Mexico’s deputy health minister said the government had ordered 1.1 million additional death certificates be printed as several parts of the country ran out and Covid-19 cases continue to soar.
Mexico has registered over 66,000 coronavirus-related fatalities, putting it fourth in terms of Covid-19 deaths behind the U.S., Brazil and India.
The World Health Organization has also said Mexico’s cases and deaths are probably “under-recognized” due to limited testing.
Despite this scenario, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said the government’s strategy to tackle the coronavirus was “very good.”
Speaking in a press conference Friday evening, Hugo Lopez Gatell, the health official, said that some states, including Mexico state, were out of death certificates. Authorities had been working for the past two to three weeks to redistribute them from areas with larger stocks, he added.
“They almost ran out in Mexico City,” the deputy minister said. “It has been a pretty intense job.”
The new certificates started to arrive on Thursday, just before stocks from the redistribution also ran out, Lopez Gatell said. According to Health Ministry data as of Friday, Mexico reported 6,196 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 623,090. Deaths stand at 66,851.
A U.S. federal appeals court in San Francisco on Friday blocked a Trump administration policy that has forced tens of thousands of migrants to wait in Mexico for months for hearings in U.S. immigration courts.
A 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel found the plaintiffs were likely to succeed in their argument that the program violated U.S. immigration law and international treaty obligations on the treatment of asylum seekers.
The program, which began a year ago and is called the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), is one of the most dramatic immigration policy changes enacted by the Trump administration.
The U.S. Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment but the administration is likely to quickly appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court as it has done with other rulings.
Some 59,000 people have been sent back to Mexico under the program, which started in San Diego before being expanded to other ports of entry all across the U.S-Mexico border. It was not immediately clear what would happen to people already in the program.
At least 1,000 people returned under the program were violently attacked or threatened in Mexico, according to a Feb. 28 Human Rights Watch report that documented kidnappings, rapes and assaults.
The report contradicted Trump administration’s claim that the program did not violate a principle in international law known as non-refoulement, which says asylum seekers should not be returned to places where they face danger. The administration has said migrants could tell officials at any point in the process they had a fear of returning to Mexico.
But the panel concluded that plaintiffs in the case, which included 11 individual asylum seekers and several immigration advocacy groups, “had shown a likelihood of success on their claim that the MPP does not comply with the United States’ treaty-based non-refoulement obligations.”
In a separate ruling on Friday, the 9th Circuit left in place a lower court’s block on a Trump administration regulation that barred migrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border between ports of entry from seeking asylum.
A three-judge panel in that case found the regulation – issued in November 2018 and swiftly enjoined by a federal judge in the Northern District of California – conflicted with federal immigration statutes that govern asylum and amounted to “a categorical ban” on certain asylum seekers.
At least 21 people have been killed and more than 70 others injured after a explosion at a pipeline leaking fuel in central Mexico.
Locals were collecting the spilling petrol in buckets and rubbish bins when the fuel ignited on Friday, officials said.
The leak was caused by an illegal tap that fuel thieves had drilled into the pipeline in a small town in the state of Hidalgo, about 62 miles north of Mexico City, according to state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex).
Video footage showed dozens of residents near the town of Tlahuelilpan gathered to collect spilled fuel in buckets, garbage cans and other vessels.
Footage then showed flames shooting high into the air against a night sky and the pipeline ablaze while screams could be heard.
Hidalgo governor Omar Fayad said 21 people were killed immediately and 71 suffered burns in the blast at the duct that carries fuel – apparently petrol – from the Gulf coast to Tula, a city just north of Mexico City.
“Caring for the wounded is our top priority,”Mr Fayad said.
Pemex attributed the blaze to “the manipulation of an illegal tap”.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has declared an offensive against fuel theft and the blast will further focus attention on the $3 billion (£2.33bn) per-year illegal industry.
“I greatly lament the grave situation Tlahuelilpan is suffering because of the explosion of the duct,” Mr Lopez Obrador tweeted. He called on all branches of government to assist the victims.
Hidalgo state police said the leak was first reported at about 5pm local time.
“There was a report that residents were on the scene trying to obtain fuel,” according to a police report. Two hours later, the pipeline burst into flames.
And another pipeline burst into flames in the neighboring state of Queretaro, because of another illegal tap. Pemex said the fire near the city of San Juan del Rio “is in an underpopulated area and there is no risk to human beings”.
It is not the first time such an accidents have occurred.
In December 2010, authorities blamed oil thieves for a pipeline explosion in a central Mexico near the capital that killed 28 people, including 13 children.
That blast burned people and scorched homes, affecting 5,000 residents in an area six miles wide in San Martin Texmelucan.
Lopez Obrador launched an offensive against fuel theft after taking office December 1.
Thieves drilled about 12,581 illegal taps in the first 10 months of 2018 and the country has deployed 3,200 marines to guard pipelines and refineries.
The new administration has also shut down pipelines to detect and deter illegal taps, relying more on delivering fuel by tanker truck. But there are not enough trucks, and long lines at gas stations have plagued several states.
However, fuel theft gangs have been able to win the loyalty of whole neighborhoods, using free gas and getting local residents to act as lookouts and confront military patrols carrying out raids against the thefts.
As a billionaire developer, Donald Trump built casinos, luxe condo towers and lush golf courses. Now, as president, Trump aims to develop perhaps his most ambitious and surely his most contentious project yet: A wall along the nearly 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border.
How? At what cost? And who would benefit? Much remains unknown. Ultimately, though, experts say the project, if built, could deliver a windfall for some large construction companies and their suppliers.
Engineering and infrastructure companies that have worked on previous government projects could capture a chunk of the multibillion-dollar work. Among them are Kiewit and Fluor Enterprises. Subsidiaries of both have signed up as interested vendors.
But the project would likely also be stymied by the struggles that have beset the industry in recent years, notably a shortage of skilled labor and rising materials costs.
Here’s what’s known and not known about the potential effects on U.S. construction companies and workers:
The government has laid out plans to hire contractors for design and construction. Some smaller businesses would serve as subcontractors. One factor the government is to consider in choosing contractors is their track record in hiring small businesses as subcontractors and making significant use of them. The Customs and Border Protection agency has set a goal of having 38 percent of subcontracts go to small businesses.
Roughly 850 companies have expressed interest online in being vendors. Among them are self-described small, disadvantaged firms, like Nationwide Construction Services of Jacksonville, Florida, and Northwest Geotechnical Consultants of Wilsonville, Oregon. Some of the big companies include a subsidiary of the construction and engineering firm Parsons Corp. and Vulcan Materials Co., a producer of asphalt and ready-mixed concrete.
“It probably will take a really big general contractor that is used to managing multiple projects under one large umbrella and that will need many suppliers,” said Ty Gable of the National Precast Concrete Association. “It’s going to help a lot of individual suppliers along the way.”
The Trump administration has said it wants the wall to provide not only a physical barrier but also access roads, motorized vehicle gates, lighting, communication towers, ground sensors and remote video surveillance. That would mean job opportunities for companies beyond construction firms. Some that have expressed interest include Border Technology Inc. of Hereford, Arizona, whose website says it’s worked with the Border Patrol using drones and other equipment to monitor the border.
What kind of jobs will be available?
Along with engineering and design work, the project would require numerous construction and heavy machinery operators. Among the jobs: Truck drivers to ferry materials, crane operators, concrete workers, digging-equipment operators, site supervisors and general laborers. Any employees who work on-site would have to pass an immigration and criminal-history check.
Finding enough skilled laborers could be tough, though, because thousands of skilled construction workers left the industry after the housing meltdown and Great Recession a decade ago.
“It ultimately comes down to how much they’re willing to pay,”Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America, said of the contractors. “Firms would price in the difficulty of recruiting workers in their bids for doing the work.”
How much will the border wall cost?
Unclear. Trump has suggested that the project would cost $12 billion. Congressional Republicans have estimated it could go as high as $15 billion.
An internal report prepared for Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly projected the cost of building a wall along the entire U.S.-Mexico border at about $21 billion, according to a U.S. official who is involved in border issues.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the report has not been made public. An estimate by engineers at the National Precast Concrete Association puts the cost of the wall at $8 billion. This would be for a design made up of reinforced concrete panels, with some portion of the panels extending underground. Not included is the potential cost of acquiring land.
“That’s the variable that probably gets these numbers much higher than $8 billion,”Gable said.
Outgoing White House chief John Kelly said in an interview published on Sunday that U.S. President Donald Trump’s idea of building a “wall” at the Mexico border was dropped earlier.
Building a solid “wall” along the 3,200-kilometer U.S.-Mexico frontier was a central plank of Trump’s 2016 election campaign.
As a partial government shutdown entered the ninth day due to an impasse over Trump’s demands for funding the U.S.-Mexico border barrier, the president’s chief of staff gave an interview to the Los Angeles Times, and said: “To be honest, it’s not a wall.”
“The president still says ‘wall.’ Oftentimes frankly he’ll say ‘barrier’ or ‘fencing,’ now he’s tended toward steel slats,” said Kelly, adding that we left a solid concrete wall early on in the administration when we asked people what they needed and where they needed it.
However, what Kelly said seems in contradiction with what Trump has done. In 2018 alone, Trump has tweeted about the “wall” almost 100 times.
“Either we build (finish) the wall or we close the border,” Trump, who has adopted the 2020 re-election mantra “promises made, promises kept”posted on Friday.
As a former Marine general who led the military command responsible for Latin America, Kelly was Trump’s Homeland Security secretary before becoming White House chief of staff in July 2017.
His relationship with the president has reportedly deteriorated, and he is set to be replaced by Mick Mulvaney, the current budget director.
A group of Central American migrants look for a spot to cross the U.S.-Mexico border fence from Tijuana into the U.S.,December 30, 2018. /VCG Photo
“Illegal immigrants, overwhelmingly, are not bad people,” said Kelly in the interview, adding that many had been manipulated by traffickers.
“I have nothing but compassion for them, the young kids.”
The remarks were in sharp contrast to the rhetoric of the president who takes a hard line on immigration.
Trump has spoken of an “invasion” of migrants and complained of “many gang members and some very bad people” among a thousand-strong caravan of immigrants that traveled to the U.S. in October.
Mexico suffered one of its worst losses on 24 December, 2018, when a husband-and-wife political-power couple who hold positions as the current and ex-governors of the central Mexican state of Puebla died in a Christmas Eve helicopter crash.
Image: Gov. Martha Erika Alonso and ex-Gov. Rafael Moreno Valle
Official announcement from the government confirmed that ex-Governor Rafael Moreno Valle was currently a federal senator for the National Action Party.
Mexico’s political class was stunned by the deaths of Gov. Martha Erika Alonso and her husband Rafeal who, as a prominent figure in the opposition National Action Party, had vied unsuccessfully for the party’s presidential nomination and its internal leadership.
In addition to the political juggernauts, 2 pilots and a third passenger also died.
The Agusta 109 helicopter fell about 10 minutes after taking off from a heliport within the city of Puebla on a flight to Mexico City, AP reported.
It crashed in the municipality of Santa Maria Coronango, which is about 3.5 miles (5.5 kilometers) north of the city’s main airport on the western outskirts, federal Public Security Secretary Alfonso Durazo told a news conference.
Images of the crash showed a shattered, still smoldering aircraft on the edge of a scorched patch of cornfield.
Police and rescue personnel stand at the scene where the helicopter transporting Martha Erika Alonso, governor of the state of Puebla, and his husband Senator Rafel Moreno Valle crashed, in Coronango, Puebla Mexico, December 24, 2018. REUTERS/Imelda Medina
Both federal and state officials said they had opened investigations into the cause — a potentially sensitive case because President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s Morena party had challenged the validity of Alonso’s election in July. She was sworn in 10 days ago after independent electoral authorities dismissed the challenge.
State spokesman Maximiliano Cortazar demanded a “transparent, impartial and independent” investigation.
Lopez Obrador expressed his “deepest condolences” via Twitter to the family of on Monday evening.
Moreno Valle governed the central state from 2011 to 2017 and was currently a federal senator. Opponents alleged that he had manipulated the election to hand power to his wife.
Government agencies and scores of officials, including former President Enrique Pena Nieto, also expressed condolences via statements and social media.
US President Donald Trump has been pushing for the government spending bill which would include funding for the construction of a wall on the Mexican border, which became a stumbling block in approving the government budget and led to the third shutdown this year.
A recent tweet that the US president posted on his official account showed a picture of the border wall made up of a paling and a car standing in front of it. Trump stated that such a design of the barrier would be “totally effective while at the same time beautiful”.
Some netizens have “updated” the presidential design, adding several touches to the picture.
Trump has been advocating for harsh anti-immigration policies since his presidential campaign and has repeatedly stated that he would risk a government shutdown for the sake of the construction of the wall on the Mexican border.
In January 2017, Trump signed an executive order that initiated the process of building the wall. The Trump administration has requested $5 billion for the project in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) budget, a request that Democrats and some Republicans oppose.
Rafael Márquez is playing his fifth World Cup for Mexico, an achievement which the country, football team and fans consider an honorable service from the humble, dedicated, and hardworking footballer, yet, his reputation is suffering stains from an alleged relationship with a drug cartel.
Image: Rafael Márquez
Rafael, 39, represented Mexico at the 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014 and currently wears the captain’s armband at the ongoing 2018 World Cup in Russia.
In one of the World Cup’s biggest stories, top sponsors of the global football tournament boycotted Rafael, who is undergoing scrutiny for his connection to a prominent drug lord. American companies are facing up to $10 million fines if they engage with the Mexico international footballer. He denied the accusations leveled against him and proper trials are yet to take place. However, his investments in the US and other assets with ties to American companies in Mexico have been frozen.
Once considered an icon of the round leather game, Rafael’s dignity, and the inspiration he once offered to aspiring footballers have waned. He played a crucial role in Mexico’s victory over Germany last Sunday and is, unarguably, Mexico’s best player of time.
Rafael, who has been on a blacklist held by the US treasury department, was a 15-minute substitute against Germany but required a quick escape from the pitch at full time to avoid getting next to a sponsor’s logo. Representatives of American companies will face prison sentences of up to 30 years if they interact with the accused person in Russia.
The former Barcelona player now wears his training strip with no adverts. FIFA also warned against reporters interviewing Rafael during the World Cup and he cannot stand next to those mandatory Perspex boards decorated with logos from sponsors of the football competitions. In addition, he will never win a Man of the Match award sponsored by Budweiser beer, one of the none-American companies marketing their products at Russia 2018.
According to Rafael’s lawyer, the legendary defender will never play on US soil unless he comes clean of the charges, The Los Angeles Timesreported.
Rafa, as the Mexican football icon is also known, has denied claims that he is among a group of three prominent representatives holding assets for Raul Flores Hernandez, a drug kingpin who reportedly has links to the dreaded Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation drug cartels.
‘I am not guilty of the charges lined up against me…I categorically deny having any with the named organizations and the referred events,’ Rafael said after learning of the blacklist.
The accused footballer agreed not to received salaries for his services to Mexico at the World Cup, New York Times reported.
‘I can’t believe that the authorities allowed a footballer accused of supporting drug crimes and laundering money…He should not be playing at a World Cup as if nothing happened,’ Raúl Rodriguez, a 32-year-old chef in Mexico City told the news outlet.
‘This nonsense only happens here in Mexico…If the crime was committed by “an ordinary citizen,” that person should be rotting in jail by now.’
Nonetheless, the Mexico national team captain has support from others who see him as innocent until proven guilty. Ahead of the World Cup kick-off, Rafael and his team personally presented one of their green jerseys to President Enrique Peña Nieto, who also stands accused on corruption – in the media.
Speaking to newsmen on the alleged drug ties, a 43-year-old salesman in Mexico City who identified himself as Armando Diaz said: ‘Rafa is the soul Mexico’s national team, and if he is in trouble with the United States, we don’t give a f***ing hoot.
‘If there’s any such issues with the authorities, they can be solved after the World Cup…We need the Mexican team to concentrate and win its games.’
Rafael became the World Cup’s oldest player with his appearance against Germany, and Puma, his personal sponsor, celebrated the achievement with a post on Twitter:
He is lucky to have backup from Puma, a sportswear company based in Herzogenaurach, Germany, with no threats from its sponsorship like other American-based companies like Coca-Cola and Visa that have huge stakes at the World Cup.
American citizens who are planning to leave for Mexico or reside in the country have been warned by the U.S. State Department which issued a new travel warning last Tuesday.
The warning highlighted America’s growing restiveness which has seen violence and crime reach a shocking rate in recent months.
According to the official update, a wave of insecurity is surging throughout the country, and American citizens are increasingly falling victims of violent crimes such as armed robbery, kidnapping, homicide and carjacking.
The US State Department pointed out some instances where criminals have engaged security operatives in gun battles at public places during the day and at nights.
Carjackers also pose huge threats to everyone as any unsuspecting pedestrian could get involved in a hit-and-run accident because such criminals often speed off the road at neck-breaking speeds.
All U.S. citizens who intend visiting to some notable tourist attractions in specific regions of the country, including two popular tourist destinations — Cancun and Los Cabos — are warned to apply caution.
The latest travel warning comes after an advisory was issued last month detailing the risk of consuming low-quality or tainted alcohol.
In July, after investigating a Wisconsin woman’s death over possibly tainted alcohol in Mexico, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel received accounts from more than three dozen people who said they also might have consumed tainted alcohol in all-inclusive resorts.
“Following these reports and in consultation with our Posts in Mexico, we updated our Country Specific Information for Mexico to provide updated safety information regarding potentially tainted alcohol,” the department official said in the email to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
An American teenager is facing up to 20 years in prison for smuggling a Bengal tiger into the United States.
The California resident who was arraigned on Thursday told a judge that he bought his ferocious pet on the streets of Tijuana in Mexico, an infamous location where several endangered animals were spotted earlier this year.
Border patrol officials testified that Luis Eudoro Valencia was caught with the animal on Wednesday.
Image taken Aug. 23, 2017 was released by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The picture shows an agent holding a male tiger cub which they confiscated at the U.S. border crossing at Otay Mesa southeast of downtown San Diego early Wednesday.
In co-operation with the San Diego Zoo, officials from U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service took custody of the cub and are jointly taking care of it.
Valencia, an American citizen, had carefully hidden the angry cub on the floor of a car traveling from Mexico to California on that day.
Speaking at a court trial, the suspect who lives in Perris, confessed to buying the Bengal tiger for $300.
The unidentified seller was described as someone he met in the Mexican border area with a giant tiger on a leash.
Valencia, an 18-year-old with a driver’s licence, was caught with the dangerous pet during an inspection at San Diego’s Otay Mesa border crossing, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said.
A similar incident occurred earlier in January this year when police in Mexico were informed of a man walking with a full-sized tiger on a dog leash in Tijuana, the location where Valencia bought his cub.
Following the tip-off from residents, Mexican authorities discovered that the man’s four-month-old tiger had been living together with his children at a private home. The animal was seized.
In April, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that Mexican officials seized a nine-month-old Bengal tiger in Tijuana after the cub fell from a third-floor terrace onto a neighbor’s patio.
After the seizure, officials said the tiger was in good health despite falling from such height.
Mexican drug lords are notorious for keeping big cats as pets.
However, the government 2015 enactment which prohibited such “luxuries” has seen drug bosses trying to sell off or discard those exotic animals.
All species of tigers are protected under the Endangered Species Act.
Importing an endangered species into the United States requires a permit from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and a declaration filed with the agency.
Prosecutors say Valencia committed a serious offense for lacking both declaration documents and an official permit to own such animals.
He was released on a $10,000 bond and ordered to appear for a preliminary hearing on September 5 at San Diego’s federal court.
A Mexican man whose massive penis measures 18.9 inches has rejected suggestions for a penile reduction surgery. He is said to be obsessed with his most-prized possession, and wouldn’t want doctors tampering with it.
The well-endowed South American has retained his position as the world’s “luckiest man”. Pictures don’t lie, do they?.
This man boasts of the world’s “most massive and longest penis.” Guess what, he’s very proud of his tool and doesn’t even want you to cry for him or wonder who the lucky woman could be.
“The Ladies’ Man,” as you’re free to call him, looks like an unarmed soldier who goes into a battle field without guns or bombs. His supernatural powers is sure to make any unsuspecting woman lose consciousness at first sight.
Don’t think he’s a soldier because can’t even do push-ups.
The 18.9 inches manhood sleeps on its own pillow to ease off the pain.
Doctors revealed the penile extension strategy which resulted in this massive penis. He has been stretching his tool with weights since he was a teen.
*Don’t try this at home! You may end up dead.
According to a report from The Sun, this proud 54-year-old has severally rejected offers to get him under the knife. He says “NO” like his life depends on it.
This well-endowed man whose names are Roberto Esquivel Cabrera told reporters that he will never give a second thought to surgeries, even if it means going without sex forever. He just won’t let anyone reduce that thing.
Roberto is from Saltillo, a location in Mexico. He smashed Guinness World Record after his manhood was measured and confirmed to be 18.9 inches, but the organization is yet to grant him the recognition he desires.
An American actor named Jonah Falcon was the previous record holder. His tool lost to Roberto’s with over 5 inches.
Falcon’s penis was 9.5 inches when flaccid and 13.5 inches when aroused.
“I am famous because I have the biggest penis in the world,” Roberto bragged in an interview with Barcroft TV.
Sadly for our “manly man,” he is yet to get an award for his abundant blessings.
Guinness World Records seem to be biased or rather offline at this time, but thanks to the media, Roberto may soon get a certificate – and the woman he desires.
“I would like to be in the Guinness Book of Records but they don’t recognize this record,” he said.
You wouldn’t dare think other men dream to be like Roberto, not even “yours truly” – unless that qualifies him a religious head or a spiritual leader.
Unfortunately, a team of doctors who belong to a medical community have asked him to consider a free penile reduction but his confidence remains strong.
A doctor named Jesus David Gonzalez said: “We have advised him, ‘Mr Roberto, the best thing for you is that the doctors give a normal shape to your penis so that it doesn’t hurt you, in order to have sexual relationships, in order to have children.
“But he doesn’t accept it, he’d rather have a penis bigger than the rest of the people, saying ‘I’m happy with my penis, I know nobody has the size I have.'”
Roberto sees his advisers as evil men who won’t stop at anything to take his joy away.
Are the doctors being jealous or mindful of what harm he might face in the future with his bing bang bang penis.
Dr. Gonzalez continued: “In Latin culture whoever has the bigger penis is more macho.
“It’s something that makes him different to the rest of the people and makes him feel special.
“He was obsessed with the penis length.
“He began with this enlargement since he was a teenager, wrapping some bands around his penis with some weights and trying to stretch it.”
If you have any advise for Roberto “The Ladies’ Man,” kindly send in your comments.