WSJ – General Motors Co. is facing calls to add air bags as standard equipment on its popular compact cars in Mexico, reflecting broader pressure on big auto makers to include basic safety equipment in their vehicles even when governments don’t require it.
CSMonitor – Roughly 50 workers who had for years traveled to the US on low-skill work visas teamed up to gain legal recognition from the Mexican government. Now they can air complaints and demand solutions to issues like recruitment fraud, labor abuse, trafficking, and other violations.
LAT – The nomination of Roberta Jacobson to be ambassador to Mexico is in limbo, hostage to GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio’s staunch opposition to Obama’s diplomatic opening with Cuba, which Jacobson helped negotiate as assistant secretary of State.
Telegraph – The world’s most obese man has died at the age of 38, passing away on the morning of Christmas Day while on his way to hospital. Andrés Moreno Sepúlveda weighed 70 stone (980lbs) at his heaviest, and became internationally renown.
By Azam Ahmed / New York Times
In the land of the forever Christmas, there are no elves, no reindeer and no snow. And the creepy wooden Santa that sits outside one of the stores confronts shoppers with a gigantic beard and not an ounce of cheer.
The small village of Tlalpujahua, embedded in the lush mountains of Michoacán, is no North Pole. Yet it celebrates Christmas every day of the year all the same, as a production center of handmade ornaments for the Mexican, American and Canadian markets.
Despite the absence of a traditional Christmas setting, Tlalpujahua, a former mining town, does not lack for charm. The narrow cobblestone streets sweep up sharp slopes to an airy plaza, where a 300-year-old church with a pink bell tower dominates the tiled rooftops and the surrounding landscape. Stores are tiny and tidy, stacked side by side, and the village’s entrance is graced with a giant Christmas tree that stays up all year.
Tourists come from across Mexico and the world to shop and get a firsthand look at the craftsmanship, which renders everything from traditional Christmas balls to trumpets, candy canes and pieces of fruit.
Bloomberg – Petroleos Mexicanos hopes to start 2016 with a plan to become leaner and more efficient. The state-owned oil producer is set to announce job cuts for next year as part of the plan to restructure the company and to synchronize itself to industry standards.
AP – A train has slammed into a bus at a railway crossing in the Pacific coast state of Sinaloa, killing four people and injuring 22, officials said Wednesday.
Reuters – Mexican energy infrastructure firm IEnova, a unit of U.S.-based Sempra Energy, said it had increased a credit line with a group of banks to $600 million from $400 million.
TeleSur – Eighteen years ago, gunmen crept down into the center of the impoverished village of Acteal and killed 45 innocent people including 21 women and 15 children. Hundreds of indigenous people held a demonstration Wednesday in the small village of Acteal in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, to mark the anniversary.
Reuters – Mexico’s ICA has sold its stake in an environmental waste firm for around 1.2 billion pesos ($69.69 million), two people close to the negotiations said, as the embattled construction company scrambles for cash after defaulting on a debt.
El Economista – Failure of the Mexican construction company ICA for its failure to pay interest on a bond will have a relatively low impact given its moderate exposure to Mexican banks, said Fitch Ratings.
Mexico has approved the first comprehensive plan for reparations to one of the families of the victims of the Ayotzinapa case, the infamous attack on Sept. 26, 2014 when police opened fire on protesters and arrested 43 students who were later disappeared.
The Executive Committee for Victims Assistance (CEAV) approved the reparations for the family of David Joshua Garcia Evangelista, a soccer player who was killed during the incident last year in Iguala, Guerrero. The young man was one of six people killed that night when police opened fire on protesters and students.
“The reparation is an obligation that is on the General Law on Victims and this is an achievement of civil society,” said Rochín del Rincón, president of the committee.
The compensation, which was unanimously approved by the committee, includes measures such as the allocation to the family of a permanent legal adviser to track the case, psychological care programs, education scholarships and economic compensation.
According to a statement released by CEAV, the committee is still studying and processing other cases related to the victims of what occurred in Iguala.
However, no particular mention was made of the 43 students from the Ayotzinapa training school who were disappeared that evening. Families and supporters of the students continue to push the government for clear answers as to what happened.
CNN – At least 30 people have been injured after a gas pipeline exploded in the southern Mexican state of Tabasco. The blast occurred Tuesday night in a residential part of the town of Cardenas.
New Yorker – For several months this year, Mario Bellatin, one of Mexico’s best-known novelists, has waged a quixotic war against Grupo Planeta, the largest publishing group in the Spanish-language world.
AFP – A meeting in Mexico City of representatives from the United States, Central America and Mexico failed to make a breakthrough on the situation of thousands of Cuban migrants stranded in Costa Rica.
TeleSur – According to a study released Tuesday, violence in Mexico continues to threaten freedom of the press in the country, with 14 journalists killed and two more disappeared in 2015 alone.
Financial Times – Despite being a major oil producer, Mexico has long been held back by uncompetitively high energy prices. But salvation may be at hand, in the form of imported energy, providing a major boost to the Latin American country’s manufacturing sector.
InSight Crime – A new study by the Inter-American Development Bank finds that violence disproportionately affects the real estate value of homes in poor neighborhoods in Mexico, an illustration of how crime exacerbates wealth inequality.
LAT – For the third straight year, migrant deaths along the southern border have decreased, even in some areas where the number of migrant children and families crossing increased over the summer.