MEXICO CITY

An earthquake has caused tall buildings to sway in the Mexican capital, prompting some office workers to evacuate.

There is no immediate word of any damage or injuries related to the Monday afternoon quake.

Mexico City is built on a former lakebed, meaning earthquakes even far away are felt strongly there.

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Officials say homicides in Mexico rose by 9.7% in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the same period of 2018. The 8,493 killings in the first three months of 2019 are the most on record for the period.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says he wants to reduce violence through social programs and a new militarized police force known as the National Guard. He says effects should be felt in about six months.

Lopez Obrador said Monday that Mexico is “starting to stabilize, so that violence won’t continue to grow at the same rate.” But he noted “it’s going to take some time.”

The rate did appear to slow; homicides were up by 11% and 16% in January and February respectively, but rose only 2.7% in March.

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Police in eastern Mexico say gunmen broke into a family party and opened fire, killing 13 people and wounding at least four others.

The Veracruz state Public Security Department says seven men, five women and a child were killed in the Friday night attack at an events hall in the oil city of Minatitlan near the Gulf of Mexico.

A department statement says the attackers asked for a man called “El Beky,” who apparently owns a bar in the city. It’s not clear if he was among the dead. Officials say they don’t yet know a motive for the shooting.

Federal and state police set up checkpoints in the region to help in the search for the attackers.

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Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has ordered his Cabinet ministers to ignore the education reforms put in place by the previous administration while congress tries to work out replacement legislation.

López Obrador sent a memorandum Tuesday saying the reforms he promised to repeal upon taking office should no longer guide government actions. He said congress is trying to reach consensus with teacher unions and parents on new legislation.

His instructions also said the treasury ministry will control the teachers’ payroll.

The constitutional reforms passed under President Enrique Peña Nieto aimed to modernize Mexico’s public education system and take control from the powerful teachers’ unions.

Former supreme court justice José Ramón Cossío said via Twitter that López Obrador’s move would be easily challenged in court.

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Mexico’s domestic intelligence agency was once so paranoid it even spied on members of the former ruling party.

One such member was current President Andres Manuel López Obrador, who previously belonged to the Institutional Revolutionary Party.

The government released Tuesday a trove of old intelligence documents drawn up by spies in 1979 and 1980 from the now-extinct Federal Security Department. A few claimed López Obrador was a local leader of the Mexican Communist Party.

López Obrador left the PRI party in 1988 and won the presidency last year.

Upon taking office, he opened up old intelligence archives from the dissolved agency.

The president has said: “I was not a member of the Communist Party, but I did support social activists.”

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Municipal authorities in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas have tried to block a caravan of about 2,000 Central American migrants from entering the town of Huixtla.

The Huixtla government declared an emergency Monday night and told stores to close when the migrants streamed in anyway.

Members of the caravan pushed past police and headed for the town center, although authorities wanted them to stay at an improvised shelter farther away.

The municipality said in a taped statement that “the majority of the people coming are not coming peacefully, as we might have hoped.”

Officials also told people to stay indoors, warning the migrants were a threat to safety.

The town’s cold reception contrasts with the warm welcome it gave to caravans just last year.

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Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission is calling for protective measures and government action for more than 8,800 migrants moving in various groups through the south of the country.

In a statement Monday, the commission tallied five groups of migrants from various countries spread across several towns in the southern state of Chiapas. Some have been stuck in the area for several weeks while the most recent arrivals just crossed from Guatemala.

The commission says many of the migrants are not being given information about their applications for humanitarian visas or transit permits and lack adequate medical care.

Some 3,200 of the migrants are in the town of Mapastepec and have been told by authorities they may have to wait up to six months to have their paperwork to continue.

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Officials confirmed the discovery of up to 45 bodies at clandestine burial sites in Mexico, with an estimated 30 cadavers found in one spot in the northern state of Sonora and 15 buried under the patio of a multifamily house on the outskirts of Guadalajara in Jalisco state.

The Sonora state prosecutor’s office said in a statement Saturday that it had sent forensics experts to accompany a volunteer search group that helped discover what was estimated to be 27 sets of human remains in a field near the city of Cajeme. Late Sunday, the volunteer group, Guerreras Buscadoras (Warrior Searchers), said it had found three more sets of remains.

The group is comprised of mostly women who organize their own digging teams for missing relatives in the face of official inaction.

“The Warrior Searchers are not alone in their hope of finding their loved ones, the Sonora prosecutors’ office is accompanying them,” the office said.

Clandestine burial sites have often been used by drug cartels in Mexico to hide the bodies of executed rivals or kidnap victims. While hundreds of such sites date back to the 2010-2016 drug war, some are more recent.

Volunteer searchers often act on tips about where burial grounds are located and then walk through fields plunging rods into the earth to detect the telltale odor of decomposing bodies.

On Monday, prosecutors in Jalisco said they were led to the patio burial site in Zapopan, a suburb of Guadalajara, earlier this month by an anonymous tip that bodies might be buried there. Jalisco state prosecutor Gerardo Solis said that the process of finding the bodies of one woman and 14 men had taken more than a week and that the cadavers had apparently been buried weeks ago.

Solis said neighbors had reported that the property — a kind of low-income, multifamily dwelling known in Mexico as a “vecinidad,” where people often live in single rooms — had been used as a site for drug sales.

Disputes between drug cartels frequently result in the killings of a large number of low-level drug dealers.

After declining some, homicides in Mexico have risen to higher levels than the previous peak year of 2011 and violence remains a serious problem.

On Sunday, in central Guanajuato state, the Red Cross chapter in the city of Salamanca briefly suspended operations after a gang dragged a wounded patient out of an ambulance at gunpoint.

The government of the state of Guanajuato said that state or local police will accompany Red Cross ambulances “on the high risk or high-impact calls” — presumably calls related to gunshot victims.

The Red Cross chapter for Guanajuato shuttered operations in the city of 270,000, which has been plagued by violence between fuel theft gangs due to its gasoline refinery, but later resumed ambulance service.

In a statement, the Mexican Red Cross said it “is an impartial and neutral institution before all conflicts and its purpose is to relieve human suffering,” adding the “#We are not part of the conflict” hashtag.

Earlier this month, a woman with gunshot wounds was executed inside an ambulance in Mexico’s Pacific state of Guerrero, and paramedics were reportedly beaten by the perpetrators.

And last week, the Roman Catholic archdiocese of the central state of Puebla said in a statement that Rev. Ambrosio Arellano Espinoza, a 78-year-old priest, was apparently tortured during a robbery attempt. It said he had been found with severe burns on his hands and feet, and was in a hospital in stable but serious condition.

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Red Cross ambulances in the Mexican city of Salamanca will get armed escorts for the most risky calls, after the organization briefly closed over the weekend because of violence.

The government of the north-central state of Guanajuato said Sunday that state or local police will accompany Red Cross ambulances “on the high risk or high-impact calls.” That would presumably be calls related to gunshot victims.

In a statement, the Mexican Red Cross said it “is an impartial and neutral institution before all conflicts and its purpose is to relieve human suffering,” adding the “#We are not part of the conflict” hashtag.

On Saturday, a man wounded by gunfire was abducted by gunmen from a Red Cross ambulance in Salamanca, which has been plagued by violence between fuel theft gangs due to its gasoline refinery. The Guanajuato state chapter of the first-aid group shuttered operations in the city of 270,000 but later resumed ambulance service.

Earlier this month, a woman with gunshot wounds was executed inside an ambulance in Mexico’s Pacific state of Guerrero, and paramedics were reportedly beaten by the perpetrators. In northern Mexico several years ago, private hospitals and ambulances sometimes refused to treat or transport gunshot victims.

Violence in Mexico has worsened in the last year, with homicides running at their highest rate on record.

Last week, in the central state of Puebla, a 78-year-old priest was apparently tortured during a robbery attempt.

The archdiocese of Puebla said in a statement that Rev. Ambrosío Arellano Espinoza had been found with severe burns on his hands and feet. It said the priest was at a hospital in stable but serious condition.

Source: Fox News World

Mexican immigration officials have sent 204 migrants back to Honduras.

The National Migration Institute said Sunday that the migrants’ stay in Mexico was “irregular” and that they were flown from the southeastern Mexican state of Veracruz to San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

The institute said most of the migrants were families traveling with underage children.

This year, the Mexican government abruptly stopped issuing humanitarian visas at the border with Guatemala. The visas had given migrants legal status while they made their way to the U.S. border.

In response, some have forced their way into Mexico.

Mexican officials have come under pressure from the Trump administration to help stem the flow of migrants trying to reach the U.S.

Source: Fox News World


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