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TuesdayJanuary 11, 2011

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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New Salvador Dalí Museum Opens in St. Petesburg, Florida (VIDEO)

New Salvador Dalí Museum Opens in St. Petesburg, Florida (VIDEO)

Photo: Salvador Dali

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Today it was inaugurated in St. Petesburg, Florida the New Dalí Museum, a facility that holds 96 oil paintings, hundreds of watercolors, acrylics, etchings, sculptures and other pieces of art from the surrealist genius, the largest collection of Dalí works outside of Spain.

Inaugural ceremonies include a surrealist parade, that will go from the former museum building, to the new one, designed by architect Yann Weymouth.

Read more by HS News Staff →

One Year Commemoration of Haiti’s Earthquake

The following is the official statement regarding the one year anniversary of Haiti’s earthquake from the U.S. Government via the State Department, delivered by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton:

One year ago, on January 12, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocked the nation of Haiti and took the lives of more than 200,000 people. Hundreds of thousands more were injured and more than a million were left homeless. Buildings crumbled and recent economic growth was erased in a matter of seconds. As we mark this day, let us pause to remember all those who lost their lives or loved ones in this tragedy. Here at the State Department and USAID, we also honor the service and sacrifice of our friends and colleagues who were lost and those who have tenaciously persevered, selflessly dedicating themselves to rebuilding Haiti.

In the past year more than 140 nations came together to support Haiti in its time of need. That spirit of cooperation must continue if we are to help Haiti overcome this tragedy. The resilience of the people of Haiti continues to inspire us. Their determination has set an example for all of us to follow and serves as a beacon of hope for the country’s future. The United States continues to work with the Haitian people along with our international partners and non-governmental organizations to help catalyze Haiti’s renewal.

Let us all rededicate ourselves to partnering with the people of Haiti in their pursuit to build back anew.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Felony Immigration Cases Reach Record Levels in Certain Parts of California

Felony Immigration Cases Reach Record Levels in Certain Parts of California

Photo: Immigration Detention California

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Authorities announced Friday that the number felony prosecutions in the Eastern District of California in fiscal year 2010 for illegal re-entry after deportation hit their highest level in at least 12 years.

In the most recent fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, there were 432 felony re-entry cases filed in the Eastern District involving 432 defendants, a seven percent increase compared to fiscal year 2009. The fiscal year 2009 figure of 404 defendants represented a 48 percent increase over fiscal year 2008, and a nearly 130 percent increase compared to fiscal year 2007. The cases all consisted of prosecutions for illegal re-entry to the United States following a prior deportation.

The previously deported aliens targeted for criminal prosecution were those who had been re-arrested in the Eastern District of California after serving prison time for aggravated felonies committed in the United States. Most defendants convicted of felony re-entry receive sentences of between two to six years.

The Eastern District of California covers 34 counties in the Central Valley and the Sierras, from the Los Angeles County line to the Oregon border. Authorities say the local increase in felony immigration cases stems from greater investigative and prosecutorial resources dedicated to such offenses. Both this year and last year, the U.S. Department of Justice authorized additional resources to bring immigration prosecutions in the Sacramento and Fresno offices.

“The criminal aliens targeted for prosecution by this office are those who pose a genuine public safety threat to our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner. “They are persons who previously had been convicted of serious crimes and then deported, only to return to California and engage in further criminal activity. No matter where one stands in the larger debate over federal immigration laws, there should be little debate over the prosecution of serious criminals who illegally return to California after prior deportations. I commend the diligent work of the agents and prosecutors who have worked so hard to bring these cases over the past year.”

The fiscal year 2010 felony re-entry convictions included an alien with numerous prior state and federal convictions, including robbery, burglary, kidnapping, child molestation and soliciting lewd acts, who had been previously removed from the country five times. Another defendant, with three prior removals, had past convictions for drug trafficking, vehicle theft, lewd and lascivious acts with a child under age 14, and alien smuggling. A third case involved a defendant with eight prior removals who had seven convictions for battery, along with convictions for burglary, inflicting corporal injury on a spouse, and illegal re-entry to the United States.

“These prosecutions send an important message to criminal aliens who believe they can treat deportation as little more than a revolving door,” said Timothy Aitken, the field office director who oversees ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations in Sacramento. “If you commit crimes in this country, get removed, and come back illegally, we will seek to prosecute you and put you in federal prison. We are a nation of immigrants, but we are also a nation of laws. ICE is bringing all of its tools to bear against those who show no regard for those laws.”

The felony re-entry statistics do not include other immigration prosecutions, such as cases involving the production or distribution of counterfeit immigration documents and aliens in possession of firearms. In fiscal year 2010, authorities noted there was also a sharp increase in misdemeanors prosecutions for illegal entry. Many of those prosecutions involved aliens who were apprehended in the vicinity of rural marijuana gardens in the Eastern District of California during law enforcement operations.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico to Invest $600 Million in Rural Communities

Mexico to Invest $600 Million in Rural Communities

Photo: Water Crisis in Mexico

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Mexico will embark on an ambitious effort to improve water and sanitation infrastructure in rural communities and public schools with help from two loans approved by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The first loan, for $350 million, will finance the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene in Basic Education Program, an initiative that will combine improvements in the physical infrastructure of 20,000 school properties with a comprehensive program of hygiene education and infrastructure maintenance.

The second loan, for $250 million, will finance the Program for the Sustainability of Water Supply and Sanitation Services in Rural Communities III (PROSSAPyS III, for its initials in Spanish). This program will expand piped water service to at least 630,000 people and access to a sanitation system to 450,000 people living in rural communities with less than 10,000 inhabitants.

An estimated 5.5 million rural inhabitants in Mexico lack access to safe drinking water, and 9.8 million have no sewerage connection. This is the third IDB loan in support of Mexico´s goal to close this coverage gap.
The first Water and Sanitation for Rural Communities program was approved by the IDB in 1998 for $291 million, and PROSSAPyS II was approved in 2005 for $150 million. Together, these programs benefitted some 6,000 communities (3.2 million people) with water supply projects and 2,200 communities (1.6 million people) with sanitation projects.

With the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene in Basic Education Program, Mexico will undertake a comprehensive effort to improve water and sanitation infrastructure in around 20,000 properties housing 22,000 schools and serving approximately 1.3 million students that have infrastructure problems and/or lack access to water.

By 2014, program activities are expected to result in a 30 percent reduction in the prevalence of diarrheal diseases in participating schools, and illness-related absenteeism is expected to drop from 17.9 percent to 12 percent.
The number of school properties that are not connected to a water system will be reduced from 7,966 to 1,980 properties.



Read more by HS News Staff →

Move Over Arpaio, Arizona has New Sheriff in the Spotlight

Move Over Arpaio, Arizona has New Sheriff in the Spotlight

Photo: Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik

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For some time now, one of Arizona’s most notable lawmen has been Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, but after Saturday’s shooting in Tucson, another sheriff has stepped into the spotlight.

In his first press conference after the shooting that left 20 injured or dead, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik was blunt in his comments when he stated that right-wing rhetoric, full of anger, bigotry, and hate has made Arizona the “mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”

AOL News has already dubbed Dupnik the “anti-Joe Arpaio,” and it’s not the first time the two have been compared. Last year, Dupnik refused to enforce Arizona’s new immigration laws Arpaio had pretty much become the poster boy for.

What makes Dupnik so different from Arpaio isn’t so much his stance on the issues, it’s his honesty and bluntness on the issues. In fact, in 1981, Dupnik, understaffed and overworked, flat out told the people of Pima County to arm themselves, because the police has failed to adequately protect their residents, saying, “Not only are things not good, they are going to get worse. For those who are so inclined, it’s time to start protecting yourselves.”

However, the “rivalry” the media has created between Arpaio and Dupnik is really not there between the two men, partially because neither of them ever speaks ill of the other – at least not publicly. Dupnik says he disagrees with Arpaio in terms of resources, not ideology.

Dupnik’s recent anger during that press conference on Sunday has seemingly caused the media to polarize the two sheriffs, though, and calling Arizona the “Tombstone of the United States” has likely ruffled the feathers of Arpaio and his advocates.

“He’s not bashful, but I’ve always found him to be totally professional and well informed,” said Republican Grant Woods, the former state attorney general. “He’s not just making comments haphazardly, these are deeply felt and well-reasoned, I’m sure.”

“Given that he’s been doing this all of this life, he’s not afraid to say what he thinks. He doesn’t view himself as a politician,” said Woods. “He views himself as a law enforcement officer. On matters ranging from use of local police to the availability of guns, he’s certainly voiced his views.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Lawmakers Warned of Possible Attacks Similar to Arizona’s Jan. 9th Tragedy

Following the shocking shooting in Arizona on January 9th, U.S. lawmakers have been told by law enforcement and intelligence officials that are looking out for any kind of “copycat” attacks on additional lawmakers.

Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Peter King has requested a formal report on the Saturday’s events, and is looking to discuss short and long-term safety concerns of all lawmakers and government officials.

Among questions King wants answered are, “Is this part of a larger movement? Is there any evidence he [the assailant] was motivated by organizational structure?”

While FBI Director Robert Mueller said there seems to be no link between the shooter (Jared Loughner) and any extremist or violent organization, Republicans canceled all votes for the week, including the vote to repeal the health care bill, to allow lawmakers to stay in their districts in they wished.

“Given this tragedy, all logical precautions are in place to best ensure the safety of other public officials,” Mueller said, “but there is no information at this time to suggest any specific threat remains.”

When the warnings went out, the FBI was working with customs and border patrol, immigration enforcement, and the Transportation Security Administration.

Read more at Homeland Security Newswire →

Route Traffic Stop Nabs Dominican National with $6 Million in Cocaine

A 33-year-old citizen of the Dominican Republic who resides in Caguas, Puerto Rico, was arrested by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Sunday in Christiansted, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), following a routine traffic stop by the USVI Police Department that led to the discovery of 202 bricks of cocaine with an estimated weight of 228 kilograms and an approximate street value of more than $6 million.

The vehicle driven by Miguel Pascual was stopped by the USVI police officers in Christiansted for a traffic violation.

Pascual consented to a search of the vehicle, which revealed seven large bags containing brick-like objects in the cargo area and back seat of the vehicle. The objects later tested positive for cocaine.

USVI police officers notified ICE HSI special agents who responded to the scene, arrested Pascual, and seized the 228 kilograms of cocaine.

“Through these arrests and seizures we are sending a clear message that the U.S. Virgin Islands will not be a safe haven for criminals looking to ship drugs into USVI and Puerto Rico,” said Roberto Escobar-Vargas, acting special agent in charge of ICE HSI in San Juan. “HSI and its federal and local partners are committed to working together to stop the flow of illegal narcotics into the USVI and Puerto Rico.”
Pascual is in ICE custody awaiting the outcome of his criminal case.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latin America’s Lorena Bobbitt

The victim, a taxi cab driver says he awoke and realized he was missing something and that he had awoken in a pool of blood.

The bloody episode took place last Saturday, but only surfaced in the local media today. The cabbie got to his home in the San Juan neighborhood of Rosario, Argentina at about 7 in the morning, after a long night of driving looking for customers.  Tired, he fell asleep but not before feuding with his wife again about his alleged infidelities.

When he did finally wake up at 2:00 pm, he realized his penis had been cut off. His wife, the main suspect in the attack called emergency services.

Paramedics who first gave the patient emergency care at his home, said neither he or his wife, both Peruvians, said much about the episode. Apparently they had agreed on a pact of silence.

“The victim said he didn’t see or feel anything” said sheriff Hernán Brest. “Additionally, we could not find the tools used to perform the cut in his house.” He added.

The attack could have been motivated by rumors that the cabbie had had an undisclosed number of affairs.
Even though all evidence found points towards the woman, she denied having anything to do with the amputation, and the husband some how refused to press charges, he just wanted his penis back.

Doctors said that the man was likely anesthetized or drugged since he did not wake up from any extreme pain. Doctors at the Clemente Alvarez Hospital reattached the mutilated part to the best of their abilities, but were clear that due to the transversality of the cut, is very unlikely that it will recover 100% of its functions.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Marco Rubio Not Interested in Being VP in 2012 – Despite All the Buzz About Him

The newly sworn in Republican Senator from Florida, Marco Rubio, is putting everyone on notice that he is not interested in the possibility of being the 2012 Republican candidate for Vice President.

The Cuban-American who was a Tea Party candidate is basking in all the attention pundits and Republicans are putting on him as the new face of the Republican Party.  Rubio did win the majority of the Cuban-American vote but it is unknown what a nationwide candidacy could mean to Hispanic-Americans.  Rubio, though elusive when pinned down ont he subject, appears to be against the DREAM Act and immigration reform – issues identified as priorities for the majority of Latinos in the U.S.

Rubio was recently interviewed by the St. Pete Times and when asked about his interest in the VP job he said ‘Not Interested’ due to the large job ahead of him and the focus needed.  Of course he sees all the talk as “flattering”.  Rubio identified simplifying the tax code, and tackling government regulations so that American business won’t be overwhelmed as his priorities. 

Read more at St. Petersburg Times →

Minorities Being Given a Better Opportunity to Become NYC Firefighters

Minorities Being Given a Better Opportunity to Become NYC Firefighters

Photo: FDNY Truck

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After a federal lawsuit, a court order, and new application process, the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) could see an increase in minority firefighters soon.

New York City’s population is more than half minority, but only 9 percent of the firefighters are black or Hispanic.

Twelve years ago, firefighter Paul Washington filed a lawsuit claiming that the firefighter exam, the weightiest portion in determining an applicants ability to do the job, was filled with a number of “SAT-like questions” that failed to properly test an applicants firefighting skills.

“This test isn’t proving who’s the best for the job — this test is proving who got a good education,” said Washington. “There’s an education gap in this country, and everybody knows it. So to pretend, after 12 years of bad schooling, there’s a level playing field and telling them to sit down and compete — it’s disingenuous.”

In 2009, after the U.S. Department of Justice took up the case and filed a federal lawsuit, a judge ruled in favor of the Vulcan Society (of which Washington was the president), and in a separate decision, the judge ruled that the exam was designed to intentionally discriminate and called it a “stain” on the department.

Though the FDNY is appealing that ruling, it has taken steps to try to include more minority candidates, but says the efforts are not in response to the lawsuit. So far, 4,445 recruiting events have been held.

A new test could take as long as a year to redo, but the number of minorities interested in taking it has increased. The test was last offered in 2007 (it’s only offered every four years) and since then, more than 40 percent of the applicants have been minorities.

Washington says he wants the department’s diversity to reflect the city’s, much like it does in Chicago where the fire department of 4,300 members is 20 percent black and 8 percent Hispanic, which reflects the city’s overall demographic.

“You get such respect from the community; it’s great,” he said. “It creates a whole ripple effect for the future. Shouldn’t everyone have the chance for that?”

Read more at The Wall Street Journal →

Condom Dresses Featured at Argentina’s 17th Annual Fashion Week

ImageWith the motto “Taking care of yourself is fashionable,” Argentina celebrated the 17th edition of the Mar de Plata Fashion Show 2011.

Several figures of the Latin American fashion world walked the runway of the most important fashion event of the year in Argentina, including Pampita, Ingrid Grudke, Paula Chaves, Dolores Barreiro, Pía Slapka, Jesica Cirio, Luly Fernàndez, Paula Morales, Magalí Montoro and male models Hernán Drago, Mario Guerci and Tomy Dunster - but all eyes were not on them but rather the usual fashion statement being made by condoms. 


Without doubt, the highlight of the event were the dresses made out of condoms donated by Prime. These dresses were designed by students at the Argentine School of Fashion, with support from the “Huésped” foundation, and even included a wedding dress.  No word on whether these fashions will go retail. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazilian Author Pablo Coelho Banned in Iran

Brazilian author Paulo Coelho denounced via twitter that his books have been banned in Iran and has made an appeal to his homeland Brazil to intervene.  Coelho blogged a message from his editor in Iran where he was informed of the government’s decision to pull his books from stands.

Coehlo’s editor, Arash Hejazi, appears in a video of anti-government protests in 2009, attempting to save the life of Persian popular singer and musician Neda Agha-Soltan, whose death became a symbol of the violence after the disputed elections.

“I strongly hope this misunderstanding will be solved during the week. And I strongly count on the Brazilian government to support me, my books, for the sake of all the values we cherish,” Coelho wrote on the blog.

Coelho said he did not know the reason for the ban, but noted that he used social networks to support Hejazi during the violence.

Coelho, whose sales total at least 300m in 150 countries, and is the author of the 1988 allegorical novel, The Alchemist—one of the best-selling books of all time added that his work had been selling in Iran since 1998.

Read more by HS News Staff →

The Border Dispute that Google Ignited between Costa Rica and Nicaragua Heading to UN Court

Though the San Juan River in Central America has been a source of dispute for centuries, it was Google’s Earth map system showing an erroneous border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua that really got things really riled up, in the 21st century.

Costa Rica is accusing Nicaragua of illegally posting troops on land by the San Juan River that is Costa Rican, and going forward with a canal project in the same area.  Nicaragua justified its actions claiming it used Google Earth Maps to plot where the water border between countries was.

Unfortunately, Google made a mistake, acknowledged it and immediately corrected it.  Regardless of that Nicaragua is keeping troops on that parcel of land and continues to dredge for the canal, therefore Costa Rica is going to the United Nations (UN) to have the issue resolved.

Costa Rica does not have a standing military so it can only have its border disputes solved through the United Nations courts. 

Read more at Associated Press →

Could Slain Arizona Judge Have Been Targeted Over Immigration Controversy?

Could Slain Arizona Judge Have Been Targeted Over Immigration Controversy?

Photo: Federal Judge John Roll

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Among those killed in this weekend’s shooting in Arizona was U.S. District Judge John Roll. It is believed that he was not an intended target like Rep. Gabriel Giffords, but over the last few years, Roll’s life was threatened a number of times.

In 2009, Judge Roll received full-time protection from U.S. Marshalls after his ruling his initial ruling in a case involving unauthorized immigrants and a local rancher ruffled a lot of feathers because he ruled in favor of the immigrants. This caused the judge to receive in a number of death threats against the judge, resAfter a month, when four people having made threatening phone calls were arrested, the Marshalls’ protection, which Roll called “unnerving and invasive,” was stopped.

Appointed a federal judge by President George H. W. Bush in 1991, Roll went on to serve a chief judge in Arizona in 2006.

Earlier in the week, Roll was in the news for having asked Rep. Giffords to sign a letter to the chief judge of the Ninth Circuit, Alex Kozinski, to help him convince the court to declare his federal judicial district a judicial emergency because of the large number of immigration and border control cases needing to be heard in the district. Declaring a judicial emergency allows judges to delay trials due to the insufficient number of people able to hear the cases.

When Roll called Giffords to thank her for signing the letter, it is believed she told him she’d be in his area on Saturday for a constituent event, and he arrived at that Tucson Safeway to thank her.

Suspect Jared Lee Loughner is believed to have shot Roll, Giffords, and injured or killed an additional 18 people. Giffords remains in the hospital after being shot in the head, while sadly, Judge Rolls was killed.

Despite the threats and controversy surrounding Roll’s decisions over the years, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said he believes Giffords was really the only intended target, and that, “Unfortunately, [Roll] was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Day 3- No Change in Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Condition, Survival Credited to Bullet Path (VIDEO)

Day 3- No Change in Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Condition, Survival Credited to Bullet Path  (VIDEO)

Photo: Gabrielle Giffords

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One of the doctors treating Arizona U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords says there was no change in her condition overnight. Dr. Michael Lemole with the University of Arizona was interviewed Tuesday on NBC’s “Today” show. When asked about swelling in her brain on the third day, which is when it often reaches its peak, Lemole said a CAT scan early Tuesday showed no increase in swelling.

The survival statistics for gun shot victims is not good. In fact, 90% of gunshot wounds to the head result in death, 2/3 of the time before the victim ever reaches the hospital.
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords survival is credited to where the bullet entered her head.

The bullet entered from the back-left portion of the brain and exited through the front-left portion, missing many of the brain’s critical structures as well as some major blood vessels. “These critical structures were miraculously spared,” said Jennifer Ashton M.D., medical correspondent for CBS News. Had the bullet crossed from the left to the right side of the brain, the outcome likely would have been very different.

Doctors are encouraged by Gifford’s’ response to simple commands, such as showing her two fingers when asked to do so. Still, the Congresswoman could face serious challenges regarding her ability to speak in the future, said Ashton. “Interpreting speech and being able to speak could potentially be effected by an injury on the left side of the brain.”


Read more at Huffington Post →

Shakira and Boyfriend of 11 Years Antonio de la Rua Break Up

Spanish newspaper El Pais broke the news just a few hours before the Colombian singer published the following statement on her twitter page:

“During almost 11 years together, we have loved each other deeply. We have cared for one another and have supported each other. These have been the most wonderful years of our lives, and because of that love, and respect that we have for one another, we have been an exceptional couple.”

“Nonetheless, in August of 2010, we decided to give some time to our sentimental relationship. Through these months we have kept working together, we have kept close, and guarded details with outmost privacy.”

“We see this time apart as temporary and as a time for individual growth, while we continue to be partners and associates in our professional lives.”

The artist went on explaining that her now ex-boyfriend will continue to be her manager, and informs that neither de la Rua, or her will be granting any interviews on this personal matter..

It had been some time now since rumors had been circulating that the Colombian singer and her boyfriend were going through rough times.  There were rumors last year of a supposed night of passion between Shakira and Barça star Gerard Piqué, who was in the singer’s video for the song Waka-Waka, and before that, there were talks of a romance between the singer and Rafael Nasal, who was in her “Gypsy” video.

The singer denied these rumors back in December.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico Approved for Largest Credit Line in History of IMF - $72 Billion

Mexico Approved for Largest Credit Line in History of IMF - $72 Billion

Photo: Mexican currency

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The largest credit line ever issued in the history of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was issued for $72 billion for Mexico.

The Mexican peso market immediately reacted today by rising steadily.  The Mexican peso, according to Bloomberg, is the best performing currency amongst the 16 it tracks. 

The flexible two-year credit line was approved yesterday and replaces the $48 billion line of credit that expired in April 2010.  This is seen as a vote of confidence and reflects Mexico’s solid financial market fundamentals.

Last year the Mexican economy grew 5.1 percent and thus far is on track to grow another 3.7 percent this year. 

Read more at Bloomberg →

Eva Longoria Sued:  Took Out $4.6 Million from Bankrupt Restaurant – Investors Pissed

Eva Longoria Sued:  Took Out $4.6 Million from Bankrupt Restaurant – Investors Pissed

Photo: Longoria at Beso

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The beginning of 2011 is not going as planned for Eva Longoria first her Beso restaurant and nightclub in Las Vegas files for bankruptcy protection now some shareholders are not pleased with her involvement in the deal.

Allegedly Longoria invested $1 million of her own money in the Las Vegas venture, an expansion of her popular California restaurant, yet received yearly 8% interest payments totaling $4.6 million and a 23.33 percent ownership stake.  All this happened, the lawsuit alleges, at the expense of other investors, who appear to have had their ownership diminished in order to give Longoria her share. 

The lawsuit filed by other investors in the deal say the 8 percent violates California usury law, meaning for what Longoria put in she wasn’t suppose to get that much in interest payments and ownership.  The lawsuit is asking that the $4.6 million she earned be put back into the company.

The company meanwhile is $5.7 million in debt, late on its rent and fighting to survive.  The bankruptcy filing does not affect the Beso restaurant in Hollywood nor Longoria’s involvement with that site.

Read more at Today MSNBC →

Cuba’s Enemy No. 1 Goes on Trial in Texas

Attorneys in Texas are in the process of selecting the twelve people that will make up the jury in the trial of Fidel Castro’s number one nemesis, Luis Posada Carriles.

The 82 year-old ex-CIA operative is accused of perjury and obstruction of justice for allegedly lying about how he arrived in the U.S., and about whether he tried to cover up his involvement in the 1997 Havana hotel bombings so he could obtain U.S. citizenship. 

Posada claimed to have entered the U.S.in 2007 by crossing the Mexican border into Texas. Prosecutors say he actually arrived in Miami on the boat of friend, and using a fake passport.  Although he pleaded not guilty, Posada noted that for years he entered the U.S. under false identities while working with the CIA and other organizations. 

“The people who worked with me from the government are not the same the ones there today. It was other times. For those there today, I am a bad guy,” he acknowledged.

Posada, a chemist by trade, arrived in Miami in 1961. Like many of his contemporaries, he played a role in the U.S.-backed, ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961. He joined the U.S. military, graduated from officer training at Fort Benning, Ga., and became a CIA operative, maintaining contact with the agency even after he moved to Venezuela in the late 1960s to head that country’s intelligence agency.

The CIA has said it cut ties to him when he was linked to a 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner that took off from Venezuela. He is wanted in both countries in connection with the bombing.

On Monday, about 30 protesters in front of the federal courthouse in El Paso hoisted signs in English and Spanish denouncing Posada as a terrorist. Down the block, a smaller group waved American flags and signs calling him a patriot and American hero.

Posada sits in jail painting as he waits for his court date. Bullet scars from an assassination attempt in 1999 crowd his face and make speaking and swallowing difficult. He reportedly prefers to talk about his art, and is quick to laugh and shrug off accusations, or questions regarding the bombings.

“If I go to jail, my life ends in jail,” he said to reporters. “Everything is finished.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Protesting in Brazil Over Gay and Transvestite-Only Bathrooms during Carnival

Protesting in Brazil Over Gay and Transvestite-Only Bathrooms during Carnival

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As Brazil prepares itself for the most festive and busy time of year – Carnaval – it is facing protests from both side of the aisle on the issue of separate bathrooms for gays and transvestites.

The problems started when Rio de Janeiro’s samba schools, whose participation are a critical component of Carnival festivities, created separate bathroom for exclusive use of gays and transvestites.

Some feel they are being separated because they are different and consider this move a ‘segregation’; while others argue it was done as a convenience and safety issue.  Gays, lesbians, transvestites and transgender people participating in Carnival have the option to use the bathroom but are not being mandated to do so, officials say.

Rio de Janiero is looking into this issue carefully and meeting with protesters on both sides of the issue, since it is considered one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world.  Nonetheless gay killings are on the rise in Brazil and have risen by as much as 62 percent in the last two years.

Read more at My Fox NY →

US Catholics Invited to Pray Novena for Haiti on Anniversary of Earthquake

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is asking Catholics in the United States to pray a novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe for Haiti. The novena begins on January 12—the anniversary of the 2010 Haiti earthquake—and concludes on January 20, preceding a national collection for the Church in Latin American and Caribbean nations, including Haiti.

“Haiti and its people still very much need our prayers and solidarity,” said Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, chairman of the US bishops’ special advisory group for Haiti. “As we approach the anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti, we join together with parishes, Catholic schools, youth groups, colleges and universities from across the country to remember the tragic events of that fateful afternoon and to respond in a faith-filled way.”

Read more at Catholic Culture →

Had SB 1070 Been Enacted, Shooting Hero Could have been Singled Out and Asked for his Papers

Had SB 1070 Been Enacted, Shooting Hero Could have been Singled Out and Asked for his Papers

Photo: Daniel Hernandez with Rep Giffords

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Certainly one of Saturday’s heroes was Rep. Gifford’s 20-year-old intern Daniel Hernandez. On the job only 5 days, Hernandez used his training, as a nurse’s assistant to give Ms, Gifford’s immediate aid that is saved her life.

“I think it’s a little strange to be calling me a hero, because the things that I did was a one-off,” Hernandez said on CBS’s “The Early Show” on Monday. “However, the real heroes are people like Congresswoman Gifford’s, who have dedicated their lives to public service and helping others.”

However, had Arizona’s SB1070 been enacted, Hernandez may have been selectively asked for his papers solely at the officers discretion.

Any legitimate reason for police contact with an individual they suspect of being in the country illegally could prompt a request for identification, and witnessing a shooting would be one such reason.

“If you are a witness for a crime, the officer would have a lawful reason to approach you, and if they had any reason to suspect you might be an alien, they could ask,” Aarti Kohli, director of immigration policy at Berkeley Law School’s Warren Institute, told HuffPost. “The big question is what is reasonable suspicion.”

This is exactly the type of racial profiling critics have argued this law promotes. Mexican-American Hernandez is a naturalized citizen, but he would have been the only victim of Saturday’s violence to be questioned about his immigration status.

Currently a federal judge has blocked the provisions of the law that pertain to ones immigration status. But the law may still go into effect if the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rules in favor of an appeal by the state of Arizona.
The court has not rendered a decision yet having heard the case in November.

Read more at The Huffington Post →

Study: Day Laborers in New Jersey being Robbed, Injured and Beaten

Study: Day Laborers in New Jersey being Robbed, Injured and Beaten

Photo: Day Laborers

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Day Laborers in New Jersey are being “robbed, injured and beaten with impunity because of weak, under enforced and antiquated labor laws” states a report released Monday by Seton Hall University.

Approximately 50% of those interviewed said they had received less pay than they were promised or no pay at all for at least one job in the past year. More than 40% of the day laborers said that their employers ignored workplace safety rules and did not provide them with safety equipment like goggles, hardhats and masks.

26% of day laborers report they have been injured so severely that they missed work.  Another 26% said an employer had assaulted them at least once.

State laws grant the same protections for work safety and wages to day laborers as to full-time workers, regardless of immigration status.

The report calls for the State legislature to pass a bill that would protect these workers with stronger regulations. No bill has yet been introduced, but immigrant advocates in the state said they were inspired by the recent passage of legislation in New York that provides some of the nation’s strongest protections against wage theft. That law, which takes effect in April, quadruples the penalties for employers who withhold workers’ pay and shields whistle-blowers from retaliation.

The report did find that the rate of wage theft was significantly lower in areas where advocacy groups were fighting for the rights of low-wage and immigrant workers.

Read more at New York Times →

US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Selects Miami Beach for Upcoming 32nd Convention

The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) today announced Miami Beach as the host city for its 32nd Annual National Convention & Business Expo, slated for September 18-21, 2011 at the Fountainebleau Hotel.

“The dynamic business culture of South Florida makes Miami Beach the ideal city to host our national convention,” says Javier Palomarez, USHCC President and CEO. “Our goal in 2011 is to present the nation’s premier event for Hispanic business leaders. Those attending will benefit from unparalleled exposure, networking, leadership training and procurement opportunities. It is also a chance to honor the achievements of America’s Hispanic Business Enterprises (HBEs).”

The agenda includes a star-studded Welcome Reception, Legislative Breakfast, the Ultimate Latina Luncheon, Million Dollar Club, HBE Elite Luncheon, Procurement Networking Reception, Chairman’s Gala, the 2011 Business Expo and numerous workshops and forums.

The USHCC 32nd Annual National Convention & Business Expo in Miami Beach will bring together thousands of Hispanic entrepreneurs, corporate executives, procurement and supplier-diversity professionals from the private and public sectors, as well as Latina leaders, key officials from President Obama’s Administration and Hispanic chamber leaders from throughout the nation. The USHCC reported record-breaking attendance at its national convention in Dallas in 2010.

Serving as 2011 Convention Chair to the 32nd Annual National Convention & Business Expo is USHCC board member and resident of Miami, Florida, Gabriel Pascual. Pascual is Director of the Latin Chamber of Commerce of Florida CAMACOL and Vice Chairman of the Hemispheric Congress of Latin American Chambers of Commerce, an organization formed by all the Chambers of Commerce and Industry in the Americas.

“We anticipate a great turnout of Hispanic chamber representatives, corporate executives, business owners and our partners from across the country coming to Miami Beach and are planning an exciting series of events, building on the success we had in Dallas last year,” says Pascual. “It gives me great pride to represent the USHCC while also welcoming its constituencies to my hometown.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

PETA Says No Free Puppy Promo to Cell Phone Carrier in Colombia

“Comcel,” the Colombian name of Carlos Slim’s “America Movil” Wireless carrier has cancelled plans to give out 200 pure bred puppies in a cell phone promotion, due to heavy pressure by the People for the Ethical Treatment of animals.

The Colombian cell phone company will raffle debit cards instead, as protesters said it was a great risk to give away living animals, to “unprepared guardians”

Since its beginning in November, the offer has been the focus of controversy; social network users condemned the initiative and urged Comcel to stop the raffle, even tough the phone company said the puppies were coming from a first rate shelter, and that participants were free to turn down a puppy if they couldn’t afford one.

They offered 200 puppies: 40 pugs, 40 beagles, 35 boxer, 35 shitzu and 50 retrievers.

“When people give animals as prizes, they usually don’t realize that they might be contributing to the animal homelessness crisis by condoning the breeding of pedigree pups,” PETA Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch said in a statement.

Read more by HS News Staff →

TuesdayJanuary 11, 2011