Wednesday, September 22, 2021

December 2, 2019  VILLA UNION, Mexico (AP) — A small town near the U.S.-Mexico border began cleaning up Monday, gripped by fear after the killing of 22 people in a ferocious weekend gunbattle between drug cartel members and security forces.

A 72-year-old woman living near Villa Union’s city hall recounted how she huddled with two of her grandchildren inside an armoire during the shooting.

The street in front of her home was littered with shell casings, and her walls and door were pocked with bullet holes.

“I’m still trembling,” she said, speaking on condition of anonymity out of fear for her safety. “We’ve never seen anything like this. It was as if they just wanted to sow terror.”

Around midday Saturday, armed men in a convoy of dozens of vehicles arrived in Villa Union and began shooting up city hall. Many of the vehicles were emblazoned with the cartel’s initials — CDN, for Cartel del Noreste, or Northeast Cartel — as were the attackers’ bulletproof vests.

Coahuila Gov. Miguel Riquelme said state security forces arrived within an hour and surrounded the town, about 35 miles (60 kilometers) southwest of Eagle Pass, Texas.

Sixteen gunmen were killed, along with four state police officers and two civilians, he said.

On Monday morning, the town of about 6,000 people was strewn with burned-out vehicles, and the city hall’s facade was so riddled with bullet holes it looked like a sieve.

Workers swept up glass and rubble out front and began to plaster over the holes, while others collected important documents. Broken glass covered the floor, a crucifix had fallen from a wall, furniture was destroyed, and portraits of local politicians were pierced by bullets.

Outside lay a burned SUV, a shot-up ambulance and a yellow school bus with CDN spray-painted on the side.

Shops nearby cleaned up rather than open for business. Despite the presence of soldiers and federal police patrolling the quiet streets, no one sent their children to school, and residents did not want to give their names for fear the gunmen could return.

“They wanted to send a message” to the state government, Riquelme told the Mexican network Radio Formula.

He said the Northeast Cartel, based in nearby Tamaulipas state, has made 15 attempts to establish itself in Coahuila since he became governor two years ago.

“We have not permitted the entrance of these criminals in our entity,” he said. “They thought they were going to enter, strike and exit, something that didn’t happen.”

The Northeast Cartel is an offshoot of the Zetas, a cartel with roots in elite military units. The Zetas long dominated Nuevo Laredo and Tamaulipas state and were known for military-style operations and grotesque violence intended to intimidate their enemies.

Villa Union is 12 miles (20 kilometers) from the town of Allende, the site of a 2011 massacre involving the Zetas in which officials say 70 died.

Villa Union residents wondered why their town was targeted with such fury. A woman who declined to give her name likened the attack to being in a war zone and said, “They caught us off guard.”

The governor said that all hostages taken Saturday, including five minors, had been rescued. Cartel members had taken some locals with them as guides as they tried to make their escape along back roads.

Of the 25 vehicles seized, four carried .50-caliber machine guns. Dozens of homes were damaged.

On Monday afternoon, the family of a civil defense worker who was one of the two civilians killed in the shooting held a wake for the father of four children. Still terrified, all declined to speak or be identified. His widow said only, “He didn’t do anything bad.”

Mexico’s homicide rate has increased to historically high levels this year. After a string of massacres, critics have charged that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s government does not have a coherent security strategy.

López Obrador met on Monday with relatives of nine women and children, all dual U.S.-Mexican citizens, killed by gunmen from the Juarez cartel in the border state of Sonora on Nov. 4. Authorities said they have taken three suspects into custody in connection with the ambush.

The relatives expressed satisfaction with the meeting but said they want further investigation.

SXM Radio Online

Entertainment

September 7, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — Actor Michael K. Williams, who as the rogue robber of drug dealers Omar Little on “The Wire” created one of the most beloved and enduring characters in a prime era of television, died Monday. Williams was found dead Monday afternoon by family members in his Brooklyn penthouse apartment, New York City police said. He was 54. His death was being investigated as a possible drug overdose, the NYPD said. The medical examiner was investigating the cause of death. Little, a “stick-up boy” based on real figures from Baltimore, was probably the most popular character among the devoted fans of “The Wire,” the HBO show that ran from 2002 to 2008 and is re-watched constantly in streaming.

September 8, 2021 LOS ANGELES (AP) — Britney Spears’ father filed Tuesday to end the court conservatorship that has controlled the singer’s life and money for 13 years. James Spears filed his petition to terminate the conservatorship in Los Angeles Superior Court. “As Mr. Spears has said, again and again, all he wants is what is best for his daughter,” the document says. “If Ms. Spears wants to terminate the conservatorship and believes that she can handle her own life, Mr. Spears believes that she should get that chance.” Judge Brenda Penny, who oversees the case, will need to approve the move. Britney Spears attorney Matthew Rosengart said in an email the filing “represents another legal victory for Britney Spears — a massive one — as well as vindication for Ms. Spears.”

September 8, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — With Katie Holmes and Lil’ Kim on his front row and singer Marina on the mic high above his runway, Christian Siriano helped kicked off New York Fashion Week’s first big pandemic round of in-person shows Tuesday with a flurry of neon and lace-inspired in part by all the Italian women in his life. From ornate Gotham Hall, beneath a stained-glass skylight 70 feet up, Siriano’s commitment to size inclusivity was never stronger as he opened and closed the show with plus-size breakout model Precious Lee. She first walked in a stunning yellow trouser suit with wide loose pants and an asymmetrical jacket, a matching crossover bralette underneath.

September 7, 2021  VENICE, Italy (AP) — Paul Schrader knows he has a limited number of films left, so whatever he does from here on out is going to be for himself. At 75 years old, the writer of “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull” and director of “American Gigolo” and “Mishima” was even somewhat prepared to call it a day after his 2018 film “First Reformed,” for which he got his first Oscar nomination. He didn’t want to. He just knew it might be the reality. “I thought I would go back to this character again for about the fifth time,” Schrader said in a recent interview. By “this character” he means “the man in the room.” It’s Travis Bickle. It’s John LeTour. It’s Julian Kay. And it’s a formula he’s been working with for 45 years.

Business News

September 8, 2021  -Stocks were mostly lower in Asia on Wednesday after a lackluster session on Wall Street, where weak jobs data and pandemic concerns weighed on sentiment. Shares rose in Tokyo after economic growth for the April-June quarter was revised upward to an annualized 1.9% from an earlier estimate of 1.3%. “Any feel-good factor was ignored, though, given the climb was less than half of the 4.20% fall in Q1,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary. “Japan will be lucky to break even this year as the current Covid-19 wave will almost certainly have weighed on domestic consumption,” he said.

September 8, 2021 NEW YORK (AP) — There will be something missing at two Whole Foods stores opening next year: the rows of cashiers. Amazon, which owns the grocery chain, said Wednesday that it will bring its cashier-less technology to two Whole Foods stores for the first time, letting shoppers grab what they need and leave without having to open their wallets. Cameras and sensors track what’s taken off shelves. Items are charged to an Amazon account after customers leave the store with them. But there will be an option for those who want to shop the old-fashioned way: Self-checkout lanes will be available that take cash, gift cards and other types of payment. Amazon first unveiled the cashier-less technology in 2018 at an Amazon Go convenience store and has expanded it to larger Amazon supermarkets. But it will be the first time it has appeared at Whole Foods, a chain of more than 500 grocery stores Amazon bought four years ago.

September 8, 2021  BEIJING (AP) — An avalanche of changes launched by China’s ruling Communist Party has jolted everyone from tech billionaires to school kids. Behind them: President Xi Jinping’s vision of making a more powerful, prosperous country by reviving revolutionary ideals, with more economic equality and tighter party control over society and entrepreneurs. Since taking power in 2012, Xi has called for the party to return to its “original mission” as China’s economic, social and cultural leader and carry out the “ rejuvenation of the great Chinese nation.” The party has spent the decade since then silencing dissent and tightening political control. Now, after 40 years of growth that transformed China into the world’s factory but left a gulf between a wealthy elite and the poor majority, the party is promising to spread prosperity more evenly and is pressing private companies to pay for social welfare and back Beijing’s ambition to become a global technology competitor.

Fashion News

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