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FridayFebruary 11, 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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Flamenco Legend Manolo Vargas Dies in Mexico at the Age of 98

The Mexican National Fine Arts Institute and the entire world of flamenco dance is mourning the passing of the legendary dancer Manolo Vargas at the age of 98.

Vargas, was born in Jalisco Mexico, studied in Mexico City and danced the flamenco all over the world including New York’s Carnegie Hall in 1942.  He proceeded to establish his own dance troupe in 1955 and continued as a flamenco dancer until his death.

Vargas, whose real name is Jose Aranda, started dancing late in life at the age of 30 and was identified as a natural by none other than the pioneer of flamenco Jose Greco. 

Read more at LAHT →

U.S. Contributes $125 Million to U.N. High Commission on Refugees

The United States is pleased to announce an initial contribution of $125 million toward the 2011 operations of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The contribution, funded through the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, will support UNHCR efforts worldwide. These efforts include refugee returns to such places as Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo; local integration and resettlement; and protection and life-saving assistance. U.S. funding supports the provision of water, shelter, food, health care, and education to refugees, internally displaced persons, and other persons under UNHCR’s care and protection in countries such as Iraq, Syria, Colombia, Ecuador, Thailand, Nepal, Pakistan, Sudan, Chad, Kenya, and Uganda.

The contribution will directly support UNHCR’s Annual and Supplementary Program activities as indicated below.

Africa $ 46.25 million

Asia and Pacific $ 17.25 million

Europe $ 4.0 million

Global Operations $ 4.2 million

Middle East $ 42.5 million

Headquarters $ 4.1 million

Western Hemisphere $ 2.5 million

Emergency Response activities $ 4.2 million

TOTAL $ 125.0 million

This year is the 60th anniversary of the Refugee Convention and the 50th anniversary of the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. December 2010 also marked the 60th anniversary of the creation of UNHCR.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Arrest Made on Killing of Royal Caribbean Cruise Employee

Arrest Made on Killing of Royal Caribbean Cruise Employee

Photo: Royal Caribbean Killing

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Mexican authorities have arrested a Mexican national in the killing death of Royal Caribbean cruise employee Monika Markiewicz last week in Cozumel.

Nelson Perez Torres, 24, was being detained in the drowning death of the ‘Allure of the Seas’ musician and has since confessed.  He alleges that Markiewicz was not a stranger or targeted as a tourist but rather someone he was involved with.

Torres, a busboy in Cozumel, has told Mexican investigators that he and Markiewicz had a fight when he pushed her against the rocks hitting her head.  Then it appears he proceeded to throw a rock at her head and finished her off by throwing her body in the ocean, unaware if she was alive or dead. 

Markiewicz disembarked the cruise ship last Friday and apparently went to see Torres where he worked, she never returned.  This was their third such revendous.  Her body was found floating the following day in the ocean. 

Read more at Washington Post →

Cuban-American, Al Cardenas Named American Conservative Union Chairman

Cuban-American, Al Cardenas Named American Conservative Union Chairman

Photo: ACU's New Chairman Al Cardenas

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Below is the official release from the American Conservative Union after the election of Al Cardenas.

Businessman and attorney Al Cardenas was elected Chairman of the American Conservative Union (ACU) Wednesday in Washington, DC, succeeding David Keene, who had held the post since in 1984. Founded in 1964, the ACU is the oldest membership-based conservative organization in the United States.

Cardenas, elected without opposition, said he is honored at the chance to lead the ACU, and expressed his commitment to using his post to help motivate and mobilize the American conservative movement.

“The American Conservative Union has a long and proud tradition of espousing and promoting the conservative goals of limited government and fiscal responsibility, and it’s my honor to do all I can to help further these worthy objectives,” Cardenas said. “I look forward to taking advantage of the new energies we see today in the conservative movement to make this storied organization even more influential in the future.”

“Al is a perfect leader for the ACU - he grew up as a movement conservative, knows how to work with all the various component interests within the conservative coalition, and is highly respected by those who know him,” said David Keene, the ACU’s outgoing president. “Given his character, qualifications, and record of leadership, I am confident that the ACU will continue to prosper and grow under his watch.”


Al Cardenas was born in Havana, Cuba in 1948, and emigrated to the United States in 1960, when his parents fled Fidel Castro’s regime. He grew up in South Florida, and turned down the opportunity to play football at Holy Cross University in order to attend community college and work part-time to help support his parents. He eventually matriculated at Florida Atlantic University, where he earned a B.A. in 1969. He earned a law degree from Seton Hall University in 1974. A successful businessman and attorney, Cardenas is the founder of Tew Cardenas, a full-service law firm with offices in Miami and Washington. He is also a director at Coral Gables Trust, a wealth management company. He and his wife of 32 years, Diana, have five children and four grandchildren.

The American Conservative Union is recognized for ranking politicians according to voting records on significant conservative issues but is best known for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

Read more by HS News Staff →

Could Ricky Martin’s Gay Right Efforts Be Marring his Upcoming Tour?

Could Ricky Martin’s Gay Right Efforts Be Marring his Upcoming Tour?

Photo: Ricky Martin

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While preparing for a tour for which very few tickets have been sold, the Puerto Rican singer is due to get an Award from The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), honoring his significant efforts in promoting equal rights for the Latino GLBTQ community.

Ricky Martin’s rep dismissed rumors that the artist is having a hard time selling tickets for the upcoming tour of his new album “Musica + Alma + Sexo” with floor seats and prime lower-level seating still available days after tickets went live on Ticketmaster.com.

Some however, say that since he came out, Ricky Martin has concentrated his efforts and interview time advocating for gay rights, something very honorable, admirable and certainly worthy of respect and praise, but not something that is going to help him sell a lot of records, or promote his upcoming tour.

“The people around Ricky have not connected the dots to make him relevant,” said an unnamed source. “He’s been doing all these interviews about being a gay man and the focus has shifted to his personal life rather than on his music.”

“Ricky coming out was a game changer for many gay and transgender Latino children, who for too long, did not have many out gay people to look up to,” said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios, who this March will hand out the Vito Russo Award to Martin. 

“Through his music, videos and interviews, Ricky has sent an important message that our community wants the same things all people do: an equal chance to raise our families and take care of our loved ones.”

Confident, Martin’s rep said, “The tickets only went on sale four days ago and the promoters are happy. No date is in any sort of jeopardy at this point. His album is extremely successful, debuting at number three on the Billboard 200.”

You show them, Ricky. It is not over until the Ticketmaster “lady” sings.

Read more by HS News Staff →

BREAKING NEWS 6.8 Earthquake Hits Close To The Central/South Coast of Chile

BREAKING NEWS 6.8 Earthquake Hits Close To The  Central/South Coast of Chile

Photo: Chile Earthquake

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Authorities have evacuated several areas prone to Tsunamis. No victims or damages have been reported, but heavy tides, and quake replicas concern government officials.

Five minutes past five in the afternoon (Chile Time) the ground begun shaking, reminding Chileans of last year’s disaster. The quake was initially said to have been a 7.0 in the Richter scale, but it was lowered to 6.8. The epicenter was pin-pointed to be 28 miles north of the city of Concepción, and at a depth of 11.5 miles.

The National Office for Emergencies has reported no victims, or material damages.

Preliminary reports say some power outages and collapse of telephone lines were reported, and the evacuation procedures have caused traffic jams along the coastline of the Bio Bio region. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has ruled out a possible Tsunami.

This news is in development.

Read more by HS News Staff →

New ‘Empowerment’ Magazine for Spanish-Speaking New Yorker Launches

With the health and wellness industry ‘s social phenomenon and increasing market value, Integral USA, Inc. announces today the launch of the first edition of Integral USA Magazine, ‘Plenitud de Vida’ the first conscious-living and empowerment magazine serving Spanish-speaking Latinos in New York City.

“The quality and expert editorial content will be evident to our readers and advertisers immediately,” said Jacqueline Montoya, Integral USA, Inc. Director and Integral USA Magazine’s Publisher. “My vision for Integral USA, Inc. is to become a Spanish-life-style multimedia platform with a multi-platform approach that combines print, online, mobile and coming in March 5th, in television, with Integral USA TV,” stated Mrs. Montoya.

Published four times a year, Integral USA Magazine brings a fresh perspective around timely content.

Integral USA’s six exclusive expert columnists cover:  personal branding, ‘the art of good food’, architecture & health, beauty, fashion, and medical health and nutrition. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Toyota Has Latinos and Renewed Confidence to Thank For Increase in Sales

Until recently, Toyota was struggling, but things are looking up for the car company if the success of dealerships in the Rio Grande Valley are any indication.

Toyota’s January sales for the South Texas area jumped a whopping 91.9 percent from the same time last year, and nationally, 23.7 percent.

RGV dealers sold 307 vehicles last month, compared to 2010’s 160, and December’s sales were a big factor in the year’s performance said the manager of Frank Smith Toyota, Ronnie Bernal. Smith Toyota is located in Texas’ RGV. Bernal said the company’s ‘Toyotathon’ event really helped increase sales.

And though Toyota tends to have the best incentives at the end of reach year, this time around, the incentives were continued through January and even increased by around $500 for the most popular models.

Bernal added, “The word on the street is because of violence in Mexico, Mexican nationals are moving to the Valley and bringing business. We’re certainly seeing more Mexican nationals buying cars.”

Aside from the recession, people were not buying Toyotas as frequently, as some lost confidence in the brand after a number of safety complaints and recalls began in 2009.

Tuesday, it was announced by the federal Transportation Department that no electronic problems were found in the vehicles.

Bernal said the

Read more at The Monitor →

Our Valentines Movie Pick: “Gnomeo And Juliet” Featuring a Cuban Flamingo (VIDEO)

Our Valentines Movie Pick: “Gnomeo And Juliet” Featuring a Cuban Flamingo (VIDEO)

Photo: The Gnomes With "Featherstone" The Cuban Flamingo

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What can be more romantic than the ultimate love story re—enacted by British Gnomes and complete with a Cuban Flamingo?

Read more by HS News Staff →

Arizona Files Suit Against Government Regarding Hot Topic of Immigration

Arizona is at it again. Republicans Gov. Jan Brewer and Attorney General Tom Horne have filed a counter suit against the federal government claiming that, in part, it has failed to gain “operational control” of the border.

The suit also claims the government is not enforcing immigration laws, and is not protecting Arizona from “harms associated with rampant illegal immigration.”

This countersuit comes less than a year since Gov. Brewer signed controversial SB 1070 into law, and started a mass a wave of protests, campaigns, and boycotts. The most controversial parts of the law were put on hold by federal courts, including the requirement that officers are to determine the immigration status of anyone they had “reasonable suspicion” to believe was in the country undocumented.

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Brewer and Horne’s claims have no merit and “does nothing to secure the border.”

At a news conference in Phoenix, Arizona’s Governor Brewer told reporters that the suit was filed because she felt she had no other choice since the federal government “has failed to protect the citizens of Arizona.” Adding, “We did not want this fight. We did not start this fight. But, now that we are in it, Arizona will not rest until out border is secured and federal immigration laws are enforced.”

Brewer added that the state is likely pursue their claims all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

She noted that all legal costs would not come from tax payer money, but instead from thousands of donations from people all across the country.

Read more at Reuters →

Colombia Helps Americans Celebrate Valentine’s Day by Exporting 450 Million Roses

Colombia Helps Americans Celebrate Valentine’s Day by Exporting 450 Million Roses

Photo: A Rose is A Rose is A Rose. Where is your Rose From?

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It is mid-February and most of the U.S. is frigid and covered in snow.  So where do the endless Valentine Day fresh roses come from?  Well, actually Colombia helps Americans celebrate Valentine’s Day by exporting 450 Million roses to us.

“They sold out” is just not an excuse, men. The United States bought the humble amount of 450 million flowers for this St. Valentines from Colombia this year; that is 37 and a half million dozen, and represents 80% of the flowers produced in the Andean nation.

Valentine flowers come mostly from Colombia (69% of the roses you’ll see this Valentines, sprouted in Colombia) , though the number one exporter, with a four-century track record of flower exporting is Holland.

Roses are harvested young before they blossom: these “rose buttons” must be kept at a steady 39.2̊F to preserve their quality, and that includes temperature controlled warehouses, freight trucks and airplanes.

Flower cargos are inspected before traveling across hemispheres, to ensure that the product is not contaminated and is free of plagues, and once again when they land in Miami or other ports of entry, some 40 different companies pick them up, and transport them in trucks throughout the US.

It is estimated that the US buys $260 million dollars in roses every year, but these numbers change with the exchange rates, so just how much do we men overpay on Valentine’s and Mother’s Day, remains unclear. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Dominican Doctor Sentenced for Altering Fingerprints of Illegal Aliens

A Dominican doctor was convicted and sentenced today in federal court of conspiring to conceal illegal aliens from detection by altering their fingerprints.

Jose Elias Zaiter-Pou, 62, of the Dominican Republic, pleaded guilty and was sentenced today before U.S. District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock to conspiring to conceal illegal aliens from detection by law enforcement authorities.

Zaiter-Pou, a doctor by trade, was convicted of conspiring to surgically alter the fingerprints of illegal aliens in exchange for payment. Specifically, Zaiter-Pou arrived at a hotel in Woburn, where he met with a government informant and agreed to alter the informant’s fingerprints for $4,500, bringing surgical equipment, antibiotics and pain medication to the meeting. During the meeting, which was audio and video recorded by law enforcement, Zaiter-Pou described how he would surgically remove a portion of the fingertip, then suture the tip back together to make a new, unrecognizable fingerprint.

After the plea hearing, Judge Woodlock also sentenced Zaiter-Pou today to 12 months and one day of imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release. The judge also ordered that Zaiter be deported to the Dominican Republic at the end of his prison sentence.

On October 29, 2010, co-defendant Luz Martinez-LeBron pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to shield illegal aliens from detection, and was sentenced to six months (time served) to be followed by three years of supervised release. Co-defendant Ricky Baez-Cruz is charged with one count of conspiring to shield illegal aliens from detection and one count of illegal re-entry after deportation. His case is still pending.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Napolitano Invites Critics to Visit the U.S.-Mexico Border

Napolitano Invites Critics to Visit the U.S.-Mexico Border

Photo: DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano

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Wanting lawmakers to see for themselves the White House’s latest efforts to curb and ultimately eliminate drug, weapon, and human trafficking, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has invited House and Senate legislators to the U.S.-Mexico border.

DHS and President Obama’s administration have been under immense scrutiny as they are accused of not doing enough to secure the border. Napolitano wishes to show the lawmakers how much more secure DHS has made the southwest border, and to show that it is now safer than it has been in years.

In her letter to the officials Napolitano wrote that despite the confiscation of illegal products and the steps the administration has taken, “ the situation on the border continues to be mischaracterized, and I am concerned that this is hurting the morale of our law enforcement personnel and the local economies of border towns. To be sure, challenges remain, and it is my hope that we can work together on a nonpartisan basis to address remaining challenges.”

According to The Hill, the letter was sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).

The trip has been proposed for some time in the spring.

Read more at The Hill →

Is Facebook Afraid of Motherhood? Breastfeeding? Chileans Want to Know

Is Facebook Afraid of Motherhood? Breastfeeding? Chileans Want to Know

Photo: Facebook Cancells Psychologist Account for Breastfeeding Picture

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A sheepish Facebook has re-opened the profile of Leslie Power, a Chilean Psychologist who had denounced the social network when it cancelled her account for posting a picture of herself, breastfeeding her 3 month old daughter.

Power, a 47 year-old clinician, and an expert in child development received an email from Facebook on January 31, in which the social network was letting her know her account had been cancelled due to her uploading a picture that “offended persons and collectives.”

“They told me Facebook protects its territory on the net against obscene images,” Power said as she remarked that she did not receive a previous warning, reason why she emailed the company demanding an explanation.

Almost a month later, one of her contacts on the site called her and told her that the account had been reinstated, a move that Power described as a cowered Facebook reacting to the press coverage of the situation.

Upon logging in, Power’s also discovered that a lot of her information, and links related to her profession had been taken down. “I had my Facebook profile full of articles about children, neuroscience, brain development and other relevant subjects. I had wonderful things, contacts. I lost a platform to talk about scientific advancement,” said Power who is studying along with her attorneys, the negative repercussions of Facebook’s ill-informed decisions.

The Chilean Psychologist also denounced that other women have been censored and harassed by the network, for posting pictures similar to hers.  “It makes me think that Facebook has some kind of prejudice against breast feeding women; this censorship, and daring to say that my photo is obscene or offensive, shows a complete ignorance about the subjects of Maternal Lactation, and The Early Bond”

Ironic Bonus: Facebook itself has groups labeled “Breastfeeding is not obscene.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

According to Mexico, Money Laundering Business Reaches $10 Billion Mark in 2010

Mexico Attorney General, in preparation for the International Seminar on Corruption and Money Laundering, is reporting that money laundering in Mexico has reached $10 billion.

In the last 15 years money laundering in Mexico has grown and continues to seep into the country’s formal economy.  Mexican officials are currently reviewing new legislation to fight money laundering more effectively.

The legislation introduced by President Felipe Calderon would make it illegal to buy real estate with cash, and limit the purchase of luxury goods with cash. 

U.S. officials put the amount laundered in Mexico much higher than $10 billion but rather in the range of $18 billion to $39 billion each year. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Silcon Valley Tech Companies Asked to Hire More Minorities

Silcon Valley Tech Companies Asked to Hire More Minorities

Photo: Hispanics in high tech jobs

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In Silicon Valley, high tech firms like Google are being accused of not hiring enough minorities.

Three non-profit groups protested Google because they would not share a breakdown of their employment records to determine the percentage of minorities that currently work there.

Faith Bautista from the National Asian American Coalition said, “The only way we can solve the problem is finding out what is your employment, what is your diversity? Then we can figure out are you really doing the right job? Are you really serving the community?”

Of the 34 companies asked to provide a breakdown of their workforces, 12 responded. The numbers indicate that at companies like Cisco, eBay, and Intel, only three percent of workers are African-American, though they make up 7 percent of California’s population. Making up 4 percent of the workers are Latinos who are 38 percent of California’s population. Asians are reportedly about 50 percent of the Silicon Valley high tech workforce, and only 20 percent of the Bay Area’s population.

CEO of Metricstream in Palo Alto, Shellye Archambeau said Silicon Valley leaders need to be pushed to diversify their workforce and recruitment.

“We are leaders in so many ways, but it’s just disappointing that when it comes to harnessing the knowledge, the skills, the creativity that comes from a broad base of people that we’re not leaders when it comes to building diverse teams.”

A representative for Google said, “...a diversity of perspectives, ideas and cultures means better products for our users. That’s why we have an inclusive work environment and constantly promote diversity at Google.”

Read more at ABC News →

Two More Argentinean Children Die

Two More Argentinean Children Die

Photo: A Wichi Woman and her childr

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Two more children died in Northern Argentina, bringing the total to seven babies in 40 days, all from malnutrition.  All of these deaths took place in the province of Salta, and each child belonged to indigenous colonies, the two newest deaths being from the Wichi community. 

One of the babies, which would have celebrated its first birthday this month, died in a government hospital, and was diagnosed with “extreme dehydration as a consequence of gastroenteritis.”

The other child was a two-year-old girl from the Los Baldes colony who had similar symptoms to the other child but the final diagnosis has not been released yet. 

Dr. Enrique Heredia, the Salta province Social Medicine Director, confirmed the two deaths. 

“We don’t want to brush the dead under the carpet: we now have seven indigenous babies dead in the last fifteen days because of malnutrition,” Heredia said. 

According to the aunt of the first baby, “my nephew was healthy and rosy, but then he started loosing weight and was with diarrhea so my sister took him to the hospital. He was hydrated with serum and discharged on the same day.” 

“Three hours later, he was dead,” said the father of the child, a man named Marcos. 

In one of the poorest areas of Salta, six babies are currently being treated for vomiting and diarrhea and yet another dozen remain under observation. 

Heredia has stated that sanitary staff formed ten different teams and had already arrived in the province to figure out the problem. 

Read more at Merco Press →

Brawl in Venezuelan Parliament Caught on National TV (VIDEO)

Brawl in Venezuelan Parliament Caught on National TV (VIDEO)

Photo: National Assembly of Venezuela Boxing Match

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A scuffle between ruling and opposition deputies broke out Thursday in Venezuela, after the president of the National Assembly abruptly cut off the speech of a member of the opposite party.

Deputy Alfredo Ramos, an opponent of the current Venezuelan government was delivering a speech at the podium during a National Assembly session on Thursday when the president of the Assembly, Fernando Soto Rojas, from the ruling party abruptly interrupted him to cut him off alleging he was already exceeding the accepted speech time.

According to an opposition party legislator, the two exchanged words, before the scene escalated and the opposition deputy Alfredo Marquina’s started throwing punches.

Legislators then stormed the floor shoving, pushing, pulling shirts and screaming. While Soto and most women legislators urged in vain to restore civilized debate.

Moments later, realizing that the chaos was being transmitted live by several networks nationally, Venezuelan state television and radio broadcasters interrupted their signals for several minutes until order was somewhat restored.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Raleigh Police Try to Diffuse Email Rumor that “Gangs from Mexico’ are robbing Walmarts

Raleigh, North Carolina police have been working all week to calm fear amongst residents that ‘gangs from Mexico’ are robbing local Walmart shoppers at gun point.

The email messages started in Wake County when a woman identifying herself as Linda McDaniel sent an email telling people of her friend being robbed at gunpoint at a local Walmart, that 100 such incidents had occurred and that the police were refusing to get involved because they didn’t want to ‘racially profile’ the alleged gunmen. 

No one knows who Linda McDaniel is, whether she actually exits and why Mexicans were the target of this negative email campaign.

This email rumor went viral when church groups and garden clubs sent the email trying to warn their members, as a service.  Police became aware of the issue when reporters started calling them and upon investigation found no merit to gangs from Mexico operating in Raleigh or any mass robberies at Walmart by Mexican nationals or anyone else for that matter.

The email rumor somewhere along the way got more attention when people were noting that they were seeing Mexicans outside of a Walmart store.  According to police the only possibly related crime was when one person was robbed at a Walmart by a woman earlier this year – the offender was not Hispanic.

Read more at News Observer →

JUST IN:  Mubarak Steps Down, Leaves Cairo (LIVE STREAM)

President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt has decided to step down as President of his embattled country.  Reports were that he had already left Cairo and the presidential palace via helicopter and was in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.

The crowds gathered in all parts of the country went into an uproar.  The message was delivered via State tv ten minutes ago at 6:07 p.m. Egyptian time.  The chants of ‘We are Free Now’ and “We brought down the regime” are deafening at Liberation Square and mark the end to Mubarak’s thirty-year presidency.  Now the rest of the Middle East and the world waits to see what will happen.

Mubarak has handed over the leadership of the country to the military according to the country’s Vice President Omar Suleiman.  Earlier today Mubarak had left the palace and gone to an estate he owns in the town of Sharm el-Sheikh by the Red Sea but had not handed over power.  Now the largest Arab nation is being run by the ‘security council’ of the military, and the White House has not issued a statement except to say they were not given any advanced warning of today’s announcement. 

In a prepared statement read by Vice President Suleiman the President simply said he had decided to step down and hand power over.

Read more at Live Stream Courtesy of Al Jazeera →

POLL:  Immigration and Economy Top Concerns Amongst Latinos

impreMedia, the leading Hispanic news and information company, has partnered with Latino Decisions to release a series of six national polls among Latino registered voters. The ongoing tracking poll is set to reveal Latino’s perspectives on issues related to the economy, immigration, education and healthcare. It will also track their views about the performance of President Obama and Congress and their voting preferences leading up to the 2012 elections.

When asked what are the most important issues facing the Latino community that Congress and the President should address, respondents ranked immigration, 47% as top priority followed by the economy 44%. Education and health followed with 20% and 12% respectively.

The survey found that looking ahead 37% are ‘very worried’ that they or someone in their household will become unemployed. According to the Bureau Labor of Statistics, the current unemployment rate stands at 9%. The impact of the unemployment rate plays an important role among the confidence that Hispanics have on the improvement of the economy.

Another indication of Latinos concern with the economy is that many worry about paying their bills. When asked if over the last year, was there ever a month that they were worried that they might not have enough money to pay all their bills 51% replied that they were worried many times.

When asked how the President and Congress could best improve the economy, 57% of respondents expressed a strong view of investing in federal projects as a form of helping stimulate the economy, while 50% said that tax cuts should only be extended to middle and working class families vs. all families including high income earners. Furthermore, 38% of respondents said they somewhat agree that Congress takes into account the economic issues of the Latino community when considering economic reforms.

“This poll is a clear indicator that Latinos are concerned with the economy. It is impacting the way they live.” stated Monica Lozano, CEO of impreMedia. “Latinos are worried about their jobs and their ability to pay their bills. Latinos have a huge impact on the economy and policy makers need to address the concerns that they are voicing. ”

A breakdown of the findings are below:

  * Generally speaking, what are the most important issues facing the Latino community that you think Congress and the President should address?
      o Create more jobs/unemployment: 21% (18% U.S. born/24% foreign born)
      o Fix the economy (generic): 13% (12% U.S. born/15% foreign born)
      o Education reform/schools: 20% (25% U.S. born/16% foreign born)
      o Health care: 12% (14% U.S. born/10% foreign born)
  * Do you agree that tax cuts should be extended only for middle and working-class families who earn less than $250k per year, but not for the wealthiest families?
      o 50% - Agree (48% U.S. born / 51% foreign born)

  * Would you say it is better that the government lower taxes or should invest resources in federal projects to stimulate the economy?
      o 57% - Invest in federal projects (61% U.S. born / 53% foreign born)

  * Based on current debate in Washington, do you think public officials take into account economic issues of the Hispanic community when considering economic reforms?
      o 38% - Somewhat (43% U.S. born / 33% foreign born)
  * Looking ahead how worried are that you or someone in your household might become unemployed?
      o 37% - Very worried (31% U.S. born / 44% foreign born)
  * Based on the economy are you worried you may not have enough money to pay all your bills?
      o 51% - Yes, many times (52% U.S. born / 50% foreign born)

Each poll in the series of six reflects Latinos views on current issues related to the economy, education, immigration and healthcare. This first poll focused on economic issues. The poll is conducted with a sample of 500 registered Latino voters.

Read more at Impre Media →

Waitress Gets 7 Years for Poisoning Salsa in Mexican Restaurant with Pesticides, 48 People Injured

A former waitress at a Mexican food restaurant in Lenexa, Kansas, has been sentenced to more than 7 years in federal prison for poisoning salsa.

The 20-year-old suspect, Yini De La Torre, pleaded guilty last year to twice adding a toxic pesticide to salsa at Mi Ranchito restaurant. She was sentenced February 8 to 87 months in prison. The suspect said her husband told her to do it and threatened to hurt her if she spoke with investigators.

The first incident happened August 11, 2009, when 12 diners became ill after eating lunch. The second incident was August 30, 2009, when 36 patrons became ill at dinner. Federal prosecutors say sales at the six Mi Ranchito restaurants dropped by $250,000 in the 2 months after the poisoning.

Read more at DHS Daily Report →

After 10 Years in Active Duty- Soldier Applies for Citizenship

After 10 years in the US Army, having served in Afghanistan and Iraq, receiving medals and acolytes from superiors, Staff Sergeant Luis Lopez was discharged from the army in late December. Why? He applied for US Citizenship. Mr. Lopez’s case points out a contradiction in the participation in the armed services for undocumented soldiers.

Illegal Immigrants are not allowed to voluntarily enlist for active duty.  However, if one finds a way past the gatekeepers, there is a section of the section of the Immigration and Naturalization Act provides them a path to citizenship.

The 1952 immigration law says foreign nationals who have “served honorably” during wartime may be naturalized “whether or not [they have been] lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence.”

The 1952 law has allowed some illegal immigrants in the military to become U.S. citizens, though how many isn’t clear. But citizenship is not guaranteed. Decisions are made deep in the administration.

Between September 2001 and September 2010, 64,643 members of the armed forces were naturalized by the agency, no detail on how many of those people were in the US Illegally.

Mr. Lopez heard nothing about his application for citizenship until about 10 days after The Wall Street Journal put questions to immigration authorities. Late Thursday, his lawyer, Neil O’Donnell, received word that Mr. Lopez would be granted citizenship. He took part in a naturalization ceremony Wednesday.

Read more at Wall Street Journal →

Utah Study On Immigration and Crime -Only 5% of Jail Population Undocumented

Utah Study On Immigration and Crime -Only 5% of Jail Population Undocumented

Photo: US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officers arresting a suspect

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

The Sutherland Institute in Utah has published a report recently that summarized information collected about crime and corrections pertaining to illegal Immigrants in Utah. 

The Sutherland data showed that there are several undocumented people within Utah’s legal system. However, they are only a small percentage of the whole. 

The information also indicated that the rise in undocumented immigration in the state has no relation with the increased crime rate of Utah.

Here are the main points:
-Undocumented immigrants make up about 5% of all detainees in Utah’s county jails

-Of the average 6,185 inmates in the Utah State Prison system, only 282 of them are undocumented immigrants (4.6 percent).

-Among murderers in the Utah state prisons, undocumented immigrants represent 12 percent.

-Among sex offenders in the Utah state prisons, undocumented immigrants represent 9 percent.

-Since 1978, Utah illegal immigrant population has grown from 300 Hispanics per 100,000 Utahans to 1,100 Hispanics per 100,000 in 2008. During that time, the Utah violent crime rate (aggravated assault, robbery, forcible rape, murder and nonnegligent manslaughter) decreased from 272 crimes per 100,000 Utahans to a decades-low rate of 224 crimes per 100,000 Utahans in 2008.

Read more at ABC 4 →

Fuel Thieves in Mexico Trigger Diesel Spill Near U.S.-Mexico Border

Thieves tapping into a Mexican fuel pipeline triggered a large diesel fuel spill south of the border city of Tijuana in Baja California state earlier this week, authorities said. A senior source at the state emergencies agency, which has dealt with a number of fuel spills in recent years due to criminal activity, described the incident as serious. 

“There cannot be less than 50,000 liters (13,000 gallons) spilled,” the official said. “We’ve never seen anything like this.” A Reuters witness saw a 3-foot stream of fuel flowing on hilly ranch land a few miles from Rosarito, Mexico. Police prevented people from approaching the pipeline but bulldozers could be seen working to build huge piles of earth to contain and absorb the flow of fuel.

The odor of petroleum was strong. Gangs of fuel thieves regularly tap into Pemex pipelines to steal gasoline, diesel fuel, and even crude oil. The lucrative trade has attracted Mexico’s drug cartels, which earn money protecting fuel thieves and helping them smuggle oil out of the country. State oil monopoly Pemex said in a press release it was responding to the spill and that it posed no risk to bodies of waters or urban areas. The 10-inch diameter pipeline carries fuel from a Pemex terminal in Rosarito to the city of Mexicali.

Read more at DHS Daily Report →

FridayFebruary 11, 2011