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The vacant lots beneath Mexico’s highway overpasses are getting a makeover. Theses underpasses are being transformed into commercial and recreational space at no cost the Mexican government.

The Under Bridges program specifies that 50 percent of the land remain as public space, with playgrounds, exercise areas, greenery and picnic tables; 30 percent is commercial and office space; and the remaining 20 percent is reserved for parking. Instead of spending money to develop the land, Mexico granted concessions to private developers allowing them to bear the cost of cleanup, construction and maintenance while leasing the commercial and retail space to business approved by city officials.

From resource drain to commercial real estate fame, four under bridge zones have been built, with twenty more in the works. The zones are improving the community, the economy, as well as public safety in Mexico City. As a result of development, pedestrian crosswalks, street lights, and trash cleanup, public safety has increased, ultimately resulting in more security, more people and revenue generated for Mexico.

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Mexico City

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Mexican chef Pati Jinich, host of Pati’s Mexican Table on PBS, discussed her inspirations behind Mexican cooking in a recent interview at Google. Jinich is the author of a new cookbook "Pati's Mexican Table: The Secrets of Real Mexican Home Cooking." 

You can hear the excitement in her voice and the light in her eyes whenever she mentions the indescribable taste of chipotles in adobo sauce or poblano peppers that she affectionately calls "vegetables with a load full of personality." 

Jinich is packed with personality. 

Realizing that she has strong roots to both countries, Jinich stated she is "happily torn between the United States and Mexico."

In fact, it was her nostalgia for Mexico while living and studying political science in Texas that awakened her insatiable desire to experiment with cooking. She admits at first, she was terrible, but that the process of rediscovering Mexican ingredients in her new country gave her a warm and cozy feeling.

Jinich toiled with the idea of cooking full time, but continued her academic studies relegating cooking to a hobby, until she finally enrolled in cooking school a second time to explore this burgeoning passion. 

"It's funny because people say that you should do what you love and [cooking] is really taking over," Jinich said.

With cooking, Jinich is able to reconcile her two roots and with her book you will find these. She tried to show Mexican home cooking with recipes and ingredients familiar to Americans and reinventions of Mexican recipes to satisfy her diverse palette.  

To Jinich, cooking "helps to find those links that are sometimes missing from [the] chain." 

When talking about the power of cooking, Pati mentions she is humbled by how much she does not know about her new country's food and vice versa. The important thing she noted is that food tells a story and it is that story, she says, that makes things beautiful. 

And, when asked about her children's favorite foods Jinich said she always likes to compare food of a place to its people. French food is a little bit fussy and the people are similar to that. Mexican food, she told the audience member, is "super versatile and accommodating, like us Mexicans!" 

In her book, Jinich describes ingredients to give people knowledge and believes connecting to the ingredients is different. 

"[It is the] legends and the stories...that make the cooking experience more magical," Jinich said.

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Puerto_Vallarta_Restaurant_Week_2013_Lifestyle

The Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board has announced that the 9th annual edition of the Puerto Vallarta Restaurant Week will again take place from May 15 to the 31st. Cities around the world, from New York to London, set aside a week or two each year to encourage visitors and locals to experience the taste and ambiance of their restaurants.

For this year’s edition the Restaurant Week will enjoy the participation of 35 restaurants, with seven of them participating for the first time. Established in 2005 by Grupo Editorial Vallarta Lifestyles, Restaurant Week is a two-week event in which during the festival all participant restaurant of Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit will introduce a special three-course menu, with three options to choose from for each course, at a reduced price.

This year’s participating restaurants are Cafe des Artistes, Le Kliff, La Leche, La Palapa, Vista Grill, Barcelona Tapas, Archie´s Wok, Trío, Vitea, Blanca Blue, Coco Tropical, Daiquiri Dicks, De Santos, Boca DOS stk, El Arrayán, Cocos Kitchen, Hacienda San Angel, La Bodeguita del Medio, Rancho 3 Puertas, Las Casitas, Ginger Garden Lounge, Porto Bello, River Cafe, Taste Restaurant, Prime 169, Nicksan, Tratoria Michel, Sí Señor, and The Blue Shrimp. Each restaurant assigns a price for their meal, and it will range from $199.00 to $299.00 pesos, depending on the restaurant.

$189 pesos

$299 Pesos

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Mexico_Large_Millimeter_Telescope_Business

After detecting its first light spectrum from a distant galaxy in 2011, Mexico’s Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT) is set to begin its first scientific observation season and gather the data for which it was constructed: how stars, galaxies, and planets are formed.

As the world’s largest single dish, steerable, millimeter-wavelength telescope, the LMT is located in the central Mexican state of Puebla at the summit of Sierra Negra, a dormant volcano nearly three miles in height.

Despite its location and 70% of the LMT’s funding coming from Mexico, the astronomical initiative is actually a partnership between Mexico’s National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics, and Electronics (INAOE) and the University of Massachusetts and Amherst College in the United States.

Once the telescope was constructed, building a staff to man the laboratory became the main challenge for David Hughes, the director of the LMT. A challenge indeed as Mexico’s astronomy community was centered on optical and infrared telescopes prior to the LMT.

Hughes was successful in this endeavor, however, as the group of M.Sc. and Ph D. students he trained not only helped train other members of the Mexican community, but they have also gone forth and taught others – forming the next generation of LMT scientists.

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Sierra Negra
Mexico_Adventure_Travel_Expo_Veracruz

On August 14th-17th, Mexico will make a concentrated effort to brand itself as a premier adventure travel destination through the second annual Adventure Travel Mexico trade fair.

This year’s ATMEX is hosted by the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), an organization that boasts 900 members focused on the sustainable development of adventure tourism, Visit Mexico, and the Mexican state of Veracruz.

The goal for the event is to prove the sustainable benefits of adventure travel for Mexico to the attendees, over 400 inbound Mexican operators, outbound tour operators, international buyers, media, industry leaders, and representatives of the government and private sectors.

To help attain this goal, several Mexican states will offer several expense-paid familiarization trips for qualified buyers and media to become better acquainted with some of the natural wonders and adventure activities available in the area.

Additionally, the momentum created from the success of ATMEX’s predecessor, the 2011 Adventure Travel World Summit in Chiapas, will help the fair gain the traction it needs to boost this younger sector of the Mexican tourism industry.

Notably, the adventure travel industry, with its focus on building infrastructure, education, and brand awareness, will offer Mexico several economic and social advantages due to its increased emphasis on rural destinations often overlooked by the average tourist. According to Shannon Stowell, the president of the ATTA, ATMEX hopes to capitalize on the current positive trend among travelers electing to take “experiential” vacations; trips that offer a more substantial connection to the nature and culture of a destination.

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Veracruz
Enrique Peña Nieto and the Mexican Diplomatic Corps

President Enrique Peña Nieto met with Mexican ambassadors from around the world to discuss ways to promote Mexico's international image.

In a private meeting in Los Pinos, President Peña Nieto requested that the Mexican diplomatic corps take steps to strenghen Mexico's presence in the world, expand international cooperation, promote the value of Mexico in the world and protec the interests of Mexico abroad.

"We are committed to a peaceful and inclusive Mexico," Peña Nieto said. "We want to build a prosperous Mexico with quality education for all. From internal reforms, our goal is a Mexico as an actor with global responsibilities."

Peña Nieto outlined goals for Mexico with different regions of the world. In North America, he seeks the elimination of the visa requirement for Mexicans in Canada; foster greater cooperation on security and attract greater investment flows in the automotive, aerospace, energy and telecommunications sectors. In Latin America, Mexico wants to promote greater regional integration of the region.

Peña Nieto's goals in Europe are to promote the positive image of Mexico as a safe destination for investment, trade and tourism, strengthen strategic relationships, promote greater academic and business exchanges and encourage cooperation on global issues like human rights, the fight against poverty and hunger. In Asia, his priorities are to strengthen and deepen dialogue and political relationship; intensify tourism exchanges, trade and investment, as well as an expansion of programs of scientific and technological cooperation. In the case of the Middle East, the President Peña Nieto stressed the need to promote tourism and cultural exchanges as well as boost trade and mutual investment.

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2013_Chrysler_Town_&_Country

For the first time in its history, Chrysler has launched its luxury Town & Country minivan with an exclusive limited edition for the Mexican market. Chrysler, in collaboration with Mexican jeweler Tanya Moss, will produce 150 limited edition 2013 Town & Country Minivans featuring unique design elements created especially for the vehicle.

Tanya Moss is one of the most important jewelry designers in Mexico. She studied graphic design at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City and specialized in design and manufacture of jewelry at Southern Illinois University. After completing her studies in 1993, she began her career as a professional designer and business woman.

In 1995, after several years of selling his pieces "door to door", Moss opened her first boutique in Mexico City. Tanya’s jewelry creations exclusively use silver and gold, alone or combined with stones, pearls and diamonds. The pieces are unique and exclusive design. In 2003, Moss designs her iconic butterfly, which represents Tanya’s freedom in her designs and becomes the symbol and identity of the brand.

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Mexico_Japan_Bolster_Tourism

Mexico is Japan’s most popular Latin American travel destination. Now the Mexican and Japanese governments have inked a deal to jointly promote tourism between their two countries. This recent agreement is part of a larger economic partnership between the Mexico and Japan that dates back to 2005.

As part of the agreement, Mexico and Japan will educate Japanese travel agents on Mexican cultural heritage and tourism destinations. The two nations also agreed that boosting air connectivity will increase ease of travel and ultimately increase the influx of tourists.

85,678 Japanese travelers visited Mexico in 2012, up 18.5 percent from the year before, according to official figures. Increasing tourism from Asian nations is a priority for President Enrique Peña Nieto. In a recent speech in Nayarit where he unveiled a new national tourism policy for Mexico, Peña Nieto said "We will open Mexico to the world, and the world will visit Mexico. Tourism is a fundamental component of our economy and a key driver of national development."

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Mexico City
Cancun

Mexico’s beautiful beaches and resorts receive special attention under President Enrique Peña Nieto’s robust tourism plan. This new initiative aims to strengthen existing destinations and highlight the country’s rich diversity. 

Mexico is already recognized as a top family destination with its luxurious spas and exclusive getaways. From hosting Hollywood’s elite as part of the “Oscars Swag Bag” earlier this year, to the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders for their swimsuit calendar shoot, Mexico has long since been recognized as an optimal beach destination. 

Apart from maintaining luxury hotspots, the goals of sun and beach tourism also involve strengthening security at beaches as well as promoting lesser-known resorts. In April, the Mexican government launched “Operation Spring Breakers 2013” to ensure safety in Cancun for college students who descend upon sandy beaches. And for those who desire a more laid-back vacation, the tourism plan highlights quaint resort areas such as Tulum. Though removed from the popular destinations Cancun and Playa del Carmen, Tulum is both a luxury and cultural oasis for the bohemian-spirited. 

With a privileged geographic location and a vast array of cultural, natural, and historical attractions, Mexico is a dream destination for any tourist. President Peña Nieto has made significant strides towards a burgeoning tourism industry by recognizing this wealth as well as its potential for growth. His plan not only keeps tourists safe and happy, but also contributes to the Mexico’s economic and social prosperity

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Automakers_Mexico_Steel_Industry_Mexican_Automotive

The steel industry in Mexico is growing as a result of the boom in Mexican automotive manufacturing. To keep up with demand for steel, Mexican steelmakers are expected to invest almost $3 billion on new and improved factories.

As we’ve reported before, Mexico’s automobile production has grown incredibly in the past few years; rising to nearly 6 percent of Mexico’s GDP. Mexico is in prime position to take over a very large portion of the market for cars due to its geographical location. Mexico has become a magnet for automakers seeking access to North and South American markets and other regions. Mexico has trade agreements with more than 40 countries, opening markets for automakers and steelmakers. In fact, Mazda plans to open an $800 million factory, expected to open in 2014. Auto exports to an expected to rise to 4 million vehicles by 2017, according to The Mexican Automobile Industry Association.

New trade deals and low-cost labor have made Mexico a profitable base for car production. It's also attracting other parts of the auto-supply chain, from steel mills to brake makers, as the "made in Mexico" trend grows. “While Mexico is the world’s 13th-largest maker of steel overall, its production of automotive-grade metal that has been galvanized, or coated in zinc to prevent rust, remains low, said Oscar Albin, president of the National Autoparts Industry in Mexico City.”

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Mario Gutierrez of Veracruz won the 2012 Kentucky Derby

In 2012, jockey Mario Gutierrez of Veracruz rode into the record books as the winning jockey of the Kentucky Derby. One year after his victorious race aboard the horse I'll Have Another, Gutierrez will be watching the 2013 Kentucky Derby from the sidelines.

“It will be nice,” Gutierrez told Yahoo! Sports last week. “I get to watch it and not have any pressure.” 

Nevertheless, winning the Kentucky Derby changed Mario Gutierrez’s life. He appeared on late-night talk shows and threw out the first pitch at a Los Angeles Dodgers ballgame.

“When people ask who won the Kentucky Derby in 2012, my name will be right there,” he said. “I can always say I went there for the first time and won the Kentucky Derby.”

Gutierrez was born in Veracruz, Mexico but built his professional jockey career in Canada.  Since 2006, Gutierrez has been one of the leading riders at Hastings Race Course in Vancouver, winning riding titles in 2007, 2008 before coming up short for a third on the final day of the meeting last year.

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Barack Obama and Enrique Peña Nieto

At a joint press conference at the Palacio Nacional in Mexico City, Presidents Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico and Barack Obama reaffirmed the strong ties between the United States and Mexico at the beginning of this week's bilateral meeting.

"Mexico and the United States have one of the largest, most dynamic relationships of any two countries on earth," said President Obama. "Our success is shared. When one of us prospers, both of us prosper."

President Peña Nieto said, "Higher education is the great booster for our two nations, where science and technology are our best bet."

Presidents Obama and Peña Nieto announced the formation of a bilateral forum for education, innovation and research, in order to expand student exchanges and increase research in the education sector. The forum seeks to "expand economic opportunities for the citizens" of the two countries and will promote greater access to postsecondary education" for traditionally underserved demographic groups in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Mexico and the United States have a long history of educational collaboration, with more than 18,000 college students exchanges between the two countries each year.

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Barack Obama and Enrique Peña Nieto

Upon his arrival on Air Force One in Mexico City, U.S. President Barack Obama travelled to the Palacio Nacional to begin his bilateral meetings with President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico. Following a joint press conference, Presidents Obama and Peña Nieto will have a working dinner at Los Pinos. Tomorrow, President Obama is expected to speak to Mexican youth at the Museo Nacional de Antropología before travelling to Costa Rica for the second leg of his trip through Latin America.

This is President Obama’s fourth trip to Mexico. President Obama previously visited Mexico in April and August 2009 meetings with then-President Felipe Calderón. President Obama also attended the G-20 Summit in Los Cabos in June 2012. In November 2012, then President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto met with President Obama and invited him to visit Mexico. Vice President Joe Biden attended President Peña Nieto’s December 2012 inauguration ceremony.

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Mexico is the World's Largest Exporter of Fresh Mangoes

Thanks to an explosion of mango exports from Mexico, your next mango recipe can be sweeter and more authentic. One out of 20 mangoes consumed in the world is now grown in Mexico. Last year, 300,000 tons of mangoes were exported from Mexico, mostly to the United States. Mexico is the world’s largest exporter of fresh mangoes. 

Because of their proximity to the U.S. market, Mexico mango growers have lower transportation costs than their competitors in Asia. As a result, mango growers in Mexico can allow the fruit to ripen longer on the mango tree. According to Jorge Armando Celis, president of Mexico's mango exporters, the more time a mango ripens on the tree, the sweeter the fruit will be.

Has this post made you hungry? If so, please enjoy this mango salsa recipe from Pati Jinich, host of Pati’s Mexican Table.

FRESH MANGO SALSA

Makes 4 1/2 cups

INGREDIENTS

1/2 medium red onion, cut into very thin slivers (1/3 cup)

Juice from 2 limes (4 tablespoons)

2 1/2 pounds ripe mangoes (about 4), peeled and cut into large dice

1 large jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons, or more to taste)

Leaves from 4 stems cilantro, finely chopped (3 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or more to taste

TO PREPARE

Combine the onion and lime juice in a mixing bowl; toss to coat and let sit for 10 minutes. Combine the mango, jalapeno, cilantro, oil and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Add the onion-lime juice mixture when it's ready and toss to mix well. Taste and add salt or jalapeno as needed.

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President Barack Obama in Mexico

On the eve of President Obama's visit to Mexico, two-thirds of Mexicans have a favorable impression of the United States, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center. This represents the highest approval rating of the Mexico-US bilateral relationship in three years. 66 percent of Mexicans rated relations with the United States as "good," up from 44 percent in late 2010. 70 percent of Mexicans rate economic relations with the United States as "good." Regarding President Obama, 49 percent of Mexicans express confidence in the American president to do the right thing when it comes to world affairs, up from 42 percent in 2012 and 38 percent in 2011.

The upcoming visit will be President Obama’s fourth trip to Mexico. President Obama previously visited Mexico in April and August 2009 meetings with then-President Felipe Calderón. President Obama also attended the G-20 Summit in Los Cabos in June 2012. In November 2012, then President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto met with President Obama and invited him to visit Mexico. Vice President Joe Biden attended President Peña Nieto’s December 2012 inauguration ceremony.

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