Mexico’s Soda Tax Is Working. The US Should Learn From It

07/13/15 Wired

sugarLast fall, Berkeley, California, became the first city in the United States to pass a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages—soda pop, sweetened teas, sugary juices, and energy drinks. Proponents say the tax will discourage the consumption of a nutrition-free, even dangerous category of beverage. Critics counter with claims of an over-reaching nanny state whose interventions will do nothing to curb rates of obesity and diabetes.

To figure out who’s right, it’d be nice to have some data. But before Berkeley passed its tax, 30 other cities and states across the US had tried to introduce similar measures and failed. Berkeley’s tax is certainly raising revenues, but it’s too soon to know whether consumption has gone down or overall public health has improved. Luckily, somewhere else has a year’s head start on taxing soda: Mexico.

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Where Are Mexico’s ‘Dead’ Doctors? Families Fear a Cover-Up Like Iguala

7/9/15 The Daily Beast

doctors by Flikr user Gov BaWhen Rigoberto Hernandez stepped into the morgue, in late June, to identify his recently abducted son—he knew right away there had been a mistake.

“It wasn’t him,” Hernandez told The Daily Beast, during a recent demonstration outside the state capital building to protest the government’s handling of the case. “I raised him from a baby, so I ought to know. The body presented [by the government] didn’t look anything like my boy.”

The Hernandez family joined about 50 doctors and nurses at the July 2 demonstration, braving the desert heat. The protesters chanted and waved signs outside the locked gates of city hall, demanding “Due process!” and “Security for health-care workers!”

“Our family said we couldn’t accept a body that wasn’t ours,” Hernandez explained. “But the DA declared my son dead anyway.”

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At An Asylum In Juarez, ‘We Believe In Hope’

07/06/15 NPR

map_ciudad_juarez11Fifteen miles past the city limits of Juarez, an insane asylum serves as the last stop for a group of indigent and mentally ill people. It’s called Vision en Accion, or Vision in Action, and it sits like a citadel in a filthy desert dotted with dumps and junkyards, in an area haunted by years of violence from the drug cartel wars that claimed more than 11,000 lives. A few of the asylum’s 120 residents live behind bars in tiny, solitary cement cells. You can hear them moaning or screaming at times. But most of the people here spend their time doing chores and relaxing in an open courtyard. They’re tended to by the evangelist pastor who built the shelter, Jose Antonio Galvan.

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Study estimates sugary drinks more deadly than violent crime in Mexico

07/02/15 USA Today

Photo by Flickr user Kidjay

GUADALAJARA, Mexico — Mexico is renowned for being one of the most dangerous countries in the world, so it might sound strange to hear that sugary drinks pose a bigger threat to life here than violent crime.

Sugar-sweetened beverages such as Coca-Cola, Gatorade and homemade drinks known as “agua fresca” kill far more people every year in Mexico than criminal gangs.

A study by the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University estimates a staggering 24,000 Mexicans die each year from diabetes, cancer and heart disease that are linked to sugary drinks.

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Water Scarcity Could Deter Energy Developers From Crossing Border Into Northern Mexico

In collaboration with Circle of Blue, the Mexico Institute of the Wilson Center is working to address the future of energy and water scarcity along the US-Mexico border. The major points of contention are outlined by Keith Schneider in a new article titled “Water Scarcity Could Deter Energy Developers from Crossing Border Into Northern Mexico.”

Over the next 8 days we will be posting excerpts from this article, which is published in full on our website. Stay tuned!

Water Scarcity Could Deter Energy Developers From Crossing Border Into Northern Mexico 

by Keith Schneider

Before world oil prices collapsed late last year, shop owners closest to the banks of the Rio Grande River in Piedras Negras joked that they could hear the groans of Texas drilling rigs advancing toward their fast-growing northern Mexico city.

Just seven years ago, the first well was drilled into the Eagle Ford shale formation, which is 80 kilometers wide (50 miles) and stretches northeast for 640 kilometers (400 miles) from the border, past the eastern outskirts of San Antonio. That well yielded such prodigious quantities of gas and oil it set off a frenzy of investment so intense in Texas that 11,000 more wells were completed in the 29-county drilling zone. The Eagle Ford now produces over 1.6 million barrels of oil and 7 billion cubic feet of natural gas daily, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, making it one of the largest oil and gas fields on the planet.

mexico coahuila water
Coahuila is one of the driest regions in the Americas. Most of its available water is supplied from aquifers. Fresh water is so scarce in Coahuila that the Mexico government has already announced that it will not issue new groundwater use permits for oil and gas development. Graphic © Kaye LaFond / Circle of Blue

Until oil prices melted, nothing slowed the development. Not the availability of capital or drilling rigs. Not a deep Texas drought that focused public attention on the 15,000 to 19,000 cubic meters (4 million to 5 million gallons) of fresh water required to drill and hydraulically fracture each well. Not the nearly equal levels of public concern about the billions of gallons of oilfield wastewater and the choices energy development companies were making to pump the toxic liquids into deep disposal wells, some of which University of Texas at Austin researchers linked to heightened earthquake activity.

The big questions asked by northern Mexico state and business leaders are two-fold. First is whether the portions of Eagle Ford shale that reach under the Rio Grande and deep into Coahuila are capable of producing anywhere near the same quantities of fossil energy. Another question is whether difficult ecological conditions, particularly the scant reserves of fresh water in Mexico’s second driest state, are suitable to support intense drilling and development.

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Carlos Slim Foundation presents Mexican and Latin American Achievements in Health

6/19/15 PR Newswire

latino-healthThe Carlos Slim Foundation celebrated its annual “Awards in Health” ceremony at the Museo Soumaya on Wednesday. Dr. Mercedes Juan Lopez, Secretary of Health for Mexico, Dr. Jose Antonio Gonzalez Anaya, CEO of the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) and Dr. Jose Narro Robles, Dean of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), joined individuals from the Foundation including Mr. Carlos Slim Helu, Founder, Mr. Marco Antonio Slim Domit, President, and Dr. Roberto Tapia Conyer, Executive Director.

The event highlighted the Foundation’s diverse core health programs and important strides made during their years of operation.Marco Antonio Slim Domit stated that, “the importance of the foundation’s work is found in the benefit that is reflected by people’s health, and by discovering and implementing new and better solutions to social problems.”

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California on cusp of offering young immigrants health care

6/17/15 Washington Times

medicine healthcare - stethoscopeIn a move that adds momentum to efforts to integrate immigrants, California is on the cusp of extending state-subsidized health care coverage to children from low-income families who are in the country illegally.

Democrats, immigration groups and health care advocates celebrated the announcement as both a cost-saving move and social progress for the state’s estimated 2.5 million immigrants who are in the country illegally. Critics, however, worry that the overburdened state-funded health program can’t handle another 170,000 children.

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