American couple quarantining in Mexico gunned down while driving

NEW YORK POST: A Syracuse-area man who had been quarantining in Mexico during the coronavirus pandemic was fatally shot along with his girlfriend when gunmen opened fire on their Jeep, according to reports.

Pat Landers, 32, of upstate Baldwinsville, and his gal pal, Karla Baca, a physical education teacher, were driving along a street in Juarez on Monday in the vehicle with New York plates when at least 20 bullets were fired at them, the Daily Mail reported, citing KTSM.

Police in the border city just south of El Paso, Texas, are investigating the shocking attack, which left Landers’ son, Cameron, fatherless.

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Cameron County reopening beaches, restricting travel to Mexico

KVEO 23: On Friday, Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño held a press conference and announced changes in the county.

During the press conference, Judge Treviño announced services that will be reopened in the county, including parks and beaches.

Treviño announced that beaches will reopen on South Padre Island.

However, visitors will still be required to practice social distancing and wear masks.

In compliance with Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s recent order, hunting and fishing are considered essential and is allowed in the county.

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Texas farmworkers struggle without government aid and coronavirus protection

SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS NEWS: In the predawn light, Francisco Garcia kisses his two daughters on the cheeks and whispers that he’ll be back soon after his job harvesting onions in the fields near the border town of Mercedes.

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The great Texas oil shutdown has begun

HOUSTON CHRONICLE: A couple hours after sunup Wednesday, Kyle McGraw climbed into his hail-beaten Chevy Suburban to make the two-hour drive from Midland to a small oil field he and his sons bought just seven weeks ago.

As he drove across the broad expanse of West Texas with his two sons, McGraw, 60, said he couldn’t help but feel nostalgic, recalling how his own father had drilled his first well not far from where they were headed. But this trip was not meant for drilling wells; McGraw would begin shutting them down.

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Texas accuses US’ largest egg producer of price gouging

FOX ROCHESTER: Texas’ attorney general has accused the nation’s largest egg producer of price gouging during the coronavirus pandemic.

A lawsuit filed Thursday by Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton alleges that Cal-Maine Foods raised generic eggs price by 300% even though the pandemic hasn’t disrupted its supply chain, the Houston Chronicle reported. Texas is seeking more than $100,000 in damages.

Cal-Maine denies the allegations, saying its prices are based on independent market quotes.

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Fact-check: Where does Texas rank on coronavirus testing?

AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN: As state leaders in Texas look to ease restrictions implemented to slow the spread of coronavirus in the state, some people have raised concerns about the number of tests the state has administered.

U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-El Paso, raised the issue during a webcast with the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute and the Migration Policy Institute on Wednesday.

“Texas, I believe, either is near the bottom or at the very bottom when it comes to testing per capita, so the numbers are probably far greater than what is being reported,” she said. “I believe we don’t have an adequate idea of just how many cases and how many deaths are being reported.”

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US adds cameras at Mexico border despite drop in crossings

MILITARY TIMES: The Trump administration has been quietly adding mobile surveillance cameras at the U.S.-Mexico border in response to the coronavirus pandemic, though fewer people appear to be crossing illegally. It’s the latest move as operations at the U.S.-Mexico border have become increasingly militarized and secretive.

Documents obtained by The Associated Press show the Department of Defense, at the request of the Department of Homeland Security, started manning 60 more mobile surveillance cameras this month after deploying 540 additional troops to the southwest border. The documents are unclassified but for official use only and were part of PowerPoint slides created last week to brief Lt. Gen. Laura J. Richardson, commander of U.S. Army North, the primary unit overseeing military operations at the border.

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Mexico’s Covid-19 response threatening North American supply chains

POLITICO: A range of U.S. companies — from N-95 mask supplier 3M to defense contractors — are concerned that Mexico’s response to the coronavirus could be hindering their ability to produce food, medical and other critical goods needed during the health crisis.

Mexico’s government has been criticized in recent weeks for the guidance it offered for an “essential activity” during the pandemic that ignores supply chain needs — a major difference from its neighbors in the U.S. and Canada. Mexico’s definition leaves out all of the materials needed to make critical goods. Both the U.S.’s and Canada’s guidances have language specifying supply chain needs.

The Trump administration has urged Mexico to sync its guidance with the U.S. on what is considered essential during the pandemic, as it’s becoming increasingly clear that the shutdown in Mexico could complicate President Donald Trump’s efforts to reopen the economy.

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Mexico Eyes Agreement to End Virus-Induced Disruptions to U.S.-Mexico Supply Chains

NEW YORK TIMES: Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Thursday he expected an agreement to enable industrial supply chains linking the United States and Mexico to begin operating normally again pending a review by authorities.

Operating restrictions on businesses designated non-essential by Mexico’s government to prevent the spread of the coronavirus have caused disruptions to supply chains and sparked calls from business lobbies to review them.

Tensions have been fanned by a spate of suspected coronavirus deaths among workers for U.S. companies operating along the border in Mexico that have triggered protests.

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U.S. Anti-Lockdown Activist Causes A Stir In Mexico

FRONTERAS: Many U.S. cities have recently witnessed coronavirus lockdown protests. And in Mexico, one American citizen decided to protest in his own way, sparking controversy in the country — while infuriating the U.S ambassador. 

Gavin Seim identifies himself as an American activist and refugee in Mexico. He posted a video online confronting police in the city of Querétaro.

In the video, Seim walks through a public square closed as a pandemic protection measure. The officers ask him to leave, but Siem says he has a constitutional right to cross any public space.

Seim wasn’t arrested and doesn’t face any charges.

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CBP changes hours of operation at the San Diego, Tijuana border after coronavirus travel restrictions decrease traffic

CBS 8 SAN DIEGO: The decrease of traffic at the U.S., Mexico border due to the coronavirus pandemic travel restrictions has led U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials to make changes to operational hours for vehicle SENTRI lanes at Otay Mesa. 

The new operating hours for SENTRI vehicle lanes will be 4 a.m. to 10 p.m.

SENTRI members will be able to use the Ready Lanes at the crossing, designated for travelers with RFID-enabled documents.

On April 20, the U.S., Mexico, and Canada agreed to extend restrictions on non-essential travel across their shared borders for an additional 30 days.

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Mexico Says Auto Factories to Reopen With Virus Safeguards

NEW YORK TIMES: The Mexican government said Friday it plans to reopen automotive factories in conjunction with the United States and Canada.

The Foreign Relations Department said in a statement that the details of the plan would be released in the coming days. The department said health safeguards would be in place to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, which caused Mexico to order the closure of non-essential plants several weeks ago.

“The Mexican government will be emphatic about health protection and will ensure that the reopening will be orderly, gradual and cautious,” the statement said.

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Mexico’s Pemex Suspends Fuel Imports From U.S. As Demand Tanks

OIL PRICE: Mexico’s Pemex declared force majeure on fuel imports, which it receives from the United States, because of tanking demand, Reuters reported, citing two unnamed sources.

Bloomberg quoted another unnamed source that said there were several tankers carrying fuel from the U.S. and waiting to unload in Mexico. They were, however, unable to do so. 

According to a former employee with Pemex’s trading arm, PMI, 60 tankers are waiting off the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of Mexico, each carrying an average of 300,000 barrels of gasoline, for a total of 18 million barrels.

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Economists Say Mexico May Need the US More Than They Think

LATIN POST: During a press conference at the National Palace in Mexico City, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador raised a few points on behalf of Mexico in response to President Donald Trump’s orders to limit U.S.-Mexico immigration. “One couldn’t close the border completely. Because there’s a degree of integration that makes it indispensable to keep the border open.”

Mexico Tourism Ministry Secretary Miguel Torruco Marques reported that they already started to plan on an international campaign that they would launch as soon as the pandemic has stabilized. The tagline would be: “Mexico needs you.”

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North American trade deal to take effect on July 1

POLITICO: The Trump administration notified Congress on Friday that the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement will take effect on July 1, bringing to a close an almost three-year process that President Donald Trump began in rewriting the 25-year-old NAFTA.

The three countries still need to wrap up certain requirements in the next two months, but the move triggers the clock for the deal to enter into effect in July. The step, however, is opposed bymany North American business leaders who sought to delay USMCA implementation because of the economic difficulties arising from the spread of the coronavirus.

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Despite critics’ outcry, border wall construction goes on

BROWNSVILLE HERALD: The federal government is proceeding with plans for a border wall even as communities where construction is ongoing protest the presence of workers, according to court documents.

In the Yuma, Arizona, area, the government modified a contract on March 24 to add 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) of a 30-foot (9 meter) border wall with angled tops and an anti-climb plate to the cost of $55.8 million. That’s according to documents the Sierra Club obtained this week in one of two lawsuits challenging the use of defense department funds to build the wall.

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Young and middle-aged people, barely sick with covid-19, are dying from strokes

WASHINGTON POST: Thomas Oxley wasn’t even on call the day he received the page to come to Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan. There weren’t enough doctors to treat all the emergency stroke patients, and he was needed in the operating room.

The patient’s chart appeared unremarkable at first glance. He took no medications and had no history of chronic conditions. He had been feeling fine, hanging out at home during the lockdown like the rest of the country, when suddenly, he had trouble talking and moving the right side of his body. Imaging showed a large blockage on the left side of his head.

Oxley gasped when he got to the patient’s age and covid-19 status: 44, positive.

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Short on cash, scared of coronavirus, Georgia businesses grapple with reopening

WASHINGTON POST: Only a handful of the 18 hairdressers who work at Salon Cheveux came in on Friday. They donned masks, spaced their workstations apart and screened inbound customers by phone with the dedication of hospital admission nurses: Any fever recently? Or contact with someone sick? Can you wear a mask?

It was the first day businesses reopened in Georgia, which is moving faster than any other state to ease restrictions amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. As a result, Georgia has become a flash point in the battle over whether it is time to remove the shutdown orders that have kept much of the country indoors.

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Reopening Has Begun. No One Is Sure What Happens Next.

NEW YORK TIMES: The economy shut down almost overnight. It won’t start back up that way.

Politicians and public health experts have sparred for weeks over when, and under what circumstances, to allow businesses to reopen and Americans to emerge from their homes. But another question could prove just as thorny — how?

Because the restart will be gradual, with certain places and industries opening earlier than others, it will by definition be complicated. The U.S. economy is a complex web of supply chains whose dynamics don’t necessarily align neatly with epidemiologists’ recommendations.

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Coronavirus Projected to Trigger Worst Economic Downturn Since 1940s

WALL STREET JOURNAL: The coronavirus shutdown will induce the sharpest economic downturn and push the U.S. budget deficit to the highest levels since the 1940s, the Congressional Budget Office projects.

The economy is likely to shrink 12% in the second quarter—a 40% drop if it were to persist for a year—and the jobless rate will average 14%, the nonpartisan research service said Friday. Job losses will come to 27 million in the second and third quarters.

The federal budget deficit is expected to reach $3.7 trillion by the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, the CBO said, up from about $1 trillion in the 12 months through March. Congress has authorized unprecedented deficit spending to offset the shutdown of vast swaths of the U.S. economy.

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Trump Administration Program Nearly Ended Asylum. Now, Coronavirus Has Halted It.

WALL STREET JOURNAL: Tens of thousands of migrants who were waiting in Mexico on the slim hopes that their request for asylum in the U.S. might succeed are now stuck there indefinitely until the coronavirus pandemic eases and the border reopens.

Under the year-old program called Migrant Protection Protocols, or MPP, most people who request asylum in the U.S. are sent to wait in Mexico and only allowed over the border for hearings in immigration court every few months.

Instituted by the Trump administration to deter previously skyrocketing illegal immigration by Central American families seeking asylum, the program dramatically lowered their odds of success. Just over 1% of migrants in MPP whose cases have been decided have been granted asylum or some other legal protection.

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Trump narrowly leads Biden in presidential race in Texas, UT/TT Poll finds

TEXAS TRIBUNE: Donald Trump would beat Joe Biden 49%-44% in Texas if the presidential race were held now, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

In the Trump-Biden contest, Democratic and Republican voters overwhelmingly back their own party’s candidate. But independent voters are on the fence, with 39% favoring Trump, 29% favoring Biden and 32% saying they haven’t formed an opinion.

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Port Isabel to conduct Facebook Live series for businesses

BROWNSVILLE HERALD: For the time being, shoppers aren’t able to browse inside retail stores so to compensate for that, this community decided to virtually showcase businesses’ merchandise to customers.

City of Port Isabel marketing director Valerie Bates launched a Retail To-Go Facebook Live series Friday afternoon in an effort to help customers see products local businesses are selling.

“ As we’re all looking for ideas, it just occurred to me to do a Facebook Live from the inside of the stores that were willing to participate or were ready to participate so we can bring the stores to people where they are sheltering in place,” Bates said.

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United Against Hunger: Hundreds receive food bags amid COVID-19 crisis

BROWNSVILLE HERALD: United Way of Southern Cameron County held its first “United Against Hunger” event where they handed out food bags to more than 1,000 community members Friday at the Southmost Public Library.

Hundreds of cars started to line up from the Southmost Public Library all the way to International Boulevard and Washington Street with some of them waiting since 6 a.m. to receive the food. Wearing face coverings, hundreds of residents on foot were also seen waiting in line outside the library as organizers directed them to enter in small groups.

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Beaches, parks are open again; Covid-19 restrictions remain place however

VALLEY MORNING STAR: As of 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Cameron County parks, beaches and boat ramps are open again, though with restrictions.

County Judge Eddie Treviño Jr. announced the easing of restrictions, which were implemented weeks ago to slow the spread of COVID-19, at a press conference on Friday. He said the reopening of beaches is being done in coordination with the mayor and city council of South Padre Island. Parking lots at pedestrian-only beach parks such as Isla Blanca or E.K. Atwood will be limited to 50 percent capacity, while drive-on beaches will require at least 20 feet between vehicles, Treviño said.

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McAllen businesses adapt to curbside model

MCALLEN MONITOR: There’s a counter at de Sanchez Salon and Day Spa covered in stacks of index cards.

The cards go back years, detailing what sort of product and coloring customers received, when they dropped in and how long it took to color and fix their hair.

David and Dora Sanchez, the owners, have been busy organizing these cards so they can use them to put together coloring kits for their customers, with product and shampoo and instructions on how to use them.

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Hidalgo Co. nears 300 COVID-19 cases

MCALLEN MONITOR: Ten more people tested positive in Cameron County, Judge Eddie Treviño Jr announced in a news release late Friday evening, making for a total of 354 cases there; 159 of those individuals have recovered. 

The ages range from people in their 30s to people in their 80s; only one case was transmitted through community spread, while the rest are linked to previous cases. 

In Hidalgo County, another nine people have tested positive for COVID-19, County Judge Richard F. Cortez announced in a news release Friday evening, bumping the total here to 299.

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13th death due to coronavirus confirmed by Laredo officials

LAREDO MORNING TIMES: The City of Laredo and Webb County has confirmed the 13th death from COVID-19 in Laredo late Friday night.

The woman, who was in her 60s, was being treated at Laredo Medical Center when she died. According to a city spokesman, she had underlying health conditions.

Further information was not available due to the city’s policy of not releasing identifying information on COVID-19 patients

On Friday, city and county officials confirmed an additional 17 cases of the novel coronavirus in Laredo during their daily update. 

The additional cases bring the city’s total to 338 total.

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Laredo health officials warn of coronavirus’ ‘second wave’ to start flu season

LAREDO MORNING TIMES: On the same day the city of Laredo reached a new milestone number with its positive totals of local COVID-19 cases, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott discussed his intentions to reopen the state.

Abbott has made clear that he intends to restart Texas’ economy imminently, promising to order that businesses such as restaurants, retailers and hair salons can open after being closed for weeks during this initial, sweeping wave of COVID-19.

This would override any local emergency orders such as Laredo’s and Webb County’s, where salons have been forced to close and restaurants may only offer takeout, drive-thru or delivery.

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6 women, including 1 who tested positive for COVID-19, sue ICE to be released from El Paso detention

EL PASO MATTERS: Six asylum seekers detained in El Paso are suing Immigration and Customs Enforcement for their release during the COVID-19 outbreak, saying they are at risk of serious complications and that ICE isn’t doing enough to protect detainees.

The lawsuit was filed Friday in U.S. District Court in El Paso by women ranging in age from 25 to 60. All say they have medical conditions that put them at high risk of complications if they are infected by COVID-19 and one tested positive for the novel coronavirus hours before the lawsuit was filed.

“I think their lives are at stake. This facility, no matter how hard ICE tries, is unable to take the very precautions that all of us are so familiar with for the people in there,” Chris Benoit, one of the attorneys representing the women, said in an interview.

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How visitors from Germany may have triggered a deadly COVID-19 outbreak at a Juárez maquiladora

EL PASO MATTERS: Rigoberto Tafoya Maqueda, a worker at the Lear Corporation Río Bravo maquiladora, left his home on his own foot on Sunday, April 5, to seek emergency medical attention because he had difficulty breathing. He thought he was suffering complications in allergies diagnosed a few days earlier in the company’s office and by two other private doctors.

Five days later, on Friday, April 10, he died at Region 66 General Hospital of the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS) with another diagnosis: coronavirus, or COVID-19.

“He was working because he had inventory. (The company) did not tell him that he was sick, they did not protect him,  they did not have a mask, gloves or anything. They didn’t give them anything, not gel or anything, he never came here (to the house) with masks or anything,” says Susana García Tafoya, Rigoberto’s niece.

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