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Mexico Sees Decrease in US-bound Immigration from Central America

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WASHINGTON – Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said after a White House meeting on Tuesday that there has been a “significant decrease” in U.S.-bound immigration through Mexico, especially from Central America, and he expects the trend to continue.

Ebrard met with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, and had a briefer exchange with President Donald Trump, to review progress in efforts to curb a surge in Central American migrants.

Pence acknowledged Mexico’s efforts. He said U.S. officials would work with Mexico to expand implementation of the Migrant Protection Protocols to speed up processing of asylum claims, according to a White House statement.

Mexico’s strategy of putting more than 25,000 National Guard militarized police along its borders and stepping up raids on people traffickers has been a success, Ebrard told a news conference.

“What Mexico has done is working,” said Ebrard, admitting that border crossings were still up from averages in September, “but the tendency is irreversible … It is something that we think will be permanent.”

Following threats by Trump to impose tariffs on all its goods, Mexico on June 7 pledged to take a series of steps to contain migrants, and the two governments agreed to review that effort after 90 days.

Ebrard said tariffs were not discussed. “It was not the purpose of the meeting. I would say Mexico in this moment is far from the tariffs, far from that possiblity,” he said.

Mexico brought up the illicit flows of arms from the United States that Mexican authorities want to freeze, according to Ebrard, who said earlier on Twitter that would be Mexico’s priority at the meeting.

Trump’s new envoy in Mexico, U.S. Ambassador Christopher Landau, said later on Tuesday that the cross-border arms trade is a problem both countries face.

“The illegal flow of arms from the United States to Mexico represents a common threat,” Landau wrote in a post on Twitter, adding that a binational group has been set up to “identify and implement concrete measures” that will address it.

Successive Mexican governments have argued that illicit arms sales and gun-running from the United States into Mexico have fueled turf wars between drug gangs and clashes with security forces, exacerbating social problems and adding to migratory pressures.

More than 200,000 people have been killed in gang-fueled violence, and over 40,000 have disappeared since former President Felipe Calderon sent in the armed forces to tackle Mexico’s powerful drug cartels at the end of 2006.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a leftist who took office in December, has vowed to end the lawlessness, but 2019 is on track to be Mexico’s most violent year on record.

This month, Trump and U.S. officials have praised Mexico and Central American countries for helping cut U.S. border arrests by nearly 60% from earlier this year. But the issue remains fraught in the run-up to the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

Trump campaigned for office in 2015-16 pledging to halt the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs from Mexico. The Mexican government has persistently argued that disputes over U.S.-Mexico border security are a shared responsibility.

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Extra cricket benefitted me, says Alyssa Healy

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Dubai [UAE], September 17 (ANI): Amid a busy schedule, Australia women batter Alyssa Healy said that ‘extra cricket’ has benefitted her game.

“I think it’s becoming more and more important for us [to manage our downtime]. We’re learning on our feet how to be professional cricketers and playing around the world quite frequently, but the girls are getting a lot better at managing their downtime,” ICC quoted Healy as saying.

“I’m [feeling] good, it helps when you can laze around on the beach all day and drink some mocktails. I’m enjoying my time here, it’s been a busy couple of months but I made that decision to play the extra cricket and I think it’s benefited me,” she added.

Currently, Healy is featuring for her team on their Caribbean tour which follows an all-format Ashes series which took place in July. Before the Ashes series, she played with Yorkshire Diamonds in the Women’s Cricket Super League.

Australia women registered a massive nine-wicket victory over West Indies women on Tuesday. Healy, while chasing a target of 98 runs, scored unbeaten 58 runs.

Healy expressed her dissatisfaction with her innings but said that victory is all that matters.

“It was one of the more ugly innings that I’ll have, but to get a win, that’s what really matters and hopefully we get a nice true wicket in a couple of days’ time and we can make a big total if need be,” Healy said.

Australia have won first two T20I against West Indies and the third T20I match will be played on September 19. (ANI)

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From the US to Ghana, a Taste of Home in the Homeland

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ACCRA, GHANA – African Americans are being encouraged to visit Ghana to mark 400 years since the beginning of the transatlantic slave trade. In the capital, Accra, one returnee chef is awaiting U.S. visitors to give them a taste of home in the homeland.

At her roadside cafe in Accra, Chef Sage cooks up food influenced by her time in the United States, the Caribbean and Ghana. Spices from her lentil burgers waft into the air, as members of her loyal customer base take their seats at the outdoor tables.

“I had that Southern influence, my grandmother with cornbread and macaroni cheese – the whole soul food works, and then also being in the Caribbean, having that Caribbean influence as well. I don’t know if a lot of people residing in Africa know that the foods in the Caribbean are so similar, you have direct descendants coming from Africa to the Caribbean,” Sage said.

Chef Sage — she prefers not to use her real name — says she’s seeing more African American customers who are in Ghana for “Year of Return” activities, visiting to mark 400 years since the start of the transatlantic slave trade.

They sit alongside regular customers as Chef Sage and her family serve up plant-based fusion meals. Chef Sage was born in Brooklyn, New York, moved to Saint Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands as a child and in 2005 relocated to Ghana.

“I think when African Americans relocate to Ghana, we do consider this our homeland and we are happy to be here but that food, you are still looking for what you are accustomed too. So I think I attract African Americans because I still have those flavors infused in the food,” Sage said.

Chef Sage does private catering in Accra, as well as her weekly roadside cafe. The menu changes weekly but can include anything from sweet potato pie to tacos to fusion salads – all made with local ingredients.

Customers like Grisel Industrioso say the food is about good taste and community.

“You have people from Jamaica, different Caribbean islands, from you have people from North America, America itself but from different places, you have people from California and from the East like myself but there is something that brings us together as one people. We can all relate to this food,” Industrioso said.

The links between food in Ghana and the United States are something Essie Bartels, a Ghanaian food entrepreneur, also explores. Her spice mixes and sauces aim to show the similarities in food cultures around the world, especially those with African heritage.

“Being able to see where all these hotspots of flavors are and bringing them together, that is what I am trying to do with Essie Spice and that is what I hope the Year of Return will do to inspire people to see how connected even food is around the world,” Bartels said.

Bartels and Chef Sage say the Year of Return is a good time to reflect on shared history and heritage.

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Bermuda Battens Down for Category 3 Hurricane Humberto

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MIAMI, FLORIDA – Bermuda’s government called up troops and urged people on the British Atlantic island to make final preparations for an expected close brush Wednesday with Hurricane Humberto, a powerful Category 3 storm. Authorities ordered early closings of schools, transportation and government offices.

Gov. John Rankin called up 120 members of the Royal Bermuda Regiment to prepare for possible storm recovery efforts and National Security Minister Wayne Caines said schools, government offices and ferries on the island would close at noon and bus service would halt at 4 p.m.

Officials expected tropical storm-force winds to begin whipping at Bermuda in the morning and warned that hurricane-force gusts would probably last until early Thursday. Humberto was predicted to pass just north of the territory of some 70,000 people, though a small shift in its path could bring the storm over the island itself.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Humberto’s maximum sustained winds strengthened to 120 mph (195 kph) and it would probably remain a Category 3 hurricane through Thursday, though there could be some fluctuations in its winds. The storm was centered about 195 miles (310 kilometers) west of Bermuda early Wednesday, moving east-northeast at 16 mph (26 kph).

In Texas, the remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda threatened to drench parts of Southwest Texas and southwestern Louisiana with up to 18 inches (46 centimeters) of rain over the next few days. It was the first named storm to hit the Houston area since Hurricane Harvey’s much heavier rains flooded more than 150,000 homes around the city and caused an estimated $125 billion in damage in Texas.

Tropical Storm Jerry also formed Wednesday morning, forecast to become a hurricane as it nears the outermost Caribbean islands Thursday night or Friday.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Lorena was moving off Mexico’s Pacific Coast, and forecasters now expect it to become a hurricane Friday as it approaches shore. They warned of heavy rains and flooding to resorts from Zihuatanejo to Cabo Corrientes. Lorena had top winds of 65 mph (100 kph) early Wednesday and was centered about 120 miles (195 kilometers) south-southeast of Manzanillo, moving northwest at 13 mph (20 kph).

Further off Mexico’s Pacific Coast, Tropical Storm Mario also was expected to be a hurricane by Friday as it approaches the southern tip of Baja California and become nearly stationary through Friday night.

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