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SaturdayDecember 25, 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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Contestants Lose $800,000 on Correct Answer (VIDEO)

The couple who lost $800,000 on the Fox Game Show “Million Dollar Drop” due to an error will be invited back for a second chance.

This week’s episode of the game showed Gabe Okoye and Brittany Mayti who bet $800,000 on the question: Which product was sold in stores first, the Macintosh computer, the Post-It Note or the Sony Walkman?

Gabe Okoye was confident enough that it was the Post-It to risk $800,000 on the answer. But the show said he was wrong, but it turns out, he was right.

Due to a research error, the show’s producers had the wrong information on the original date the Post-It was rolled out in stores.

As a result, the show has invited the couple back for a second chance.

The executive producer, Jeff Apploff, released the following statement:
Unfortunately, the information our research department originally obtained from 3M regarding when Post-it notes were first sold was incomplete. As a result of new information we have received from 3M, we feel it is only fair to give our contestants, Gabe and Brittany, another shot to play ‘Million Dollar Money Drop’ even though this question was not the deciding question in their game. We would like to extend our sincere thanks to the viewers who brought this to our attention, and we’re thrilled to give Gabe and Brittany the opportunity to return to play the game.

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Read more at Huffington Post →

Bus Crash in Ecuador Kills 35 People

An early dawn bus accident on Friday in Ecuador resulted in 35 people dying and 34 others being injured.  The bus was traveling in the western province of Manabi, south of Ecuador’s capital Quito, when it plunged 1,100 feet off a mountain road under foggy and rainy conditions.

Ecuador continues to be plagued by road accidents while investing in its infrastructure.  According to the country’s Attorney General Washington Pseantez, there were 43,000 accidents last month alone resulting in 8 death’s a day. 

This past August, 38 perished when a bus heading toward Quito went off the road onto a steep cliff. 

Read more at Newsday →

Bethlehem Celebrates Peaceful Christmas with Record Numbers

Bethlehem Celebrates Peaceful Christmas with Record Numbers

Photo: Catholic Mass in Bethlehem

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus is celebrating its Merriest Christmas in Years as tourists once again flock to the town. Officials say the turnout will be the largest in over 10 years, largely due to the fact that Isreali-Palestinian violence has drastically decreased.

Pat Olmsted, a 64-year-old teacher from Sugar Land, Texas, was celebrating her first Christmas in Bethlehem and broke into tears as she stood in Manger Square. “It just gives me a whole true meaning of the Bible. As I read the pages, it will mean so much more to me,” she said.

The Roman Catholic Church’s top clergyman in the Holy Land, Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal, crossed through the gate in a traditional midday procession from Jerusalem.

Later, he celebrated Midnight Mass, the peak of the holiday’s events in town.

In his homily, Twal issued a conciliatory call for peace between religions and urged an “intensification” of dialogue with Jews and Muslims.

“We need to unite and integrate the many values we have in common: prayer, piety, fasting, almsgiving, and ethical values,” he said.

“Our hope for Christmas is that Jerusalem not only become the capital of two nations, but also a model for the world, of harmony and coexistence of the three monotheistic religions,” he added. “During this Christmas season, may the sound of the bells of our churches drown the noise of weapons in our wounded Middle East, calling all men to peace and the joy.”

Today, just one-third of Bethlehem’s 50,000 residents are Christian, down from about 75 percent in the 1950s. The rest are Muslims.

The Christian population throughout the Middle East has shrunk in recent decades as people flee violence or search for better opportunities abroad. Christians make up roughly 2 percent of the population in the Holy Land.

Read more at AFP →

Pope’s Christmas Message to the World:  Lasting Peace

The Pope delivered his traditional Christmas Day message to the world urging for world peace especially in war-plagued areas of the globe like Somalia, Darfur and the Ivory Coast. 

As always his Christmas message was delived before crowds gathered to celebrate Christmas mass in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican.  The message was delived by the pontiff in 65 different languages to approximately 10,000 faithful gathered.  This year security was heightened as a result of last year’s attack on the Pope, when a woman attempted to topple him during the Christmas mass.

The Christmas message highlighted his concern for parts of the globe that are suffering:  Haiti suffering from cholera and the aftermath of the earthquake, tenuous times between North and South Korea and the human rights violations during time of war like those occurring in Afghanistan.  In closing the Pope reached out to China’s catholic’s chiding the Chinese government for imposing religious “limitations” on all of its people.  China and the Vatican have not had formal diplomatic relations since 1951. 

Read more at Radio Free Europe →

10-Year-old Bolivian Girl rescues Baby in Floodwaters

A 10-year-old Bolivian girl saved a baby as the child was being swept away in floodwaters.

More than 60 homes were destroyed as the floods ran through a mining village north of La Paz.

Rosa, the ten year old saw a 9 month old baby, “floating in her carriage in the waters of the river.”

“I jumped in and grabbed it with one arm and with the other I swam with all my strength and gave it back to her mom,” the girl told the daily La Razon.

The flood swept away some 60 homes standing about 50 meters (165 feet) from the riverbank, and while for the moment no deaths have been reported, 150 families are estimated to have been affected.

Read more at Latin American Herald Tribune →

FELIZ NAVIDAD to Puerto Rico - Santa Brings a 30 Second Earthquake to the Island

Last night as many Puerto Rican families were getting ready to celebrate Chrismas Eve Santa gave the island residents an early present - a 30 second 5.1 earthquake occurring around 6:43 pm (EST). 

The earthquake occurred 15 miles south of San Juan, did no notable damage and resulted in no reported deaths.  The San Juan airport remained opened throughout the incident. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latinos Are Fleeing Republicans, Not Flocking to Them

Latinos Are Fleeing Republicans, Not Flocking to Them

Photo: Marco Rubio

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

A few conservative talking heads are pointing to the slight increase in Latino support for Republicans in the 2010 election as evidence of growing support for the GOP among Latinos. Careful scrutiny, however, reveals that this assertion is nothing more than spin. Republican support among Latinos is actually at one of its lowest points due to the fact that Republicans have done a good job at alienating the Latino community in the last few years.

The GOP is trying to salvage its reputation and brand among Latinos. Just last week Newt Gingrich hosted an outreach event bringing together conservative leaders to discuss their agenda. But these efforts are not enough to placate years of beating down on immigrants, including efforts to criminalize the immigrant community; denying birthright citizenship to children born in the United States; and promoting Arizona-like policies across the nation. And with unified opposition to the upcoming DREAM Act vote, Republicans continue to marginalize the Latino community.

Conservative Republicans argue that they made inroads among Latinos in the 2010 election because the GOP got 38 percent of the Latino vote. This represents an increase of 9 percent compared to the 29 percent of support among Latinos in 2008.

There are two points to make in regard to this increase. First, national polling numbers likely overstated Latino support for Republicans by a significant amount because pollsters rely on small sample sizes of Latino voters, do not take into consideration the fact that the Latino electorate is concentrated in more urban locations, and do not accurately capture Spanish-dominant Latino voters. A more accurate analysis, therefore, needs to be made to better assess voting trends, particularly among those who are Spanish dominant. But even if we accept the poll numbers cited by Republicans, the claims of a rosy future between them and Latinos are fundamentally wrong.

Second, while it’s true that there was a slight increase in support for the GOP, this is not surprising nor a trend because in every midterm election the party in power usually losses votes. The 8 percentage-point decline in Latino support for Democrats is identical to the 8 percentage-point decline in non-Hispanic support for Democrats between 2008 and 2010. In other words, Latino support for Democrats declined in line with the rest of the electorate.

Conservatives try to further their argument by comparing the 2010 election to the 2006 election when Republicans had 30 percent of support among Latinos. They conclude that there is a 17 percent increase in total Latino support by adding the 8 percent increase from 2006 to 2010 and the 9 percent increase from 2008 to 2010. They make this claim, however, while ignoring the well-known fact that in 2006 Republicans lost 10 percentage points among Latinos after the high-water mark of 40 percent support in 2004.

They also point to a few races where Republicans won with Latino support—mainly Gov. Rick Perry in Texas, Sen. John McCain in Arizona, and Marco Rubio in Florida. But these states have a traditionally Republican bent, so it is no surprise that Republicans are winning there. More importantly, the Republicans that ran and won those races value the Latino vote. Perry, McCain, and Rubio went to great lengths to avoid the extreme rhetoric on Latinos, immigrants, and immigration that often comes from the GOP’s highest levels.

Gov. Perry was named the number one Hispanic-friendly politician of the 2010 election by Somos Republicans, an Arizona-based organization. And Sen. McCain has a long, and for the most part positive, relationship with Latinos in his state. At one point he enjoyed a whooping 70 percent of the Latino vote—a rarity among Republicans. True, he has completely flipped his position on immigration reform from being one of its champions to turning his back on his own proposals. But some believe (or hope) that he may still support reform should it come to a vote.

Rubio’s race deserves a more nuanced analysis. First of all, he is emblematic of a new breed of Latino elected officials who have chosen not to support immigration reform and promote an enforcement-only posture. This is significant because it shows the GOP is supporting and promoting Latinos who are adopting a stance on immigration that is out of step with most Latinos and the rest of the electorate.

Senator-elect Marco Rubio is, in fact, one of the most extreme candidates when it comes to immigration and other progressive issues. He supports Arizona’s SB 1070, is against the DREAM Act and immigration reform, and doesn’t even think that the undocumented should be counted in the census. (He even opposed Sonia Sotomayor’s Supreme Court nomination.) Yet his record on immigration was unchallenged during the election.

Rubio was successful in downplaying his extremist position when speaking to the Latino community because he emphasized his personal story and his parents’ pursuit of the American Dream and often avoided the details of what he would actually do to address the 12 million undocumented. He instead often declared his support for legal immigration—but aren’t we all in favor of that?

He managed to win 45 percent of the overall Latino vote in Florida. But this number is less impressive when you compare it to the other Republican Latinos in Florida. Mel Martinez, the Cuban American Republican senator whom Rubio will replace, won 60 percent of the Latino vote in 2004. And in the 2008 election Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) received 64 percent of the Latino vote while Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) won 67 percent. What this means is that Rubio is walking a very tight rope when it comes to maintaining support among Latinos even in traditionally Republican Florida.

The lesson that the GOP should learn from 2010 is that in a historically bad year for Democrats with historically bad economic circumstances, Democrats still got 22 percent more Latino support with 60 percent of the their vote. The GOP should also note that they did worse among Latinos in 2010 than they did in 2004 even though 2004 and 2010 were both good years for the party.

Instead of spinning the facts, conservatives should heed the call of those who want to reposition their party in the Latino community. By all accounts they have their work cut out for them. The 112th Congress brings a Republican majority with notorious antireform leaders such as Steve King (R-IO) and Lamar Smith (R-TX), and an agenda that is clearly out of step with what matters to Latinos.

Vanessa Cárdenas is the Director of Progress 2050, a project of the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C., which seeks to build a progressive agenda that is more inclusive of the rich racial and ethnic makeup of our nation.

Read more by HS News Staff →

SaturdayDecember 25, 2010