The Xolos of Tijuana won the Mexican League championship for the first time. (The team is only five years old.)
So Tijuanans have the Xolos to thank for the much-needed good news. But what an odd mascot the Xolo is. Pronounced “cholo,” it has nothing to do with the better known East L.A. Hispanic lowrider of the same name. Xolo is short for Xoloitzcuintle, an Aztec hairless dog. Not exactly the fiercest or most athletic pick of a mascot, but very fitting for the plucky personality of this team who was all but written off at the beginning of the Mexican soccer season.
Newly inaugurated President Enrique Pena Nieto and top opposition leaders have signed an agreement to increase Mexico’s economic growth, employment and competitiveness. The leaders of the conservative National Action Party and the leftist Democratic Revolution Party joined Pena Nieto in signing the “Pact for Mexico” on Sunday. It includes measures Pena Nieto announced during his inauguration, including education reform, pensions for people 65 and older, and concessions for two new national television stations.
Arizona’s Republican governor, Jan Brewer, seemed in perfect lockstep with both her party and Mitt Romney (whom she had heartily endorsed early on) when she issued Executive Order 2012-06 three months ago. The order barred “Dreamers”—young, undocumented immigrants granted temporary relief from deportation by a new Obama administration directive—from receiving Arizona driver licenses. At the time, Brewer called Dreamers “illegal people.”
Earlier this week, those same “illegal people” slapped Brewer with a federal lawsuit. Their lawyers at the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Immigration Law Center, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund contend that Governor Jan violated the constitutional rights of certain young, non-criminal immigrants granted work permits and Social Security cards, as well as a two-year temporary reprieve from deportation, by the Obama administration’s Department of Homeland Security.
Brewer’s actions, and the lawsuit, promise to cast Arizona as an extremist state once again. What’s more, the precedent-setting class-action case will likely drag on for years and be a costly affair, since tens of thousands of Dreamers are thought to live in Arizona. Only two other states—Michigan and Nebraska—have banned qualified Dreamers from driving, and those states are not being sued, advocates say, because they may reconsider their policies.
No judgment from here on the people of Arizona, but seems fair to say that Gov. Jan Brewer is an extremist. A remarkably mean-spirited one, too. Let’s hope Arizonans figure out a way to distance themselves from her positions.
Spain is set to pass a law to give foreign homebuyers permanent residency. The financially troubled nation is following in the footsteps of Ireland and Portugal, allowing residency permits to be given to those purchasing houses over 160,000 euros ($207,000).
The New York Times said the move is an attempt to reduce the country’s bloated housing stock after a real estate bubble, which has left the country’s economy in shambles. … In Ireland and Portugal housing eligible for the deal needs to be more than 400,000 and 500,000 euros respectively … .
While most media and humanitarian attention since the 7.2 magnitude earthquake on Nov. 7 has focused on the devastated city of San Marcos, the suffering in this impoverished country is widespread. Remote, indigenous communities – already the worst off in many respects – have been hit especially hard.
“Many villages are also damaged and no one is paying attention,” said Juan Carlos Zelada, a veteran Red Cross worker in the department of Quetzaltenango. “They feel a little abandoned.” As temperatures drop below freezing in some areas, nearly 7,000 people are still living in shelters. Eight departments (areas similar to states in Guatemala) remain in a state of emergency as the government attempts to provide aid following the quake, according to the disaster relief agency CONRED.
Local Red Cross chief Amira Lucero estimates more than 500 families in this department alone need humanitarian assistance – either help rebuilding, medical and psychological attention, or basic supplies such as food and clean water. Recovery efforts are complicated by the fact that it’s difficult to know exactly what help is needed where. Many indigenous Guatemalans survive by growing their own food and have little contact with Spanish-speaking cities. About three quarters live below the poverty line, according to the World Bank.
Shortly after President Felipe Calderon took office in December 2006, he flew to a military base in his home state of Michoacan to personnally address troops he sent out to fight drug traffickers. … “New pages of glory will be written. I instruct you to persevere until victory is achieved,” he told the soldiers. “We will give no truce or quarter to the enemies of Mexico.”
This month, a beleagured-looking Calderon … went back to a military base to inaugarate a memorial for the 532 soldiers who had been killed or disapeared fighting the cartels in his term. More than 3,500 police were also murdered. The total drug war death toll was almost 60,000.
Rather than talking about pages of glory, he said the soldiers were to be remembered with “sadness and affection.” It was hard for Calderon to claim the victory he had called for.
While soldiers and police had made record drug busts and brought down 25 of 37 top kingpins, seizures and purity rates indicate that the cartels traffic as much narcotics to the United States as they did six years earlier. The shortcomings of this military offensive against drug gangs will be the resounding point in the history books on Calderon’s presidency.
Calderon has recognized that a new international debate on drug policy is needed, and his successor as president, Enrique Pena Nieto, says an international review of drug policy is more urgent than ever.
Ocean County [New Jersey] typifies what has happened along the East Coast. In 1970 it had 208,000 inhabitants; in 2010 there were 576,000, according to census data. That made the cost and extent of the damage inflicted by Sandy much greater. Nationwide, the scale and speed of the rush to the coast has been stunning. According to The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the population of coastal shore-line counties will reach 133 million by 2020, compared to 33 million in 1980. Much of the development has occurred in coastal communities most vulnerable to hurricanes and tropical storms. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, the coastal populations of states from Virginia to Texas grew 244% between 1950 and 2006.
Where is home to the largest number of Americans living abroad, as well as the world’s richest man? Which country is the United States’ third-largest foreign supplier of oil? Which nation did President George W. Bush call the U.S.’ most important bilateral partner? Which close American ally has lost some 60,000 lives in a U.S.-backed effort to combat violent crime? The answer to all of the above is Mexico.
But despite the many ties that bind the two countries, the United States’ southern neighbor barely warranted a mention during the presidential campaign, and didn’t come up once during the third “foreign policy” debate between Gov. Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama.
By the time the 2012 presidential elections are over Super PACs and nonprofits will have spent nearly $850 million. Not surprisingly, Republicans, especially GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney have been the overwhelming beneficiaries of this flood of cash. According to a joint analysis of Federal Election Commission data by the Center for Responsive Politics and the Center for Public Integrity, an estimated $577 million, or roughly 69 percent, was spent by conservative groups. That’s compared with $237 million spent by liberal groups, or about 28 percent, with the remainder expended by other organizations. Most of that spending went to the presidential race with Romney receiving an astonishing $350 million of the more than $450 million dedicated to the presidential election. The fundraising tally for the individual candidates though is quite different. The Obama campaign raised more than $632 million in the 2012 presidential election, 62 percent more than the $389 million raised by Romney.
This is no way to run a country, especially one that claims to be a democracy..