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WednesdayNovember 24, 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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Don’t Lose Your Head Cooking For Thanksgiving. Here Are Some Tips to Help

USDA Food Safety Advice for Busy Thanksgiving Hosts.

Seasoned chefs and rookies hosting their first Thanksgiving gatherings are all feeling undeniable pressure this time of year. The sentimentality and anticipation of this American holiday make it one that no cook wants to ruin for families and guests, and preparing a turkey, the cornerstone of most Thanksgiving meals, that does not disappoint can be daunting. USDA’s Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS) has a few pointers for anxious cooks to ensure that your turkey (or chicken, goose, or other poultry) is cooked safely and remembered for the right reasons—not because someone developed a foodborne illness.

“During this busy time of year, it is important to remember that safety comes first,” recommends Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, Under Secretary for Food Safety. “When preparing Thanksgiving foods, take a minute to make sure you have a food thermometer and plan ahead so that you can fully and safely enjoy this holiday meal.”

One to Two Days in Advance: Pick your stuffing method.

Turkey’s most constant accompaniment, stuffing, requires the same food safety caution in its preparation as the bird itself. Bread stuffing, stuffing made from cornbread or rice, stuffing cooked inside the bird or browned in a casserole, or any other variation that your family likes is safest when prepared just before cooking. The dry and wet ingredients for stuffing can be prepared separately ahead of time and chilled, but not mixed until time to cook. The stuffing should be moist, not dry, because heat destroys bacteria more rapidly in a moist environment.

Baking stuffing outside the turkey in a casserole dish is the safest method and provides busy cooks with more flexibility to prepare ahead. If you don’t plan to stuff your turkey, it is safe to prepare and immediately freeze or bake the mixture. Never stuff poultry with frozen or pre-cooked stuffing! When needed, cook frozen stuffing directly from the frozen state without thawing first, and heat frozen or pre-baked stuffing to a safe internal temperature of 165 °F before serving.

Thanksgiving Day: Heat it up!

Place your raw bird, stuffed or unstuffed, in a preheated oven set to 325 °F or higher. The turkey must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F, as measured with a food thermometer in the innermost part of the thigh, the wing, the thickest part of the breast, and the stuffing in order to destroy bacteria that could be present. Bacteria can survive in poultry or stuffing—whether cooked inside or outside the turkey—that has not reached 165 °F, and it may cause foodborne illness.

All poultry meat, including any that remains pink, is safe to eat as soon as all parts reach at least 165 °F. For personal preference, cooks may choose to cook poultry to higher temperatures. When whole, stuffed poultry is removed from the oven, let it stand 20 minutes before removing the stuffing and carving the bird.

Right after Dinner: “Chill out” immediately.

After dinner is a wonderful time to relax with guests, but busy cooks should not “chill” until the leftovers do. Bacteria spread fastest at temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F, so quickly chilling food after a meal reduces the risk of foodborne illness.

After Thanksgiving dinner, cut the leftover poultry into small pieces. Place the stuffing and poultry in shallow containers and refrigerate (40 °F or below) or freeze (0 °F or below) the poultry and stuffing within 2 hours after cooking. Use refrigerated leftovers within three to four days, or freeze them. Reheat leftovers to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F or until hot and steaming.

For more information about cooking turkey, other holiday meats such as pheasant, capon, duck, or goose, as well as stuffing, visit www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/Seasonal_Food_Safety_Fact_Sheets.

You can call the year-round hotline Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST (English or Spanish) at 1-888-MPHotline or 1-888-674-6854. Listen to timely recorded food safety messages at the same number 24 hours a day. Check out the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov. E-mail questions can be answered by MPHotline.fsis@usda.gov

Find thawing times, cooking times and a list of ingredients for basic stuffing below.

Frozen turkey thawing timetable

Weight                 In refrigerator       In cold water

4 to 12 pounds           1 to 3 days             2 to 6 hours

12 to 16 pounds         3 to 4 days           6 to 8 hours

16 to 20 pounds       4 to 5 days           8 to 10 hours

20 to 24 pounds       5 to 6 days           10 to 12 hours

Cold water method: Keep the turkey in a food grade, leak-proof plastic bag that will not allow water to leak through the bag. The turkey must be submerged in cold water and the cold water changed every 30 minutes. Allow 30 minutes defrosting time per pound of turkey. Cook immediately.

Refrigerator method: Allow approximately 24 hours in the refrigerator set at 40 degrees or below for every 4 to 5 pounds of whole turkey weight. Keep the turkey in its original wrapper and place on a tray in the refrigerator so juices don’t leak onto other foods.

Approximate roasting times for turkey

Ready-to-cook: Approximate cooking time in 325-degree oven. For optimum results use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. Begin testing for the doneness you desire before you think the turkey will be done.

Stuffed                     Cooking time

8 to 12 pounds           3 to 3-1/2 hours

12 to 14 pounds         3-1/2 to 4 hours

14 to 18 pounds         4 to 4-1/4 hours

18 to 20 pounds       4-1/4 to 4-3/4 hours

20 to 24 pounds       4-3/4 to 5-1/4 hours

Unstuffed         Cooking time

8 to 12 pounds           2-3/4 to 3 hours

12 to 14 pounds         3 to 3-3/4 hours

14 to 18 pounds         3-3/4 to 4-1/4 hours

18 to 20 pounds         4-1/4 to 4-1/2 hours

20 to 24 pounds       4-1/2 to 5 hours

Note: Set the oven no lower than 325 degrees F. Roasting time, which is approximate, can be affected by many factors, including: accuracy of oven temperature; temperature of the bird when it goes in the oven, depth, size and type of the roasting pan; and whether the turkey is shielded with foil.

Place the turkey on a wire rack in a shallow pan, adding 1/2 cup water to the bottom of the pan, and loosely tent the breast with aluminum foil. Remove the foil after 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours so the turkey can brown.

A whole turkey is safe when cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F. throughout the bird as measured with a food thermometer. Check the temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook poultry to higher temperatures. Turkey breasts must reach 165 degrees. If the turkey is stuffed, the temperature in the center of the stuffing must reach 165 degrees.

•  •  •

For optimum safety, the USDA does not recommend stuffing a turkey. For more even cooking, it is recommended you cook the stuffing outside the bird in a casserole. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the stuffing. The stuffing must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees.

If you choose to stuff a turkey, the ingredients can be prepared ahead of time; however, keep wet and dry ingredients separate.

Chill all of the wet ingredients (butter,/margerine, cooked celery and onions, broth, etc.). Mix wet and dry ingredients just before filling the turkey cavities. Fill the cavities loosely. Cook the turkey immediately. Use a food thermometer to make sure the center of the stuffing reaches a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Read more at USDA →

Cash, Heroin in Crotch and Dead Iguanas – Just Another Day at Border Patrol

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Laredo port of entry over a 24-hour period seized more than half a million in undeclared currency, 43 dead, skinned iguanas and more than a pound of heroin in separate enforcement actions. 

CBP officers seized the 14 bundles containing over $565,950 in undeclared currency and turned the driver, a 45-year-old Mexican citizen from Bolingbrook, Ill., over to U.S. Immigration.

On the same day last week CBP officers at Lincoln-Juarez Bridge discovered a taxicab entering the U.S. with 43 dead, skinned iguanas without the required exportation and importation permits. The driver and passenger were turned over to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agents for further investigation.

To cap the week off, CBP officers at Gateway to the Americas Bridge identified two U.S. citizens from Dallas, ages 53 and 23, walking back into the U.S., carrying tubes of heroin within a body cavity of each woman. CBP officers seized a total of slightly more than a pound of alleged heroin with an estimated street value of $100,000.

“This diverse array of enforcement actions illustrates the wide variety of laws that our frontline CBP officers uphold on behalf of over 60 other federal agencies,” said Gene Garza, CBP port director, Laredo.

Read more at CBP.gov →

Tips to Avoid Being Scammed on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

As the holidays approach, the FBI reminds the public to use caution when making online purchases. Cyber criminals continue to create ways to steal your money and personal information. If a deal looks too good to be true, it likely is.

Be wary of e-mails or text messages that indicate a problem or question regarding your financial accounts. Criminals will attempt to direct victims to click a link or call a number to update an account or correct a purported problem. The links may appear to lead you to legitimate websites, but they are not. Any personal information you share on them could be compromised.

The major legitimate delivery service providers do not e-mail customers directly regarding scheduled deliveries; you have to already have an existing account for this type of communication. Nor will they state when a package has been intercepted or is being temporarily held. E-mails about these issues are phishing scams that can lead to personal information breaches and financial losses.

Internet criminals post classified advertisements on auction websites for products they do not have. If you buy merchandise promoted via an online ad or auction site but receive it directly from the retailer, it could be stolen property. You can protect yourself by not providing the seller with your financial information. Use legitimate payment services for transactions.

Fraudsters will also offer reduced or free shipping to auction site customers. They provide fake shipping labels, but they don’t pay for the packages’ delivery.  It’s safest to purchase gift cards directly from merchants rather than through auction sites or classified ads. If the merchant discovers the card you received from another source was initially fraudulently obtained, the card will be deactivated.

Read more at FBI →

Buen Provecho! Your Mexican Thanksgiving Dinner is U.N. Approved!

That’s right, honoring gastronomic arts for the first time, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization included Mexican food among additions to a list celebrating the world’s “intangible cultural heritage.”

A 24-member UNESCO committee, met in Nairobi to consider 47 nominations from 29 countries, also celebrated French cuisine, the Mediterranean diet, and the Colombian percussion instrument “marimba”

The cultural heritage list, which was started in 2003, had designated 178 customs before the current round, most of them folk traditions such as dances or ceremonies.

So for all of you beautiful peoples of México, we recommend you kill two birds with one stone (no pun intended) and celebrate thanksgiving, and your intangible cultural heritage (whatever that means…) with some turkey tacos and mole, instead of gravy.

Buen Provecho, y Gracias a todos.



Read more by HS News Staff →

While More Hispanic Students Head to College Few Go to Selective Colleges

While more Hispanic students are obtaining a higher education, a study shows that few get degrees from an Ivy League university, private college or state schools.

Academics concur that though community colleges and for-profit schools, where most minorities are obtaining their higher education, are a great starting point they do not offer the academic rigor or long-term benefits a degree from a selective university does.  Selective universities and colleges are identified as those with four-year degree programs and high admission standards.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, also noted that “the most selective colleges and universities” show notable declines not only in ethnic diversity but also in socioeconomic diversity. 

Read more at Colorlines →

Rep. Steve King, Ranking Member Immigration SubComittee Working to Stop Birthright Citizenship ASAP

Rep. Steve King, Ranking Member Immigration SubComittee Working to Stop Birthright Citizenship ASAP

Photo: Congressman Steve King

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Representative Steve King (R-IA), who will likely head the Immigration Subcommittee when the new Congress convenes in January said in a CBS interview on Monday, that he is “looking at dropping a bill early in the 112th Congress.”

King says he does not believe hearings on the bill will be immediate, as Congress has “other priorities” to deal with.

The offer of citizenship to babies born in the U.S. to undocumented immigrant parents is known as “birthright citizenship”, and its advocates say it is protected by the 14th Amendment which states, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

King argues that the clause “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” infers that babies born to undocumented immigrants do not have Constitutionally-protected citizenship rights, and adds that one must look at when this amendment was created and what its initial purpose was.  The congressman argues that the “anchor baby industry” has made changes a necessity in order to ensure that the exploitation of the law stops, adding that birthright citizenship presents an incentive for immigrants to enter the United States illegally and have their babies. Such births allow for the children’s parents to gain U.S. government benefits.

King’s critics, and defenders of the 14th Amendment, believe elimination of birthright citizenship goes against American values, and that by doing away with it will only serves as punishment for innocent children.

Read more at CBS News →

DREAMers’ Hunger Strike Gains Steam, Sen. Hutchison Releases Statement

DREAMers’ Hunger Strike Gains Steam, Sen. Hutchison Releases Statement

Photo: Junior Roberto Flotte gives a Native American blessing to DREAMers participating in San Antonio hunger strike.

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Students from various Texas universities joined University of Texas San Antonio hunger strikers this week in San Antonio in support of passage of the DREAM Act.

The protesters have been on a hunger strike since November 10th in an attempt to pressure U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison to vote for the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrant college students and military officers who were brought to the country as children.

“Now that they have seen we are still going and not planning to stop, some have joined us,” said 29-year-old UTSA striker, Claudia Sanchez.

“We want to start talking about the specifics of the DREAM Act so she can tell us exactly what she doesn’t agree with,” said Sanchez. “We are giving her until Thanksgiving. If not, we are going to start stepping up our campaign. We will put more pressure on her.”

Tuesday, Hutchison issued a statement saying that while she is concerned about the safety of the strikers, she will not support the current bill because it “goes far beyond the intended group of children who grew up in the U.S. and attended primary and secondary schools here.”

Hutchison added that she does not plan on changing her position.

Critics claim the DREAM Act grants amnesty to “illegal immigrants,” but chemistry major Adrian Reyna says other wise.

“The DREAM Act is not an amnesty bill; it will only benefit those that will contribute back to this country. We will strike until we have a response — a response in favor not of us, but in favor of this country.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Medical Industry Booming in Puerto Rico

Thanks to recently enacted legislation by the Puerto Rican government that provides up to 50 percent tax credits for certain medical firms, shipments of medical devices are booming on the island.  This added incentive goes along with Puerto Rico being considered a foreign jurisdiction so businesses don’t pay federal taxes.

Currently more than $5 billion worth of medical shipments leave Puerto Rico annually.  Baxter employs 4,000 people and medical supply giant Medtronic just announced a $5 million investment in Puerto Rico to build a second manufacturing plant.

Everything from bandages to pace makers to scalpels are made on the island.  It is estimated that thirteen of the top 15 medical device companies have a presence in Puerto Rico.  The medical industry contributes 10 percent of all the jobs on the island. 

Read more at Smart Planet →

Homeland Secretary Napolitano Prepares for her Visit Next Week to Mexico and Panama

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano will travel to Panama City and Mexico City on Nov. 29-30 to meet with her international counterparts and reiterate the Obama administration’s continued commitment to combating terrorism and other transnational crime through strengthened information sharing with our partners around the globe. More details on the trip will be released once they are finalized.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Town Has Just One Police Officer Left and Its a WOMAN

Mexican Town Has Just One Police Officer Left and Its a WOMAN

Photo: Erika Gandara

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

In a Mexican town of around 9,000, one police officer stands alone.  Erika Gándara, 28, is now the sole officer in the town of Guadalupe. This Juarez Valley town has been riddled with violence, and with her semi-automatic weapon, an AR-15, and her bullet-proof vest, she is the town’s only protection.

When Gándara joined the department as a dispatcher in June of 2009, she joined eight officers on the police force. Within a week of joining, one officer was shot and killed, and the other seven were frightened off and resigned. The final officer left this past June, and no one has come forward to join.

“I am here out of necessity,” says Gándara.

Gándara is unmarried and has no children, and she joins the increasing number of female law enforcement officers in Juarez Valley towns. In a Praxedis Guerrero, Marisol Valles García, a 20-year-old college student, made international headlines when appointed Praxedis’ police chief. She works with a force made up of 12 women and two men. Gándara has seen no such publicity, and Guadalupe is a substantially larger town.

Gándara went through no academy and has had no formal police training, but she says, given the corruption of many on Mexico’s police forces, she’s “better off alone than in bad company.”  She says that, despite her meager salary of $7,000 a year, she is not the least bit susceptible to bribes, though the same cannot be said of a number of officers in the country who are working with or for drug cartels.

While a dozen or so soldiers patrol outside her town, Gándara is primarily on her own inside the town. 

The people of the town are still fearful of attacks and kidnappings and continue to leave for larger cities like those in West Texas or Mexico’s Juarez, despite its own violence issues.

Read more at El Paso Times →

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox Lays Blame on Drug Violence Squarely on the U.S.  (VIDEO)

Former Mexican President, Vicente Fox was visiting Houston, Texas last night and had a lot of things to say about his country’s escalating drug war violence laying most of the blame on U.S. media and America’s drug consumption.

Fox downplayed the violence that gets a lot of airtime in the U.S. and felt the U.S. media is sensationalizing what he labeled as “isolated incidents” and assured everyone he feels completely safe in the country. 

The ex-President was also adamant about laying the blame for the violence on the U.S. drug habit consumption labeling it the largest drug market in the world, a position shared by the current Mexican President Felipe Calderon.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Migrant Women Rescued in Argentina Exploited as Sex Slaves

Argentinian police rescued 13 migrant women from Paraguay and the Dominican who were being held as sex slaves in brothels in a Buenos Aires province.  A late night raid this week on six different brothels discovered the women who were being held against their will.  Sixteen people were arrested and the businesses shut down.

Several Argentinian social services agency have been complaining to the government that there are many foreign women being sexually exploited in the more than 800 brothels situated in Buenos Aires alone. 

Read more at LAHT →

WednesdayNovember 24, 2010