As Mexico debates giving the military more power, a judge asks why soldiers gunned down 22 people

8/17/2017 Los Angeles Times 

As Mexican lawmakers debate expanding the role of the military in the country’s drug war, a judge has ordered a new probe into whether army commanders ordered soldiers to shoot 22 people in a 2014 incident described by human rights advocates as an extrajudicial massacre.

The federal judge, whose July 31 ruling became public this week, said the federal attorney general’s office failed to fully investigate a military order issued before the killing that instructed soldiers to “shoot down criminals in hours of darkness.”

Initially, the army described the shooting deaths at a warehouse in Tlatlaya, about 100 miles southwest of Mexico City, as the result of a fierce gun battle with an armed gang. But news reports and the testimony of survivors later suggested that the army had executed at least a dozen people at point blank range, including several who had already surrendered to an army patrol or who lay wounded.

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What you need to know about NAFTA as it goes through a quarter-life crisis

8/18/2017 The Washington Post

Clinton signing NAFTA

NAFTA: The trade pact has stirred debate and controversy for more than two decades.

President Trump used the North American Free Trade Agreement as a lightning rod during his election campaign last year. At his rallies, Trump called the trade pact — which eliminated almost all tariffs and other trade barriers between the United States, Mexico and Canada — a disaster, the worst trade deal in U.S. history. NAFTA, he said, had spurred the decline in the U.S. manufacturing industry and encouraged a wave of illegal immigration from Mexico. As president, he came ever so close to terminating the agreement in April.

Yet while NAFTA looms large in political rhetoric, most Americans probably couldn’t tell you who wrote the pact and why, what’s at stake in its renegotiation and how profoundly it has already influenced their lives.

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The North American Free-Trade Agreement renegotiation begins via @TheEconomist

8/17/2017 The Economist 

THE North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a 23-year-old trade deal between America, Mexico and Canada, is being revamped. On August 16th, after months of threats, taunts and tweets, the first round of talks started in Washington. The negotiators face a daunting challenge, straddling domestic and foreign policy. They must please their political masters while grappling with devilishly detailed policy problems. If they fail, it will not be for lack of experience. The professionals are in the room.

This negotiation will be more tense than most. Participation in trade talks is usually by mutual consent. In this one, President Donald Trump is trying to hold his trade partners hostage, by threatening to withdraw from the original deal if a better one cannot be agreed on. That such an outcome would also hurt America does not make the exercise any easier.

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Canada and Mexico play defence on Nafta’s future

8/18/2017 Financial Times 

There are many areas — tax cuts, infrastructure spending, healthcare — in which Donald Trump’s grandiose plans have come to nothing. Thus far, the same is true of one of the US president’s foremost obsessions, trade — and specifically, attempting to redress the US deficit with individual countries by changing the rules of trade. Mr Trump has failed to carry out threats to put currency tariffs on China, or to punish US companies that have created jobs overseas. And having made a great song and dance about taking on Beijing, this week’s vaunted announcement about China’s intellectual property violations turned out to be an investigation that is likely to stretch well into next year.

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Jailed former Mexican governor starts hunger strike over ‘witch hunt’

08/17/2017 Reuters

DuarteMEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Former Mexican governor Javier Duarte, in jail awaiting trial on graft charges, has embarked on a hunger strike to protest the “witch hunt” against him, according to a letter he wrote that was published by local TV on Thursday.

Javier Duarte, who until last year governed the Gulf coast state of Veracruz for President Enrique Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), is suspected of siphoning off millions of dollars during his tenure.

Duarte, who was extradited last month from Guatemala where he had fled to, has denied any wrongdoing.

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Ex-Pemex CEO denies funneling Odebrecht bribes to Pena Nieto campaign

08/17/2017 Reuters

corruptionMEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Emilio Lozoya, the former head of Mexican oil firm Pemex, on Thursday denied he was involved in shifting cash to President Enrique Pena Nieto’s campaign, saying bank accounts where millions of dollars were allegedly deposited were not his.

In a nearly hour-long news conference after appearing at the attorney general’s office in Mexico City, Pena Nieto ally Lozoya rejected claims published by Brazil’s O Globo newspaper that he had taken $10 million in bribes in 2012 from a former executive at Odebrecht SA, Latin America’s biggest construction firm, in return for a refinery contract.

Odebrecht is involved in a sprawling corruption saga in which has already paid $3.5 billion in settlements in the United States, Brazil and Switzerland, embroiling politicians across Latin America.

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Despite legal victory, America Movil may face tough ride with regulator

08/17/2018 Reuters

The America Movil logo is seen at the reception area in the company's offices in Mexico City
The America Movil logo is seen on the wall of the reception area in the company’s corporate offices in Mexico City August 12, 2015. REUTERS/Henry Romero

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Despite a landmark Supreme Court ruling in his favor, Mexican mogul Carlos Slim shouldn’t break out the champagne just yet.

Mexico’s top court ruled unanimously on Wednesday that America Movil (AMXL.MX), Slim’s telecommunications juggernaut, should not be barred by law from charging its competitors interconnection fees.

The decision weakened a key pillar of a 2014 sector reform designed to curb the dominance of America Movil, which was created from a state monopoly and still holds about two-thirds of mobile subscriptions in Mexico.

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