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MondayDecember 27, 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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Florida International Univ. Baseball Star, Garrett Wittels, Charged with Raping Under Aged Females

Florida International University (FIU) baseball player and star athlete, Garrett Wittels has been charged along with two other men of raping two 17-year old females in the Bahamas.

FIU enjoys a reputation as one of the most diverse universities, with 60 percent of its student body Hispanic, but it also enjoys an incredible reputation for its sports programs.  Its football team the Panthers just clinched the Pizza Bowl in Detroit this weekend. 

Wittels, holds the second longest hitting streak in the NCAA division 1, with a 56-game hitting streak.  He was also this year’s Sun Belt Conference player of the year.  FIU’s athletic director Pete Garcia has refused to comment on the developing story.

The incident allegedly occurred at the Atlantis Casino in Nassau, when Wittels and two buddies befriended two American female tourists who then all proceeded to go to a private party, where the rapes allegedly occurred.  Wittels is out on bail as are his friends, and Bahamian officials have until April 18, 2011 to determine if there is sufficient evidence for a trial to occur. 

Read more at Las Vegas Sun →

Justice Sotomayor: Supreme Court’s ‘Wise Latina’ Standing Up for Prisoner Rights

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has been ruffling a few feathers since she became a member of the U.S.’s highest court.

Only in her second term, the first Hispanic member, Justice Sotomayor has publicly voiced her concern over the court’s refusal to hear some appeals, especially those involving prisoners.

Sotomayor has said that she refuses to allow states to “manipulate federal proceedings to their own strategic advantage at an unacceptable cost to justice,” and has been the most vocal justice when it comes to criminal law cases.

A law clerk to Sotomayor earlier in her career, Adam Abensohn, is response to her recent actions said, “If she has a viewpoint, she won’t hesitate to assert herself. If she thinks it’s a good idea to do something, she’s not going to hold simply because ‘it’s not the way things are done’ or because she’s relatively new.”

In the case of a Louisiana prisoner who, after refusing to take his HIV medication was punished with an extra work load in dangerous heat, Sotomayor did not hesitate to object when her fellow justices refused to hear the case in court or give an opinion on the ruling of lower courts.

In the U.S. Supreme Court, it takes four votes from the nine justices to take a case. It then takes five votes to resolve a case.

While some may argue that the justice is lenient, one needs only point to her questioning style. Justice Sotomayor is often the most demanding questioner in the court during oral arguments, and is known interrupt another justice to ensure a direct and truthful answer, and only makes decisions based on facts and “free of rhetorical flourish.”

Read more at USA Today →

BE SMART:  Remember Your Gift Card Rights under New Credit Card Laws

A handy Christmas present from the U.S. federal government - some gift cards don’t expire thanks to the Credit CARD Act of 2009 signed into law on May 22, 2009.  And here you thought you had to use them all up this year.

While the majority of the Act pertains to credit cards, the act also addressed changes to how federal law regulates gift cards. The new federal laws went into effect on August 22, 2010.

Every state is impacted: To see ScripSmart’s comparison between new federal gift card law vs. state gift card law click here.  ScriptSmart ranks all the different gift card programs out there and keeps consumers aware of laws affecting the use of gift cards. 

Cards Covered Under Federal Law
• Store issued gift cards (physical/plastic, electronic/email )
• Bank issued gift cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover)

Federal Gift Card Law: Expiration Dates
• Gift card funds may not expire before 5 years
• If a gift card is reloadable, any funds added to the card must remain valid for a full 5 years

Federal Gift Card Law: Post-sale Fees
• All fees must be clearly disclosed on the card or the card’s packaging
• Post-sale fees may be imposed only if the card has not been used for 1 year or more
• Only one post-sale fees may be charged per month
• Card Replacement fees are not allowed for card which expire, but funds have not expired (typically bank issued cards)
• Lost or stolen gift card replacement fees are allowed.

Exceptions to Federal Law
The new federal law excludes the following cards:
• Reloadable prepaid debit cards not intended for gift giving purposes
• Promotional or rewards cards given away for free by the issuer may expire in one year or have fees prior to one year.

Read more at ScriptSmart →

Cocaine Laced Easter Eggs Found at LAX - Dad Insists Its His Kids Christmas Candy

There is nothing like getting ready for a holiday while celebrating another holiday but it also draws the attention of immigration and custom’s officials.  Last Thursday, when dad Esteban Galtes insisted the Easter eggs in his luggage were for his two kids, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) become suspicious - since it is only Christmas. 

His arrest came after officers searched Galtes’ luggage and discovered more than 14 pounds of cocaine, much of it camouflaged as pastel-colored, egg-shaped candies. The remainder of the cocaine was secreted under the cardboard bottom of a paper shopping bag. The seized cocaine has an estimated street value of more than $100,000.

The Miami native is expected to make his initial appearance in federal court today.  “Obviously two days before Christmas, this defendant didn’t expect his trip would end with federal officers conducting an Easter egg hunt,” said special agent Claude Arnold. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

NARCO BLOG:  Horrific Find in Front of Popular Acapulco Bar- Skinned and Dismembered Bodies

Acapulco, a few years ago, used to be in high demand as a vacation spot.  Today it is more common to see gun battles and gruesome death scenes.  As gruesome discoveries of dead bodies becomes more frequent and the violence increases, the number of tourists has dropped here and throughout the state of Guerrero.

Case in point, at dawn this morning two dismembered bodies were found in front of the popular karaoke-bar Secret.  A few days before in the same location an armed commando shot up the area with 11 people standing around, two later died.

The finding this morning was more gruesome than usual.  The dead men’s skin was peeled off their dismembered bodies, then hung on over the bar of the nightclub.  Authorities report that men have not been identified, and the brutally of their death makes them assume they belonged to some kind of organized crime group or drug cartel.

Witnesses said the armed group hung the body parts of the murdered men, and then shot at them with AK-47, AR-15 and .45 mm guns, the spent shell casings were found at the scene.

The assassins also left two green colored narco messages, in honor of Christmas, at the side of the mutilated bodies.

In the first narco message read:  “Sincerely, The Metro.”

In the second narco message read:  “I’m The Cat and El Gafe and we just happened to kill the Shop keeper of Sector 6 and the Vichy of Tecate.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

No More Cervezas Frias - Latino Men Falling in Love with Nuvo’s Pink Fruity Liqueur Concoction

Eva Longoria is the new the face of Nuvo, an alcoholic drink designed especially with a woman’s taste buds in mind but also for its growing Latino male fan base.  Longoria was an obvious choice since she is popular with both Latinas and Latinos. 

Recent research showed that women seem to prefer their drinks to be more fruity, as 52 percent of them mix some kind of fruit juice with their alcohol. Nuvo, which was introduced in 2007 is made up of French vodka, white wine, and fruit nectar, was originally designed specifically for women only. The bottle is shaped as though it could be a pink perfume bottle, and its lid was designed to look like lipstick.

While Nuvo was clearly intended to be a drink for the ladies, it has become a surprise big hit among African-American and Latino men. The research has shown they like their liqueur to be fruity as well.

When it was realized that women were 70 to 80 percent of the buying market for Nuvo, but men were 52 percent of its drinkers, Nuvo change it’s original bottle by removing “For her” and changing the website from NuvoForHer.com to SparklingNuvo.com.

By the end of the year, it is expected that around 2.9 million bottles of Nuvo will have been sold in 2010.

Read more at New York Times →

Hispanically Speaking:  TOP TEN Latin American Movies We Saw in 2010

HS-News brings you the list of the Top Ten Latin American films we watched in 2010, we hope your foreign favorite is on this list.

1. El Secreto de Sus Ojos (Argentina/Spain)
Director: Juan José Campanella
Writers: Eduardo Sacheri, Juan José Campanella
A retired legal counselor writes a novel hoping to find closure for one of his past unresolved homicide cases and for his unreciprocated love with his superior - both of which still haunt him decades later.

2. El Baile de la Victoria (Spain)
Director: Fernando Trueba
Writers: Antonio Skármeta (screenplay), Fernando Trueba (screenplay)
In the years following the dictatorship Pinochet in Chile, a general amnesty program released famous safe-cracker Nicolás and 20-year-old small-time crook Ángel from prison. All Nicolás wants to do is go legit and reunite with his estranged wife and son, but discovers that they have both moved on with their lives without him. With few other options for the aging Nicolás, he is pulled deep into Ángel’s plan to pull off one last heist to steal a fortune amassed by some of Pinochet’s former henchmen. Ángel complicates matters by falling in love with the beautiful young Victoria, an unstable ballet dancer who was left mute by a mysterious past trauma.

3. La Pasión de Gabriel (Colombia)
Director: Luis Alberto Restrepo
Writers: Luis Alberto Restrepo (screenplay), Diego Vasquez Moncayo (screenplay)
In a small hamlet in the Colombian mountains, a newly appointed padre Father Gabriel (Andrés Parra in a truly brilliant and underrated performance) finds himself torn between his spiritual calling and his desires for a young woman named Silvia, while also trying to protect his congregation from being drawn into the increasingly violent battles between the government military and rebel forces that surround the town.

4. Contracorriente (Perú)
Director: Javier Fuentes-León
Writer: Javier Fuentes-León
An unusual ghost story set on the Peruvian seaside; a married fisherman struggles to reconcile his devotion to his male lover within his town’s rigid traditions.

5. El Discípulo (Spain)
Director: Emilio Ruiz Barrachina
Writers: Stephen Hughes (english adaptation), Emilio Ruiz Barrachina
From a non-mythical perspective, The Disciple presents with high production value, the life of Jesus from a daring new angle, a human, without divinity, fallible and worrying disciple of God and the People on very real ground.

6. El Corredor Nocturno (Argentina)
Director: Gerardo Herrero
Writers: Hugo Burel (novel), Nicolás Saad (screenplay)
A stressed insurance executive runs from his pressurized life, but what he finds along with his freedom is far less certainty.

7. Los Viajes del Viento (Cololmbia)
Director: Ciro Guerra
Writer: Ciro Guerra
A musician travels great distances through Colombia’s lush northern coast to return an instrument to his elderly teacher.

8. Biutiful (México/Spain)
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Writers: Alejandro González Iñárritu (screenplay),Armando Bo (screenplay)
This is a story of a man in free fall. On the road to redemption, darkness lights his way. Connected with the afterlife, Uxbal is a tragic hero and father of two who’s sensing the danger of death. He struggles with a tainted reality and a fate that works against him in order to forgive, for love, and forever

9. Chamaco (Mexico)
Director: Miguel Necoechea
Writers: Carl Bessai, Kirk Harris
Abner is trapped in the rough life of Mexico City. His escape? Boxing. Dr. Frank Irwin (Martin Sheen) and his son Jimmy, a pro boxer, come together to teach Abner that the heart fuels the punches we throw in life.

10. É Proibido Fumar (Brazil)
Director: Anna Muylaert
Writer: Anna Muylaert
In São Paulo, the lonely forty and something year-old guitar teacher Baby lives a tedious life in a low middle-class apartment and is addicted in her only companion, the cigarettes. When the musician of a barbecue place Max moves to the next-door apartment, Baby has a crush on him. Sooner they have a love affair and Baby quits smoking with the support of a fellowship.

Read more by HS News Staff →

New Year Brings First Latina Legislator to Wisconsin

On January 3rd, 2011 the state of Wisconsin will swear into office, its first Latina legislator, State Representative JoCasta Zamarripa.  The 34 year- old Zamarripa is a third-generation Mexican-American and will serve the people of the 8th Assembly District in Milwaukee. 

Her predecessor, Pedro Col Don, held the same seat for 12 years and was the first Hispanic elected to the Wisconsin legislature. 

Read more at Chilcago Tribune →

Prosper Año Nuevo:  Several States to Boost Minimum Wage in New Year

Low-wage workers in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont,Washington and the District of Columbia, will ring in 2011 with slightly higher paychecks. That’s because those jurisdictions automatically increase wage rates at the start of the new year to adjust for inflation, something labor advocates say more states should do. Three others — Florida, Missouri and Nevada — provide for automatic increases that will take effect later in the year.

Though the increases are small — ranging from nine to 12 cents per hour — economists say they should boost sales for local businesses as workers use the money immediately to pay for food, gasoline and other essentials. Still, business advocates argue that with already high unemployment, the increases could dampen job creation.

Before the federal government raised the minimum wage three years ago — after a 12-year hiatus — a majority of states pushed wages above the federal minimum. On Jan. 1, 17 states and the District of Columbia will have minimum wages above the current federal level, which pays a full-time minimum wage worker $7.25 an hour, or just over $15,000 per year. Washington state’s $8.55 per hour is the highest in the nation. For more than 60 percent of minimum wage workers, annual pay is well below the $22,050 federal poverty line for a family of four.

Read more at Pew Center on the States →

Daley Surpasses Father, Becoming Longest-Serving Chicago Mayor

Daley Surpasses Father, Becoming Longest-Serving Chicago Mayor

Photo: chicago mag -- Mayors Daley

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With 7,918 days in office, Mayor Richard M. Daley has become Chicago’s longest-serving mayor, beating his father by two days today. The family reign will end next year with the current mayor not seeking reelection.  Both Daley mayors having served the city for a total fo 42 years..

Having died in 1976, Richard J. Daley never saw his son become Mayor of Chicago in 1989, but as the budget director for both Mayor Daleys, Edward Bedore says that “the senior was ‘a builder’ and his son ‘completed the house’.”

During his years as mayor, Richard M. has done things to bring the city of Chicago together in ways his father never would have (the senior never would have marched in the Gay Pride Parade). The current mayor is credited with realizing that the white working class was no longer the dominating force of Chicago, and instead created a coalition of Hispanics, African-Americas, business leaders, and “lakefront liberals”.  The current mayor has always enjoyed the support of the city’s Hispanic voters and has counted on their growing numbers to help elect him. 

When Daley steps down from office this coming spring, he will have held the position for 21 years and 8 months.

Read more by HS News Staff →

The 33 Chilean Miners Are Going to Disney World

Disney World has invited the miners, their rescuers and their immediate families to a six-night stay in Disney World.

From January 27 to February 2 the ‘33’ and their entourage will vacation in Florida and do some shopping since each family will get a $500 gift card, and the group will serve as honorary Grand Marshals of a Main Street U.S.A. parade.

“The amazing story of these miners captured the attention of the world for demonstrating the true power and resilience of the human spirit,” Disney President and CEO Bob Iger said in a statement. “We are proud to welcome these courageous men and their families to the Walt Disney World Resort.”


Read more by HS News Staff →

Sheriff Arpaio Mandatory Christmas Sing-a-Long Announces a Winner (UPDATE)

Sheriff Arpaio Mandatory Christmas Sing-a-Long Announces a Winner (UPDATE)

Photo: Sheriff Arpaio Mandatory Christmas Sing-a-Long Announces a Winner

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UPDATE:  Jodi Arias, a 30 year old inmate held on a $2,000,000 bond for the murder of her ex-boyfriend, was the winner of the sing-a-long competition. She and her cellmates enjoyed a turkey dinner, christmas cookies, and received stockings full of goodies donated by local Arizona charities at the suggestion of america’s Toughest Sheriff and staunch anti-immigrant crusader, Sheriff Joe Arpaio.Image

The contest was judged by Arpaio, Santa Claus and “Elfis” the singing detention officer.

Jodi Arias is a 30-year-old California woman accused of the June 9, 2008, murder of her ex-boyfriend, 29-year-old motivational speaker Travis Alexander.

Arias claims she is innocent, but overwhelming forensic evidence place her (naked) at the crime scene on the day of the murder which prompted officials to charge her with first-degree murder.  Alexander was stabbed 27 times and shot in the head, by two intruders who interrupted the couple’s sex-tape production - according to the singing beauty’s alibi. 

Arias’s DNA was found at the scene in the form of a bloody left hand print, and a camera containing six pictures were recovered from the washing machine also containing bloody sheets.

Arias is waiting for trial, that is expected to start earlier next year.. 


ORIGINAL STORY:  Joe Arpaio, America’s Toughest Sheriff is currently under investigation by the FBI, the Department of Justice and a Federal Grand Jury for civil rights violations, and abuse of power, as well as being the defendant in a federal class-action suit for racial profiling. Yet none of this is stopping his play-by-my- rules-way even during the holiday season. 

Arpaio is also being sued by disgruntled inmates fed-up with Arpaio’s 12-hour Christmas daily tune marathons that are piped into prisoner’s cells. Reportedly, Alvin and the Chipmunks are a personal favorite of the tough sheriff; but as any human over the age of five that has a fairly good hearing will tell you, more than fifteen seconds of Alvin and the Chipmunks is nauseating, and playing hours of their material to anyone, is just plain torture.

Now, the Ruthless sheriff who made inmates wear pink underwear is making news, yet again. This time, he has organized a caroling contest among the inmates, promising a proper Christmas dinner to the winner.

Runner-ups (because, hey, there are no losers in caroling) will be treated to the traditional holiday meal with all the fixings instead of the the $0.14 dinner they typically receive from the taxpayers. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

ICE Deportations Hindering Criminal Prosecutions in Ohio

In central Ohio, there is a growing trend of federal law enforcement taking undocumented immigrant detainees from local authorities’ custody and placing them in federal custody.

Last year, the number of those arrested and transferred to ICE custody soared to 799 people, while the year before saw 628 federal transfers, and only 48 in 2008.

The frustrating part for local law enforcement officials is the fact that undocumented immigrants are avoiding prosecution for their crimes, as ICE only takes them into their custody and usually deports them. Critics of the transfers say they lead to more crime, and unsolved crimes.

In one case, failure to communicate between ICE and Ohio Franklin County Jail officials lead to the deportation of an eye witness to a murder. The removal of that witness – an undocumented immigrant – caused the case to fall apart. In other instances, crimes go unreported as immigrants fear being deported.

More disturbing are the cases of drunk driving and molestation/rape that go unresolved, because those suspected of the crimes are taken by ICE and deported before local officials can prosecute the offenders.

The lack of communication between the two parties is hindering police officers’ ability to do their job, says director of the Migration Policy Institute at the New York University School of Law, Muzaffar Chishti.

“If the criminal justice system is made to make us safer and to penalize the people who committed crimes, what is this achieving?” said Chishti.

Read more at Canton Rep. →

“India” a Bollywood Telenovela and the Newest Hit on Spanish Language TV

The Univision owned TeleFutura network is airing “India” a 2009 Brazilian production that tells a story of forbidden love between a low-class ‘unsuitable’ Dalit man, and an upper-class woman. Set in India and Brazil, the telenovela originally titled “Caminho das Índias” (Road to India) was such a hit in Brazil, that TeleFutura brought it to the U.S., hoping it would become just as popular here.  And it has. 

“It was definitely a production that caught our attention; we’re delighted to bring this seemingly different culture to the U.S. Spanish-language media. We wanted to bring a completely different product to our viewers.” said Bert Medina, the network’s senior vice president.

“It was a very interesting process for us,” he said. “There is such a growing fascination with Indian culture in the United States. It felt like a natural move to expand the Indian phenomenon into the Hispanic U.S. community through TeleFutura.” Medina added

By acquiring “India,” TeleFutura, which broadcasts to 62.9 million homes in the U.S., is joining in on the “India phenomenon,” started by the recent inclusion of South Asian characters in soap operas and tv series, such as “Glee,” “The Good Wife,” “Royal Pains,” “Parks and Recreation,” “30 Rock” “The Office” and “Community.”

“India,” a 2009 International Emmy winner, has been dubbed into Spanish for the TeleFutura audience. Following in the steps of several Spanish-language networks the network also offers closed captions of the series in English, trying to conquer American audiences.

But Indian scholars are not too pleased with the soap, and worry that the production perpetuates stereotypes and clichés that are staples of media portrayals of India, but not necessarily true depictions.

“It is as if it’s a Bollywood production, stripped of historical and political depth,” said Rini B. Mehta, a professor of comparative and world literature at the University of Illinois, based on clips she watched online. “Everything is touched on in broad strokes. It’s based on a social concept, the caste system, that is now forbidden. This is not the real India. Even if parts of it were shot there.”

The series was filmed in India, Dubai and Brazil and features Brazilian actors speaking in Portuguese as well as bits of Hindi like “Arre Baba!” (Oh my goodness!) peppered throughout.

The telenovela airs at 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and has averaged about 900,000 viewers since launching in October, 2010. 

“It was a very interesting process for us,” he said. “There is such a growing fascination with Indian culture in the United States. It felt like a natural move to expand the Indian phenomenon into the Hispanic U.S. community through TeleFutura.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Northern U.S. Border Focus of Upcoming Drug Trafficking Legislation

President Obama likely will sign a bill in coming days to tighten security along the U.S. northern border after complaints that federal agencies there do not coordinate well enough.

The bill (S. 3467), the Northern Border Counternarcotics Strategy Act, would require federal law enforcement agencies to produce a comprehensive, coordinated plan to combat the trade of illegal drugs across the U.S. northern border with Canada. 

The U.S. southern border with Mexico has been the focus of funding to combat illegal drug trafficking and illegal immigration.  A $600 million Homeland Security measure focusing on Texas, California and Arizona border security was passed earlier this year. 

The bill S. 3467 specifically would amend the Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 2006, tasking the director of National Drug Control Policy to provide Congress with a counternarcotics strategy for the northern border after consultation with relevant agencies. The bill also would target drug traffic specifically crossing American Indian reservations.

Read more at Homeland Security Today →

MX Prison Breakout Means 200 More Serious Criminals on Street–Increase in Violence Expected

Close to 200 drug dealers, murderers, and human traffickers broke out of a Nuevo Laredo prison—probably with the help of guards who were bribed or threatened; members of the Zetas were behind the prison break.  Intelligence analysts say that the breakout means that we should expect more violence in cities within the Zetas-dominated areas

An intelligence analyst says there is a greater chance right now you could become a victim of a carjacking in Mexico. A former drug enforcement agency supervisor said the prison break in Nuevo Laredo is the reason why the threat of carjackings will go up.

“The Zetas were the ones that orchestrated their breakout to increase their number,” says Gary Hale.  Hale is a former drug enforcement agency intelligence supervisor in the Houston field office. He now runs his own intelligence firm. He says the prison breakout means more violence against people traveling to Mexico.

KRGV.com Texas reports that Hale and his team built a map to show the four cities in Mexico that are fifty miles from the border where Zetas have recently carjacked people. He says it could happen in every Mexican state that borders the United States. The Zetas operate in all of them.

Hale analyzed the Zetas in a new report he released this past weekend. He says the Zetas are expanding in Mexico. They are now in Sonora, across the border from Arizona. He says the Mexican government is still arresting Zeta operatives. Last week, a Zeta recruiter trying to enlist teenagers was arrested in Monterrey.

Read more at Homeland Security Wire →

One of World’s Highest Prevalence Rates for Asthma is in Puerto Rico

This year the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico is facing a jump in the asthma cases reported amongst children, and the island’s children are nearly 300 percent more likely to have respiratory ailments than the general population in the U.S.  Approximately 30 percent of the children here are diagnosed with the chronic condition.

Health officials have been trying to figure out why tens of thousands children live with chronic asthma, since the island also has one of the highest asthma prevalence rates in the world.  These staggering statistics result in asthma death rates in Puerto Rico 2.5 times higher than anywhere else.  And Puerto Rican’s living in the U.S., outside the island territory, are not immune they also have a 2.5 higher rate of asthma attacks then the white population.

Despite decades of research the causes for this predisposition to asthma amongst Puerto Rican’s remains a mystery.  To compound matters, the common remedy of Albuterol inhalers used to calm attacks do not seem to work as effectively amongst this demographic. 

Many potential causes exist from volcanic ash from nearby Monsterrat, living in crowded public housing, to heavy rains releasing millions of spores to a genetic predisposition.  The high prevalence rate has resulted in loss of productivity, high health care costs and almost 25,000 annual asthma-related emergency room visits.

Read more at Washington Post →

Pronounced Dead, Brazilian Woman Spends Two Day in her Coffin Before Waking Up Christmas Eve

This was a very special Christmas season for 88-year-old Brazilian Maria das Dores da Conceicoa who was declared dead on Wednesday then resurrected from her coffin alive on Christmas Eve.

The 88-year old grandmother, of Minas Gerias, Brazil, had been battling hypertension, vascular disease and dementia when she was hospitalized last week with more health complications.  She was declared dead on Wednesday by city hospital staffers and then her body was transported to the local funeral home.

Then two days later as employees of the mortuary were about to prepare her body for burial, they noticed her shallow breathing and rushed her back to the hospital in her coffin.  Police are investigating why she was declared dead and a death certificate signed when she clearly was not. 

Conceicoa remains hospitalized in critical condition but nonetheless all her family is relieved and pleased with this very special Christmas gift. 

Read more at NY Daily News →

Hispanic Hate:  Hispanics Flee Connecticut Town due to Police Profiling and Abuse

The U.S. Justice Department continues to investigate alleged police abuse against Hispanics in the Connecticut town of East Haven.  There have been multiple reports of Hispanics being harassed during traffic stops, falsely arrested and of even being physically abused while in police custody.

This predominantly Italian-American enclave has a small Hispanic community, making up 7 percent of the population of 28,000 individuals.  Most of the Hispanics in town are of Ecuadorian or Mexican descent.  There are reports police target businesses that cater to Hispanic customers issuing parking tickets or stopping Latino customers as they leave the establishment demanding they never come back to the area. 

Even though a Justice Department investigation initially started as far back as September, 2009 more racial profiling and abuse cases were being reported this year bringing the investigation to the forefront.  Mayor, April Capone, has confirmed the FBI is involved and is gathering evidence to charge certain officers with criminal activity.

The estimated 1,900 Hispanics that called East Haven home aren’t waiting more than half of those have moved away.  Numerous immigrant organizations have gone as far as issuing warnings about the town urging Hispanics to stay away. 

Read more at Breitbart →

Former Dominican Republic President Salvador Jorge Blanco Dies

The much maligned former President of the Dominican Republic, Salvador Jorge Blanco, has died at home at the age of 84.  Jorge Blanco was the president from 1982 through 1986, then in 1991 was accused and convicted of corruption related to misuse of government funds. 

He served two months in jail before being released to launch an appeal.  That conviction, the first of its kind for any public official in the Dominican Republic, was overturned in 2001 on a technicality.  The former President had always maintained his innocence and blamed his political adversary’s for the trumped up charges.

Jorge Blanco governed the country through some of its darkest economic times, when billions in foreign debt were owed and his austerity moves were met with constant general strikes crippling the country’s economy even more.  There was also a deadly riot in 1984 over wage freezes that left dozens dead.

Current President Leonel Fernandez has called for three days of national mourning and flags will be flown half-mast in Jorge Blanco’s honor.  The body will lie in state in the Congress building with a funeral planned for Tuesday.

Read more at UPI →

Guatemala Continues Its Crackdown on Mexican Drug Cartels Operating in Its Country

This weekend the Guatemala government captured nearly twenty-two alleged Los Zetas cartel members and confiscated their automatic weapons and small planes in a nationwide sweep.

Los Zeta’s are reported to be operating in the majority of the country’s region, manufacturing and distributing drugs.  More than 10 days ago the government of Guatemala’s President Alvaro Colom declared a ‘state of siege’.

By declaring a state of siege the government is allowed expanded power to arrest, interrogate and forbid ‘assembly’ of those individuals causing the country’s state of siege.  Guatemala is a critical distribution point for the cartel’s which move drugs from Colombia through Guatemala to get it to Mexico to sell in the U.S.  Guatemala is also providing key recruits to the Zeta cartel membership especially formerly military members that are trained in jungle warfare.

Read more at Reuters →

MondayDecember 27, 2010