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MondayFebruary 21, 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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Homeland Secretary Napolitano to Eulogize Slain ICE Agent Jaime Zapata

Tomorrow, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano will deliver remarks at the funeral of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Special Agent Jaime J. Zapata in Brownsville, Texas.  According to a statement issued by Press Secretary Matt Chandler, the Secretary is rearranging her travel schedule to attend the funeral. 

In addition, the press statement reaffirmed that “The full resources of the U.S. government are at the disposal of our Mexican partners in this investigation.”

“In order to attend the service, Secretary Napolitano’s visit to New Zealand and Australia has been postponed. The Department of Homeland Security remains committed to working with our partners in New Zealand and Australia to enhance our efforts to strengthen the security of the global supply chain, emergency management collaboration and our continued efforts to share information and better combat terrorism and other transnational crimes. Details on the rescheduled trip will be released once they are finalized.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

POLL:  48% of Americans Side with Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

A sizable number of voters are following new Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s showdown with unionized public employees in his state, and nearly half side with the governor.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 48% of Likely U.S. Voters agree more with the Republican governor in his dispute with union workers. Thirty-eight percent (38%) agree more with the unionized public employees, while 14% are undecided.

In an effort to close the state’s sizable budget deficit, Walker is proposing to eliminate collective bargaining for public employees including teachers on everything but wage issues. He is excluding public safety workers such as policemen and firemen from his plan.

Thirty-eight percent (38%) of voters think teachers, firemen and policemen should be allowed to go on strike, but 49% disagree and believe they should not have that right. Thirteen percent (13%) are not sure.

With states across the country finding that benefits for public workers are becoming difficult to fund in the current economic climate, support for public employee unions has fallen.  Forty-five percent (45%) of Americans favor them, and 45% don’t. These findings include 21% who Strongly Favor such unions and 30% who are Strongly Opposed to them.

Read more at Rasmussen Report →

Strong Economic Rebound for Mexican Economy, 5.5% GDP in 2010

The improving U.S. economy has helped Mexico achieve a strong economic rebound in 2010.  The gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 4.65% in the fourth quarter for Mexico and grew for all of 2010 by 5.5%.  That growth was driven by U.S. demand for Mexico’s manufactured goods.

The combination of economic growth and low inflation in Mexico is helping keep more money in Mexican families pockets said the Finance Minister Ernesto Cordero.  Last year’s GDP for Mexico was the fastest growing since 2000, when it grew by 6%.

International economists warned that though Mexico’s economy is strong it continues to be plagued by the same problems:  weak rule of law, insufficient fiscal policy and little competition among local Mexican companies.

Read more at Online WSJ →

Los Angeles Workshop Provides Immigrants With Answers and a Friendly Face

Los Angeles Workshop Provides Immigrants With Answers and a Friendly Face

Photo: Los Angeles

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Aimed at helping immigrants apply for citizenship, an information session was held a Los Angeles high school this weekend.

Immigrants looking to begin the naturalization process were given the opportunity to ask questions and receive information at Panorama High School on Saturday.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services worked together on this free event, which was the third of its kind. Villaraigosa said that about 46 percent of of the L.A. population is foreign born, with over one million eligible for citizenship.

Over five hundred people received step-by-step information on the naturalization process. They also had the opportunity to go through mock interviews and answer questions like those that would appear on the citizenship test. Immigration attorneys also provided assistance for the participants, often being asked if someone was eligible to apply for citizenship.

“There are a lot of people who are currently eligible for naturalization and citizenship and they haven’t taken advantage of it,” said Villaraigosa,

The participants were even provided with free educational materials like flash cards and materials needed to mail their applications.

“I’m very glad that they are doing this kind of workshop so they can help everybody understand,” said Alfredo Guerra, who brought his wife, Berenice to apply for citizenship. “if you have a question, it’s very good to come here [and have] someone answer all your questions.”

Read more at Los Angeles Daily News →

Did Ronaldo do the Bunga-Bunga too?

The teenager who is at the center of the under-age sex scandal of Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi said she also spent a paid night with Cristiano Ronaldo.

18 year-old Karima El Mahroug told prosecutors investigating Berlusconi that she met Ronaldo at a nightclub, and he knew she was only seventeen when they had sex in a hotel room in Milan in January, 2010.

She said that she woke up to find that Ronaldo was gone, but had left her a “tip” of 4,000 Euros cash.

In Italy, the age of consent for sexual intercourse is 14, but paying someone under 18 for sex, is illegal, which means Ronaldo could be in serious legal trouble.

Berlusconi’s newspaper put the story on its front page under the headline: “Why are prosecutors dribbling around Ronaldo?”

The soccer player has denied the allegations, saying he wasn’t even in Milan during the dates in question; something he says is easily verifiable.

“The plot is made up of successive meetings in nightclubs, hotels and restaurants in Milan from December 29, 2009 until the eve before the 2010 World Cup,” wrote Ronaldo on a statement on the website of the firm that represents him.

“Such reports are totally false, I do not know the referred young woman, I have never met her, nor have I had any date or encounter with her. On December 29, 2009, in particular, I was in Madrid training, just as I did on the following day.
In fact, in the period between December 2009 and June 2010 I did not go to Milan one single time, a fact that can be easily proven.“

“I am a victim, once again of trashy and foul reporting. As on previous occasions, I will show no contemplation for those who involve my name in these sordid stories and who show no respect for other’s dignity and for the rules of their profession.”


Read more by HS News Staff →

YouTube Sensations P.S. 22 5th-Grade Chorus to Sing at the Oscars (VIDEOS)

YouTube Sensations P.S. 22 5th-Grade Chorus to Sing at the Oscars (VIDEOS)

Photo: The PS22 Chorus in 2010, and their choirmaster Gregg Breinberg

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

The members of a Staten Island chorus has been given a dream opportunity. The 65-member group will be singing at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards.

In December, the 5th grade chorus of Staten Island’s Graniteville P.S. 22 was informed by actress Anne Hathaway – co-host of the Oscars – that they would be performing at the star-studded event.

Already YouTube stars, the children have more than 27 million views to their videos, which were posted by their director Gregg Breinberg who said watching them perform is “an emotional experience.” He told The Wall Street Journal “There is a certain sound that you get by not singing properly, and I look for that sound. That’s a sound that I love.”

The night of the award show, the chorus will sing 1939 Oscar winner for Best Song, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and an unidentified second piece.

The Academy Awards will not be the first time the children have sung in front of a high profile audience. They have already performed at the White House.

Under the instruction of the exuberant choirmaster Breinberg, the chorus have sung Alicia Keys, Jay-Z and Rihanna, John Lennon, Katy Perry, The Cure, Phoenix, Owl City, MGMT, Lady Gaga, and even classics from Survivor, Bon Jovi, and Journey.

The 83rd Academy Awards in Los Angeles, California will be aired on February 27th at 8|5p.

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Read more by HS News Staff →

Streetball legend “Escalade” Jackson Dies at Age 35

35 year-old Troy “Escalade” Jackson has died unexpectedly in Los Angeles last night, while in town for the NBA All-Star Weekend.  The cause of death is not known and an autopsy is expected.

Escalade is recognized as one of the most famous streetball players and at one time was a member of the Globetrotters.  He is featured in the very popular And1 Mixtape.  The NBA is in shock and players like Shaquille O’Neal and Rick Fox have already Twittered their condolences.

Read more at MSN. Foxsports →

2010 Census Reveals More El Paso Hispanics Identified Themselves as “White”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in El Paso, more Hispanics see themselves as both white and Hispanic.

About 84 percent of Hispanics in El Paso County checked the “white” box on their 2010 Census forms, compared to 73 percent on the 2000 Census.

The Census Bureau recognizes ethnicity and race as two different concepts, so on the forms, people are asked if they are of Hispanic origin, and then asked to claim a race – mainly white, black, Asian, American Indian, or Alaskan Native. While previously, many Hispanics selected “other,” as they did identify as either black or white, on the 2010 forms, many more chose “white.”

“It felt kind of funny. You feel kind of uncertain,” said businessman José Luis Mauricio.

The Censuses have been asking about Hispanic origin since 1970 after the Chicano movement of the 1960s influenced the Census Bureau to count Hispanics as a cultural group.

What changed from the 2000 and 2010 Census was the fact that the latter stated that “Hispanic origins are not races.”

Jesse Acosta, chairman of the El Paso Complete Count Committee, estimates that about 98 percent of Hispanics in El Paso are white, though at least 80,000 Hispanics in the county were not comfortable marking “white” on their forms.

More that eight out of ten El Pasoans are Hispanic.

Read more at El Paso Times →

Egyptian Man Names Daughter “Facebook” but Doesn’t Compare to Unusual Names In L.A.

The unusual name is a nod to the role that the social network played in this month’s protests, but, does it top the most unusual Latino names?

Egyptian Jamal Ibrahim decided to christen his daughter “Facebook Jamal Ibrahim,” and pay a homage of sorts to the multimedia service that helped anti-government protests overthrow Egyptian dictator Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak.Image

“Family, friends, and neighbors of the girl in the Ibrahimya region gathered around the new born to express their continuing support for the revolution that started on Facebook,” reads an English translation of the paper as supplied by TechCrunch. “‘Facebook received many gifts from the youth who were overjoyed by her arrival and the name that shocked the entire world.”

Not the entire world, we’re not. Facebook is indeed quite the ill choice for a girl’s name, but in the Latino world, we have long ago set the defining strokes of what a shocking name for a baby looks like.

Ask Colombian journalist, lawyer and prolific writer Daniel Samper Pizano. In a multi-part series featured on his “El Tiempo” weekly column “Postre de Notas,” the author published a list of the most bizarre names to ever grace the lists of immigrants to Spain. 

Below, a few of the most memorable and preposterous girl names on his list. Real last names have been omitted, but do add Pérez or Rodríguez, or Chávez for full effect. Samper swears to the veracity of these.

Girls Names:

British Irlanda (Sort of a Celtic middle name)
Cindi Yaniver (ya ni ver= not see anymore)
Danery Llybel
Degnis Alviriam
Disnei Yukilena (Animation and Japanimation, all in one)
Dulzaina (Harmonica, in Spanish)
Esnerancid (is not what?)
Farewel (Miss Goodbye)
Greiz Dayana
Greizkeli (A cruel homage to the late Princess of Monaco”
Hailin Yasneidi
Lady Luvina
Maismelly (surely, a spinoff of Marshmallow)
Mishilary (A tribute to Mrs. Clinton)
Tricci Jasbleidi
Usnavy (US Navy….)
Yemystania (yes my what?)
Yumy Yumy (and the family pet is called….?)

Suddenly showing up to your parents house to introduce them to your fiancée, Facebook, is not so bad, right? “Dad, meet Salmomeba Suárez.” “Mom, dad, we are in love. Her name is Newbelly Velázquez, like the painter.”

The list of boy names is not any better:

Alterego (Like a graphic novel villain. Alterego Montoya)
Doriangrei (Oscar Wilde, roll inside your grave)
Eisenjouer (no comment)
Espidy (Like the mouse González)
Onedollar (Translates as Bill, or Single)
Quillerkid (as in Killer Kid)
Willisford (car-brand mash-up name)
Wolkman (Had he been born a decade later, he’d be christened Ipod)

Do you know any funny/strange names? Post them in the comment section

Read more by HS News Staff →

Will Venezuela NOW be Run by Two Baboons??

Will Venezuela NOW be Run by Two Baboons??

Photo: Gaddafi and Hugo Chavez

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Alot of Venezuelans want to get rid of the ‘monkey’ running the country known as Hugo Chavez - well now word comes that another ‘monkey’ might be joining him, Colonel Gaddafi as he flees Libya. 

Can Latin America’s left leaning nation handle these two first-class monkeys??


Read more by HS News Staff →

JUST IN:  European Sources Say Colonel Gaddafi has Fled Libya En Route to Venezuela

Well placed European sources and intelligence ministers are reporting that Colonel Moammar Gaddafi may have already fled his native Libya and is en route to Venezuela.

Libya teeters on the bridge of collapse with continuous anti-government protests getting more violent, one city Benghazi has already fallen into the hands of protesters.  The protesters in Libya continue to fight for change much like Tunisia and Egypt before it – how ever this is a much bloodier fight with 400 Libyans dead so far. 

The capital city of Tripoli where Gaddafi resides is in flames and demonstrators have taken over the state television building and torched most government buildings.  This weekend Gaddafi’s son assured the world his family would “fight until the last bullet.”  Gaffafi has been in power for 41 years.

The Libyan leader and President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez are allies and good friends.  Senior officials of Chavez administration are denying the reports as is Gaddafi’s son Seif al-Islam Gaddafi. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Rio de Janeiro Names First Female Police Chief in Brazil

Rio de Janeiro Names First Female Police Chief in Brazil

Photo: Martha Mesquita da Rocha, Rio de Janiero's new civil police chief, and Brazil's first female chief

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In Rio de Janeiro, Martha Mesquita da Rocha has been named the first female civil police chief in Brazil.

Rocha, 51, has been on the force for 28 years, and was formerly in charge of a special division of precincts that focused on crimes against women. Throughout her career, Rocha has often taken a stand against corruption.

Allan Turnowski, Rocha’s predecessor, is reportedly about to be indicted for tipping off a cop who was under federal investigation. Turnowski officially resigned Tuesday, February 15th, 2011, with Rocha sworn in that same day.

The officer in question, is Christiano Gasper Fernandes, who has been arrested and charged with being in a member of the police-filled militia that violently controls slums and extorts money from local residents and businesses.

As of February 11th, 38 people have been arrested as part of the crackdown on corruption, with 30 being police officers.

When asked by O Globo newspaper how she plans to handle her officers she compared it to being a stern mother, saying, “I will punish when necessary and distribute hugs when they are deserved.”

Rocha added that she does not expect “resistance of rejection” since Brazil has already elected Dilma Rousseff as the first female president of the country.

“I think that maybe five years ago nobody would have expected a female president… [or] a female police chief. Soon this will stop being a shock, it will no longer be different.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Meet Humberto Velez, the Spanish Voice of Homer Simpson

The renowned Mexican actor has dubbed some 600 characters, including Shrek’s Lord Farquaad, Winnie the Pooh, Monster’s Inc.’s Roz, and the dentist from Finding Nemo and of course he is known as the Spanish voice of Homer Simpson. 

Vélez will be in Colombia next week speaking about his craft.  Colombia is one of the few countries in Latin America that the actor hasn’t had the chance to visit.  Vélez gives workshops and conferences on dubbing all over the globe, and this time he’ll grace Bogotá’s Manuela Beltrán University.

Vélez, granted an interview to the Colombian newspaper “El Espectador,” where he talked about his origins in this unusual profession. Image

When did you discovered you had a talent for dubbing voices?
Since I was very little; I spent my time starting theatre troupes in school. I always knew I wanted to act. Dubbing, which is a fairly new profession to me (and a little weird for everyone else), came later.

Who taught you your art?
I studied dramatic arts at the Andrés Soler School, and then in Ohio. Back then there were no dubbing courses; Dubbing was very much available and widely used, but one had to learn everything by trial and error, there was nobody there to show you the ins and outs of dubbing.

The first character you ever dubbed…?
It was in 1993, thanks to a friend of mine who currently voices Tigger, in Winnie the Pooh. It was a small role in “The Smurfs

How did you become the voice of Winnie The Pooh, and Homer Simpson?
After some time in the business, I auditioned for both roles, and got them. I’ve been doing Winnie the Pooh for 8 years, and homer for about 15.

To what extent do you feel identified with Homer Simpson?
Anybody can feel identified with certain aspects of Homer’s life, and that’s one of the largest virtues of the character. Homer Simpson is all of us.

How do you prepare before dubbing your characters?
I don’t prepare at all. I come, look at their eyes and immediately capture their essence.

How do you take care of your voice?
I don’t have any illnesses, I’m 54 years old, and I don’t need to take care of myself, because when a person does what they love for a living—which is my case, nothing bad happens to them.

Velez says that his Homer is a mix of a drunken sounding character, plus a dimwitted sounding character, plus a horny sounding character and a sometimes uncontrolled all-over-the-place sounding character. Hear the difference below.

Read more at El Espectador →

Joel Rosario the Best Dominican Jockey Ever, Winning 1,000 Races in U.S. and Canada

26 year-old Dominican jockey, Joel Rosario, won his 1,000th race in U.S. and Canada this week.  He accomplished this milestone this past Thursday at the Santa Anita track, making him the best Dominican Republic race jockey ever.

Rosario won the seventh race on a horse called Coo Cachoo in the Bestdressed race series, leading through the race, over a mile, pulling clearly ahead in the final push by 2 ½ lengths.

Rosario was born in Santo Domingo where he attended jockey school and obtained his first professional riding license at age fourteen.  He has been racing in the U.S. since 2006 and was in fourth place for the 2010 Kentucky Derby.

Rosario’s career is far from over, this spring he is seeking an even more elusive record: most stake wins during a Santa Anita winter-spring meeting, thus far he has nine stakes wins.

Read more at Daily Racing Form →

NRA Helps Block Gun Rule Meant to Stop Gun Trafficking to Mexico

Opposed to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms’ proposed rule change that would require firearms dealers along the southwest border to report multiple sales of long guns has been allegedly blocked with help from the National Rifle Association. The rule change was proposed in an attempt to stop the trafficking of guns to Mexico.

Though the amendment was authored by Oklahoma Democrat Dan Boren and Denny Rehberg (R-Montana), they received strong supports from the NRA, which. had publicly expressed their opposition to the rule change.

The Boren/Rehberg amendment was passed by the House, and blocked funding to the Department of Justice to prevent ATF from enacting the proposed rule.

U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-El Paso), a Border Patrol agent from 1984 to 1995, said he was disappointed to see the amendment passed saying, “As a former law enforcement officer, I have always been a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, but it is unconscionable to tie the hands of our federal law enforcement agencies as they are making a reasonable attempt to prevent these weapons from continuing to reach the hands of drug cartels.”

“This amendment sends the wrong message to our law enforcement officers who are risking their lives alongside their counterparts in Mexico, particularly as one of our own agents was killed in the line of duty only days ago,” Reyes said. He was referring to the death of ICS Special Agent Jaime Zapata, who was killed in Mexico last week.

Before the vote on the Boren/Rehberg amendment, the very influential NRA sent out an alert to lawmakers. The alert stated that the House members’ voting would determine their standing with the NRA. It was a “you don’t cover our interests, we’ll take our endorsements elsewhere” type of situation, that no doubt swayed some votes.

Read more at Rio Grande Guardian →

Join Linkin Park and UN Secretary on Facebook to Benefit Haiti (VIDEO)

You can join the United Nations Foundation, Music for Relief’s Download to Donate, that will include special guests UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and musical group Linkin Park, amongst others.  The session will be moderated by Randi Zuckerberg, Mark Zuckerber’s sister, on behalf of Facebook.

Everyone will be talking about the ongoing relief efforts in Haiti and how you can support the UN and its partners in helping the country rebuild and transform.

You can join the conversation here, that will be held tomorrow, February 22 at 6 PM ET/3 PM ET. 

This is a unique opportunity to hear from Linkin Park, the United Nations, and a U.S. government expert live on Facebook.

Related Videos

Read more by HS News Staff →

Guns on Campus are OK – Says Texas and Its Governor

The state of Texas has taken its pro-gun stance to another level with a bill that will allow college students to bring concealed weapons to class all in the name of self-defense.

The state Senate is getting ready to pass a firearms bills that would affect 38 public universities, 500,00 students and hundreds of professors.  Governor Rick Perry, a staunch gun advocate, has confirmed he will sign the bill when it passes.

Texas would become the second state in the country to allow guns on college campuses, Utah was the first.  The law is not without its detractors, the University of Texas President, William Powers, is in opposition. 

Read more at HuffPo →

Former Venezuelan Beauty Queen Graphically Chronicles her Battle with Cancer

The 28-year-old Miss Universe finalist Eva Ekvall documented every step of her battle against breast cancer, and published the chronicle in a book titled “Fuera de Foco” (Out of Focus).

“The pictures were very shocking because nobody had ever seen me that way. Nobody had seen me bald, without makeup,” said Ekvall, now recovered and sporting a pixie cut hair do. “So I knew they would be shocking.”Image Her honest depiction was also a shock for a country at times obsessed with beauty and preserving one’s image at all cost.

Ekvall was diagnosed with advanced cancer on February of 2010, and completed a harrowing eight month treatment of chemotherapy, radiation therapy and a mastectomy last October.

“Getting a mastectomy is not what I’d planned for my life, it’s not what I wanted to happen. But I’m lucky enough to have had reconstruction,” Ekvall said.

Her brutally honest descriptions of dealing with the disease, the mastectomy and the reconstructive surgery, made the book a bestseller in little over two months; Ekvall has become an outspoken advocate for a cancer awareness group, SenosAyuda, urging and encouraging women to get breast examinations.Image

Ekvall, who holds a degree in journalism, peppered the text with dark humor, based on emails to friends and family and memories prompted by the photographs from a prominent Venezuelan photographer, Roberto Mata, who convinced her to chronicle the treatment and life at home with her newborn daughter and husband. “In the beginning I wasn’t sure if I looked good or not. Then I realized that wasn’t the point. I wasn’t supposed to look good, I had cancer.”

“When I got sick and knew my breasts were sick it’s like I didn’t want them any more. I wasn’t fond of them. I was angry at them. So getting rid of them, even though it was horrible because I had all these scars, meant I felt better.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Hispanic Catholic Leader Reminds Everyone Christ was an Immigrant

Archbishop Jose Lopez, head of the U.S. bishops committee on migration and leader in the Los Angeles Catholic Church is reminding everyone that Christ was an immigrant.

Archbishop Gomez made his remarks in a keynote address to the annual Legatus Summit that brings together church and business leaders including Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

He reminded everyone that the U.S. history is one of hope for the world’s poor and persecuted, worried that “Right now in this country, there are a lot of people-a lot of good people-who are saying things they know they should never be saying about immigrants.”

Gomez noted that the Catholic Church is involved in this issue not because it’s a political one but rather because it’s a religious issue.  “We care for the immigrant because Jesus commanded it.”  Reminding everyone that God chose to have Jesus live his life as a persecuted immigrant and the best way to serve him is to serve immigrants.

Read more at Hispanic Leaders →

Mastretta Mexican Car Manufactures Hopes BBC Insults Translate to More Sales

While many Mexican’s and even the Mexican Ambassador to the U.K. were demanding apologies for the negative portrayal of Mexican people and local car manufacturer Mastretta – Mastretta is hoping to take those insults and turn them into sales.

Last month the popular BBC auto show ‘Top Gear’ when describing the Mexican Mastretta car described it using terms like “lazy” “tortilla on wheels” and “flatulent” and equated these negative qualities to the Mexico people also. Many Mexicans were insulted and let BBC know it and the government went as far as to demand an official apology. BBC has since issued an apology.

The upside is that now many Mexican’s know what Mastretta is and all about the sleek Mastretta MXT.  Their online traffic is exploding, more visits to show rooms are occurring and they are even booking more sales.  The car is also getting a lot of notice throughout Latin America.

Mastretta is known more as a manufacturer of public transportation vehicles with many Mexican’s not realizing they had ventured into making sleek sportsers, now thank to nationalistic feelings and the BBC they do. 

Read more at Fox News →

Puerto Rico Rep in Congress Calls out Gutierrez for Disrespecting People of PR (VIDEO)

Puerto Rico Rep in Congress Calls out Gutierrez for Disrespecting People of PR (VIDEO)

Photo: Rep Luis Guiterrez

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An angry Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi lashed out Thursday at U.S. Rep. Luis Gutiérrez for “disrespecting the people of Puerto Rico” during the Illinois lawmaker’s speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives a day earlier.

“His speech was a lack of respect to the people of Puerto Rico and the officials they duly elected. I am the only member of Congress who represents Puerto Rico. He represents a district on the South Side of Chicago,” Pierluisi said.

Gutiérrez is one of four stateside Puerto Rican members of Congress along with Reps. Nydia Velázquez and José Serrano, both New York Democrats, and Idaho Rep. Raúl Labrador, a Republican.

The speech was inappropriate and insulting to the people of Puerto Rico. I hope such action will not be repeated. But if it is, make no mistake: I will return to this floor again to defend my constituents - and the government they chose in free and fair elections - from all unwarranted attacks,” he said.

Full text of
Pierluisi’s statement for U.S. House record

I rise to address the chamber this morning with disappointment, sadness, and a deep resolve to set the record straight.

I am compelled to respond to remarks delivered yesterday on this floor by my colleague, the gentleman from Illinois, in which he harshly criticized the duly-elected government of Puerto Rico, the officers who serve honorably in its police force, and the chief judge of the U.S. District Court Puerto Rico.

The speech was inappropriate and insulting to the people of Puerto Rico.

I hope such action will not be repeated. But if it is, make no mistake: I will return to this floor again to defend my constituents - and the government they chose in free and fair elections - from all unwarranted attacks. I will rise then in the same capacity that I rise now: as Puerto Rico’s only elected representative in Congress and the only member of this chamber who can make any claim to speak on behalf of the Island’s nearly four million American citizens. I will fight for my people because it is my privilege, my honor, and my duty to do so.

To compare Puerto Rico to an authoritarian country is beyond the pale. It demeans not merely my constituents, but also the millions of men and women around the world who suffer under real dictatorships, who are truly oppressed, and who lack the dignity that comes only with genuine freedom.

Puerto Rico is a rich and vibrant democracy, with strong institutions, governed by the rule of law. Fundamental rights protected by the U.S. Constitution - including the right to free speech, free assembly and due process of law - apply fully in Puerto Rico. So does federal civil rights law.

This is not to suggest that violations of individual liberties never take place in Puerto Rico. On occasion they may, just as they do in every jurisdiction. And I would be the first person to condemn such conduct if it occurs.

But, in Puerto Rico, unlike in a dictatorship, there are legal remedies available to citizens who claim to have been deprived of their rights.

Those who fail to grasp this basic distinction do not understand Puerto Rico or appreciate its strengths.

Moreover, I believe it is wrong for a member of this body to insult a federal judge simply because that judge ruled in a way the member finds objectionable. To use an enlarged photo of that judge as a prop is, in my view, particularly unfortunate. Such theatrics undermine, rather than strengthen, the argument being made. Judge Fusté, a man who has devoted over 25 years of his life to public service, does not deserve such treatment.

Yesterday, a great disservice was done to the good name and reputation of the people of Puerto Rico. I regret that it occurred. I hope-and expect-that it will not happen again.

Related Videos

Read more at Caribbean Business →

Mass. Banker Helping Latino Families Afford College With Matching Funds and More

Mass. Banker Helping Latino Families Afford College With Matching Funds and More

Photo: Bob Hildreth Founder FUEL

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Bob Hildreth, the son of an Irish immigrant and a descendant of the Puritans was first drawn to the Hispanic Community four years ago while watching an immigration raid on TV. After seeing the fate some of the young children whose parents were arrested in the raid, the Boston banker went into action mode, and came to the rescue.

Hildreth put up half of the bail money of those arrested, roughly $100,000, to his marvel, Latino immigrants from across the state of Massachusetts raised the other half. This got Hildreth thinking, “Could Latino immigrant families also be inspired to raise money for college?”

The result was the Boston-based group he founded: Families in Educational Leadership, or FUEL. The group promises that if families save $1500 by the time a child graduates from High school, they will match the funds for college.

The FUEL group brings to meetings college counselors, financial experts and current college students who are children of immigrants to speak about private and public money. “In a lot of cases, we can get them a full ride with money that is already out there,” said Gene Miller, FUEL Chief Operating Officer.

Hildreth began his idea with a pilot program in Lynn Mass. for 12 students. The high school students, who went through workshops about looking for scholarships and family financial planning, earned 61 college acceptances and $2.6 million in local and national scholarships.

Hildreth said the group also is looking beyond Massachusetts. “I have a 10-year plan,” said Hildreth. “And I plan to be in L.A. one day.”

Read more at The Seattle Times →

12 Taxi Drivers & Passengers Killed in Acapulco, On Eve of Largest L.A. Tennis Tournament

As the largest tennis tournament in Latin America is playing out this week, participants and sponsors are nervous on the heels of news that 12 taxi drivers and/or passengers have been killed in Acapulco.

The attacks on the taxis began Friday when five drivers were found dead.  On Saturday another three drivers were found shot and one of the victims had been decapitated.  On Sunday another taxi driver was found inside a burnt out car.  In addition to the taxi drivers some of their passengers were also killed, according to unconfirmed reports.  In addition to the killings many vehicles have been set ablaze throughout Acapulco and authorities are not sure why at this point.

The government was forced to send reassurances to the Association of Tennis Professionals that are holding the largest tennis tournament in Latin America this week in Acapulco.  One player from Argentine, David Nalbandian, has already withdrawn due to security concerns.  Others remain committed to playing the best tennis at the tournament and feel enough reassurances have been given to their safety by Mexican officials.

Acapulco police have detained four suspects believed to be involved in some of the attacks and continue to seek others. 

Read more at AOL News →

MondayFebruary 21, 2011