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ThursdayDecember 30, 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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Cuban Government Cuts Soap, Toothpaste from Rations List. Prices Spike.

Cuban Government Cuts Soap, Toothpaste from Rations List. Prices Spike.

Photo: Raúl and Fidel Castro

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Cuba’s recently announced the cutting of subsidies to personal hygiene items like soap, toothpaste, liquid detergent. The cut will cause the cost of certain products to increase 12-fold.

The Cuban government, under control of Raúl Castro has been slashing many things from the country’s ration card, causing what one Havana dissident calls “draconian for a people already at the limit of their survival.”

Items previously included on the ration card were removed after being considered nonessential. Sugar, beans, meat, rice, eggs, and bread remain on the ration list, but salt, peas, potatoes, and now certain hygiene products have so far been removed.

In 1962, after the U.S. embargo against Cuba, the ration program was started to ensure that everyone in the country had the essentials. Now, with average wages coming in at around $20 a month for each person, Cuba’s economy is still struggling, causes the government cuts.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Colombian Drug Lord “el Cuchillo” is Confirmed Dead

Colombian Drug Lord “el Cuchillo” is Confirmed Dead

Photo: Pedro Oliverio Guerrero AKA "el Cuchillo"

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Wednesday, it was confirmed by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, that Pedro Oliverio Guerrero, a known drug lord and most wanted, was killed at his camp during a military operation on Christmas day.

Known as “el Cuchillo” (the Knife), Guerrero, one of the most brutal and threatening drug lords, was among the most wanted in all of Colombia. He was reportedly responsible for ordering the deaths of at least 3,000 people, and the government had offered $2.5 million for information leading to his capture.

During the raid at his compound, code named “Diamond”, two police officers were injured. But after 23 aircraft, and 300 police officers surrounded the 34 individuals in Guerrero’s camp, seven members of Guerrero’s organization were taken into custody, but Guerrero was not among them.

Colombian authorities believe he had been drinking heavily that night, and was shot during the raid at his camp.  It is then assumed Guerrero drowned in a nearby sewer while trying to flee. His body was found by security forces as they searched the area looking for him.

Read more by HS News Staff →

CNN’S Most Intriguing People of 2010 include 20-Year Mexican Police Chief Marisol Garcia

CNN has just announced the result of its “Most Intriguing Person” poll and the top ten list includes 20-year old Mexican police chief Marisol Valles Garcia in the 5th spot followed by Edison Pena one of the thirty-three Chilean miners.

The poll, where CNN viewers vote for whom they consider most intriguing in all of 2010, put WikiLeaks Julian Assange in 1st place followed by President Barack Obama.  3rd place went to Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and 4th place to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. 

Marisol garnered a top stop on the Most Intriguing list because many American’s couldn’t figure out why a twenty year old criminology student, wife and mother would sign up for one of the most dangerous jobs in Mexico – police chief.  Garcia is the police chief of Praxedia-Guerrero, taking the job after no one wanted it in the town of 9,100.

Whereas Edison Pena was found to be one of the most intriguing miners, standing out for his stamina and Elvis impersonations.  Pena’s popularity is probably a reflection of the popularity all 33 rescued Chilean miners continue to enjoy. 

Read more at CNN →

Father of U.S. Marine on the Verge of Being Deported

Father of U.S. Marine on the Verge of Being Deported

Photo: Juan Andres (right) and his U.S. Marine son Aspar Andres (left)

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In Kentucky, Juan Andres, the father of a U.S. Marine about to be deployed to Afghanistan, could soon be deported after being arrested earlier this month, but immigration officials are giving him the chance to ask for permanent residency.

The 41-year-old father of five has been in this country for over 25 years. He is originally from Guatemala, and as a result of a kind gesture, he now faces deportation to his native Guatemala.

So while Andres’ son, Lance Cpl. Aspar Andres, prepares to leave for Marine camp then head to Afghanistan, his father begins a fight of his own.

All of Andres problems began on December 9th, when he escorted his friend to the immigration office in Louisville in order to be his translator. Upon entering, an official suspected that Andres was not in the country legally, and had him arrested.

Ron Russell, Andres’ immigration attorney, has begun collecting letters in support of Andres, including letters from his children, friends, and employers.

“He’s got a lot of people that think really highly of him,” said Russell of Andres.

Though it is unusual for immigration officials to grant an arrested undocumented immigrant the chance to apply for a green card, Andres was granted time to get a case together. To gain legal status he has to prove he is of good moral character, has been in the country at least 10 years, and prove that deportation would cause great distress.

Russell believes Andres can easily prove the first two, and says Andres should be okay on the 3rd proof since his children are all citizens and he is the family’s main money-maker.

“We’re just asking for a day in court and…if we get that, I have good feelings,” said Russell.

While Andres and Russell were hoping to have more time to get everything together, they only have until the end of today (Dec. 29th) to file evidence with immigration officials.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Primary Source of Entertainment for Hispanics is Staying at Home with Family and Friends

The Hispanic community didn’t need Mintel, the global research firm, to tell them that their preferred form of leisure activity is spending time at home.  A study just concluded by Mintel shows that 66 percent of survey respondents enjoy spending most of their free time at home with family members.

Another 60 percent like being at home entertaining friends and 33 percent enjoyed staying home cooking with friends and family.  The key driver to enjoyment appears to be staying at home for the majority of Hispanics.

For younger Hispanic survey respondents, approximately 34 percent, leisure time enjoyment is also at home but rather than cooking it’s surfing the Internet or listening to music on the internet with family and friends.  Interestingly younger Hispanics do enjoy cooking at home when its to get ready to entertain friends in the home viewing it as a form of excerise. 

Indeed it is true ‘Mi Casa Es Su Casa’ – My House is Your House. 

Read more at Hispanic PR Blog →

Mothers-to-Be in Spain Rush to Have Babies by New Year to Qualify for Soon-To-End Birth Incentive

In Spain, pregnant women are trying desperately to have their babies before the end of the year so as qualify for a government birth incentive.

In July of 2007, Spain’s government, in an attempt to raise the birthrate in the country, offered what has been called the cheque bebé in which any Spanish women who gave birth in Spain will be given a check for €2,500 (£2,128, $2,823).  This birth incentive as well as many other governmental programs are being eliminated in 2011, all part of Spain’s austerity measures. 

This has caused a number of pregnant women to almost do anything to have their babies before the clock strikes midnight, and the new year begins, and the cheque bebé ends.

A midwife at a Seville hospital says she has seen a huge increase in the number of women entering the hospital recently.

“What we’re seeing in the public sector is that women who are due to give birth in the first fortnight of January are coming in and saying they are spotting blood or that their waters have broken,” she said. “They don’t dare say so openly but we know they want to bring the due date forward. We examine them and send them home.”

Inducing labor has also been requested according to José Ángel Espinosa, the associate head of gynecology at the Quirón hospital in Madrid, adding, “If they’ve reached 38 weeks and they ask us to do it, we will.”

But he points out that no mother-to-be will be induced unless they and the baby are ready. “It’s my watch on the 31st, And I’m not going to let anyone put one over on me.”

Some mothers have even gone so far as to schedule dates for caesarean sections to be before the end of the year, even if they are not absolutely necessary.  The medical director of the Belén clinic in Madrid, David Marchante, has said that while the expectant mothers don’t come right out and say it, it is pretty obvious they wish to have their babies by the end of the year.

Regarding the c-sections, Marchante said “If there is no medical reason not to, we can do that.”

Read more at The Guardian →

Killing of Multiple Hispanic Victims Found in Birmingham Maybe Drug Related

UPDATE:  The killings of three Hispanic crime victims, with their bodies found in different locations, maybe drug related Birmingham, Alabama police are reporting.  It appears that the first body found on Ishkooda-Wenonah Road, a Hispanic male, and the third body found (also male Hispanic) on Carver Avenue were drug related murders.  A 34-year old unidentified male is being held for these crimes.

The second body found, a Hispanic female, that was shot and raped with her body left by a burning car is still under investigation.  The police are not confirming if she is related to the two male victims. 

ORIGINAL STORY:  With a twenty-four hour period starting yesterday morning, the bodies of three Hispanic murder victims were found in different locations throughout the city of Birmingham, Alabama.

Yesterday morning a well-dressed Hispanic male was found with multiple gunshot wounds, his body had been left on the side of the road at Ishkooda Road and 22nd. 

Hours later police found a female Hispanic victim partially nude whose body had been thrown into a ditch near the Hartman Industrial Blvd.  Police Chief Frank Belcher, says his officers came upon the female victim when they were investigating a burning vehicle.  It is believed the woman had been raped and shot twice.

The third Hispanic murder victim was found early this morning shot to death at the 3500 block of Carver Avenue.  His body was thrown into a nearby drainage ditch.

Birmingham is Alabama’s largest city and has the 10th highest crime rate in the country.  It is not know if these crimes are related or if they were targeted for being Hispanic; 1.5% of the city’s population is Hispanic.

Read more at Examiner →

Decapitated Head Resting on Pillow Found on Streets of Ciudad Juarez

A decapitated head of a male victim was found resting on a pillow yesterday on the streets of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.  Long deemed the deadliest city in Mexico, this apparent murder was just one of five that occurred Wednesday.

The rest of the body of the yet to be identified male was found in an abandoned building in the colonia Chihuahua area.  The victim is thought to be in his late 20’s. 

Read more at El Paso Times →

Tips and Resources for All Your New Year Resolutions

Following through on your New Year’s resolutions is not always easy, especially when you’re trying to change your lifestyle or a long-standing habit.

Luckily there’s plenty of help to go around. The federal government has a wide variety of resources to help you fulfill those New Year’s resolutions, from saving money and losing weight to getting a better education and quitting smoking.

1) Improving Your Finances
MyMoney.gov is a consumer finance website created by more than 20 government entities and designed to help you meet your financial goals at any point in your life. The site offers reliable information on a wide variety of topics such as how to handle debt and credit. You’ll also find tips on creating a spending plan, how to save and invest, and how to plan for retirement.

2) Losing Weight
If your goal is to lose weight this year, then MedlinePlus.gov can help. This website by the National Institutes of Health will help you achieve your goal of losing weight through a healthier lifestyle. It has an interactive weight management tutorial and offers tips to help you control your weight. Learn how to calculate your body mass index and determine the right portion size for your meals.

3) Quitting Smoking
More than 70 percent of smokers want to permanently stop smoking, according to a poll by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC. For many, the new year is the ideal time to quit smoking. The CDC has many resources to help you kick the habit, including cessation program materials, information on the benefits of quitting smoking and free educational materials.

4) Drinking Less
Many people might decide they want to drink less this year, especially after the holiday season. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has a website called Rethinking Drinking that is dedicated to helping you achieve that goal. It offers information to help you see your drinking patterns, identify signs of alcohol abuse, and has tools to help you make a change, among other things.

5) Getting a Job
Unfortunately for millions of people, getting a job is more than a New Year’s resolution. If a new job is one of your priorities for 2011, USA.gov, the official portal of the U.S. Government, can help.  The site has a section dedicated to helping you find a job, which features links to many employment resources including career centers, state and federal jobs databases and employment assistance and services.

6) Exercise More
Exercise is more than just activity; it’s an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. People who don’t exercise are more likely to have health problems. MedlinePlus.gov has an interactive tutorial called Exercising for a Healthy Lifestyle which explains the benefits of exercising and offers tips for starting and maintaining an exercise routine for any time of the year.

7) Get a Better Education
The federal government can be an important resource if you’re looking to get a higher education. Learn about financial aid, the tax benefits of education, overseas study programs and how to calculate your grade point average. You can also search for accredited colleges and universities and learn about the GI Bill for people serving in the military.

8) Eat Healthier
A healthy lifestyle begins with what you eat. That’s why it’s so important to know what to eat. Personalize your food consumption at MyPyramid.gov, where you will find interactive tools to help you make better food choices based on national dietary guidelines. Get to know the pyramid and read about eating tips to help you live a healthier life.

9) Reduce Stress at Work
It’s not surprising that many people suffer from work-related stress. After all, people spend a big part of the day working. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains this social phenomenon in detail and offers tips on how to deal with stress at work as well as ways to prevent it.

10) Take a Trip
If you’re planning a trip don’t forget to stop by the travel page on USA.gov. It centralizes government information about travel warnings, travel security tips, currency exchange rates and more. You will also find links to national parks as well as tips for road and train travel.

Read more by HS News Staff →

U.S. Postal Service to Release Latin American Artists Stamps

In 2011, Americans will be able to see the faces of five Latin American music legends on new stamps with art created by San Diego artist Rafael Lopez.

The “Latin Music Legends” commemorative stamps show the faces of artists that have not only made a huge impact in the Latin community, but who also crossed over to gain mainstream audiences.

The faces of Celia Cruz, Carlos Gardel, Carmen Miranda, Titi Puente and Selena will be represented on the stamps as part of the U.S. Postal Service’s 2011 commemorative stamp program.

Ethel Kessler, the program’s art director expressed, “My goal was that when you see the stamp, you hear the music.”


Read more at Latina Lista →

Popular San Diego Professor Found Stabbed in His Tijuana, Mexico Apartment

San Diego college professor, Henry Abalyayan Acejo, was found stabbed to death last week according to reports released today by Mexican officials.

Acejo, worked at three different San Diego colleges but lived in Tijuana, Mexico due to its affordability.  The victim was found inside his apartment in the dining room with multiple stab wounds.  His apartment was located in the Zona Rio district, which is considered an upscale part of Tijuana.

The Phillipine native was 45 years old and taught English as a second language and Filipino language courses at Southwestern College, San Diego State University and Mid-City Community College. 

Read more at LA Times →

NARCO BLOG: Drug Cartel Declares War on Guatemala, Accuses President Colom of Being on Their Payroll

Members of the drug cartel Los Zetas have threatened to launch a war against the armed forces and people of Guatemala if the government continues with the operations that began a week ago in the northern of the country.

“This is a message to the President of Guatemala, we are the group Los Zetas and just want the country to know that President Alvaro Colom received $11,500,000 dollars before the close elections (2007) and must pay for failing to comply, a war will start in this country, in your shopping malls, your schools and police stations,” warned the criminals.

Nery Morales, Interior Ministry spokesman, confirmed that the message was delivered to journalists in the city of Coban, near Alta Verapaz that is considered a bastion of Los Zetas, and where the Army last week took over.

“The threats came to three media outlets in the town. The message is delivered to the local radio stations threatening to burn or kill relatives of the owners if they did not publicly release the message,” he said.

Only yesterday, President Colom vowed he will continue operations against organized crime.

“We’re going to continue to go after Los Zetas strong. I’m not going to be intimidated with their threats,” said Colom.  He did not discuss the accusations that he received money from this drug cartel.

The government declared a state of siege in the region of Alta Verapaz, on December 19, in order to dismantle a cell of the Zetas.  As a result of the operation,  police have captured 21 members of the cartel. 

They have also seized more than 150 weapons and grenade launchers.  They have also seized 5 aircraft, 37 vehicles, at least 5 of them armored, and $ 3.5 million in bank accounts and cash.

To Read in Spanish, click here

Read more by HS News Staff →

U.S. Labor Department Awards $20 Million to Combat Child Labor in Bolivia, Egypt and Jordan

The U.S. Department of Labor today announced nearly $20 million in grants awarded to combat exploitive child labor in Bolivia, Egypt and Jordan.

The grants will fund projects that provide children with education and training opportunities, and help improve the livelihoods of families so they no longer need to rely on children’s labor. These projects will work with countries that have shown strong political will to address abusive child labor and tackle its root causes. They will collaborate with national partners to scale up and sustain these efforts, and will conduct rigorous evaluations of the impact of project interventions.

“Eradicating child labor is a necessary task that binds us all together and has global benefits for everyone,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “Our experience shows it is important to forge partnerships with countries to ensure that children are educated and not exploited.”

In Bolivia, the department awarded a $6 million grant to Desarrollo y Autogestion for a project that will work closely with indigenous leaders, urban and rural communities, and the government of Bolivia. The project will raise awareness of health and occupational hazards inflicted by the worst forms of child labor. The grant also will combat forced labor, and support Bolivia’s new education law by helping to provide children with basic and accelerated education. In addition, it will develop technical secondary school programs, offering economic empowerment to communities and support to small enterprises that raise household incomes.

The department awarded $9.5 million to the World Food Program to address child labor in Egypt’s agriculture sector. It will encourage school attendance by offering school meal programs for children and food rations for their families. It will also provide entrepreneurial skills training to improve household livelihoods and access to microfinance opportunities such as village savings and loan programs, with a special focus on women.

Save the Children Federation was awarded $4 million under the department’s grant to Jordan. The project will address child labor within identified pockets of poverty. It will reintegrate children into formal or nonformal education systems, and transition older children of legal working age to vocational training programs or ensure their employment under safe and legal working conditions. The project will also provide vulnerable households with linkages to livelihood opportunities, improve vocational training centers, establish community protection committees and work with community leaders to raise awareness of exploitive child labor.

Since 1995, Congress has appropriated approximately $780 million to the Labor Department to support global efforts to combat exploitive child labor. As a result, the department has rescued approximately 1.4 million children from exploitive child labor.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Catholic Church Expresses Concern About “Totalitarian Dictatorship” of Hugo Chavez

Cardinal Jorge Urosa-Savino of Caracas is expressing concern that a “totalitarian dictatorship” is developing under the leadership of President Hugo Chavez.

The Catholic Church has expressed its deep concern following the recent work of the National Assembly, which approved 22 laws in just two weeks to consolidate the socialist system before the expiry of Chavez’ term on January 4, 2011.

The Cardinal, referring to the strong criticism expressed by President Hugo Chavez to the confrontations by the Church in Venezuela stated “He who is at the wheel of the government must take into account the great responsibility he has, historically and before God. If they want to impose a totalitarian dictatorship, this would certainly be a terrible thing for Venezuela

Read more at Agenzia Fides →

In 2010 $1 Million Worth of Stolen Vehicles Seized by Border Patrol, Most Heading to South America

U. S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Miami seaport recently surpassed the $1 million milestone in total vehicle seizures since the beginning of the 2010 fiscal year. The Miami Seaport Vehicle Export Team inspects and investigates the origin and destination of vehicles that are to be exported.

Since October 2009, CBP officers have seized 61 vehicles that were stolen or had fraudulent paperwork and if not for the officers, the vehicles would be in other countries.

“Our officers are experts in identifying alterations that may have been done to a vehicle in order to mask its true origin. The team reviews documentation and checks the vehicle identification numbers before releasing them for export,” said the CBP team supervisor.

Most of the vehicles were destined for the Caribbean, South and Central America. Among the vehicles are heavy equipment trucks, SUVs, All Terrain Vehicles and motorcycles.

The seized vehicles are turned over to the Miami-Dade County Auto Theft Task Force who then continue with the investigation to determine who the rightful owner is.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Justice Department Settles Allegations of Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices

The Justice Department today announced that it has reached a settlement agreement with Collins Management Corporation, a forestry products company in Oregon, to resolve allegations that it unlawfully fired and later refused to rehire a lawful permanent resident in violation of the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

As part of the settlement agreement, Collins agreed to pay $15,000 in back pay to the former employee and a $600 civil penalty to the federal government. The company also agreed to train its managers and human resources representatives regarding compliance with the anti-discrimination provision of the INA.

In addition, earlier this month, the department entered into a settlement agreement with Oakwood Healthcare Inc. to settle allegations that its Ashville, N.C., facility unlawfully discriminated against a lawful permanent resident by rejecting her employment eligibility verification documents and rescinding an offer of employment.

“The INA’s anti-discrimination provision protects all authorized workers from unfair documentary requests during the Form I-9 process,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department is committed to stopping work place discrimination against citizens and work-authorized non-citizens alike.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

UN Disaster Team Arrives in Flood Ravaged Colombia

A three-member United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination team (UNDAC) has arrived in Colombia to support the ongoing response to the floods, which are affecting over 2 million people.

Heavy rainfall associated with the La Niña weather phenomenon has affected Colombia since the middle of this year, causing floods in the Andes region and the Caribbean coastal area, according to the UN Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

UN agencies and partner non-governmental organizations have already been assisting those affected in some of the worst-hit areas. Among the most immediate needs are food assistance, water and sanitation, shelters, emergency education and health services.

Earlier this month $6 million was allocated for the post-flood effort from the local UN emergency response fund.

The UNDAC team that arrived in the country yesterday will assist in information management tasks and strengthening of humanitarian partners, both national and international, OCHA stated.

It is initially expected to stay in the country for three weeks but this period could be extended.

Read more by HS News Staff →

BREAKING NEWS:  U.S. Revokes Venezuela’s Ambassador’s Visa (VIDEO)

UPDATE:  In a ‘reciprocal’ action the U.S. has revoked the visa for Venezuela’s ambassador to the U.S., Bernardo Alvarez Herrera.  This action is being taken, according to U.S. government officials, because President Hugh Chavez refused to accept the U.S. choice for Venezuelan ambassador, Larry Palmer.  Chavez as far back as August said he would not accept Palmer’s appointment that came from President Obama.  Chavez is said to have been upset by comments Palmer made about Venezuela housing Colombian FARC terrorists in the country. 

Yesterday, Chavez dared the U.S. to cut off diplomatic relations with his country and it appears they took him up on his dare. 

ORIGINAL STORY:  Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez spoke yesterday rejecting what he called ‘threats’ by the United States and dared Washington to sever diplomatic ties with his country.

Chávez was referring to a comment made by Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs Philip J. Crowley, who said there would be consequences to Chavez’s refusal to accept diplomat Larry Palmer as the ambassador of the U.S. in Venezuela.

“We have denied entry to that man [Palmer] and now the U.S. government threatens us saying they’ll retaliate. Well, do whatever you want, but that man will not come here” said Chávez.

“If the [US] government is going to kick out our ambassador there, go ahead and do it! If they’re going to sever diplomatic ties, go ahead and do it!” said Chávez during a TV appearance televised by the state run network VTV.

Chávez’s refusal to accept Palmer stems from comments that the diplomat made earlier this year suggesting that morale is low in Venezuela’s military and that he is concerned Colombian rebels are finding refuge in Venezuela.

The U.S. State Department has said it stands behind its nomination of Palmer, who is awaiting Senate confirmation.

There was no immediate reaction from the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, which has been without an ambassador since Patrick Duddy finished his assignment and left in July.



Read more at AlJazeera →

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Attend Brazil’s Presidential Inauguration

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will travel to Brazil on January 1, 2011, to attend the inauguration of President-elect Dilma Rousseff.

In making this announcement via the State Department, Secretary Clinton stated:  “Brazil is an essential partner in the hemisphere and the world, and the United States is committed to deepening our relationship on a wide range of bilateral, regional, and global issues with Brazil’s government and people.” 

Then she concluded, “The United States looks forward to working with President-elect Rousseff and her administration to advance these and other shared goals.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

ThursdayDecember 30, 2010