Death Toll in Mexico Scaffolding Collapse Rises to 4

3/4/16 ABC News 

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Mexican authorities said Friday that four workers died when scaffolding collapsed at a cathedral under construction in the southern city of Tuxtepec.

Jaime Canseco, the head of the Tuxtepec civil defense office, said 22 people were injured, all of them construction workers. Some were dug out of the pile of wooden, cement and metal rebar left by the collapse.

Canseco said a total of 32 workers were at the construction site when the 80-foot (25-meter) tall scaffolding collapsed Thursday. All have now been accounted for.

The scaffolding had been holding up the roof form where cement was apparently being poured when the accident occurred.

Emergency personnel continued to work to remove the massive jumble of wood left on the floor of the La Barca Cathedral.

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Mexico says 11 pregnant women infected with Zika

3/1/16 Reuters

Mexico has confirmed 11 pregnant women are infected with the Zika virus, out of a total of 121 cases, the government said on Monday.

Most of the cases were identified in the southern Mexican states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, according to a health ministry report.

Eight of the pregnant women are from Chiapas, two are from Oaxaca, and one is from the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, the health ministry reported.

The number of cases of infected pregnant women has risen since mid-February, when the health ministry said there were 80 confirmed cases of Zika, including six cases of pregnant women with the virus.

Much remains unknown about Zika, including whether the virus actually causes microcephaly, a condition marked by unusually small heads that can result in developmental problems.

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Number of Zika cases rises to 93 in Mexico

2/23/16 Fox Latino

Zika virusThe number of registered cases of the Zika virus in Mexico has risen to 93, with 13 new cases diagnosed since last week, the Health Secretariat said.

Nine new cases were reported in the southeastern state of Chiapas, two in the southern state of Oaxaca, one in the southern state of Guerrero and one in the western state of Michoacan, Deputy Health Secretary Pablo Kuri said.

The focus should be on preventing the disease’s spread as the warm months approach by attacking the breeding grounds of the mosquitoes that carry the illness, Kuri said.

The Zika virus, which is mainly transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, causes fever, joint pain and rashes.

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Officials wrench control of schools back from radical union in Mexico’s restive Oaxaca state

9/4/15 US News

Student by flickr user RightIndexIt looked like a normal first day of school at Patria Libre elementary. Uniformed kids sporting brand-new backpacks with their favorite cartoon characters — Dora the Explorer, Hello Kitty, the “Frozen” heroines — reunited with classmates and sang the national anthem.

But that’s far from normal in Oaxaca, a Mexican state where teachers’ strikes and protests cost the average student 50 days out of the 200-day academic calendar last year, according to federal education officials.

Year after year, protesting teachers have blocked highways and cut off oil refineries. Residents of the capital have fled rocks and tear gas from clashes with police. And the city’s colonial plaza, one of the most picturesque in Mexico, is often filled with tent camps of demonstrators instead of tourists.

“Every year there has been a strike. … I’ve seen my kids falling behind, and we’ve had to support them at home so they can learn,” said Claudia Rodriguez Sosa, a 33-year-old mother of three students from pre- to high school.

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Mexico Takes On Militant Teachers in Oaxaca

8/20/15 The Wall Street Journaloaxaca

Mexico’s government is gaining the upper hand against a militant teacher’s group in the southern state of Oaxaca, an opponent that has long proved just as hard to corral as billionaire scofflaws and powerful drug cartels.

In recent weeks, the federal and state governments, seeking to implement a signal overhaul of education, fired and replaced some 300 members of a powerful group of dissident teachers from their management positions at Oaxaca’s education agency. The group, the National Coordinator of Educational Workers or CNTE, has for decades controlled hiring in public education there and in some of Mexico’s other poorest states, including through practices like selling teacher posts and engaging in violent and disruptive protests.

On Wednesday, pressure against the group mounted when Mexico’s attorney general office confirmed that two judges have ordered the arrest of 15 CNTE teachers in Oaxaca on charges of trying to disrupt June midterm parliamentary elections. Lawyers for the teachers say they will file for an injunction.

Mexico Education Reform: Serious Setback

6/24/15 Latinvex

education - classroomGabriel Sánchez Zinny, president of Kuepa.com: While the Mexican government and the teachers’ unions keep fighting over proposed education reforms, students’ ability to find a good job and develop a competitive skillset to prosper in their careers is being irrevocably damaged. Students from Oaxaca, where some of the main union resistance is located, and other states, will finish only 80 days of classes, compared with more than the 180 days in other countries. In an increasingly automated, on-demand sharing economy, the competition for talent in the 21st century is global, and Mexican youth will be at a clear disadvantage with respect to the their peers in other countries. Teachers’ unions and political leaders should care. As Martin Ford states in his recent book, ‘The Rise of the Robots,’ ‘as more and more routine white-collar jobs fall to automation in countries throughout the world, it seems inevitable that competition will intensify to land one of the dwindling number of positions that remain beyond the reach of the machines.’ Today, more than 70 percent of jobs require some use of technology, the contract between employer and employee is broken, and learning to adapt and change is a critical skill for moving up in an increasingly mobile labor force. In this context, Mexico, where less than 15 percent of young people graduate from university, more than 50 percent drop out of high school, and the quality of education is low, the debate between the teachers unions’ and political leaders over halting education reform sounds flawed and outdated.

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Central American migrants escape Mexico kidnapping

06/22/15 BBC

OaxacaDozens of Central American migrants say they have managed to escape from a gang that abducted them in southern Mexico.They migrants told police they had been held for hours by armed men who stopped their bus, but later fought back and broke free from their captors. Kidnappings are common in Mexico with gangs often abducting migrants and forcing them to join their ranks.Tens of thousands of migrants travel through Mexico on their way to the US every year.Many are forcibly recruited into gangs. Others are held until their families pay for their release.

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