All posts by MBusiness

Biden Offers Condolences, Help in Wake of Mexico City Accident

President Joe Biden has offered condolences and pledged U.S. assistance following the collapse of a rail overpass in Mexico City that left at least 24 dead.”We send our deepest condolences to all those who lost a loved one and offer our best wishes for the recovery of all those who were injured. As neighbors and partners, our nations are closely linked, and the United States is ready to assist Mexico as it rebuilds from this tragedy,” said Biden in a statement released Wednesday by the White House.More than 60 people were injured and at least 24 died when the Mexico City subway train overpass collapsed Monday night onto a busy road, with hanging carriages crushing cars below it.The accident occurred on Line 12 near the Olivos station in the southeast of the city about 10:30 p.m. local time.Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said at the scene that a “support beam gave way” just as the train passed over it.Sheinbaum confirmed Tuesday that federal justice experts would be assisting the city with an investigation to “discover exactly what happened and what the causes” were.”We need experts from federal justice as well as an external and unbiased team to conduct the investigation and all the reports that need to be done and get to the truth,” she said.She added that a “Norwegian company will be in charge of the external investigation.”Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said at his regular news conference Tuesday that the investigation should be done quickly and that nothing would be hidden from the Mexican people.The Metro 12 line that runs over the now-collapsed overpass was built almost a decade ago.

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Biden Offers Condolences, Assistance in Wake of Mexico City Accident

President Joe Biden has offered condolences and pledged U.S. assistance following the collapse of a rail overpass in Mexico City that left at least 24 dead.”We send our deepest condolences to all those who lost a loved one and offer our best wishes for the recovery of all those who were injured. As neighbors and partners, our nations are closely linked, and the United States is ready to assist Mexico as it rebuilds from this tragedy,” said Biden in a statement released Wednesday by the White House.More than 60 people were injured and at least 24 died when the Mexico City subway train overpass collapsed Monday night onto a busy road, with hanging carriages crushing cars below it.The accident occurred on Line 12 near the Olivos station in the southeast of the city about 10:30 p.m. local time.Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said at the scene that a “support beam gave way” just as the train passed over it.Sheinbaum confirmed Tuesday that federal justice experts would be assisting the city with an investigation to “discover exactly what happened and what the causes” were.”We need experts from federal justice as well as an external and unbiased team to conduct the investigation and all the reports that need to be done and get to the truth,” she said.She added that a “Norwegian company will be in charge of the external investigation.”Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said at his regular news conference Tuesday that the investigation should be done quickly and that nothing would be hidden from the Mexican people.The Metro 12 line that runs over the now-collapsed overpass was built almost a decade ago.

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Canada Becomes First Country to Approve Pfizer Vaccine for Children

Canada has become the first country to approve Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children as young as 12. The announcement was made Wednesday by Dr. Supriya Sharma, chief medical adviser at Health Canada, who said the move would help children return to a normal life. Previously, the vaccine was approved only for those 16 and older. The United States and the European Union are considering similar moves. In March, the company released preliminary results of a study on the effectiveness of the vaccine on younger people. In the study of 2,260 U.S. volunteers ages 12 to 15, there were no cases of infection among those given the vaccine. Those who received the vaccine had similar side effects as their adult counterparts, including pain, fever, chills and fatigue, particularly after the second dose. More than 34% of Canadians have received at least one vaccine dose, The Associated Press reported.  

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UN Alarmed at Police Killings of Peaceful Protesters in Colombia

Police in the Colombian city of Cali reportedly opened fire on demonstrators who were protesting tax reforms. The U.N. human rights office said it is in the process of verifying the exact number of casualties and trying to determine how this incident could have happened.Human rights spokeswoman Marta Hurtado said it is important to get to the bottom of these events.Hurtado said her office has received reports about people being arbitrarily detained. Human rights defenders, she said, report being harassed and threatened by security forces.“We have seen videos of police dragging demonstrators, including injured demonstrators…” Hurtado said. “We have witnesses of excessive use of force by security officers — shootings, live ammunition being used, beating of demonstrators.”There has been no response from the Colombian government to the U.N. remarks. Colombia’s defense minister, Diego Molano, has alleged that illegal armed groups are infiltrating the protests to cause violence.The head of Colombia’s national police force, General Jorge Luis Varga, said 26 allegations of police brutality are under investigation. News reports cite police as saying their forces came under attack amid acts of looting and burning of buses.Strikes against a proposed tax reform bill have been ongoing since April 28. Demonstrators have continued their protests despite an announcement from the Colombian presidency on May 2 that it would remove the bill from consideration by Congress.Hurtado said there have been at least 14 deaths since the protests began, including one police officer. She said most of the protests have been peaceful and hopes they remain so during mass demonstrations called for Wednesday.“Given the extremely tense situation, with soldiers as well as police officers deployed to police the protest, we call for calm,” Hurtado said. “We remind the state authorities of their responsibility to protect human rights, including the right to life and security of person, and to facilitate the exercise of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly.”The human rights office said under international law, force should only be used if strictly necessary and in proportion to the threat posed. It said law enforcement officers should only use firearms as a measure of last resort against an imminent threat of death or serious injury.

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Colombian President Urges Dialogue Ahead of Planned Wednesday Marches

Colombian President Ivan Duque said on Tuesday the government is ready for national dialogue after days of protests led to over 20 deaths and international concern about excessive use of force by police.The protests, set to continue on Wednesday, were originally called in opposition to the government’s now-canceled tax reform plan but have become a broad cry for action against poverty and what demonstrators and advocacy groups say is police violence.All Colombians should work to reject violence, protect the most vulnerable and support COVID-19 vaccination and economic reactivation, Duque said in a video.”I want to announce that we will create a space to listen to citizens and construct solutions oriented toward those goals, where our most profound patriotism, and not political differences, should intercede,” Duque said.Colombian President Ivan Duque holds a press conference with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Italian Filippo Grandi in Bogota on Feb. 8, 2021.Duque’s promise echoed the 2019 creation of a so-called national dialogue after days of anti-government protests.Civil society groups, especially major unions, have said the government has not lived up to those promises and has done little to change deep inequalities in the Andean country.Mass marches and a national strike are planned for Wednesday, where demonstrators will call for a basic income guarantee, the withdrawal of a government health reform proposal and the dissolution of the ESMAD riot police.Duque responded to allegations of police overreach and rejected attacks on officers.”To those who work for the security of Colombians: all our support, and at the same time, all our expectation.”The national police force has said it will investigate more than two dozen allegations of brutality, while the defense minister has accused illegal armed groups of infiltrating the protests to cause violence.The western city of Cali has become the focus of protests since they began almost a week ago and is the site of 11 of the 19 deaths confirmed by the Andean country’s human rights ombudsman as of Monday. Local authorities said five more people were killed during protests there Monday night.Some 87 people have been reported missing nationally since the protests started, according to the ombudsman.Intermittent road blockades are delaying shipments out of the Pacific port city of Buenaventura, according to local authorities.The United Nation’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights urged calm, saying it was “deeply alarmed” by reports of police shootings.The European Union also called for security forces to avoid a heavy-handed response.Protests have so far led to the withdrawal of the original tax reform and the resignation of Finance Minister Alberto Carrasquilla. The government said the reform, which originally levied sales tax on public services and some food, would shore up the economy.Duque has said his government will draw up another proposal after consultations with lawmakers, civil society and businesses.New Finance Minister Jose Manuel Restrepo will need to convince Colombians, many of whom have seen their incomes battered by coronavirus lockdowns, that reform is vital, former Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas told the Reuters Global Markets Forum on Tuesday.Restrepo “has a huge challenge ahead” Cardenas said.Duque has offered military assistance to protect infrastructure and guarantee access to essential services, though mayors of cities including Bogota and Medellin said it was unnecessary.Duque on Tuesday canceled his nightly television show for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, and the protests forced the South American Football Confederation to move two Copa Libertadores games to Paraguay.

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Mexico City Metro Overpass Collapses onto Road, Killing at Least 23

An elevated section of the Mexico City metro collapsed and sent a subway car plunging toward a busy boulevard late Monday, killing at least 23 people and injuring about 70, city officials said. Rescuers searched a car left dangling from the overpass for hours for anyone who might be trapped.Those efforts were suspended early Tuesday, however, because of safety concerns for those working near the precariously dangling car. A crane was brought in to help shore it up.“We don’t know if they are alive,” Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said of the people possibly trapped inside the car following one of the deadliest accidents in the city’s subway system, which is among the busiest in the world.Rescuers work at a site where an overpass for a metro partially collapsed with train cars on it at Olivos station in Mexico City, Mexico, May 3, 2021.Rescue efforts were briefly interrupted at midnight because the partially dangling train was “very weak.” “We don’t know if they are alive,” Sheinbaum said of the people possibly trapped inside the subway car. Hundreds of police officers and firefighters cordoned off the scene as desperate friends and relatives of people believed to be on the trains gathered outside the security perimeter. Oscar López, 26, was searching for his friend, Adriana Salas, 26. Six months pregnant, she was riding the subway home from her work as a dentist when her phone stopped answering around the time the accident occurred. “We lost contact with her, at 10:50 p.m., there was literally no more contact,” López said. With little information and a still serious coronavirus situation in Mexico City, López said “they are not telling us anything, and people are just crowding together.” The collapse occurred on the newest of the Mexico City subway’s lines, Line 12, which stretches far into the city’s southside. Like many of the city’s dozen subway lines, it runs underground through more central areas of the city of 9 million, but then runs on elevated, pre-formed concrete structures on the city’s outskirts. The collapse could represent a major blow for Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, who was Mexico City’s mayor from 2006 to 2012, when Line 12 was built. Allegations about poor design and construction on the subway line emerged soon after Ebrard left office as mayor. The line had to be partly closed in 2013 so tracks could be repaired. Ebrard wrote on Twitter: “What happened today on the Metro is a terrible tragedy.” “Of course, the causes should be investigated and those responsible should be identified,” he wrote. “I repeat that I am entirely at the disposition of authorities to contribute in whatever way is necessary.” Rescuers transport an injured person on a stretcher at a site where an overpass for a metro partially collapsed with train cars on it at Olivos station in Mexico City, Mexico, May 3, 2021.It was not clear whether a 7.1-magnitude earthquake in 2017 could have affected the subway line. The Mexico City Metro, one of the largest and busiest in the world, has had at least two serious accidents since its inauguration half a century ago. In March of last year, a collision between two trains at the Tacubaya station left one passenger dead and injured 41 people. In 2015, a train that did not stop on time crashed into another at the Oceania station, injuring 12 people. 

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Mexico City Metro Overpass Collapses onto Road; 20 Dead

An elevated section of the Mexico City metro collapsed and sent a subway car plunging toward a busy boulevard late Monday, killing at least 20 people and injuring about 70, city officials said. A crane was working to hold up one subway car left dangling on the collapsed section so that emergency workers could enter to check the car to see if anyone was still trapped. Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said 49 of the injured were hospitalized, and that seven were in serious condition and undergoing surgery. Sheinbaum said a motorist had been pulled alive from a car that was trapped on the roadway below. Dozens of rescuers continued searching through wreckage from the collapsed, preformed concrete structure. “There are unfortunately children among the dead,” Sheinbaum said, without specifying how many. , The overpass was about 5 meters (16 feet) above the road in the southside borough of Tlahuac, but the train ran above a concrete median strip, which apparently lessened the casualties among motorists on the roadway below. “A support beam gave way,” Sheinbaum said, adding that the beam collapsed just as the train passed over it. Rescue efforts were briefly interrupted at midnight because the partially dangling train was “very weak.” “We don’t know if they are alive,” Sheinbaum said of the people possibly trapped inside the subway car. Hundreds of police officers and firefighters cordoned off the scene as desperate friends and relatives of people believed to be on the trains gathered outside the security perimeter. Oscar López, 26, was searching for his friend, Adriana Salas, 26. Six months pregnant, she was riding the subway home from her work as a dentist when her phone stopped answering around the time the accident occurred. “We lost contact with her, at 10:50 p.m., there was literally no more contact,” López said. With little information and a still serious coronavirus situation in Mexico City, López said “they are not telling us anything, and people are just crowding together.” The collapse occurred on the newest of the Mexico City subway’s lines, Line 12, which stretches far into the city’s southside. Like many of the city’s dozen subway lines, it runs underground through more central areas of the city of 9 million, but then runs on elevated, pre-formed concrete structures on the city’s outskirts. The collapse could represent a major blow for Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, who was Mexico City’s mayor from 2006 to 2012, when Line 12 was built. Allegations about poor design and construction on the subway line emerged soon after Ebrard left office as mayor. The line had to be partly closed in 2013 so tracks could be repaired. Ebrard wrote on Twitter: “What happened today on the Metro is a terrible tragedy.” “Of course, the causes should be investigated and those responsible should be identified,” he wrote. “I repeat that I am entirely at the disposition of authorities to contribute in whatever way is necessary.” It was not clear whether a 7.1-magnitude earthquake in 2017 could have affected the subway line. The Mexico City Metro, one of the largest and busiest in the world, has had at least two serious accidents since its inauguration half a century ago. In March of last year, a collision between two trains at the Tacubaya station left one passenger dead and injured 41 people. In 2015, a train that did not stop on time crashed into another at the Oceania station, injuring 12 people. 

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Colombian Finance Minister Resigns Amid Deadly Protests

Colombia’s finance minister resigned on Monday following five days of protests over a tax reform proposal that left at least 17 dead.Alberto Carrasquilla’s resignation comes a day after President Ivan Duque withdrew the tax plan from congress in response to the protests, which have included riots and violent clashes with police.According to Colombia’s human rights ombudsman, 16 protesters have been killed since Wednesday as well as a policeman who was stabbed to death.Carrasquilla had designed the tax reform, which was aimed at raising $6.7 billion for Colombia’s government as it struggles to pay debts while attempting to provide poor families with subsidies to mitigate the pandemic’s impact.The finance minister’s plan included a 19% sales tax on gasoline as well as an effort to expand the country’s tax base by charging income taxes to people making $700 a month or more.Carrasquilla had also proposed a 19% sales tax on utilities in middle-class neighborhoods, and a wealth tax for individuals with a net worth of $1.3 million or more.The government said it needs the money to pay for health care improvements and to continue implementing a basic income scheme that started during the pandemic.But the tax plan was rejected by most political parties, which are currently preparing for elections in 2021, and had also angered unions, student groups and small-business leaders whose incomes have been affected by the pandemic. Protesters asked the government to raise corporate taxes and decrease military spending instead of taxing the middle class.Sergio Guzmán, a political analyst in Bogota, said Carrasquilla’s resignation could “embolden” protesters to stay in the streets until the government meets other demands such as reforming the police or stopping plans to fumigate illegal coca crops with a chemical that could cause cancer. He pointed out that Colombia’s president now has few options but to start negotiations over taxes with different political and social groups.”The problem is that Duque has little credibility now,” Guzmán said.Colombia’s president on Sunday encouraged politicians to come together and design another tax plan.”Withdrawing this tax reform or not is not what should be debated,” Duque said in a nationally televised speech. “The real debate is how to guarantee the continuation of social programs.” 

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With Proper Care, Maradona Could be Alive, Medical Report Says

A medical report on the death of Diego Maradona given to prosecutors Monday said the Argentine soccer legend agonized for more than 12 hours, did not receive adequate treatment and could still be alive if he had been properly hospitalized.The medical panel worked for two months on the report, which was written by more than 20 doctors. Maradona, who led Argentina to a 1986 World Cup, is considered one of the greatest soccer players ever.The document further complicates the defense of seven people under investigation in the case, including brain surgeon Leopoldo Luque and psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov, both of whom worked for Maradona.The 60-year-old Maradona died of a heart attack at a rented residence outside Buenos Aires following a November 3 brain operation.The medical report said, “the patient’s signs of risk of life were ignored,” adding that Maradona “showed unequivocal signs of a prolonged agony period” of at least 12 hours.The document also said the attention Maradona was getting at the rented house “did not fulfill the minimum requirements” for a patient with his medical history. It said the Argentine star would not have died with “adequate hospitalization.”Maradona had suffered a series of medical problems, some the result of excesses of drugs and alcohol. He was reportedly near death in 2000 and 2004.Julio Rivas, a lawyer for Luque, said he will try to annul the medical forensics of the report.”They have made a biased report, a bad one, with no scientific foundation,” he said.

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