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FridayFebruary 4, 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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Largest Weapon Seizure to Date at Texas-Mexico Border

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Del Rio port of entry conducting outbound examinations on Tuesday seized 14 assault rifles, a shotgun, a pistol, 22 assorted gun magazines and 25 rounds of ammunition from a vehicle driven by a Ft. Worth woman.

The seizure occurred on Feb. 1, during an outbound (southbound) examination at the Del Rio International Bridge. A CBP officer referred a 2001 BMW 740 IL driven by a 22-year-old female U.S. citizen from Ft. Worth, Texas for a secondary examination. During the examination, CBP officers discovered a cache of weapons and ammunition in the vehicle trunk, including 14 assault rifles of various calibers, but mostly of the AK-47, AR-15 variety, one Saiga 12-gauge shotgun with silencer, a pistol, a total of 22 gun magazines of various calibers, including two drum-style magazines, 25 rounds of 5.56mm ammunition and a rifle sling. CBP officers seized the vehicle, all the weapons and weapons equipment.

CBP officers turned the driver over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) special agents for further investigation.

“This is the largest weapons seizure at Del Rio port of entry so far for Fiscal Year 2011 and one of the largest ever in the history of the port,” said Michael Perez, CBP port director, Del Rio. “This seizure reinforces the commitment of CBP together with our DHS partners to strengthen our border security by preventing the movement of assault weapons and ammunition to Mexico.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Dangerous Creativity: Illegal Border Crossers Use Underwater Scooters to Enter U.S. from Mexico

Border Patrol agents arrested two male Mexican nationals last night in Imperial Beach, Calif., after the two used self-propelled underwater devices to illegally enter the United States by sea.

At about 8:45 p.m., the crew of a Customs and Border Protection Office of Air and Marine aircraft spotted two suspicious subjects in wetsuits who were carrying dive scooters. The males were walking north on the beach, south of Seacoast Drive. Border Patrol agents responded to the scene and encountered two individuals attempting to conceal themselves by lying in the sand.

Agents questioned the males, a 38-year-old and a 16-year-old, and arrested them after determining they were Mexican nationals who had used the dive scooters to illegally enter the United States. Agents transported the two to a local Border Patrol station for processing.

Read more by HS News Staff →

John Quinones and “What Would You Do?” Display Effects of Arizona’s Immigration Law

John Quinones and “What Would You Do?” Display Effects of Arizona’s Immigration Law

Photo: John Quiniones on "What Would You Do?"

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Wanting to see how Arizonians react to clear racial profiling since the passing of a controversial immigration bill last year, ABC’s John Quinones and his popular series “What Would You Do?” went undercover.

Back in 2010, Arizona passed SB 1070, a bill requiring local police to check the immigration status of anyone they had “reasonable suspicion” was not in the country legally. It started an uproar , as many claimed it was completely discriminatory and was clearly targeted at Latinos, considering a white person would more than likely never be asked to prove their citizenship. Though the bill was signed into law, a judge suspended the most controversial parts.

Though many protests were held, polls indicated that around 50 percent of Arizona voters supported the bill.

Quinones decided to take a look at how Arizona restaurant patrons would react if they saw someone randomly asking Latinos for papers.

Cameras were hidden in a popular Tucson restaurant. Both the Latinos and the security guard asking to see documentation were actors.

In one scenario, the security guard approaches the Latino man just moments after he enters the restaurant.

“You got any ID on you? Documentation? Papers?” asks the guard. “Are you visiting? Do you understand a little English?”

Though people see what’s going on, they stay in their seats and watch uncomfortably at first. Then one man confronts the security guard.

“Excuse me, who are you? Do you work here?” the man asks.

The guard answers, “No, I’m a security guard, I just stopped in to get some food. I’m just trying to be a good American.” To which the man yells back, “I wouldn’t say you’re a good American. I’d say you’re an ass!”

Though there was someone willing to stop the obvious racial profiling, that will not always be the case, and this scenario is exactly what civil rights activists fear will happen if the law is allowed to take effect in its entirety.

In one of the scenarios, patron Candice Coker, approached the actress playing a Latino mother out with her husband and daughter, and offered her words of support. When she spoke with Quinones after the scene was revealed to be phony, Coker admitted to not really thinking about the effects of the bill on families. Seeing the impact, she said, made her think twice about the law.

In the end though, over two days, “What Would You Do?” revealed that people in Arizona, at least in this restaurant, both white and Latino, stepped up when they witnessed such a blatant display of racial profiling. In fact, most of those that intervened were not Hispanic.

Read more at ABC News →

Dominican Doctor In Trouble for Disfiguring his New York Plastic Surgery Clients

Dominican Dr. Hector Cabral is in trouble with U.S. officials for his botched plastic surgeries and working in New York with out a medical license.  Cabral, 51, does not have a license to practice medicine in New York though apparently he is licensed in his native country for over 20 years.

New York officials alleged Cabral lured women with rock bottom prices and were solicited through salons and spas he was affiliated with in New York.  The women were then asked to fly to the Dominican to have the procedures done, apparently he has been doing this since 1999.  In one case Lisette Mejia, 28, paid Cabral $3,500 for liposuction that left her with burn wounds, and disfiguring scars on her waist and back. 

Cabral was arrested this week for dispensing medical advice without a license.  Authorities are not adding additional charges at this point, since the botched surgeries were conducted in another country.  Cabral came to authorities attention when numerous women complained to those authorities of scarring, permanent disfigurement and chronic pain after having Cabral operate on them.

Read more at NY Post →

Can’t We Just (at Least Momentarily) Bury The Hatchet Even for the Oldest Person on the World?

Friends and relatives of a Cuban woman just celebrated what they allege was her 126th turn around the sun onboard of this planet. Image

126 candles on a cake spell arson; but that’s not the reason why, officially,  the oldest person in the world is not 126 year old Juana Bautista de la Candelaria Rodríguez, but Besse Cooper, an American woman 12 years her junior.

Also officially, the oldest person before Besse Cooper, was Eunice Sanborn, also American, also 12 years younger than Señora Juana. Mrs. Sanborn passed away on January 31st 2011.

Battle of the Seniors

Now, look at the picture below and see if you can spot something weird.


Wikipedia based research shows that the United States claim to have several of the eldest people in the world. Cuba is nowhere to be seen. Wonder why…

Let’s look beyond what looks like skewed data. Surely, for a country that claims to have a bunch of the oldest people EVER within its bounds,one should expect its life expectancy should be fairly high, right?


Wrong! The US is not even within the first 20 spots! Again, Cuba is nowhere to be seen, but that’s because Cuba isn’t recognized by the Los Angeles-based Gerontology Research Group, which verifies information for Guinness World Records. It is estimated that at least 1500 of the 11,2 million Cubans is over the age of 100 years old!

But…The Los Angeles-based group says Cuba’s records are not good enough.

Señora Juana spent her 126th surrounded by her loving son, grandchildren, great-grandchildren,  great-great-grandchildren, friends and neighbors in her country side home, eating cake on her rocking chair. 

“They say around that I might be the oldest woman in Cuba,” she said. “I wouldn’t ever imagined it. Well, I hope to get to 130, right?” joked the woman who at least in our book is the oldest person in the world.

And if you still have any doubts listen to this curious fact:

Juana Bautista de la Candelaria Rodríguez was allegedly born on February 2 1885 to parents who also saw the hundredths. She is a proud Cuban, born and raised in the province of Granma . Enough said.


Read more by HS News Staff →

Dozens of Abandoned Children Found Roaming in Mexico, Parents Feared Kidnapped

Yesterday at least 25 children were found roaming the city of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, all for two were minors, one was an infant and all appeared to be abandoned and homeless.

Nuevo Laredo is a border city neighboring Laredo, Texas.  The first set of children were found Monday night and were only located when neighbors heard crying coming from nearby abandoned homes.  The rest of the children were found in groups in different neighborhoods roaming the streets at all hours and appearing disoriented.

As of today only two of the children, two unidentified females, were returned to their families.  Early indications from officials are that the parents were kidnapping victims from the ruthless drug cartels that operate in the region.  The 23 other children have been placed in a shelter until their parents are found. 

The state of Tamaulipas has a new governor, vowing to restore order and some officials are connecting the kidnappings and the killing of its police chief, on Wednesday, as a warning sign to new Governor Egidio Torre.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Greek Unites Blacks and Latinos as Brother Faces Deportation

Greek Unites Blacks and Latinos as Brother Faces Deportation

Photo: Undocumented Student Mario Perez

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During a routine traffic stop, an undocumented student was arrested and taken to jail, but his fraternity brothers would not stand for it, and came out in force in support of their brother.

Mario Perez is a 22-year-old mathematics and statistics major on track to graduate from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. He is also a member of Iota Mu chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.

Not until applying for college did Perez even know he was not in the country legally. While filling out applications, he asked for his Social Security number, and that’s when his parents told him the truth. He didn’t have one.

However, in Texas, anyone that graduates from a Texas high school can attend a state college, so Perez headed to Stephen F. Austin. Without a Social Security number though, financial aid was not an option, so his parents paid more than $40,000 in tuition fees.

Flash forward to April 2010, after being taken to jail, Perez received a phone call. It was an immigration official telling him he was now facing deportation to a country he doesn’t even know. Hearing the words, Perez said his “brain went numb.” Not knowing who else he could turn to, he leaned on his brothers for help, and quickly, they leapt into action. Not only did they reach out to alums to raise and post Perez’s $1,500 bail, they found him Jacob Monty, a lawyer specializing in immigration cases.

“Our firm was contacted by some alumni of his fraternity, and I was honestly shocked to see a dozen African-American men in my office working on behalf of a Hispanic kid,” Monty said. “I was moved when they told me that Mario was a brother and they weren’t going to let their brother down. That’s when I decided to take the case pro bono.

“I think this was particularly moving because there are many politicians who are dismissive of the DREAM Act by saying that it somehow hurts African-Americans and American born Hispanics.”

Perez’s brothers at Alpha Phi, the nation’s oldest black Greek-letter fraternity, have been strong supporters of the estimated 65,000 undocumented youth coming out of the shadows. Last year, in protest of Arizona’s SB 1070, Alpha Phi moved their summer convention from Phoenix to Las Vegas.

Describing his moral character, Monty pointed out that Perez “could have gotten married to his girlfriend or he could have gotten her pregnant and become eligible to get a green card that would allow him to stay here legally, but he didn’t believe that was right. He thinks you should finish your education before you get married or start a family. He was trying to do the right thing and he’s being prosecuted for it.”

And while Perez has a tough battle ahead of him, his case blasted the perception that many have tried so hard to create. As Alpha Phi Alpha alumnus put it, “Despite the anti-immigration rhetoric spewed by conservatives seeking to drive a wedge among minority groups, African Americans and Latino immigrants often share a common appreciation for fairness … Such was the example in Perez’s case…”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Super Bowl: Magnet for Child Traffickers, Sex Slaves from Latin Amerca

There really is a dark side to everything, even the Super Bowl.

As Dallas is trying to cater to the rush of people headed there for the Super Bowl this weekend, their looking for another 10,000 strippers said TMZ.

While some might find the presents of strippers simply a moral issue, there is more to it than that. With the increase in strippers, comes the increase in the trafficking of young girls, primarily from Latin America.

According to the Today Show, the fast-growing sex trafficking world is bringing a number of unassuming teenaged girls into Texas from Latin American. These girls are beaten, raped, and their families threatened, and forced to have sex with as many as 6 men a night, when they were initially promised good jobs that would allow them to help their families back home.

“The Super Bowl is a magnet for child sex traffickers.” said Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. “People are thinking of the Packers and the Steelers and the game on the field, having a good time, and Super Bowl commercials. Most don’t think about a 12-year-old being forced to dance naked.

So as Texas calls for more strippers, thousands of sex-slaves are believed to be arriving as well, some to fill in as strippers, while others are planned for something fall worse.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Robert De Niro Arrives in Barcelona to Shoot a Paranormal Mystery Film

Robert De Niro Arrives in Barcelona to Shoot a Paranormal Mystery Film

Photo: Robert De Niro is in Barcelona Shooting Film With dir. Rodrigo Cortes

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Robert De Niro has just arrived in Barcelona to film a paranormal mystery.  The actor will be participating in “Red Lights” a film directed by Spanish director Rodrigo Cortés, who directed Buried in 2010. 

“Red Lights” will be the third feature length film of Cortés, who achieved worldwide acclaim with his 2010 “Buried” starring Ryan Reynolds.

De Niro will be shooting in Barcelona for a couple of weeks, before flying to Toronto, where the rest of the film will be shot.

In “Red Lights,” De Niro plays legendary psychic Simon Silver, who comes back into the limelight after spending 30 years in enigmatic isolation.

Sigourny Weaver will play Dr. Margaret Matheson, a medical doctor who with her assistant tries to disprove psychic phenomena, and hits a brick wall trying to explain those paranormal events surrounding Silver, something that turns into an obsession that could not only end her career, but turn into a dangerous cat-and-mouse game.


Read more by HS News Staff →

Bruno Mars Cops to Plea Deal on Cocaine Charges, Only Mutters “Yes Your Honor”

UPDATE:  Peter Hernandez, better known as the Grammy nominated singer Bruno Mars, was in court today entering his plea deal on cocaine charges.  The judge agreed to the plea deal that mandates Hernandez stay out of trouble for 12 months and then the charges will be dropped.  Hernandez spoke very demurely, acknowledging he understood what he signed up for - muttering “Yes, your honor.”

What do you think Bruno will do for this required 200 hours of community service? 

ORIGINAL STORY:  The Grammy nominated pop singer and song writer, Bruno Mars, has cut a deal with Las Vegas legal authorities on his cocaine possessions charges from last September.

Mars, whose legal name is Peter Hernandez, was arrested September 19, 2010 at the Hard Rock Las Vegas hotel for possession of 2.6 grams of cocaine.  Mars agreed to plead guilty to the felony cocaine possession charge and can have those charges removed if he pays a $2,000 fine, attends drug counseling, stays out of trouble and finishes 200 hours of community service.  He was facing up to four years in prison but the prosecutors took into consideration that he was a first time offender.

The pop singer, whose songs “Just the Way You Are” and his co-production “F… You” are nominated for numerous Grammys including Record of the Year, plans on attending the awards ceremony. 

The plea agreement still has to be finalized and approved by a judge some time in February. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

U.S. Family Still Missing, May Be in Mexico. Foul Play or on the Run?

U.S. Family Still Missing, May Be in Mexico. Foul Play or on the Run?

Photo: The missing McStay family

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One year ago today, a California family completely vanished. For the family members left behind, there are many questions, and almost no answers.

Joseph McStay, his wife Summer, and their two young sons, Joe Jr. and Gianni, have been missing since February 2010, and Joe’s brother Mike, says nothing makes any sense, and he refuses to stop looking for them.

As Joe and Summer’s Fallbrook home sits empty and in foreclosure, Mike continues his search for his brother who he says, “just doesn’t do this kind of stuff,” and maintains a website called mcstayfamily.com, on which he has information about the missing family like their current ages, the last place they were seen, and the questions he and the family still have.

In one of his recent posts, Mike spoke about his brother, saying, “He’s the guy that puts money away for a rainy day. He’s always been very wise with money, always good with people. ... He’s just steady.”

The family reportedly has $100,000 remaining in the bank, and to add to the already odd circumstances, just four days after the McStay family was seen, their white 1996 Isuzu Trooper was found in a parking lot near the San Ysidro border crossing into Mexico. The car, as well as Joe’s work truck were completely paid off, so voluntarily leaving them behind seems strange to Mike.

Working with Mexican authorities, the Sheriff’s office, the FBI, and U.S. Border Patrol are still working on the case. The video from cameras at the border crossing near where the Trooper was found is too grainy to say for sure, but Homicide Detective Troy DuGal believes the McStay family can be seen walking toward a turnstile into Tijuana at the San Ysidro pedestrian crossing on February 8th, 2010.

Going along with the inconclusive video footage, DuGal said records on the family’s computer show that the week before they went missing, inquiries were made about passport requirements for traveling to Mexico with children. A Spanish language educational disk was also found.

“The physical evidence indicates it is probable the family left the residence voluntarily and traveled into Mexico” for unknown reasons, said DuGal “I am confident the McStays have not traveled out of Mexico unless they are using an assumed name.”

However, Mike McStay, says his brother and his family had no reason flee, but thinks they may be under some kind of protective custody, though no reason could be thought of.

A restaurant worker in El Rosario in Central Baja California thought she might have seen the family there in May, and in October a family matching the McStay’s description was seen in Ensenada, but they turned out to be Canadian.

While McStay says he understands that each day that goes by reduces the likelihood of finding his family alive, he, like DuGal, says he won’t give up. In fact, family members still place ads about the missing McStays in newspapers and on radio stations.’’

“I don’t expect to stop until I find out what happened to my family, period. We’re just asking for help, for someone that knows something to just come forward.”

Officials have rejected McStay’s theory of protective custody.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the McStay family is urged to contact Sgt. Dave Martinez of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department at 858-565-5200. Anonymous calls can be made to 888-580-8477.

Read more at Sign on San Diego →

Voodoo Prostitution Ring Busted in Spain, 17 Arrested

Voodoo Prostitution Ring Busted in Spain, 17 Arrested

Photo: Evidence of Voodoo Rituals Used to Scare Women Into Prostitution

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A former victim of abuse forced into prostitution starts her own firm that lures unsuspecting Nigrerian women into prostitution in Spain, they were kept in servitude by having their children kidnapped and with vodoo dolls containing their bodily fluids and alleged to have supernatural powers. 

A “Madam” known as “Mother Mustafá” arrived to Spain from Nigeria a few years ago, hopeful, excited about the prospect of being able to send money to her relatives back in the African nation, since she had been offered a promising job in a big Spanish city.

But the job opportunity was a lie, instead she was forced into prostitution, until she paid back the cost of her plane ticket, plus a presumably astronomic mafia interest rate.

Once she paid off her debt, alone and illegally in a foreign country, she opted for climbing up the ladder of the same business she had been a victim of and became a madam, offering faux jobs at hair salons and supermarkets to Nigerian girls, only to force them into prostitution until they paid back the 50,000 euros that she allegedly spent bringing them to Spain.

The network grew ample, and its tentacles spread into different criminal practices that helped the “business” stay afloat; the organization had its own fake document “factory” and recruiting personnel in Nigeria, Senegal and Morocco, which lured girls with promises of grandeur and paid for their tickets to lush European locations in Greece, France and Italy. Once there network contacts moved them to Spain, where they forced them to pay back travel expenses and document expedition fees through prostitution.

A second method for entering the girls into Spain consisted of making them walk form Nigeria to north Morocco, where the girls where systematically raped until they got pregnant, and only then they were allowed to travel to Spain, where they were separated from their children, and forced into prostitution to get them back.

“Mother Mustafá‘s” cronies would photograph the women naked, and take samples of their hair, and bodily fluids. They would build voodoo dolls, complete with these samples, and terrorize them with voodoo “ceremonies”. These women were continuously beaten, and forced to pay bogus fees in addition to their rent, weekly food and transportation to Spain.  The women that got pregnant were severely punished, and forced to not only have an abortion, but also to pay for it.

After one of the victims was able to tell her story to police, officers investigated Mother Mustafá and another madam alias Cynthya and little by little peeled off the layers of the organization, finding in addition to the horrible voodoo prostitution network a crime cell that created fake documents, arranged citizenship-weddings and even a internet scam and phishing operation. 17 people were arrested in a sweep across Spain.

At the time Mother Mustafá was arrested, police found a series of voodoo dolls which the procuress used to threat the girls. One of those dolls represented Mother Mustafá‘s little sister, as well a victim of the ruthless procuress.


Read more by HS News Staff →

Go Red ‘Por Tu Corazon’ Helping to Fight Heart Disease Amongst Latinas

The American Heart Association’s (AHA) Go Red Por Tu Corazón is a bilingual heart-health movement for Latinas that is dedicated to raising awareness of heart disease – the No. 1 killer of Latina women. Go Red Por Tu Corazón promotes a heart-healthy lifestyle, through healthy eating and physical activity, building on Latinas strong ties to family and cultural traditions. As the sister cause of Go Red For Women, Go Red Por Tu Corazón has already inspired Hispanic women nationwide to begin to take care of their hearts.

In conjunction with the Por Tu Corazón campaign, there is National Wear Red Day, which is today. “Going Red” is as easy as putting on a red dress, a red tie, or a red dress pin. Showing others across the country you support the fight against heart disease in Hispanic women by wearing red and sharing with your social networks why you are wearing red.

Only 1 in 3 Hispanic women are aware that heart disease is the leading cause of death amongst them.  This awareness and education campaign is part of AHA’s larger GoRedForWomen campaign, which connects millions of women of all ages and ethnicities to tangible resources to improve their heart’s health. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

40 Percent of Latinos in Toronto High Schools Drop Out

40 Percent of Latinos in Toronto High Schools Drop Out

Photo: Toronto Skyline

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According to a recent study, the high school drop out rate for Latinos in Toronto is now 40 percent, and despite attempts to change this, the school district has, so far, been unable to find a solution.

The study, by University of Toronto states that the drop out rate is almost double that of the overall population. So what is it? Why are Latino students there not finishing high school?

Well to answer that, the researchers spoke to some of the Latino students themselves. A number of current students said they we’ve been labeled slow learners because they don’t speak English, while others stated they are made outcasts, made fun of and mocked for not speaking English. Also, Rubén A. Gaztambide-Fernández who headed up the study, said researchers were told that few resources are available for the Spanish speakers and economic stress played a large role dropping out.

In recent years, the number of Latin Americans in Canada has increased greatly due, in large part, to the immigration debate going on here in the U.S., and Gaztambide-Fernández said the school district was just not ready.

It is estimated that around 350,000 Latin Americans currently live in Canada, which has a total population of about 32 million. Around a third of the Latin American population in Toronto. Of that, 5,200 are attending schools in the Toronto school district.

Adding to the students’ issues is the fact that both peers and teachers are forming their opinions of them off of stereotypes, mostly those that come from Hollywood movies.

“In the U.S., depending on where you live, all the stereotypes about Latinos tend to be bad, but at least there are a lot of stereotypes,” said Gaztambide-Fernández. “What we found in Canada was that everyone assumes that because you are Latin American, you are Mexican. And because you are Mexican, you are poor, lazy and you belong to a gang. That was it.”

For the study, 60 students were interviewed and asked to fill out surveys. During one of the interviews, 12th grader Mercedes said staying in school isn’t just about the school.

“It is like a little burlap sack, you throw in discrimination, you throw in work, you throw in that you have no money, you throw in that, well, you don’t like school, you throw in this and you throw in that, and the burlap sack gets heavy,” she said. “It is not just one factor that leads you leave school.”

Having failed at decreasing the Latino drop outs, the Toronto school board is now asking the community, universities, and even New York school officials for recommendations.

Part of the district’s efforts will include a pilot program to begin in February, that includes cultural sensitivity classes to be offered to teachers so they may better understand the Latin American culture, and Latin American history courses will be added to the curriculum. Support programs for the students will be added, and low-income students will be offered part-time jobs at the school.

If the pilot program proves successful, it will be integrated into all of the schools.

Read more at Fox News Latino →

28 Percent of all Puerto Rican Teens Carry Guns to School, Teachers Fear Their Own Students

A study released this week in Puerto Rico shows an alarming trend of 10th-12th graders carrying guns to school whereby teachers are afraid of their students, and violence to solve problems is readily practiced.

The study was done by the Josephson Institute of Ethics for the government who was trying to figure out why one in every four high school student is absent – the answer is FEAR. 

The study found that 28 percent of all Puerto Rican 10th-12th graders carry some type of a firearm to school, that 52 percent of this demographic admits to hitting someone in school if they felt insulted and a majority of high school teachers are afraid of the very students they have to teach.

Governor Luis Fortuño is working with a group of religious organizations and community leaders to identify strategies to deter the young from a path of violence.

Read more at La Prensa →

Border Control Busy Examining 320.8 Million Plus Cut Flowers from Latin America for Valentine’s Day

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists at the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport spend numerous hours searching for these conspicuous bugs.

From the start of this New Year, CBP Agriculture Specialists have dedicated numerous hours inspecting cut flower imports arriving, primarily from Colombia, with 211.9 million stems or 66 percent, followed by Ecuador, with 70.5 million stems or 33 percent, as well as from Mexico, Netherlands, Costa Rica and Thailand.

CBP processed approximately 320.8 million cut flower stems during the 2010 Valentine’s season – Jan. 1 to Feb. 14 – compare to 148.5 millions stems processed during the 2009 season, an increase of 45 percent

San Juan ranks among the top 10 ports of entry processing 1,159,129 cut flower imports. Miami ranks the first among U.S. ports of entry for shipments of cut flower imports, followed by Los Angeles.

The imported cut flowers inspection process resulted in a total of 3,054 pest interceptions nationally. In San Juan, 63 Actionable Pests were intercepted during the last years Valentines’ season; ranking among the top 5 ports nationwide.

The most common type of insects intercepted in these cut flower imports are Thrips (Thripidae), Moths (Noctuidae), Aphids (Aphididae) , and Miner Flies (Agromyzidae). These insects are considered invasive pests as they have the potential to adversely affect the habitats and bioregions they invade economically, environmentally, and/or ecologically.

Roses top the list of the top 10 cut flower imports followed by Mixed Bouquets, Dianthus (carnations) and Chrysanthemum (pom-pon).

Read more by HS News Staff →

Christina Aguilera to Design Fashion Line for Brazil’s C&A Department Stores (VIDEO)

The 30-year old singer is in Brazil, promoting her new fashion line for the department store C&A during Brazil’s Fashion Week.

Following in the footsteps of J-lo and Sofía Vergara, Christina Aguilera has decided to take a stab at designing fashion and teamed up with Brazilian department store C&A to create a fashion line.

Aguilera says she can’t wait to get to work. C&A does not stand for Christina’s initials but rather represent an international chain of fashion retail clothing stores with low-budget apparel, competing with Zara and H&M. 

Speaking at a press conference at the birapuera’s Bienal Pavilion in Sao Paulo Fashion Week in Brazil, Christina said: “I am here and very focused on the campaign.”

While in Brazil, the singer will shoot the commercials for the campaign, which in turn, is expected to launch in March/April.

Read more by HS News Staff →

U.S. Telecom Industry Condemns Mexico’s Inaction Toward Telmex Monopoly

As part of its yearly tasks, COMPTEL, the association representing the telecommunications industry in the U.S., collects information supplied by the Trade Representative (USTR) office, about the development and opportunities in the telecommunications industry worldwide, especially in Mexico.

Mexico is known to offer one of the most active markets for telecom operators and consumers in the U.S.; however, according to COMPTEL, it is also plagued by setbacks and barriers.

COMPTEL states that even after constant requests and complaints from competitors, the Mexican government has not taken precise measures to restrain both subsidiaries of America Movil: Telmex, currently supplying 80% of fixed telephony services, and Telcel, currently supplying 70% of mobile telephony in Mexico; these two companies earned their huge market share not necessarily because of the authentic consumer choice, but more by using business practices considered to be monopolistic.

Furthermore, COMPTEL highlights the following main anti-competitive activities that Telmex, have been perpetuating since 1991, the year that telephony was privatized in Mexico:
1. Blocking the majority of competitive traffic into the rural half of Mexico.

2. Illegally inserting lengthy recorded messages into calls carried into Mexico by certain competitive carriers, telling U.S. and Mexican customers that future calls may be not completed if they use that carrier.

3. Refusing to allow competitors to install local or long haul facilities that would provide competitive termination for U.S. carriers.

These practices and abuses are already well known by competitors and users, but continue to go unpunished for lack of authority and real regulation by the Mexican government.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Federal Court Upholds Immigrants’ Right to Reopen Immigration Cases from Outside the U.S.

Yesterday, a federal appellate court chastised the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) for preventing noncitizens from reopening their cases from outside the United States.

This important ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit repudiates the government’s view that immigration judges and the BIA lack “jurisdiction” over such cases.

The American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, which filed a joint amicus brief in the case, applaud the Sixth Circuit’s ruling. The Legal Action Center and National Immigration Project have coordinated litigation on this issue nationwide and call on the BIA to abandon its misguided regulation barring review of motions filed by noncitizens outside the United States.

“The Sixth Circuit recognized that the regulation deprives noncitizens of their statutory right to present new evidence in their cases. The decision corrects the government’s unlawful attempt to separate families and opens the door for them to return to the United States,” said attorney Trina Realmuto of the National Immigration Project. Beth Werlin of the Legal Action Center said, “A motion may bea person’s only chance to present his case to the immigration judge. The government should take immediate steps to withdraw this unfair and outdated regulation rather than proceed with continued, unnecessary and costly litigation.”

Federal law gives noncitizens the right to file motions to submit new evidence after their removal orders become final. But the BIA has long maintained that it cannot consider such a motion if a foreign national is outside the United States. This policy gives the government a perverse incentive to remove noncitizens from the country before they have an opportunity to submit evidence that could change the outcome of their cases. Moreover, the policy is at odds with 1996 revisions to the immigration law that were intended to expedite removal while ensuring that immigrants still had the opportunity to seek review of unfavorable decisions.

Today’s ruling involved Vakhtang Pruidze, a green card holder from Russia removed from the country because of a minor offense in Michigan. Less than two weeks after his removal, the criminal court vacated Mr. Pruidze’s conviction. He then sought to reopen his immigration case, but the BIA refused to consider the motion because he was outside the country.

As the Sixth Circuit declared in Thursday’s ruling, the BIA’s interpretation “has no roots in any statutory source and misapprehends the authority delegated to the Board by Congress.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Life at Conception Act Bill has 13 Co-Sponsors in Senate Would End Abortions

Life at Conception Act Bill has 13 Co-Sponsors in Senate Would End Abortions

Photo: Pro-Life

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Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) is sponsoring the “Life at Conception Act” (S.91), which will define personhood from the moment of conception. Sen. Wicker has 13 co-sponsors thus far.

In Harry Blackmun’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, he wrote that “if personhood is established, the appellant’s case (i.e., ‘Roe’), of course collapses, for the fetus’ right to life is then guaranteed specifically by the [14th] amendment.”

Under S.91, a “human person” and a “human being” includes every individual “at all stages of life, including, but not limited to, the moment of fertilization, cloning and other moment at which an individual…comes into being.”

If this bill is enacted into law, it thus will not only provide protection for unborn babies, it will follow the path Justice Blackmun laid out 38 years ago for overturning Roe v. Wade.

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) has introduced a parallel bill in the House (H.R.374) which currently has 53 co-sponsors.

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Mexican Ambassador Disapproves of Georgia Bills

Mexican Ambassador Disapproves of Georgia Bills

Photo: Arturo Sarukhan has a problem with anti-illegal immigration legislation

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Mexican Ambassador to the US, Arturo Sarukhan, condemned legislation that dealt with the topic of undocumented immigration in Georgia, claiming that it was “poisoning” the relationship between Mexico and the US.

Sarukhan stated that Mexican immigrants come to the US for jobs, not to unfairly use services offered in the US. 

Sarukhan also pointed out the longstanding relationship between his country and Georgia, in particular the two regions’ business dealings, and the fact that cracking down on illegal immigration could damage the state’s $65 billion agricultural industry. 

The Ambassador focused on Georgia’s SB7 bill, which would stop undocumented immigrants from benefiting from worker’s compenstation for on-the-job injuries.  According to Sarukhan, the bill violates “any an dall international conventions on labor rights and human rights.” 

Read more at Mexican ambassador blasts Ga. bills aimed at illegal immigrants →

FridayFebruary 4, 2011