October 22, 2014
Coal exports from the U.S. West Coast rose to the highest in more than a decade amid demand from Mexico and Asia, providing a market for the power-plant fuel amid lower domestic consumption. Shipments from the western U.S. are up 35 percent to about 5 million tons through the first six months of this year, led by an almost six-fold jump in cargoes leaving San Francisco, according to the Energy Information Administration. That comes even as nationwide exports have fallen 15 percent.
October 21, 2014
The horrific rampage of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has captured the world’s attention. Many Western commentators have characterized ISIL’s crimes as unique, no longer practiced anywhere else in the civilized world. They argue that the group’s barbarism is intrinsically Islamic, a product of the aggressive and archaicworldview that dominates the Muslim world. The ignorance of these claims is stunning. While there other organized groups whose depravity and threat to the United States far surpasses that of ISIL, none have engendered the same kind of collective indignation and hysteria. This raises a question: Are Americans primarily concerned with ISIL’s atrocities or with the fact that Muslims are committing these crimes? For example, even as the U.S. media and policymakers radically inflate ISIL’s threat to the Middle East and United States, most Americans appear to be unaware of the scale of the atrocities committed by Mexican drug cartels and the threat they pose to the United States.
October 20, 2014
10/17/14 Wall Street Journal
The Mexican unit of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said on Friday its chief executive planned to step down next year, as Wal-Mart struggles to boost sales and customer traffic in one of its largest international markets. Scot Rank, who has been Wal-Mart de México’s CEO for five years, will assume the role of vice chairman of the board of directors at Walmex, as the company is known. Walmex said it will soon announce his replacement. Mr. Rank’s tenure at the helm was burdened by allegations in 2012 that the retailer had bribed public officials to speed permits for new-store openings in Mexico. The Justice Department investigations into those allegations continue.
October 8, 2014
10/07/14 New York Times
Authorities said Tuesday they busted clandestine AR-15 semi-automatic rifle assembly operations on two farms in western Mexico, believed to be the first known example of such weapons being put together in the country. The investigation found that at least some of the AR-15 parts were being produced on the farms, while other pieces apparently were brought in from the United States.
October 8, 2014
Natural gas production expanding at the fastest pace in three years will spur exports to Mexico, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Marketed production will increase 5.4 percent this year to average 73.98 billion cubic feet a day, representing the biggest volume and percentage gains since 2011, the EIA said in its Short-Term Energy Outlook released today. The forecast was raised from last month’s projection of 73.93 billion. The boom in shale drilling at deposits from the Marcellus in the East to the Eagle Ford in Texas will expand natural gas output for the 10th straight year in 2015. The surge in supply is boosting demand for the fuel from Mexico, the Energy Department’s statistical arm said.
October 6, 2014
The government of Peña Nieto changed the national discourse on organized crime and violence in Mexico. It requested that the media banish homicides from its front pages in order to calm citizens’ anxieties and assure foreign investors that the government held control over insecurity. The means to assert this control transferred greater autonomy to the armed forces, as well as to state and municipal police, institutions lacking appropriate training for law enforcement. In September 2014, both the armed forces and the municipal police are alleged to have killed and caused the disappearance of groups of citizens. These violent acts, as well as the murder of prominent politicians, have raised the specter that a new level of violence has returned to Mexico – this time carried out by official bodies as well as organized crime.
October 6, 2014
10/05/16 New York Times
The smugglers advertised on the radio as spring bloomed into summer: “Do you want to live better? Come with me.” Cecilia, a restless wisp of a girl, heard the pitch and ached to go. Her stepfather had been murdered, forcing her, her mother and four younger siblings into her aunt’s tiny home, with just three beds for 10 people. It was all they had — and all a smuggler needed. He offered them a loan of $7,000 for Cecilia’s journey, with the property as a guarantee. “I gave him the original deed,” said Jacinta, her aunt, noting that the smuggler gave them a year to repay the loan, with interest. “I did it out of love.” The trip lasted nearly a month, devolving from a journey of want and fear into an outright abduction by smugglers in the United States.