Daily Archives: Dec 13, 2019

District Attorney John Flynn says there were four homicides in 2018 and three in 2017. A vigil will be held Friday in Tonawanda for the latest victim, Mavilie Ruiz

Brittany Donovan and her mother, Frances Perry Donovan, remember a former co-worker and friend, Mavilie Ruiz.

“Knowing her she just put her all into everything she did,” Brittany said.

Frances told Panorama Hispano she worked with Mavilie at a local nursing home for more than a decade.

“There was nobody that disliked Mav. Everybody loved Mav. One of the favorite nurses on the units,” Frances said.

Investigators say Mavilie was strangled to death in her home in the Town of Tonawanda.

Her husband, 50-year-old Jose Ruiz Jr., is now charged with manslaughter for the crime.

“My mom called me when I was at work, and I didn’t even say anything because I was so shocked. I didn’t believe it. I still can’t believe it,” Brittany said.

The Donavans are planning to attend a vigil on Friday outside of Mavilie’s home to honor her life.

They say they’ll be standing with co-workers.

“We as a group are gonna be out there in unity, against domestic violence, to support Mav, and to prove to the community what a good woman she was. We want people to know what a good woman she was,” Frances said.

District Attorney John Flynn says this marks the 12th domestic violence-related homicide in Erie County just this year.

“We only had four in 2018 and three in 2017,” he added.

Flynn says the District Attorney’s office is working to combat the spike.

“Well, the first thing we’re doing obviously is, we’re aggressively prosecuting all these cases,” he said.

Flynn says the District Attorney’s office is also trying to get ahead of the problem, working with victims in cases that haven’t escalated to murder.

“There are so many resources available and so many entities available that want to do one thing: protect victims of domestic violence. This office quite frankly leads the way in that regard,” he told 2 on Your Side.

The Donovans say the vigil for Mavilie will be held Friday night at around 5:30, outside of her house at 41 Tillotson Place in Tonawanda.

Brittany and Francis say they plan to have purple and white candles to raise awareness for domestic violence.



    MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Barely a day goes by without Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador berating business and political elites, whom he blames for fueling the country’s poverty and corruption

    But behind the scenes, the leftist is proving more accommodating to Mexico’s top tycoons during his first year in office than his language often suggests.

    Meeting regularly with Lopez Obrador, corporate bosses have steered him toward more business-friendly policies, according to more than two dozen senior executives and government officials who spoke to Reuters. Quietly, they have also urged the president to soften some of his rhetoric.

    What some business heavyweights describe as an improving relationship yielded fruit in August, when Lopez Obrador backed off a threat to tear up several government contracts awarded to private companies to build and operate natural gas pipelines. The president said the deals ripped off taxpayers. But business leaders warned him the cancellations would spook foreign investors and could disrupt ongoing trade negotiations with the United States, the executives and officials said.

    They also told him the infrastructure would help deliver cheap energy to his top priority: Mexico’s poorest.

    “We used all means of persuasion,” said Carlos Salazar, head of Mexico’s top private sector association, the Business Coordinating Council (CCE), and one of the main mediators on the pipeline dispute.

    Elected in July 2018 as Mexico’s first left-wing president in over three decades, Lopez Obrador has promised to transform the country by putting the neediest first and slashing inequality.

    A firm believer in the reforming power of government, Lopez Obrador has pledged to strengthen Mexico’s leading state-run enterprises – oil firm Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) and power utility the Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE).

    His clashes with institutions that check presidential power, from market regulators to the Supreme Court, have unsettled investors. So has his often incendiary rhetoric. He has described money as the “mother or father of the Devil” and pilloried “neo-liberal” free market economics as the source of Mexico’s woes hundreds of times.

    Still, he has acknowledged publicly that he cannot create jobs, spread wealth and realize his goal of 4% annual economic growth without private capital. Since his term began in December 2018, domestic investment has sagged and the economy has stalled.

    The private sector has been largely supportive in public, for fear of antagonizing the 66-year-old president. But in private, many leading executives are still wary of his economic stewardship, said Andres Rozental, a business consultant and former deputy foreign minister.

    “They’re worried to death about what’s going on,” Rozental said. “The uncertainty, the disincentivization of private sector involvement in the economy.”

    Lopez Obrador says his approach will take time to deliver results. Responding to a question from Reuters, he described his relationship with Mexico’s business leaders as “very good,” but said some differences of opinion were inevitable.

    “Policy has changed, and now they’re adapting,” he said, without elaborating.


    Five weeks before taking office, Lopez Obrador stunned investors by canceling a new Mexico City airport, ignoring a plea to keep it going by billionaire Carlos Slim, whose Grupo Carso SAB was a principal contractor.

    Lopez Obrador said the $13 billion project was geologically unsound and tainted by corruption; prosecutors have not charged anyone with wrongdoing. The cancellation hammered Mexican financial markets and angered top business groups. Grupo Carso declined to comment on his criticism of the project.

    Concerns flared again in late June when power utility CFE said it would renegotiate the seven pipeline contracts signed under the previous government, whose record was marred by graft allegations. The CFE said the $12 billion in contracts were too expensive and imposed harsh terms on the cash-strapped company.

    As one of the contractors, Slim’s Grupo Carso was once again in the firing line. So were Canada’s TC Energy Corp; IEnova, a Mexican unit of U.S. company Sempra Energy; and Fermaca, a local gas pipeline operator owned by Swiss private equity firm Partners Group AG.

    Canada’s ambassador complained. U.S. lawmakers and business groups warned the dispute could jeopardize the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the successor of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which has yet to be approved by U.S. or Canadian lawmakers.

    As talks between the pipeline firms and the CFE dragged on, CCE boss Salazar and Antonio del Valle, head of the Mexican Business Council, which represents the country’s top magnates, held meetings with Lopez Obrador to break the impasse.

    Using a map, they explained how the new infrastructure – including a marine pipeline from Texas – would bring affordable gas to Mexico’s underdeveloped south, according to a person familiar with the matter. Salazar and del Valle confirmed the map.

    In late August, Lopez Obrador announced the CFE had reached a deal with the companies that would realize savings for taxpayers and avoid a messy legal dispute. He thanked Salazar, del Valle and Slim for helping make it happen.

    Describing the pipeline accord as a “watershed,” del Valle said the talks helped create a mechanism for Mexico’s business leaders to address economic matters with the government.

    “Now we have the opportunity to participate,” he said.

    Others saw the pipeline settlement not as a breakthrough, but as an example of business leaders saving the president and his allies from their worst instincts.

    “They have no idea how close they were to a nuclear disaster in terms of financial markets, in terms of trade talks,” said one person involved in the pipeline negotiations.

    Lopez Obrador has publicly acknowledged the dispute risked souring investor confidence, but he said the previous contract terms were “damaging” to Mexico’s interests.


    Another challenge emerged in late May, when U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to slap tariffs on all Mexican goods if Lopez Obrador did not curb a surge in migrants trying to cross the U.S. border from Mexico.

    Within a week, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard had struck a deal. Salazar and other executives accompanied him to Washington and helped defuse the crisis by working with U.S. business allies who had fought to defend NAFTA from Trump in 2018, people familiar with the matter said. In the end, Trump called off the tariff threat after Mexico agreed to tighten its borders.

    That evening, Salazar told local media he had been part of a joint effort and urged business and government to tackle Mexico’s problems together. Lopez Obrador publicly thanked Salazar for his efforts.

    After the U.S. meetings, business leaders pressed the president to tone down his divisive language, particularly his use of the word “fifi,” a derogatory term for privileged elites that some bosses found needlessly provocative, a senior executive told Reuters.

    Since then, Lopez Obrador has publicly said he wants to avoid the word; his use of it has dropped dramatically. Asked by Reuters if the change in tone was the result of pressure from corporate bosses, the president denied it.

    “I only have one master, just one,” he said. “It’s the Mexican people.”

    Reporting by Dave Graham; Additional reporting by Ana Isabel Martinez; Editing by Marla Dickerson and Jason Szep


      BEIJING (Reuters) – China and the United States have agreed on the text of a phase one trade deal, vice finance minister Liao Min said in a media briefing on Friday.

      The U.S. will cancel some tariffs on a phased basis, China’s vice commerce minister Wang Shouwen said in the briefing, which officials from China’s state planner, ministry of finance, foreign ministry, agriculture ministry and ministry of commerce also attended.

      A trade deal will protect foreign firms’ interests in China while Chinese firms’ legal interests in dealing in the United States will be protected as well, Wang Shouwen said.

      But they offered no specific details on the amount of U.S. agricultural goods Beijing had agreed to buy, a key sticking point of the lengthy deal negotiations.

      “We have agreed to a very large Phase One Deal with China,” Trump said on Twitter Friday morning.

      Officials in China have “agreed to many structural changes and massive purchases of Agricultural Product, Energy, and Manufactured Goods, plus much more,” he said. The U.S. has agreed to suspend tariffs on $160 billion in Chinese goods due to go into effect on Dec. 15, Trump said, and cut existing tariffs to 7.5%.

      The agreement covers intellectual property, technology transfer, agriculture, financial services, currency, and foreign exchange, the United States Trade Representative said in a statement Friday morning.

      The United States will maintain 25% tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese imports, but cut tariffs in half to 7.5% on $120 billion in imports, the USTR said.

      In a press conference Friday night in Beijing, Chinese officials said the two countries have achieved major progress in their phase one trade negotiations, and agreed on the text of a phase one deal.

      China will import more U.S. wheat and corn after the deal, China’s vice agricultural minister said.

      The U.S. has been pushing for Beijing to commit to buy $50 billion in agricultural products in 2020, a figure that Chinese officials have previously balked at.

      Asked specifically about the $50 billion figure, officials in Beijing said details on value will be disclosed later.

      The deal will provide more protection for foreign companies in China, and Chinese companies in the United States, Chinese officials said.

      Reporting by Vincent Lee, Stella Qiu, Martin Pollard, David Lawder; Writing by Heather Timmons; Editing by Nick Zieminski



        LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on Friday for unity to heal the Brexit divisions that have riven the United Kingdom, hours after winning a commanding victory from voters who backed his bid to deliver on the EU divorce by the end of January.

        The face of the victorious “Leave” campaign in the 2016 referendum, Johnson fought the election under the slogan of “Get Brexit Done”, promising to end the deadlock and spend more on health, education and the police.

        Results from the 650 parliamentary constituencies around the United Kingdom showed that Johnson’s Conservative Party had trounced its main opponent, winning 365 seats to the Labour Party’s 203, the best win for the Conservatives since 1987.

        “I frankly urge everyone on either side of what are, after 3.5 years, an increasingly arid argument, I urge everyone to find closure and to let the healing begin,” Johnson said outside Downing Street.

        “I know that after five weeks, frankly, of electioneering, this country deserves a break from wrangling, a break from politics and a permanent break from talking about Brexit.”

        Labour had its worst election defeat since 1935.

        Johnson’s landslide Conservative win marked the ultimate failure of opponents of Brexit who plotted to thwart a 2016 referendum vote through legislative combat in parliament and prompted some of the biggest protests in recent British history.

        Emboldened by victory, Johnson addressed opponents of Brexit directly.

        “I want to speak also to those who did not vote for us, or for me, and who wanted and perhaps still want to remain in the EU,” he said. “I want to you know that we in this One Nation Conservative government will never ignore your good and positive feelings of warmth and sympathy towards the nations of Europe.”

        “Because now is the moment, precisely as we leave the EU, to let those natural feelings find renewed expression in building a new partnership which is one of the great projects for next year,” he said, adding that the he wanted to work with the EU as “friends and sovereign equals”.

        But Brexit is far from over.

        He faces the daunting task of negotiating a trade agreement with the EU, possibly in just 11 months, while also negotiating another trade deal with U.S. President Donald Trump.

        The outcome of the negotiations will shape the future of Britain’s $2.7 trillion economy. After Jan. 31, Britain will enter a transition period during which it will negotiate a new relationship with the remaining 27 EU states.

        This transition period can run until the end of December 2022 under the current rules, but the Conservatives made an election promise not to extend it beyond the end of 2020.

        GRAPHIC-Live election results tmsnrt.rs/2r0WtJp

        Additional reporting by Sarah Young, William Schomberg, James Davey and Andy Bruce; Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Giles Elgood and Gareth Jones



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