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1.  The National Regeneration Movement party pre-candidate, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, announced his presidential agenda priorities. López Obrador will seek to suspend the country’s education and energy reforms. In addition, he plans to hire 2.3 million ninis, young people who neither go to work nor go to school, and pay them a monthly a salary of USD $188.10.

Read more: El FinancieroExcelsior, El Universal, Reforma 

2.  The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) pre-candidate, José Antonio Meade, kicked off his presidential pre-campaign in the state of Chiapas. Meade stated that he “wants to be [a] President who closes the gap between the Mexico we are and the Mexico we dream of.” On Thursday, the National Electoral Institute (INE) announced the start of the pre-campaign season for parties and coalitions who will be participating in the 2018 presidential elections.

Read more: Reforma, Excelsior, El Universal, Milenio

3. On Friday, the Mexican Senate voted to pass the Internal Security bill. The bill aims to strengthen the role of armed forces role in combating drug cartels. Governors and mayors who request the intervention of the armed forces must adhere to the criteria set by the National Council of Public Security before military intervention takes place. Human rights organizations oppose the bill because they believe it grants excessive power to the armed forces.

Read more: ReformaExcelsior, Expansion, El Universal

4. The Office of the General Prosecutor (PGR) authorized Elba Esther Gordillo, the former leader of the National Educational Workers Union (SNTE), to be placed on house arrest. The former union leader has been in prison since February 2013, facing tax evasion and money laundering for approximately MX 1.978 billion pesos.

Read more: Reforma, ExcelsiorEl UniversalMilenio

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Mexico’s Senate Passes Divisive Security Law, Paving Way for Final Approval

12/15/2017 New York Times

Mexican_SenateMEXICO CITY — Mexico’s Senate early on Friday approved security legislation that has sparked sharp protests from human rights advocates concerned that it could encourage abuses by the armed forces in their deployment against drug cartels.

The ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party and some members of the center-right opposition National Action Party backed the bill, which now returns to the lower house of Congress, where its passage is expected to be a formality.

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Mexico plots open trade course to escape Trump’s NAFTA threats

12/15/2017 Reuters

flag pictureMEXICO CITY (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ brand of economic nationalism is pushing Mexico to seek sanctuary in more open commercial ties elsewhere to soften the blow of a possible breakdown of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Trump’s threats to dump NAFTA and his plan to slash corporate taxes have fired debate in Mexico over how to respond, from overhauling its own tax system to increasing land cultivation and even scrapping all tariffs to become a free trade hub.

U.S. exporters may still face tit-for-tat countermeasures if Trump imposes curbs on business with Mexico, but officials say the Latin American country’s ultimate objective is to lower barriers to trade.

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Mexico ups benchmark lending rate ¼-point to 7.25 percent

12/14/2017 Washington Post

financeMEXICO CITY — Mexico’s central bank raised its benchmark interest rate a quarter point to 7.25 percent on Thursday to try to rein in inflation that continues to outpace targets.

The Bank of Mexico said in a statement that annual inflation was 6.63 percent in November. It forecast convergence with its 3 percent target to be slower than previously anticipated and said inflation could near that goal around late 2018.

The move came a day after the U.S. Federal Reserve hiked its key interest rate from 1.25 percent to 1.5 percent.

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Republican governors meet with Pence over NAFTA concerns

12/14/2017 Reuters

Image result for penceWASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican governors from four U.S. states on Thursday met with Vice President Mike Pence to voice deep concerns over proposed changes to NAFTA that could affect jobs and manufacturing in their states, officials who attended the meeting said.

The meeting at the White House included Governors Kim Reynolds of Iowa, Rick Snyder of Michigan, Bill Haslam of Tennessee and Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, as well as President Donald Trump’s Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

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Secretary Tillerson Hosts the Second U.S.-Mexico Strategic Dialogue on Disrupting Transnational Criminal Organizations

12/14/2017 U.S. Department of State Office of the Spokesperson

Image result for us state department logoU.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen will convene the second high-level dialogue with their Mexican counterparts to continue discussion on strategies to disrupt transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) on December 14 at 9:00 a.m. at the Department of State. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will also participate.

Government of Mexico participants will include Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray, Secretary of Government Miguel Osorio, and Acting Attorney General Elias Beltran.

This dialogue is a result of commitments Secretary Tillerson and former Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly made at the first such event on May 18, 2017. The dialogue will advance strategic approaches to disrupt the multi-billion-dollar business model of those who profit from illicit drug trafficking and threaten our security.

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Mexican Authorities Warn Cryptocurrency Offerings Could Be a Crime

12/13/2017 Reuters

technology-785742_960_720MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s finance ministry and central bank warned on Wednesday that cryptocurrencies were risky investments and said fundraising programs known as initial coin offerings (ICOs) could potentially violate Mexican financial law.

Amid the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, the authorities together with banking and securities regulator CNBV said in a statement such currencies are not officially recognized in Mexico as a legal form of payment.

To date there have been no initial coin offerings originating in Mexico, the statement said.

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