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TuesdayMarch 8, 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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UN Warns on International Women’s Day Discrimination Still Lingers

One hundred years after more than a million women poured out onto the streets around the world on the first International Women’s Day, the United Nations used the anniversary today to warn that despite the gains made much remains to be done to eliminate gender discrimination.

Even where women are prominent in politics, they are often severely underrepresented in other areas of decision-making, including at the highest levels of business and industry, he added. This year’s observance focuses on equal access to education, training, and science and technology.

Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director of UN Women, the new entity grouping together the work of four previous UN bodies, highlighted the gains made since those marches of 100 years ago, when only two countries allowed women to vote, compared with virtually universal suffrage today, with women elected to lead governments in every continent.

All over the world, major disparities remain between female and male access to education, employment and salaries, she added, stressing that while women are the world’s main food producers and their working hours are longer than those of men, women earn only 10 per cent of the world’s income and own less than one per cent of property worldwide. They also comprise nearly two thirds of the world’s 759 million illiterate adults.

Read more by HS News Staff →

La Reina del Sur, Highest-Rated Telenovela Premiere for NBC with 2.4 Million Viewers

The blockbuster television production La Reina del Sur, based on the novel by best-selling author Arturo Perez-Reverte, has become the highest-rated premiere in the history of Telemundo, with an audience of 2.4 million viewers.

On its second night, this record was surpassed by 19%, beating Univision’s Aqui y Ahora and Telefutura’s India in every demographic with nearly three million total viewers (2,841,000), according to Nielsen Media Research. It was also the #2 program among all broadcast networks at 10pm in adults 18-34 and men 18-34, regardless of language.

For the grand premiere, Spanish-language editorial Alfaguara has published a special edition book featuring the poster of the series. This new edition is available at bookstores throughout the country.

The series follows Teresa Mendoza from her humble origins as the girlfriend of El “Guero” Davila, a pilot for the Juarez Cartel, to her glory days as the queen of the drug world in Mexico. Filmed on location throughout four continents, La Reina del Sur is broadcast on Telemundo, Monday thru Friday from 10:00 to 11:00 PM.

La Reina del Sur is one of Arturo Perez-Reverte’s most popular works. It has been translated to 30 languages and published in 50 countries. “It is one of those works that leaves the reader breathless,” unanimously rave the critics.

Arturo Perez-Reverte’s works have long sparked the interest of movie makers, and many of his works have been adapted for the big screen: El maestro de esgrima (directed by Pedro Olea), La tabla de Flandes (Uncovered, directed by Jim McBride), La carta esferica (directed by Imanol Uribe), Cachito (directed by Enrique Urbizu), Territorio Comanche (directed by Gerardo Herrero), El club Dumas (The Ninth Gate, directed by Roman Polanski), the script for Gitano (directed by Manuel Palacios) and Alatriste (directed by Agustin Diaz Yanes).

Arturo Perez-Reverte is now exclusively writing literature, after working 21 years (1973-1994) as a reporter for press, radio and television, covering informatively the international conflicts for that period.  He is a member of the Royal Spanish Academy. With over fifteen million copies sold worldwide and translations available in 34 languages, Arturo Perez-Reverte is one of the leading authors of contemporary literature.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Hispanics See a Population Surge in North Carolina, but a Job Shortage

Hispanics in North Carolina are seeing first hand, the effects of the recession, being hit hard by the lack of work.

The 2010 Census showed that the Hispanic population in North Carolina has more than doubled since the last census in 2000. Unfortunately, the country’s economy went downhill, and now the dozens of immigrants that were arriving weekly, are now getting back on buses and heading out, though some are determined to ride it out.

Maria Velasquez, assistant manager of bus company Tornado Bus Co., which traveled back and forth to Mexico daily, said the only immigrants coming in now are the ones with permits to work in the tobacco fields.

She said that many of those leaving are undocumented immigrants who can no longer obtain driver’s licenses and can therefore not find work in an already shrinking job market. Increasing also, is the fear of being caught, arrested, and deported, leading to criminal records that would make future entry or paths to citizenship even more difficult.

Leo Reich, Latino director for Neighbor to Neighbor Ministries in Raleigh, N.C. said, “If you’re struggling, they’re struggling twice as hard. Economically, it hits them twice as hard. It was hard for them before, and now the jobs they were able to get are being taken by [Americans], who are now willing to work at those jobs when they weren’t willing to before.”

And while many may relish in the mass migration out of the state, Hispanic advocates say they are doing more than just leaving open jobs slots behind.

“They are a very enterprising group of people,” said member of a board that that advocates for Latinos in North Carolina, Pablo Escobar. “If you’re traveling 6,000 miles from home, you’ve got to have some gumption. That first generation is extremely enterprising. We’ve seen it with every wave of immigrants that has come to this country.”

“We could definitely use that energy here in North Carolina.”

Read more at News Observer →

FERNANDO FLORES: Britney’s Former Bodyguard Says She Sexted Him “Filthy” Pics of her Privates

FERNANDO FLORES: Britney’s Former Bodyguard Says She Sexted Him “Filthy” Pics of her Privates

Photo: Britney Spears Sent Dirty Cell Phone Pixtures to her Ex-Bodyguard

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Fernando Flores, the former bodyguard of Britney Spears claims the pop-star sent him naughty pictures from her cell-phone, and he plans to use those in court, as proof of her sexual harassment.

“They are really explicit images that will shock and disgust the majority of her fans… Some of the pictures show Britney with the camera between her legs. Others show her in provocative positions wearing lingerie. There are a few where she is naked, exposing herself in a way that she clearly hoped would make him aroused” said an unidentified friend of Flores.

Flores quit his job as a bodyguard for Spears last year, and filed a $14.5 million dollar sexual harassment lawsuit after the artist reportedly paraded her naked body to him, and made sexual advances, threatening even to fire him, if he didn’t comply.


Read more by HS News Staff →

Bull Injures man at Bullfight in Venezuela when Bull Leapt from Bullring (VIDEO)

Bull Injures man at Bullfight in Venezuela when Bull Leapt from Bullring (VIDEO)

Photo: Bull Fight in Venezuela

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Amateur video captured the dramatic moment when the bull hurdled the inner fence during the event in eastern Venezuela.

The audience screamed as the bull vaulted towards them, only for it to land in the corridor separating the spectator seats from the bullring.
The rampaging animal gored one worker at the arena before managing to find its own way back into the ring.

The bullfight was part of events taking place at the annual cultural Sun Fair festival, held in the Andean city of Merida.


Read more by HS News Staff →

Millions of Dead Anchovies Suffocate in Redondo Beach California (VIDEO)

Millions of Dead Anchovies Suffocate in Redondo Beach California (VIDEO)

Photo: Millions of Anchovies Die in California

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Millions of Anchovies have turned up dead in California, experts say the fish “suffocated”.Image

Redondo Beach officials said initial assessments suggest oxygen depletion in the King Harbor basins caused the massive fish die-off.

“There are no visible signs of any toxins that might have caused [the die-off] and our early assessment is that this was oxygen depletion,” City Manager Bill Workman said. “This is similar to what we experienced five years ago but that was distinctly a red tide event but there’s no discoloration of the water, no associated foaming in the waves, Workman said. “There are no oil slicks or leaking of substances into the water.”Image

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico City Restaurant Embarking on UN-Backed Emission Reduction Plan

Mexico City Restaurant Embarking on UN-Backed Emission Reduction Plan

Photo: Mexico City Pollution

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A small restaurant chain in Mexico City is leading the way to cleaner air with help from a new United Nations scheme.

Adapting its clean development mechanism (CDM), which allowed rich countries to meet emissions standards by funding clean energy projects for those in less developed countries, the UN is starting a “pilot scheme” with the Mexico City chain to explore cutting carbon emissions by way of smaller changes for smaller businesses, that were not addressed in the original drafting of the CDM.

Things like energy efficient light bulbs, environmentally friendly stoves and even devices for refrigerators to make them more efficient, are being installed in the chain.

Ramp Carbon, a firm out of Australia has designed a device for refrigerators that they are not charging the restaurant for – initially anyway. The restaurant would be put on a payment plan where it repays the firm using the money saved from what it is saved in electricity.

“This means that if we can’t demonstrate to them that the product has reduced their electricity bill, they don’t have to pay us anything,” said Ramp Carbon’s founder Phil Cohn. Once proven effective, the payment plans can be from one to two years depending on each ‘fridge system set-up.

Cohn added “By removing the up-front cost, and structuring repayments out of demonstrated energy savings, we are trying to remove two significant barriers preventing access to energy efficiency technology in developing countries.” The cost of their technology to their customers can remain low due to the trading of carbon credits. “The potential scale across Mexico and other developing countries is significant,” said Cohn.

Despite critics, the UN believes this approach has great potential, especially in underdeveloped countries, and allows for larger companies and now smaller ones to make a dent in the problem of pollution.

“We hope to be able to attract mainstream, commercial investors into an area,” said Cohn, “that has previously faced a number of barriers.”


Read related:

Mexico City Mayor to Spearhead International Campaign to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

UN Climate Conference in Mexico Ends – World Forests are the Clear Winners

Critical UN Climate Change Conference Kicks off Today In Cancun, Mexico

Mexico Set to Meet Climate Goals and Will Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 50 Million Tons

Read more at The Guardian →

Van der Sloot to Plead Temporary Insanity in Peru Killing

Van der Sloot to Plead Temporary Insanity in Peru Killing

Photo: Natalee Holloway, Joran van der Sloot, Stephany Flores

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In Peru a murder defendant can use the plea of ‘violent emotion’ in crimes of passion or when a spouse finds the other engaged in an act of adultery.  The ‘violent emotion’ plea, known by some as a temporary insanity plea, typically brings a reduced sentence of 5 years versus 15-to-35 years for first-degree murder.

This is the plea that 23-year old Joran van der Sloot plans to file in his murder case for the death of Peruvian business student Stephany Flores, last May 30th.

Van der Sloot has filed the appropriate papers to make this defense in the killing that left the 21-year old Flores dead in his hotel room from bludgeoning and suffocation.  A judge must accept that defense before it can be used at trial.

Joran came to infamy when he became the lead suspect in the disappearance of American high-schooler Natalee Holloway in 2005.  Legal experts aren’t sure what the Peruvian judge will decide since the victim was also robbed and van der Sloot fled to Chile after the crime – not typical actions of someone acting in a crime of passion.

Read more at CNN Edition →

George Lopez Sitcom Actress Constance Marie’s New Sitcom “Switched at Birth”

George Lopez Sitcom Actress Constance Marie’s New Sitcom “Switched at Birth”

Photo: Constance Marie's New ABC Sitcom "Switched at Birth"

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You are likely to have seen one of Constance Marie’s many onscreen portrayals of loving Latino mothers, like in the film Selena or like her role as George Lopez’s wife on George Lopez. This season, Marie is back as mom Regina Vazquez in the ABC Family sitcom Switched at Birth.

The sitcom will tell stories around the lives of two teenage girls who discover that they were accidentally swapped at birth. Bay Kennish (Vanessa Marano) grew up in a well-to-do family with mom (played by Lea Thompson), dad and two brothers, while Daphne Vásquez (Katie Leclerc), grew up with a single mother in a poor neighborhood and lost her hearing as a child.

“We’re thrilled to have such acclaimed actresses as Lea Thompson and Constance Marie join the cast in two of our leading roles,” said Elizabeth Boykewich, Vice President, Casting, ABC Family. “For the critical role of Daphne, we set out to meet actors with all ranges of hearing loss to play the part. When we auditioned Katie, we knew she was perfect for the role. Not only is she a talented actress, but like her character, Katie is comfortable in both the hearing and deaf worlds.”

Switched at Birth is written and executive produced by Lizzy Weiss (“Blue Crush”). The sitcom is set to launch on June 6, 2011.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico’s ‘Baby’ Sheriff Marisol Valles MISSING - We Know how to Find Her

Mexico’s ‘Baby’ Sheriff Marisol Valles MISSING - We Know how to Find Her

Photo: Marisol Valles on a Missing Persons Milk Carton

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Mexico’s own ‘baby’ sheriff Marisol Valles who at the tender age of 19 decided to become Praxedis G. Guerrero’s police chief.  She became this rural community’s police chief after her predecessor was killed by drug cartels.  Since October she managed a 20 person police force of women only and served more as a community liaison.  Well NOW SHE’S GONE MISSING.

Marisol called in sick last week and was given a leave of absence from March 2-7 and when she didn’t return yesterday she was promptly fired.  Mexican authorities say they don’t know where she is at, other claims she is seeking asylum in the U.S. after receiving threats on the job and a human rights organization said she is in a U.S. immigration detention center.

We never thought it was a good idea a ‘baby’ sheriff should babysit any town especially one besieged by drug cartel violence.  The very authorities that hired her now quickly want the matter forgotten - they should be embarrassed for hiring someone so inexperienced. 

Nonetheless we placed her photo on a milk carton the right place to spread the word on missing children. 


Read more by HS News Staff →

Artist Francis Alÿs’ Look at Mexico City Debuts in Wellesley’s Davis Museum -  A CULTURAL MUST

Artist Francis Alÿs’ Look at Mexico City Debuts in Wellesley’s Davis Museum -  A CULTURAL MUST

Photo: A still from Francis Alÿs' "Paradox of Praxis"

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Artist Francis Alÿs’ first Boston-area solo exhibit can now be seen at Wellesley College’s Davis Museum.

“Francis Alÿs: The Moment Where Sculpture Happens” is presented in conjunction with the Davis Museum’s recent acquisition of a major triptych by Alÿs entitled Cityscape (1996-97). The exhibition features the Belgian-born artist’s subtle performances and extended documentation of life in the congested colonial center of his adopted home of Mexico City. The multimedia installation, specifically designed for the Freedman Gallery by the artist, in collaboration with Art Department faculty and adjunct curator James Oles, includes 35mm slide projections, video projections, and a light-table with slides and studies on tracing paper, to demonstrate the diverse range of Alÿs’s artistic practice over the past twenty years.

Key images in the show include the video works Paradox of Praxis 1 (1997) and Looking Up (Santo Domingo Square) (2001); and the slide-show Ambulantes (1992-2006).  In an adjacent space, Cityscape will be installed together with preparatory drawings donated by the artist.  The Davis will also present a documentary that Alÿs produced about his collaborations with traditional sign-painters (rotulistas) in Mexico City, including those involved in the production of Cityscape.

What - “Francis Alys: The Moment Where Sculpture Happens”
When - Through June 5
Where - Davis Museum, Wellesley College
Exhibit Hours - Tuesday through Saturday: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Wednesday: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunday: noon to 4 p.m.
Admission in free
For additional info call 781-283-3382 call or visit www.davismuseum.wellesley.edu

Read more at Wellesley's Davis Museum →

Pedro Almodovar Thinks Antonio Banderas is “Perfect” for Antisocial Roles

Pedro Almodovar Thinks Antonio Banderas is “Perfect” for Antisocial Roles

Photo: Almodóvar and Banderas reunite for "The Skin That I Inhabit"

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Production has been wrapped up on the new project that sees Almodóvar and Banderas working together in more than a decade.

Spanish Auteur Pedro Almodóvar believes that Antonio Banderas is perfect for the role of an antisocial, and the reason why he chose him to portray Dr. Ledgard, the main character, a plastic surgeon on his latest film “The Skin That I Inhabit.”

“The moment Antonio Banderas walked into my office, it felt like we had just finished working on “Tie Me Up” (1990). I chose him because he is perfect for portraying an antisocial character: Antonio, at 50 years old knows perfectly well how to really own the role,” said Almodóvar.

Almodóvar also said that initially he thought of Penélope Cruz for the female lead role, but finally chose Elana Anaya.

“The Skin That I Inhabit” is based on the novel “Tarantula” by French author Thierry Jonquet, and tells the story of a plastic surgeon who wants to create a new type of skin, using advanced cellular therapy technology.

It has been my most challenging work to date” said Almodóvar “It is my debut in the horror genre […] there’s no screaming or massacres, the violence is psychological. It is a mixture of film noir, terror, sci-fi, but it does not respect the roules of either genre”

The film should be edited this summer, and surely out by September, with strong possibilities of participating in the next Sundance Festival.

Read more by HS News Staff →

“Taxi-Cab Confessions” Remake with a Latino Tinge at UrbanoTV.com (VIDEO)

“Taxi-Cab Confessions” Remake with a Latino Tinge at UrbanoTV.com (VIDEO)

Photo: Urbano TV Remakes HBO's Taxi Cab Confessions

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Remember channel surfing like an insomniac drone at 3:00 AM back in the nineties, and stumbling upon the HBO show about people spilling all kinds of beans in the backseat of a taxi?

UrbanoTV, the website of actor John Leguízamo has its own version, called “Latino Taxi-Cab Cuentos.”  It’ll definitely give you a good laugh. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

5.3 Million People In Mexico Are Illiterate

In the final report from a 2010 census in Mexico, it was concluded that over 5.3 million people over 15 years of age are illiterate—unable to read and write - more than 100 years after the start of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1917).

The population of Mexico has jumped from 15.2 million at the time of he revolution to 112.3 million today, report the statistics agency INEGI, analyzing the 201 National Population and Housing Census, which said the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Guerrero had the highest illiteracy rates in the country.

Chiapas has the highest with 17 percent of its population being illiterate, and Guerrero isn’t too much better at 16.7 percent, and Oaxaca with 16.3.

The lowest illiteracy rates were found in Mexico City (2.1 percent), Nuevo Leon (2.2 percent), Baja California (2.6 percent), and Coahulia (2.6 percent).

Mexico is the 11th largest country in the world in terms of population, with 112.3 million people.

A notable, but not clearly related piece of information about the Indians of Mexico, is that of the 15.7 million people in the country considered indigenous, 6.6 million speak an Indian language while the others do not. What is peculiar though, is the fact that 400,000 of those that speak Mexico’s indigenous languages don’t consider themselves Indians.

Read more at LAHT →

Brazil’s Economy Now One of World’s Top Five

Thanks to last year’s annual rate of growth of 7.5%, a 24-year high for the country, Brazil is now of the world’s top five economies.

At the end of 2010 Brazil’s economy, already the largest economy in South America, was valued at approximately $2.2 trillion.  The country will now takes its place amongst the massive economies of the U.S., China, Japan and Germany. 

The country that not so long ago was identified as an emerging economy, is expected to have a 5% rate of growth in 2011.  The Brazilian economy is three times bigger than it was back in 2003. 

The accomplishment is startling when you consider that larger nations like India and Russia have yet to join the top 5 world economies.  And that Brazil’s economy is larger than more developed economies like that of France and Britain.

Read more at Reuters →

Take a Peek at Rafael Nadal’s New Armani Emporium Commercial (VIDEO)

Take a Peek at Rafael Nadal’s New Armani Emporium Commercial (VIDEO)

Photo: New Armani Emporium Ad Feat. Rafael Nadal

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Watch the new commercial featuring a very lightly clothed Rafael Nadal.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Puerto Rico Senator and Local Businessman Convicted in Bribery Scheme

Puerto Rico Senator and Local Businessman Convicted in Bribery Scheme

Photo: Juan Bravo Fernandez

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Puerto Rico Senator Hector Martinez Maldonado and Juan Bravo Fernandez, the former president of one of the largest private security companies in Puerto Rico, were convicted by a jury in San Juan, Puerto Rico, for their roles in a bribery scheme involving legislation beneficial to Bravo Fernandez’ business, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division.

Martinez Maldonado , 42, of Carolina, Puerto Rico, and Bravo Fernandez, 55, of San Juan, were each convicted late yesterday of federal program bribery.  In addition, Bravo Fernandez was convicted of traveling in interstate commerce in aid of racketeering and conspiracy to commit to travel in interstate commerce in aid of racketeering.  Martinez Maldonado was acquitted of conspiracy, traveling in interstate commerce in aid of racketeering and obstruction of justice. 

Martinez Maldonado was elected to the Puerto Rican Senate in 2004 and began serving a four-year term in January 2005.  He was reelected in 2008.  Bravo Fernandez was the president and chief executive officer of Ranger American, one of the largest private security firms in Puerto Rico. 

The jury convicted the defendants for their role in a bribery scheme in which Bravo Fernandez conspired to secure the passage of two bills favorable to his business interests by bribing Martinez Maldonado and Jorge de Castro Font, a former Puerto Rican senator. 

Specifically, Bravo Fernandez provided numerous cash payments to De Castro Font. De Castro Font pleaded guilty on Jan. 21, 2009, to 20 counts of honest services wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit extortion.  He is currently awaiting sentencing.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Saluting Advances of Latin American Women during 100th International Women’s Day

On the International Women’s Day 100th anniversary, the world celebrates the advances of women all over the world.  In Latin America and the Caribbean women’s contribution to the region is also being celebrated.

One of the more unique ways to celebrate is the ‘Join Women on the Bridge’ from Google, where you can join tens of thousands of people coming together on bridges all over the world.  Everywhere from the Millennium Bridge in London to the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. 

This date is also an occasion to take stock of the institutional efforts to support the women of Latin America.

The Inter-American Development Bank has made important strides in the last year to redouble its support for gender equality in the region. The IDB recently approved its new Operational Policy on Gender Equality in Development, positioning itself to be a stronger partner for its member countries to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women in a comprehensive way.

A recent example of IDB investments to support women is a $35 million loan to expand access to basic health and nutrition services, refurnish and build new health posts, and train health care providers on maternal and child health problems commonly found in poor and rural areas in Guatemala. Also supporting mother-infant health is a $55,000 million loan to consolidate Bono 10,000, the Honduran conditional cash transfer program that addresses the intergenerational transmission of poverty.

Other examples include a project with Mibanco in Peru where the IDB is lending $10 million to expand access to financial services for women microentrepreneurs and a $300,000 grant to strengthen the leadership capacity of women political leaders through the Women’s Parliament in Paraguay–a program that trains new generations of women political leaders from all political parties. 


Read more by HS News Staff →

Missing Student Found Dead in Madrid River, 6 Weeks After Arriving in Country as Exchange Student

Missing Student Found Dead in Madrid River, 6 Weeks After Arriving in Country as Exchange Student

Photo: Austin Bice

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The family of 22-year Austin Bice just received the worse news possible on their missing son from Madrid authorities – that his body was found in a shallow river in the city.

The San Diego State University exchange student, who graduated from Torrey Pines High School, was last seen in Madrid on February 25 after deciding to walk home from a local nightclub.  Spanish authorities had launched an extensive search for the student since then. 

The senior college student’s body was found in the shallow Manzanares River and there appeared to be no signs of foul play.  Bice was a senior studying international business as an exchange student at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. 

Bice was living with another San Diego State University student since January of this year when their exchange student winter semester started.  His family was concerned that he did not know the city well to make his way around since he had only arrived 6 weeks before disappearing. 

Read more at Signs on San Diego →

Senator Asks for Investigation into Student Visa Fraud at ‘Sham Universities’

Senator Asks for Investigation into Student Visa Fraud at ‘Sham Universities’

Photo: Sham University

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Today, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill is announcing that she is calling for an investigation into the instances of student visa fraud through ‘sham universities’ that are providing a loophole in the immigration system for foreign nationals. Recent news reports have exposed ‘sham universities’ that are operating solely for the purpose of helping foreign nationals enter the country on student visas and not actually providing any discernable education.

“‘Sham universities’ are gaming the system, and while they are at it, they’re putting our nation’s security at risk,” McCaskill said. “This has got to stop.”

Fraud and abuse within the Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP) not only puts a stain on all of the schools that operate in an ethical manner, it also threatens our national security, by potentially allowing the admittance of those not seeking an education but instead looking to enter the country by any “legal” means. McCaskill is calling upon the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security to conduct an investigation into these instances of student visa fraud and uncover how such schools were able to legally issue student visas.

In 2010, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials in Los Angeles revealed that two schools claiming to provide English-language education were in fact front operations designed to get student visas for prostitutes from Russia, along with other ineligible foreigners. Several other examples of ‘sham universities’ have been investigated in San Francisco and Florida. No similar situations have been identified in Missouri yet.

McCaskill is asking the inspector general to look into the current process for schools to become certified in the SEVP and how to improve the procedures to ensure that ‘sham universities’ will no longer be allowed by the Departments of State and Homeland Security to provide admittance into the United States. She is also working with her colleagues in the Senate to develop legislation to improve the agencies’ ability to fight immigration fraud and to strengthen the penalties for such schools.

McCaskill believes enforcing the immigrations laws currently on the books should be the first step towards fixing our broken immigration system. She has fought for tougher crackdowns on employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers and some progress has been made as penalties for such employers have risen dramatically since 2007. Last year, McCaskill also passed a deficit-neutral law to provide $600 million in funding for additional border patrol agents and unmanned aerial surveillance to secure the southwest border.

Read more by HS News Staff →

San Francisco County Gets First Hispanic District Attorney

San Francisco County Gets First Hispanic District Attorney

Photo: New San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon

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Earlier this year, San Francisco County’s first Hispanic district attorney took office, and the Cuban-born former police chief is looking to make some serious changes.

Regarding his new position, George Gascon said, “To be district attorney for the county and city of San Francisco is a great honor, since it is this unexpected opportunity that will allow me to weigh in on renewing the criminal justice system.” Adding, “In this job you work for the general community, but it’s very important that members of minorities like us, the Hispanics, are represented in positions like this, which have such a big impact on the way our communities are led both socially and economically.”

Gascon, born in 1954, came to the U.S. from Havana in 1967 with his parents, who were looking for a better life. He served in the U.S. Army from 1972 to 1975, and went on to graduate from California State University, Long Beach in 1978, with a degree in history. Then in 1995, he earned a law degree at Western State University.

After beginning his law enforcement career with the L.A. Police Department, he moved up and became the head the LAPD Office of Operations. Then in 2006, Gascon was offered the position of police chief in Mesa, Arizona. In 2009, he became the first Hispanic to hold the position of SFPD’s chief. He was serving in this position until he took the D.A. offer.

When incumbent Kamala Harris was elected California attorney general, she left the D.A. position open.

“Last Jan. 8, as chief of the San Francisco Police Department, I went to tell Mayor Gavin Newsom what characteristics I thought were important for him to consider in the choice of the next district attorney,” said Gascon. “After the conversation, the mayor made me the offer that surprised me - but I told him I had to discuss it with my wife. I gave my answer that same day in the afternoon and was named district attorney the day after.”

Garscon said that his experience in law enforcement gave him the experience he can now put to use as the D.A.

He stated that in the last 15 years, America’s police departments have jailed a larger number of Hispanics and other minorities than whites.

“The justice system in the United States is very expensive in economic terms and very costly in social terms - that’s why I think we have to change it,” he said. “The racial component among those in custody is an indicator that the system isn’t working.”

While he was the Mesa County police chief, Gascon was constantly butting heads with Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio when it came to immigration. Gascon was known for seeking out alliances to improve his officers’ effectiveness, while Arpaio seemed to constantly seek the spotlight and confrontations to further his self-proclaimed status of “America’s Toughest Sheriff.”

Read more at Fox News Latino →

Good Jobs Still Scarce Despite Growth in Industries with Strong Latino Representation

NCLR (National Council of La Raza) today released an analysis of Latino employment trends showing that significant job growth is occurring in industries with strong Latino representation. However, other indicators point to a lack of job security among Latino workers, which may reflect the low quality of newly created jobs and their concerns about lack of preparedness.

“Today’s employment report shows that Latinos are making important contributions to the industries that are helping drive our economic recovery,” said Eric Rodriguez, NCLR Vice President of the Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation. “Yet, Latino workers remain in a precarious position when it comes to keeping their jobs and advancing in the labor market.”

The service sector accounted for the bulk of the 192,000 new jobs between January and February 2011, thanks to industries such as administrative and waste services, nursing and residential care, and trucking, where Latinos are highly represented.

However, February was the third month in a row in which Latinos exited the labor force, which probably contributed to the slightly lower Latino unemployment rate, 11.6 percent in February compared to 11.9 percent in January. Between January and February alone, 187,000 Latinos dropped out of the labor force. Poll data show that a lack of good jobs is causing many Latinos to give up looking for work.

NCLR’s employment analysis points to policy recommendations to improve the employment prospects of Latinos and other vulnerable workers.

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TV Ads Call for Slowing Legal Immigration Until San Luis Obispo, California is Working Again

Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) has launched a TV campaign in San Luis Obispo, California calling for lower levels of legal immigration and temporary workers until Californians are working again.  The ads are launching as the federal government continues to admit more than 1 million immigrants and temporary workers a year to take American jobs despite the country’s highest unemployment levels since the Great Depression. 

The San Luis Obispo unemployment rate is currently 10.3%, while the national unemployment rate is around 9%, not including part-time workers who want full-time jobs. 

Recent studies by the Pew Hispanic Center and Northeastern University indicate that new immigrants are landing jobs while Americans are losing jobs.     

“With over 10% unemployment in San Luis Obispo, there are a lot of people here who would like jobs,” commented CAPS Board Chairman, Marilyn DeYoung.  “If Congressman Kevin McCarthy would call for slowing the flow of legal immigration as well as illegal, we could start getting San Luis working again.”

More legal immigrants reside and settle in California permanently than in any other state.  The flow of workers has not stopped since the recession hit.  The policy is having a particularly insidious effect in states like California, with millions unable to find a job and unemployment rates as high as 18% in some areas.  As a result, California has been forced to borrow $40 million a day from the federal government to pay unemployment benefits.  At the same time, the federal government continues to flood California with legal immigrants and temporary workers with no calls for an end to bringing in foreign workers in sight. 

The TV ad illustrates the lack of attention to legal foreign workers by first presenting the word “illegal,” since illegal immigrants have been the primary media focus.  The spokesperson then separates the word “legal” out, saying, “But what about these workers; legal foreign workers?”  The commercial ends by combining the letters to form the word “ill” to describe California’s economy and joblessness, partly attributable to legal and illegal immigration. 

The campaign was initially launched in the San Francisco area because the region takes in more legal immigrants on a permanent resident basis than all but a handful of metropolitan areas in America.  Last week, the ads launched in Bakersfield California, where unemployment is over 16%.  The campaign will continue for months throughout various markets in California.


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TuesdayMarch 8, 2011