1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to secondary content

MondayApril 4, 2011

Latino Daily News: Bringing You the Latest Hispanic Current Events and News Stories 24/7

To reflect the dynamic interests of our audience, Latino Daily News is an online daily news source and virtual cultural center for and about Latinos. We offer the latest news headlines, as well as innovative and insightful Hispanic current events stories, photos, videos, and commentaries from a Latino perspective, 24/7.

Read More

Comcast to Launch Several New Hispanic-Owned Television Channels

Comcast Corporation today announced that it is taking the first steps to launch ten new independent channels over the next eight years, including eight that are Hispanic and African American owned or operated.

“Comcast is committed to providing opportunities for diverse businesses to expand and grow,” said David Jensen, Vice President of Content Acquisition for Comcast.  “We look forward to considering a number of fresh and viable programming proposals from Hispanic and African American programmers to create new channels that will complement the robust lineup of programming choices we already offer our customers.”

Of the ten new channels scheduled to be added, Comcast is now accepting proposals for the first three.  One of the channels, which Comcast intends to launch by July 28, 2012, will be American Latino operated and programmed in English.  The other two will be majority African American owned and will launch by January 28, 2013.  Ultimately, each of the ten networks will be added on select Comcast systems as part of the D1 digital tier.

The commitment to launch ten new independently owned and operated networks over the next eight years is one of a series of public interest commitments made by Comcast in connection with the NBCUniversal transaction completed earlier this year.  Of the ten channels, four will be majority African American owned, two will be majority Hispanic owned and two will be operated by American Latino programmers.  These criteria were established based on several agreements Comcast entered into with leading diversity organizations.

In addition, Comcast recently announced it was expanding carriage of Mnet, the only 24/7 English-language nationwide television network in the U.S. targeting Asian Americans and fans of Asian pop culture, satisfying a commitment in its agreement with leaders of the Asian American community.

Read more by HS News Staff →

CNN’s Anderson Cooper to Be Honored by Latino Commission on AIDS

Anderson Cooper, anchor of CNN’s weeknight Anderson Cooper 360, will receive the 2011 Compañero Award on May 10th at the Latino Commission on AIDS’s annual fundraising gala Cielo Latino, the Latino Commission on AIDS announced today

The renowned award, created by the Latino Commission to recognize leaders outside of the Latino community, who, through their efforts, have contributed to improving the quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS, promote awareness, education and prevention opportunities in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, will be presented by Guillermo Chacon, President of the Latino Commission on AIDS.

“Through his often times provocative approach to exposing injustices in communities near and far, Anderson Cooper has brought national attention to the AIDS crisis in the United States, said Chacon. “Because of his determination and dedication to “unmasking” the various issues related to the AIDS epidemic, the Latino Commission is proud to present Anderson with this honor and have him reaffirm his commitment to raised awareness and actions to attain healthy communities.”

Cielo Latino is the largest annual national fundraiser for the Latino community in its fight against AIDS. The money raised each year allows the Commission to continue to provide critical services to thousands through our programs and initiatives and millions more through our social marketing education, awareness, outreach, and treatment education campaigns.

This year’s theme - Unmask AIDS - speaks to critical co-morbidity health issues, along with our efforts to combat stigma and isolation, and in particular to highlight the harsh reality of the disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS faced by some of our most vulnerable populations.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Most Major League Baseball Born Outside of U.S. are Dominican

Most Major League Baseball Born Outside of U.S. are Dominican

Photo: Dominican Republic Baseball

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

As the 2011 Major League Baseball season gets underway beside high ticket prices you can be assured of one other thing:  the majority of baseball players born outside of the U.S. are from the Dominican Republic.

To rephrase the famous Sammy Sosa quote “Dominican Republican has been ‘bery’ ‘bery’ good to baseball.”  More than a quarter of all league players were born outside the U.S., 234 players to be exact. 

Those foreign born players represent 14 different countries and territories with most coming from the Central American country of the Dominican Republic.  86 of the 234 foreign-born players originate from there.  Puerto Rico (a U.S. territory) and Canada follow with the most number of players represented in MLB.

The New York Yankees playing roster has the most foreign born players with 16 players. 

Read more at Dominican Today →

Hispanics “Lifeguards for Christianity in America”

Hispanics “Lifeguards for Christianity in America”

Photo: Rev. Samuel Rodriguez

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Reverend Samuel Rodriguez, president of The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, America’s largest Hispanic Christian organization, spoke with The Christian Post on the increase of Hispanics in the country and their impact in terms of Christianity.

He said the 43 percent growth of Hispanics in the U.S. over the last decade is a “lifeboat for Christianity in American in the 21st century. They will be the spokesmen for the movement of sanctity and justice.”

The prominent evangelical said, “Previously, the Anglo-Saxon church was able to survive by reaching out exclusively to its own people, but now it can no longer do so.”

It contrast to the Hispanic population, the U.S. Census report showed that the non-Hispanic population grew only about five percent, and when compared to the total population, that portion of the population actually declined from 69 percent to 64.

Rodriguez also notes that the Hispanic church is seeing the fastest growth in history, and the largest denominations have corroborated, and said their growth is directly due to an increase in their Hispanic parishioners. The largest being the Southern Baptist Convention, Assemblies of God, Churches of God, and The United Methodist Church.

The down side, says Rodriguez, is that though the Hispanic Christian population is growing quickly, many are lacking the education to be able to lead neither in the church or out of it.

To help raise the education level of the Hispanic youth in need, universities, denominations and churches launched the Alliance for Hispanic Christian Education.

“The message of the Hispanic community is about becoming ‘one’ and crying out, bringing America back to its core values that this great country was founded on,” said Rev. Mauricio Elizonado senior pastor of Walnut Park Assembly of God in Garland, Texas. “We are going to be the reconciling voices for the people who have been impoverished, the voices for the unborn, and the voices for people who have been marginalized. It is our time to rise up and shine – 50 million voices shouting together for the sake of our Lord, for the sake of humanity and for the sake of America, bringing our country back to revival.”

Read more at Christian Post →

INNOVATION: US-Mexico border Makeover Ideas (VIDEO)

INNOVATION: US-Mexico border Makeover Ideas (VIDEO)

Photo: US-Mexico Border turned into a Bike Path

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

An assistant professor of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley has a few ideas on how to make the desolate spot known as the U.S.-Mexico border, into a more useful, more humane space.

700 miles worth of ugly fence separate the United States from México. The barrier is not only aesthetically unappealing, but has also proved to be expensive, detrimental to the environment, blatantly ineffective, and even deadly, as hundreds of people die every year trying to cross it.

“I have to accept the wall because it exists, but as a designer I see that something better is possible. Why not do something intelligent, something incredible?” Says Ron Rael, an assistant professor of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley “I envision not just a ‘dumb wall,’ but a social infrastructure that connects and improves lives on both sides.”

With that in mind, Rael has re-imagined the border for the XXI century, complete with green infrastructures, social and public services and recreation facilities.

Rael’s new vision involves a system of “stations” along the wall, spaces where the border would become useful as a volleyball court, a confessional, a lending library, a water catching system or water cleansing plant, a solar farm and even food carts embedded to the wall, allowing individuals from both sides of the border to share meals, conduct business and be entertained, as opposed as the current offerings of the border: Segregation.

“There are exchanges of food and money through the wall already,” said Rael, who once saw how a thirsty border patrol agent bought a snow-cone from a vendor across an opening in the wall; he looks forward to a “post-border wall world.” It’s not about tearing down the border, but reinventing it as something useful, beautiful or inspiring. “If it’s [replaced by ] a swing or a teeter-totter or solar panels, it materially ceases to be a wall.”

“Border Wall as Infrastructure” a proposal by Rael and his partner, Virginia San Fratello, was a finalist in the 2010 Working Public Architecture 2.0 Competition organized by UCLA’s cityLAB. Watch renderings of possible border alternatives below, and tell us what you think!

ImageThe Border Re-Imagined as a Water Treatment Facility
ImageSolar Energy Plant
ImageCross-Border Library
Burrito Stand


Read more at David Zax @ Fast Company Design →

NY State:  Hispanic Owned Businesses Strong, Growing & Important Part of Economy

The New York state Comptrollers office recently realized a report analyzing Hispanic-owned businesses in the state for the last ten years.

The report shows that the number of Hispanic businesses grew by 85 percent and their related sales climbed by 77 percent to a total of $18.2 billion.  Most of these are small businesses with 91 percent of these businesses having the owner as the sole employee. 

The analysis was for ten years through 2007, which was the most recent information available.

New York City, which has a long and proud history of immigrant success stories, holds 74 percent of all Hispanic-owned businesses in the state. 

The majority of Hispanic-owned businesses in the state are concentrated in four sectors:  health, personal, professional services and social services. 

Read more at Guardian →

Colombian Drug Traffickers Now Using Subs to Transport Drugs

Colombian Drug Traffickers Now Using Subs to Transport Drugs

Photo: Colombian drug subs are harder to detect due to size and construction

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Until last month, the boat of choice for Colombian drug traffickers was the semisubmersible, which would float just below the water’s surface and only have the air and exhaust pipes above water. Now, however, the smugglers have graduated to full on submarines to covertly transport their drugs.

In February, a 70-foot long submarine was impounded by the military at a shipyard near Colombia’s Pacific coast. The homemade vessel was equipped with a compartment capable of holding eight tons, and three tons of cocaine were found nearby.

Just seven months earlier, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) assisted in the capture of a 100-foot diesel-powered submarine along a stream that led out to the Pacific south of the Colombian border of Ecuador.

Jay Bergman, head of the Andean division of the DEA said that it is clear that narco traffickers have taken a “quantum leap in technology.” Somewhat frightening is the ingenuity of the traffickers, who use materials from places like Home Depot to make something able to make two-week runs.

“Pictures do not do them justice,” says Bergman. “You have to see the subs to get a perspective of how large they are and how much effort it takes to build them.”

So far though, these aquatic vessels are not meant for luxurious travel. In fact, when a Colombian navy lieutenant piloted the 70-footer after it was confiscated, he said the poor ventilation caused the temperature inside to reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit, making it difficult to breathe. Also, a now retired Colombian trafficker, who made trips in similar vessels, said the conditions those in the subs are “hellish.”

What makes these such effective forms of drug transport is the fact that, since they are smaller than what it usually picked up using sonar, and the ocean is vast, it is hard to detect them. Add to that, the fact that traditional subs are large and metal, which disturb the earth’s magnetic field, making it easier to detect with sonar, these smaller ones are mostly made of fiberglass and contain very little steel.

Even if these vessels are detected, Bergman said the practical and legal procedures for forcing it to the surface are still unclear.

It is believed that 70 percent of the cocaine leaving Colombia’s Pacific coast in 20009 was loaded in these “semisubs.”

For now, Colombian officials are continuing their fumigation program, using crop dusters to try kill coca bushes before their leaves are able to be made into cocaine.

Read more at Time →

An Assessment of Aging Latino’s: ‘The Latino Age Wave’

Between 2008 and 2030 the Latino population aged 65 years and older will increase by 224 percent compared to a 65 percent increase for the white population aged 65 and older.  These growth trends are likely to have significant implications for programs and policies designed to support seniors.

HIP established the HIP Aging Program (HAP) in 2009 with the aim of increasing awareness and mobilization of philanthropic resources to strengthen the leadership and infrastructure that will support the growing needs of older Latinos. In late 2010 HIP reached its first major Aging Program milestone by completing The Latino Age Wave, a study commissioned by the organization to learn more about the societal implications of an aging Latino population for the U.S.

The report show Latino older adults:

• Are concentrated in a few large, highly-populated states: California, Texas, Florida, and New york.

• Are more likely to be foreign born and have lower rates of english speaking.

• Are less educated.

• Have lower incomes, fewer assets, and higher poverty rates.

• Receive a larger proportion of their income from Social Security but also have less access to Social Security benefits.

• Have lower rates of health insurance coverage.

Major findings from the assessment of Latino organizations are as follows:

• Scarcity of community-based and national organizations that provide services exclusively to Latino older adults.

• Latino community-based organizations do not have the funding or support they need to provide quality services to
Latinos in general and to Latino older adults specifically.

• Programs aimed at providing services to older adults are the most at risk of being underfunded or having their budgets
cut, because there is little funding for Latino older adult programs to begin with.

• A lack of Latino professionals entering the field of gerontology or related disciplines means that there are not enough professionals that have the language and cultural skills needed to provide optimal care for the aging Latino population.


Read more at Hispanics in Philanthrophy →

Could Ricky Martin Be Seeking Spanish Nationality?

Could Ricky Martin Be Seeking Spanish Nationality?

Photo: Are Martin and Boyfriend Planning to Elope in Spain?

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Several gossip sites say Ricky Martin is seeking to become a Spanish citizen, though nothing is confirmed. The star would be looking to move overseas and marry his boyfriend Carlos González.

Some sources say the “Livin’ la vida Loca” singer has already submitted the payperwork, applying for the Spanish citizenship.

Spain became the third country in the world to legalize gay marriage, in July 3rd 2005, after the Netherlands and Belgium, and seventeen days ahead of Canada.

Are wedding bells in the future for Ricky???

Read more by HS News Staff →

House Rep: UMass In-State Tuition Program Would Create Backdoor for Undocumented Students

House Rep: UMass In-State Tuition Program Would Create Backdoor for Undocumented Students

Photo: University of Massachusetts Amherst

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

A Massachusetts lawmaker is claiming that a University of Massachusetts Amherst plan to offer free in-state tuition to outstanding community college graduates would be used by illegal immigrants to unfairly take advantage of the system.

During a hearing last week, the Republican House Representative Richard Bastien of Gardner, MA, asked, “Is this not a backdoor way for illegal immigrants to get free tuition at UMass? I’m not saying they shouldn’t be able to go. They should just pay for out-of-state tuition.”

ImageThe tuition proposal was announced by Gov. Deval Patrick and the UMass Amherst chancellor Robert Holub. It would allow community college graduates with a GPA of 3.0 or higher to enroll at the school and have tuition bill ($1,714) waived. They would still be required to pay annual student fees ($10,018).

Bastien testified before the Joint Committee on Higher Education last Wednesday, and shared his concerns with the community college presidents. He stated that based on what he was told at a multiple community colleges, while some require a copy of a prospective student’s passport or birth certificate to prove residency, some only require a Social Security card and another document like a phone bill as proof.

“We know from identity theft that people can get Social Security cards from anywhere,’’ said Bastien. “So are we doing a good enough job at the community college level to verify that the person matches the Social Security number?’’

Both UMass Amherst officials and the Governor’s administration reiterate that the waiver for transfers from community colleges only applies to in-state students, and that when applying, the students must sign “a form that is a legal affidavit swearing they are legal residents.”

However, Bastien, not satisfied and said, “You could literally come down from New Hampshire, get an apartment, and that would prove your residency status. I would like to see something that proves more permanency, like a driver’s license.”

Read more at Boston Globe →

Ban on Bullfighting is on Rafael Correa’s Agenda

Ban on Bullfighting is on Rafael Correa’s Agenda

Photo: Ecuador About to ban Bullfighting

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

On May 7, Ecuadorians will be asked to vote on a referendum that could make it illegal to kill animals for entertainment.

The 10 point referendum could give the executive branch more control over the judicial; it would also create a commission to regulate content in the media as well as restrain media conglomerates and media institution by banning them from holding investments in other industries.

Correa has begun an aggressive campaign for a nation-wide “Yes” vote in what is perceived as a referendum on his 5 year old administration; despite having alienated some business sectors with his center-left policies, and his closeness to Venezuelan Leader Chávez, Correa is a popular figure in Ecuador, and it is expected to garner a positive response from voters in most points of the referendum.

On the issue of Bullfighting however, Correa could hit a brick wall since supporters of bullfighting are many, and see the vote as an intrusion on personal liberties.

Bullfighting is largely practiced in the highlands of Ecuador and is seen as entertainment for wealthy people. Ecuador’s prime bullfighting sites — including Ambato and an annual festival in Quito — draw tens of thousands of tourists.

Last February, about 15,000 people attended an event in Quito called “Bulls and Cocks for Freedom.”  The union indicates there are more than 97,000 families that make a living directly or indirectly from Ecuador’s bullfighting industry.

“There’s not a single difference between a cockfight and a bullfight,” he said. “If the cock doesn’t die in a fight, it’s simply bad luck for you as a spectator and a bettor.”

Government officials has tried to placate the anger of bullfighting fans by saying they are welcome to have bullfights if the animal is not killed.

In Spain, where bullfighting was born, the province of Cataluña outlawed bullfighting in 2010. In Colombia, right next to Ecuador, legislators have pushed for (unsuccessfully) to make the spectacle illegal.

“Bullfighting is part of who we are in Ecuador and a part of how we look at life,” said Juan Patricio Espinosa, in charge of organizing some of the country’s most important bullfighting events. “People don’t go to bullfights to watch an animal die, it has a deeper significance. A rose is beautiful because man has decided it’s beautiful. In the same way, the bull’s death has a greater meaning.”

For Diego Rivas, who started bullfighting at age 16, and since then has been gored in the shoulder, knocked to the dirt by enormous bulls and trampled with no mercy, the referendum is a direct threat for his job, the only thing he knows how to do: taunt bulls and be a Matador. “A lot of people study professions that they never get to practice,” he said. “I’ve worked my whole life to get to where I am and to be able to make a living. I would just ask the country not to take this away from me.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Oregon Lawmakers Asking Congress for Reimbursement for Incarcerating Undocumented Criminals

Oregon Lawmakers Asking Congress for Reimbursement for Incarcerating Undocumented Criminals

Photo: Oregon Department of Corrections

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Oregon House committee members are proposing legislation asking Congress to reimburse taxpayers for the cost of incarcerating undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes in the state.

The legislation, known as House Joint Memorial 14 (HJM 14) was sponsored by Representative Kim Thatcher, and states that each year, the Oregon Department of Corrections – funded by Oregon taxpayers – spends between 33 and 38 million dollars to keep undocumented immigrant criminals incarcerated. This total does not include jails and other correctional facilities.

So far, HJM 14has been introduced to the House. If voted on and approved, it will head to the Senate.

The House Judiciary Committee was scheduled to discuss the memorial this past Friday.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Have They NO Shame: Fox Appeals to Hispanic Market, Creates Fox Hispanic Media

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation has announced that they are creating Fox Hispanic Media (FHM) to expand its presence in Hispanic TV aimed at Spanish-speaking consumers.

As the census data shows Hispanic’s being the fastest growing demographic and the largest minority in the country, Fox is taking heed.  Two of the company’s divisions, Fox International Channels and Fox Global Networks will spearhead the creation.

Fox News, viewed by many as anti-Hispanic and virulently anti-immigrant, is quietly keeping out of this venture.  The overriding goal of FHM is to help advertisers reach the Hispanic market more effectively.

The new venture will be made up of two existing cable channels, Fox Deportes and Utilísima and a new offering Nat Geo Mundo (a Spanish-language version to the National Geographic channel). 

FHM will compete with Spanish-language TV giants Univision and NBC’s Telemundo. 

Read more at Media Decoder →

Banks in Brazil Being Sued for Approving Loans for Deforestation

Banks in Brazil Being Sued for Approving Loans for Deforestation

Photo: Brazilian deforestation

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Two banks in Brazil are being accused of funding deforestation in Amazon, one of the banks being the country’s largest.

State-run Banco do Brasil and Banco da Amazonia are being sued by the state of Para.

Prosecutors say they have discovered Banco do Brasil approved 55 loans to farms that had both employment and environmental laws. The loans were worth almost $5 million. The bank denies the allegations, and said it would look into the charges on a case-by-case basis.

It was also uncovered that Banco da Amazonia approved $11 million among 37 loans to farms having similar violations. Amazonia declined to make any comments until all their documents had been reviewed.

Brazil’s judicial branch will have to decide if they wish to pursue the case, but if the lawsuits are successful, the banks could be facing substantial fines.

Prosecutors are also asking for a change in regulations and of how loans are approved.

Officials in Brazil say that deforestation in the country is at its lowest point in 22 years, and they hope to cut the destructive practice by 80% (from the beginning) by 2020 as part of an international effort to address global warming.

Read more at BBC News →

“Yes We Can” VS. “Begins With Us in 2012” Obama Launches Reelection Bid (VIDEO)

“Yes We Can” VS. “Begins With Us in 2012” Obama Launches Reelection Bid (VIDEO)

Photo: Obama's Reelection Campaign

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

In 2008, Obama entered the race for president with the unforgettably bold, inspirational and catchy “Yes We Can.” For his 2012 bid, the president has released a video titled “It Begins With Us,” where supporters talk about the need to reelect the president for a second term in the White House.

“Today, we are filing papers to launch our 2012 campaign,” wrote the president in a message accompanying the video. “Even though I’m focused on the job you elected me to do, and the race may not reach full speed for a year or more, the work of laying the foundation for our campaign must start today.”

The video didn’t include any new footage of the president, and also didn’t mention Vice-President Joe Biden.

The filing of 2012 campaign papers, will give Obama the legal opportunity to use the campaign infrastructure his staffers have been working on, as well as begin an aggressive fundraising endeavor that could earn the president close to $1 billion in donations between now and the fall of next year.

An office in downtown Chicago has already been picked to serve as headquarters; Jim Messina, Obama’s former deputy chief of staff, will serve as campaign manager, and the campaign has hired two deputy campaign managers: Jen O’Malley Dillon, the former executive director of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and Julianna Smoot, the president’s former social secretary.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero Stepping Down After Current Term

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero Stepping Down After Current Term

Photo: Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Spain’s current Prime Minister and staunch austerity proponent, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, has announced he will not be seeking a third term.

Zapatero will step down next year leaving the future of any additional austerity measures in doubt.  International investors and markets have responded favorably to Zapatero’s budget deficit trimming and keen focus on the country’s poor financial situation.

His Socialist party will have to identify a viable candidate for the March 2012 election.  There is fear that an opposition candidate won’t embrace the unpopular austerity measures promoted by Zapatero and that while he remains in office he won’t be as politically effective in pushing through additional cost cutting measures.

Read more at Bloomberg →

McDonald to Hire 50,000 Employees on April 19th Dubbed as a Mega “Hiring Day”

McDonald’s and its franchisees are looking to hire up to 50,000 new crew and restaurant management positions at restaurants across the country during a hiring event on April 19.  The one-day event will seek to bring in and hire a combination of both full and part-time positions in close to 14,000 U.S. restaurants.

“Our restaurant employees are the foundation of our business. They are the men and women who interact with our customers every day, enhance the McDonald’s experience, and continue to help make our business strong,” said Jan Fields, President, McDonald’s USA. “Our national hiring event is an opportunity to invite more people across the country to join our team, and learn that a McJob is one with career growth and endless possibilities.”

For a more detailed snapshot on the national hiring event, McDonald’s drew on research extrapolated from McDonald’s company-owned restaurants and compiled by Dr. Dennis Tootelian, who studies business trends and policy at the Center for Small Business at California State University, in Sacramento. His research, which estimates the potential impact of this additional hiring, presents a compelling argument for the value of fast-food, and specifically McDonald’s, to the U.S. economy.

The investment around the target hiring of 50,000 employees is estimated that:

McDonald’s and its franchisees will spend more than $518 million more in wages and salaries in the coming year, an average of more than $1.4 million every day.

More than $41.5 million in training will be invested in the company’s new workforce – instilling life-long business and customer service skills as well as setting employees up for success in current and future opportunities.

The addition of 50,000 potential hires translates into $54 million more in payroll taxes contributed to the broader economy.
Using a statistical multiplier effect, 50,000 new workers will generate almost $1.4 billion in annual spending – more than $3.5 million per day.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Passport Day in the USA Offers Appointment-Free Saturday Service

On Saturday, April 9, the Department of State will host its third annual “Passport Day in the USA.” U.S. citizens throughout the country can apply for a passport book or passport card at any one of the regional passport agencies or participating passport acceptance facilities, including post offices and clerks of court. With summer vacation approaching, this event is the perfect opportunity to apply for a passport.

The Department’s newest agencies in San Diego, El Paso, Texas, and St. Albans, Vt. will be open to the public on Passport Day. Recently opened agencies along the southern and northern borders will also be open in Dallas, Detroit, Minneapolis, Buffalo, N.Y., and Tucson, Ariz. Public counters at facilities in Hot Springs, Ark. and Portsmouth, N.H. will be open as well.

Regional passport agencies will be open for extended Saturday hours. For this day only, no appointment is necessary, and U.S. citizens without travel plans in the next 14 days may apply directly at a regional passport agency. Both routine and expedited processing service may be requested. Families should be aware that passports for children under 16 expire every five years. Both parents and child need to appear or the non-appearing parent must submit a notarized “Minor Consent” form.

Many non-Department passport acceptance facilities around the country will also be hosting “Passport Day in the USA” events. U.S. citizens can visit http://travel.state.gov/passportday to find participating acceptance facilities in their area.

The website also contains complete information about what is needed to apply for a passport, as well as the application fees, processing times, and regional passport agency and non-Department acceptance facility locations and hours of operations. U.S. citizens may also call the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 1-877-487-2778 or TDD/TTY at 1-888-874-7793.

Read more by HS News Staff →

International Day for Mine Awareness: Colombia Has 2nd Most Victims in the World

International Day for Mine Awareness will be celebrated today, April 4th. The date has been promoted by the General Assembly of the UN to reject the indiscriminate use of these devices and create awareness about the growing threat to people. Under the slogan “For one day try to be in their shoe!”, 15 governmental and non-governmental organizations will seek to raise awareness about this problem in Colombia.

After Afghanistan, Colombia is the nation with the largest number of victims in the world: in 2010 there were 482 victims of antipersonnel mines; from 1990 to February 2011, there were 9,103 victims of this scourge, including 870 minors, 3,408 civilians and 5,695 military. In this first part of 2011, there are already 71 victims. According to the note sent to Fides by the Episcopal Conference of Colombia, even though these numbers are shocking, the truth is that Colombians experience this reality everyday as if it were perfectly normal, and people are so used to it that they do not seem aware of the gravity of the issue.

So the goal for the this Day is to raise the issue of landmines in schools, universities, offices, restaurants and public places, in order that everyone is aware of the reality facing the Country and to ensure that, at least for one day, it is at the center of attention. Through social networks all Colombians are invited to participate actively in a symbolic gesture, to roll up one of their pant legs to demonstrate their awareness of the consequences, as experienced by victims of landmines, hit in the lower limbs.

Today there will be a demonstration in the Plaza de Bolívar, at 9.00 am, led by the Vice President of the Republic, Angelino Garzón, who will accompany the military and civilian victims. In the Plaza de Bolívar there will also be a stage built of 9,000 shoes, for each of the victims recorded from 1990 to today.

Read more at Agencia Fides →

MondayApril 4, 2011