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TuesdayDecember 28, 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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NARCO BLOG: Pancho Villa’s Heir Fighting Drug Cartels in Mexico

A hundred years after the Mexican Revolution, General Villa still battles in Coahuila. Carlos Villa is the great-nephew of Doroteo Arango a.k.a. Pancho Villa, the most charismatic revolutionary, and to those that know the young Villa, a carbon copy of the beloved Mexican general.

Carlos Villa is the great-nephew of Doroteo Arango a.k.a. Pancho Villa, the most charismatic revolutionary, and to those that know the young Villa, a carbon copy of the beloved Mexican general.

With his foul mouth and a faithful pitbull next to him at all times, Carlos Villa combats drug trafficking in Torreón, where he is the police Chief. He is also referred to as a General since he served in the Mexican army.

The modern day Villa not only fights crime but corruption tied to drug trafficking.  Several officers from his own force had been fired because of links to drug cartels.

Last March, the majority of the police force went on strike to demand General Villa keep his job. The mayor had to choose between firing the bulk of the police force thus leaving the city in the hands of drug lords, or to get rid of Villa and keep corrupted officials in the streets. He chose firing everyone.

“It was the best decision I’ve made in my life” said Mayor Eduardo Olmos to the Wall Street Journal. “Is not like our policemen weren’t fighting criminals; they were the criminals!” he added.

For Villa and the mayor, one of the main problems is the policemen salaries, who are easily drawn into corruption for a few more pesos than what the officials can offer.  To counter that, they were given raises, and offered them scholarships for their children.  Nonetheless, the great-nephew of Pancho Villa can’t find peace, as he knows he might be betrayed at any minute. Two of his bodyguards disappeared in the months following the strike, and another one was kidnapped, tortured and executed. His head was found in front of the police headquarters.

The General now counts with a police force of 60 ex-soldiers, not one is from Torreón. All of them live in the police barracks, and go into town only when doing their rounds. Villa lives in a room next to his office; he has a mattress, an exercise machine, and Chata, his faithful pitbull.

The General has forbidden the use of cell-phones amongst officers, for the means corrupt cops use to inform Los Zetas of their operations. Villa encourages locals to report crime to his own cell-phone.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Family of Slain Mexican Mom, Marisela Escobedo,  Hiding Out in U.S.

The family of murdered Mexican mom, Marisela Escobedo, has fled Mexico and is hiding somewhere in the United States, probably in El Paso, Texas. 

Escobedo was shot execution style in front of the governmental offices of Chihuahua as she was protesting the murder of her 16-year-old daughter Rubi.  Hundreds have been protesting her murder in Ciudad Juarez as another sign of lawlessness in Mexico.  The renowned activist and justice seeker’s family since then has been the target of threats and violence.

Escobedo’s finance’s business was torched and his brother kidnapped, while her funeral was being held.  Then later in the week a supporter of Escobedo was gun down in front of his home. 

Marisela’s brother, two sons and granddaughter are said to be hiding according to Mexican government officials.  There have been no comments on this from the U.S. State Department of Department of Justice. 

Read more at El Paso Times →

Peruvian Community Celebrates New Year by Fist Fighting to Solve Past Grievances (VIDEO)

The community of Chumbilbilca, a province located Southeast of Cusco, Peru maintains a very peculiar end of the year tradition.

Before the new year arrives, fist fights are held in order to release tensions, settle scores and vent any personal problems that have built up over the year amongst members of the community.  The thought is, if you solve your problems with your neighbor by hitting him, you can then start the new year focused on more positive things. 

Men, women and children take place in the fist fighting festivities known as Takanakuy, where despite the brutal look of it, serious injuries rarely happen, and the community ends the day with a celebratory dance.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Lead ‘Spider-Man’ Actress Natalie Mendoza Set to Leave Plagued Production

Natalie Mendoza, one of the leading actresses of Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark, has left the plagued production according to multiple sources.  The actress had suffered a concussion in one of the earliest preview performances but was on the mend.  She is said to have been shaken by the latest accident, the fourth, on set that left fellow cast mate Christopher Tierney seriously injured last week.

The play is the latest project of Mexican movie producer Billy Rovzar, who invested heavily in this $66 million production.  The show is considered one of the most expensive in Broadway history. 

The first reviews to come out of the preview shows have been mixed, some praising the ambition, drive and visual magnificence of the musical, some criticizing it’s script, and the fact that several actors have been injured on set.  Big names such as Bono and The Edge wrote the music and songs featured in the production.

Read more at NY Times →

Americans’ Most Admired People Include: Obama, Hillary, Sarah Palin, Pope and Queen Elizabeth

Gallup’s annual year-end poll identifying Americans’ most admired people did not contain many surprises except for maybe Glenn Beck being more admired than the Dalai Lama or that Sarah Palin is admired more than Michelle Obama, Queen Elizabeth and Angelina Jolie COMBINED.

President Barack Obama is Americans’ Most Admired Man of 2010, substantially ahead of the former presidents, iconic religious leaders, and others who fill out the top 10 list. Sitting presidents have dominated Gallup’s Most Admired Man poll over the years, achieving No. 1 in 52 out of 64 measures since Gallup initiated the question in 1946.

Hillary Clinton is the Most Admired Woman this year, her ninth consecutive year at No. 1.  In fact, the order of the top six women named in 2010 is identical to 2009, with Sarah Palin, Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, Condoleezza Rice, and Queen Elizabeth following Clinton. Queen Elizabeth makes her 43rd appearance in the top 10, the record for any woman. Winfrey enjoys both high ranking and longevity on the list, ranking second or third each year since 1997 (although never No. 1), and placing in the top 10 every year since 1988.


Read more at Gallup Poll →

Rest in Cosmic Peace, Outer Space Burials Now Available in Latin America

The great beyond has became greater for Colombians and other Latin Americans, as the Medellín based “Betancur” funeral home now offers to send the remains of your loved ones far from this cruel world and into space, the final frontier.

William Betancur, owner of the funeral home offers this very unique service through his Houston counterpart “Celestis,” a company that has been operating for close to three decades offering space burials.

Prices range between five and fifty thousand dollars, depending on things like how far into space the customer wants to send their space corpse and whether the final frontier trip starts in Colombia, Houston or somewhere else.

The idea was inspired mostly by Star Trek and the many space lovers who died unfulfilled without ever having traveled to space while alive. Incidentally, Gene Roddenberry, the series creator remains have been floating in orbit along with seven grams of Timothy Leary’s remains.  We aren’t sure who will be the first Latin American to seek peace in the final frontier, thus far no one has taken Betancur’s up on his unique services. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Rep. King Plans to Change U.S. Approach to Immigration Policy

Rep. King Plans to Change U.S. Approach to Immigration Policy

Photo: House Rep. Peter King (R-LI)

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Representative Peter King (R-LI) told the New York Post that when he becomes the new chairman of the House’s Homeland Security Committee in January, he plans to tighten border security and have more undocumented immigrants arrested if they cross the border, which he claims is the exact opposite of Obama administration’s actions thus far.

“The Obama administration continues to display an obvious lack of urgency when it comes to gaining operational control of the border, which is absolutely critical,” said King.

His plan includes cracking down on companies that hire undocumented immigrants and increasing federal support for local police to arrest the undocumented.  King’s Homeland Security “to-do list” includes a crackdown on “home grown” terrorists, the bolstering of national cybersecurity, and bringing an end to President Obama’s plan to transfer detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the U.S. for civilian trials.

He believes Obama has not done enough in the last two years to keep out undocumented immigrants, and that it’s time to give the country a plan “that incorporates the necessary staffing, fencing, and technology too do the job.”

Read more at New York Post →

WARNING:  Mexican food staples Cilantro and Parsley Recalled for Possible Salmonella

J&D Produce, out of Texas, is voluntarily recalling nearly 7,000 of its cases of cilantro and curly parsley that were packaged under the label of ‘Little Bear’ between November 30 and December 6th. 

This precautionary recall comes on the heels of people getting sick from eating tainted alfalfa sprouts distributed in grocery stores and Jimmy John’s restaurants. 

This most recent recall of cilantro and parsley came after several samples tested positive for salmonella in Quebec and Detroit, Michigan.  Those with questions can call J&D Product at 956-380-0353. 

Read more at CNN →

Scientists Will Simulate a Space Colony in Chile To Study Life In Mars

Chilean scientists along with scientists from several other countries will construct a base in the most-arid desert in the world, Chile’s Atacama (where the 33 miners got trapped) aiming to simulate life in a space colony on the planet Mars, which shares a lot of characteristics with Atacama.

Mobile launch-pads for travel and green houses that can endure Mars’ environment are just some of the innovations scientists are going to be researching and testing in the Mars research complex to be built in the Chajnator plains.  The area is recognized by the scientific community as one of the most similar Earth environments to Mars with its extreme solar radiation and temperatures, low humidity and strong winds.

The European Southern Observatory, or ESO, will build along with its international partners the “Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array”, or “ALMA”, a top-of-the-line telescope, at the site to study the light from some of the coldest objects in the universe.

Experts have had earlier experiences simulating Mars-like conditions in Utah and on Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic, said Carmen Gloria Jimenez, a University of Antofagasta professor and one of the Chilean coordinators of the project.

In March 2011, a delegation from the Chinese space agency will visit the Chilean desert project.  The Chinese are projecting that by 2020 they will have below-ground bases on the Moon to extract minerals and are eager to research and test their cutting edge space technology.


Read more by HS News Staff →

Nebraska Senators to Introduce Arizona-style Immigration Bills

Nebraska Senators to Introduce Arizona-style Immigration Bills

Photo: Senator Charlie Janssen of Fremont, NE

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In an attempt to give local police more power to monitor the state’s illegal immigration population, Nebraska senators have revealed that they are presenting bills to give them such authority early next year.

Senators Charlie Janssen (Fremont) and Tony Fulton (Lincoln), have released statements saying that, in response to their citizens, they have drafted bills allowing for better communication between local and federal authorities in cases regarding immigration status of Nebraskans.

Though they do not know exactly what the final drafts will be due to “legal uncertainty” (ex. Arizona’s immigration bills) they say they will continue with the bills’ presentation.

Janssen adding that he looks to propose additional bills he has prepared, and is sure he’ll introduce a number of them, if not all.

Opposed to Janssen and Fulton’s bills are State Senator Brad Ashford, and the president of the judicial committee, who say Nebraska does not need legislation like Arizona as it is not a border state, and would only be “unjust for the legal immigrants.” He points out that Latinos arrived in some Nebraska’s rural areas over “five decades ago.”

Read more at Fox News Latino →

Texas Border Fence Draws Closer to Completion at $748 Million Cost

In Hope Park, Texas, as the final piece of a border fence goes up, many look at it with disgust, and it’s not just immigrant advocates either.

The fence at the U.S.-Mexico border was created to keep illegal immigrants out, but now even those that were initially in favor of the fence say it’s been a waste of money, and has ruined what was once a beautiful landscape.

Hope Park was originally created to commemorate a friendship between the United States and Mexico, but as the fence goes up, the friendliness seems to be dwindling.

Texas land owners whose property is along the border were approached by federal contractors and asked to hand over parts of their land so the fence could be built. People like Eloisa Tamez, whose family has owned the land since 1767, say the federal government has ignored her refusal to give up the land, and are now suing her to attain it. Her court proceedings with the Department of Homeland Security began in 2008 and continue through today.

Then there are landowners like Rusty Monsees. A hard-lined supporter of the fence when initially presented with the idea, he agreed to sell 3.3 acres of his land to the government.  However, now that the fence has been built across his former property, he is upset to see that it now cuts off access to some of his remaining acreage.  Looking at the destruction of flora and fauna the building of the fence has caused, Monsees, like many others, views the whole project as a waste, and points out that without proper support, the fence is pointless.

“It was a bad use of money. When [government officials] asked me about the fence initially, I said I thought it was a good idea. But if you do not follow up, [illegal immigrants] learn to get around it. You have to have people on the ground, and you have to have them on the ground every day, 24 hours a day in specific areas for patrol.”

The cost of the Texas-border pedestrian fence is roughly $6.5 million per mile, and the sections of fence made specifically to keep out motorized vehicles is $1.8 million per mile. In all, the border fence is expected to cost $748 million in Texas alone.

Those against the fence from the start say the unity that Hope Park was intended to inspire among Mexico and the U.S. is now lost by this fence, and immigrant-turned-legal-U.S. citizen Justo Ahumada, 84, says he is saddened by the loss of opportunity for other immigrants just trying to make money to support their families by crossing and working on this side of the border saying, “What a shame for the people coming to look for work these days.”

Read more at Brownsville Herald →

“Chapulín Colorado” Movie Coming to Theaters in 2011

More agile than a tortoise, stronger than a mouse, nobler than a piece of lettuce, his emblem is a yellow heart!

(Más ágil que una tortuga, más fuerte que un ratón, más noble que una lechuga, su escudo es un corazón… ¡Es el Chapulín Colorado!)

Chapulín Colorado, the red super-hero with the biggest heart and a staple of Latin American culture,  will be taken to the silver screen in a feature length claymation project helmed by Roberto Gómez Fernández.

Gómez Fernández might very well be the most appropriate person to direct the frame-by-frame antics of the hilariously puny hero, since he is the son of Chapulín’s creator, Roberto Gómez Bolaños, the beloved humorist who gave life to the character for close to ten years.

Gómez Bolaños, who is supervising the script said the movie is expected to be finished before April 2011. He also said he won’t be the voice over for the character, but failed to say who will fill in, or what other voice talent might be involved.

“Y ahora, quién podrá defendernos?”

Read more by HS News Staff →

‘Dominican Rum’ Must be Made from Sugar Cane Says Dominican Officials or Its Not Our Rum

Rum manufacturers have been actively defending the collective “Dominican rum” brand, and its requirements of being manufactured from sugar cane.

Rum, or ron as its known throughout Latin America, is the national drink of the country and has been distilled there since Christopher Columbus first brought sugarcane from Spain.  Dominican Rum is recognized as the oldest in the Americas. 

Rum manufacturers back the decision of the government entities, namely the Department of Taxes, Customs Department and the Department of Norms and Quality Control Systems (Digenor) that have rejected rum products that do not follow the sugar cane requirement as well as other distilling requirements and still designate themselves as Dominican rum, and use that name in their marketing.

Digenor issued Resolution Digenor-10 XII-RTD 447 on December 22, 2010, rejecting alternative products that may position themselves as Dominican rum, as is the case of Ron Punta Cana, a rum-flavored drink.

Read more at Dominican Republic Government →

More Migrant Abducted in Mexico, 50 Kidnapped Last Week Remain Missing

On the heels of last week’s abduction of 50 migrants from Central American in Mexico, there appears to be another kidnapping in the same area, this time of nine migrants.

Seven gunmen apparently kidnapped nine migrants off of a freight train near Oaxaca, Mexico.  Five were able to escape, one was killed and three remain missing.  Mexican authorities are investigating the kidnapping and have the survivors in protective custody.  The nationality of the kidnapped men is unknown.

Last week 50 Central American migrants were reported kidnapped but the Mexican government was hesitant to proceed with an investigation claiming there was no evidence.  The El Salvadorian government insisted on the crime, prompting for an investigation to begin.  The 50 individuals remain missing.

In 2009 the National Human Right Commission estimated that 10,000 migrants were killed in Mexico by drug cartels or criminals for easy money.  Mexico is the migration route for illegal immigration to the U.S. for many Central Americans. 

Read more at AP →

Argentinean Fertility Doctor Who Stole Embryos in U.S. Arrested in Mexico After 15 year Search

Dr Ricardo Asch has been arrested in Mexico after fleeing the U.S. fifteen years after he and another doctor were charged with harvesting eggs and stealing embryos of unsuspecting women being treated at the University of California’s Reproductive Health center. Asch, who was born in Argentina, was in charge of reproductive health for the University. 

After their 1996 indictments Asch and Dr. Jose Balmaceda fled to South America.  Asch was arrested last month in Mexico City on an outstanding Interpol warrant, even though he obtained dual Mexican/Argentine citizenship in 2001.  The doctors apparently improperly transferred eggs stolen from patients to other patients without informing any of them, and at least 15 births results. 

In addition, they hide $1 million in income from the IRS and accepted cash payments so that the hospital would not be paid and were apparently collected for doing unapproved fertility procedures.  The hospital was forced to settled over 130 civil lawsuits and pay out $24 million in settlements. 

The U.S. is working with the Mexican government to extradite Asch to the U.S. so he can be tried for his crimes. Balmaceda, who was born in Chile is believed to be practicing medicine in either Chile or Brazil. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

BREAKING NEWS:  Colorado State Senator Kills Pregnant Woman in Texas Car Wreck

Democratic Colorado State Senator, Suzanne Williams, was involved in a horrific car accident in Texas that has left a pregnant women dead and the Senator’s son and her grandchildren hospitalized. 

Police reports say that the 65-year-old State Senator veered in southbound traffic on U.S. 385 where she hit the vehicle 30-year old Brianna Michelle Gomez was riding in.  Gomez died at the crash scene and her baby boy was delivered via cesarean at the hospital where he is in critical condition.  Todd Williams, the senator son, remains hospitalized with his two sons, there conditions is unknown.

Senator Williams is the only registered American Indian state legislator and is serving her second term as senator.  She garnered a lot of attention when she asked that Colorado public schools stop using American Indian mascots unless they obtained permission from the Indian tribes themselves. 

Read more at AP →

Disasters of 2010 that Made Headlines, Many Occurring in Latin America

2010 was a year marked by disasters throughout the globe, both natural and man-made.  As every month came with its dose of cruel fate and the unexpected rage of mother nature. More than half of these disasters adversely effected Latin America resulting in catastrophic loss of life, and billions in damages.

January 12 – A 7.0-magnitude earthquake occurs in Haiti, devastating the nation’s capital, Port-au-Prince. With a confirmed death toll over 230,000 it is one of the deadliest on record.

February 27 – An 8.8-magnitude earthquake occurs in Chile, triggering a tsunami over the Pacific and killing 497. The earthquake is one of the largest in recorded history.

March 16 – The Kasubi Tombs, Uganda’s only cultural World Heritage Site, are destroyed by fire.

April 13 – A 6.9-magnitude earthquake occurs in Qinghai, China, killing at least 2,000 and injuring more than 10,000.

April 20 to May 24 —The Deepwater Horizon oil platform explodes in the Gulf of Mexico, killing eleven workers. The resulting oil spill, one of the largest in history, spreads for several months, damaging the waters and the United States coastline, and prompting international debate and doubt about the practice and procedures of offshore drilling.

June 9 – Ethnic riots in Kyrgyzstan between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks results in the deaths of hundreds.

July 29 – Heavy monsoon rains begin to cause widespread flooding in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. Over 1,600 are killed, and more than one million are displaced by the floods.

September 28 – Seven people are reported to have been killed and around 100 are missing after a landslide in Oaxaca, Mexico.

October 13 – Thirty-three miners near Copiapó, Chile, trapped 700 metres underground in a mining accident in San José Mine, are brought back to the surface after surviving for a record 69 days.

October 25 – An earthquake and consequent tsunami off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, kills over 400 people and leave hundreds missing.

October 26—Cholera Outbreaks in Haiti killing more then 2,500 Haitians, then spreading to neighboring Dominican Republic, prompting a state of emergency.

November 4 – Aero Caribbean Flight 883 crashes in central Cuba, killing all 68 people on board.

—Heavy raining has created major emergencies in Colombia and Venezuela, ranging from landslides and floods, to the breaking of the Canal Del Dique in Northern Colombia. The damages in Colombia alone has surpass the 10 billion Colombian Pesos mark(US$5,12 million)


Read more by HS News Staff →

TuesdayDecember 28, 2010