Category Archives: Education

Map of the day: Post-Sandy Hook shootings

From the Los Angeles Times, where you can find the interactive verion of the map here. Click on the image to enlarge:

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Chart of the day: Chinese rank their own woes

From a new report [PDF] from the Pew Research Center:

Microsoft Word - Pew Research Center China Report FINAL Septembe

Map of the day: Europe’s bilingual children

From Eurostat [PDF], a map show the country-by-country percentages of European gradeschoolers learning a second language in the classrooms:

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Many European who learn a second language don’t stop there, picking up a third, fourth, or even still more tongues. When we lived in Napa, the clerk at the pharmacy we favored was a native of Greece, and she had mastered no fewer than seven languages — making her an ideal employee to deal with the customers who come to the Napa Valley from all over the world.

Learning another language typically happens most readily and most completely when introduced at the earliest possible stage — even when the child is learning a first language. And when one additional language is learned, a second or third comes more readily.

In addition, noted language education scholar Therese Sullivan Caccavale and then-president of the National Network for Early Language Learning in 2007:

Children who learn a foreign language beginning in early childhood demonstrate certain cognitive advantages over children who do not. Research conducted in Canada with young children shows that those who are bilingual develop the concept of “object permanence” at an earlier age. Bilingual students learn sooner that an object remains the same, even though the object has a different name in another language. For example, a foot remains a foot and performs the function of a foot, whether it is labeled a foot in English or un pied in French.

Additionally, foreign language learning is much more a cognitive problem solving activity than a linguistic activity, overall. Studies have shown repeatedly that foreign language learning increases critical thinking skills, creativity, and flexibility of mind in young children. Students who are learning a foreign language out-score their non-foreign language learning peers in the verbal and, surprisingly to some, the math sections of standardized tests. This relationship between foreign language study and increased mathematical skill development, particularly in the area of problem solving, points once again to the fact that second language learning is more of a cognitive than linguistic activity.

A 2007 study in Harwich, Massachusetts, showed that students who studied a foreign language in an articulated sequence outperformed their non-foreign language learning peers on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) test after two-three years and significantly outperformed them after seven-eight years on all MCAS subtests.

Furthermore, there is research that shows that children who study a foreign language, even when this second language study takes time away from the study of mathematics, outperform (on standardized tests of mathematics) students who do not study a foreign language and have more mathematical instruction during the school day. Again, this research upholds the notion that learning a second language is an exercise in cognitive problem solving and that the effects of second language instruction are directly transferable to the area of mathematical skill development.

At the very least, instead of bashing immigrants we should be learning from them.

MexicoWatch: A very, vert short post today

While there were news stories, most dealt with cartel leaders arrested, events that always draw the mainstream media and which we largely leave to them.

From Reuters, gee, wonder why?:

Mexican ruling party insiders fear embattled president a liability

Mexican ruling party lawmakers fear President Enrique Pena Nieto’s lurch into scandal, weak economic record and struggle to tame corruption could hurt them in upcoming elections, raising pressure on him to take bold steps or shake up the cabinet.

Pena Nieto’s approval rating has slumped to as low as 25 percent since events began to spiral out of control with the September abduction and apparent massacre of 43 trainee teachers by corrupt police and a drug gang in southwest Mexico.

Slow to respond to the crisis, Pena Nieto never visited the scene. He was then caught in a separate row over conflicts of interest when it emerged that he, his wife, and his finance minister had all bought or used homes built by a firm that has won millions of dollars in government contracts on his watch.

“It shouldn’t have happened,” Patricio Flores, a lawmaker in the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), said tersely of the homes scandal even as he tried to deflect blame from Pena Nieto. “It’s a fact that it’s helped other parties.”

From Latin Correspondent, a relevant question:

How effective is Mexico’s ‘kingpin strategy’?

Mexican security forces captured the heads of two of the nation’s most feared and violent drug cartels in the last week, but security experts remain unconvinced of the effectiveness of the government’s strategy in the war on drugs.

For every capo the government brings down, several more spring up in his place like the snarling heads of a Hydra, while the cartels’ finances and the shady figures that protect them remain untouched.

This week’s arrests were the latest in a string of recent detentions and killings of key figures within the pseudo-religious Knights Templar cartel and the ultraviolent paramilitary group Los Zetas.

And from Motherboard, the story of a class of the disappeared exemplified by Felipe del Jesús Peréz García who disappeared 19 March 2013, and featuring and interview with his spouse, Tanya:

The Drug Cartels’ IT Guy

“It’s known that these kind of people get kidnapped,” Tanya said, referring to telecommunications specialists like Felipe. “It’s real.” She tends to think her husband’s disappearance “may be related to the knowledge he has.”

It’s hard to say when “Radio Narco” went live. It was probably sometime in the mid to late 2000s, when the first reports of disappeared cell network workers began trickling out of Northeastern Mexico.

There was José Antonio Rebledo Fernández, an engineer who was working for a construction company jointly owned by Mexican and American firms when he disappeared in January 2009. There was an IBM engineer, Alejandro A?lfonso Moreno Baca, who was kidnapped while driving from Monterrey to Laredo, Texas, in January 2011. In 2009, in perhaps the most famous mass kidnapping of specialists, nine contracted cell tower workers vanished in the border town of Nuevo Laredo. The kidnappers, whoever they are, came back later for the crew’s vehicles and kit.

According to a report by Animal Politico, an independent Mexico-based investigative media company, about the so-called “slaves of narco,” 36 communications specialists had gone missing in the region between 2008 and 2012. There have been no ransoms, and it’s unclear what sort of conditions kidnapped specialists are kept in.

And to conclude, an image from solociudadanos with parents and fellow students of the missing Ayotzinapa students standing vigil outside the state legislative palacaein Chilipacango, Gurerro:

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MexicoWatch: Murders, politics, hypocrisy, art

We begin with murders, via teleSUR:

Mexico’s Murders Are Reducing Life Expectancy

  • Mexico’s high homicide rates have dragged down the country’s average life expectancy.

The roughly 138,000 homicides reported in Mexico in the first decade of the new century have negated public health gains from disease prevention, according to compiled figures released Thursday.

Speaking to La Jornada, researcher Carlos Echarri from the university El Colegio de Mexico, said the homicide rate had dragged down Mexcian life expectancy by over two years.

Citing data from the National Institute for Statistics and Geography, Echarri told the newspaper that between 2000 and 2010, the average life expectancy fell from 74 years to 72. The murder rate negated the life expectancy gains that would have been made by decreases in childhood mortality and deaths from some non-communicable diseases.

From Frontera NorteSur, more on murders and disappearances:

Bloody, Bloody Iguala

The police killings and forced disappearances of students and civilians last fall in Iguala, Mexico, put the city in the international spotlight.  As outrage and protests spread across Mexico and the world, attention focused on the goings on in the city before and after the attacks on the students from the Raul Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers College of Ayotzinapa.

Implicated in the killings and kidnappings of the students, Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca and his wife fled the city and eventually were arrested by the federal government. Similarly linked to the brutal crimes, dozens of police officers and individuals connected to the Guerreros Unidos organized crime group were detained.

Exposed as a corrupted institution, the municipal police force was withdrawn for retraining and security assigned to a new federal police force, the National Gendarmerie. Order and public safety were restored, right?

World attention on the city located in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero notwithstanding, day-to-day events on the ground indicate that little or nothing has fundamentally changed since the bloody assault on the Ayotzinapa students last September.

A teleSUR English video report offers at least one small consolation for the grieving families of the disappeared:

Mexico: New Attorney General says Ayotzinapa case not closed

Program notes:

Contradicting statements made by her predecessor, Mexico’s new Attorney General Arely Gomez said the case of the missing Ayotzinapa students is not closed. Yesterday, Gomez met yesterday with a team from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and promised to give them access to government documentation on the case. Clayton Conn reports from Mexico City.

From teleSUR, a quintessential insider’s elevation questioned:

Controversy Plagues Mexican Supreme Court Nominee

  • The nominee is the current ambassador to the U.S., a former attorney general, and was once director of Mexico’s intelligence agency.

A storm of controversy is engulfing Mexican official Eduardo Medina Mora as he is put up for candidacy for a spot on the country’s highest court.

Medina has been proposed, along with two other candidates, by President Enrique Peña Nieto to fill the position, which arose after the the death of Supreme Court Minister Sergio Valls in December last year.

Medina, who is currently ambassador to the United States, faced a Senate committee hearing Monday, during which several senators grilled him for his professional record in government.

In the previous administration of Felipe Calderon, Medina occupied the attorney general’s seat during polemic events such as the so-called “Michoacanazo,” which resulted in 38 Michoacan State officials, pertaining to opposition parties, being detained and accused of corruption weeks before elections: they were all later released for lack of evidence.

The Guardian notes the sadly obvious:

Mexico drug kingpins behind bars but violence and corruption go unchecked

  • Mexican authorities’ successes in jailing top narco-gangsters has led drug cartels to fragment while leaving politicians and businessmen unpunished

The routine has become almost familiar: a fugitive mafia boss is cornered by Mexican security forces and captured without a shot fired.

The stony-faced kingpin is marched by a masked special forces escort across airport tarmac dotted with army helicopters, to be whisked away for questioning.

Mexican politicians and police hail another victory in the drug war, warning that no mafia boss is too powerful to escape justice. US officials shower praise on their colleagues, and chalk up another victory in the drug war.

But all the while, violence fuelled by drug-trafficking and corruption continues to rage across Mexico, and shipments of marijuana, heroin and methamphetamine keep crossing the border into the US.

And from teleSUR, again, hardly surprising but sad nonetheless:

Mexico’s Ruling Party Blocks Probe on Electoral Fraud

  • Accusations of fraud during the 2012 elections are being reviewed by the Mexican Congress.

In a press conference Wednesday, the head of Mexico’s Congressional Investigative Commission investigating fraud accusations against the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) said the party and its allies are blocking efforts to carry out the probe.

“On more than six ocassions, the PRI, the Green Party and New Alliance have impeded the work of this commission,” said Roberto Lopez Suarez, who heads the probe. “The sub-commissions continue working (…) on a document that we will reveal next Tuesday. There we will show the mistakes and irregularities made by the National Electoral Institute (INE) to exonerate Monex.”

Monex – one of Mexico’s biggest credit card companies – allegedly helped president Enrique Peña Nieto’s PRI win the 2012 elections by issuing massive numbers of special credit cards in exchange for votes.

And we close with images from Poesía Visual Morelia featuring a graphic creation by Felipe Ehrenberg, symbolizing the remains linked to Alex Mora, the only one of the missing students of the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College of Ayotzinapa in Iguala, Guerrero, identified from a sack of ashes found near the alleged cremation site in nearby Cocula, photographed by Hersalía Cantoral:

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EbolaWatch: Numbers, pols, cases, economics

We begin with the latest case numbers for the three African nations hardest hit by the crisis, via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

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From FrontPageAfrica, screening countries:

New Tool Can Help Identify Nations Vulnerable To Ebola

Public health experts can identify nations that are vulnerable to the occurrence and impact of future outbreaks of Ebola or other emergencies by using a screening tool that evaluates a nation’s strengths across a wide range of measures such as political strength and health care capabilities, according to a new analysis from the RAND Corporation. The process is part of a suite of “proof-of-concept” tools developed to help policymakers prepare for and respond to health disasters, such as Ebola.

“While these tools need further refinement, our work suggests these methods can be useful to identify future ‘hot zones’ before they develop and help emergency workers evaluate their options for response,” said Dr. Melinda Moore, the project’s leader and a senior natural scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization.

The tool uses widely available statistical indicators to assess nations across four broad domains — political, economic, socio-cultural and health. Individual topics that make up each of the domains include items such as government effectiveness, availability of communications, and the status of a nation’s health care infrastructure and workforce. RAND researchers used the preliminary tool to show how it could help identify possible future hot zones for Ebola. For illustrative purposes, they selected a handful of nations to examine in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and Southeast Asia.

On to Liberia and a deal, via Monrovia’s Liberian Observer:

Liberia, EU Sign €279m for Development

Liberia and the European Union (EU) have signed a €279 million development package under the European Union National Indicative Program (NIP) for EU 11th Development Cooperation in Liberia.

The EU cooperation program with Liberia, which covers 2014 to 2020, will seek to address key priority areas that are essential to growth and recovery from the medium to the long-term.

According to a dispatch from Brussels, Belgium, at the ceremony, which was witnessed by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia’s National Authorizing Officer and Finance and Development Planning Minister, Amara M. Konneh, signed on behalf of the Liberian Government while the European Union Commissioner for International Development, Neven Mimica signed on behalf of the EU. The event took place on the sidelines of the high-level international conference on Ebola.

The New York Times covers not unreasonable reticence:

Trickle of Liberian Children Returning to School Reflects Lingering Ebola Fears

About eight months after governments in the region closed schools to stop the spread of Ebola, uniformed and backpack-carrying schoolchildren have returned to the streets of Monrovia, the capital, perhaps the most visible sign of the epidemic’s ebb.

Though Ebola cases have all but disappeared in Liberia, with the Health Ministry saying Wednesday that the last patient in treatment had tested negative for the virus, lingering fear and a depressed economy have dampened the turnout at schools. Many have yet to reopen, having failed to meet the minimum requirements put in place to prevent transmission of the virus.

Many of those that have reopened are struggling. Just as Liberia’s weak health care system collapsed as Ebola began raging across the country, many people here worry that the nation’s schools may be ill equipped to handle even the tail end of the epidemic.

And a university prepares to reopen, via the News in Monrovia:

UL Resumes Classes March 17

An official of the University of Liberia has disclosed that plans are underway to re-open the institution on March 17 with the resumption of classes for only junior and senior students.

UL Vice President for Media Relations, Norris Tweah, said this is to afford pending and would-be graduating seniors the opportunity to complete their courses, while awaiting the timetable for graduation later this year.

Speaking on the Truth FM ((96.1) Breakfast Show Wednesday, Mr. Tweah further disclosed that the entity would endeavor to reopen for regular classes, including the freshman and sophomore students, by September this year.

In July 2014, the Liberian Government ordered the closure of all academic and vocational institutions as part of measures to stop the spread of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).

From the Liberian Observer, claims of a clean slate:

Liberia Discharges Only Confirmed Ebola Case Today

Liberia will today discharge the only confirmed Ebola case remaining in the country, according to the Incident Management System (IMS) boss and Assistant Minister for Preventive Service, Tolbert Nyenswah.

Making the disclosure yesterday at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism on Capitol Hill in Monrovia, Minister Nyenswah explained that with the current status of the fight against the Ebola virus in the country, Liberia is close to reaching zero Ebola case, but “we need to be vigilant in our fight against the virus throughout the country.”

“Liberia has clearly passed 12 days without any new confirmed Ebola case. The only patient remaining in an ETU will be discharged from the Chinese ETU as a special event.

But another story, this time from StarAfrica, casts doubt on the official account:

Refugees in Liberia record seven Ebola deaths- official

The Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC) has disclosed that a total of seven refugees residing in former refugee camps and host communities in Montserrado County have succumbed to the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).

LRRRC Executive Director Cllr. [Counseloresnl] Abla Williams said of the total number of deaths, six were Sierra Leonean nationals, while one was a Ugandan doctor, all of whom were residents of communities that previously hosted refugee camps in Montserrado County.

Cllr Williams made the disclosure at the Ministry of Information daily Ebola press conference in Monrovia on Wednesday.

The LRRRC boss noted that there were also several cases of Ebola infection in the former refugee communities of VOA, Low Cost Village, Banjor and Samukai Town in Montserrado county, but indicated that none of the infected persons had died from the virus.

And from the Monrovia Inquirer, another remedial measure:

Cash Assistance To Former Bush Meat Sellers Enters Third Phase

One Hundred and Twelve marketers, mainly women, have benefitted from cash transfer assistance from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The marketers, former Bush Meat Sellers, each received US$100. They are from the Rally Time market, one of four markets in Monrovia, designated to benefit from the cash transfer assistance. The other markets are Red-light, Waterside, and Duala.

The cash assistance is to help women in this category, find alternative livelihoods in the wake of the ban placed on the sale of bush meat. According to health authorities, Bush meat is one of the major sources for the rapid spread of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).

On to Sierra Leone with the Guardian:

Ebola ‘leaves 12,000 orphans in Sierra Leone’

  • UK charity’s survey shows scale of crisis caused by disease, with children who lost parents facing a dire future

The devastating impact of the Ebola crisis was laid bare this week with a report showing more than 12,000 children have been orphaned by the disease in Sierra Leone.

They have been identified in the first national survey of orphans, which was conducted by the British charity Street Child. It says the future for these children is dire. Many are living in fear without the support and security of parents, but the charity says there is light at the end of the tunnel “if the international aid community works together”.

The charity found that some children, rejected by their friends because of the stigma of Ebola, have tried to take their own lives, while girls are being forced into commercial sex work to earn money for food their parents would have previously provided.

Its case studies expose the vulnerability of those left behind without an adult for support.

CCTV Africa covers economic impacts:

Ebola’s Devastation on Sierra Leone’s Economy

Program notes:

Sierra Leone is to receive more than 80 million dollars immediately to help the country end the Ebola outbreak and recover from its effects. The IMF pledged a 187 million dollars financial aid package for Sierra Leone to support the country’s struggling economy.

And StarAfrica offers some criticism:

S/Leone CSOs fault post-Ebola plan

Three civil society organizations have criticized the Sierra Leone government`s approach towards its post Ebola development plan, describing it as deeply flawed.

Health Alert, Health for All Coalition and WASHNet Sierra Leone in a joint statement released Wednesday said the government’s failure to engage local communities in drawing the plan, which is being presented at the ongoing anti-Ebola conference in Brussels, makes it unlikely to succeed.

“We noticed that the engagement process has been going on but not participatory. There is no real involvement of community people,” said Victor Lansana Koroma, Executive Director of Health Alert.

MexicoWatch: Politics, disappearances, crime

We begin with the political, via teleSUR:

Murillo Sparks Final Controversy with Resignation Contradiction

  • The Attorney General said the Ayotzinapa case should be kept open, after declaring it closed more than a month ago.

Former Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam prompted yet more derision when he apparently contradicted himself during a speech announcing his resignation.

The fumbling official, who has repeatedly bungled the case of the 43 students forcibly disappeared from a protest for a teacher training college in Ayotzinapa, told the press conference that the case could not be closed because the remains of 42 of the 43 young people had not been identified.

Yet in January Murillo sparked major controversy after announcing the Ayotzinapa case closed.

More politics, from teleSUR:

Mexican President’s Relationship With TV Station Deepens

  • The Mexican President’s selection for attorney general is the sister of a high-ranking executive at Televisa.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto named Arely Gomez as his choice for attorney general Friday, in a move that raised eyebrows due to Gomez’s connection with media giant Televisa.

If confirmed by the Senate, Gomez would replace Jesus Murillo Karam, who stepped down after facing months of criticism over his handling of the case of the 43 forcibly disappeared students.

Gomez happens to be the sister of the vice-president of news at Televisa. It was Televisa who broke the news that Murillo was stepping down and was to be replaced by Gomez.

Next, today’s Ayotzinapa protest image, via Sith Spider:

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From teleSUR, disappearances:

400 Women Disappeared in the State of Mexico in 2014

  • Over 10,000 people have disappeared since President Enrique Peña Nieto took office in 2012.

As disappearances are on the rise since President Enrique Peña Nieto took office two years ago, Mexican activists and politicians on Saturday called on authorities to declare a state of gender alert in the central State of Mexico after local reports revealed that in 2014 about 400 women have been disappeared in the entity.

Mothers of minors, social activists and members of the center-left PRD party demanded that the government put in place “drastic” measures to eradicate this crime, according to Mexican daily newspaper La Jornada.

Families and relatives of the disappeared women offered heart wrenching testimonies during an event called “Enough of Disappearances, Femicides and Human Trafficking” in Ecatepec, just north of Mexico City.

More from Frontera NorteSur:

The Missing Faces of February

Martha Cecilia Gomez was visibly shaken as she pleaded for the whereabouts of her daughter. According to the Mexican mother, her 16-year-old daughter Paola Yaneth Alvarez left the family home in the central Mexican state of Aguascalientes the morning of February 1 to go shopping for pork rinds and never returned.

“We don’t know anything about her,” Gomez told FNS. “As the mother of a family, I ask people who might have seen something to come forward, but nobody has”  Along with relatives of other missing or murdered persons, Paola’s family members staged a march earlier this month through the state capital of Aguascalientes to press for answers.

The other presumed and confirmed victims spotlighted in the demonstration included Sergio de Lara Quezada, 28, disappeared on August 30, 2011; Maria del Cristal Acevedo Gomez, 29, missing since July 26, 2014; and Cecilia Martinez Mota, murdered in 2014.

In the days following the march, stickers affixed to structures lining one of Aguascalientes’ main streets asked passerby, “Where is Cristal Acevedo?”

More disappearances, via BuzzFeed News:

Mexican Lawyers Are Disappearing, Leaving Nothing But Fear And Questions Behind

More than 60 lawyers disappeared or were killed during a wave of violence in Durango. Their families mourn them and hope for justice while their colleagues scurry away from certain criminal cases.

When Claudio Hugo Gallardo disappeared in 2013, his sons scoured the local hospital, prison, and morgue frantically. They combed through video footage recovered from Gallardo’s last known location and even inquired with the cartels whether their operatives had picked up the well-known lawyer.

But before Gallardo’s family could find him, they stopped looking.

“It’s for our own peace. We don’t want threats,” said Claudio Gallardo, one of the attorney’s sons. The family has floated several theories, including the involvement of government officials, cartel thugs, and a combination of both, but prefer to be discreet about their findings, citing orders by local authorities to stop prodding.

Gallardo is one of more than 60 lawyers killed or disappeared here during a spate of crimes against litigators that began in 2008, according to members of Durango’s Benito Juárez Bar Association. Some of the bodies that have been recovered carried messages from criminal groups saying the litigator should not have been defending certain clients, said Celina López Carrera, who is in charge of the state’s public prosecutors.

From teleSUR, demands:

Mexican Teachers Demand Justice

  • Members of the CETEG teachers union have demanded the appearance of 11 teachers, and justice for the death of Claudio Peña Castillo outside the headquarters of the Federal Police in Chilpancingo.

Members of one of Mexico’s teachers unions marched on the headquarters of the Federal Police in Chilpancingo on Saturday to demand justice for the death of a retired teacher, and the return of 11 missing teachers

Claudio Peña Castillo was killed in a protest on Tuesday, and 11 teachers who were also at the demonstration have not been seen since then.

The protesters chanted “murderer” at the leader of the federal police in Chilpancingo and pointed out the numerous injuries people had suffered at the hands of the police.

And from Mexico News Daily, an activism incentive denied:

Feds nix Oaxaca’s promotion scheme

  • Teachers who want an administrative position must turn up for protests

The National Institute for the Evaluation of Education (INEE) gave Oaxaca Gov. Gabino Cué a deadline to invalidate an agreement that specifies how teachers are promoted to administrative positions in secondary schools. That deadline was yesterday.

INEE head Sylvia Schmelkes said if it wasn’t met it would fall to the Public Administration Secretariat of the federal government to take punitive action against the state government.

Promotions to administrative positions bring higher salaries but the process, designed by the teachers’ union CNTE, violates the constitution, according to the INEE. Federal law stipulates that such promotions can only be awarded following competitive examinations that adhere to parameters and assessment tools that will be defined in the next few months.

But for promotion in Oaxaca, under the CNTE plan, teachers must produce documents that show they participated in protests in Mexico City and Oaxaca.

From Justice in Mexico, the war on the Fourth Estate continues:

Reforma distribution center attacked in Edomex

A distribution center for the newspaper Reforma was attacked early in the morning of February 15 in Tlalnepantla, near the border with the municipality of Naucalpan, in the State of Mexico (Estado de México, Edomex). The attack occurred at approximately 2:00am on Sunday morning in the neighborhood of Viveros del Valle, and has left a franchisee employee in critical condition after he was shot in the nape of his neck during the attack. A truck owned by Reforma was also fired upon four times. No suspects have been detained yet in the case.

The attack comes on the heels of a series of publications made by Reforma in previous weeks that addressed the insecurity in nearby Naucalpan and the local police force’s alleged involvement in several incidences. On February 1, Reforma reported that Naucalpan Councilmember Esther Tapia accused the local police of kidnapping and beating her 23-year-old son to intimidate him, though it is unclear why he was targeted. Video footage of the event captured by nearby security cameras show a vehicle approach her son, and police officers exit from the vehicle and detain and physically assault him. The police vehicle, reports El Universal, is one of the Naucalpan Police’s nine new patrol cars, though it lacked official police insignia and police license plates.

From the Guardian, a cartel capture:

La Tuta captured: Mexico’s flamboyant primary teacher turned drug kingpin

  • Servando Gómez Martínez, the head of the Knights Templar crime cartel and nicknamed ‘La Tuta’, was captured by federal police early on Friday morning

Mexican police have captured a former primary school teacher who became the head of one of the country’s most bizarre and bloodthirsty drug-trafficking groups, putting an end to a flamboyant criminal career that stood out in a country where underworld bosses have traditionally sought to avoid the spotlight.

Servando Gómez Martínez, nicknamed “La Tuta” was captured by federal police in the early hours of Friday morning in the city of Morelia, capital of the Pacific coast state of Michoacán.

He was taken to Mexico City for questioning, before being marched in front of TV cameras to a helicopter to be flown to prison the same night.

And from the Associated Press, consequences:

Mexico drug lord captures change but don’t lower trafficking

It’s another big score for the Mexican government, which has been tearing through its list of most-wanted drug lords in recent years.

Still, no one expects drug trafficking or violence to decrease after the capture of Servando “La Tuta” Gomez, a former grade-school teacher whose Knights Templar cartel once terrorized the western state of Michoacan.

Crime will only shift around as the now weakened cartel regroups, or even splinters, as has happened with some of Mexico’s drug gangs after the killings or capture of top leaders. Others continue business as usual after top leadership hits.

“Dismantling them was a necessary step, but that does not end the problem of insecurity,” Alejandro Hope, a Mexico City-based security analyst, said of the Knights Templar. “The next part is more complicated. There are still small groups, remnants, which will be extorting, robbing and perhaps even producing methamphetamine.”