Mexico City’s smog-busting metrobus splutters to a halt

6/26/2017 Financial Times

AerialViewPhotochemicalSmogMexicoCity_2It’s almost election season in Mexico and the capital’s mayor, Miguel Ángel Mancera, is harbouring presidential ambitions. No surprise, then, to see orange crash barriers erected along Mexico City’s most emblematic avenue and digging machines tearing up the road to lay the foundations for a promised new mass-transit bus line.

A quick glance at Avenida Reforma — or a stuttering journey through six traffic-clogged lanes — is enough to convince most people that the status quo is intolerable. Nearly 5m cars, 36,000 buses and 82,000 lorries were registered in Mexico City in 2015 and on any given day it can feel like they are all crammed on to the capital’s most picturesque boulevard.

A 15km bus route, plied by 90 British-made buses in a dedicated lane transporting more than 100,000 people a day, sounds like a godsend to many. Metrobús, the city’s rapid-transit operator, says the new line will replace 22,000 car journeys a day. The new red double-deckers will edge out 180 old buses that are helping to choke the city’s key artery.

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Mexico President Fetes Telecom Law as Top Court Weighs Slim Challenge

6/26/2017 The New York Times

slimMEXICO CITY — President Enrique Pena Nieto and industry executives praised a three-year-old overhaul of Mexico’s telecommunications sector on Monday as it faces a major challenge from billionaire Carlos Slim in the Supreme Court.

The number of Mexicans with cellphones surged by 20 million to 81 million in 2016 since the constitutional reform, while the number of Internet users has expanded to 65 million from 41 million, Pena Nieto said in an apparent bid to increase public support for the law.

He held the event as the Supreme Court considers whether to undo parts of the reform that tilted the playing field against Slim’s long-dominant America Movil SAB de CV and led to steep drops in prices that Mexicans pay for cell phone service and internet access.

“To not have made the change would have been irresponsible. It would have condemned Mexico to falling behind,” Pena Nieto told hundreds of government officials and industry executives at the presidential residence Los Pinos.

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Mexico to seek U.S. FBI’s help on government spying probe

6/26/2017 Reuters

FBISealMexico’s attorney general said on Monday it will request help from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to investigate accusations the administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto spied on private citizens.

Activists, human rights lawyers and journalists in Mexico filed a criminal complaint alleging their smartphones had been infected with spying software sold to the government to fight criminals and terrorists.

Pena Nieto called the charges “false” and asked the attorney general’s office to investigate.

“We will ask the FBI for help,” said Ricardo Sanchez of Mexico’s attorney general office, known locally as the PGR.

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Ford’s China move casts new cloud on Mexican carmaking

6/23/2017 Reuters

A second U-turn this year by Ford Motor Co in Mexico has raised the specter of Chinese competition for local carmaking, adding to pressure on the industry after repeated threats by U.S. President Donald Trump to saddle it with punitive tariffs.

Ford announced on Tuesday it would move some production of its Focus small car to China instead of Mexico, a step that follows the U.S. automaker’s January cancellation of a planned $1.8 billion plant in the central state of San Luis Potosi.

The scrapping of the Ford plant was a bitter blow, coming after U.S. President Donald Trump had blamed the country for hollowing out U.S manufacturing on the campaign trail, and threatened to impose hefty tariffs on cars made in Mexico.

Since then, rhetoric from the Trump administration has become more conciliatory, and Mexico and the United States have expressed confidence that the renegotiation of the NAFTA trade deal, expected to begin in August, could benefit both nations.

But the loss of the Focus business is an unwelcome reminder of competition Mexico faces from Asia at a time China’s auto exports and the quality of its cars are rising.

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Mexico announces more help for migrants after tough Texas law

6/26/2017 Reuters

Carlos Manuel Sada Solana, Mexico’s Deputy Foreign Minister for North America, speaks during a news conference in Mexico City, Mexico, June 26, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

Mexico has been increasing actions to protect Mexican migrants in response to a law in Texas that allows police to question people about their immigration status, a Mexican official said on Monday.

Deputy Foreign Minister for North America Carlos Sada said Mexico respected decisions by the United States but added that Mexico had increased the number of places where its citizens could seek information and legal aid from consulates.

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Remains found of kidnapped Mexican journalist: official

06/26/2017 Reuters2383172328_a708fee546_b

MEXICO CITY A Mexican journalist who was kidnapped last month in the violent Western state of Michoacan has been found dead, the state’s chief prosecutor said on Monday.

A body discovered on June 14 was identified with DNA tests as that of Salvador Adame, a local television journalist who had been missing since he was abducted by gunmen last month, Michoacan prosecutor Jose Godoy told journalists.

Mexico has been the deadliest country for reporters in 2017, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, with at least four reporters killed in direct retaliation for their work.

The total number of murder investigations in Mexico rose to a record in May as criminal violence increased dramatically since last year. There were 2,186 murder probes in May, the highest for any month going back to 1997, according to government statistics.

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Mexican economy grows 0.1 percent in April from March

06/26/2017 Reuters

pesomexicanoMexico’s economy picked up slightly in April from the prior month as an expansion in services offset a slump in industrial output.

The economy grew 0.1 percent in April from March, the national statistics agency said on Monday, after posting two negative monthly readings in a row.

Services grew 0.5 percent, month-on-month, compared to a 0.3 percent decline in industrial output and a 0.9 percent drop in agricultural production, the data showed.

Mexico’s economy is seen growing around 2 percent this year by the government and analysts after data showed no major impact during the first quarter from the cloud of uncertainty over U.S. trade policy under President Donald Trump.

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