In 2006, it was confirmed that breast cancer was the first cause of death among Mexican women. For this reason, 20 of the most emblematic monuments of Mexico City were illuminated with pink lights this month of October. In the context of what is referred to in Spanish as the Breast Cancer Total Care… Program, the illumination of these buildings and monuments is a symbolic reminder to Mexican women that they schedule a mammogram screening or complete a breast self test.
Mexico City’s goal for Breast Cancer Awareness 2011 is to give 50,000 free diagnostic mammograms throughout the city. An additional goal is to construct a culture of ‘self-care’ and ‘prevention’, especially when it comes to the detection and initial treatment of breast cancer, something that is also being promoted by the Mexican organization, Red Rosa (Pink Network).
Mícher Camarena, the director of the Women’s Institute in Mexico City, highlighted at the inauguration that the Breast Cancer Total Care Program has helped hundreds of thousands of women that are 40 years or older. Since the first free exam in 2007, the lives of 569 women whose mammogram results came back positive have been saved.
In an event inaugurated by the Mayor of Mexico City, Marcelo Ebrard Casaubon, the most emblematic monument of the city has been illuminated pink: El Ángel de la Independencia. At the same opening event, Marcelo Ebrard reminded Mexico City inhabitants that since the beginning of his administration his goal has been to convert Mexico City’s free breast cancer tests into the most widely available in Mexico and Latin America.
List of the Mexico City monuments illuminated until November 1:
1. Ángel de la Independencia
2. Diana Cazadora
3. Torre del Caballito
4. Monumento a la Revolución
5. Monumento a la Madre
6. Alameda Central
7. Hemiciclo a Juárez
8. Santo Domingo Square
9. Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Monument
10. City Theater
11. Frida Kahlo Museum
12. Torre Mayor
13. Estadio Universitario
14. Palace of Fine Arts
15. National Conservatory
16. “Santa María la Ribera” Moorish Kiosk
17. The four buildings of the Legislative Assembly
Mexican President Felipe Calderón claimed earlier in the year that Mexico had the highest rate of obese children in the world. Therefore, Mexico has recently taken certain steps in order to tackle childhood obesity. Public pre-kindergarten and elementary schools, for example, have banned junk food from… being allowed in their schools. Along with this, middle schools are now only selling sugar-free drinks and low-calorie snacks as a way to combat childhood obesity and turn Mexico into a healthier environment.
Additionally, the Mexican government has encouraged the adaptation of more hours of physical education per week in schools. Students are now required to take three hours instead of one hour per week of physical education. The Mexican government has also directed media attention towards advocating obese children to join weight-loss programs.
Other important steps that are being taken to combat childhood obesity in Mexico include: encouraging young children to drink proper amounts of water each day and monitoring their intake of soft drinks and junk food.
The influx of recyclable bags and new recycling policies in Mexico is benefiting the economy, the job sector, and the environment. The… Managing Director of Falcon Plastics de México SA de CV, Juan Antonio Hernández, stated, “Right now many people are collecting plastic bags and selling them and the price is going up.” He went on to say, “Material is expensive but there’s more of it.”
Over the past few years, Mexico has developed a number of different environmental policies to increase sustainability. For example, two years ago Mexico City tried to move towards biodegradable products over recyclable products. They also attempted to ban plastic bags temporarily.
However, today government officials have directed their attention towards recycling in Mexico and away from biodegradable practices. Today, recycling in Mexico has become commonplace. In May in Mexico City, they even passed a law making the separation of non-organic and organic waste illegal. Hernández, in an interview at Plastimagen Plásticas de México AC (Inboplast), a leading producer of plastic bags, stated, “Mexico City is always the leader and whatever happens in Mexico City is copied.”
His hope is that the rest of Mexico will follow the capital’s lead in creating a sustainable society through the practices of recycling, waste management and overall green living. The simple act of recycling has already secured jobs within the recycling business and has helped develop a more sustainable economy for Mexico.
The embassy of Mexico in Nigeria is in the process of planning an environmental seminar in conjunction with the Center for Climate Change and Environmental… Studies of Nigeria. The seminar hopes to generate a heightened sense of awareness on the environmental issues that Abuja faces today. The seminar is anticipated to spread consciousness on the front of both the Nigerian government and the general public in Nigeria. The seminar will also prepare the country, according to the Ambassador of Mexico in Nigeria, Luis Alberto Barrero Stahl, for the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Framework Convention of the United Nations on Climate Change and the 17th Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol that will take place in South Africa next month.
COP-17 will emphasize the need to move towards sustainable living on a global level. The environmental seminar will address topics that include sustainability, climate change, mitigation, the distinct and imperative correlation between developing and developed countries, industrialization, and technology. The event is also supported and collaborated by a long list of impressive groups of individuals, particularly the Embassy of Malaysia, the Presidency and Ministry of Environment of the Nigerian government, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), State Governors and Legislators, the World Bank, and the High Commissions of South Africa. The conference is said to take place November 28 – December 9.
Mexico is an attractive location for many international corporations due to its low manufacturing costs and favorable regulations. The… nation’s IMMEX system plays a large role in this, and Mexican President Felipe Calderón recently extended corporate tax break incentives under IMMEX until December 31, 2012.
For those unfamiliar with the system, manufacturers and business executives in the United States, as well as in a variety of other countries, use IMMEX conditions to produce goods and export labor to Mexico, namely because of reduced manufacturing costs and lower taxes. IMMEX companies are allowed to import supplies needed for fabrication without paying a customs duty or import value-added tax. In addition, companies working under the IMMEX system pay only 20 percent of the corporate flax tax.
President Calderón expanded the program to highlight the significance of export companies and their impact on Mexico’s economy and society. The presence of international companies in Mexico has become an integral part of Mexico’s economic livelihood.
Mexico has been steering a variety of fields, including the automotive, aerospace and textile industries. Most recently, the promulgation of a constitutional reform that recognizes the right to food in the country would make Mexico a leader in hunger prevention issues. …
In the words of Olivier De Schutter, a UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, “This is a great step forward for Mexico.”
De Schutter, who in June made an official visit to Mexico to speak on the subject, explained, “With this constitutional reform, Mexico joins a select group of countries around the world that have enshrined the right to food in their constitutions.”
Mr. De Schutter suggested that the reform of articles 4 and 27 of the Mexican Constitution be made, particularly in today’s context of rising food prices. “Now is the time to implement this reform for the benefit of all Mexicans by approving corresponding legislation,” he added at a UN summit in Geneva in October, after a recent UN report stated that food prices around the world are likely to continue rising and could possibly increase over the next decade.
The report, The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2011, recommended that governments have ‘a transparent and predictable regulatory environment in place that promotes private investment and an increase in farm productivity.’
The need for States to guarantee access to adequate nutrition for their citizens is becoming apparent. For this reason, Mr. De Schutter, an independent expert, encouraged Mexican authorities to implement measures that give all Mexicans access to what more progressive nations are defining as a basic human right.
The September 2010 opening of a new technologically modern hospital in Tepic, Mexico, by the Centro Médico Puerta de Hierro was funded by the Inter-America Development Bank and the International Financial Corporation, and has greatly increased medical services for residents in the area. Prior to establishing the new… hospital, the city’s population of approximately 330,000 people had to travel one hour to receive treatment in Guadalajara. The new hospital in Tepic, Mexico, received not only funding, but also a great deal of support from the Inter-America Development Bank and the International Financial Corporation.
A second hospital is projected to open in Colima, the capital of the Mexican state of Nayarit. Peter Stevenson, an Inter-America Development Bank project team leader stated, “We provided capital that was not readily available in the private market with tenors that were compatible to the needs of investors.”
These two hospitals will provide state-of-the-art care for individuals who are both publically and privately insured by the Mexican healthcare system. Additionally, they will provide special services, conduct surgery, diagnose, and treat a variety of different neurological and cardiovascular diseases – reducing the burden experienced by overcrowded hospitals nearby. Furthermore, the hospitals have already created many employment opportunities in the surrounding Mexican communities.
Mexico is about to achieve its goal of universal healthcare. Around 10 years ago, Mexico enacted a law providing access to healthcare through a government insurance program called Seguro Popular. The new Secretary of Health, Salomón Chertorivski, commented on this achievement. “In… 2000, half of the population in Mexico did have a financial mechanism for health, but that was because of their labor status,” he stated. “If you had a formal or salaried job you had access to social security and social security gave you access to medical attention, financing your medical attention.” Chertorivski went on to say that, “today we already have more than 50 million people registered with Seguro Popular together with those with social security, we are reaching in December universal coverage: that is all Mexicans are going to have a financial mechanism for their health.” This new universal health plan will change the whole foundation of Mexican society and will contribute to improvements in the sphere of economics and the social establishment of the country. Chertorivski described some of the challenges that the health system in Mexico will face in order to succeed in providing a universal health plan to its citizens. He claimed that Mexico is going to have to deal with “moving now from curative to preventative health” and that the country will need to improve the quality of their medical infrastructure. At the moment, President Calderón is extremely serious about this new shift towards universal health system in Mexico. Chertorivski also commented on the importance of the health sector in Mexico’s social, political, and economic realms. He affirmed, “If you invest in health you are investing also in economic growth, you are investing in development, you are investing in productivity.”
The Government of Mexico is making intensified efforts to bring a stop to habitat degradation. The Governor of Veracruz, Javier Duarte de Ochoa, was quoted stating at the opening of the Management, Regulation, and Forest Health Course in the Sebastian Lerdo de Tejada auditorium, in Jalapa, that all… branches and affiliates of the government and Mexican population need to work together in order to address certain environmental issues that have plagued the Mexican community, as well as the global community. He’s already personally taken steps to assure a positive environmental movement of conservation efforts, towards sustainability and green living by creating a Secretariat who will address environmental issues.
He claimed, “Our participation and the use of tools aimed to facilitate sustainable forest development are the keys to success in creating a better future for future generations.” He went on to say that, “If we all cooperate, we will achieve a greener Mexico, that looks after the environment, and as a result, we will live in a more prosperous country.” The variety of environmental and natural resources in Mexico makes it possible to use the environment to better society on both an economic level and a personal level. With a great diversity of natural resources in Mexico, the Mexican government has focused its attention on promoting a sustainable environment through conservation efforts that encourage a positive job market. In turn, these conservation efforts will help combat poverty and habitat degradation.
Duarte de Ochoa concluded, “Without water from the mountain forests, there would be no life, or irrigation and intensive farming. Without forests purifying the air, we would not have a very good quality of life. It is the vegetation of forest ecosystems that provides us with a better life and better air quality.” Taking care of the environment can not only lead to an improvement in the ecology of society, but can also benefit the health of society as a whole.
South Bend Mayor Stephen Luecke recently announced a sister city relationship between South Bend, Indiana and Guanajuato, Mexico. Mayor Luecke hopes the connection will allow for understanding between the two cultures and help foster the diverse community. …
“We know we have much to learn from each other,” Mayor Luecke said at the press conference. “I think it really is wonderful to celebrate heritage for the Latino population here…to say how important we believe it is in South Bend to have a diverse community and to celebrate their various traditions," he added.
Many of South Bend’s community organizations have contributed to the creation of the Guanajuato sister-city relationship. South Bend Rotary Club members have toured Guanajuato, and have installed water tanks and donated technical equipment like computers and projectors to rural schools.
Jim Stroven, the club’s world community service chairman, talks about what an impressive city Guanajuato is. He says, “It's alive, it's colorful, it's open, it's friendly.”
People with cultural roots in Guanajuato are estimated to make up one-third of South Bend’s population.
The U.S. Department of Defense donated hazardous materials training and equipment valued at $100,000 to fire and safety agencies in Matamoros, Mexico.
The program includes training sessions to prepare Matamoros agencies to handle hazardous material emergencies as well as guidelines on transporting hazardous materials.
Training sessions were led by Lieutenant Ian Moscoso of the Houston Cloverleaf Fire Department.
A total of 15 sister-cities along the U.S.-Mexico border will receive similar training and equipment from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Defense. The Program will spend 1.5 million dollars to meet the goals of Border 2012, a US-Mexico environmental protection program.
According to Jeffrey B. Smith, chief for International Building Partnership Capacities at U.S. Northern Command, “If the fire departments of both sides of the border share the same protocols, share the same equipment, in a event in Matamoros, Brownsville can respond, and vice versa.”
Matamoros is the 9th city in Mexico to be granted training and equipment. Laredo has already received the equipment and Reynosa is slated to be next.
The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (FCC) has just declared that they have worked out deals with Mexico’s Secretariat of Communications and Transportation and Industry Canada that will lead to the sharing of certain frequencies of wireless spectrum in border areas of the United States and therefore contribute to imperative international… coordination. This new development is part of President Obama’s plan to provide broadband access to a larger part of the United States. It will be a valuable way to supply broadband to some otherwise remote areas in the United States. The deal will be exceedingly important for security and crisis purposes because it will allow fire, police, and EMS responders to receive wireless spectrum coverage in more areas. In addition, the FCC believes that these new deals will allow a faster and more expansive roll out of 4G wireless broadband for areas that are now lacking such options. It will include wireless spectrum in the 700MHz and 800MHz bands shared with Canada and 700MHz in the bands shared with Mexico.
Industry Canada spokesman Lauren Hebert stated, “The arrangement with the U.S. ensures that future Canadian 700 MHz operators will have equal access to spectrum within 120 km of the border and provides clarity on the international coordination requirements in force in that area.” After signing the vital documents Chairman Julius Genachowski of the FCC said, “These arrangements will unleash investment and benefit consumers near the borders by enabling the rollout of 4G wireless broadband service and advanced systems for critical public safety and emergency response communications.”
An anti-venom being produced in Mexico was just approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a scorpion sting treatment. This makes it the first drug permitted for this use by the FDA. This accomplishment is the result of 12 years of research and development by a variety of academic and clinical intellectuals. …
Scorpion stings can cause blurred vision, slurred speech, vomiting, nausea, and even death. This scorpion sting treatment anti-venom, produced in Mexico, could bring an end to all of that. Scorpion stings are seen most prominently in Arizona, Southern Nevada, and New Mexico. Additionally, scorpion stings are even more numerous in Mexico. The University of Arizona also claims that the anti-venom has been creating interest in other countries susceptible to scorpion stings, like Morocco. Boyer led clinical trials on 2,000 individuals for the new scorpion sting treatment drug, known as Anascorp, in Las Vegas and Arizona. The drug worked marvelously and children’s symptoms vanished within a few hours. Until 2004, the FDA allowed hospitals to use anti-venom in hospitals even though it was not FDA approved because it had been used for 50 years prior.
In 2004, however, the woman who had been producing the scorpion sting treatment drug retired, limiting the stock of anti-venom. Dr. Boyer, the director of the University of Arizona’s VIPER (Venom Immunochemistry, Pharmacology, and Emergency Response) Institute, had traveled to Cuernavaca, Mexico in 1999 and met with researches who were examining the new anti-venom made by Mexico City’s Instituto Bioclon. She received a grant from the FDA to administer research on the drug during the period in which the old anti-venom was running out. Boyer stated,” We timed it perfectly…we never had to find out what would have happened if all rural Arizona was left without an anti-venom.” She went on to say, “We strongly believe, based on history, that we would have had deaths had we not started this project in 2004.”
August 1 marked a landmark day for Mexico’s healthcare system; the Minister of Tourism, Gloria Guevara, acted in tandem with the Minister of Health, José Ángel Córdova in leading the first Health Tourism Forum in Monterrey, Nuevo León. The primary goal of the forum was to secure Mexico’s place as a… leader in the medical tourism industry and to implement a standardized system for measuring quality health care. This initiative is part of Mexico’s National Agreement on Tourism (Acuerdo Nacional por el Turismo), signed into place by Calderón in February with the aim of promoting Mexico as one of the top 5 international travel destinations by 2018. Encompassed in this program will be a campaign that will include an inventory of the clinics certified by the General Health Council, an official accreditation program for tourist-based hospitals, and a breakdown of the healthcare offered.
Secretary Guevera stressed that Mexico already possesses all of the conditions necessary to be a market leader in medical tourism, largely thanks to state-of-the-art facilities and well-trained physicians. Nuevo León specifically is recognized for its first class medical infrastructure, with nearly 9,000 internationally recognized experts, and 50,000 people employed in the healthcare field, according to the state’s governor Rodrigo Medina de la Cruz.
With an estimated 1.6 million Americans expected to travel outside the United States for medical treatment in 2012 alone, Secretary Guevara and other officials are hopeful that this campaign will continue to attract visitors to the country, increase spending on health tourism, and consequently generate more sources for employment within Mexico.
UNESCO, an organization geared towards developing and promoting initiatives that support intercultural dialogue and equality, recently honored Mexico among the winners of its prestigious 2011 Literacy Awards. The themes of this year’s International Literacy Prizes are literacy and peace, with special emphasis on… “gender equality.” Among the exceptional literacy laureates is Mexico’s National Institute for Education of Adults, winning an award for its Bilingual Literacy for Life program.
The Bilingual Literacy for Life program won the distinguished UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize and is particularly being recognized for its concerted efforts in increasing literacy among indigenous people in Mexico. This program’s efforts have allowed for indigenous people in Mexico to better understand and exercise their rights. The Bilingual Literacy for Life program has also allowed for growing social conditions in Mexico between multicultural and multilingual communities.
In addition to Mexico, other literacy awardees include programs in Burundi, the United States, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Philippines, and Pakistan. These prizes will be awarded on September 8th in New Delhi, India during International Literacy Day festivities. Each awardee will receive $20,000, a medal, and a diploma.