Mexico’s proven oil reserves dip over 7 percent at start of 2018

03/23/2018 Reuters

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Proven oil reserves in Mexico fell by 7.4 percent at the start of 2018 compared with a year earlier to 8.483 billion barrels of crude oil equivalent (boe), according to data published Friday by Mexico’s National Hydrocarbons Commission.

The drop reflects a rate of new oil and gas discoveries not keeping pace with current levels of production.

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Mexico leftist softens stance on new $13 billion airport, calls for review

03/23/2018 Reuters

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GUADALAJARA, Mexico (Reuters) – The leftist front-runner for the Mexican presidency softened his critical stance on Mexico City’s $13 billion new airport on Friday, saying he would carefully review the project, instead of threatening to scrap it entirely.

Speaking in the central city of Guadalajara, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has led polls for months ahead of the July 1 election, stressed the need to examine all aspects of the project, which is already under construction.

“We are going to do a technical review of the project, without scaring anyone,” he said at a construction industry conference in Mexico’s second-biggest city.

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Trump Sets Deadline on Metal Tariffs, Pressuring Nafta Talks

03/23/2018 Bloomberg

nafta_logoU.S. President Donald Trump has put new pressure on Nafta negotiations with an order saying he’ll impose steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico on May 1 if he’s not satisfied with talks.

Trump’s presidential proclamation Thursday sets tariffs for some countries as of Friday while excluding others such as Canada and Mexico. The document specifies for the first time when those exclusions will run out, adding to pressure for a deal to be reached on the North American Free Trade Agreement around the same time.

A White House statement said Trump will decide by May 1 “whether to continue to exempt these countries from tariffs, based on the status of discussions.” Mexico has said it needs a deal by the end of April, or that talks might as well stretch past the country’s summer election, and then U.S. midterm elections this fall.

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1. The National Electoral Institute (INE) confirmed that Margarita Zavala, former member of the National Action Party (PAN), is the only independent candidate to have received the proper accreditation to run as an independent in the 2018 presidential election. Benito Nacif, an INE advisor, confirmed that Margarita Zavala received 870,168 citizen signatures across twenty-one of Mexico’s federal entities. The National Electoral Institute (INE) will officially confirm all candidates who will be in the ballot on March 29th.

Read more: Milenio, Excelsior, El Economista, El Universal

2. Mexico’s Federal Electoral Tribunal (TEPJF) praised the National Electoral Institute’s (INE) decision to implement a fast track vote counting process. The INE will use an operations sheet (hoja de operaciones) that will record the following information for each precinct: election results, null votes, unused ballots, incidents, and any other relevant information. The Mexican Green Ecological Party (PVEM) appealed the INE’s decision to the Federal Electoral Tribunal, stating that the fast track vote counting process would impact the precinct’s scrutiny and calculation of the votes.

Read more: Reforma, Milenio, Excelsior, El Financiero

3. It is expected to take two years to transition operations from Mexico City International Airport (AICM) to the International Airport of Mexico (NAIM). Federico Patiño, the director general of Airport Group of Mexico City (GACM) who oversees the NAIM project, stated that once the airport’s infrastructure is complete operations will being “almost immediately.” Yet, Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced he is preparing legal protections to stop the federal government from awarding contracts to build the new airport.

Read more: Milenio, Jornada, Excelsior, Reforma

4. In a unanimous vote, the Electoral Tribunal (TEPJF) ruled that photocopies of voter ID cards would not be accepted as a means to gather citizen support for independent candidates seeking public office. The tribunal’s decision comes after reviewing the legal challenge presented by an aspiring independent candidate from Michoacán. The legal challenge resolution issued by the Electoral Tribunal stated that an original voter ID card must be present when supporting the independent candidates.

Read more: Excelsior, Reforma, El Financiero, Jornada

Mexico’s crime and lack of punishment

03/23/2018 The Financial Times
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It was 8.15 on Tuesday morning. At least four armed men burst into a school in a poor neighbourhood on the outskirts of Acapulco. They threatened students, stole their cell phones and wallets and, bizarrely but terrifyingly for those involved, hacked off the hair of some 20 female students and a couple of teachers using machetes and garden shears.

The following day, six people were reported killed and as many as 20 were injured when gunmen opened fire in a bar in the central Mexican town of Guanajuato, where a cock fight was in progress. Two more reportedly died later.

Also on Wednesday, a journalist in the south-eastern state of Veracruz, Leobardo Vázquez, was killed in his home, the third journalist to be murdered this year according to Articulo 19, a human rights organisation. His murder comes after 12 journalists were killed in 2017, making Mexico one of the most dangerous countries for the profession.

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Mexican leftist extends lead in presidential race, poll shows

03/23/2018 Reuters

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican presidential contender Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has stretched his lead over rivals heading into the July 1 election, a voter survey by polling firm Mitofsky showed late on Thursday.

Lopez Obrador, a left-wing former Mexico City mayor, got 29.5 percent support in the poll conducted from March 16-18, up from 27.1 percent in a previous Mitofsky survey last month.

Running second was Ricardo Anaya, former chairman of the conservative National Action Party, who heads a right-left alliance. His support slipped 1.1 percentage points to 21.2 percent.

Despite ‘challenging times’ with U.S. under Trump, Mexico’s top diplomat highlights progress

03/23/2018 The San Diego Union Tribune

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Even as the U.S.-Mexico relationship has endured “challenging times” under President Donald Trump, Mexico’s top diplomat said Thursday that there has been progress on many fronts as the two countries engage on issues such as migratory workers, fighting transnational crime organizations, and crafting policy on Central America.

“We don’t want differences to define the relationship. We’ll continue to engage and try to make this as strong a relationship as possible,” Luis Videgaray told an audience at the University of California at San Diego.

A 49-year-old economist who holds a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Videgaray is considered one of the closest advisers to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, who appointed him as foreign minister in January 2017. The secretary’s plans in San Diego included a lunch on campus, a meeting with San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, a visit to the San Diego Association of Governments and a discussion with promoters of the CaliBaja binational mega-region.

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