Mexican Inmates Accused of Telephone Fraud in US

4/10/2017 New York Times

using smartphoneMEXICO CITY — Inmates at a Mexican prison made extortion telephone calls to Mexicans living in several U.S. cities, often claiming to be relatives, prosecutors said Monday.

Jalisco state prosecutor Eduardo Almaguer said the fraudulent phone calls targeted Mexicans living in Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago and cities in Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee and elsewhere.

Almaguer said a group of about 10 inmates made the calls using prohibited cellphones.

There is a technique used in Mexico to make fake kidnap calls in which a muffled or indistinct cry for help convinces some people that a relative is in danger. A voice then demands that money be sent or transferred. The calls often come from inside prisons and while many hang up or report the “virtual kidnappings” some people fall for them. Family members or confederates outside the prison can collect the transferred money.

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Fitch: Mexico Fintech Law Could Mitigate Operational Risks

4/10/2017 Reuters

(Fitch) Mexico’s draft financial technology (fintech) regulation law, if passed, has the potential to reduce operational risk, enhance transparency and improve security for borrowers and lenders over time, according to Fitch Ratings. The fintech law, which was distributed by the regulator to select industry participants for discussion in March 2017, could mark a step forward in developing a comprehensive regulatory framework for the sector. Furthermore, it has the potential to alter the competitive landscape and broad market dynamics over the medium-term qualitative aspects that Fitch uses when assigning ratings based on the banks’ intrinsic profile. These changes would have implications for banks and nonbank financial institutions (NBFIs) that have been increasing their exposure to fintech firms through equity investments, joint ventures and participation in start-ups. Fitch believes Mexico has significant growth opportunities for fintech considering the country’s large size, high rate of penetration of mobile phones and internet and substantial unbanked population. The proliferation of fintech firms reflects this. Mexico has among the largest fintech sectors in Latin America, including around 150-180 start-ups that focus on a wide range of services including payments and remittances, crowdfunding, marketplace lending and financial management. Traditional banks and NBFIs have also recognized the potential growth opportunities through fintech and have been increasing their participation in the sector.

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Silicon Valley’s Trump Scare Spurs Bold Bid by Mexico’s Tech Hub

4/3/2017 Bloomberg Technology

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Flickr/Artistóteles Sandoval

There’s a tech-loving governor in Mexico who sees opportunity in the hassles the Trump administration might create for companies eager to hire foreign engineers and coders: He’ll find cubicles for them.

Aristoteles Sandoval has been making his pitch to Silicon Valley, selling what he considers the world’s second-best technology nerve center to the likes of Facebook Inc. and Tesla Inc. If you can’t import the talent you need, Sandoval has been telling them, there’s a way around the problem in Guadalajara. After all, most of the big companies have research centers, factories or satellite offices in the picturesque city. Why not park your non-American workers a four-hour flight from San Francisco?

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Also Made in Mexico: Lifesaving Medical Devices

3/31/2017 New York Times

hospitalTIJUANA, Mexico — The North American Free Trade Agreement has transformed this sprawling border town from gritty party spot to something entirely different: a world capital of medical devices.

Trucks choke boulevards lined with factories, many bearing the names of American-run companies: Medtronic, Hill-Rom, DJO Global and Greatbatch Medical. Inside, Mexican workers churn out millions of medical devices each day, from intravenous bags to artificial respirators, for the global market.

Nearly everyone in America who has a pacemaker — in fact, people all over the world — walks around with parts from here.

When President Trump threatens to redo trade deals and slap steep taxes on imports in an effort to add more manufacturing jobs, he focuses largely on car companies and air-conditioner makers. But the medical devices business makes a particularly revelatory case study of the difficulties of untangling global trade.

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Youth-Created Apps Look to Boost Debate on Corruption in Mexico

3/19/2017 teleSUR

using smartphoneTeaching kids anti-corruption values, comparing politicians and reporting corrupt public works? In Mexico, there’s an app for that.

Three new innovative apps are hoping to promote a debate about corruption in Mexico and urging citizens to take part to checking abuses of power before they happen.

Caza Corruptos, Ligue Politico and Obra Chueca were all developed by Mexican youth and won 2016 Anti-Corruption Innovation Prizes in a contest organized by Opciona and Telefonica Open Future.

Winning the prize for best conceptual idea, Caza Corruptos — which roughly translates to “corruption hunting” — is a game app geared toward children between 7 and 12 years of age with the aim of teaching the value of transparency and honesty in a playful way.

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Mexico may force Slim’s America Movil to separate fixed unit

2/28/2017 Reuters

carlos slimMexico’s telecoms regulator has discussed forcing billionaire Carlos Slim to legally separate part of his fixed-line unit Telmex from the rest of the company, people familiar with the matter said, a move that would intensify antitrust rules against the company.

Late on Monday, the regulator’s seven-person board voted on whether to toughen, maintain or loosen rules against America Movil (AMXL.MX) and broadcaster Grupo Televisa (TLVACPO.MX), according to the three people, who declined to be named as deliberations were not public.

Reuters could not confirm whether they decided to force Slim’s company to separate off part of Telmex. However, two of the sources said they expected the proposal was on the table.

Representatives of America Movil and Televisa declined to comment. A spokesman for the regulator confirmed there was a board meeting on Monday but declined to elaborate.

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Mexico Regulator Plans Vote on America Movil, Televisa Rules

2/27/2017 New York Times

televisa-logoMEXICO CITY — Mexico’s telecommunications regulator plans to discuss and vote later on Monday on the antitrust rules in place against Carlos Slim’s America Movil and broadcaster Grupo Televisa, three people familiar with the matter said.

The measures were part of a sweeping reform of the sector sought by President Enrique Pena Nieto’s government to reign in the country’s telecoms and broadcasting oligopolies.

The rules are revised periodically to see whether the board wants to toughen, maintain or loosen regulations based on how markets are evolving.

A spokesman for regulator the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) said a board meeting was planned for Monday, but did not confirm what the topic would be.

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