Monthly Archives: February 2013

Mexico’s showdown over education reform

Kent Paterson

Frontera NorteSur

Recently approved by the Mexican Congress and ratified by a majority of state legislatures, the country’s new education law is touted as a centerpiece of the Pact for Mexico agreed to by the nation’s major political parties.

Currently, an intense media campaign is underway to promote a law that reforms articles 3 and 73 of the Mexican Constitution. In deference to educators’ concerns, the reform “recognizes, respects and promotes the rights of all teachers,” claimed a Pact for Mexico ad published in an Acapulco newspaper.

Trash piles up around Juárez cathedral as Lent begins

Sanitation workers in Juárez walk past a dumpster as they patrol the downtown streets picking up trash. (Photo courtesy of the city of Juarez)

Sanitation workers in Juárez walk past a dumpster as they patrol the downtown streets picking up trash. (Photo courtesy of the city of Juarez)

Rio Grande Digital

The holiest time on the Christian calendar brings the faithful out en masse to the downtown Juárez cathedral — and they leave in their wake a mountain of trash, according to a city news release.

NMSU researcher focuses on relation between border poverty, health

Rebecca Palacios

Rebecca Palacios

New Mexico State University

The area just north of the Mexican border has some of the highest poverty rates in the United States. And, according to one researcher at New Mexico State University, those poverty rates can be linked to poor health and higher mortality rates for people in the region.

Cupid’s arrow: Notre Dame research illuminates laws of attraction

A couple strolls hand-in-hand in a public park. University of Notre Dame sociologist Elizabeth McClintock studies the impacts of physical attractiveness and age on mate selection. (Photo courtesy of recubejim via Flickr under Creative Commons license. License terms below)

A couple strolls hand-in-hand in a public park. University of Notre Dame sociologist Elizabeth McClintock studies the impacts of physical attractiveness and age on mate selection. (Photo courtesy of recubejim via Flickr under Creative Commons license. License terms below)

University of Notre Dame

We’ve heard the clichés: “It was love at first sight,” “It’s inner beauty that truly matters,” and “Opposites attract.”

But what’s really at work in selecting a romantic or sexual partner?

A crisis in border farming

Frontera NorteSur

Tarahumara women stand in line to receive aid from volunteers with a local non-profit that is working to provide relief to residents of the drought-stricken region. (Photo courtesy New America Media by Mike Jimenez.)

Tarahumara women stand in line to receive aid from volunteers with a local non-profit that is working to provide relief to residents of the drought-stricken region. (Photo courtesy New America Media by Mike Jimenez.)

The land has long produced a basket of delights. Wine grapes, chile and cotton have all thrived in the Juárez Valley bordering Texas. Nowadays, though, farming is in flux — battered by drought, urbanization and other adverse forces. Statistics recently published by El Diario de Juárez newspaper documented the decline of and changes in regional agriculture since the turn of the century.

Juárez now less violent than New Orleans

Juárez police Chief Julian Leyzaola, left, and Mayor Hector "Teto" Murguia answer questions Friday at a news conference. (Photo courtesy the city of Juárez)

Juárez police Chief Julian Leyzaola, left, and Mayor Hector “Teto” Murguia answer questions Friday at a news conference. (Photo courtesy the city of Juárez)

Here’s the list of most violent cities

Michael Scanlon

Rio Grande Digital

Ciudad Juárez, infamous for unrelenting violence during the term of President Felipe Calderon, has fallen from No. 1 to No. 19 on the list of the world’s most violent cities, according to Mexico’s Citizens Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice, a non-governmental organization.

Transforming ‘deferred action’ into true opportunities

(Photo courtesy of New America Media)

(Photo courtesy of New America Media)

Edward Kissam

EdSource via New America Media

President Obama’s announcement of a new immigration program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), last June makes 2013 a year of hope for undocumented immigrant youth and young adults. However, a key factor in determining whether their dreams become reality will be their ability to enroll in adult schools and community college programs.

Wage theft across borders

Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell addresses an audience at Bloom Energy's launch on Feb. 24, 2010. (Photo courtesy of Bloom Energy via Flickr under Creative Commons license. License terms below)

Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell addresses an audience at Bloom Energy’s launch on Feb. 24, 2010. (Photo courtesy of Bloom Energy via Flickr under Creative Commons license. License terms below)

Frontera NorteSur

As discussion mounted over the issue of an expanded guest worker system in an immigration reform package, a company connected to former Secretary of State Colin Powell found itself in hot water in connection with the employment of Mexican workers in the U.S.

Farm workers toil in a field in July 2012 near Oxnard, Calif. (Photo courtesy of  Alex E. Proimos via Flickr under Creative Commons license. License terms below)

Farm workers toil in a field in July 2012 near Oxnard, Calif. Guest worker abuses are  said to be widespread, from lower-paid agricultural and service jobs to ostensibly professional-level nursing, teaching and high-tech positions. (Photo courtesy of Alex E. Proimos via Flickr under Creative Commons license. License terms below)

U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh recently ordered that Silicon Valley-based Bloom Energy Corporation fork out nearly $64,000 in back pay and damages to 14 workers from Chihuahua, Mexico, who were taken to California to refurbish power generators.

The court decision stemmed from a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) probe that found the workers were paid in Mexican pesos the U.S. equivalent of $2.66 per hour, or a wage that is more typical of foreign-owned maquiladora plants in Mexico dedicated to manufacturing products for export.

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