Mexican Sun Lures Cash to Solar as Panel Prices Plunge

October 4, 2013

Bloomberg, 10/4/2013

Solar PanelsMexico, poised to allow foreign oil extraction for the first time in 75 years, is finding its abundant natural resources also appeal to investors in a much cleaner energy: sunshine. As a top 10 oil producer, it plans to generate 35 percent of its power from clean sources by 2026, up from less than 15 percent now, to curb emissions and diversify its energy mix. A global surplus of solar panels has made them cheaper, while the costly oil-fired plants common in areas such as Durango, Sonora and southern Baja California make solar a competitive option.

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Mexico Highway Leapfrogs Drug Lands to Link 2 Seas

July 1, 2013

bridge with trafficAP, 6/30/2013

The Durango-Mazatlan Highway is one of Mexico’s greatest engineering feats, 115 bridges and 61 tunnels designed to bring people, cargo and legitimate commerce safely through a mountain range known until now for marijuana, opium poppies and an accident-prone road called the Devil’s Backbone.

Even those protesting the project say the 230-kilometer-long (140-mile) highway, expected to be completed in August, will change northern Mexico dramatically for the good. It will link port cities on the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific by a mere 12-hour drive, and Mazatlan with San Antonio, Texas, in about the same time. The highway will eventually move 5 million vehicles a year, more than four times the number on the old road, plus more produce and goods from Asia to the Mexican interior and southern U.S.

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Children’s Hospital To Be Inaugurated in Chihuahua (Spanish)

April 10, 2013

Photo Credit: Kelly DonlanMilenio, 4/10/2013

A pediatric specialty hospital will be inaugurated on April 30th in Chihuahua. According to DIF state president, Bertha Gomez Duarte, this facility plans to serve Chilren from the states of Chihuahua, Durango, Sonora, and Coahuila.

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New government, old problems as Mexico suffers from criminality

February 21, 2013

peña-nietoLos Angeles Times, 2/21/2013

A police chief in the border city of Nuevo Laredo goes missing after his brothers turn up dead. Early evening explosions in front of a government building in the capital of Tamaulipas state injure three people. In the state of Durango, the businesses of a mayor’s family are burned days after her home is attacked by gunmen. As Mexico’s new government continues to fine-tune its public safety plan, distressingly familiar acts of criminality continue unabated, as seen in headlines that have dominated newspapers this week.

The continuing stream of bad and bloody news presents a challenge for President Enrique Peña Nieto, who took office Dec. 1 and is hoping to shift the world’s attention away from Mexico’s scourge of violence to focus more on the country’s growing economy.

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Femicide cases increase in 9 states (Spanish)

February 14, 2013

femicidesEl Universal 2/14/2012

Las nueve entidades que registran una tendencia creciente de homicidios de mujeres son Chiapas, Chihuahua, Distrito Federal, Durango, Guerrero, Michoacán, Oaxaca, Sinaloa y Sonora, según un estudio presentado por la subsecretaria de Derechos Humanos de la Secretaría de Gobernación, Lía Limón, en el Senado de la República.

El estudio también analiza las particularidades de cada zona. En el noreste del país, por ejemplo, una mujer de 20 a 24 años tiene 39 veces más riesgo de morir por homicidio, que una mujer de la misma edad de la zona centro del país.

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New bridge in Mexico loaded with big dreams

January 28, 2012

The Washington Post, 1/28/12

High in the wicked folds of the western Sierra Madre, Mexican transportation officials have launched one of the most ambitious road-building projects in history — an experiment in social engineering as much as a structural one.

Across a landscape of yawning ravines and sheer-sided ridges so rugged that locals call it el Espinazo del Diablo — the Devil’s Backbone — the Mexican government is laying down a $1.5 billion “superhighway” that promises to exorcise centuries of isolation and bring an economic boom to one of the country’s poorest and most troubled regions.

When the 140-mile toll road opens as soon as late 2012, it will cut drive time between the interior city of Durango and the Pacific port at Mazatlan from seven hours to 21 / 2, conquering the Sierra’s unholy topography with 62 tunnels and 135 bridges.

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Mexico inaugurates world’s highest cable-stayed bridge

January 5, 2012

Durango state

BBC, 1/5/2012

The 403m (1,321ft) tall Baluarte bridge spans a deep ravine in the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains in the north.

It is part of a new highway crossing some of Mexico’s most rugged terrain, from Mazatlan on the Pacific Coast to Durango in the interior.

The cable-stayed bridge is so tall that the Eiffel Tower would easily fit under its central span.

“This project will unite the people of northern Mexico as never before,” President Calderon said at the inauguration ceremony.

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New Spike in Violence Punctuates Mexico’s Drug War

October 5, 2010

PBS News Hour, 10/5/2010

Clashes between rival gangs in Mexico left 34 people dead over the weekend, and the beating death of a mayor is the fifth killing of a city leader in six weeks, the latest fallout from the country’s deadly drug war.

Much of the violence occurred in northern Mexico along the U.S. border, where drug gangs are engaged in turf battles. Here are some of the latest grim numbers:

  • Fourteen people died in San Jose de la Cruz in the northern state of Durango over the weekend in what appeared to be fighting between the local Sinaloa cartel and rival drug gangs.
  • Another 20 people were killed in the same timeframe in Chihuahua state near the Texas border, where the Juarez cartel is active.
  • At least 11 mayors have been killed this year across Mexico, the Washington Post reports, in “communities where rival mafias fight for control of local drug sales, marijuana and poppy fields, methamphetamine labs and billion-dollar smuggling routes to the United States.” The latest was Monday’s discovery of Tancitaro Mayor Gustavo Sanchez found beaten to death.
  • More than 29,000 people have died in drug-related violence since late 2006 when Mexican President Felipe Calderon took office and launched a military crackdown on drug gangs, according to Reuters, which keeps a weekly tally of incidents.

Some criminal activity appears to be motivated by a general lawlessness in certain areas of Mexico, such as kidnappings for ransoms.

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3 linked to journalists’ kidnapping captured (in Spanish)

August 5, 2010

El Universal, 8/5/2010

The federal Secretary of Public Security (SSP) presented three members of a group that, on July 26, kidnapped three reporters in Torreón, Coahuila, and were captured yesterday in Gómez Palacio, Durango.

The presumed kidnappers are Jesús Antonio Villa Nevarez, who organized the logistics of a group working under the Pacific Cartel; Gilberto Cervantes Pinto, second in command of the group; and Oscar Manuel Gutiérrez Gómez, who guarded the victims during their captivity.

In the presentation of these subjects the commissioner of the Federal Police, Facundo Rosas Rosas, indicated that the detained had indicated the motive of the kidnapping was to obtain the diffusion of their messages in the media in order to denounce the supposed corruption of the local authorities in favor of rival groups.

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Mexican Journalists’ Captors Demand Broadcast of Videos

July 29, 2010

New York Times, 7/29/2010

Mexico’s drug cartels hang banners, attach warning notes to bodies and post videos on the Internet to intimidate the police, the military, the news media, their rivals and anyone else who gets in their way.

But this week, one gang adopted a new tactic: kidnapping journalists to get their videos on the air.

Gunmen abducted three television cameramen in the northern city of Gómez Palacio in the state of Durango on Monday as they finished covering a prison protest in the midafternoon. A local newspaper reporter was seized that evening.

By 6 p.m., Jaime Canales, a cameraman working for a local television station, had called into the station’s newsroom, the newspaper Milenio reported. Mr. Canales said his captors wanted the station to broadcast three videos, which were already posted on a blog, as a condition for his release.

The station complied and broadcast the videos on its midday newscast. The videos, which ran about 15 minutes in total, showed people who were apparently being held prisoner accusing local police officers of collaborating with the Zetas, one of Mexico’s most violent drug cartels.

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