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WednesdaySeptember 22, 2010

Latino Daily News: Bringing You the Latest Hispanic Current Events and News Stories 24/7

To reflect the dynamic interests of our audience, Latino Daily News is an online daily news source and virtual cultural center for and about Latinos. We offer the latest news headlines, as well as innovative and insightful Hispanic current events stories, photos, videos, and commentaries from a Latino perspective, 24/7.

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It’s Not Wrestling… It’s Lucha Libre

“Lucha Libre AAA 2011: Heroes del Ring” is the largest video project to be created entirely in Latin America and introduces the first Mexican Publisher to the Xbox, PlayStation, Wii and Nintendo market. The game will include 30 of the most popular fighters in lucha libre. This is a welcome change where currently it is estimated that 2% of characters in video games are Hispanic.

Lucha libre is Mexican wrestling with each luchador in his own colorful mask with plenty of highflying fancy moves. “It’s wrestling meets Halloween, meets circus, meets day of the dead,” said Susan Jaramillo, chief creative officer and partner at the Vox Collective. In Mexico, the luchadores are “heroes from the underworld—a nasty, crazy world that they leave only to fight,” said Mr. Cortes. “Salsa outsells ketchup,” he said. “Lucha libre can outsell wrestling. It’s wrestling with flavor.”

With an Oct 12 launch date, the Xbox and PS3 games will sell for $59.99 and the Wii will cost $39.99.

“Hacer sufrir es un arte” (“To cause suffering is an art”).

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Read more at Advertising Age →

World Cup Referee Byron Moreno and Sports Commentator Arrested for Heroin Smuggling

Canal Uno and former World Cup referee, Byron Moreno,  has been arrested on suspicion of smuggling heroin into the U.S.  Moreno is well known in Latin America for his sports commentary and is equally known for his World Cup referring.  In 2002 he gained famed for his controversial call expelling Italian Francisco Totti in the Italy vs. Korea game.  Moreno was widely blamed by Italy for their elimination from the 2002 World Cup.

Moreno was arrested yesterday at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York as he was returning from his native Ecuador.  As he was going through customs, officials allegedly found over 10 pounds of heroin in his underwear.  A judge jailed Moreno without offering him bail. 

Former members of the 2002 Italy World Cup team were quick to respond.  The former coach for the team, Giovanni Trapattoni,  quipped “Now maybe Trapattoni’s reign on Italy’s bench will be read under a different light.”  Goalkeeper, Gianluigi Buffon joked “I think Moreno already had the (heroin) in 2002, but not in his underwear, in his body.”  Ouch!

Read more by HS News Staff →

Telemundo’s ‘Caso Cerrado’ TV Program Continues to Make News

Telemundo’s Caso Cerrado recently made history by becoming the first Spanish-language program to be nominated for a Daytime Entertainment Emmy. Its popular host, Dr. Ana Maria Polo, is one of the most loved personalities of Spanish-language television. With over 20 years of experience in practicing law, she has fought for equality and against discrimination, while surviving her own personal fight against cancer.

During the week of September 6, 2010, Caso Cerrado delivered an average of 632,000 viewers, outperforming Univision’s Gordo y la Flaca by plus 7% and Telefutura’s Duelo de Pasiones by plus 345% in the key Adult 18-49 demographic. 

Now Telemundo is announcing that the show will premiere a prime time special series in high definition, another first, called Caso Cerrado Edicion Estelar.  The new season will premiere on September 29th at 7pm.

Read more at Telemundo →

Democratic Party Unveils Spanish Language Voter Registration Tool: “Votar Es Poder”

With Hispanic Heritage Month underway, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is launching a Spanish-language version of the Party’s groundbreaking voter information and registration website today, www.VotarEsPoder.com. The first-of-its-kind website emphasizes functionality and simplicity to make it easier for people to register to vote and make their voices heard at the voting booth. Spanish-speaking voters will have information tailored to their city or town on how to register to vote and where and when voting occurs.

The “Votar Es Poder” website mirrors the “Raise Your Vote” voter registration hub released this past June and is a key component of the DNC’s broader voter mobilization and registration efforts. Overall, the DNC and Organizing for America (OFA) have committed an unprecedented $50 million through the “VOTE 2010” campaign to help elect strong allies for President Obama in Congress this November.

The new tool is part of an ongoing effort by the DNC/OFA to use cutting edge technology to give volunteers and voters up to the minute information on the election and how they can get involved. In addition to the new website, DNC/OFA released an iPhone application earlier this summer that gives users information on where they can canvass, access to breaking news from the DNC/OFA, a tool to call their member of Congress, information on how to sign up for local OFA events, discussion points on the key news of the day, and a donate function that allows people to monetarily support the DNC/OFA.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazilian Press Criticized for Exposing Political Corruption

Brazilian president Lula da Silva has come out for the second time in a week criticizing the press. Lula da Silva insisted that freedom of expression “does not mean you can fabricate stories every day”, and spread “lies”.

Busy promoting his hand picked candidate Dilma Rousseff to replace him and become Brazils first women president in the Oct 3 elections, Lula da Silva accuses the press of only being interested in the “failures of his government.”

Recently four members of Lula da Silva’s government have resigned including the important post of the cabinet chief Eugene Guerra. The media accused the four of participating in kickbacks when awarding government contracts.

In Lula da Silva’s eight years as president he has had “several generations “ of close colleagues who have resigned or left politics for their connections to organized corruption. Lula da Silva however, has continued to enjoy tremendous popularity through out Brazil.

Read more at Merco Press →

Homophobia Being Tolerated By Puerto Rican Authorities

Members of Puerto Rico’s gay community are outraged at the island’s authorities for being tolerant of homophobia which has, in turn, seemingly encouraged the killing of 10 of the island’s gay community members.

Activist Pedro Julio Serrano, of the Everyone Association, said there’s a feeling of “institutionalized homophobia” that it not being addressed.

Serrano’s accusation comes after the shooting of Miguel Orlando “La Flaca” Soto and Justo Luis “Michelle” Gonzalez. Each was a young transsexual found dead on September 13th on a highway in the town of Juana Diaz.

With the deaths of Soto and Diaz, the number of murders jumps to 10 since last October, when gay man Michell Galindo Rullier’s body was found on a San Juan beach naked and showing signs of violence.

Mario Rodriguez, director of the web site OrgulloBoricua.net said that statements like Senate speaker Thomas Rivera Schatz’s opinion that publicly branded gays as sick, perverts and criminals, has made it apparent that authorities clearly do not defend the gay community.

Along with the comments made by the speaker, Serrano spoke of a young gay who was sexually assaulted but a baseball bat, an abuse that according to the activist was not classified as a hate crime because of the prosecutors’ prejudices. Ponce Region, chief detective, Richard Nazario has publicly showed his ignorance of the Hate Crimes Law. Many Puerto Rican residents say they have also witnessed Puerto Rican police refer to members of the gay community in humiliating ways, yet they are the ones meant to protect the people.

To further alienate the community, Resolution 107, being promoted by some members of government, proposes a referendum on an amendment to the island’s constitution stating that marriages can only be unions between a man and a woman.

Singer and Puerto Rico native, Ricky Martin has met with Serrano and also urged authorities to handle hate crimes appropriately.

“Accepting diversity is the first and most important step we can take towards eliminating hate crimes and uniting humanity,” Martin said in a 2009 press release.

Read more at EFE USA →

Hurricane Karl Released Crocodiles

As Hurricane Karl brought rising water levels to Mexico, reports of crocodile encounters were on the rise as well, but officials say freely roaming crocodiles were not an issue.

“It seems there are reports that they are wandering free, that they are walking in the streets, but we have to say that that is not true,” said Manuel Molina of the Mexican environment agency, Semarnat.

The reptiles originally reported to have swam away after their outdoor enclosure was flooded, were never a serious threat as only a few got out of their cages, and even so, remained inside a nature reserve that surrounded the breeding center.

Fidel Herrera , Governor of Veracruz, had said more than 280 crocodiles had escaped during the floods and urged the locals to not approach or try to catch them.

An endangered species found in Mexico and Central America, the Morelet’s crocodiles were being bred for conservation purposes at El Colibri wildlife reserve, 25 miles from the port of Veracruz.

Read more at BBC News →

Guatemala Still Struggling After Deadly Rains

Some 330,000 Guatemalans will need food aid over the coming months, just to be able to subsist, according to a new United Nations study.

“It is a challenge for the country and the international community that we must confront,” UN World Food Programme representative Willem van Milink said yesterday of the small Central American nation, which has recently been swept by torrential rains, floods, deadly landslides and a volcanic eruption.

The study, carried out in August by the WFP, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) together with Government and non-governmental organizatio partners, found that 235,000 people need emergency food aid and a further 95,000, who are engaged in subsistence agriculture, require supplementary food aid.

Earlier this year Tropical Storm Agatha left a swath of destruction across the country, particularly in road communications, infrastructure, food security and livelihoods. The storm killed at least 179 people in Central America and left a massive sink hole in downtown Guatemala city swallowing up a three-story building.  The crisis was compounded in Guatemala by the eruption of Pacaya volcano.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Vatican Bank Under Investigation

Seizing roughly $30 million from the Vatican Bank Tuesday, Italian authorities said they will be investigating top officials in connection with money laundering.

Attempting to make its finances more transparent to comply with anti-terrorism and anti-money-laundering regulation, the Vatican has put its trust in bank chairman Ettore Gotti Tedeschi who told RAI television that he was “humiliated and mortified” by the news of the authorities’ probe.

A Vatican statement said, “The Holy see is perplexed and surprised by the initiatives of the Rome prosecutors, considering the data necessary is already available at the Bank of Italy.”

Over a year ago, news reports were circulating about Italian investigators scrutinizing millions of dollars (euros) of the Vatican’s bank transactions to determine if they were violating money-laundering regulations.

According to reports, Tuesday the police had seized money from the Vatican bank account at the Rome branch of Credito Artigiano Spa due to the bank neglecting to tell financial authorities where $26 million heading to JP Morgan in Frankfurt and Banco del Funcino had come from.

Vatican representatives are not strangers to controversy. In the 1980s, the Vatican bank was implicated in a scandal over the collapse of Roberto Calvi’s Banco Ambrosiano in one of Italy’s largest fraud cases. Following the disappearance of $1.3 billion in loans Banco Ambrosiano had made to several dummy companies in Latin America, it was discovered the Vatican bank provided letters of credit for the loans. At the time, the Vatican bank agreed to pay $250 million to Ambrosiano’s creditors, though denying any wrongdoing. Authorities later found Calvi (dubbed “God’s Banker”) hanging from Blackfriars Bridge in London under circumstances that are still a mystery. After Calvi’s family refused to believe he had committed suicide and pressed police to investigate further, five defendants were charged with murder, tried, and ultimately acquitted in 2007.

Last year, a U.S. appeals court dismissed a lawsuit against the Vatican bank filed by Holocaust survivors. The survivors from Croatia, Ukraine and Yugoslavia alleged the Vatican had accepted millions of dollars of their valuables stolen by Nazi sympathizers. The court said the bank was immune from such a lawsuit under the 1976 Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which protects foreign countries from being sued in United States courts.

The Vatican’s statement Tuesday said it was working to join the “white list” of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which attempts to keep tabs on financial openness on the exchange of tax information.

The Vatican bank, located in a tower just inside the gates of Vatican City, is not a typical bank, as its mission is to manage assets destined for religious works or works of charity, as well as manage ATMs inside the city and the pension system for the Vatican’s thousands of employees. The bank is not open to the public, and deposits are generally limited to religious orders, people who transfer money for the pope’s charities, and Vatican employees.

Read more at Huffington Post →

Security Concerns cause Honduras to Temporarily Close Consulate in Mexico

Two Honduran diplomats were briefly kidnapped in Vera Cruz Mexico this past weekend. Forcing Honduras to temporarily close their consulate office there and to warn Mexico it will consider closing more consulates if Mexico can not guarantee the safety of it’s diplomats.

Authorities have released a statement that the kidnapping took place on Saturday night and was led by members of the municipal police in Vera Cruz. There was a police chase leading to a vehicle crash and after several hours both diplomats were found handcuffed in different towns near Vera Cruz.

The Governor of the Mexican state of Veracruz, Fidel Herrera, denied today that the Honduran Vice Consulate had been the victim of a kidnapping, and said the officer was, in fact, arrested for “excessive celebration”.

Herrera said he informed Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón of what happened, and never was there an attempt to “kidnap” the men. Three people were celebrating outside the building housing the consulate, and they were temporarily detained while their identity could be verified.

The Honduran consul, Morazán Raúl, believes that words were taken out of context. Deputy Foreign Minister, Alden Rivera, had said that, “Officials detained and sequestered us with the vehicle and took us to an undetermined location.”

Read more at Honduras News →

Brazil to Boost Tourism in Run-Up to 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics

Brazil plans on spending $187 million to generate and upgrade tourism services and activities in preparation for the next soccer World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics Games it will host.  The funds will support the country’s efforts to increase employment, revenue, and foreign exchange generated by the sector by consolidating and diversifying the supply of services to visitors.

Tourism is crucial for the two host states, Rio de Janeiro and Pernambuco, which are famed for their seaside resorts. Toursim generates 38 percent of state gross domestic product in Rio de Janeiro and nearly 7 percent in Pernambuco. The 2014 World Cup and the Olympic Games two years later are expected to attract hundreds of thousands of additional visitors.

But these events will pose significant structural challenges for Rio de Janeiro, while Pernambuco needs to diversify a sector that is overly concentrated in terms of both demand and destination. At present 92 percent of tourist arrivals and activity from the domestic are focused along Pernambuco’s coast, in particular the more established destinations of the south.  Funds will be used to help upgrade and diversify services in coastal zones and spread tourist activities towards inland mountain areas; create new thematic circuits and museums; establish cultural and visitor centers and exhibition halls; restore historical points of interest; and update the state’s Tourism Master Plan.

Additionally, the loan will fund a marketing campaign and help launch a communication strategy designed to remind visitors that all tourists, not just sports fans, will be welcome during the upcoming events, and to deal with the perception of saturation and rising prices at destinations. It will also contribute to regularizing informal activities, training personnel, and devising the legal framework for a new tourism management model.

Read more at IDB →

WednesdaySeptember 22, 2010