that is seen as potentially the broadest of its kind, part of an ambitious Mexican government effort to contain runaway rates of obesity and diabetes.

The House passed the proposed measure to charge a 5% tax on packaged food that contains 275 calories or more per 100 grams, on grounds that such high-calorie items typically contain large amounts of salt and sugar and few essential nutrients.

The tax, which was proposed just this week, is sure to stir controversy among big Mexican and foreign food companies that operate here. It comes on top of another planned levy on sugary soft drinks of 1 peso (8 U.S. cents) per liter that was passed by the same committee, an effort that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg supported.

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Pregnant indigenous Mexican women face hospital discrimination

October 17, 2013

doctors by Flikr user Gov BaThe Los Angeles Times, 10/16/2013

Irma Lopez, a Mazatec Indian, waited to receive attention at a medical clinic in Oaxaca, but her labor pains became overwhelming. Spurned by the nurses, she retreated outdoors — and abruptly gave birth to a baby boy on the hospital lawn.

A few days later, it was revealed that two other pregnant indigenous women had also been turned away from Oaxaca hospitals, one of whom also delivered on the lawn, and that a fourth woman had been forced to have her baby on the reception floor at a hospital in Puebla.

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