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ThursdayJanuary 13, 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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Legal Immigrants Could Soon Lose Commercial Driver’s Licenses

While a change to the Texas Transportation Code was enacted in 2007, it is only now being enforced by the Department of Public Safety (DPS), and it could spell disaster for legal immigrant truck drivers.

The newly enforced law requires all applicants for commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) who are not U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, asylees, or refugees to obtain a special “non-resident” CDL.

The problem comes from the DPS decision to cancel the CDLs of immigrants who lack certain immigration and/or travel documents even if they are legally authorized to work in the United States. This is especially an issue for immigrants granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

TPS holds off the deportation of those from countries torn apart by war or natural disaster. The DPS law took effect in September of 2007, but the requirement of three specific documents TPS immigrants needed to gain a CDL was not enforced until now, so all the CDLs given to these immigrants have been suspended.

Some would argue that the drivers with suspended CDLs should simply present these three documents to the DMV and get everything straightened out, but that is not possible for many of them. Recipients of the TOS are not issued the documents requires by the code. They are only given documentation showing they are legally authorized to work in the states, but that documentation will no longer be accepted.

DPS spokesperson Tele Mange estimates that around 1,800 “non-resident” CDLsa have been issued in error since September 1st, 2007. She added that those whose CDLs have been suspended have 90 days to present their passport, visa, and I-95 form (which they were never issued) before the licenses are canceled.

When Mange was asked why DPS only started enforcing the three-document requirement recently when the code has been in effect since September of 2007, she said, “I’m not sure what changed,” and that DPS’s is unable to do anything about it.

Mange agreed that not issuing TPS immigrants the required documentation is an issue, but said DPS was powerless to do anything about that either.

“The Legistlature would have to change that. It’s a law, not a rule… Out hands are tied right now.

Read more at Houston Chronicle →

NARCO BLOG: Victims Found Cooked in Oil Vats Near Cancun, May Indicate New Cartel in Area

Authorities found three industrial bins containing human remains, on a farm in the of town Leona Vicario, near Cancun Quintana Roo.

200 liter drums were used by members of a criminal organization, presumably drug cartels, where after killing their victims, they were cooked in vats of oil.

The bins contained human skulls and limbs of several people who had been executed as early as Monday of this week.

The vats also contained the victim’s blood that was used with the cooking oil together with traces of hair, teeth and some limbs still attached to masking tape The gruesome scene, not seen before and definitely not to this magnitude, may indicate that new assassins are working in the state of Quintana Roo.

Mexican investigative officials said given the difficult crime scene to work with they are not sure how many victims are here.  Early estimates puts the count some where between five to six but it could be more.

To read more in Spanish, click here

Read more by HS News Staff →

SURVEY:  Which Ethnic Group Has Highest Divorce Rate?

The U.S. Census Bureau’s 5-Year American Community Survey showed that 12.6 percent of the American Indian population is divorced, the highest of any ethnic group in the U.S.

The survey, which covered a period from 2005 through 2009, polled 3 million households.  Looking at the breakdown of statistical data American Indians and Alaskan Natives have the highest rate of divorce amongst ethnic and racial minorities as well as the general white population. 

The African American community where 11.5 percent of this demographic is divorced then the general white population reflects a 10.8 percent rate of divorce, follows them.

While 7.8 percent of Hispanics/Latinos are divorced and Asians have the lowest rate of divorce amongst themselves at 4.9 percent.

Read more at Huffington Post →

Row in Philly Over Bimbo Sponsorship Printed on Soccer Team’s Jerseys (VIDEO)

Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union, may have got more that they bargained for when signing a multimillion dollar sponsorship deal with south-of-the-border bread and baked goods giant Bimbo.

Fans have reportedly been complaining at the fact that the team jerseys now have a huge banner across the players torso that reads “BIMBO.”

“Are you kidding me? We’re going to be laughingstock of the league,” said fans.

At least one fan said she would not attend games with her kids until the misogynistic slur was removed from the team players chests.

Union chief executive officer Nick Sakiewicz said the team had no concerns that the Bimbo name could hamper jersey sales to women.

“Not at all,” he said. “In the focus groups and discussions I’ve had with women, the vast majority of them think it’s just the coolest thing. They think it’s fun. Our data is telling us they think it’s kind of cool. I have zero concerns on that.”

The big impact for fans, he said, is going to be on the field - because the Bimbo deal means the Union will have more money to spend on players, training, and facilities. “All boats rise on this one,” he said. Also the Spanish pronunciation of the beloved product is ‘beem-bo’

Bimbo sponsors three Mexican soccer teams and a Costa Rican professional soccer team. The deal will reportedly bring in $3 million a year over the next four years.

Read more by HS News Staff →

New Dinosaur Species Discovered in Argentina (VIDEOS)

A group of Argentine and American paleontologists have discovered that fossils found in northwest Argentina in 2000, belong to a species of dinosaur unknown until now, which lived about 230 million years ago.

The species, named ‘Eodromaeus’ and nicknamed the “Dawn Runner” is one of the earliest known species of dinosaurs.

Eodromaeus was only about 4 feet long and would have barely reached the knees of an adult human, while weighing as much as a turkey.

Scientific studies demonstrated that Eodromaeus is the ancestor of some of the better known dinosaurs, like the velociraptor, or the tyrannosaurs rex.

The discovery was made at the Ischigualasto National Park, also known as the Moon Valley, in the San Juan province, northwest of Argentina.

Like his great grand cousins, Eodromaeus had a long rigid tail, and a unique pelvis shape.  It was also quite a fast runner, and had air pouches in its neck bones which may have been related to breathing and suggest a relationship with pterodactyls, and modern day birds.


Read more by HS News Staff →

Omar Salgado, 17, Selected No. 1 in MLS SuperDraft, Heads to Vancouver

Omar Salgado, 17, Selected No. 1 in MLS SuperDraft, Heads to Vancouver

Photo: Omar Salgado

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During Thursday’s Major League Soccer (MLS) SuperDraft, Omar Salgado only had to wait a matter of seconds before being picked up by an MLS team.

The 17-year-old U.S. Under-20 Team forward became the draft’s No. 1 pick when Vancouver’s Whitecaps FC chose him in the first round.

Salgado passed up a promising future with Guadalajara Chivas for the chance to play for an MLS team, because the El Pasoan says he’s always considered himself an American though he played in Mexico’s Chivas youth system from 2008-10 and played for Mexico’s under-17 and under-20 teams.

After the pick, ESPN commentator said Salgado “definitely has potential.”

Analyst John Harkes added, “This is a good player, a young player. He’s got a lot of learning to do.”

Salgado was the only player under the age of 19 to be selected in the first five picks.

After the draft, wearing his new Whitecaps jersey, Salgado was asked how it felt to be the surprise No. 1 draft pick:

“… The moment I got picked… I didn’t know anything. I was really surprised, really surprised.”

He added, “This is awesome, the best. I never imagined it. It’s amazing.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Chile to Use More Solar Power Now Featured at Its Bus Stops

This year, Chile plans to equip 53 percent of Santiago’s bus stops with solar panels so that at night time they will light stations outside the downtown area.  The panels will charge during the daytime hours, and turn on automatically once it gets dark.

The project has an estimated cost of $10 million and its first priority is to decrease vandalism and increase safety for nighttime commuters.

Depending on the success of the pilot run in Santiago de Chile, the solar bus stops will go to more cities, like Valdivia, a city in Chile that offers solar power taxi cabs.

At the end of last year, Chile started building South America’s first solar power plant, which is expected to produce 2.7 gigawatts of electricity a year once finished.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Two Tunnels Between U.S.-Mexico Border Discovered as They’re Being Built

Two Tunnels Between U.S.-Mexico Border Discovered as They’re Being Built

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Sunday, during a joint tunnel sweep along the International Boundary Fence in Nogales, Border Patrol agents and Mexican law enforcement officers discovered two illicit tunnels leading from Mexico toward the United States.

The sweep was part of a proactive search west of the DeConcini port of entry; both tunnels were incomplete, under construction and approximately two feet wide by three feet tall. One tunnel had entered the United States, extending approximately 10 feet into the country.

“Border Patrol agents, in partnership with law enforcement agencies and communities on both sides of the border, continue to be proactive in detecting these illicit tunnels which compromise border security and the structural integrity structures they are built under,” said Division Chief of the Tucson Sector Manuel Padilla, Jr. “Bi-national cooperation has allowed both countries to make major strides in achieving our common goals of making both countries safer.”

Border Patrol works with Mexican authorities to share vital information on current smuggling trends to deny, degrade, disrupt, and dismantle smuggling organizations. The open lines of communication being maintained with Mexican authorities have led to a number of mutually beneficial, intelligence driven operations.

Read more by HS News Staff →

‘Naked Housekeeping’ Business Owner Goes on Trial for Murder

‘Naked Housekeeping’ Business Owner Goes on Trial for Murder

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Nude housekeeper, Thomas Cordero, 41, is on trial for stabbing Manhattan paralegal John Conley, 50, to death.  In 2001, Conley hired Cordero, who advertised his naked house cleaning services on Rentboy.com.

Cordero told police that his cleaning seemed to turn Conley on, and the housekeeping visit quickly turned into a sexual encounter.

“He wanted to get down to business,” Cordera said in a recorded confession. “He wanted to see my body.”

As things progressed, Cordera said Conley “got too rough” in bed and pulled out a knife.

When Cordera attempted to leave, he said Conley would not allow him to.

“I felt threatened, so I grabbed the knife from him and hit him in the back of the head,” he claimed.

Reportedly, as Conley lay dying, Cordera took $40 from his wallet “per our agreement,” and left.

The nude maid told police officers his body must have gotten his hirer worked up.

“It’s because I have a nice ass.”

Cordera was identified by surveillance footage. If convicted, he faces 25 years to life in prison.

Read more at New York Daily News →

At Least a Dozen Students Arrested in Puerto Rico University

At least a dozen students have been arrested at the University of Puerto Rico, where activists and officials quarrel over a $800 fee that officials want to institute to “help close a gaping budget deficit.” Officials say the University already slashed the school’s entire budget by $2 billion going from $9 billion to $7 billion. 

Students were arrested for bringing fliers into campus, which constitutes a violation of university rules. 

“The information we have is that they were interrupting the classes,” said Col. Sergio Rubín. “We arrived there because of a complaint by the university security.”

Student leaders oppose the arrests and allege that peacefully entering the university with fliers was an act they carried out only after receiving permission from sympathetic professors.

Giovanni Roberto, a student leader said that they weren’t trying to provoke police officers to arrest them, and that police used excessive force.

These arrests came the day after alleged vandals threw smoke bombs and break glasses in some campuses, protesting the $800 fee.

No arrests were made concerning those disturbances.

Read more by HS News Staff →

BREAKING NEWS: DREAM Act Foe, Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison Won’t Seek Reelection

Texas Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison announced that she will retire from the Senate when her term expires in 2012. 

In an open letter to her constituents, the 67-year old Senator stated she wants to spend more time with her family and hoped her early announcement would allow Texas to figure out who “my successor will be.”

Hutchison had a failed primary bid for Governor in 2010 and therefore was expected to continue in her Senatorial seat seeking re-election in 2012. 

She voted against the DREAM Act in spite of a large Hispanic constituency and their desire to see it pass.  The negative sentiment of the Latino Texas community grew when she refused to meet with immigrant student hunger-strikers, to listen to their pleas.  After voting no on the DREAM ACT Hutchison released the following statement:

“I could not support the DREAM Act legislation brought before the Senate today because it expanded the scope of the bill beyond the intended individuals who were brought here as children and grew up and were educated in the United States. Such serious legislation should be brought up in a time frame that allows for consideration, deliberation and consensus through full debate and amendments.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

State Asks Organizers to Postpone Utah’s Latino Day

State Asks Organizers to Postpone Utah’s Latino Day

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Citing “intense legislative debate about immigration” and a tight budget, state officials have asked even organizers to postpone next month’s Latino Day at the Capitol event until after the legislative session has ended.

“After great consideration given the state budget reductions being proposed and the intense legislative debate about immigration being anticipated, our Office of Ethnic Affairs has come to the decision that it would be best to postpone Latino Day at the Capitol until after the legislative session,” said an official e-mail signed by the director of Latino/Hispanic Affairs for the Office of Ethnic Affairs, Silvia Castro.

Castro’s e-mail has angered some Latino leaders who believe appeasing the state and postponing the event only fans the flames of the immigration controversy being debating across the state and the country.

The secretary of the bipartisan Latino Legislative Task Force, Ernie Gamonal, however, points out that the e-mail does not say the event needs to be canceled, nor does it state that it HAS to be postponed. says the state has merely made a request and not a demand. The event can go on if organizers wish it to, the state—Office of Ethnic Affairs—will just not be a part of it. Gamonal did find it curious though, that Castro would feel the need to reference the immigration debate in the e-mail as a reason for pulling out.

“The person who wrote it ... she is a bright person,” he said. “Why she put that in there, I don’t know. She’s not one I know to commonly make mistakes, but this e-mail came out at 3:30 [p.m. Wednesday] and I have not had a conversation with the director of ethnic affairs or the director of Hispanic affairs for that matter. I’ve worked with both of them in the past, I will work with both of them in the future.”

If the event, scheduled for February 16h, is not postponed, the Office of Ethnic Affairs will not participate, and their $500 contribution will not be received.  The task force said that money was to be used for drinks, food, and a band to play the National Anthem. Attendees were also expected to have the opportunity to meet with lawmakers, but with the state only willing to take part if Latino Day is moved to a later date, that will likely not happen.

“Latino Day is not a political event,” said Richard Jamarillo, Democratic co-chairman of the Utah Legislative Task Force. “It doesn’t have anything to do with — in any way shape or form — immigration legislation. It has traditionally been a way to honor the economic and social contributions to America.”

While groups have already stepped up to cover the deficit of the Office of Ethnic Affairs’ $500, Gamonal says he is “disappointed they pulled out,” but hopes the state will participate in next year’s event.

If it happens, this will be the 3rd Annual Latino Day at the Capitol.

Read more at Salt Lake Tribune →

Third Largest Bungee Jump in the World Is In Cusco, Perú (VIDEO)

At little over 400 feet, it is the tallest Bungee jumping site in South America and it is located ten minutes away from the Plaza de Armas of Cusco.

For $59, the guys at Action Valley Park in Cusco, take customers inside a cage-like elevator that gets 400 feet above ground. From there, customers get to watch the vastness of the gorgeous Andean landscape, and then jump off, secured solely by two elastic bands tied to their feet.

Other attractions include a “Slingshot,” a high drop swing, climbing walls, rappel, and more.

“Our safety standards meet the international safety standards for these sports. Our staff is trained and certified in first aid and rescue operations. And our equipment is checked daily,” states their website.  These claims are suported by a record of zero accidents in over 10,000 jumps.

For an extra $9, the park offers a film and photo service, so backpackers can brag about it, back home. Ask Cameron Díaz about it!

Read more by HS News Staff →

Wake Up:  You Have a Rat on Your Face - Perils of Riding Subway (VIDEO)

Yes there are dangers to riding the subway let alone in a big city, you have to worry about pick pockets, getting trampled but sometimes it just peaceful enough to take a nap.

A fine citizen of New York decided to snooze while a chunky, well fed rat decided to wake him up.  Watch this great YouTube video.  More interesting is how unfazed New Yorkers are about a rat running around an enclosed train car, who won’t be able to get off until the next stop. 

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Read more by HS News Staff →

UPDATE: New Information Released About Arrested Border Patrol Agent, Had Secret Room


Earlier this week, Border Patrol agent Marcos Gerardo Manzano Jr. was arrested for reportedly harboring his father, an unauthorized immigrant. Upon investigation of Manzano’s home, however, it was discovered that Manzano Jr. was not only allowing his father to reside in his home, but other suspected undocumented immigrants as well. On top of that information, federal agents have revealed that his home had a secret room.

The hidden room at the 26-year-old agent’s home was accessed by moving a large slab of concrete that hid an eight by seven foot room accessible by climbing down a ladder from ground level. Inside the room, was Alfredo Garrido-Moreno, 26, hiding under a table. Garrido-Moreno was arrested for illegal re-entry to the country after being deported. Wednesday, his bond was set at $40,000.

As investigators continued searching Manzano’s home, they discovered 61 grams of methamphetamine and U.S. Attorney Tara McGrath said a “substantial” amount of narcotics packaging and other materials were found, and as a result, Manzano Jr. could face drug-related charges. The hidden room is believed to have been used to hide unauthorized immigrants and/or drugs.

McGrath said Manzano Jr. has ties to Mexico, where his girlfriend lives, and crosses the border frequently. McGrath added that he had previously been arrested for driving drunk, but never reported it to the Border Patrol Agency.

While U.S. Customs and Border Protection have yet to comment on the case, they did release a statement. Included in that statement was the following:

“We do not tolerate corruption or abuse within our ranks, and we fully cooperate with any criminal or administrative investigations of alleged misconduct by any of our personnel, on or off duty.”

“Corruption by employees tarnishes our badge and our reputation, brings dishonor to our service and most importantly jeopardizes our border security.”


Tuesday, a U.S. Border Patrol agent was charged with harboring a twice-removed undocumented immigrant, and lying to federal investigators. The immigrant he was harboring? His father.

In the working-class neighborhood of San Ysidro, California, Marcos Gerardo Manzano Jr. allegedly told his father that officers were looking for him, and agreed to let him stay at his home.

Last month, when federal investigators reportedly asked the 26-year-old if he knew where his father was, he said he did not, but admitted he knew his father was a deported felon.

In October of 2006, the father, Marcos Gerardo Manzano Sr, 46, was convicted of a marijuana offense. A few months later, he was deported to Mexico.

According to the complaint against Manzano Jr., his father was seen leaving and arriving at his son’s Southern California home beginning in September 2009.  On Monday night, Manzano Jr. was arrested at the Border Patrol station in Imperial Beach. However, Manzano Sr. was not found when a FBI SWAT team raided the Manzano home Tuesday morning. Manzano Sr. is considered a fugitive by the FBI.

Though Manzano Sr. was not in the house when SWAT raided it, another undocumented immigrant staying at the house, Jose Alfredo Garrido-Morena, was found and arrested.  Manzano Jr. and Garrido-Morena were being held in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown San Diego pending their initial appearances in federal court, scheduled for Wednesday.

The Border Corruption Task Force, being led by the FBI, headed the overall investigation, but declined to reveal why they felt it necessary to send a heavily armed SWAT team to the house to serve the warrant.

It has also been reported that during the raid, agents detained another two men, a one-year-old boy, and three women of unknown relation to the defendants.

Read more at Sign on San Diego →

Fix The Senate: A Call for Filibuster Reform Hits the Floor

Fix The Senate: A Call for Filibuster Reform Hits the Floor

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For the past two years, the Senate Republicans have shamelessly abused Senate rules—including the filibuster—for patently political reasons.

Sadly, most Senate Democrats met the Senate Republicans’ unprecedented obstructionism with complacency rather than conviction.

That may be about to change.

A reform package was introduced by three Democratic senators who have championed the issue of Senate rules reform: Tom Udall of New Mexico, Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Tom Harkin of Iowa.

While the package doesn’t eliminate the filibuster and otherwise falls short of the full reform we would like to see, it represents a step forward. And we need to make sure that the Senate leadership doesn’t further water it down needlessly to appease the Republicans.

Tell Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Chuck Schumer to stand strong on filibuster reform in the Senate.

The filibuster is why health care reform didn’t contain a public health care option similar to Medicare; it’s why no meaningful climate legislation was passed; why even non-controversial judges were denied confirmation despite a crisis in the judiciary; and why even the bipartisan DREAM Act wasn’t even brought to the floor.

With a new Congress comes a chance to change the rules via a simple majority vote. Sens. Udall, Merkley and Harkin have proposed a number of provisions to limit the ability of the Republicans to game the rules and bring the Senate to a grinding halt. Their proposal includes:

1. Making those who filibuster actually stay on the floor and talk, like Jimmy Stewart in the famous scene of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
2. Reducing the opportunities to filibuster
3. Expediting the nominations process for relatively uncontroversial nominees
4. Eliminating secret holds


Read more by HS News Staff →

No Señor those Aren’t Thunder Thighs, It’s a Quarter Million Dollars $$$ of Cocaine

CBP officers working at the Pharr International Bridge came in contact with a northbound 2000 Chevy Impala sedan.  The driver was identified as a female 20-year-old U.S. citizen from Mission, Texas, while the passenger was identified as a 20-year-old Mexican citizen female from Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico.

A CBP officer referred the vehicle and both females to secondary for further inspection. During a secondary inspection, officers seized three packages of alleged cocaine hidden under the driver’s clothing and strapped to her thighs. The alleged cocaine weighed 3.30 kilograms (7.2 lbs.) and was valued at $232,805. Officers also seized four packages of alleged cocaine hidden under the passenger’s clothing and strapped to her thighs.

In this seizure, the alleged cocaine weighed 4.82 kilograms (10.6 lbs.) and was valued at $340,037. In addition to the alleged cocaine, CBP officers also seized the Chevy Impala sedan.

Both females were transferred to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) for further investigation.

Hector A. Mancha, CBP Port Director, Hidalgo/Pharr said, “This is our first body carrier cocaine seizure for this year.” Mancha further said, “I commend our frontline officers for their roles in seizing these two significant drug loads and for their work in securing our nation’s borders.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Undocumented.tv Set to Launch Next Week - Get Ready for the Uproar (VIDEO)

UnDocumented.tv is a media-driven, social-action movement seeking to inspire and mobilize young Evangelical Christians towards championing the needs of immigrants. They are creating provocative, response-oriented short films paired with specific social-action experiences.

UnDocumented.tv intent is to inspire churches and individuals to understand and enter the Immigration Reform conversation. They will challenge their audience to move beyond any existing personal or media-driven bias and toward active involvement in social change on this issue.

According to Undocumented.tv founders:  “Some in our society see immigration as an invasion. Many see immigrants—especially undocumented immigrants—as a threat to our economy, our security, and our national identity.But as followers of Christ, God has been challenging Matthew Soerens and Jesse Oxford to see things differently: as a beautiful, missional opportunity for the Church.”

Undocumented.tv—is positioning itself as resource where people can ask some tough questions and to challenge you to think differently about your undocumented neighbors.

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Read more at Juan Tornoe →

Breast Implant Procedures in Argentina Under the Radar for Tax Evasion

Tax authorities in Argentina say that based on the number of breast implants imported between 2008-2009, Argentine plastic surgeons have cheated the treasury out of close to $10 million in revenue.

During the years of 2008 and 2009, $15 million worth of breast implants were imported from France, Brazil and the United States, which translates into at least $175 million in cosmetic surgery services billed by plastic surgeons, beauty firms and clinics.

Taking these numbers into account, the Federal Public Revenue Administration estimates that at least $10 million should have been paid in taxes; Ricardo Echegaray, director of the PRA denounced that tax evasion is a common practice among 80 percent of the plastic surgery industry.

It is estimated that “Medical tourism” provides annual income to the nation of $80 million; on average 1,000 foreigners come to Argentina every month to have this kind of procedure, as well as to receive dental implants or fertility treatments among other things, drawn there by bargain prices and the expertise of the physicians.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Walls of Water and Mud Sweep Through Rio de Janeiro, Killing 350 with Many Missing

At least 350 people have died and scores of people are missing when walls of earth and water hit the northern mountain regions of Rio de Janeiro yesterday.

Today people are scrambling to find the missing and trapped under tons of mud affecting people in Brazil that make their homes on precarious mountain sides.  Most of those homes were swept downhill as mudslides from 10 inches of rain coming down in less than a 24 hour period loosened the earth.

Many of the affected areas are not near major cities and are about 40 miles north of Rio, therefore sending help has been difficult.  President Dilma Rousseff, handling her first natural disaster in the country, flew over the devastated region early today.

Read more at Yahoo News →

6 Charged For Conspiring to Provide Weapons to Supposed Colombian Terrorists

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigation into an international weapons trafficking organization operating in the United States and Central and South America has lead to the arrest of six individuals in Colombia charged in the Southern District of Florida.

Franklin William McField-Bent, a/k/a Buda, 53, a Nicaraguan national, who is charged with four counts of conspiring and attempting to provide material support to a designated terrorist organization and three counts of narcotics charges, was arrested in Barranquilla, Colombia on Oct. 8, 2010. Also charged and arrested in Colombia were five members of his drug and weapons smuggling organizations, Jeison Archibold, 29, a Colombian national, Miguel Villela, a/k/a/ “Don Miguel,” 54, a Honduran national, Juan Carlos Cuao Camacho, 40, a Colombian national, Fausto Aguero Alverado, 38, a Honduran national, and Edwin Rodriguez Leon, 28, a Colombian national.

According to the indictment, which was filed on Friday, McField-Bent and others conspired and attempted to provide grenade launchers, grenades, automatic rifles and other weapons to what they thought were members of the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC). The AUC has been designated a foreign terrorist organization by the United States Secretary of State since September 10, 2001. In fact, the defendants were dealing with undercover agents. If convicted, McField-Bent faces a maximum 15-year sentence in prison on each of the four material support counts.

The indictment also alleges that McField-Bent and others conspired and attempted to distribute cocaine knowing that it would eventually be imported into the United States. If convicted, McField-Bent and the other co-defendants face a maximum life sentence on each of the three narcotics charges, and a mandatory minimum 10 year sentence on each count.

The indictment is the result of a joint effort by ICE HSI and DEA special agents to curtail the illicit weapons-for-drugs exchanges in Central and South America. This case is a result of a cooperative federal, state, and local law enforcement investigation, approved and funded by ICE and the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a national DOJ program that supports investigations of significant multi-state and international drug trafficking organizations.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Beatification of John Paul II: One Step Closer as Miracle is Recognized (VIDEO)

Beatification of John Paul II: One Step Closer as Miracle is Recognized (VIDEO)

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Vatican officials have concluded that a miraculous healing credited to the intercession of Pope John Paul II is authentic.

The decision clears the way for the Church to declare the late Pope “blessed,” the final stage on the road to sainthood. The Pope’s beatification could take place as early as April 2, the sixth anniversary of his death, according to veteran Vatican analyst Andrea Tornielli, who broke the news in the Jan. 12 edition of the Italian newspaper, Il Giornale.

Tornielli reported that cardinals and bishops from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints had convened Jan. 11 and “examined and approved the miracle attributed to the intercession of John Paul II.”

The case involves the healing of a French religious sister from Parkinson’s disease. Doctors had diagnosed Sister Marie Simon-Pierre with the condition in 2001. Her fellow sisters had prayed for the late Pope’s intercession, however it was not until Sister Simon-Pierre wrote the pontiff’s name on a paper one night in June 2005 that the miracle occurred.

She was cured by the next morning and immediately took up her work as a nurse in a maternity ward.

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Read more by HS News Staff →

Mississippi’s Arizona Style SB 1070 Bill Faces Uphill Battle

Mississippi’s Arizona Style SB 1070  Bill Faces Uphill Battle

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Public Safety Commissioner Stephen Simpson was called upon to give his opinion on an immigration bill that, if passed and signed into law, would let law enforcement officers in Mississippi demand proof of citizenship from drivers stopped for traffic violations.

The legislation would require his department to hire 11 experts, at a cost of about $1.2 million a year, who would pore over suspected illegal immigrants’ documents to determine their validity, Simpson told members of the Senate Judiciary A Committee.

Local sheriffs then would have to bear the cost of housing the immigrants and pay for transporting them to the nearest U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facility, which is in Louisiana, he said.

“Jails would fill up,” Simpson said. “That’s not to say we don’t need (the legislation).” Simpson added.

Sen. Terry Burton, R-Newton, raised the prospect of additional costs involved in hiring additional prosecutors and judges if the bill were enacted.

“I don’t think a Circuit Court has the authority to determine United States citizenship. That’s my knee-jerk reaction,” said Simpson, a former prosecutor and Circuit Court judge.

The committee hearing provided some insight into the apparent uphill battle facing the legislation, modeled after the high-profile Arizona law, faces in the state Legislature.

Read more at The Commercial Appeal →

Nickelodeon Latin America Begins Production on GRACHI

Nickelodeon Latin America announced the start of production on GRACHI, the network’s fourth original telenovela which will be shot in Miami.  The announcement was made today by Tatiana Rodriguez, Senior Vice President Programming and Creative Strategy for Nickelodeon Latin America.

The network’s latest undertaking will be shot on-set and on location in Miami.  GRACHI will be produced in Spanish and customized to Portuguese for Nickelodeon Brazil and is slated to premiere on Nickelodeon Latin America during the 2nd quarter of 2011.  In addition, the telenovela will be distributed in the in the Unites States, Latin America and Europe by Comarex.

Written by Venezuelan scriptwriter Mariela Romero—whose credits include La Mujer de la Vida, La Hija del Jardinero and Nickelodeon’s hugely popular telenovela Isa TKM, GRACHI is a story where fantasy meets reality creating a whimsical escape for kids that is magically marvelous.

The series, which will be produced using state-of-the-art high definition technology, follows GRACHI, a young girl who must learn to use her new-found magical powers all while coping with school, boys and growing up. Her rivalry with classmate Matilda for the affection of heart-throb Daniel sets the stage for a bewitching battle of spells that is sure to captivate viewers across the region.

GRACHI will premiere pan-regionally in the 2nd quarter of 2011 and will include 75, 1-hour episodes shot in high definition.

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ThursdayJanuary 13, 2011