The Mexican Girls Sold As Brides

The Mexican Girls Sold As Brides
Aerial view of Juquila Yuvinani, a village in Metlatonoc municipality, Guerrero state, Mexico, where girls are given in marriage under an ancestral agreement of buying and selling.



Eloina Feliciano begged her mother not to sell her into marriage aged 14 under an ancestral tradition in their indigenous community in southern Mexico, but her pleas were in vain.

“I don’t want to be sold,” she remembers telling her mother at their home in the mountains of Guerrero state.

“We’re not animals. Animals are the ones who are sold,” added Feliciano, now 23, who lives in the municipality of Metlatonoc in one of Mexico’s poorest areas.

She became one of many girls from her Mixtec community subjected to a tradition that critics say traps women in abuse and leaves the groom’s family mired in poverty.

The Mexican Girls Sold As Brides
Cristina Moreno, 18, holds her baby at her home in Juquila Yuvinani village, Metlatonoc municipality, Guerrero state, Mexico, on May 16, 2021. PEDRO PARDO / AFP



Today such agreements are still made in dozens of communities in Guerrero, but calls are growing for an end to the practice of selling daughters.

The payments demanded by the brides’ parents, who will only consider men from the region for their daughters, range from $2,000 to $18,000, residents told AFP.

“The girls are completely vulnerable. Their new family enslaves them with domestic and agricultural tasks” and sometimes “in-laws abuse them sexually,” said anthropologist Abel Barrera, director of the Tlachinollan Center of Human Rights of the Mountain.

Due to the “growing precariousness” of these communities, he added, “the indigenous ancestral ritual of giving away maidens in return for a dowry from their first menstruation has been lost and girls are now being commodified.”

The Mexican Girls Sold As Brides
A young woman Yuyu Ortiz works at her family’s restaurant in Metlatonoc municipality, Guerrero state, Mexico, on May 16, 2021. PEDRO PARDO / AFP



Indigenous people represent around 10 percent of Mexico’s population of 126 million, and almost 70 percent live in poverty, according to official figures.

More than 94 percent of Metlatonoc’s 19,000 inhabitants do not have basic services in their homes, and nearly 59 percent have difficulty feeding themselves, according national statistics institute INEGI.

‘Make you suffer’

Maurilia Julio, a 61-year-old midwife, was also sold as a child and made sure her own daughters avoided the same fate.

“They make you suffer for the simple fact of having bought you,” she said in her earthen floor homemade partly of mud and animal dung.

“Many women say ‘I’m going to sell my daughter for 110,000, 120,000 pesos ($5,500-$6,000) because I want money,’ but it makes me very sad to hear because they’re their children,” she said.

Next to a grayish, smelly river, a woman who did not want to be named for fear of reprisals from her neighbors condemned the practice.

“Women who are sold have to take care of their father-in-law. ‘I’ll pay for you and I can do whatever I want to you,’ is what they say,” she said.

A mother of two adolescent girls, she fears that her husband will repeat the tradition.

‘Help us’

More than 3,000 girls between the ages of nine and 17 gave birth in Guerrero last year, some of them after being sold into marriage, according to official figures.

“We want it to change but people say ‘I do what I want because I have my daughter and no one is going to tell me what to do,” said Victor Moreno, a 29-year-old resident.

“We would like someone to help us, to pass a law so that this changes,” he added.

Moreno married under the same kind of arrangement and although he does not mistreat his wife, he opposes the tradition because he had to move to northern Mexico to work as a day laborer to pay the debt.

“Here we’re poor people. We cannot afford to buy a daughter-in-law to marry our sons and we struggle a lot to pay,” said the father of two.

Cristina Moreno, 18, carries her baby at her home in Juquila Yuvinani village, Metlatonoc municipality, Guerrero state, Mexico, on May 16, 2021. PEDRO PARDO / AFP


Benito Mendoza, a member of the non-governmental organization Yo quiero, Yo puedo (I want to, I can), gave awareness-raising workshops until the group ran out of funds in February.

Brides’ parents ask for money “because they believe that they must recover what was spent bringing up their daughters,” he said.

So far only around 300 people in the area have agreed to stop the tradition, according to a community leader.

“Most continue to sell their daughters,” said Feliciano.


Uber Sees $1.8bn Loss As Pandemic Stalls Revenue


Uber on Thursday reported a $1.8 billion loss in the recently ended quarter as the pandemic caused its shared-ride business revenue to plunge.

Overall revenues skidded 29 percent from a year ago to $2.2 billion, as gains from delivery failed to offset a massive 75 percent drop in its ride-hailing bookings, San Francisco-based Uber said.

Uber shares dropped more than four percent in after-market trades that followed release of the earnings figures.

“Our team continues to move at Uber speed to respond to the pandemic’s impact on our communities and on our business, leading our industry forward with new products and safety technologies, and harnessing the strong tailwinds driving exceptional growth in delivery,” chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi said.

“We are fortunate to have both a global footprint and such a natural hedge across our two core segments: as some people stay closer to home, more people are ordering from Uber Eats than ever before.”

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Uber’s global ride-hailing operations have been hit hard during the coronavirus lockdowns, with bookings down 75 percent and revenue declining 67 percent.

The delivery operations under Uber Eats meanwhile saw revenues more than double to $1.2 billion — and overtake rideshare revenue in the three months ending in June.

Uber has made other changes in recent months, sealing a deal for the Postmates delivery service in the US while divesting its Jump scooter and bike-sharing unit.

It has also quit some makers including Austria, Czech Republic, Egypt, Honduras, India, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Peru, Romania, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, and Uruguay.

Chief financial officer Nelson Chai said the company was on track to achieve profitability, on an adjusted basis excluding debt and other costs, by the end of 2021.


Irishman, 99, Competes At World Tango Championships In Argentina

Tango dancers perform during the Tango World Championship in Buenos Aires on August 14, 2019. RONALDO SCHEMIDT / AFP


A 99-year-old Irishman competing at the World Tango Championships in Argentina has received an ovation for his performance from aficionados at the Buenos Aires venue.

“Tango brings me a lot of happiness,” James McManus told local newspapers through an interpreter. “Dancing is very important socially.”

Tango fans in McManus’ native Ireland raised money for his transatlantic trip. The fit nonagenerian said he only took up tango in 2002, when he was already in his 80s.

Dressed in a white jacket, black trousers and tie, he danced in the first qualifying round with an Argentine partner, Lucia Seva.

The couple won the biggest round of applause from the knowledgeable audience at the Argentine capital’s Usina del Arte venue.

The 2019 edition of the world championships features 744 couples from 36 countries.

Flying Frenchman Fails In Channel Crossing Bid


A daredevil French inventor Thursday crashed into the sea on an attempt to fly across the Channel standing on a jet-powered “flyboard”, wrecking for now his dream of becoming a new aviation pioneer.

Franky Zapata, 40, a former jet-skiing champion, had to be fished out of the Channel by rescuers after falling into the clogged shipping lane between France and Britain during a tricky refuelling manouevre.

But he was in good health and would soon try again, his entourage said.

Zapata took off successfully from Sangatte in northern France and had planned to land in Britain around Dover after a flight of just 20 minutes.

But the refuelling was always set to be one of the trickiest parts of the operation and Zapata made contact with the refuelling platform due to the waves, forcing him into the sea.

“There was a problem with the refuelling,” a spokesman for his team said. “He could not carry out the procedure and so the crossing has been cancelled.”

The mayor of Sangatte, Guy Allemand, said that Zapata was fine and being brought back to the French coast.

“He was recused by the boat’s divers. It was a question of just a few metres” between the refuelling manoeuvre coming off and not working, he told AFP.

‘Failure won’t stop him’

Zapata had hoped to make the 35-kilometre (22-mile) crossing in 20 minutes, keeping an average speed of 140 kilometres an hour (87 mph) at a height of 15-20 metres (50-65 feet) above the water.

“Franky is fine, I spoke to him my phone,” said Zapata’s wife Krystel, who carried out the final launch preparations.

“He is very disappointed but, in general, one failure won’t stop him,” she added, saying he could launch a new bid “perhaps very soon”.

The flyboard is fuelled by kerosene stored in the rider’s backpack.

Zapata carried 47 kilos (104 pounds) of it on Thursday. But as that would only take him part of the way across the Channel, he needed to pick up a new backpack in mid-Channel for the second half of the trip.

In a scene resembling a science fiction film, Zapata had zoomed into the sky to begin his attempt wearing a full body suit, helmet and clutching a joystick to control the device.

Onlookers in Sangatte gasped in astonishment as he soared high above the sea and rapidly became just a tiny speck on the horizon.

In a tribute to past aviation heroes, Zapata had picked the day that marks 110 years since pioneer Louis Bleriot made the first airplane flight across the Channel on July 25, 1909.

His plan hit problems initially as the French maritime authorities refused to give the project their blessing — while stopping short of an outright ban — due to busy shipping traffic in the Channel.

But the maritime authorities said they lifted their “unfavourable opinion” after receiving guarantees from Zapata about his refuelling plans and safety.

‘Follow in the footsteps’

Zapata sprung to national prominence at the July 14 Bastille Day military parade when he soared above the Place de la Concorde in Paris in front of world leaders including President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

He carried a rifle during that demonstration and the French defence ministry said it was studying how the flyboard could be used by its troops.

“We created a new way of flying. We don’t use wings. You are like a bird, it is your body that is flying. It is a boyhood dream,” he told reporters ahead of the Channel flight.

“We want to follow a little bit in the footsteps of the pioneers of aviation,” he added.

Zapata’s flyboard, which is about the size of a skateboard, is powered by five small jet engines that allow the rider to fly at speeds of 190 kilometres an hour (118 mph).


Dior Moves Paris Fashion Show To Avoid ‘Yellow Vests’

Women march with balloons during a rally of the Women’s Yellow Vest protest movement (Femmes Gilets jaunes) near Place de la Bastille in Paris on January 6, 2019. France’s “yellow vest” protesters were back on the streets again on January 5 as a government spokesman denounced those still protesting as hard-liners who wanted only to bring down the government.
Bertrand GUAY / AFP


Dior said Friday it was bringing forward its Paris fashion week show after its flagship shop was looted during “yellow vests” protests.

The luxury brand’s men’s spring-summer show was to have been taken place a week Saturday, when more anti-government protests are likely in the French capital.

Dior refused to say if it was bringing the January 19 show forward a day to avoid trouble.

However, demonstrators smashed up its Champs Elysees boutique on November 26 and stole goods and caused damage reportedly to the tune of one million Euros.

Others scrawled graffiti declaring “Screw the rich and immigrants”.

Slogans including “The people want Dior” were plastered on the building after earlier protests.

Luxury boutiques have become a frequent target of the protests, which began in November as a revolt against a rise in fuel prices but which have since morphed into an expression of general discontent.

Chanel, which protected the windows of its shops with fashionably black plywood cladding, has also become a magnet for graffiti, sprayed with slogans such as “Yellow is the new black” and “A perfume of victory”.

The US designer Thom Browne also moved his Saturday show to earlier in the day, while other brands have so far not said whether they will be affected.

Supermodel Bella Hadid set social media alight Wednesday by appearing at a Louis Vuitton dinner during New York fashion week in a luminous yellow vest designed by the creator of its men’s line, Virgil Abloh.

The American came up with the design as a part of his first show for the label earlier this year, but the model’s appearance in it still set tongues wagging.

Many Paris fashion shows traditionally take place near the Champs Elysees, which has been the focus for the “yellow vests” weekly Saturday demonstrations, which often end in violence.

Police have tried to contain protesters by closing metro stations and redirecting traffic from the area.

Paris men’s fashion week begins on Tuesday and is followed by the haute couture shows, which will run until January 24.

Winnie Harlow Makes History As First Model With Vitiligo To Walk Victoria’s Secret Runway


Canadian beauty, Winnie Harlow on Thursday made history as she became the first model with vitiligo to walk at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

It’s the 24-year-old’s debut on the runway of the lingerie brand.

She strode out in a pink underwear set with feather detail and shimmery silver camisole and later stunned in a floral cut-out catsuit over a matching balconette bra with yellow trim.

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Harlow gained prominence after she became a contestant on the twenty-first cycle of the U.S. television series America’s Next Top Model due to her condition.

Fashion Giant, Versace ‘To Be Sold Shortly’


Italian fashion giant Versace is about to be sold, the country’s biggest-selling newspaper said Monday, citing anonymous sources who suggested the deal could come in the next few hours.

Donatella Versace, the brand’s artistic director and vice-president of the group, has called a staff meeting in Milan for Tuesday, according to the Corriere Della Sera newspaper.

Celebrity shoemaker Jimmy Choo, luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co and US fashion group Michael Kors Holdings were listed as possible buyers.

The company in its entirety is estimated to be worth some $2.0 billion (1.7 billion euros), the report said.

Versace could not immediately confirm the news to AFP.

Twenty percent of the brand, known for its Medusa head logo, was bought by US private equity group Blackstone in 2014, and the family owns the rest.

The group, founded by designer Gianni Versace in 1978, boosted sales of 686 million euros in 2016 and turnover is expected to exceed one billion euros in the “short term”, CEO Jonathan Akeroyd said in June.


Saint Laurent Offers Trippy Wild West Collection In NewYork

Models present creations from the Saint Laurent Men’s Spring/Summer 2019 collection during a runway show in Liberty State Park on June 6, 2018 in Jersey City, New Jersey.


Making an unusual stop in New York, Saint Laurent offered up a cosmic Western spring-summer 2019 collection for men that showcased designer Anthony Vaccarello’s rock-and-roll aesthetic.

After unveiling new lines twice at the Eiffel Tower, the venerable French fashion house opted to cross the Atlantic for its first-ever runway show in the Big Apple.

To achieve the maximum Manhattan effect, the catwalk was in New Jersey, offering a spectacular view of the New York skyline, with the Statue of Liberty nearby and the towering skyscrapers in the distance.

Since taking the helm at Saint Laurent in April 2016, Vaccarello has often shown menswear and women’s ready-to-wear on the same stage, but the Belgian designer split the two this time around.

His decision did not in any way keep female top models — including rising star Kaia Gerber, Cindy Crawford’s daughter — from strutting their stuff in Jersey City late Wednesday.

Men and women sported dark trousers, most of them skinny pants, and black cowboy boots.

Saint Laurent’s particular brand of rock chic, first minted by Hedi Slimane and now taken up by Vaccarello, called to mind the distinctive looks of music greats like the Ramones, Iggy Pop and Johnny Cash.

The Belgian designer even dared to send out a group of models in nothing but trousers and boots — and a few necklaces with a Native American flair barely covering their chiselled torsos.

Red bandanas, metallic accents on shoulders, leather laces and wide-brimmed hats bolstered the Western look.

Next spring, Vaccarello’s urban cowboy will wear belted jackets embroidered with silver studs, breaking up the primarily black palette.

The slim models projected a self-confident air in front of a packed crowd that included musician Sean Lennon, American actor Ezra Miller (“Justice League”) and French actor Louis Garrel.

Saint Laurent breathed life into the idea for a mid-season Fashion Week, following in the footsteps of New York designer Alexander Wang, who has already abandoned the traditional runway calendar.

Backed by the Council of Fashion Designers of America, this initiative has so far only attracted a handful of names presenting 2019 collections. The others are still sending out “cruise” or resort collections in the gap between usual Fashion Weeks.

Worries Grow Over El Nino Weather Report

el-ninoAid agencies have warned that millions of people are likely to face hunger and disease in 2016 due to the strongest El Nino weather on record.

Experts say the weather phenomenon is set to worsen droughts in some areas, while increasing flooding in others.

Some of the worst impacts are likely to be felt in Africa with food shortages expected to peak in February.

Regions including the Caribbean, Central and South America will also be hit in the next six months.

This periodic weather event, which tends to drive up global temperatures and disturb weather patterns, has helped push 2015 into the record books as the world’s warmest year.

Facebook Activates Safety Checks For Nigeria

facebookPopular social media platform, Facebook Inc, has activated its “safety check” feature after deadly blasts in Nigeria on Tuesday, following criticism from users that the social media network was being selective about deploying it.

Facebook usually activates the feature, which allows users to mark themselves as safe, after natural disasters, but not bombings or attacks.

The social network, however, activated it after Friday’s gun and bomb attacks in Paris, drawing criticism from some users, because the feature was not activated for suicide bombings in Beirut, a day earlier.

In a post on his Facebook page, Chief Executive, Mark Zuckerberg, said the feature would now be used more frequently.

Nigeria To Experience Lunar Eclipse

lunar-eclipseA lunar eclipse is expected to be visible in Nigeria on Monday September 28, 2015 for five hours and eleven minutes.

According to a statement signed by the Deputy Director in charge of Media and Communications at the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), Dr. Felix Ale, the natural occurrence will start by 1:11am and end by 6:22 am.

The lunar eclipse is an astronomical event that occurs when the earth comes in-between the Sun and the Moon, and the Earth casts its shadow on the Moon, so that the Moon appears reddish.

The agency said the event will be visible in Abuja and in locations with the absence of cloud cover.

Other regions of the world that will experience the event include Europe, the Americas and South East Asia.

The agency advised Nigerians not to panic, and to go about their normal activities.



Chile Lawmakers Approve Marijuana Decriminalisation Bill

mariguanaThe 15 years of jail term for selling and transporting marijuana might now become a thing of the past in Chile, after Chile lawmakers approved marijuana decriminalisation bill, to allow  Chileans grow marijuana  for medical purpose.

Members of the Lower House approved the bill by a wide margin, with 68 in favour and 39 against.

According to the country’s Lower House of congress, citizens now have access to marijuana for recreational or spiritual use.

The measure will allow each Chilean to grow up to Six plants of Cannabis in their home.

The new bill will go before a Health Commission and then the Senate for approval.

A Chilean municipality began planting the country’s first medical marijuana in October, as part of a government-approved pilot programme.

However this bill, if passed, will also decriminalise its recreational use.

Several other countries have eased restrictions for medical or personal use of marijuana in recent years.

Reports have it that in the US, more than 20 states allow some form of medical marijuana, Colorado and Washington have legalised it for personal use.

Uruguay became the first country to create a legal marijuana market in 2013 and earlier this year, Jamaica decriminalised personal use of the drug.