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MondayJanuary 24, 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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Guatemalan-Houston Business Owner Sentenced to 30 Years for Heroin; 1 year for Each Pound Seized

A Guatemalan man was sentenced on Tuesday to 30 years in federal prison without parole for trafficking heroin into the United States from Mexico, announced U.S. Attorney Jose Angel Moreno, Southern District of Texas.

U.S. District Judge Hilda Tagle sentenced Linares-Soberanis to 360 months in federal prison for conspiracy to import 17.8 kilograms (39 pounds) of heroin into the United States from Mexico and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute the heroin. Prior to trial, Linares-Sobernais also pleaded guilty to a third count alleged in the indictment: an alien in possessing a firearm.

During trial, the jury learned that on Nov. 6, 2009, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents discovered 17.8 kilograms of heroin concealed in a vehicle driven by a co-conspirator as he entered the United States through a Brownsville, Texas, Port of Entry. The hollow portion of the drive shafts on Dodge pick-ups contained the concealed heroin. Through further investigation, ICE HSI agents learned that a Linares-Sobernais, a Houston salvage yard owner, was the person to whom the drugs were to be delivered and the person who was to pay for the transporting of the drugs from Mexico to Houston.

The heroin intercepted at the bridge on Nov. 6, 2010 had an estimated street value of more than $8 million according to the testimony of a Drug Enforcement Administration agent.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spain’s Goalkeeper Iker Casillas to Serve as Goodwill Ambassador Focusing on Poverty Reduction

The United Nations (UN) today appointed Spanish football goalkeeper Iker Casillas as a Goodwill Ambassador, with a focus on promoting poverty reduction, education and health, and issues affecting young people in developing countries.

“While my job on the pitch is to prevent goals, my job at the UN will be to help score them,” Mr. Casillas said at his appointment in Geneva, Switzerland. “Bringing attention to the poor conditions people are enduring around the world is essential to motivate action on the world’s pledges to improve their lives.”

The Millennium Development Goalls (MDGs), of which Casillas will be focusing on, are a set of eight globally agreed targets that seek to halve world poverty by 2015 by combating hunger, disease,  illiteracy, environment degradation and discrimination against women. Mr.  Casillas has a history of helping those in need – including the organizing of events such as football charity matches and raising awareness of the needs of children living in poverty in Peru.

Mr. Casillas plays for the Spanish club Real Madrid and serves as captain for both the Spanish national team and Real Madrid. As captain of the national side, he led a young Spanish team to its first European Championship in 44 years. In 2010, he led Spain to their first ever FIFA World Cup in South Africa,  where he also won the Golden Glove Award for the tournament’s best goalkeeper.

Mr. Casillas joins eight other UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors – footballers Ronaldo de Lima, Zinedine Zidane, Didier Drogba and the world’s number one female football player, Marta Vieira da Silva; tennis player Maria Sharapova; Spanish performer Antonio Banderas;  Japanese actress Misako Konno; and Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway. The Ambassadors articulate the UNDP development philosophy and help motivate people to act in the interest of improving their own lives and those of their fellow citizens.

“I am very honoured to be part of this comic book,” he said, at the launch. “It is a fantastic fun way to raise awareness and to educate children around the world about the Millennium Development Goals, and about important life values such as tolerance, respect and team spirit. As it says in the comic book: Together we can make it happen!”

The 32-page educational comic book features ten football Goodwill Ambassadors – Emmanuel Adebayor, Roberto Baggio, Michael Ballack, Iker Casillas, Didier Drogba, Luis Figo, Raúl, Ronaldo, Patrick Vieira, and Zinédine Zidane – who become shipwrecked on an island on their way to playing an “all-star” charity football game in support of the UN. Whilst on the island, the team has to tackle the eight MDGs along their journey towards being rescued.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Virginia Delegate Looking to Introduce 3 Bills confronting Undocumented Immigration

Virginia Delegate Looking to Introduce 3 Bills confronting Undocumented Immigration

Photo: Del. Todd Gilbert of Virginia

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Tuesday, Republican delegate Todd Gilbert of Virginia, introduced three bills to the state’s General Assembly in his attempt to confront undocumented immigration.

One of Gilbert’s bills, HB 1775 is meant to tell taxpayers how much it costs each of them to allow undocumented children in Virginia’s public schools.

Gilbert’s says HB 1775 is not meant to identify each undocumented child, but rather, determine the cost of educating them.

“It would have the benefit of giving us a pretty good snapshot how much money is being spent on children who are not here legally,” said Gilbert. “[It’s] helping fix our broken immigration system.”

Almost 30 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that every child in the country is to be educated, regardless of their immigration status, but Gilberts said, “The cost of educating kids illegally far and away exceeds the minimal cost to get a headcount.”

Gilbert’s other two bills include House Bill 1777, and HB 1781.

HB 1781 would make anyone who actively participates in or is a criminal member of a street gang, a Class 5 felon. While HB 1777 makes the manufacturing of fake birth certificates a Class 6 felony, and no longer a misdemeanor.

Fellow Republican delegate Scott Lingamfelter of Prince William County said additional bills include:

• have state police perform certain federal immigration law-enforcement functions

• ban state departments or employee from restricting the enforcement of federal immigration laws, require citizenship or legal presence for public assistance

• make any crime committed in associate with street gangs a Class 5 or Class 4 felony, require the Secretary of Public Safety to establish an information exchange program with all border states to share intelligence on gangs, terror organizations and other illegal activity

• make manufacturing, selling, or transferring a fictitious birth certificate a Class 6 felony, ban illegal immigrants from enrolling in any public institution of higher education in Virginia

• require the Department of Motor Vehicles to cancel any license, permit, or special identification card it has issued to an individual if it is notified by a federal government agency that that individual is an illegal immigrant

Lingamfelter said he hopes the bills will strike the federal government to take action rather than “stand by and watch the situation deteriorate.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Hispanic Republican and Chair of Foreign Affair Comm., Ros-Lehtinen, Seeks to Reduce UN Funding

The new chairperson of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, has gone on the record and identified funding to the United Nations (UN) as “a waste of taxpayer dollars.”

She made the comments to The Hill and wants to quickly move forward to scale back funding to the UN especially the UN Human Rights Council.  She justified her position, by opining that the UN does not “advance UN interest” and therefore wants to “make sure that we once and for all kill all U.S. funding for that beast.”

It is not clear why Ros-Lehtinen feels the UN has to promote U.S. interests in order to be deemed viable, though she like many others are critical on the lack of transparency and fraud issues that have plagued the UN. 

The UN serves hundreds of nations including many Latin American nations that use the international body to solve conflicts or seek military intervention if like Costa Rica they do not have a standing military. 

The U.S. contributions to the UN through its various agencies was more than $6.35 billion in FY 2009.

Read more at The Hill →

EXCLUSIVE HS-News Interview With JUDY REYES and her Sojourn to Sundance this Week

EXCLUSIVE HS-News Interview With JUDY REYES and her Sojourn to Sundance this Week

Photo: Judy Reyes exclusive Interview With Juan Laverde from HS-News

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You probably know her from her emblematic and hilarious role as nurse Carla Espinosa in the comedy show Scrubs, but Judy is currently starring in a Sundance film called Gun Hill Road.

Judy plays the lead female role in Rashaad Ernesto Green’s Gunhill Road, which is competing against 15 other feature length American dramas this week at the Sundance Film Festival.

Gun Hill Road is the first feature-length film by Rashaad Ernesto Green, an award-winning director of short films such as Premature, and Cuts and Choices.  Green began writing the script in 2009 and filmed it in only 22 days between July and August of 2010. The film was shot on location in the Bronx, in areas including Dewitt Clinton High School and on Gun Hill Road itself.

Gun Hill Road is a family drama set in the multiracial Bronx. An ex-con father played by Esai Morales returns from his latest three-year prison stint to find that everything has changed. His wife and child reject his attempts to re-establish himself as head of the household, and continue to harbor deep secrets that, if discovered, will tear at the fragile bonds of their embattled family. In Judy Reyes words, the movie highlights a very important premise: “If we are asking to be accepted, we must be accepting of others.”

HS-News had the immense pleasure of talking to Judy Reyes about the film, “Angela,” the character she plays, Sundance and much more.

Judy Reyes, was born to Dominican parents, and grew up along with three sisters in the Bronx. After a life-changing performance at her mother’s church, the young actress enrolled in theater classes at Hunter College in Manhattan, and in 1992 she landed her first major acting role in the independent feature film Jack and his Friends opposite Sam Rockwell.

From here she went on to perform extensively in the New York theater.

She is particularly proud of her work with the LAByrinth Theatre Company, a multicultural acting space in Manhattan where she is a founding member, along with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Rockwell, John Ortiz and Lauren Velez, among others. She has served as a member of the Company in numerous productions over the past 15 years.

Okay, tell us about Gun Hill Road

Judy Reyes
Gun Hill Road is a wonderful indie feature Starring Esaí Morales (Bad Boys, La Bamba, NYPD Blue) , myself and a young newcomer named Harmony Santana, and is about a man who is finished with three years in prison and returns to his stomping grounds in the Bronx, to his family—his wife and son. Hoping to pick up where he left off and follow a straightened out path, he finds that his wife is estranged, his son doesn’t really want to be like him, and is also going through a huge sexual transformation and identity crisis that is pretty much threatening to tear the family apart. I played the mom, Angela, who is trying to be the glue that holds this family together, and comes to have some serious issues at home, as far as maintaining the family, understanding the son, and trying to be the peacekeeper between the two of them.

Sounds complex. Tell us more about this character, Angela. How did you become interested in the part? What did you do to prepare for it? It’s a bit of a departure from comedy.  It’s a drama, correct?

Judy Reyes
Yes, correct. I am trained in the theater mostly; this was actually an opportunity I was really excited to see when I was offered the role. A dear friend of mine told me “There’s a script that went to your manager, read it and let me know what you think,  ‘cause they’re going to offer it to you,” and sure enough, a couple of days later, I got this script called “Gun Hill Road

I was born and raised in the Bronx actually, the street that I grew up on—most of my life, is perpendicular to Gun Hill road.

I just couldn’t believe the opportunity that came before me when I saw this magnificent script, with this magnificent role, with so many colors… where I’m the greatest mom but go through all these changes, and this incredible journey, in terms of trying to be there, be a present being, and be a real woman also, be there for her husband and for her child.

I just had a baby, my baby was seven months old then, when I was shooting, and it was an opportunity to get back to my roots and to really challenge myself. Once I got it, I got so excited and… terrified I had to do it, I couldn’t stop myself.

And in terms of preparation, at the moment I got the role and it was confirmed that I was going to be fortunate enough to definitely play it, I got to New York City early, and I wanted to work with my usual acting coach but she wasn’t available unfortunately, but Rashaad Ernesto Green the writer/director, was working very closely with Harmony Santana (who is playing the role of Michael) because Harmony has never acted before, so that was a good way to prepare thoroughly for the role.

Tell us about working with Esaí Morales. What was it like being married to him for 22 summer days?

Judy Reyes
Esai is great, he’s super super thorough, he’s quite the professional, I’ve been a fan of his since before “La Bamba”, since “Bad Boys,” you know?  What we did was we kind of like instinctive. We immediately fell into our of characters, and interacted just as husband and wife, from the beginning and sort of built a history, staying in character even when we weren’t in rehearsals just talking to each other as the character Angela and Enrique.  That was a lot of fun.  He understands the life on set, camera angles, and knows exactly what he likes to see. Esai was very very helpful , especially in such a limited budget environment, by being helpful to the crew and things like that, he’s a professional guy.

Let’s talk about Sundance. Are you going to Sundance?

Judy Reyes
Yes. I’ve never been and… before I moved out to Los Angeles I had the good fortune to be in a bunch of independent films, but I never made the trip out to Sundance. I’m a huge fan of independent film, so to be there, with our film…nothing short of a passion project… to be able to make it to such a well regarded festival with our film that was shot in 22 days, that is such a successful reward that I’m just so honored and excited to be there.      

In Sundance, you are competing against other 15 independent films in the American Drama Category.  Some of these films, explore similar themes to Gun Hill road, Latino issues, woman issues, sexual identity issues… What sets Gun Hill Road apart from these films?

Judy Reyes
I couldn’t tell you because i haven’t seen any of them. That said, I’m looking forward to see them, and see what sets it apart—That’s one of the most exciting things to me about going; not only to have done the kind of work that actually puts us in the competition, but also to be able to see the work of our peers in that competition, so there is just no way I can answer your question honestly, because I don’t know. But I’m definitely looking forward to finding out.

What are Judy Reyes’ expectations about this week at Sundance?

Judy Reyes
You know? I don’t have any… I’m trying to not have any, because you never know… I think Gun Hill Road is an outstanding piece of work.  I’ll have to be wide open when I get there, only because there’s going to be so much going on there, is what I hear.  I’m going to go and enjoy the fact that we did the kind of work that actually got us into that festival, and enjoy being with our peers, out there, the kind of filmmakers that we want to be, hopefully.

I expect that people will appreciate an amazing piece of art, I think Rashaad did amazing work with it, and our blood sweat and tears went with it too.  Harmony Santana, who again did an incredible job, considering the fact that she never acted a day in her life! I expect to be completely blown away by the response, I guess, that’s all i can expect, and to enjoy the ride while I’m there.

Finally, Judy, what other projects are you working on?

Judy Reyes
I have a couple of opportunities in television that I’m exploring currently, and a few things in production that I’m producing with my Baby Daddy—with my boyfriend, in terms of feature films a story set in New Orleans post Katrina… nothing that I can actually elaborate, as a superstitious Latina…

You don’t want to jinx it, we understand. Judy, it was great talking to you, best of luck at Sundance!

Read more by HS News Staff →

Tequila Production in Mexico Rose in 2010

Tequila Production in Mexico Rose in 2010

Photo: Blue Agave Plant

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According to the Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT), Mexico saw the production of tequila rise 3.37 percent in 2010.

The agave plant, which is used to make tequila, topped the one million ton mark for only the third time in Mexico’s history.

In Mexico, thousands of farmers depend on the consumption of agave, but in 2009, that consumption dropped, and the farmers’ livelihoods were at risk.

The CRT say the “recovery” of tequila production in 2010 caused an 11.58 percent export increase from 2009. With the biggest increase seen in the purest tequila, 100-percent-agave tequila.

Blue agave plants take eight years to reach full maturity, and are the only plants used to make tequila.

In terms of consumption of tequila, after the U.S., the biggest importers of it are Germany, Spain, France, Canada, and Britain.

Read more at LAHT →

2 Self-Goals in 6 Minutes, The Beginning of the End for Cabofriense (VIDEO)

Watch the video below and watch the awful day the Brazilian Cabofriense team had. The team in white, is the Cabofriense. They are playing the Botafogo, who will win 5-0, and the objective, as always in soccer, is to kick, head-butt or basically push the ball with any body part except the arms and hands, into the opposite team’s goal. Something Goeber from Cabofriense must of forgotten.

Halfway through the first period of the game, Goeber, from Cabofriense head-butts the goal and scores… but on his own goal!

It’s a mistake, and it can happen to anyone, and the match goes on.

Not six minutes later, it happens again, the blue team kicks it close to the goal, and Goeber finishes the job by scoring another self-goal to benefit the other team.

The unusual streak of bad luck ended at halftime for Goeber (the coach pulled him out of the game, to prevent his generous goal spree to spread any further) but not for the Cabofriense, who had to see their goal invaded by the ball three more times.  They didn’t manage to score anything not even one goal to save face after this embarrassing game. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Former Agent Sues Border Patrol Over Termination

A former U.S. Border Patrol agent who was fired in 2009 for expressing his opinion to a fellow officer, is now suing his former employers for termination as a result of his political and personal beliefs.

According to Bryan Gonzalez, now 26, he was fired just short of finishing his two-year probationary period with the CBP (Customs and Border Protection) in the El Paso Sector. He alleges he was terminated for exercising his First Amendment right to free speech when speaking with another officer about immigration and the legalization of drugs.

The El Paso Sector of CBP covers New Mexico and West Texas, and the ACLU of New Mexico has taken up the representation of Gonzalez in this case.

In a released statement Thursday, the ACLU-NM said:

“Firing a public servant because of their political opinions is an egregious violation of the First Amendment. We cannot require nor should we expect uniformity of thought within our law enforcement institutions. Purging the ranks of government employees who fail ‘ideological purity’ tests is about as un-American as it gets.”

They also reference a conversation with a co-worker that they believe led to Gonzalez’s termination:

“Gonzalez pulled his vehicle up next to a fellow CBP (Customs and Border Protection) agent who was in the same vicinity,” the press release reports. “In the course of a casual discussion concerning the drug-related violence in Mexico, Gonzales remarked that he believed that legalization of drugs would be the most effective way to end the violence. He also related to the other agent that, as a former dual U.S.-Mexican citizen, he understood the economic factors that drive migrants to cross the border without documentation to seek work.

“Word of Gonzalez’s opinions on these matters quickly spread to his supervisor, who informed the Joint Intake Command in Washington, D.C.. Internal Affairs launched an investigation soon after, and the Border Patrol terminated Gonzalez in October 2009.”

A few months passed before he was spoken to about the conversation, but when he finally was, he said it was more confrontational than a simple inquiry.

“They asked … if I was a Socialist, if I had plans to overthrow the government. It felt almost like an interrogation, as if I were a criminal,” said Gonzalez.

His former employers say they were well within their rights to terminate Gonzalez, because he was not fired unlawfully (i.e. based on race, gender, ethnicity, age, etc.). The USBP say anyone can be let go for “any reason or no reason” as long as the reason is not unlawful.

ACLU-NM seeks compensatory and punitive damages, and are asking that the court declare the USBP violated Gonzalez’s First Amendment right of free speech.

Read more at El Paso Times →

Argentine Woman Jumps 23 Stories, Falls Onto a Taxi And Survives! (VIDEO)

A 23 year old woman jumped from the 23rd story of the Crowne-Plaza Panamerican hotel, in an apparent suicide effort, and landed on top of a taxi which saved her life.

Witnesses say the woman went in the hotel very early in the morning, had a drink at the bar, and then went to the higher floors of the hotel, where there are swimming pools and spas commonly used by tourists. The woman then stepped onto the balcony, and jumped off.

The taxi driver saw a cop looking up in concern. Curious, he got off the cab, just in time to hear the cop and other bystanders yelling at him to move out of the way. Fractions of a second later, the woman plummeted rear first into the roof and windshield of the cab.

Doctors believe it is that particular position of landing what saved her life, had she fall on her head, she probably would have died on impact.

Each story is approximately 4 meters high (13 ft.), so it is estimated the woman fell a hundred meters (328 ft.) into the taxi.

The woman, whose name remains unpublished is being treated at the Argerich hospital; both her hips are broken and there’s blood in her lungs.

Estimates published by civil organizations say that in average, four Argentines attempt suicide every hour. The majority of these cases on individuals aged 14-24,
and for every attempt that ends in death, there are between 10 and 20 botched attempts.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico Bloodshed:  Mass Shooting Leaves 6 Dead; Many Youth Injured at Community Soccer Field

Six young men ranging in age from 19 to 23 years old were killed early evening Sunday at a local community center’s soccer field in the Colonia Franciso I. Madero situated in Juarez, Mexico. 

The unidentified assassins open fired and spent 128 bullets out of a high-powered weapon or weapons, injuring two thirteen year old girls and another two men besides the other men they killed.

Three of the men died on the field and the rest died at different hospitals throughout Juarez.  Two of the victims were brothers: Mario and Gustavo Moreno. 

The Governor of Chihuahua, Cesar Duarte, has said he sees this as a warning message to state and municipal authorities but would not elaborate.  No one has been detained in the shooting nor have suspects been identified. 

Read more at El Diario de Juarez →

ICE Alleges California School was a “Sham University”

ICE Alleges California School was a “Sham University”

Photo: Dr. Susan Xiao-Ping Su, founder and president of Tri-Valley University

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A California university, mostly utilized by online students, is being called-out as a bogus school by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.

A complaint was filed against Tri-Valley University, alleging the school’s founder and president, Dr. Susan Xiao-Ping Su was using TVU to issue visa-related documents to foreign nationals. It is alleged that Su and the sham university made millions selling student visas to anyone willing to pay

Wednesday, ICE officials raided the Silicon Valley school and also executed search warrants for three properties under Su’s name.

The ICE complaint states:

“Since its inception ... Tri-Valley University has been a sham university, which Su, and others, have used to facilitate foreign nationals in illegally acquiring student immigration status that authorizes them to remain in the United States.”

ICE’s investigation began in May of 2010, when it noticed TVU had substantially increased its number of student visas in the last year. In February 2009, TVU was approved to issue visas, and by May of that year, 11 active students had received F-1 visas. ICE became extremely suspicious though when, by May 2010, 939 students had the visas.

The complaint states that over 95 percent of the “students” were from India, and that the school gave the same apartment’s address for over half of them.

The apartment manager reportedly told ICE officials he had only ever had four university students live there and that was only from June 2007 to August 2009. He said he has had none since.

Classes were scheduled to start up again on January 10th, once the winter break was over, but that has not happened.

A current professor at TVU wishing to remain anonymous, said he was shocked to learn of the investigation, and recently received an e-mail from Su saying classes would begin again soon.

Read more at Mercury News →

Tucson Hero, Daniel Hernandez to Sit with First Lady During President’s State of the Union Address

Tucson Hero, Daniel Hernandez to Sit with First Lady During President’s State of the Union Address

Photo: Hernandez and President Obama. Inlay - Hernandez and Giffords

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After being thrust into the spotlight for being there for U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords when she was shot in the head, intern Daniel Hernandez Jr. is getting a pretty amazing birthday gift.

During President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, Hernandez and his father will be sitting with First Lady Michelle Obama.

The SOTU address happens to fall on the young man’s 21st birthday.

“I’m both honored and excited to have the opportunity to travel to our nation’s Capitol for a once in a lifetime event,” he said.

Hernandez has been called a hero by many, yet he rejects the label. Though, President Obama jokingly said he rejects his rejection.

Read more at Newser →

BREAKING NEWS: Appellate Court Orders Rahm Emanuel’s Name Removed from Chicago Mayoral Ballot

BREAKING NEWS: Appellate Court Orders Rahm Emanuel’s Name Removed from Chicago Mayoral Ballot

Photo: Rahm Emanuel

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UPDATE: SEE Tuesday Jan 25th Story-Il St Supreme Ct Decision–Rahm’s Name to be on Chicago Mayoral Ballot Pending Resolution

“We order that the candidates name be excluded, or if necessary removed from the ballot in Chicago’s February 22 mayoral election,” said Appellate Judge Thomas Hoffman.

In a 2:1 Ruling: Illinois Appellate Court Says Rahm Not Eligible to be Chicago Mayoral Ballot, asserting that he is not a resident of Chicago.

The Illinois appellate court has ruled that the Chicago election board’s decision that Rahm Emanuel is eligible to be on the ballot should be “reversed,” according to the court.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Accounting Profession Continues to Lack Diversity with Limited Hiring of Blacks and Latinos

A report from the American Institute of CPA’s reflects what many know at big accounting firms there is little diversity in the ranks.  Latinos make up only 3 percent of the CPA profession, the same for Blacks and just 1 percent for American Indians.

Furthermore, the firms that do have minority employees have low rates of them in managerial positions except for Asians.  Amongst the Big Four Firms (Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMP and Deloitte) only 3.5 percent of managers are Latinos and slightly more (3.9%) for Blacks.

Many accounting professionals blame lack of awareness amongst the profession as to why there is low levels of diversity.  The Big Four are now taking some proactive measures to change this.  For example, Ernst & Young has a program called Discover Tax Program that reaches out to minority students studying finance and accounting. 

Read more at Diversity Inc. →

Police in Gunfight with Drug Gangs in Rio, Mayor’s Windows Shattered, TV Helicopter Hit

Police in Gunfight with Drug Gangs in Rio, Mayor’s Windows Shattered, TV Helicopter Hit

Photo: Rio Slums

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Brazilian Police had a shootout with drug gangs in the center of Rio de Janeiro on Sunday. The mayor’s office had several windows shattered by the gunfire.  The mayor Eduardo Paes was in his office but was not hurt.

A Globo TV helicopter was hit by three bullets and forced to make an emergency landing.

There are no reports of deaths.

Read more at Google News →

Latino Influence Will be Felt More in the New 2012 Electoral College Map

In the 2008 presidential election, Barack Obama won the important Latino battleground states of Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and Florida on his way to winning 365 total electoral college votes. In 2012, due to declining approval of Obama among Whites, and a change in the number of electoral college votes during reapportionment, Latino voters, and Latino influence states are likely to play a very crucial role in determining which candidate gets to 270 electors.

The four Latino battleground states have gained 3 seats in the U.S. House, resulting in 3 additional electoral college votes - 1 in Nevada and 2 in Florida. While Obama carried all four of these Latino states in 2008, the other states he won saw a loss of 9 electoral college votes in reapportionment, for a net loss of 6.

The 49 votes up for grabs in the four key Latino influence states may be the most competitive, and the most important for Obama to secure.
Indeed, if Obama has only 301 votes leaning towards his column in 2012 these 49 Latino-influence electoral votes are absolutely crucial - without which he’d be left with just 252 votes.

There are limitless possibilities of dividing up the electoral map as we look towards 2012, however it is almost impossible for Obama (as it was for Kerry) to get to 270 electors without winning a minimum of 3 out of 4 of these Latino-influence states.

Read more at Latino Decisions →

Naughty Narco Novias: A Must-Have for Mexican Drug Lords

Naughty Narco Novias: A Must-Have for Mexican Drug Lords

Photo: Naughty Narco Novias

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Cocaine might not be the only Andean import that interests Mexican drug lords these days.  As cartel leaders get caught, we are finding out who is keeping them company, and most of the girlfriends were “imported” from South American nations with a love for jewelry, a posh life and massive wads of cash.  These naughty narco novias are starting to make headlines for themselves not just for their beauty but for their bold venture into narco trafficking.

Take the case of Juliana Sossa, who got arrested last week alongside one of the most dangerous men in México, ‘El JJ’, accused of heinous crimes, including the shooting of Paraguayan soccer player Salvador Cabañas.

Sossa was the winner in a 2008 Colombian Beauty Pageant, she then left the country and lead a life of glamour and luxury because her criminal boyfriend paid for it.

“I like modeling and I’ve participated in contests like Miss Antioquia 2008 and others that are less well known,” Sossa wrote on her Facebook page, adding that she speaks Spanish, English and Italian.

Police said that a different comment on her Facebook indicating where she was living in the Bosques de Chapultepec neighborhood of Mexico City was instrumental in capturing cartel leader Jorge Balderas Garza aka “El JJ.”

Another naughty narco novia is Juliana López Aguirre whom police arrested last November.  She is also Colombian, along with narco-boyfriend Harold Mauricio Poveda,  aka “El Conejo, ” a key player in the cocaine operations between the Mexican Beltrán Leyva cartel, and South America. López had a brush with the law a couple of years earlier, where the cops invaded her birthday celebration at her home. News said she had pet black panthers, and described the lush home as a narco-mansion.

Another Colombian model, Angie Sanclemente, who was the Colombian Coffee Queen in 2000, was arrested in Argentina last May. Prosecutors said she was married to Mexican drug lord “El Monstruo,” and had relocated to Argentina to scout for and manage a fleet of young women moving cocaine to Europe via Mexico.

Mexican narcos don’t tend to discriminate when seeking out their naughty narco novias and have also turned their eyes to homegrown beauty queens, like Laura Elena Zuniga, crowned Miss Sinaloa 2008, and in the same year,  Miss Hispanic America in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. She was arrested after winning her title, though she had stated she had no clue her boyfriend was a leader of the Juarez Cartel.  A judge believed her and set her free in 2009.


Read more by HS News Staff →

Tortilla Killing:  Worker Crushed to Death After Falling into Vat of Tortilla Dough

In what some are calling a work accident and raising eyebrows amongst others:  a 22-year old employee of Brooklyn’s Tortilleria Chinantla was killed when he fell into a waist-high tub of tortilla dough.

Though New York Police don’t suspect foul play, it is not known how the employee fell into the tub and what exactly killed him – the dough or the mixer. 

The incident happened at 2:25 am at the tortilla factory that has been in business since 1992 making tortillas for local New York restaurants and local grocers. 

Read more at NY Daily News →

Mark Sanchez Caught Using Team Mate as Kleenex and Not Because He was Crying over Loss (VIDEO)

Mark Sanchez Caught Using Team Mate as Kleenex and Not Because He was Crying over Loss (VIDEO)

Photo: Mark Sánchez wipes booger on Mark Brunell.

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New York Jets quarterback Mark Sánchez was caught by TV cameras picking his nose, and then wiping off his fingers on backup quarterback Mark Brunell.  We aren’t sure if those are the assumed duties of a backup quarterback.

For the legions of Sanchez female fans, don’t watch.  We don’t want our super-Latino hottie diminished in any way - we can forgive the Super Bowl loss but bad hygiene - No Señor, No Way. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

BREAKING NEWS:  Suicide Bomber Kills at Least 31 in Russia’s Main Airport

According to Russian officials at least 31 people have died and 130 injured from an apparent suicide bombing at the Domodedovo airport, located 24 miles southeast of Moscow.

Russia is labeling this an act of terrorism and is investigating the explosion that appears to have occurred inside the airports luggage area in the international arrival section.  The Domodedovo is considered Moscow’s busiest airport.

President Dmitry Medvedev informed his country “from the preliminary information we have it was a terror attack.” 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spanish Parliament Wants You to Speak Spanish, But Which Version – Five Are Used

The Spanish government continues to find ways to cut spending and is now looking at eliminating the practice of speaking five different versions of Spanish in parliament.

Currently senators are allowed to debate in either Castillian, Catalan, Galician, Valencian or Euskara with interpreters on the ready to translate their words into the most common version of Spanish: Castillian Spanish.  Wasteful is what many view this as especially at a time when the rest of the country is living under severe austerity measures. 

Spanish parliament has 25 interpreters on its payroll at a cost of 12,000 euros a day or $16,300.  The issue of language is a sensitive matter since a lot of these different Spanish versions are unique to certain regions and much debate exists around what is the true national language. 

There are several other languages spoken in the country which are not allowed in parliament such as Aragonese, Asturian and Aranese.  The matter is currently under debate, no final decision has been made.

Read more at Guardian UK →

¡Adios! Jack LaLanne America’s First Fitness Guru Dies

America’s first fitness guru, Jack LaLanne died Sunday afternoon at home at the age of 96.  The one time sugar addict made a name for himself by opening the first modern health club in the U.S. situating it in California. 

The son of French immigrants, LaLanne had quit a knack not only for fitness but for business.  He eventually open up 100 gyms nationwide, designed his own exercise equipment and had his own TV show in the early ‘60s.  Most recently he was promoting the Jack LaLanne Power Juicer

LaLanne continued to exercise even into his 90’s according to his family, working out two hours a day.  He died of respiratory failure due to pneumonia and is survived by his wife of 51 years, Elaine and three children. 

Read more at Reuters →

NARCO BLOG: Family Massacre in Tepic, Nayarit (Warning Explicit Photos)

NARCO BLOG: Family Massacre in Tepic, Nayarit  (Warning Explicit Photos)

Photo: Narco Blog :Bullet Riddled Car

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A couple driving on the circle on the Avenue project in the city of Tepic, Nayarit, were intercepted by armed criminals.

The Gunmen opened fire on the two people.

The unknown subject’s body was inside the vehicle, while the woman was outside the car on the road. A witness to the attack says that the women tried to run as she was gunned down.

The Gunman riddled the two victims with multiple gunshot wounds as well as the auto.

So far Authorities Have not found the Perpetrators of the double execution.

Read in Spanish Here

Read more by HS News Staff →

Congested Roads Hitting Americans In the Pocketbook

Congested Roads Hitting Americans In the Pocketbook

Photo: Infrastructure

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For years, Americans have suffered the effects of failing transportation infrastructure, and for years, as a nation, we have ignored the increasing costs associated with that congestion. This week’s report from the Texas Transportation Institute is further evidence of that fact.

Congestion is costing us nearly a full work week and almost 40 gallons of gas a year—at a cost of $808 per average motorist. Couple that with the barely passing grade of D- our roads received in ASCE’s 2009 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure and you can easily see that we are failing to maintain even our current substandard conditions.

The nation’s roadways are an integral part of our way of life, and are vital to our economy. Bold thinking and leadership are part of the solution, but we must also be willing to make the hard decisions when it comes to infrastructure funding.

Our infrastructure is in crisis, and the American public needs to tell their elected officials—local, state and federal—that they will no longer tolerate wasting time sitting in traffic instead of spending that time with their families. We have to demand decisive, innovative and meaningful action from our elected officials now, or suffer the safety and economic consequences of inaction.

For more information on ASCE’s Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, please visit: www.infrastructurereportcard.org.

Read more by HS News Staff →

MondayJanuary 24, 2011