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SaturdayJanuary 29, 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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Connecticut Bakery Owner May Face 5 Yrs in Jail and $250,000 Fine for Hiring 10 Illegal Aliens

David B. Fein, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced this week that Anthony DiBenedetto, 64, of North Branford, Conn., waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful employment of illegal aliens. This guilty plea is the result of an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

According to court documents and statements made in court, DiBenedetto owns and operates Rocco’s Bakery, with locations in New Haven and Meriden, Conn. From approximately 2000 through May 2008, DiBenedetto employed at least 10 individuals at his bakeries knowing that they were in the country unlawfully and were not authorized to work.

U.S. District Judge Mark R. Kravitz has scheduled sentencing for April 14, 2011, at which time DiBenedetto faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000. DiBenedetto also may be ordered to forfeit a money judgment in an amount that will be determined by the court.

This matter has been investigated by ICE HSI and the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Chocolate Drought Predicted, With World Supply of Cocoa Gone by 2014 – OH NO!

Experters are predicting, and chocolate lovers lamenting, that there might be a chocolate ‘drought’ over the next several years due to the world political unrest especially in the Ivory Coast that produces 40 percent of the world’s cocoa beans.

The political unrest in the country have caused certified cocoa bean producers to either flee or drastically reduce their output while training programs that can create new cocoa bean producers meeting fair trade standards, no longer exist.  The immediate result is 30 percent higher chocolate prices – the long term result is no sustainable cocoa by 2014. 

The rest of the world’s certified producers could not produce enough to meet demand and replace the production lost in the Ivory Coast.  On average it takes three of more years to become a certified sustainable cocoa bean farmer and extensive training is needed.

Even when the political unrest settles in the Ivory Coast it would take three years to produce enough for current demand and for prices to go back now to former levels.

Read more at Daily Mail UK →

Volunteer Mexican Firefighters Travel to OC California for Training (VIDEO)

Volunteer Mexican Firefighters Travel to OC California for Training (VIDEO)

Photo: Mexican Firefighters in US

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Volunteer Mexican firefighters from Guerrero, Mexico travelled at their own expense to Santa Ana to train with local firefighters. They were taught how to perform various types of rescues and safety techniques.

“They don’t have any formal training. Everything they have learned has been on their own,” said Capt. Jon Muir of the Santa Ana Fire Department.

The Mexican firefighters work with very little or no equipment. For example, the 15 firefighters share two breathing apparatus.

With the nearest fire department 4 ½ hours away, the volunteer Mexican fireman do what they can to save lives and fight fires. They are grateful for the knowledge they will be able to bring home and help others.


Read more at abc-la →

111 Confirmed Cases of Cholera in Venezuela all from Lobster Served at Wedding in Dominican Republic

The Venezuelan government is reporting 111 confirmed cases of cholera and over 300 more potential victims infected without knowing it.  All the people with cholera and those suspected of having cholera have one thing in common:  they all attended or are related to someone that attended a wedding in the Dominican Republic last weekend and eating lobster at the wedding.

Officials are going to the airwaves trying to locate anyone that was at the wedding or is related to someone who went, so that they can be tested and treated and therefore not spread the air born bacteria. 

The Venezuelan government also confirmed that there have been other cases of cholera confirmed in other country’s from other wedding guests, including one from Boston.

The Dominican Republic wedding guests were served lobster that was caught in the province of Pedernales, which borders Haiti.  The lobster was under cooked and not well refrigerated allowing the cholera bacteria to remain in it.

The majority of people with cholera are being treated as out patients, only 27 are hospitalized and no deaths have been confirmed.

Read more at LAHT →

TX Dept of Public Safety (DPS)  Warns Against Mexico Travel

TX Dept of Public Safety (DPS)  Warns Against Mexico Travel

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Citing the death of a missionary earlier this week, the Texas Department of Public Safety has warned Texans to avoid traveling in Mexico.

The Texas Department of Public Safety is again warning Texans to avoid traveling to Mexico in light of recent violent events in and around Tamaulipas State.

“We know that many of our Winter Texans enjoy traveling to Mexico, but they should understand that we cannot guarantee their safety after they cross the border,” said Steven C. McCraw, DPS director. “If violence does occur, we cannot guarantee that anyone will be brought to justice for those acts.” 

A Texas missionary was killed earlier this week as she and her husband attempted to escape from a number of men trying to stop them. The men opened fire on the couple, striking the woman in
the head.
Other recent violent events along the border include the shooting of an American on the Mexican side of Falcon Lake in late September, the killing of a University of TexasBrownsville student in October and the suspected abduction of four men from San Marcos and a 14-year-old from Chicago who were visiting Nuevo Laredo in late November.

DPS has issued warnings against travel in Mexico four times in the past year, as violence in many parts of Mexico has increased. 

“We recognize people travel and vacation in Mexico on a daily basis, but the increase in violence is a reality. Recent events show that drug-related violence does not spare innocent bystanders and that criminals will attack tourists,” McCraw said.

In an early January statement, the U.S. Consulate in Matamoros advised U.S. citizens traveling in Tamaulipas to be aware of numerous reported crimes against American citizens in the area. Many carjackings have been reported along Carreterra Federal 101, which runs from Ciudad Victoria to San Fernando.


Read more by HS News Staff →

The White House Blog: Immigration & Winning the Future

The White House Blog: Immigration & Winning the Future

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In his State of the Union address, President Obama laid out his vision for winning our future.  Part of accomplishing this important goal means fixing our nation’s broken immigration system.  The President again reiterated his deep commitment to addressing this issue because it’s critical to strengthening our global competitiveness and boosting our economy. Last July, the President outlined his vision for commonsense, comprehensive immigration reform grounded in the principles of responsibility and accountability:

*Continue to make border security the responsibility and priority of the federal government,
*Hold accountable businesses that break the law by exploiting undocumented workers,
*Make those living in the United States illegally take responsibility for their actions, and
*Strengthen our economic competiveness by creating a legal immigration system that meets our diverse needs.

Over the last two years, the President has taken his responsibility to enforce our immigration laws and secure our borders very seriously.  This Administration dedicated unprecedented resources to secure our borders, implemented smarter, more strategic interior and worksite enforcement policies, and improved our legal immigration system.

These efforts have had real results.  Our borders are more secure than ever. Apprehensions along the border reflect far fewer attempts to cross illegally while seizures of illegal currency, drugs, and guns are dramatically up – leading to increased criminal arrests and prosecutions. In FY 2010 the Administration increased the number of convicted criminals removed from our country by more than 23,000,  which represents a more than 70 percent increase from the previous Administration.

Additionally, we have more than doubled the number of worksite enforcement investigations conducted in FY 2010 as compared to FY 2008. These investigations have led to millions of dollars of fines levied against employers who have violated immigration laws. We have also improved our legal immigration system by reducing backlogs of immigration applications and devoting critical funding to promote innovative citizenship preparation and integration programs in communities throughout the country.

We all benefit from the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit that immigrants bring to our shores. Indeed, it has made us the engine of the global economy and a beacon of hope around the world. I was reminded of this last Independence Day when I had the honor of speaking at a naturalization ceremony right in the shadow of the Statute of Liberty on Ellis Island.  We honored and celebrated 143 new citizens from 57 countries, each with their own unique story of how they came to America and what they have done to make it their home. Among the group were individuals who came to our country as young children, college students, working professionals, and victims of oppression.

In his State of the Union address, the President called on Republicans and Democrats to work with him on this critical issue.  He acknowledged that the debate will not be easy, but the American people expect their leaders to come together to tackle the important issues confronting our nation. Winning the future and building a competitive America demands an immigration system that works.

We need comprehensive immigration reform that respects our nation’s laws while continuing our rich tradition as a nation of immigrants and that strengthens our efforts to secure our borders while allowing immigrants to contribute fully to our country and our economy.  In the coming weeks, that’s the consensus the President and his Administration will seek to build.

Melody Barnes is an Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council

Read more by HS News Staff →

States Looking to Copy Arizona Immigration Law Facing Financial Hardships

States Looking to Copy Arizona Immigration Law Facing Financial Hardships

Photo: States Hoping to Pass Arizona-esque Law Are Running Into Trouble

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Several states are looking to implement immigration laws similar to Arizona’s.  However, as state legislatures begin looking at the logistics of enforcing such laws, they are finding that it is not financially plausible for many states. 

It has been nine months since the Arizona Law was signed into effect,  immediately afterwards there was a rush for other states to follow suit, but since then many of these measures have stalled or all out died. 

There has been talk among law enforcement officials as to how laws like Arizona’s could actually be enforced without major added costs on already strained budgets. 

Some states looking to pass immigration laws comparable to Arizona’s include Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Utah, South Carolina, and Texas.  However, legislators in these states are running into issues with the public not wishing to enforce the harsher sections of Arizona’s Bill. 

The enactment of strict immigration laws also has concerned politicians turning their sights to 2012.
At a recent conference organized by the new Hispanic Leadership Network, former Florida governor Jeb Bush (R), who has criticized the Arizona law, noted the importance of Latino voters.

“Hispanics will be the swing voters as they are today in the swing states.” Bush said. “If you want to elect a center-right president of the United States, it seems to me you should be concerned about places like New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Florida, Texas, places where but for the Hispanic vote, elections are won and lost.”

Read more at Washington Post →

Oscar-Nominated for Best Documentary Feature, “Restrepo” to Be Broadcast on Nat Geo Channel 2/2

Oscar-Nominated for Best Documentary Feature, “Restrepo” to Be Broadcast on Nat Geo Channel  2/2

Photo: Restrepo

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Winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Restrepo is a feature-length film by award-winning photojournalist Tim Hetherington and journalist/author Sebastian Junger that chronicles the deployment of U.S. troops in the Korengal Valley, one of the most dangerous outposts in Afghanistan. 

The movie focuses on a remote 15-man outpost, Restrepo, named after a platoon medic who was killed in action.

This is an entirely experiential film:  The cameras never leave the valley; there are no interviews with generals or diplomats.  The only goal is to make viewers feel as if they have just been through a 94-minute deployment.  This is war, full stop.  The conclusions are up to you.

Following the announcement by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences that Restrepo is nominated for Best Documentary feature, National Geographic Channel (NGC) announced today an encore broadcast of the film on Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. The film will air in its entirety, unedited and with limited commercial interruption.

Read more by HS News Staff →

IRS and Telemundo Host Tax Information Program for Spanish-Speaking Taxpayers- Sunday Jan 30

IRS and Telemundo Host Tax Information Program for Spanish-Speaking Taxpayers- Sunday Jan 30

Photo: Telemundo Program Helps with Taxes

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Spanish speakers can watch Los Impuestos y Usted airing over the Telemundo television network on Sunday, January 30.

This one hour program covers several tax benefits, including the Earned Income Tax Credit or EITC—which could add up to $5,600 to their federal tax refunds. The program also spotlights where to get free tax help and online services available at www.irs.gov/espanol from their computers and many mobile devices.

Any Spanish-speaking individual who earned less than $48,362 from wages, self-employment or farming last year, cannot afford to miss this important program. If they are eligible for EITC, they must file federal income tax returns, even if they are not otherwise required to file, and must specifically claim the credit to get it.

Four of five eligible taxpayers filed for and got their EITC last year. The average credit was over $2,200. Partners can help ensure their clients get this credit if they qualify.

This program is the IRS’ premier EITC outreach initiative with Spanish-speaking taxpayers. The scheduled air times are:

      ET 12 noon       CT 11:00am       MT 1:30pm           PT 1pm

However, taxpayers should check their local TV listings in case of change.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spain’s Unemployment Rate Tops 20.33%, Highest Level for Any Industrialized Nation

On Friday the government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced the country’s jobless rate had reached a 13-year high of 20.33% at year-end 2010.  This rate is the highest rate of unemployment for any industrialized nation.

There are currently 4.7 million people unemployed in the country and another 121,900 were added in the last quarter of 2010.  The unemployment rate in Spain was 18.83% in 2009, and now 20.33% with the future not looking much better.  Economic experts are pegging 2011 rate at 19.3% with a modest decrease for 2012 to 17.5%.

Spain’s economy is the fifth largest in Europe and was thrown into a recession in 2008 especially in its labor-intensive construction sector.  The country amidst much protest just eliminated long-term unemployment benefits of $568/month due to the country’s budget deficit and as part of its long-term austerity measures. 

Read more at Yahoo News →

Mexico Cracks Down on Corrupt Mayors, 33 Accused and Detained

In a state wide corruption sweep the government in the state of Veracruz, Mexico has arrested 33 former mayors and over 100 former municipal workers on charges of corruption and embezzling close to $6 million during the period between 2004 – 2008.

The first official to be implicated in this coastal state corruption sweep is, Leonardo Mendoza the former mayor of Benito Juarez.  Specifically they are accused of stealing public works fund for personal use. 

Read more at Tri-City Herald →

LAPD Chief Not Anticipating Arizona-esque Immigration Law For L.A.

LAPD Chief Not Anticipating Arizona-esque Immigration Law For L.A.

Photo: LAPD's Charlie Beck

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Charlie Beck, Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, has come out recently restating the fact his department does not participate in the practice of stopping people to verify their immigration status. 

Officers for the LAPD are prohibited from stopping people on purely on the basis of their immigration status, under court-mandated Special Order 40.

This order has been in effect since 1979 as a means to gain the trust of immigrant communities in order to achieve their aid in criminal cases.

“It was a policy I had as a police officer coming up and it will be the policy as long as my children are police officers,” Beck said Thursday. 

According to Beck, policy states that a person can be questioned in regards to their immigration status after they have been arrested for some other crime, but not before. 

Read more at LAPD Chief Charlie Beck says he doesn't expect an Arizona-style immigration law in L.A. →

Fifth day of Egypt Protests, Continued Calls for Mubarak to Resign

Fifth day of Egypt Protests, Continued Calls for Mubarak to Resign

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Egyptian president Mubarak has been ruling Egypt for 30 years. Yesterday he agreed to fire his government by replacing his entire cabinet, but did not agree to resign. Will it be enough? What now?

* Has Mubarak done enough to halt the protests?

Yesterday Mubarak sent troops into three of Egypt’s largest cities and made a TV address where he acknowledged the economic frustration of many of the citizens.
Two thirds of Egypt’s 80 million people are below the age of 30 and unemployment is high .

“I make 400 Egyptian pounds ($70) a month. I pay 300 pounds for rent, 20 pounds for electricity, I pay 15 pounds for water. I pay 5 pounds for gas. There is not enough left for food and drink. Where is the medicine? Where is the transport?” a 35-year-old mechanic, who refused to give his name, said.
“I kill myself working all day, and you give me 15 or 20 pounds, give me my fair share,” added Ghareeb, 34, working as a driver.
“We will have to see how people react but I don’t think it will be enough at all. I wouldn’t want to put a number on his chances of survival—we really are in uncharted territory,” said Anthony Skinner, associate director at political risk consultancy Maplecroft.

* What does it mean for Egyptian markets and economy?
When protests erupted in Egypt on Tuesday, shares tumbled in the worst one-day fall in Egypt’s main benchmark’s history and the Egypt pound plunged to six-year lows. Egypt’s financial markets were closed on Friday, the Egyptian weekend. Sunday is expected to be a rough day as well for the markets.

As the Fifth Day of Protest begins in Egypt- Here is what is happening now.

Cairo- “Thousands have gathered in central Cairo and there have been clashes with security forces, while protests are also reported in Alexandria,” the BBC writes. “The army has advised people to obey curfews and avoid gathering in groups.”

Luxor- Al Jazeera reports. “Thousands of demonstrators have gathered in Tahrir Square and outside the offices of state television in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, on Saturday, shouting ‘Go away, go away!’ Similar crowds were gathering in the cities of Alexandria and Suez, Al Jazeera’s correspondents reported.”

Egypt’s military “has closed tourist access to the pyramids,” says the Associated Press. “Tanks and armored personnel carriers have sealed off the site on the Giza Plateau, which is normally packed with tourists.” Meanwhile, says the AP, “tanks guarded key government buildings around Cairo and the central square.”

“It’s abundantly clear” that protesters are not happy with President Hosni Mubarak’s announcement last night that he’s dissolved his Cabinet and will appoint new ministers, says NPR’s Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, who is in Cairo. “Everyone on the street, what they’ve been calling for ... is for him to leave,” Soraya adds. “They are done with this president. They want a new president. ... They just want freedom and democracy and they will settle for no less.”

Read more at Yahoo-News →

It’s Easy Being Green: Five Green Trends for 2011

It’s Easy Being Green: Five Green Trends for 2011

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While organic is a buzz word in food and farming, and is a growing worldwide movement, going green has a broader scope covering many industries.  Here are five green trends you can expect to see in 2011.

1. “Eco-superior” products. Going green is becoming more popular, but consumers have more of an incentive to buy “eco-superior” products: products that aren’t just eco-friendly, but also perform better than their nongreen counterparts. According to trendwatching.com, you can expect to see numerous brands start “taking aim right at the heart of traditional alternatives: stressing the superior quality and design, increased durability and/or lower running costs of products.”

2. More accurate green claims. Back in October, the Federal Trade Commission proposed revisions to its “Green Guides,” in order to help marketers “avoid making misleading environmental claims.” The guides advise marketers to move from using blanket, general green claims to more defined statistics to help consumers more clearly understand products’ environmental impacts.

3. Luxury vehicles and alternative mobility. We all know about the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf, but we don’t often hear about green luxury vehicles. That will change this year, as Mercedes-Benz and Bentley both plan to offer luxury cars with smaller engines, and Porsche and BMW advance plans for plug-in hybrids. Car sharing will likely also grow, as auto manufacturers start offering car-sharing programs, in addition to individuals utilizing peer-to-peer share programs like Spride.

4. Green travel. Delegates at September’s European Ecotourism Conference in Estonia discussed some of the green travel trends they expect for 2011. One is the concept of “voluntourism,” or volunteer tourism, which is expected to be integrated more into green travel programs. Zero-carbon hotels are also opening in Europe, and there are plans for green hotels in Asia as well.

5. Green building. Finally, green building consultant Jerry Yudelson predicts an increase in buildings’ use of solar power, and that designers will institute more ways to reduce buildings’ water consumption in response to the global water crisis. He adds that U.S. green building will continue to thrive under the Obama administration, as “announcements of a commitment to a minimum of LEED Gold for all new federal projects and major renovations” represent a focus on going green in the executive branch.

Read more at Center for American Progress →

Federal Judge Bars Indiana’s Attempt to Amend Birthright Citizenship

Federal Judge Bars Indiana’s Attempt to Amend Birthright Citizenship

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A federal Judge has ruled that the state of Indiana can not deny paternity documents for children born in the US because their parents are illegal immigrants and do not have Social Security Numbers.

The challenged policy calls that paternity affidavits filed by unmarried parents must contain both parents’ social security numbers or they will be sent back to the health offices unrecorded.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt issued the ruling Thursday in a lawsuit filed by parents who say a state policy requiring the numbers violates their children’s rights. The judge agreed the policy resulted in discrimination against an American citizen.

Judge Pratt issued a preliminary injunction barring the policy .

Indiana state officials argue that the policy was meant to reflect state and federal law, states attorneys have not decided whether they will appeal.

Read more at CNSNEWS.com →

Los Angeles Catholic Schools Adopt a 200-day School Calendar, 20 More than Most Schools in Country

The Catholic archdiocese of Los Angeles has announced it is adding 20 days more to its academic calendar for a total of 200 days, more than most schools in the nation.

The announcement made by Cardinal Roger Mahony comes just as the Los Angeles Unified school district cut its school calendar to 175 days.  The Cardinal has assured everyone the decision was not meant to provide Los Angeles Catholic schools with a competitive edge over local schools.

The Archdiocese operates 210 elementary, middle schools and 50 Catholic high schools with over 80,000 students in attendance; the 30,000 high school students are not affected by this change. The stated goal is to make sure Catholic schools students in the region remain globally competitive.

The additional cost is expected to be bore by tuition increases and help from fundraising efforts and comes as other Catholic archdioceses in the country are closing schools or facing budget shortfalls.  Many of the elementary and middle schools effected have large Hispanic populations that appear ready to take on the added tuition cost ranging between $200 - $800. 

Read more at La Times →

SaturdayJanuary 29, 2011