U.S. homeland security chief talks drug crackdown with Mexican President

STRAITS TIMES – US Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly met Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on Wednesday (July 5) to discuss the countries’ joint fight against drug cartels, officials said. Mr. Kelly arrived in Mexico on Wednesday for three days of high-level talks on trade and security ahead of a meeting between the US and Mexican presidents. He and Mr Pena Nieto “emphasised the importance that both countries’ authorities continue working jointly to fight transnational organised crime, based on the shared responsibility that both nations have recognised”, said a statement from the Mexican President’s office.

Read On…

Border Sheriffs meet with Rep. McSally to discuss border security

KVOA.COM – The Sheriffs of Pima, Cochise and Yuma counties all met with Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) in a special meeting to discuss the unique challenges they face as border Sheriffs, and how Congress can better secure the U.S.-Mexico border. Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada also participated in the meeting by telephone. “Your hard drugs, your meth, your heroin, your cocaine are still coming across the border,” said Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels in a press conference following the meeting. “It’s a threat to our way of life, quality of life on the border.”

Read On…

Mexico says Trump-Pena Nieto meet unlikely to lead to big deals

REUTERS – A meeting between Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday at the G20 summit in Germany will last about 30 minutes and probably not lead to any major agreements, Mexico’s foreign minister said on Wednesday. The face-to-face talks will be the first between Pena Nieto and Trump as presidents. Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray warned not to expect too much.

Read On…

Gang battle in Mexico as US’ John Kelly visits

DW.COM – A gunbattle between drug gangs in northern Mexico has left 14 people dead. It’s the latest in a series of turf wars. Smuggling has prompted a visit to Mexico City by US Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. Prosecutors said the remote town of Las Varas in Chihuahua state was the scene of Wednesday’s battle between affiliates of the Ciudad Juarez cartel and a gang from the state of Sinaloa. Police said fighting escalated when patrols arrived. Fourteen people were found dead; 12 others were hospitalized. Grenades, launchers and rifles were found. The mountainous region is used as a corridor for smuggling into the US.

Read On…

Trump Attacks China’s Growing Trade with North Korea

VOA NEWS – President Donald Trump assailed China on Wednesday for boosting its trade with North Korea, the latest of several broadsides Washington has leveled at Beijing in recent days. Trump offered his criticism just before heading to Poland and later to Germany for a G-20 summit of leaders of the world’s leading economies that includes a meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping. In a Twitter comment, Trump said, “Trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40% in the first quarter. So much for China working with us – but we had to give it a try!”

Read On…

U.S. prepared to use force on North Korea ‘if we must’: U.N. envoy

REUTERS – The United States cautioned on Wednesday it was ready to use force if need be to stop North Korea’s nuclear missile program but said it preferred global diplomatic action against Pyongyang for defying world powers by test launching a ballistic missile that could hit Alaska. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told a meeting of the U.N. Security Council that North Korea’s actions were “quickly closing off the possibility of a diplomatic solution” and the United States was prepared to defend itself and its allies.

Read On…

Texas Legislature ‘crackpots’ help fuel state’s reputation, according to New Yorker article

AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN – In a sweeping 20,000-word, 23-page article for the New Yorker, which has gone viral since it was published last week, Austin-based writer Lawrence Wright says Texas’ political landscape is a peek into America’s future. According to his take, the future is not all bright. Wright emphasizes that he’s lived in Texas for most of his life, before writing that although the state’s residents see themselves as “a distillation of the best qualities of America: friendly, confident, hardworking, patriotic, neurosis-free,” outsiders see the state as a place where “rambunctious and disavowed impulses run wild.”

Read On…

Border Patrol agents say they are ill-equipped to detect drug tunnels

FOX NEWS – As the U.S. debates the border wall proposed by President Trump, a new, illicit world is emerging underground. And while Trump believes a wall will thwart illegal immigrants and drug dealers, it will do little to address the daunting labyrinth law enforcement authorities are confronting below the ground, a challenge that officials say they are ill-equipped to address.

Read On…

Activists urge ICC to probe Mexico’s ‘crimes against humanity’

DAILY MAIL – Rights activists on Wednesday urged the International Criminal Court to probe years of killings and disappearances, as well as torture and detentions, in violence-plagued northern Mexico. “From 2009… the whole chain of state security authorities colluded with the Zetas (drug cartel) to commit crimes against humanity,” said Jimena Reyes, Americas director for the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).

Read On…

Mexican cartel shootout leaves 26 dead or wounded in latest violent clash

THE GUARDIAN – A battle between rival drug cartel factions in Mexico’s northern Chihuahua state left at least 26 dead and injured, officials have confirmed, in the latest series of violent incidents that have sent the country’s murder rate soaring. Chihuahua state officials say the shootout occurred in the hamlet of Las Vargas, deep in the rugged Sierra Madre mountains, where the illegal drugs business has deep roots in the local community and economy.

Read On…

Mexico’s most-wanted: A guide to the drug cartels

BBC NEWS: More than 200,000 people have been killed or have disappeared since Mexico’s government declared war on organised crime in December 2006. The military offensive has led to the destruction of some drug gangs, splits within others and the emergence of new groups. With widespread corruption and impunity exacerbating Mexico’s problems, there is no end in sight to the violence.

Read On…

El Paso bishop calls Texas AG Paxton a hypocrite for his stance on Dreamers

EL PASO TIMES – El Paso’s Catholic bishop called Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton a modern-day Pharisee after Paxton threatened the federal government with a lawsuit if it didn’t phase out a program that gives temporary work permits to people who entered, the country illegally as children. Bishop Mark J. Seitz of the Roman Catholic Diocese of El Paso wrote a column in response to Paxton’s request, in which he criticized Paxton for failing to imitate “God’s compassion toward those forced by life’s circumstances to carry heavy loads.”

Read On…

Fourth of July Citizenship Ceremonies Offer Vision of America at Its Best

GILMER MIRROR – The Fourth of July is a celebration of our nation’s finest ideals and values, and, this year, the citizenship swearing-in ceremonies that took place throughout the land were especially poignant. In contrast to an Administration whose disdain of immigrants and refugees is now official policy, they remind us that our country is stronger when we embrace the energy, sacrifice and optimism of immigrants. According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund, “As we celebrate our first July 4th under a Trump Presidency, the embrace of E Pluribus Unum, ‘Out of Many One’ feels like an act of resistance. In fact, it’s an embrace of who we aspire to be as a national community.

Read On…

LNG company said it will fund Bahia Grande channel widening

THE MONITOR – Rio Grande LNG LLC, one of three liquefied natural gas companies proposing to build facilities on Port of Brownsville land south of SH 48, has pledged to help restore the Bahia Grande wetland across the road — if the company actually builds its LNG plant. In an agreement with the port announced Wednesday, Rio Grande commits provisionally to paying for expansion of the Carl “Joe” Gayman pilot channel that connects the Bahia Grande to the Brownsville Ship Channel. The existing 50-foot channel was dug in 2005 to allow tidal flow in and out of the Bahia Grande as a step toward bringing back the wetland.

Read On…

Mission opens second temporary home for displaced families

THE MONITOR – The city has unveiled their new Safe Haven Home, a house that will be available to needy families that need a place to stay temporarily until they can be moved into permanent housing. We have our Mission Housing Authority that the city of Mission work very well together to be able to accommodate the permanent housing,” said City Manager Martin Garza. “However, this temporary help is to assist families that their home has either been dilapidated, they’re part of our CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) program and they’re trying to get on the list to move forward in getting a permanent home, or whether they went through an emergency, a hurricane, a fire, something that happened to their home and their family that has displaced them away from the family.”

Read On…