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ThursdayDecember 23, 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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After 2009 Honduras Presidential Coup Human Rights Abuses Continue

Honduran authorities should take concrete steps to end impunity for abuses committed after the country’s 2009 coup, and to curb ongoing attacks against journalists, human rights defenders, and political activists, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

The 65-page report, “After the Coup: Ongoing Violence, Intimidation, and Impunity in Honduras,” documents the state’s failure to ensure accountability for abuses committed under the country’s de facto government in 2009. The report also documents 47 cases of threats or attacks - including 18 killings - against journalists, human rights defenders, and political activists since the inauguration of President Porfirio Lobo in January 2010.

The lack of accountability - and ongoing violence and threats - have had a chilling effect on free speech and political participation in Honduras, particularly among those who opposed the 2009 coup, Human Rights Watch said.

The 2009 coup was condemned by the international community. The OAS suspended Honduras’s membership, and many Latin American governments withdrew their ambassadors from the country. The United States also objected to the coup; though, unfortunately, it waited more than two months before imposing effective sanctions on the de facto government.

Read more at Human Rights Watch →

All Eyes on Arizona as it Implements New Immigration Law

As Arizona’s controversial immigration law takes effect next month, organizations like the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) say they will be keeping an eye out for any sort of mistreatment or racial profiling of immigrants questioned by police, and will not hesitate to immediately sue if it occurs.

According to the new law, if an officer stops, arrests, or detains someone, and there is “reasonable suspicion” that they are in the country illegally, the officer is to ask for proof of legal residency.

Anticipating racial profiling and other questionable actions by Arizona’s officers, LULAC, the ACLU, and the National Council of La Raza, have vowed to keep a watchful eye on the state.

Examples of “reasonable suspicion” can be reached upon seeing one of the following:

• A person wearing many layers of clothing on a hot day in Phoenix could indicate he just crossed the border in the desert, where it gets very cold at night, Acosta said.

• A person acting nervously and avoiding eye contact during a simple traffic offense.

• Children present in a house under a search warrant who are not going to school and are not related to the adults in the house.

• A person who inexplicably runs when an officer approaches a gathering of day laborers.

“Individuals in the country legally are not going to be afraid of a law enforcement officer approaching,” said Hipolito Acosta, who used to oversee the Immigration and Naturalization Service for Latin America, but is now helping Arizona develop its training program.

Read more at USA Today →

Enrique Iglesias is Sorry. He Doesn’t Mean to be Rude, but ‘Tonight, He’s Fu**ing You’

The Spanish singer, who is better known as a romantic crooner—much like the apple tree he didn’t fall far away from, seems to have strayed a bit from his usual charismatic self, and trying hard to amp up a sexual image that doesn’t really become him, being a newlywed and all.

In the new dance track, which also features DJ Frank E and rap star Ludacris, the star is seen visiting a strip joint full of half-naked dancers, picking up a woman and having sex with her in the club bathroom.  Everyone’s favorite line appears to be: “Please excuse, I don’t mean to be rude, but tonight I’m fucking you.” How romantic Enrique. 

We wonder what Kournikova’s thoughts are on this thing.

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Five American Men Remain Missing After Day Visit to Mexico – FBI Investigating

Three American men and their 14-year old relative remain missing after traveling to Mexico on a one-day shopping excursion from Laredo, Texas.

Luis Hernandez, Carlos Ortega, Nicolas Munoz and Ricardo Gomez are employees of a concrete manufacturer in San Marcos, Texas and had Gomez’ 14-year cousin from Chicago with them, when they decided to cross the border to do some shopping on November 27th. 

They were supposed to return the same day in the evening and when they didn’t, U.S. authorities were called in.  One of the missing is a U.S. citizen, another a resident alien and the legal status of the others is unknown. 

Read more at Statesman →

Catching Up With The Chilean Miners.

“It is still hard….. lots of people think the 33 miners are out there, having fun and making loads of money. But what we’ve gone through, has scarred us forever.”

Those are the words of Omar Reygadas, the 17th miner to emerge from the depths of the mine where he and 33 others spent little over two months.

Today, it seems trivial, the whole thing seems dreamlike, providing a strange sense of security that suggests that every emergency in the modern world is attended to in the same prompt and cinematically epic way of operation Phoenix.

Indeed, we seem to forget that not able to find them for a few days, Chile was very close to assume they were dead, and stop looking. We seem to forget that once that world renown note surfaced, it was expected they’d spend Christmas underground, the 33 could still be down there!

But they are not. They are out and have been to Spain, Hollywood and the UK. They have planned trips to Disney in Florida, Israel and Greece. All 33 made it out safely, but all 33 have in common a deep struggle, coping with the aftermath of their entrapment and rescue, both physically and mentally, as well as financially, and as it relates to the intense pressure of the media.

Despite being international heroes, life for these humble men has turned complicated, busy, overwhelming, and a lot of them present persisting psychological problems.

“I can never sleep before four or five in the morning” says Reynadas “and I hate to be alone, I find myself crying.”

Reynadas is taking medication for his anxiety, and trusts the word of doctors, who say he will be better soon.

“There’s a great risk for depression” warns Adib Merlez, the psychologist that will treat the miners through next year.

Merlez worries about the miners relationship with the media, and cites the case of Franklin Lobos, the miner that played for the Chile soccer team.

“He changed, and not for good” Merlez said ‘Before the accident I spoke to him frequently, but now he doesn’t have time for us.”

After the rescue, every miner received a check for $10,000 a courtesy of millionaire Leonardo Farkas. As a result, some of the miners found out their families had grown, rich with members that they had never met, or seen in years.

In the two months since the 33 miners were rescued from the San José mine in northern Chile on Oct. 13, more than 35 businesses have applied to register more than a hundred brand names related to the rescue mission. Beyond winemakers focusing on international exports, restaurant entrepreneurs, adventure tourism companies, and jewelry stores are looking to turn a profit by exploiting the number 33.  Several books, movies and TV shows about the event are in production, however the miners have not seen revenue from it yet.  Carlos Mamani, the Bolivian miner still lives with his girlfriend in a precarious house outside Copiapó, without even running water. 

Most miners make due with money signed off to them by their health insurances. Some, feel the government has abandoned them. Mario Gomez, the eldest miner is unemployed, and his partner fears for him and their future.  “He can’t comeback to work because he’s not good. He’s not good psychologically, has constant headaches and is losing his hair” she said.

The Chilean government met with most of the 33 and offered them jobs in the state run mine “Codelco,” and arranged for the men to hire Carey y Cía, the largest law firm in Chile, to handle their intellectual property cases.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Dying Immigrant Granted Christmas Wish—U.S. Citizenship

Dying Immigrant Granted Christmas Wish—U.S. Citizenship

Photo: Manuel Lara Lopez Takes the Oath

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For the last 30 years, Mexican immigrant Manuel Lara Lopez has lived in the United States. In May, just months before finishing his citizenship course, Manuel was diagnosed with stage four intestinal cancer. His dying wish was to become a U.S. citizen, and that wish was granted this week in his South Austin backyard.

Lopez, 59, has been a legal resident for 20 years, and says he came from Mexico in 1979 of 1980 looking for a better life, and at the in-home ceremony he raised his right hand and pledged his loyalty to the United States and afterwards expressed his happiness saying he was “muy feliz” (very happy) and posed for his family members who were all snapping photos.

It was Lopez’s dying wish to become a U.S. citizen, and he says he wants his Mexican-born sons to “learn from Papa,” and remain on the path to citizenship.

Lopez was too weak to leave his house, so Tuesday, an officer from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services came to his home and administered the exam he was originally scheduled to take in January 2011, but wishing to grant him a Christmas wish, he was allowed to take it early.

“They normally wouldn’t be naturalized the following day,” said USCIS spokesperson Marilu Cabrera, but “because of his condition and it being so close to Christmas, we wanted to conduct a ceremony as soon as possible.”

It is unknown how many in-home ceremonies are done each year, but they are done in extreme cases like Manuel’s when a person is elderly, frail, are wounded soldiers, or are soldiers about to be deployed.

Lopez’s wife, Adelina Hernandez said he had been talking about it for a long time, and through tears, “spoke of his love for America and the bittersweetness of his dream finally becoming a reality so late in his life.”

He stated that becoming a citizen three days before Christ’s birthday, was “a Christmas gift” for him, and added, “Muchas gracias” to America.

Read more at The Statesman →

Danger Travel Tours Garner a lot of Interest – Is Visiting Mexican Drug Lords on the List?

With the travel industry slowing rebounding exotic travel is also making a comeback and a new twist is being offered to that traveler:  ‘danger’ travel.

Babel Travel is just one of several tour companies offering ‘danger’ itineraries that include clearing land mines, meeting warlords in Afghanistan and feared rebel leaders in troubled global locations. 

Currently Babel offers tours into Afghanistan, Iraq, North Korea and Somalia and in spite of the high price tag ($6,500 to $15,700 without airfare) there is a lot of interest.  Could meeting with the infamous Mexican drug lords be next on their list?

The stated goals of danger travel is to learn what’s behind the conflict and see the human side of suffering in those locales. 

Read more at USA Today →

It is Unanimous- Rahm to remain on Ballot for Feb 22 Chicago Mayoral Election

It is Unanimous- Rahm to remain on Ballot for Feb 22 Chicago Mayoral Election

Photo: Rahm Emanuel

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The Chicago Election Board has just voted unanimously to accept the recommendation of the hearing official and allow Rahm Emmanuel to remain on the Chicago Ballot for Mayor.  A Chicago Election Board Hearing Official had recommended earlier this morning that Rahm Emanuel be allowed to stay on the ballot in the upcoming February 22 Chicago Mayoral election.  This morning the Election Board commissioners had been considering if Rahm meets the Chicago city residency requirements for candidates running for mayor.

The 69-page report resulting in the positive recommendation was released at 2:00 am and the board is scheduled to meet at 9:00 am today.

The report reads: “It has not been established that the candidate, a resident of Chicago, abandoned his status as such a resident,” Morris wrote of Emanuel’s time as President Barack Obama’s White House chief of staff. “In any event, his absence from Illinois during that time in question is excused, for purposes of the safeguarding and retention of his status as a resident and elector, by express operation of Illinois law.”

The three-member elections board will consider the recommendation as well as testimony from several days of hearing last week and legal arguments made from both sides. The loosing side has a week to appeal the board’s decision to the Cook County Circuit Court.

Mr. Emanuel has released a statement saying he is very encouraged.

Read more at Chicago Tribune →

Attorney General Holder Announces New Immigration Review Director

Attorney General Eric Holder today announced the appointment of Juan Osuna as Acting Director for the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). 

“Juan has been with the department for more than a decade and has developed an extensive knowledge of immigration litigation, and earned a reputation as a diligent and thoughtful advocate and manager,” said Attorney General Holder. “I am confident he will lead the office with the highest standards of professionalism, integrity and dedication.”

EOIR is headed by a Director who is responsible for the supervision of the Chairman of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), the Chief Immigration Judge, the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer and all agency personnel. 

Since earlier this year, Osuna has worked as an Associate Deputy Attorney General working on immigration policy, Indian country matters, pardons and commutations, and other issues.  Prior to that, he worked in the department’s Civil Division, where, in addition to handling immigration policy, he also oversaw civil immigration-related litigation in the federal courts.  Previously he served as chairman of the BIA, where he managed the highest administrative tribunal on immigration matters in the United States, comprised of 250 employees, including 15 Board Members, 135 attorneys and support personnel.  He was first appointed to the BIA in 2000 and became the chairman in 2008. 

While at the BIA, Osuna put in place a number of reforms and oversaw the Attorney General’s 2006 reform plan, which increased the quality and transparency of the Board’s decisions, and he adjudicated hundreds of appeals from decisions of Immigration Judges made in removal proceedings. 

Osuna also teaches immigration policy at George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Va. 

Osuna received a B.A. from George Washington University, a law degree from American University’s Washington College of Law and a master’s degree in law and international affairs from American University’s School of International Service.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez Cuts Off Foreign Funding to Venezuela’s Organizations

A sheepish Venezuelan congress shepherded by President Hugo Chavez and his cronies passed a new law banning foreign funding for political parties and non-government organizations (NGO’s), this, in addition to a series of measures that opposing parties say, aim to smother dissidents, by limiting or cutting their financing.

Human Rights Watch condemned the new “Law for the Defense of Political Sovereignty and National Self-determination,” alleging it not only blocks funding for human rights activists but also “severely limits their ability to foster public dialogue with foreign experts who are critical of Chavez’s policies.”

Organizations that accept money from abroad face fines for up to double the amount received.

Carlos Lusverti, head of Amnesty International in Venezuela, said the law is precariously worded and will directly affect NGO’s. “If we’re going to work only with what our local fundraising gives us ... our activities are going to be severely reduced,” Lusverti said. He added that his branch receives much of its funding from chapters in other countries.

Chavez has said the measures are needed to prevent foreign intervention, particularly by the U.S. government.

“How are we going to permit political parties, NGOs ... to continue to be financed with millions and millions of dollars from the Yankee empire?” Chavez said.

This is just one of many controversial laws Chavez’s government is pushing through in the final weeks of a congress that had only a minimal opposition presence. A new legislature with a much larger opposition coalition takes office Jan. 5.

Other laws recently approved aim to enforce harsh regulations on the Internet, such as the right to bar and control online messages, allow for authorities to revoke licenses to TV and radio stations.  Laws that to the naked eye seem a bit ludicrous, like the one that says banks are declared to be of “public utility,” allowing the government’s to meddle in the affairs of almost every sector in the country.

Newly elected opposition lawmakers said in a joint statement that the laws are “dismantling democracy” and symbolize a “state run coup d’etat.” They called the laws unconstitutional, saying they give Chavez “absolute control.”

Chavez dismissed accusations that the laws are driving Venezuela toward “dictatorship,” alleging that the main reason behind the decree powers is to “speed housing solutions after recent floods and landslides.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Republican Extremists Push Utah Towards Anti-Immigrant Legislation

The Salt Lake Tribune on Sunday published a lengthy investigative report on the origins of the immigration bill proposed by Utah State Rep. Stephen Sandstrom (R-Orem). Chief among the story’s findings is that Michael Hethmon, general counsel to the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), played a major role in crafting the bill.

IRLI is the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a nativist extremist hate group with a penchant for hiring officials who are active in white supremacist organizations and write for anti-immigrant hate sites. FAIR characterizes itself as just another conservative-leaning organization seeking to tighten enforcement of immigration law, but it is the flagship of a network of organizations created by John Tanton, the racist architect of the modern anti-immigrant movement who has produced an abundance of white nationalist commentary. The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated FAIR as a hate group.

FAIR’s involvement in drafting Utah’s law is no surprise. Arizona’s infamous SB 1070, now mired in litigation, was written by newly elected Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has served as FAIR’s senior counsel. Kobach is one of the attorneys defending the Arizona law in federal court.

And for at least the past six years, FAIR denizens have been hopping from state to state, “helping” localities craft ordinances aimed at barring undocumented immigrants from living and working within their limits. Together or separately, Hethmon, Kobach, and their colleagues at FAIR have created local enforcement ordinances for at least six jurisdictions besides Arizona.

Every one of those jurisdictions has been sued. Every one hired Hethmon or Kobach to defend it. Because of the lawsuits, none of the jurisdictions have been able to enforce their ordinances as originally written. And defending the lawsuits has proven expensive.

Hazleton, Pa., the first town to adopt an IRLI ordinance, racked up $2.4 million in legal fees by the time the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled its ordinance unconstitutional. Despite rescinding its ordinance, Riverside, N.J., owes $82,000 in legal fees. The costs to Farmers Branch, Texas, may exceed $5 million by January, yet the town still plans to appeal the district court’s decision to permanently enjoin its ordinance. Fremont, Neb., is only at the beginning of its legal travails, but has already raised taxes to cover an expected $750,000 in legal fees for fiscal year 2010-11 alone. Valley Park, Mo., was permitted to keep a fragment of its ordinance intact, but paid $240,000 in legal fees for the privilege. Virginia’s Prince William County is still implementing a modified version of its ordinance, which costs millions of dollars per year to enforce and has severely damaged the community’s economy.

Arizona’s legal fees have already surpassed $1 million, and that battle is only just beginning. Moreover, an analysis by the Center for American Progress suggests that the state stands to lose a staggering 4,236 jobs and $752.4 million in business and tax revenue.

All this may explain why Sandstrom was on the defensive even before he’d officially introduced his bill. In August, he declared that he had been consulting with lawyers in Washington to make sure the bill is “absolutely impossible to be litigated against.”

Sandstrom’s confidence doesn’t jibe with IRLI’s track record or with Hethmon’s recent statement about the laws he and his colleagues have been toying with. “Sink or swim, these new laws are forcing Congress to confront the need for enforcement-based reform,” he wrote in a 2010 op-ed for CNN. More important is that they “provoke sustainable immigration reform.”

In other words, Hethmon isn’t terribly upset if the laws he drafts get bogged down in litigation. What matters, he claims, is that they encourage immigration reform of some kind.

There are signs the sailing won’t be smooth for Sandstrom, however. In November, a powerful bipartisan opposition group including civil and religious authorities announced the creation of the “Utah Compact.” The five-point alternative to Sandstrom’s bill stresses that immigration is a federal issue that should be dealt with by the federal government and that immigrants play an important role as workers and taxpayers in Utah’s economy. It also stresses a “humane” approach to immigration reform that takes family ties and social well-being into account. The compact has been endorsed by Utah’s attorney general, two former governors, the highly influential Mormon Church, the Salt Lake County Council, and the Sutherland Institute, a conservative public policy organization.

The signatories’ resolve and the Salt Lake Tribune’s thorough examination of racist leanings of the organization behind Sandstrom’s bill may well make Utah’s state lawmakers think twice before they sign their state up for a whole lot of expensive legal trouble.

Read more at Southern Poverty Law Center: Hatewatch →

Dynamite Taio Cruz’s Launches New Video Just in Time for Christmas (VIDEO)

Watch British-Brazilian Cruz cruise about in posh BMW cars with Travie McCoy in his new instant dance club classic ‘Higher.’

Cruz, whose song ‘Dynamite’ was one of the most popular songs of the year, spoke to MTV News about writing songs for the teen popstar Justin Bieber.

Cruz saidd: “[Justin] is a big deal. I don’t want to disappoint his fans. They can be angry little 12-year-olds. He’s fun. He’s young, so we’ll keep it in the right arena; just fun, young pop music.”

Don’t miss Taio Cruz performing John Lennon’s “Imagine” in Times Square on New Year’s Eve; the song is usually played over a loudspeaker just before midnight, this year Cruz will be the first musician to perform it live.

“I tried not to mess with it too much because it’s such a classic song and so many people love it,” the R&B star said.

“I didn’t want to make a dance version or a crazy up-tempo remix-sounding thing that people would absolutely kill me for.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Pacquiao Dodges Marquez to Fight Mosley on May 7 in Vegas

Pacquiao Dodges Marquez to Fight Mosley on May 7 in Vegas

Photo: Manny Pacquiao Juan Marquez

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Despite Pressure to have Mexican Champ Marquez as Manny Pacquiao next opponent, Promoter Bob Arum has announced that the fight will be against Shane Mosley on May 7th in Las Vegas.

“[Mosley] is a very recognizable name, and it’s a difficult fight for him,” said Promoter Bob Arum, who met with Pacquiao in the Philippines last week. “People are also saying, ‘Well, why hasn’t he fought an African-American fighter?’ He’s doing that, but mostly it’s because Mosley is the biggest name.”

Pacquiao has fought Mexican champ Juan Manuel Marquez twice before resulting in a draw in 2004, and a split decision in 2008. Both fights were very exciting and have left fans wanting a determining match- not withstanding that, Marquez has been asking for a rematch since moments after the second fight ended.

Promoters worry that they will have trouble selling a fight against the 39-year-old Mosley who has not had a victory in 2 ½ years.

Mosley has had a falling out with the organization “Golden Boys” of which he is a founding partner over the decision. Mosley is angry that the organization was pushing Marquez to be Pacquiao’s next opponenet.

Pacquiao also considered a super bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. It is unlikely now because of the Mayweather family’s various legal troubles.

Read more at Yahoo Sports →

BREAKING NEWS: Bombs Explode in Chilean, Swiss Embassies in Rome

In the second explosion of the day, the Chilean embassy in Rome has been rocked by a bomb. The Swiss embassy in the capital city was also hit.

A local news sources has said the Chilean embassy staffer’s injuries were “not serious” after the blast near Villa Borghese in central Rome.

Outside the embassy, witnesses say they heard a blast shortly after 3 p.m. local time.

Just 3 hours earlier, a mail room staffer’s hand was seriously injured at the Swiss embassy, where it is believed a package exploded when he opened it.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini has called the attacks “deplorable act[s] of violence,” and offered Italy’s full support to the embassy staff and the victims.

A spokesperson for the Swiss embassy says no one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

A third embassy, Ukraine’s, has reported a suspicious package as well.

Read more by HS News Staff →

NARCO BLOG:  Mexican Town Left with no Police Force, All Arrested for Corruption

A corruption sweep conducted by the Mexican military and State investigators has left no police in the town of Salinas Victoria in the state of Nuevo Leon.  Last evening, saw 20 police officers detained and under investigation for corruption, which represented the entire police force for the town.

The citizens of Salinas Victoria awoke without a police force, something that surprised many, while others had claimed they had been complaining to authorities of the rampant corruption with the police.

Throughout the Wednesday some officers were released, while the Ministry of Defense announced that 12 officers were to be held over by the public prosecutor of the civil courts that carries out an investigation.

“The investigation remains open and is the result of intelligence work conducted by the relevant authorities ” the Ministry of Defense said in a statement a few hours ago.

The corruption sweep took place after attacks against several law enforcement agencies in cities of Nuevo León have been reported and are on the rise.

To read in Spanish click here

Read more by HS News Staff →

Five Cuban Aliens Enter U.S. Illegally - May Get to Stay in U.S. as ‘Dry Feet’ Immigrants

Wednesday afternoon, park rangers in Mona Island found five alien males, claiming to be Cuban citizens, after entering illegally into a U.S. territory.  Mona Island is the third largest island of the archipelago of Puerto Rico and is about 41 miles west from the main island of Puerto Rico. 

Upon arrival of the aliens, park rangers contacted the Ramey Border Patrol station for assistance and immigration processing.  After processing at the Border Patrol station, the Cuban adults will receive a Notice to Appear before an immigration judge for further proceedings under the Cuban Migration Agreement of 1995 and the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966.  They may qualify to stay in the U.S. under the ‘wet foot, dry foot policy’.

The wet foot, dry foot policy is the name given to a consequence of the 1995 revision of the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966. After talks with the Cuban government, the Clinton administration came to an agreement with Cuba that it would stop admitting people found at sea. Since then, in what has become known as the “wet foot, dry foot” policy, a Cuban caught on the waters between the two nations (i.e., with “wet feet”) would be sent to the place of embarkation, i.e. Cuba. One who makes it to shore (“dry feet”) might remain in the U.S.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico-Chicago-Indianapolis Drug Ring Busted: Distributing Coke and Meth

The dismantling of a drug smuggling organization operating from Mexico to Chicago and Indianapolis was announced on Tuesday by U.S. Attorney Joseph H. Hogsett, Southern District of Indiana.

What started out as an undercover buy of three grams of cocaine for $150 on July 27 culminated on Dec. 15 with the seizure of 48 kilograms (109 pounds) of cocaine with a street value of $1.5 million, and 4.4 pounds of methamphetamine with a street value of up to $80,000. This drug organization was responsible for distributing up to five pounds of methamphetamine and 10 kilograms of cocaine per month in the Indianapolis area.

U.S. Attorney Hogsett said, “A drug bust of this significance occurs only once every couple of years.”

Eight individuals were charged in a federal indictment and 25 individuals were arrested on state charges. Also seized in the operation was 184 pounds of marijuana,18 guns, and $69,535 in U.S. currency. These charges resulted from an eight month investigation led by the Indianapolis Metro Drug Task Force, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The federal indictment charges the following eight individuals with conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute both powder cocaine and methamphetamine:

  * Gerardo Benitez-Arellano, 33, of Indianapolis and Mexico
  * Agustin Lozano, 34, of Indianapolis and Mexico
  * Rene Israel Ortega, 34, of Lombard, Ill., and Mexico
  * Juan Carlos Torres, 35, of Indianapolis and Honduras
  * Erika Vazques-Joachin, 27, of Indianapolis and Mexico
  * Victor Dominguez-Ruiz, 28, of Indianapolis and Mexico
  * Claudia Del Cid Paz, 25, of Indianapolis and Honduras
  * Guadalupe Ivara, 30, of Crest Hill, Ill., and Mexico

According to Assistant U. S. Attorney Josh J. Minkler, who is prosecuting the case for the government, most of the defendants, if convicted, face possible 10 year minimum mandatory prison sentences.

Read more by HS News Staff →

On Global Scale Venezuelans and Germans Lead in Beer Consumption Followed by Mexicans

Per capita beer consumption in Peru has increased from 20 liters in 2000 to 39 liters this year, the Institute of Economic and Social Studies (IEES) of the National Society of Industries (SNI) reported.

According to the beer-making industry report, published annually by the IEES, the growth was ascribed to higher consumption among people with high purchasing power.

Despite the increase, the report showed that Peru’s per capita beer consumption is still lower than that of a number of Latin American countries.

Venezuelans consume 100 liters of beer annually, Mexicans 61 liters, Brazilians 57 liters, and Argentines 44 liters.

On a global scale, Germans drink 105 liters of beer per capita, Irish 99 liters, Australians 85 liters, and U.S. citizens 83 liters.

Read more at Living in Peru →

Catholic Bishops Issue Statement on DREAM Act’s Failure to Pass “Setback, Not a Defeat”

Archbishop Jose Gomez, coadjutor archbishop of Los Angeles and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, today described the vote on the DREAM Act in the U.S. Senate as a “setback, not a defeat.”  The DREAM Act, short for the Development, Relief, and Education of Alien Minors Act, failed to attain the sixty votes needed to end a filibuster on the bill, thus ending its prospects for passage in the 111th Congress.  The final vote count was 55 in favor of cloture, 41 against, five short of the needed number.

The DREAM Act would provide a path to citizenship for young people who entered the country illegally with their parents as children or infants, provided they complete two years of higher education or two years of military service.  As many as 1.8 million young persons could have benefited from the enactment of the DREAM Act.
“With the passage of the DREAM Act in the House of Representatives and with a majority of the U.S. Senate voting in favor, it is clear that a majority of Congress and of the American public support this common-sense humanitarian measure,” said Archbishop Gomez.  “I am confident that one day—sooner rather than later—the DREAM Act will become the law of the land.”

Archbishop Gomez extended thanks to those in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate who supported the legislation.
“On behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, I express my gratitude to those elected officials who did the right thing and voted for this important bill,” he stated.

He added, “My heart goes out to the thousands of young people who would have been helped by the DREAM Act and were disappointed by the Senate action.  We will continue to work so that one day soon you will have the opportunity to become Americans.” 

Archbishop Gomez reaffirmed the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ commitment to safeguarding the basic human rights of immigrants and to enacting humane and just reforms of U.S. immigration law.  He added that the U.S. bishops had more work to do to educate Catholics on the issue of immigration and its importance to the mission of the Church and the future of the country.

“The U.S. Catholic bishops will continue to advocate for humane immigration reform, so that we can attain an immigration system that properly balances the need to protect our national sovereignty with our obligation to honor fundamental human rights.” 

“More education is needed to ensure that Catholics, as well as all Americans, fully understand the humanitarian consequences of a broken immigration system, especially on families,” he concluded.

Read more at USCCB →

Today the Senate Ratified the START Treaty- What is it?

Today the Senate Ratified the START Treaty- What is it?

Photo: Signing of START Treaty

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

With the Senates ratification of the new START treaty, bipartisan endorsement is given to the pact, which President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed in Prague in April.

The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty many argue is outdated and unnecessary. Pointing to the fact that we are dealing deals with a different threat today than we had when the first treaty was signed in 1991. Whereas Russia was out initial concern, today the primary threats are from international terrorists Iran and North Korea.

“With this treaty, we send a message to Iran and North Korea that the international community remains united to restrain the nuclear ambitions of countries that operate outside the law, ” said John Kerry (D), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in a pre-vote statement.

Today the Senate ratified the new nuclear arms treaty between the US and Russia.


Summary of the Treaty:

• Limits on nuclear weapons: Each side will have to reduce their ready-to-launch nuclear arsenals to a mere 1,500 warheads. This is a decrease in 30% from the country’s last deal in 2002.

• Limits on delivery systems: Each side will be limited to 800 submarine-launched ballistic missiles, heavy bombers, and intercontinental ballistic missiles, and only 700 can be nuclear armed. Those levels are half of what the 1991 START deal laid out.

• Inspectors: Both sides can once again send inspectors to ensure the other side is sticking to the treaty, something that stopped a little over a year ago when an old treaty expired. The inspection system has also been revamped in ways the Obama administration says will make it cheaper and easier.


• What it doesn’t do: The treaty doesn’t regulate stored warheads that aren’t ready to launch, and doesn’t regulate short-range tactical nuclear weapons. President Obama says he’d like to negotiate another treaty covering both of those.

Read more at Christian Science Monitor →



ThursdayDecember 23, 2010