Mexico Watches Out for Banned Steroid Clenbuterol in Food

4/27/2016 The New York Times 

CH_cow_2_croppedMEXICO CITY — Mexico is watching out for the banned steroid clenbuterol — on the dinner plates of its athletes.

Ranchers in Mexico have been known to feed clenbuterol to livestock to help increase meat yields, even though it is prohibited.

Mexico’s national sports commission, Conade, said Wednesday that coaches are keeping a special watch on meat supplied to athletes ahead of the Rio de Janeiro Olympic games.

“We should be conscious and careful about the kind of meat that is selected” for athletes, said Conade director Alfredo Castillo. He said organic beef, chicken, fish and pork could be explored for somewhat safer alternatives.

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Mexico’s Self-Image Problem

04/25/2016 The New York Times

mexican flagDURING my many years as a correspondent in Mexico, some of my best reporting happened around dinner tables. So on a recent trip back, I dined with a range of old contacts to catch up on how Mexico was handling its most pressing challenges, like the 2014 student massacre in southern Mexico, which shocked the world and ignited protests across the country.

But all anyone wanted to talk about was Donald Trump.

My dinner companions were not alone in their fixation. About a week later, the Mexican government announced that it was shaking up its diplomatic corps to address the anti-Mexico rhetoric spewing from the Trump campaign, which a Mexican official told The Washington Post threatened to “damage the image of Mexico in the United States.”

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The latest data breach involves the voting records of 93.4 million Mexican citizens

4/23/2016 Yahoo News

security_lockYet another data breach has grabbed international headlines, and this one involves the voting registration records of some 93.4 million Mexican citizens. On April 14, Chris Vickery of MacKeeper discovered that he was able to access a tome of information, including names, birth dates, home addresses, ID numbers, and more, all on an unprotected Amazon cloud server. In a blog post, he noted that he immediately contacted both American and Mexican authorities (the U.S. State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Mexican Embassy in Washington), whereupon the database was removed from the public domain eight days later on April 22.

In disclosing the enormous breach, Vickery wrote, “In my hands is something dangerous. It is proof that someone moved confidential government data out of Mexico and into the United States. It is a hard drive with 93.4 million downloaded voter registration records — The Mexican voter database.”

The database, the security expert says, “was configured purely for public access.” He adds that he has “no clue” as to why. “Under Mexican law, these files are ‘strictly confidential,’ carrying a penalty of up to 12 years in prison for anyone extracting this data from the government for personal gain.” Vickery blogged. And needless to say, this was a serious security meltdown.

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The state of violence against women in Mexico Maria Murriel, GlobalPost 6:52 a.m. EDT April 25, 2016

4/25/2016 USA Today

Marcha_de_las_putas_en_Costa_Rica,_2011_-10Tourists found dead. Video cameras filming under skirts. An attempt to take off a woman’s underwear mid-stride. And a “pandemic” of femicide — all in Mexico.

For these reasons and many others, a group of women in Mexico organized a state-wide day of action against sexual violence.

Nos Queremos Vivas, “we want to stay alive,” set off a march through the State of Mexico on April 24. Several women’s rights groups signed on to the campaign, many via images shared on social media with the hashtag #24A or #NosQueremosVivas.

Mexico proposes raising limit on marijuana for personal use

4/22/16 CBS news

marijuanaMEXICO CITY — Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said Thursday he will ask Congress to raise the limit on decriminalized marijuana for personal use to 28 grams, or about one ounce.

Previously, only possession of five grams, or less than a fifth of an ounce, were exempted from prosecution.

“This means that consumption would no longer be criminalized,” Pena Nieto said. Possession of larger amounts would be punishable under drug trafficking laws.

“We Mexicans know all too well the range and the defects of prohibitionist and punitive policies, and of the so-called war on drugs that has prevailed for 40 years,” Pena Nieto said. “Our country has suffered, as few have, the ill effects of organized crime tied to drug trafficking.”

“Fortunately, a new consensus is gradually emerging worldwide in favor of reforming drug policies,” he said. “A growing number of countries are strenuously combating criminals, but instead of criminalizing consumers, they offer them alternatives and opportunities.”

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U.S.-Mexico Teamwork Where the Rio Grande Is but a Ribbon

4/22/16 New York Times

Rio_grandeBIG BEND NATIONAL PARK, Tex. — There are places in the desert canyons of far West Texas where the border between the United States and Mexico amounts to an olive-green ribbon of water, so shallow that canoes scrape to a halt on the rocks. Here the Rio Grande — the border that has separated the two countries since 1848, with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo — narrows to a pinch. At times it is as wide as a school bus is long. At other times it is not even that wide. An owl can make the crossing with one or two flaps of its wings.

In these remote places in Big Bend National Park, the Rio Grande seems void of any power to divide. There are no boundary lines, no signs, no walls, no border agents on either side. To journey here to the vast, empty canyons of West Texas is to watch the border itself all but vanish as a physical and political space, an extraordinary feat in these times when the notion of the border often seems more a political construct than a geographic one.

Consider Los Diablos and the cane burns of the Rio Grande that played out this month. Los Diablos are a team of Mexican firefighters who are part of a group of Mexicans and Americans including firefighters, conservationists and park rangers. They travel along the most desolate stretches of the river not to put out fires, but to set them in a controlled burn meticulously planned to kill giant cane, a tall bamboo-style invasive grass that grows in dense patches on both sides of the river. The cane chokes and helps narrow the flow of the Rio Grande, which contributes to the frequency of flooding and to the burying of habitats for native plants and fish.

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Mexico explosion: Families demand answers over deadly blast

4/22/16 BBC News

5337912858_1b19aea036_mRelatives of workers inside a petrochemical plant that exploded in Mexico are demanding answers from managers over what happened.

The blast hit the facility in the southern city of Coatzacoalcos in Veracruz state on Wednesday. The cause of the explosion is unclear.

The death toll reached 24 on Thursday, with another 13 still seriously hurt.

Dozens of family members gathered near the gates of the plant to demand talks with plant bosses.

Some tried to force their way into the compound, the Associated Press news agency reported.

Mexico’s state oil company Pemex raised the death toll late on Wednesday, and said 19 people remained in hospital.

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