Mexico arrests three Yemeni men sought by the United States

5/25/2017 Reuters

handcuffsThree men from Yemen, wanted by U.S. law enforcement, were arrested in Mexico City this week, at the request of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a spokesman for Mexico’s National Security Commission said on Thursday.

The three men, who were in Mexico without proper migration documents, were still being held in Mexico City, the spokesman said. A U.S. law enforcement source in Mexico City said U.S. Marshals were involved in the detention of the men.

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Mexico Gets Its First Private Oil Well in 80 Years

5/23/2017 Bloomberg

oil wellFor the first time in almost 80 years, a private company has sunk a new offshore oil well in Mexican waters — the latest step in the country’s drive to allow foreign competitors back into its energy markets.

A joint venture of London-based Premier Oil Plc, Houston’s Talos Energy LLC and Mexico’s Sierra Oil & Gas began drilling the well May 21, Premier said in a statement Monday. It’s the first offshore exploration well to be launched by anyone other than state-run monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos since the country nationalized its oil industry in 1938.

The Zama-1 well, in the Sureste Basin off the state of Tabasco, holds an estimated 100 million to 500 million barrels of crude, Premier said in the statement. Drilling is expected to take up to 90 days to complete, at a cost to Premier of $16 million. The three companies won rights to the prospect in 2015, in the first round of bidding after Mexico voted to open its ailing oil industry to private investment.

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Mexican Journalists Caught in Crossfire of Rival Cartels

5/25/2017 New York Times

journalist-armando-rodriguez-murderMEXICO CITY — Just as each batch of the weekly newspapers was dropped off at newsstands around Culiacan men quickly bought them up as they followed the delivery trucks along their routes.

It occurred twice during one week in February, first with Riodoce, a paper known for its investigations into the dark corners of Sinaloa state’s criminal underworld, and two days later with the upstart La Pared (The Wall). Both papers carried cover story interviews with a drug lord. The men politely scooping up the papers after paying for them allegedly worked for the drug lord’s rivals.

La Pared has since closed shop. Riodoce’s editors continue fighting, though more carefully in the belief that the incident foretold the May 15 murder of the paper’s co-founder Javier Valdez.

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US Announces Sanctions on Alleged Mexican Heroin Trafficker

5/24/2017 New York Times

heroin_powderMEXICO CITY — The U.S. government is imposing sanctions on alleged Mexican drug traffickers described by the Treasury Department as “major contributors to our nation’s heroin epidemic.”

The Treasury Department says the sanctions target Jose Luis Ruelas Torres and 10 members of his family-based Ruelas Torres organization. It calls the gang “an independent opium and heroin production and distribution organization that smuggles multi-kilogram heroin quantities into the United States.”

The sanctions announced Wednesday freeze any assets held by those on the list that are under U.S. jurisdiction and bar Americans from entering into transactions with them.

The gang allegedly has shipped heroin from Sinaloa state to cities ranging from Los Angeles to New York for “well over two decades.” Those cities include Phoenix, Denver, Salt Lake City, Albuquerque, Sacramento, Milwaukee, Columbus and Detroit.

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Mexican authorities urged to boost security after indigenous activists killed

5/25/2017 Reuters

mexican-securityNational, state and local officials warned the Mexican government of increasing violence and the need for extra security in the state of Jalisco, where two indigenous brothers were shot dead last week.

The double homicide of the brothers, both members of the Huichol tribe and leaders in a battle for restitution of indigenous land from local ranchers, comes amid a resurgence in violence from drug cartels and follows a spate of killings of journalists and activists this year..

One of the dead men, Miguel Vázquez, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation last October tensions over a century-old land dispute and the growing presence of drug cartels had been a serious concern for some time.

His brother Agustin died in hospital after armed men shot him on Saturday evening, while Miguel was gunned down as he was leaving the hospital that night.

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Mexico urges wealthy nations to help poorer states cut disaster risk

5/25/2017 Reuters

1985_Mexico_Earthquake_-_Pina_Suarez_Apartment_ComplexCutting human, economic and infrastructure losses caused by disasters is imperative, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto told the start of a U.N. conference, urging wealthy countries to help vulnerable nations limit their exposure to natural hazards.

Peña Nieto said on Wednesday that threats such as earthquakes and storms “recognize no national boundaries or frontiers or orders of government”.

Ninety percent of deaths from disasters happen in low- and middle-income countries, he noted at the opening of the three-day conference on disasters in the Mexican resort of Cancun.

“In the Caribbean, there are some economies and societies that are especially vulnerable in light of disaster situations that have been aggravated as a result of climate change,” he said, expressing a commitment to support neighboring Caribbean nations.

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Fed’s Kaplan says U.S. benefits from trade ties with Mexico, Canada

5/24/2017 Reuters

map north americaDallas Federal Reserve Bank President Robert Kaplan said on Wednesday that he feels “very strongly” that U.S. trade relationships with Canada and Mexico help U.S. competitiveness, in remarks that come as President Donald Trump looks at renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“I don’t want to see us to jeopardize those relationships: it would cost U.S. jobs,” Kaplan said in Toronto during a dinner sponsored by the C.D. Howe Institute.

“I am hopeful these agreements will be addressed in a constructive way.”

Kaplan, otherwise, avoided directly commenting on policies favored by Trump, who has criticized U.S. trade agreements with Canada and Mexico, among others, saying they hurt U.S. workers.

Turning to interest rates, Kaplan said he sees two more rate hikes as a base case. The Fed has signaled that it may raise rates two more times this year, although most analysts expect only one more rate hike.

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