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TuesdayJanuary 18, 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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Undocumented Immigrant Involved in Fatal Crash Charged with Immigration Violations

The garbage truck driver in a July 2008 fatal collision with a bicyclist in Washington, D.C., was sentenced to 31 months in prison for illegally re-entering the United States after being removed because he was convicted of an aggravated felony.

Marco Rosendo Flores-Fuentes, 48, of Mexico, was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release following his release from prison. Flores-Fuentes pled guilty to the illegal re-entry charge on Oct. 28, 2010.

In his plea, Flores-Fuentes admitted that he is a native and citizen of Mexico with no lawful status in the United States. In July 1992, Flores-Fuentes pled guilty to marijuana importing and distribution charges. After serving a 27-month sentence for those crimes, both aggravated felonies, he was removed from the United States in April 1994. Flores-Fuentes further admitted in his plea that he illegally reentered the United States approximately three or four years later.

According to court documents, Flores-Fuentes later obtained various licenses, including a commercial driver’s license, from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, and each of those licenses bore a fictitious date of birth. In addition, Flores-Fuentes utilized fraudulent immigration documents to obtain employment with KMG Hauling, Inc, a Virginia-based garbage collection company. In July 2008, while driving a garbage truck for KMG in Washington, D.C., Flores-Fuentes was involved in a fatal collision with a 24-year-old female bicyclist.

The parties later settled that civil lawsuit out of court subject to a non-disclosure agreement.

Read more by HS News Staff →

World Travel Strong in 2010 According to UN, 8% Increase in the Americas

Boosted by improved economic conditions worldwide, international tourism has recovered faster than expected from the impacts of the global financial crisis and economic recession of late 2008 and 2009.

International tourist arrivals were up by 6.7% compared to 2009, with positive growth reported in all world regions. Worldwide, the number of international tourist arrivals reached 935 million, up 58 million from 2009 and 22 million more than the pre-crisis peak level of 2008 (913 million).

While all regions posted growth in international tourist arrivals, emerging economies remain the main drivers of this recovery. This multi-speed recovery, lower in advanced economies (+5%), faster in emerging ones (+8%), is a reflection of the broader global economic situation and is set to dominate 2011 and the foreseeable future.

Specifically, in the Americas (+8% to 151 million) rebounded from the decline in 2009 brought on by the economic hardship suffered in North America and the impact of the influenza A(H1N1) outbreak. The return to growth in the US economy has helped improve the region’s results as a whole, as did the increasing regional integration in Central and South America and the vitality of Latin American economies. Growth was strongest in South America (+10%).

The Caribbean and Central America are just back at 2008 levels, while in Central and Eastern Europe, and Southern and Mediterranean Europe growth was still insufficient to make up for the lost tourist flows of 2009. In contrast, Northern Europe did not return to positive growth in 2010.

Growth in international tourism receipts continued to lag somewhat behind that of arrivals during 2010, as is the trend during periods of recovery. Among the top outbound tourism markets in terms of expenditure abroad, emerging economies continued to drive growth: China (+17%), the Russian Federation (+26%), Saudi Arabia (+28%) and Brazil (+52%). Of the traditional source markets, Australia (+9%), Canada (+8%), Japan (+7%) and France (+4%) rebounded, while more modest growth at 2% came from the USA, Germany and Italy. On the opposite side of the spectrum, expenditure abroad from the UK was still down by 4% in 2010.

Read more at UN World Travel Organization →

Mexican Musicians Killed by Disgruntled Grenade-Throwing Patrons for Refusing an Encore

Jonathan Martinez and Gustavo Alejandro were finishing their music set at the La Excelencia bar in Guadalajara yesterday morning when things got very ugly.

It was 4:00 a.m. and the bar was closing when intoxicated bar patrons asked for an encore, they complied hoping to avoid problems.  Then the bar owner fearing for his license shut the music down even though another encore was being demanded. 

One of the intoxicated patrons threw a live grenade on stage injuring bar patrons and forcing others to flee.  As musicians Martinez and Alejandro fled to the front door they were met with a barrage of bullets that killed them.

It is believed the disgruntled patrons killed them because they were refused an encore. 

Read more at NY Daily News →

Fourth Detainee Dies in ICE Custodyin Fiscal Year 2011

Fourth Detainee Dies in ICE Custodyin Fiscal Year 2011

Photo: ICE Badge

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A Mexican national in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement since Jan. 6 passed away on Jan. 13 at Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center as a result of natural causes.

On Jan. 6, 2011, Juan Palomo-Rodriguez, 30, was transferred to ICE custody from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). On Jan. 10, Mr. Rodriguez began vomiting and became disoriented. Mr. Rodriguez was transported to Memorial Hermann Medical Center for evaluation. Doctors determined that Mr. Rodriguez had a mass in his brain that hemorrhaged. The preliminary diagnosis is that leukemia caused the brain mass.

Consistent with ICE protocol, the appropriate state health and local law enforcement agencies have also been informed. ICE has notified Mexico consular officials and next of kin.

Rodriguez is the fourth detainee to pass away in ICE custody in fiscal year 2011.

Read more at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement →

BUSTED Largest Cocaine Lab in Europe Has Been Dismantled in Spain (VIDEO)

The largest cocaine laboratory in Spain, has been busted; it existed surrounded by sheep and cattle at the end of a muddy road, some 40 miles from Madrid.

The humble looking villa was painted white, and the only suspicious item was an abandoned forklift in the driveway.  Nobody would have thought inside the country home there was an avant-garde laboratory, complete with a 33-ton stockpile of chemicals needed to manufacture cocaine, automatic pistols, iPads,  some 450 BlackBerry phones stacks of €500 and countless shrink-wrapped blocks of cocaine.

Twenty-five people were arrested, and assets valued at €50m ($67m) were seized and everyone associated with the villa is under investigation.

“I have worked in the drug squad for 20 years and have never seen anything like it or heard of anything comparable in the rest of Europe,” said Francisco Miguelañez,  head of the counternarcotics unit.

“I couldn’t believe it when the police arrived. The guy there, who I knew as Nestor, seemed so normal. He would say hello and sometimes sat down for a beer if I offered him one; he said he worked over the internet.” Said a local resident and neighbor, genuinely surprised at the findings.

Police made public the laboratory’s discovery today, although an armed team had stormed the building as early as January 7th.

“When I woke up that day, there was a helicopter circling round and round, but the police wouldn’t tell us why they had arrested him,” Javier said. “I saw them taking away barrels of yellow liquid. They filled up four trucks.”

“They were really paranoid about security,” said Miguelañez, who added that the leaders of the network had heavily armed personal bodyguards with large machetes and Russian-made semi-automatic pistols that had not yet been seen among organized criminal organizations in Spain.

Five days after the bust, police in Spain seized 356 pounds of cocaine hidden inside plastic bananas that had been concealed in a 20-ton shipment of real fruit from Ecuador.  Four people were arrested and police believe one of the four arrested is the leader of the ring who was responsible for maintaining contacts with the Colombian drug cartels that supplied the narcotics.

Last year dozens of packets of cocaine that were hidden in boxes of bananas found their way to supermarkets across Madrid.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Affirmative Action Bans Have Consequences

As an increasing number of states are banning affirmative action in their institutes of higher education, researchers warn of the negative outcome.

It is said that the ban would result in fewer black and Latino students being accepted into the best schools, and they would instead be “shuffled-down” to less selective universities or even community colleges. White and Asian students would reportedly fill the top-tier schools.

As of November 2010, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Nebraska, Texas and Washington have all banned affirmative action in public higher education institutes. In Arizona, one paper stated that it was “no longer needed” despite large amounts of research pointing out that “race-blind” admissions in states with bans are failing to keep up with the changing demographics.

In a new book titled Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, it is reported that in California in 1994, four years before voters approved a ban on affirmative action, 38 percent of high school graduates and 18 percent of University of California students were black, Latino, or Native American. In 2008, after ten years without affirmative action, the very same minorities made up almost 50 percent of high school graduates, but only 20 percent of UC students.

Equal Opportunity co-editors Eric Grodsky, a sociologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Michal Kurlaender, a professor of education at the University of California, Davis said, “By stepping back from its commitment to affirmative action, we believe California and other states and colleges have contributed to an increase in racial and ethnic stratification. Within college types, [underrepresented minority] students tended to shift from higher-to lower-quality colleges and universities. … African American and Latino undergraduates in the state of California may be worse off now than they were 10 years ago.”

Opponents of affirmative action have said they believe students of color are better off at the less selective schools, because they are less prepared for college than their white peers, since they often come from poor backgrounds and mediocre schools.

Affirmative action has been “ruled out” by the U.S. Supreme Court if it’s quotas would be forced to be met, but the court stated that “a narrowly tailored consideration of race in admissions decisions” is legal.

Read more at Miller-McCune →

Nursing Home Closings Concentrated in Hispanic and Black Neighborhoods

While demographic shifts project an increased need for long-term care for an aging population, hundreds of nursing homes close each year, geographically concentrated in minority communities.

A study conducted from 1999-2008 by a group of medical experts show that 1,776 nursing homes closed, representing 11 percent of all nursing homes in the U.S.  And nursing homes in Hispanic or black neighborhoods were twice as likely to close. 

The findings indicate that Hispanic and black families will have limited access to quality elder care in the future. This will be especially difficult for Hispanic families since Hispanics tend to outlive the general population and are the fastest growing minority in the country.

More importantly, the distance to the nearest operating nursing home has increased over the last ten years, more substantially in poor and minority zip codes than in nonpoor and nonminority zip codes.

Read more at Archives of Internal Medicine →

Madrid Gets Ready to Welcome the Garbage Hotel (VIDEO)

A five room hotel made out of garbage, will be erected in the emblematic Callao Plaza in Madrid, Spain.

Designed by German architect HA Schult, the hotel will visit Madrid from January 19 to the 23rd, coinciding with the International Fair of Tourism.

“Garbage is in the heart of us all. We are all garbage, and so the garbage is a mirror of ourselves.” Said Schult.

Schult built panels out of 12 tons of garbage found in European beaches. These panels, are the walls and divisions of the hotel, which was last year in Rome, celebrating the international environment week in July.

The project is a part of the “Coronita Save the Beach” initiative, a venture that since 2008 has been working in promoting the conservation of European beaches, and making people aware of their state of decline.

The hotel will be open to the public between 11am and 7pm, and every night ten people will stay the night in one of its five double suites. These 10 spots will be raffled through their website (www.coronitasavethebeach.org), and their Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/savethebeach). 

Read more by HS News Staff →

BREAKING NEWS:  Justice Dept. Allows Comcast-NBC Merger with Conditions

The Department of Justice announced today a settlement with Comcast Corp. and General Electric Co.’s subsidiary NBC Universal Inc. (NBCU) that allows their joint venture to proceed conditioned on the parties’ agreement to license programming to online competitors to Comcast’s cable TV services, subject themselves to anti-retaliation provisions and adhere to Open Internet requirements. 

The department said that the proposed settlement will preserve new content distribution models that offer more products and greater innovation, and the potential to provide consumers access to their favorite programming on a variety of devices in a wide selection of packages.

The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, along with five state attorneys general, filed a civil antitrust lawsuit today in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, to block the formation of the joint venture, alleging that the transaction would allow Comcast to limit competition from its cable, satellite, telephone and online competitors.  At the same time, the department and the states filed a proposed settlement that, if approved by the court, would resolve the competitive concerns in the lawsuit.  The participating states are: California, Florida, Missouri, Texas and Washington. 

Under the proposed settlement and the FCC order, the joint venture must make available to online video distributors (OVDs) the same package of broadcast and cable channels that it sells to traditional video programming distributors.  In addition, the joint venture must offer an OVD broadcast, cable and film content that is similar to, or better than, the content the distributor receives from any of the joint venture’s programming peers.  These peers are NBC’s broadcast competitors (ABC, CBS and FOX), the largest cable programmers (News Corp., Time Warner Inc., Viacom Inc. and The Walt Disney Co.), and the largest video production studios (News Corp., Sony Corporation of America, Time Warner Inc., Viacom Inc. and The Walt Disney Co.).

Comcast is a Pennsylvania corporation headquartered in Philadelphia.  It is the largest video programming distributor in the nation, with approximately 23 million video subscribers.  Comcast wholly owns national cable programming networks (e.g., E! Entertainment, Golf, Style), has partial interests in other networks (e.g., MLB Network, PBS KIDS Sprout), and has controlling interests in regional sports networks.  Comcast also owns digital properties such as DailyCandy.com, Fandango.com and Fancast, its online video website.  In 2009, Comcast reported total revenues of $32 billion. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

New Report Shows the Economic Benefit of Low-Skilled Immigration

New Report Shows the Economic Benefit of Low-Skilled Immigration

Photo: low-skill jobs

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A new report for the Migration Policy Institute states that despite what many have said in regards to the benefits of only highly skilled immigrants, it is just as important to the economy to have low-skilled immigrants as well.

Though economists are still arguing over the costs and benefits of less-skilled immigrants, the report Immigration Policy and Less-Skilled Workers in the United States: Reflections on Future Directions for Reform, Professor Harry Holzer of the Georgetown Public Policy Institutes states that he found that the benefits of low-skilled immigrants mostly go to the employers who get to pay the workers lower wages, but the benefits also reach both higher and lower-income consumers, as they both purchase the goods and/or services produced by the lower skilled workers.

The negative aspect of these lower skilled workers is seen amongst U.S.-born low-skilled workers and immigrants who come to the country earlier, as they must compete over the low-skill jobs with new immigrants coming in. However, Holzer, a former chief economist for the Labor Department said that this negative aspect is relatively modest, and the positive still far surpasses it.

“Even the most negative estimates of the impacts of less-skilled immigrants on U.S. workers in similar jobs suggest that in the long run, immigration accounts for only a small share of the deterioration observed in less-skilled Americans’ employment and earnings,” said Holzer.

Holzer argued that an “optimal level” of less-skilled immigration is too complex to determine, but gave suggestions on how to modify immigration policy to increase the benefits of such workers.

·  Providing pathways to legal status and citizenship for low-skilled workers already here, and a legal route for future workers by using provisional visas that make it possible for some temporary workers to become permanent residents.

·  Allowing less-skilled workers on employment-based visas to switch employers more easily and gain a path to citizenship.

·  Setting employer visa fees at a level sufficient to offset some of the costs that low-skilled immigration imposes.

·  Ensuring flexibility in the numbers admitted so that flows can respond to employer demand and macroeconomic conditions.

Read Holzer’s full report here.

Read more at Metro Latino USA →

Pundits Explaining America’s Sarah Palin Fascination: ‘She’s Snooki!’

Political pundits are always trying to figure why America is so fascinated with Sarah Palin and spend alot of time analyzing her every move.  Yesterday MSNBC’s Morning Joe team was discussing Palin’s ‘blood libel’ comments when guest Donny Deutsch, advertising guru, basically explained her persona the same as Snooki, from Jersey Shore.  Was this a polite way of saying she’s white trash without the Jersey accent??  Snooki is actually of Italian and Chilean descent so she’s more ethnic trash. 

Enjoy our humor in our Amigo o Enemigo section


Read more by HS News Staff →

Immigration Judges Being Crushed by Full Caseloads say Southwest Needs More Judges NOW!

On the day of the Tucson, Arizona shooting that killed six, and injured another thirteen, Arizona’s Chief U.S. District Judge John Roll reportedly arrived at the meet-and-greet event to speak with Rep. Gabrielle Giffords about the exorbitant caseloads each judge was trying to handle. Sadly, Judge Roll was shot and killed at that Tucson grocery store, but both his wife and fellow judge Fred Biery say they hope that, from this tragedy, the message he was trying to convey will finally be heard.

With all the focus on immigration in the Southwestern states recently, and due to the lack of judges to try them, “The caseload [for each judge] is enormous,” said Biery. “Perhaps out of this tragedy people will focus on what is going on down here.”

Among all the judges in the area though, the number of cases each of them sees yearly varies. The one judge in Del Rio, Texas is handling about 2,000 cases a year, while in El Paso, four judges split about 4,000 yearly.

In Laredo, Texas, things are horribly backed-up as there are two judicial vacancies. At the end of 2010, the number of pending cases (5,875) had risen 15 percent from the same time in 2009.

Over in the U.S. District of Arizona, there was a 67 percent hike in the number of cases filed, while the District of New Mexico saw an 18 percent increase.

In his annual report, Chief Justice Roberts said the White House was failing to nominate and confirm judges in a timely matter, and that it had “created acute difficulties in some judicial districts.”

Immigration cases in U.S. federal courts nationwide rose 9 percent, but Roberts stated that in that 73 percent of those cases were filed in the five Southwest border districts in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and the Western and Southern judicial districts of Texas.

President Obama has nominated two people to fill a couple of Laredo’s judicial vacancies, and they currently await Senate approval. He has not yet nominated anyone for the empty seats in El Paso and San Antonio.

Another part of the hold-up is the fact that state senators have been arguing over those nominated for the judgeships, and the senators have the power to block any nominees in their home state.

The state senators however, argue being blamed for the backup, and say the problem is the ever-increasing size of the caseloads, not the lack of judicial nomination approvals.

Read more at Houston Chronicle →

NarcoPigeon Arrested for Drug Trafficking to Colombian Jailbirds (VIDEO)

NarcoPigeon Arrested for Drug Trafficking to Colombian Jailbirds (VIDEO)

Photo: Narco-Pigeon. Drug Trafficking Pigeon in Colombia

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Police in the city of Bucaramanga who found the bird, said it was unable to fly over the prison wall, weighed down by a heavy mini back pack of sort.  Upon investigation, it was discovered the narcobird was carrying 45 grams of marijuana and some crack cocaine to the Colombian inmates.

“Due to the extra weight, the pigeon was unable to reach its objective inside the prison” said General José Ángel Mendoza, of the metropolitan police.

Police are investigating the case, no arrests have been made so far.

The animal has been turned in to the Environment and Ecology Police force in the city.  It is believed that the narcobird might of been making several trips back and forth bringing drugs to the inmates and was trained by them and accomplices in the city. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Some Las Vegas Casino’s Peg Growth to Engaging a Spanish Speaking, Latino Clientele

Hispanics, the nation’s largest and fastest-growing minority, are quickly becoming a majority of the population in Southern California, and the largest source of new casino clientele for Las Vegas.

In the past Las Vegas would engage in an occasional “Latin Night” or Mexican buffets to attract the California Hispanic audience now they are putting big bucks behind their efforts. 

For example, Primm Hotels, which operates three budget hotel/casinos headlined with Mexican norteño musician Ramon Ayala which attracted 10,000 people.  They are now planning to contract Los Tigres del Norte and Jenni Rivera.

Las Vegas marketing firms are finding that Hispanics tend to visit the area in large groups, come to spend controlled amounts of money and are undemanding customers.  Most importantly the casino that does the reaching out and gets their business tends to see the Hispanic client as loyal to them.

The Vegas strip is responding with bilingual staff, Latino entertainment, and special events like Tex-Mex Tours and Mexican Fiesta night.

Read more at Las Vegas Sun →

Mississippi’s Gov. Barbour Considering Arizona-Style Immigration Bill

Mississippi’s Gov. Barbour Considering Arizona-Style Immigration Bill

Photo: Gov. Haley Barbour

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As Republican Gov. Haley Barbour serves his last term, and considers a run for president, he is preparing the state of Mississippi to take on the issue of immigration.

Barbour said in a December interview that he believes it to be reasonable to allow local law enforcement to ask the immigration status of anyone they stop for traffic violations or other suspected offenses. He was quick to acknowledge the much-appreciated help of the immigrants that came to help restore the areas badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

“I don’t think there’s any question that we had a tremendous number of people come in, and I have no doubt some of them weren’t here legally,” said Barbour. “I don’t know where we’d have been without them.”

As Barbour seems almost at odds with himself, Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, who is looking to take over when Barbour’s term ends, has been one of the state and country’s most strident advocates of Mississippi’s Arizona-like immigration bill currently making its way through the capitol. The bill would allow police to, during a traffic stop or other inquiry, check the immigration status of anyone they suspected was in the country illegally. Opponents of the bill say it would force officers to racially profile. Bill writers say this would not occur and state the bill specifically denounces and prohibits such discrimination.

Last week, a rally led by MIRA (Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance) had 80 people come together to speak out against the proposal. Joining the group was the NAACP’s Mississippi president Derrick Johnson who stated that “any legislation that discriminates against Latinos, discriminates against African-Americans.” Johnson added that many Latinos coming to the U.S. are only in search of work to help their struggling families.

The day after the rally, Tea Party activists and supporters of the Arizona-style legislation were in attendance at a Senate committee meeting to show their support of the bill. A surgeon from Jackson stated that he believes undocumented immigration poses security risks and steals jobs from American citizens. He also stated his disapproval of social benefits for the unauthorized.

If Barbour decides to run for president in 2012, it is certain he’ll face the immigration debate often.

For now, he says he’ll neither veto nor approve any bill until he has read it very carefully, because unlike Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas, Mississippi is not a border state so it does not have the same issues to consider. An immigration bill mirroring Arizona’s may not be appropriate for his state he said.

Read more at Fox News Latino →

Mexico Captures “Most Wanted” Zetas Founder ”El Amarillo”

Mexico Captures “Most Wanted” Zetas Founder ”El Amarillo”

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Mexican officials announced today that one of the country’s most wanted fugitives has been arrested in southern Mexico. Flavio Mendez Santiago, alias “El Amarillo,” was arrested Monday in a federal police operation in a town north of Oaxaca, Mexico, Mexico’s public security ministry confirmed.

Mendez, 35, has been on Mexico’s Most Wanted List. A reward of $1.2 million for his reward has been posted, at this time it is not known if anyone will claim the reward. Mendez is one of the original members of the Zetas Drug Cartel.

The Zetas are one of Mexico’s largest drug trafficking organizations that have been linked to thousands of violent killings.

The Gulf Cartel created the Zetas as their enforcement arm originally. An internal dispute caused the Zetas to split off and there has been conflict between the two cartels since.

Mendez was in charge of the Zeta cartels operations as well as controlling the flow of illegal immigrants coming into Mexico from Central and South America.

It is expected that the arrest will disrupt Zetas operations, though the top two leaders Heriberto Lazcano and Miguel Trevino, remain at large.

Read more at CNN →

WIKILEAKS: Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom Said Rigoberta Menchu is “A Fabrication”

WIKILEAKS: Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom Said Rigoberta Menchu is “A Fabrication”

Photo: Wikileaks said President of Guatemala Alvaro Colom Called Rigoberta Menchú a "Fabrication."

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The President of Guatemala, Álvaro Colom, was the latest world leader to blush and issue damage control half-apologies following an embarrassing WikiLeaks revelation.

A diplomatic document leaked to Wikileaks and published by the whistle-blowing site says the Guatemalan President described the revered Nobel Peace Prize laureate Rigoberta Menchu as a “fabrication” of French anthropologist Elizabeth Burgos.  Burgos helped author the biography “I Rigoberta Menchú,” which introduced the Nobel Prize winner known as a human rights activist to the world. 

The cable sent in July of 2008, revealed comments that Colom made to the then U.S. ambassador James Derham, where he said that “[Menchu is] widely disliked by Guatemalan indigenous people” and then commented on her poor results in the 2007 elections as an example of that dislike.

Menchú‘s organization regretted the comments, and praised Menchú‘s work and said that “through her life, she has been a defender of human rights, of the indigenous people’s rights, of justice, and peace.”

Menchú called the leader a “liar” on an interview with a local radio station.

Read more by HS News Staff →

BREAKING NEWS:  Jean-Claude, Baby Doc, Duvalier Arrested in Haiti (VIDEO)

As everyone is trying to figure how and why former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier returned to his homeland, officials are visiting him in his post hotel room.

Duvalier, returned to Haiti some 25 years later, after being in exile in France.  Baby Doc arrived over the weekend right when a Presidential election runoff was expected and then cancelled.

Regardless of his motive he remains despised by many for his human rights abuses that included the killing and torture of thousands, according to Human Rights Watch.

More than 20 police officers went to the Karibe Hotel where he is staying along with a judge and prosecutor.  Media was barred from entering.  A helicopter could be heard loudly overhead and United Nations officials were at the scene. 

Related Videos

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazilian Man Rescued After Being Trapped Under 13 Feet of Mud for 16 Hours (VIDEO)

Marcelo Fonseca, a 42 year old Brazilian man was pulled out of thick mud by rescuers digging with their hands through layers of debris caused by a landslide, product of the torrential rains pouring down Teresopolis, and other towns north of Rio de Janeiro.

Fonseca said he wasn’t quick enough to get out of the way of the avalanche of mud and water.

“When I opened the window I only heard that loud thud and I only had time to run. When I ran and reached the front door it was such a powerful thing, that I only saw some pieces of the roof flying and some pieces of wood,” he told the newspaper.

“My chest was being crushed by a stone and I was trapped; my two feet were trapped,” he added.

Fonseca was lucky to have walked out of his brush with death with just a few bruises and a mild liver infection; he’s recovering in the hospital and doctors said he is expected to make a full recovery.

At least 655 people have died, victims to the inclement weather this season in Brazil.

Read more by HS News Staff →

14 Year-Old California Boy Bolts Baseball Practice and Leaps to Death at Nearby Hotel

14 Year-Old California Boy Bolts Baseball Practice and Leaps to Death at Nearby Hotel

Photo: Sheraton-Delfina Hotel

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Matthew Mezza has the entire community of Santa Monica in shock and dismay when he leapt to his death Friday after bolting from his baseball practice. 

The high-school freshman was practicing with his team when he left abruptly and without provocation crossed the street to the Sheraton-Delfina Hotel, went to the 10th floor and leapt to his death with his teammates looking on. Some teammates heard him say he was going to jump off a building so they followed him. 

By all early accounts Matthew was an excellent student, avid athlete and had many friends at the Santa Monica High School.  The tragic incident is under investigation.

Read more at La Times →

Sacramento County Uses Biometrics to Remove 461 Undocumented in First Year

Since its activation in Sacramento County a year ago, Secure Communities’ biometric information-sharing initiative has resulted in the identification and removal of more than 460 convicted criminal immigrants encountered by local law enforcement in Sacramento County.

Secure communities is the center of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) comprehensive strategy to enhance efforts to identify and remove unauthorized immigrants convicted of crimes from the country. It uses biometric identification to alert ICE when potentially removable aliens are arrested by local law enforcement.

Of the 461 convicted criminal aliens removed from Sacramento County in the last year, 192 are considered Level 1 offenders, which includes those convicted of serious or violent crimes, such as murder, sexual assault and robbery. Another 126 are Level 2 offenders, which includes individuals with convictions for offenses such as arson, burglary and property crimes. As part of the Secure Communities strategy, ICE is prioritizing its enforcement efforts to ensure that individuals who pose the greatest threat to public safety are removed first.

Regardless of the offenses for which individuals are initially booked, the Secure Communities screening may reveal more serious criminal histories.

Through enhanced information sharing between the DOJ and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), biometrics submitted through the state to the FBI will be automatically checked against both the FBI criminal history records in IAFIS and the biometrics-based immigration records in DHS’s Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT).

If fingerprints match those of someone in DHS’s biometric system, the new automated process notifies ICE. ICE evaluates each case to determine the individual’s immigration status and takes appropriate immigration enforcement action. This includes aliens who are lawfully and unlawfully in the United States, but who have been arrested and booked into local law enforcement custody for a crime. Once identified through fingerprint matching, ICE prioritizes its response to focus on criminal aliens convicted of the most serious crimes first - such as those with convictions for major drug offenses, murder, rape and kidnapping. In accordance with the Immigration and Nationality Act, ICE continues to take action on aliens subject to removal as resources permit.

“Last year, ICE prevented hundreds of convicted criminal aliens in Sacramento County from being released back into the community,” said Secure Communities Assistant Director David Venturella. “Through the Secure Communities strategy, we’re increasing community safety by enforcing federal immigration law in a smart, effective way that targets individuals who pose the greatest potential threat to public safety for removal first.”

Sacramento County is one of 41 jurisdictions in California that are currently using from Secure Communities. The information sharing capability has resulted in ICE removing nearly 22,000 convicted criminal aliens throughout the state. Nationwide, ICE is using the capability in 969 jurisdictions across 37 states, and it has assisted ICE in removing more than 59,000 undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of a crime.

By 2013, ICE plans to respond nationwide to all fingerprint matches generated through IDENT/IAFIS interoperability.

Read more at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement →

Emerging Economies Like Latin America Attracted Greater Share of Foreign Investment Says UN

Foreign direct investment (FDI) to developing and transition economies rose last year, while investment flows to developed countries declined, the United Nations agency tasked with promoting trade said in an update on global investment trends released today.

Developing and transition economies accounted for more than half of global flows, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) reported, noting that there was a strong rebound in FDI to developing Asian economies and Latin America, while Europe stood out as the region where flows fell the most sharply.

While the increased profits of foreign affiliates, especially in developing countries, boosted reinvested earnings, the uncertainties surrounding global currency markets and European sovereign debt resulted in negative intra-company loans and lower equity investments.

Developing and transition economies accounted for more than half of global flows, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) reported, noting that there was a strong rebound in FDI to developing Asian economies and Latin America, while Europe stood out as the region where flows fell the most sharply.

While the increased profits of foreign affiliates, especially in developing countries, boosted reinvested earnings, the uncertainties surrounding global currency markets and European sovereign debt resulted in negative intra-company loans and lower equity investments.

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TuesdayJanuary 18, 2011