miércoles, 4 de diciembre de 2013

Over 16,800 reported murdered in Mexico since December 2012

Authorities in Mexico put at over 16,800 the number of murders committed so far in the country since Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) became President on 1 December 2012, El Informador reported on 2 December, citing official sources and press reports. Monthly murder figures from December 2012 to the end of October 2013 added up to 16,854 murders; the newspaper gave a different total, it was not immediately clear why. The figures were compiled by the National Public Security System (SNSP) secretariat, part of the interior ministry, and apparently confirmed a slight decline in homicide numbers from the worst years of the previous presidency, namely 2010 and 2011 when over 20,000 were killed each year in incidents mostly related to drugs and cartels. The PRI government, elected in July 2012, promised to reduce violence and use better intelligence and coordination among Government agencies to reduce violent deaths. The most mortiferous months cited for the latest period were April 2013 with 1,651 murders, May with 1,618 and March with 1,609. The SNSP also reported that 177,497 violent robberies were reported in the period cited to the end of October 2013, and 382,993 thefts without violence; the figures excluded all unreported crimes. A joint report, perhaps the same, issued by ministries and the armed forces stated that 109,220 kilograms of a range of drugs were confiscated in this period.

Honduran President-elect begins Central American tour

Honduran President-elect Juan Orlando Hernández Alvarado began a "courtesy tour" of Nicaragua, Panama and Costa Rica on 4 December to "exchange impressions" and invite their presidents to his formal inauguration, scheduled for 27 January 2014. The Supreme Electoral Court formally declared on 1 December that Mr Hernández, the candidate of the conservative National Party, had won 36.8 per cent of just over 3.23  million votes cast in the 24 November general elections, effectively dismissing allegations of electoral "theft" by the runner-up candidate, Spain's RTVE reported. Presidents Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, Laura Chinchilla of Costa Rica and Ricardo Martinelli of Panama were among the first foreign leaders to recognise the election results, the Honduran daily La Prensa reported on 4 December. The first to ring in the evening of 24 November were Mr Ortega, Nicaragua's socialist ruler, and his wife Rosario Murillo Zambrana, Mr Hernández was cited as saying. Inside Honduras officials and a "joint committee" were coordinating the handover of powers and transfer of relevant government information to seven "management groups" representing the new government, El Heraldo reported on 3 December. The outgoing President Porfirio Lobo Sosa said he would fine ministers withholding information from transitional teams. "It is not just about iformation exchange but intended so the Government keeps working and the country does not stop. We need to define administrative and legislative-type decisions to be taken in the next 60 days," Jorge Ramón Hernández Alcerro, the President-elect's representative on the joint committee was cited as saying.

HIV infections said halved in Honduras, most prevalent in coastal zones

In Honduras reported infections with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, were about half those of 2012 a Health Ministry official said on 2 December, and this due to "strategies implemented with the help and support of non-governmental organisations" working with groups most vulnerable to infection, including gay men and prostitutes, El Heraldo reported on 3 December. The head of the Ministry's HIV/AIDS department Elvia María Ardón Castro said that authorities registered 1,028 new cases of HIV infection in 2012, down from 1,075 in 2011; in 2013 until September she said, there were 534 cases. The Ministry gave the total number of people recorded as HIV-positive since 1985 as 31,672 of whom 16,707 were men. More than 22,300 of the infected now had AIDS symptoms, she said. Ms Ardón said infections occurred more frequently in the Atlantic coast departments of Colón and Atlántida, followed by the cities of San Pedro Sula and the capital Tegucicalpa. The age group with most infections was of 20-39 years, she said.