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WednesdayJanuary 26, 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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World Leaders and Great Thinkers Gather in Davos Including Large Mexico Contingency

World Leaders and Great Thinkers Gather in Davos Including Large Mexico Contingency

Photo: Felipe Calderon at Davos

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The annual meeting of world leaders, thinkers, CEOs and basically anyone who’s important has started this week in Davos, Switzerland.  The Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has confirmed, that in spite of the airport bombing, he still intends to deliver opening remarks.

The focus this year is the emerging power of Asia and Latin America due to the ‘complete shift in the balance of power’ as many are alleging.  There will be over 2,000 participants that include Latin American leaders like Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos and Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon.

Mexico is actually being represented by a large contingency that includes the Minister of Finance, the Economic Minister and other dignitaries from the foreign relations office.  Mexico City’s Mayor, Marcel Ebrard, is expected to attend as well as the CEO of Mexico’s larges conglomerates like Alfa, Coppel and FEMSA.  Former President Ernesto Zedillo will also be in attendance as a representative from Yale University.

The large contingency is coming to Davos to prepare the country for its upcoming role as G-20 host next year. 

Read more at Yahoo News →

Univision Radio Set to Host its 14th Consecutive Spanish-Language Radiothon Benefiting St. Jude

Univision Radio will participate in the Promesa y Esperanza (Promise and Hope) radiothon on February 3rd and 4th, benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the nation’s top children’s cancer hospital, for the 14th consecutive year.

Univision Radio, the leading Spanish-language radio group in the United States, will transmit more than 30 hours of programming dedicated to raising funds for St. Jude on its stations in cities across the country, including Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, Dallas, New York and Puerto Rico.

“The support of Univision Radio throughout the years has been remarkable. Thanks to the efforts and commitment of Univision’s staff and the generosity of its listeners, we anticipate another successful radiothon that will help St. Jude give hope to kids in communities everywhere who are battling childhood cancer and other deadly diseases,” said Richard C. Shadyac Jr., CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising organization of St. Jude.

Since opening in 1962, St. Jude has treated children from all 50 states and around the world. From public donations such as the Promesa y Esperanza radiothon, St. Jude researchers and doctors are able to share medical discoveries around the world, including several Latin American countries, to help increase survival rates for children with cancer and other catastrophic illnesses.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Are Enrique Iglesias And Anna Kournikova Expecting Their First Baby?

Are Enrique Iglesias And Anna Kournikova Expecting Their First Baby?

Photo: Is Anna Kournikova pregnant?

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Are Enrique Iglesias and Anna Kournikova expecting their first baby?

Finally gossip seems to be true this time around, as sources indicate that the couple told the good news to a group of close friends at their home in Miami last Saturday.

Neither the Latin singer nor the tennis hottie have admitted being pregnant in an official statement, however.

The couple is known for being secretive, and never disclosing details of their relationship to the press. In their almost ten years together, several rumors have plagued the tabloids, and ran their course, while the couple never bothers to confirm or deny gossip.

A luxurious new ring on Kournikova’s finger last year, suggested the couple might have tied the knot, and it is very likely that like that, we’ll only find out that she’s pregnant, when she starts to show.

Read more by HS News Staff →

In spite of Animal Die-Offs, Cicadas Coming to U.S. this year, 13 Years After Last Visit

It appears that the noisy and crunchy-under-the-foot cicadas are coming to the U.S. this year in spite of all the other unexplained animal die-offs, dubbed ‘animapocalypse’.  Scientists are saying the cicadas 13 year cycle to emerge from underground has not been disrupted by the surge in mass animals deaths.

When the ground temperatures near 64 degrees, following Mother Nature’s clock work, the cicada will emerge mainly around the Southeastern region of the U.S.

The ‘synchronization’ that has defined the cicadas periodic appearance though unexplained remains unaltered by what is going on topside this year.  So expect to see them coming in swarms, estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands,  around April – May.

Read more at McClatchy →

From the Altar to the TV Set: Father Alberto Cutie to Host Daily Talk Show on Fox

Father Alberto Cutie, a bestselling author of self-help books and a radio talk show host, is however more well known as a former Roman Catholic priest involved in a love affair that ened his priest hood and resulted in marriage and a baby.  If that does qualify you for a TV talk and variety show nothing does.  Therefore Cutie will now be hosting such a show.

“It’ll be everything from sex to salvation,” Father Alberto was quoted saying, and added he hopes the show will invite “greater dialog” with the audience.

The show is being licensed by Debmar-Mercury and the first station group that has stepped up for a launch test is Fox. 

Debmar-Mercury honchos, Ira Bernstein and Mort Marcus, said that Father Alberto’s “wide cross-over appeal, incredible story, encouraging advice and charismatic personality” make him an ideal match for daytime television. They are considering releasing the Priest’s show in both an English and Spanish format since Father Alberto has a huge following in Latin America.

The show will preview on several Fox stations this summer; Fox test markets will likely include N.Y. and L.A., the country’s top two markets.

Jack Abernethy, CEO of the Fox TV station group, said there has been an immense need for an inspirational show, “Something not dogmatic or rigid but uplifting and helpful to viewers. Such things are big business in other mediums like book publishing and the radio,” he said.

Father Alberto left the Roman Catholic Church two years ago citing ideological differences and to marry the woman he loved. However before he left the church he was photographed without a collar cavorting with a divorcee church member in Miami Beach.  The photos forced Cutie to admit he was having a romantic affair while being a Roman Catholic priest. 

He now an Episcopal minister.

Read more by HS News Staff →

NALEO Reacts to State of the Union Address

NALEO Reacts to State of the Union Address

Photo: NALEO logo

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The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) issued the following statement following tonight’s State of the Union address by President Barack Obama:

“The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) is encouraged that President Obama made job creation and moving the economy forward a central message in his address to the American people.  Latinos have been disproportionately affected by the recession and job losses, and we urge the White House and Congress to work on policies to assist Latino families as they work to preserve their piece of the American dream.

“We are energized by the President’s remarks highlighting the key role immigrants play in our nation’s economy.  We are a unique nation founded by immigrants, and should recognize that immigrants are crucial to our economic recovery.  We also join the President in urging passage of the Dream Act, so that, in his words, we ‘stop expelling talented, responsible young people… they grew up as Americans and pledge allegiance to our flag, and yet live every day with the threat of deportation.’  Yet the Dream Act is but one element of an overall comprehensive immigration reform which is necessary today.

“The President, however, missed an opportunity to address one of the most immediate issues in our democratic process: redistricting. As legislatures and commissions take on the decennial task of redrawing legislative districts, we must insist that the processes be open, transparent and ensure everyone has the opportunity to fair representation.  We call upon the U.S. Department of Justice to ensure full adherence to the Voting Rights Act as the new legislative maps are drawn and implemented across the country.

“NALEO appreciates the President’s call for continued bipartisan cooperation.  As demonstrated recently by Latino members of Congress at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute gathering which welcomed new members, the only way we can effectively address the issues of critical importance to our nation and the Latino community is by working together across party lines to strengthen our nation and our democracy.”

Read more at NALEO →

MA Hispanic Students Missing on Average Three Weeks of School and No One Doing Anything About It

A recent report presented by Mauricio Gaston Institute, which is a part of UMass-Boston, is showing that Latino students in Massachusetts are missing on average three week of a school per school year and also have a low rate of high school graduation.

In the state the general population misses 9 days of school and the rate of high absenteeism amongst Hispanics is not causing the alarm bells to go off, as they should, according to the report.  The rate of absenteeism is the highest of any minority group in the state.

Hispanics also have a low rate of graduation from public high school at 60 percent versus 82 percent for the recent of the student population.  This situation should be of concern to the state, since Latinos are the fastest growing student population and currently represents 15 percent of all students in the state.

Read more at Boston Herald →

Arizona Gun Raids Highlight Mexico’s Drug Cartel Exploitation of U.S. Gun Laws

Arizona Gun Raids Highlight Mexico’s Drug Cartel Exploitation of U.S. Gun Laws

Photo: Cartels Get Guns in U.S.

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Federal officials are saying that the recent gun raids in Arizona show how well drug cartels are exploiting the U.S.’s gun laws to obtain large numbers of firearms, the firearms being used to fight their drug war in Mexico.

Tuesday, 20 people were arrested for allegedly buying massive quantities of AK-47s at U.S. gun stores.

Those arrested were reportedly claiming to be buying weapons for themselves, when in fact, they were purchasing guns for the Sinaloa Cartel as well as other Mexican drug trafficking organizations.

U.S. attorney for Arizona Dennis K. Burke expressed that “the massive size of this operation exemplifies the magnitude of the problem – Mexican drug lords go shopping for war weapons in Arizona.”

Officials said that those buying the guns from U.S. gun stores managed to pass federal background checks without raising any alarms despite the fact that they often paid with large amounts of cash.

Many of the guns purchased across a number of gun shops in Arizona were AK-47s which were actually banned by the federal government in 1994, only to become legal once more in 2004 when the ban lapsed. And while firearms dealers are to report to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives when a customer buys two or more handguns, they do not have to report when someone buys an AK-47 or other long guns from them.

ATF officials are hoping to change that, and say requiring sellers to report long guns would be invaluable in catching buyers like those purchasing guns for drug cartels.

Read more at MSNBC →

El Salvadoran Executioner and Thug Perdomo Henriquez Captured by ICE

Perdomo Henriquez was a notorious, violent gang leader in El Salvador - wanted for crimes ranging from decapitation and dismemberment to murder and extortion. He made his way to New York where he remained until U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) located him . This month ICE officers removed him from the United States and placed him in the custody of law enforcement in El Salvador.

Henriquez’s story is not unique. Across the world, fugitives evade law enforcement by fleeing countries where they’ve committed crimes. Since August 2010, ICE’s Fugitive Alien Removal Program has removed 27 individuals from the United States who were wanted overseas.

The removals are due in large part to improved cooperation with INTERPOL, the International Crime Police Organization. One hundred eighty-eight countries are INTERPOL members. They work with one another to disseminate information about wanted fugitives.

In September 2010, ICE and INTERPOL initiated the first joint international fugitive enforcement operation called “Operation Far Away.” Sixteen countries in the Western hemisphere participated in the operation targeting at-large INTERPOL foreign fugitives. The operation netted 30 arrests of individuals wanted for crimes ranging from human trafficking to political assassination. ICE’s Fugitive Operations Team had a hand in 23 of them.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Five Teenage Girls Assault Hispanic Wendy’s Employee, Post the Video on Youtube (VIDEO)

New York Police charged two fifteen-year old girls, and are after two more teen girls accused of ganging up and beating on a Wendy’s employee in Queens; their attack was posted on YouTube.

Michelle Ortiz, a single mother of five, suffered a concussion, and says headaches and constant nausea haven’t receded since the incident happened five days ago.

A vicious gang of aggressive high school girls, punched,  kicked and slapped Michelle Ortiz, 42, inside the Hillside Ave. Wendy’s in Queens Village on Jan. 21, cops said, after she told them to keep down their noise.

“Animals acted better than they acted that night,” Ortiz said. “They just kept hitting and hitting and hitting and kicking and punching me in the head. I was defenseless.”

In the shocking cell phone video, Ortiz is seen confronting a mob of young people inside the fast food joint. Then, someone lobs what seems to be fries at her, and seconds later, the schoolgirls go berserk.

Ortiz alleges that two of the girls were preparing to fight each other before she stepped in.

“I was trying to make the peace,” said Ortiz

Read more by HS News Staff →

Why Is Vasquez Rushing to Buy Before Alvarez? Study: Surnames May Play Part in Consumer Behavior

The first letter of our childhood surname determines much about our consumer behavior as grownups, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Why are some people more likely than others to wait in line overnight to buy a just-released book or to queue up for the new iPad? “The tendency to act quickly to acquire items such as those above is related to the first letter of one’s childhood surname,” write authors Kurt A. Carlson (Georgetown University) and Jacqueline M. Conard (Belmont University).

The authors studied how quickly adults responded to opportunities to acquire items of value to them. They found that the later in the alphabet people’s childhood surnames were, the faster those consumers responded to purchase opportunities. The “last-name effect” occurred when the items were real (basketball tickets, cash, and wine) or hypothetical (sale on a backpack).

The effect occurred only with childhood surnames, not names that had changed due to marriage. Children with last names that fall late in the alphabet are often at the end of lines or at the back of the class. “The idea holds that children develop time-dependent responses based on the treatment they receive,” the authors explain. “In an effort to account for these inequities, children late in the alphabet will move quickly when last name isn’t a factor; they will ‘buy early.’ Likewise, those with last names early in the alphabet will be so accustomed to being first that that individual opportunities to make a purchase won’t matter very much; they will ‘buy late.’”

“The last-name effect is especially important to retailers and salespeople because customer names are easy for marketers to obtain and because there are many decisions in which the decision is not whether to buy, but when to buy,” the authors write.

Whether it’s shopping at a clearance sale, choosing a seat to hear live music, or shopping for produce at a farmers’ market, late alphabet consumers want to make sure they’re the first in line.

Kurt A. Carlson and Jacqueline M. Conard. “The Last Name Effect: How Last Name Influences Acquisition Timing.” Journal of Consumer Research: August 2011. Further information: http://ejcr.org.

Read more at The University of Chicago Press →

After Teams Losses, All Eyes Were Still on QBs Mark Sanchez and Jay Cutler As They Stepped Out

After Teams Losses, All Eyes Were Still on QBs Mark Sanchez and Jay Cutler As They Stepped Out

Photo: Jay Cutler (L) and Mark Sanchez (R)

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After losses this weekend, two NFL quarterbacks made the news again, but not for their skills on the field.

Sunday night, after his team’s lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the NY Jets’ Mark Sanchez reportedly spent more than $2,500 at New York club chatting up a good-looking bartender.

After they arrived back from Pittsburgh, Sanchez’s teammate Braylon Edwards and friends headed over to Chelsea’s Juliet Supper Club and immediately ordered a round of tequila shots and a $1,100 bottle of Ace of Spades Champagne. Sanchez reportedly arrived later and became “enamored” with the pretty South American bartender.

“They were doing shots together and he kept whispering in her ear and holding her hand,” said a witness. “He went home alone but phone numbers were exchanged.”

Sanchez, Edwards, and friends closed down the bar at 4:30 AM Monday morning, and Edwards’ bill came out to around $2,500.

Meanwhile, in Chicago, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler went out on the town with his reality star girlfriend Kristin Cavallari after his team’s loss to über rivals, the Green Bay Packers, and fanned the flames of the games’ controversy.

After going down during the game, Cutler apparently injured his knee and sat out the second half of the game. Fellow players were firing off about the “seriousness” of his injury on Twittter throughout the game, and even those announcing the game had questions. Fans, were not happy.

Then while Chicago fans were still licking their wounds, Cutler and Cavallari met some people for a dinner party. What caused the uproar among some bitter fans was the fact that the QB took the STAIRS instead of the elevator.

Though some say the injury makes playing painful, but not regular walking, we can’t help but wonder, “What was he thinking?!”

Cutler, you should have seen it coming. At least give the fans a pained face if you’re going to take the stairs.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Juanes Sets Twitter Record, Comes close to 2 Million Followers

Juanes Sets Twitter Record, Comes close to 2 Million Followers

Photo: Juanes, King of Twitter

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With 1.8 million followers on Twitter, 40,000 fans on Ping (iTunes social network) and an impressive 2.3 million Facebook fans, Colombian rocker Juanes has become the king of Social Networks.

“Those are record numbers for an artist that sings only in Spanish” said Jesús López, executive director of Universal Music Latinoamérica and Península Ibérica.

Since the launch of his most recent album ‘P.A.R.C.E.’ his Facebook friends have augmented by a 69%,  and 55% on Twitter.

A pioneer when it comes to using Twitter to communicate with fans, @Juanes is more than a tag, it is an institution, as the artist proved when via his Twiiter account, he persuaded hundreds of fans to send in pictures. These were collectively used to create a collage featured on the cover of his latest album “P.A.R.C.E.”

“We had over 50,000 images from 93 different countries,” said Universal Music Entertainment Director of Product Development Horacio Rodríguez to Billboard magazine.

“I say whatever I want on my Twitter. I speak with you guys like I do with my friends at home or on the street and I’m not going to change that,” said Juanes after catching some criticism for tweeting a joke against Hugo Chávez.

His Tweets often include bits of media, like videos of rehearsals, pictures with family and friends, and links to his video-blog.

Juanes will tour the US beginning March 10.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Scarred for Life: Twice Ambushed Mayor of Tiquicheo, Mexico, Maria Santos Shows her Scars (EXPLICIT)

Scarred for Life: Twice Ambushed Mayor of Tiquicheo, Mexico, Maria Santos Shows her Scars (EXPLICIT)

Photo: Maria Santos, Mayor of a town in Mexico Ambushed and fierd at twice in two years

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“One man scorned and covered with scars still strove with his last ounce of courage to reach the unreachable stars; and the world will be better for this.”
Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

ImageMaria Santos Gorrostieta, Mayor of the town of Tiquicheo in México, knew that by taking the job, she would be undertaking a quixotic task, and would, surely become a target for her town’s share so many thugs and drug-lords plaguing the nation.

Despite being scarred physically and mentally by two different vicious attacks, the unbelievably brave Mrs Santos remains defiant, and faithful to her job.

Mrs. Santos,  mother of three, was first ambushed on October 15, 2009.

A group of armed men opened rapid fire on her vehicle, leaving the mayor terribly injured and killing her husband, José Sánchez Chávez.

Learning to live with her loss, and the physical and mental consequences of the episode,  she returned to work and had made remarkable progress, until it happened again.

In January of last year, Santos was once again ambushed by armed men wearing ski masks.

ImageThis time around, her wounds were even worse. She had to have a colostomy bag and to this day, suffers constant pain.

“I wanted to show you my wounds because I’m not ashamed that my body is mutilated like this,” Santos said.

“These are the result of shameful acts which have marked my life and the lives of my children. But I am not ashamed”

Santos was the objective of some coward remarks by skeptical opposers, who said she made it all up. She released these pictures, and a message to the state citizens stating the reasons why she is still in office.

“There are some that have said I made these attacks up. But I did not and now I show the physical proof to those who have doubted me. Every day I fight and battle in my mind to erase the memories of the terrible things I lived
through,” she said.

Santos is back to work, “I can’t quit, not when I have three children whom I have to teach by example. I must honor the memory of my husband, the father of my children who knew how to teach the value of things and to fight for them.

He is no longer with us but he remains the guiding light for my decisions.”

Violence in México remains rampant and the nation’s mayors as well as women holding office have become targets.



Read more by HS News Staff →

Spanish-Language Newspaper Depicts Georgia Governor As a Nazi

Spanish-Language Newspaper Depicts Georgia Governor As a Nazi

Photo: Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal

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A Spanish-language newspaper pushed the buttons of both Democrats and Republicans when they posted a picture depicting the state’s governor as a Nazi.

In their January 6th edition, Georgia’s El Nuevo newspaper published a doctored photo of Governor Nathan Deal with a Hitler-style mustache, wearing a Nazi uniform, and a swastika armband. (See below.)

ImageThe photo accompanied a story titled “Repression in the Age of Deal” and spoke of the governor’s past financial troubles, his strict stance against illegal immigration, and also recapped the ethics investigation against Deal. Some Democratic leaders were interviewed for the article and asked what they thought was ahead for undocumented immigrants. One of those leaders was Hispanic state Rep. Pedro Marin.

Marin said he knew nothing of the photo when he spoke to the newspaper, and called it “disrespectful,” saying, “I might disagree with the policies of Governor Deal, but I respect him and the office he represents.”

The state representative, who is only one of two Hispanic legislators in Georgia, added that after he was elected, his car and home were vandalized, and he received hate, so he knows firsthand what being a target like Deal feels like.

Marin also pointed out that publication of the photo may now hurt the Hispanic community’s ability to communicate with state leaders.

El Nuevo’s Editor Rafael Navarro does not apologize for the photo, stating that is was meant to bring the attention of residents and politicians ignoring the Hispanic issues.

“Americans don’t read our paper because they can’t read Spanish. They don’t read our news, our editorials and the opinion of the community. But if they see a picture, they’ll get it,” said Navarro.

While Gov. Deal has not commented on the photo, his spokesman Brian Robinson issued a statement saying, “Those who can’t formulate a coherent argument in our society’s marketplace of ideas often resort to childish, even offensive tactics. This is pathetic.”

During Deal’s campaign for governor last year, Robinson stated, “We have to expect liberals to attack us. And they have to expect to be attacked in return.”

Read more at CNN →

La Familia Cartel Supposedly Disbanded

La Familia Cartel Supposedly Disbanded

Photo: La Familia Banner

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Banners appeared on bridges in the Mexican state of Michoacán on Monday, announcing the brutal cartel “La Familia is completely dissolved.”

Regardless of these signs, the Mexican government promises to continue its pursuit of the cartel.  Lawmakers and drug war experts remain suspicious of the validity of the banners, claiming that it could be a ploy to get police to lower their defenses.  However, Alejandro Poire, the federal government’s security spokesman, is optimistic that victory is certain for the police.  “What is clear is that this criminal organization is weakened and in retreat,” Poire said.

President of the security commission of the Michoacán state legislature stated, “I think it’s an attempt to divert attention.  And besides, we can’t be sure that these banners were really put up by that organization or another one,” adding, “we can’t trust it.”

Read more at Mexican government: La Familia cartel in retreat →

STUDY:  Higher Rate of Hispanic and Black Women Tested for Sexually Transmitted Disease

A recent study published in the Pediatrics journal found that young Hispanic and black girls are being screened for the sexually transmitted disease Chlamydia than their white counterparts.

A Hispanic woman is 9.7 times more likely to be tested then her white counter while an African-American woman is 2.7 times more likely.  Chlamydia, which is asymptomatic, is presumed to be the cause of what ails these young minority girls when they go to their doctor and therefore is tested for and that same assumption is not being made in the general population.

Dr. Sarah Weihe lead author of the study, that included 40,000 participants between the age of 14 to 25, cites the perception of race as playing a key role for this disparity.  “For Chlamydia infections-which are highly stigmatized STDs-white women are less likely, while minority women are more likely, to receive screening.  This may mean that [insurance] providers make judgments about a woman’s likelihood of infection based on her race or ethnicity.”

Read more at Pediatrics Journal →

Bolivian Artisans Transform Barbie into a Native ‘Cholita’ Doll

Bolivian Artisans Transform Barbie into a Native ‘Cholita’ Doll

Photo: "Hugo Creations" makes Bolivian Barbie dolls or "Cholitas".

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Fifteen young Bolivian artisans between the ages of 15 and 20 years old, worked together to transform Barbie dolls, into “Cholita” dolls reminiscent of the Bolivian Aymara women.

Hugo Ramos, who had the idea of making Cholita dolls said that the dolls made at “Hugo Creations” are the equivalent of a Bolivian Barbie.

“We had this idea of give Barbie a new outfit, diferent to traditional Barbies which are very admired and in high demand. Is not strange to see a Barbie that looks like a 36-24-36. So it is novel to see a Barbie that wears a “pollera.” Wearing a “pollera” is a question of pride. Is to show who we are,” said Ramos.

Ramos and his group of teenage designers, tailors and artisans gets their dolls from China, then the team removes the posh outfits and high heels and pop accessories that customarily come with Barbie dolls, and replace them with colorful shirts, beautiful “pollera” skirts, miniature felt bowl hats and flat shoes. The team also replaces the emblematic blonde hair with jet black locks, sometimes braided.

Mariana Quispe (16) is in charge of sewing and putting the little outfits together. “You see mainstream dolls with mini skirts, and little purses everywhere, but here we dress like this, so we’ve changed their outfits for “polleras” so the dolls look prettier,” she said.

The guys at “Hugo Creations,”  are already making Andean versions of Ken to sell along with the Cholitas at the Bolivian “Alasita” fair.

Alasita (“Purchase Me” in Aymara) is a traditional celebration where locals exhibit and sell miniature, relevant to “Ekeko,”  a pagan deity that represents abundance and prosperity.

Believers present “Ekeko” with miniature versions of things they wish the deity to help them attain.

During the days preceding the celebration, locals install a market place where artisans and craftsmen sell pocket sized stuff like tiny houses, miniature cars,  etc.

“We make them so people ask Ekeko for a girlfriend as pretty as them,” said Ramos.

We wonder if they’ll make us a dime sized pot of gold…..

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico’s Contribution to the Tablet PC Market: ‘Meebox’

Mexico is getting into the ever-growing tablet PC market by introducing its own tablet PC.  Meebox, a Guadalajara based company is producing the country’s first table PC for the not very inexpensive price of $899. 

The Meebox is boosting a more powerful processor than Apple’s iPad and has two USB ports unlike iPad and boosts a 5-hour battery life

The Meebox was introduced at this year’s consumer electronic show to a tepid response but nonetheless garnered a lot of national pride as Mexico’s tries to enter the technology business on a grand scale. 

Read more at Ubergizmo →

Giffords Intern Daniel Hernandez to Advocate for More Gun Control

Arizona Congresswoman’s Rep. Gabrielle Giffords intern, now known to many, Daniel Hernandez is expected to advocate for more gun control today in his visit to New York City.

The Mexican-American intern was propelled to the national spotlight when he acted heroically to save the Congresswomen’s life while maintaining his calm demeanor, several weeks ago during the tragic Tucson shootings.

Hernandez is in New York after attending the State of the Union speech as a guest of President Obama and the First Lady.  He will be speaking to the Mayors Against Illegal Guns organization, advocating for closing the loopholes in current gun control legislation by enhancing background checks on potential gun owners.  The organization was founded by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Hernandez is also planning a visit to City Hall today at the invitation of the Mayor. 

Read more at New York Post →

ICE-led document and benefit fraud investigation leads to arrests in eastern Washington

Fourteen individuals will make their initial appearance Friday morning in federal court here after being arrested by agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) on criminal charges related to an investigation into the manufacture and purchase of counterfeit identity and employment documents.

ICE’s HSI agents were joined by other federal and local law enforcement agencies as they served 11 criminal search warrants Thursday morning at 22 locations in and around Ellensburg, Wash. All of those arrested on criminal charges were indicted by a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Washington earlier this month.

Of the 14 defendants who are appearing in federal court Friday morning, 13 are charged with visa fraud and government identification fraud; three of those have the additional charge of false claim to U.S. citizenship. One has been charged with re-entry into the United States after deportation.

“Those who create and sell fraudulent documents compromise our nation’s legal identification system and provide counterfeit identities to those who may otherwise be ineligible to live or work legally in the United States,” said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of HSI in Washington state. “Targeting those who commit this type of crime is an enforcement priority for HSI.”

In addition to the 14 criminal arrests, 16 others were taken into custody on administrative immigration violations. Three individuals were interviewed and released for humanitarian reasons while they await a hearing before an immigration judge. The remaining individuals are in the custody of ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Wash., where they have been placed in removal proceedings.

HSI was assisted in this investigation by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the State Department Bureau of Diplomatic Security; U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operations; the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office; the Yakima County Violent Crimes Task Force; and the Ellensburg Police Department.

Illinois Supreme Court Takes Rahm’s Case

Illinois Supreme Court Takes Rahm’s Case

Photo: Rahm Emanuel

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The Illinois Supreme court issued an order Tuesday saying it would take up the dispute over whether Rahm Emanuel meets the state requirement that a candidate for Mayoral office live in a municipality for a year prior to an election, according to court spokesman Joseph Tybor.

The order states the court will take up the case on an expedited basis, using briefs the parties filed with the appellate court. There will be no additional briefs and no oral argument before the high court, according to Tybor.

“The emergency motion by petitioner Rahm Emanuel to expedite consideration of the petition for leave to appeal is allowed,” the court said. 

Just a few hours earlier, the court had granted a stay that ordered Emanuel’s name to be printed on the ballots so that the election would not have to be delayed in order to print up new ballots, if the supreme court decides to side with Rahm and disregard the lower court’s decision. 

The Supreme court’s initial decision to keep Rahm’s name on the ballot as a precautionary measure lead to an eventful afternoon for those printing up the ballots, which began earlier today.  By noon, an estimated 282,000 ballots had already been printed without the former Chief-of-Staff’s name on them. According to Jim Allen, a spokesman for the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, these ballots will be “isolated and secured,” and a new batch containing about 300,000 ballots that include Rahm’s name should be ready by Tuesday night.  This is just a small portion of the 2 million ballots printed for the election. 

Read more at Illinois Supreme Court to Hear Emanuel Ballot Appeal →

Number of Cholera Cases in Haiti Starting to Trend Downwards

The number of people dying from cholera in Haiti has been on a downward trend or has stabilized in all ten of the country’s departments affected by the outbreak, the United Nations humanitarian office reported, adding that the number of hospitalized people has also been decreasing.

However, it remains unclear whether the epidemic has reached its peak, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in an update. It noted that a peak can only be determined if the majority of affected areas report a decreasing number of new cases over a period of three to four weeks.

The cholera outbreak was first reported in October last year. It led to the setting up of cholera treatment centres and smaller treatments units throughout affected areas, and a call from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for the international community to provide immediate massive aid to fight the epidemic.

As of January 16, Haiti’s public health ministry reports 194,095 cumulative cases of cholera and 3,889 deaths, with an overall fatality rate of two per cent nationwide. In November, the UN World Health Organization reported the fatality rate as standing at 2.3 per cent.

In its update, OCHA said the number of daily hospitalizations nationwide is down, from 837 on December 11, to 515 on December 16; and partners, such as Médecins Sans Frontières, are planning to close treatment locations and reduce their presence in some areas due to the decrease in the number of cholera cases being admitted.

OCHA said much effort is now focused on moving medical services to areas where they are most needed, mainly in remote rural areas. A total of 129 physicians and 326 nurses are still needed nationwide to support cholera response activities – a significant decrease from the 2,000 nurses and 350 physicians initially required.

OCHA said that lack of funding, poor access to remote areas and lack of community mobilizers have been identified as the most pressing needs in relation to the cholera outbreak.

Read more by HS News Staff →

WednesdayJanuary 26, 2011