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ThursdayApril 7, 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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70% of Dominicans Don’t Have Internet Access

Diario Libre technology editor Hiddekel Morrison writes today that 70% of Dominicans do not have access to the Internet. He says the Dominican Republic (DR) is ranked 75th of 135 countries in ITC development in Latin America by the World Economic Forum competitiveness ranking.

Nevertheless, he says the DR leads with the most expensive broadband Internet rates in the region. He says this is because of a lack of regulation of public policies, institutional strengthening and incentives to stimulate new investments for encouraging competition.

Morrison writes that the digital gap, the separation between people with and without Internet access is the direct result of the economic and poverty gap. He says the recent statement that the DR leads in Internet accounts in the Caribbean is misleading, because these are small islands.

Read more at DR1 →

5 Arkansan’s Charged for Firebombing Interracial Couple’s Home

Jason Barnwell, 37, of Evening Shade, Ark.; Gary Dodson, 32, of Waldron, Ark.; Jake Murphy, 19, also of Waldron; and Dustin Hammond, 20, of Hardy, Ark., were indicted by a federal grand jury on civil rights charges and other federal charges stemming from their participation in an incident in January 2011 involving Molotov cocktails thrown at and into the home of a mixed-race couple living near Hardy, Ark. 

The couple was also barraged with racial slurs and threatened with future violence if they did not leave Arkansas. Wendy Treybig, 31, of Evening Shade, Ark., was indicted for obstruction of justice for her role in trying to cover up the incident.

Specifically, Barnwell, Dodson, Murphy and Hammond are charged with one count of conspiracy to interfere with the housing rights of another, one count of interfering with the housing rights of another, one count of possessing an unregistered firearm, one count of using fire in the commission of a felony, and one count of using a destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence.  Barnwell is also charged with unlawfully possessing a firearm. 

If convicted, Barnwell faces up to 85 years in prison.  If convicted, Dodson, Murphy and Hammond face up to 70 years in prison.  If convicted, Treybig faces up to 20 years in prison.
This investigation was led by the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) of the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; along with the Arkansas State Police; the Hardy and Waldron Police Departments; and the Scott and Sharp County Sheriff’s Offices. 
The charges set forth in an indictment are merely allegations.  The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Durbin to Reintroduce DREAM Act. Some Advocates Unhappy With New Version

Durbin to Reintroduce DREAM Act. Some Advocates Unhappy With New Version

Photo: DREAM Act, some advocates unhappy with new version

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Last week, Senator Dick Durbin’s office confirmed that he would once again push for the passage of the DREAM Act this session, after it came so close to passing in Congress last session.

The DREAM Act would give undocumented young people a path to citizenship, but the version of the bill Durbin is expected to introduce has some worried, as it narrows down those that would be eligible.

Mohammad Abdollahi co-founder of DreamActivism.org said, “We know the DREAM Act is going to be coming out soon, and that it’s most likely going to be similar to the version that passed the House last time.”

Abdollahi is referring to the version that successfully made it through the House last December, but failed to do the same in the Senate due to a Republican filibuster. He and other immigration advocates say that Durbin has been hesitant to file a more broad version of the bill in an attempt to gain support of his colleague Sen. Richard Lugar, a Republican from Indiana.

This more narrow version is causing discourse among advocates, as some see the dilemma moderate Republicans – whose votes will be needed – have, and are happy to see the bill reintroduced in any version, while others are less than optimistic about the fact that even if passed, the bill will help only a narrow margin of undocumented youth, leaving many still without a path to citizenship.

“If Democrats are not going to advocate for a stronger bill and just give in to Republican demands, then we have to recognize that Democrats are not going to have the backbone they need to have,” Abdollahi said.

“As immigrant youth this is our message. We’re willing to put ourselves on the line. Just like in July, we’re not going to hold back against Democrats, because ultimately the DREAM Act lost votes on the Democratic side too.”

Read more at COLORLINES →

Physicians Call for Better Access to Health Care for Immigrants

Physicians Call for Better Access to Health Care for Immigrants

Photo: American College of Physicians

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As the U.S. immigrant population grows it will be necessary to address the vast number of immigrants who do not have access to health insurance coverage, or who face other barriers to accessing health care, the American College of Physicians (ACP) said in a new policy paper released today at Internal Medicine 2011, ACP’s annual scientific meeting. National Immigration Policy and Access to Health Care discusses the challenges immigrants face in obtaining health care services.

“Currently immigrants, both documented and undocumented, face many barriers to adequately accessing badly needed health care,” said J. Fred Ralston, Jr., MD, FACP, president of ACP. “They are more likely to lack health insurance than U.S. citizens; they may lack the funds necessary to pay for health care services without insurance; and, they may face the additional barrier of being fearful that seeking medical attention may lead them to be reported to authorities.”

In order to address these concerns, ACP is calling for the development of an immigration policy on health care that includes:

A national policy. Individual state laws result in a patchwork system that is not adequate to address this complex problem.

Taxpayers should not be required to subsidize health insurance coverage for persons who are not legal residents of the United States and people should not be prevented from paying out-of-pocket for health insurance based on immigration status.

The same access to health coverage and government-subsidized health care for U.S.-born children of parents who lack legal residency as any other U.S. citizen. 

Acknowledgement of the public health risks associated with undocumented persons not receiving medical care because of concerns about criminal or civil prosecution or deportation. Immigration policy should include increased access to comprehensive primary and preventive care, and vaccinations and screening for prevalent infectious diseases. This will make better use of public health dollars by improving the health status of this population and alleviating the need for costly emergency care.

Federal government support for safety-net health care facilities and offsets for costs of uncompensated care provided by these facilities.

Acknowledgement that physicians and other health care professionals have an ethical and professional obligation to care for the sick. Immigration policy should not interfere with the ethical obligation to provide care for all.

Policies that do not foster discrimination against a class or category of patients in the provision of health care.

“Access to care for immigrants is a public health issue that should be of concern to all of us,” continued Dr. Ralston. “Take the case of immigrants with tuberculosis; under the current system they may be afraid that going to a hospital to seek treatment would place them at risk for deportation. If they decide to delay care because of this fear, it could increase the number of people exposed to the disease exponentially. Imagine if those same immigrants were not only unafraid to visit the hospital, but they were receiving regular primary care services. They may be treated before experiencing any symptoms and decrease the public exposure that much more.”

The new policy will need to be complex to adequately reflect the complexity of the issue. It will need to take into consideration:

The need for the country to control whom it admits within its borders.

The need for the U.S. to differentiate its treatment of those who comply with the law in establishing legal residency from those who do not.  That hospitals and physicians have an ethical obligation to provide care for residents lacking legal documentation who seek care in an emergency situation.

That society has a public health interest in ensuring that all residents have access to health care, particularly for communicable diseases. And, that delayed treatment may be costly and could endanger the rest of the population.

That any policy that intends to force the millions of undocumented residents to return to their countries of origin could result in severe health consequences for affected persons and their family members. This could create a public health emergency resulting in enormous costs to the health care system, including costs associated with correctional health care during periods of detention.

“Any national immigration policy will need to balance the legitimate needs and concerns to control our borders and to equitably differentiate in publicly-supported services for those who fully comply with immigration laws and those who do not,” concluded Dr. Ralston. “However, access to health care for immigrants is crucial to the overall population of the U.S. We all have a vested interest in ensuring that all residents have access to necessary care.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Today’s Brazilian Child Murderer Suicide Note Released

Today’s Brazilian Child Murderer Suicide Note Released

Photo: Shooter Wellington Menezes Suicide letter

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The entire world condemns today’s rampage and President Dilma Rouseff has asked for three mourning days in Brazil. Read the demented reasoning and last wishes of the disturbed man who shot over 100 bullets, onto innocent preteens.

“First you should know the unclean can not touch me without gloves, only virgins or those who have lost their chastity after marriage and were not involved in adultery could touch me without gloves, no fornicator or adulterer may have direct contact with me, nor anything that is impure can touch my blood, no unclean thing can have direct contact with a virgin without your permission, those who take care of my burial should take all my clothes, bathe, dry off and wrap me totally naked in a white sheet that is in this building in a bag I left in the first room on the first floor, only after I’m wrapped in this sheet they may put me in my coffin. If possible, I want to be buried beside the grave where my mother sleeps. My mother called Dicéa Menezes de Oliveira and is buried in Murundu. I need a faithful follower of God to visit me in my grave at least once, he must pray in front of my grave asking God’s forgiveness for what I did praying for Jesus to come and awaken me from the sleep of death into eternal life.

I left a house in Sepetiba which no family needs, there are poor institutions, funded by generous people who care for abandoned animals, I want this space where I spent my last month to be donated to one of these institutions, because the animals are beings much neglected and in much greater need of protection and care than human beings who have the advantage of being able to communicate, to work to feed themselves, so to those who take ownership of my house, I pledge, please have the good sense and meet my request, for in fulfilling my request, they will automatically be fulfilling the wishes of my parents who wanted to pass this property to my name and everyone knows this, unless you comply with my request, you will automatically be disrespecting the wishes of my parents, which proves that you do not have no regard for our parents who have fallen asleep, I believe you all have some consideration for our parents, prove it doing what I asked.”

HS-News wishes to join the whole Brazilian nation in repudiating this senseless act, as well as offer our deepest condolences to the families of the victims.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Javier Bardem About to Seal Deal on Stephen King’s “Dark Tower”

Javier Bardem About to Seal Deal on Stephen King’s “Dark Tower”

Photo: Bardem to Star in Stephen King's "The Dark Tower"

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Spanish super-star Javier Bardem is set to star in Stephen King’s ‘The Dark Tower’ which is based on his ‘Gunslinger’ novels, the deal involves three films as well as a TV-series to air in between releases.

Bardem is said to be about to close negotiations with Universal Pictures to play the main role in The Dark Tower, a super-production based on Stephen King’s 7-novel series.

Director Ron Howard will begin production of the first film in September, after which he will also direct the first television component.

The films are being produced by Brian Gazer from Imagine Entertainment, the film’s screenwriter Akiva Goldsman and señor Stephen King himself.

Bardem would be playing the main character of the series, the nomadic Roland Deschain who in a final effort to save civilization, takes off on a quest to find the Dark Tower. It is a juicy offer for Bardem, who would have to star in three films, and at least one TV show, as the other two are said to be prequels, and a younger Deschain could be played by someone else.

Howard and Goldsman are said to regard this project as a response to Peter Jackson Lord of The Rings… and the similarities are certainly there: impending doom, stoic heroes, dark towers, sequels, prequels, etc. but where LOTR had a medieval feel, this should look like Mad Max re-imagined by Sergio Leone or Sam Peckinpah.

We couldn’t help but notice that… Bardem even looks like Roland! That might be the reason why Ron Howard id so confident that Bardem will agree, that he has already started casting other actors around the Spanish Star.


What do you think?

Read more by HS News Staff →

Studies May Be Misrepresenting the Economic Progress of Mexican-Americans

Studies May Be Misrepresenting the Economic Progress of Mexican-Americans

Photo: Studies May Be Misrepresenting the Economic Progress of Mexican-Americans

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Some researchers believe that certain studies have not accurately indicated the economic progress of descendants of Mexican immigrants in the United States, and actually underestimate the growth.

Recent studies have speculated that third- and fourth-generation Mexican-Americans are no more likely to finish high school than their parents and grandparents were. However, in The Journal of Labor Economics, two economists said these studies tend to use misleading data.

Brian Duncan of the University of Colorado and Stephen Trejo of the University of Texas explained that most studies use data collected by relying on “ethnic self-identification” to identify a “population of interest.”

This results in the possibility that, in this case, descendants of Mexican immigrants who don’t necessarily identify themselves as Mexican-American on census forms or surveys, are excluded from studies like that of economic progress.

Duncan and Trejo said this is especially true for the children of Mexicans who may marry non-Mexicans, but who still clearly have Mexican ancestry. Research has shown that children of intermarried Mexicans are much more likely to further their education and have better English language skills, and would therefore change the results of the studies being released.

“In effect, through the selective nature of intermarriage and ethnic identification, some of the most successful descendants of Mexican immigrants are not included in intergenerational studies,” said Trejo.

The two economists state that actually, about 30 percent of third-generation Mexican youth do not identify themselves as Mexican. This could be due to the fact that they were born outside of Mexico, and no matter their ancestry, are hesitant to make that self-identification, though Trejo and Duncan did not touch on that possibility.

And while some studies have been suggesting that Mexican immigrants and their descendants are not assimilating in American society, the two believe the opposite, saying that some may actually be assimilating to the point that they are not being identified as being of Mexican decent and are, in turn, excluded from research.

Read more at UPI →

ACLU Charges FL Foreclosure Courts Depriving Hispanics & Blacks Opportunity to Save Home

The American Civil Liberties Union today filed a petition in a Florida appellate court charging that the foreclosure court system in Lee County systematically denies homeowners a fair opportunity to defend their homes against foreclosure.

The special “mass foreclosure docket” established in December 2008 operates under rules that differ substantially from those that govern the rest of Lee County’s civil cases and was designed to speed through as many foreclosure cases as possible without providing homeowners facing foreclosure a meaningful opportunity to develop their cases or present defenses, according to the petition.

“Operating against the backdrop of well-documented disarray and fraud in mortgage documentation, the shortcuts taken in Lee County courts mean that homeowners may never have a meaningful opportunity to refute faulty evidence supposedly supporting foreclosure,” said Larry Schwartztol, staff attorney with the ACLU Racial Justice Program. “By elevating speed over accuracy, Lee County subjects homeowners to foreclosure proceedings that violate the due process rights guaranteed by the Constitution.”

The petitioner in the ACLU’s case, Georgi Merrigan of Cape Coral, FL, is facing foreclosure after leaving her job as a flight and ground paramedic to care full time for her husband, who suffered massive injuries in a catastrophic car accident. Merrigan has every intention of vigorously contesting her foreclosure case. But because Merrigan’s case is assigned to the “mass foreclosure docket,” the ACLU charges that she cannot get a fair shot at defending her home. The ACLU’s petition asks that Merrigan’s case be re-assigned to the general civil division so that she will be afforded due process under the Florida and U.S. Constitutions.

“No one should ever have to go to court with the deck already stacked against them,” said Howard Simon, Executive Director of the ACLU of Florida. “Nowhere does it say someone is entitled only to the justice we have time for. We can’t allow the basic protections of due process to be the victim of judicial shortcuts.”

The ACLU’s petition is the culmination of a months-long investigation into foreclosure court systems throughout the state of Florida, where media reports have long suggested that the constitutionally-protected due process rights of homeowners have been ignored in a rush to push foreclosure cases through the courts. With one in every 288 housing units in foreclosure, Lee County has the highest percentage of foreclosures in the state of Florida, arguably the epicenter of the nation’s foreclosure crisis.

According to the ACLU’s petition, officials in Lee County seek to clear the foreclosure court docket as quickly as possible, at the expense of complying with basic procedural rules. Despite explicit instructions from the chief justice of the state supreme court that reducing the backlog of foreclosure cases should not “interfere with a judge’s ability to adjudicate each case fairly on its merits,” judges move through cases at lightning speed, sometimes seeing as many as 200 cases a day, according to the petition.

“Despite the extremely high stakes for homeowners, procedural violations in the ‘mass foreclosure docket’ are rampant,” said Rachel Goodman, an attorney with the ACLU Racial Justice Program. “Homeowners face systemic handicaps, and banks get a pass in proving their cases because the courts have effectively suspended the rules that give homeowners a chance to review the evidence against them.”

About 25 percent of Lee County’s population is black or Latino, and government data show that the foreclosure crisis across the country has disproportionately impacted communities of color. According to a recent report by the Center for Responsible Lending, nearly 8 percent of both African Americans and Latinos have lost their homes to foreclosures, as compared to 4.5 percent of whites.

Additionally, the indirect losses in wealth that result from foreclosures as a result of depreciation to nearby properties will also disproportionately impact communities of color. The Center for Responsible Lending report estimates that by the end of 2012, the African American and Latino communities will be drained of $194 and $177 billion, respectively, in these indirect “spillover” losses alone.


Read more by HS News Staff →

DEA Chief Warns that Mexico’s Drug War Effects More than Just Mexico

DEA Chief Warns that Mexico’s Drug War Effects More than Just Mexico

Photo: DEA Chief Michele M. Leonhart

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As international media continues to keep a watchful eye on the drug war in Mexico, the head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is reminding everyone that the world, especially Central, South, and North America needs to be concerned with the events of the troubled country.

For the U.S., the concern is in part due to the fear of violent reach of the drug cartel known as Los Zetas, said DEA administrator Michele M. Leonhart. The Mexican drug gang has been blamed for the killing of a U.S. immigration agent this past February, and also for the massacre of 72 migrants in close to the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We are always concerned about the Mexican drug cartels and the influence that they have,” Leonhart said at the opening of the International Conference for Drug Control. Adding that those present at the annual conference support Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon and his fight against the cartels and said they were joined in wanting to be “part of the solution.”

Since Calderon began the “war on drugs” in 2006, more than 34,600 people have been killed by drug related violence.

The conference at which Leonhart was speaking was started by the DEA in 1993. It was created to bring countries together and share information and effective techniques in fighting drug trafficking. Leonhart said that just as the U.S. worries about the influence and reach of Los Zetas and other cartels, so should the rest of the world.

In Ecuador, the commander of Colombia’s navy told reporters that his country is no longer the only one finding semisubmersibles used to transport drugs. Colombia seized twenty submarines in 2009, three in 2010, and so far this year, they have found four.

Read more at El Paso Times →

Thousands March in Mexico to Protest Drug Violence (VIDEO)

Thousands March in Mexico to Protest Drug Violence (VIDEO)

Photo: "Not every parent is a Poet, but every son is Poetry"

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Several cities across Mexico are holding marches, after thugs assassinated seven people, one of which was the son of poet Javier Sicilia.

24 year-old Juan Francisco Sicilia, five male friends and a young woman were found dead on March 28 inside a vehicle abandoned in Cuernavaca.

Along with the visibly tortured bodies, a note by the Gulf Cartel accused the group of having tipped authorities about drug activity via a government hot-line.

Relatives reported that two of the victims had earlier been robbed by men who identified themselves as police and threatened to kill them if they reported the crime, but these allegations have not been confirmed.

Like most cases like this in México, the perpetrators of these heinous crimes, are still at large. More than 35,000 people have been killed since 2006, when president Felipe Calderón declared a full-on war against drug-traffickers, and tough sometimes thugs do get captured, they get regularly busted out of prison.

The young Sicilia’s crime and subsequent outrage, has captured a wider notice because of the prominence and public candor of his father, who outraged, lashed out against Calderon’s “poorly conceived, poorly executed, poorly directed” anti-drug campaign.

“We have had it up to here with you politicians… because in your fights for power you have torn apart the social fabric,” wrote Sicilia in an “open letter to politicians and criminals”. “As for you, criminals, we have had it up to here with your violence, with your lack of honor, with your cruelty.”

“If criminals want to kill themselves, let them, but let innocent people live in peace,” said Carlos Romero, a law student who joined the marches held in Mexico City. “How else do we say, ‘Enough already’?”

Genaro Garcia Luna, México’s public security secretary said in a television interview that the number of drug killings has subsided in a few cities, like in the city of Tijuana. He said anti-organized crime efforts in Colombia and Italy, for instance, were fruitful only after 7, 8 years of campaign implementation. “Mexico is carrying out a much more rapid process, much more effective,” he said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

“Racist” Juror Sentenced to Indefinite Jury Duty After Outrageous Comments

“Racist” Juror Sentenced to Indefinite Jury Duty After Outrageous Comments

Photo: Juror 799 sentenced to indefinite jury duty and called a liar

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Though apparently trying to avoid jury duty, one Brooklyn woman was sentenced to it indefinitely after making offensive comments about minorities and the NYPD, Tuesday.

When asked in a juror questionnaire to name three people she least admired, the reportedly Asian 20-something wrote, “African-Americans, Hispanics and Haitians,” because “you always hear about them in the news doing something.” And as if that weren’t bad enough, she also stated that she thought New York police officers are lazy.

Upon notification of such response, Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis, holding up the questionnaire told the woman, known only as Juror 799, “This is an outrage, and so are you!”

She was up for jury duty in the death penalty case of crime boss Vincent Basciano, also known as Vinny Gorgeous.

Outraged by the potential juror’s “obvious” lies to weasel out of service, Garaufis sentenced the woman to indefinite jury duty, saying, “She’s coming back [today], Thursday and Friday - and until the future, when I am ready to dismiss her.”

However, by Wednesday he commuted her sentence and docked her $40-a-day juror pay, and told her, “My ruling was not based in any way upon whether or not you held any racist views. It was apparent you did not tell the truth,” but “you were the only juror who indicated that you had every form of bias imaginable. You were lying to the court in order to be excused.”

He added, “The purpose of this order was to attempt to create some consequences or disincentive for people who intentionally obstruct the court’s ability to empanel a fair and impartial jury.”

Read more at New York Daily News →

2nd Death Sentence in Racially Motivated Murder of 9 yr Old Brisenia Flores

An Arizona jury has handed down a second death sentence in the murder of a Latino man and his 9-year-old daughter, who were targeted by border vigilantes two years ago as part of a plot to steal money and fund an increasingly militant operation against immigrants along the border.

Jason Bush was sentenced to death Wednesday, a month after being convicted of murdering Raul Junior Flores, 29, and his daughter Brisenia Flores. Bush, known as “Gunny,” was part of Minutemen American Defense, founded by Shawna Forde.

Led by Forde, Bush and another man, Albert Gaxiola, went into the Flores home in Arivaca, about 50 miles southwest of Tucson, believing that Flores was a drug dealer and would have plenty of cash on hand. Prosecutors charged that Bush was the gunman who shot Flores dead before shooting his wife in the leg. He then walked over to Brisenia, who was sleeping with her puppy on the couch, and shot her twice in the head at close range.

The grisly murders exposed the nastier underbelly of the nativist movement on the border. Bush has ties to several white supremacist groups, and Forde routinely hobnobbed with many of the movement’s more radical leaders.

Read more at Southern Poverty Law Center →

BREAKING NEWS: Man Kills At Least 11 in Brazil School, IDed &  Leaves Note (UPDATE)

BREAKING NEWS: Man Kills At Least 11 in Brazil School, IDed &  Leaves Note (UPDATE)

Photo: Rio de Janeiro

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ImageThe body of Welligton Menezes de Oliveira, (right) the gunman in today’s attack on Rio De Janeiro’s Tasso da Silveira school, was taken out of the building at about 12:20 local time, as confirmed by Fire Department officials at the site.

According to the firemen at the scene and the director of the hospital where the victims were taken, 11 children have so far died, for the most part girls aged 12-15. Image

“He started shooting. I crouched, and then I saw my friend was hit. He killed my friend in my classroom, ” said a young girl, who says she was in the courtyard at the time Welligton Menezes de Oliveira entered the school.

“He was well dressed. He came up to the second floor and I heard two shots. Then all students ran into their classrooms. Then he got up to the third floor where my classroom is, entered and started shooting, ” she added.

ImageMenezes, a former student of the school apparently conversed with several people, teachers, workers, and told them he had been convinced to speak at a conference to be held at the third floor of the institution.

Witnesses say he just entered the class room, and casually pulled out a gun and opened fire on the students.

Police who happened to be near the school saw wounded students exiting the school, crying for help, and managed to surround Meneses after he got hit in the fire exchange. Meneses had a .22 and a .32 caliber hand guns, and enough backup ammunition to have created a much larger catastrophe had these officers not been around. Menezes shot himself in the head before police could apprehend him. Image

The deputy mayor of the West Zone, Edmar Peixoto said that Wellington Menezes left a disturbing letter in which among mad rantings, and disjointed phrases he suggested to be HIV positive, and justified his actions as some kind of fundamentalist based revenge. “He was determined to commit suicide after the tragedy,” said Colonel Djalma Beltrami. The letter was handed over to agents of the homicide division.

President Dilma Rousseff cancelled her commitments for the day and visibly shaken called for a minute of silence for the victims at a press conference.

The school has been closed, and will remain so indefinitely.

The gunman’s sister, Rosilane Menezes, said in an interview with Radio Band News, that her adoptive brother was strange, reserved and had no friends. “He was so focused on things related to Islam and had let his beard grow long. It was weird, was on the internet all day reading issues and it was very strange, very secretive,” she said.

Story continues to be in development.

Original Story

Reports are just coming in that a man allegedly entered a school in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday morning, and opened fire. It is being said that 11 were killed before the gunman turned the weapon on himself and took his own life.

So far, as many as 22 are reported injured, as officials are still on the scene trying to piece together the details, like why the man was in the school, though AFP is reporting that the shooter was the father of one of the students. Police have not yet confirmed this.

Rio Military Police spokewoman only said, “The person entered, and fired shots.”

Local television crews show at least hundreds of people outside the school building.


Read more at AFP →

Increase in Pet Food and Product Sales in Latin America Indicate a Growing Middle Class

Increase in Pet Food and Product Sales in Latin America Indicate a Growing Middle Class

Photo: Sales of pet food and products in Latin America increase

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Latin Americans seem to really love their pets. In fact, sales of pet care products and food are seeing a surge, especially in Brazil.

Between 2005 and 2010, according to Euromonitor International data, value sales of pet food and pet care products jumped from $4.8 billion to $8.3 billion, showing an annual growth of 11.9 percent.

Leading the way in these sales is Brazil, which had $5.2 billion of pet care value sales on 2010. Next was Mexico with $1 billion, followed by Argentina with $645 million.

Though the price of pet products has increased, pet owners in Latin America did not seem to mind enough to stop buying them. According to the National Association of Pet Food Manufacturers (ANFALPET), the average unit price of food for dogs and cats in Latin America increased by 5 to 7 percent, in 2009. Those that did take issue with the price say they just fed their pets table scraps.

The increase in price coincides with a surge in household incomes for Brazilian families. The Euromonitor data shows that the average number of households with disposable income of at least $25, climbed from 21.7 percent to 30.1 percent over the 5-year period. In Argentina, it jumped from 33.5 percent to 44.8 percent of households with that amount of disposable income. Chile, Peru, and Venezuela also saw increases, and the data is indicative of a growing middle-class in Latin America.

Read more at Latin Business Chronicle →

President’s Approval Amongst Hispanics and Blacks Slipped in March

A Gallup poll released today shows President Obama’s approval rating has slipped amongst Hispanics and Blacks in March. 

Though both groups still approve of the President’s job the slip in March brings the approval to a new low.  Currently the President has a 85 percent approval amongst African-Americans and 54 percent amongst Latinos. 

His approval by whites is the lowest amongst all ethnic groups at 39 percent, the racial divide has always been a consistent factor throughout his Presidential tenure.

The President’s ratings are strongest amongst the young, highly educated and lower income segments of the population.

The poll was conducted from March 1-31 with 15,744 adults. 

Read more at Gallup Poll →

Sir Paul Promises to Rock Peru (VIDEO)

Sir Paul Promises to Rock Peru (VIDEO)

Photo: Sir Paul McCartney will Play in Perú

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The legendary left-handed bassist and former Beatle posted a short video inviting Peruvians to his first ever concert in the South American nation.

In a short video message shown at a press conference on Tuesday, Sir Paul McCartney confirmed he will be playing a show on May 9th at the Estadio Monumental in the Peruvian capital of Lima.

Peruvian fans will be graced with songs from The Beatles repertoire, plus music from McCartney’s post-Beatles work with Wings, as well as his solo material.

Tickets went on sale yesterday, April 6 at Teleticket modules of Wong and Metro supermarkets and prices range from 260 soles to 1,975 soles ($92-$705)

So Perú, get your tickets and don’t miss the chance to see the walrus himself at the Estadio Monumental Googoo-Goo-Jub!

Read more by HS News Staff →

59 Bodies Found in Mass Grave, While Mexican Police Were Investigating Migrant Kidnappings

59 Bodies Found in Mass Grave, While Mexican Police Were Investigating Migrant Kidnappings

Photo: 'Let Us Live in Peace' Protesters in Mexico

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While Mexican authorities were investigating reports that armed men were stopping buses and kidnapping passengers in Tamaulipas, they came upon a grisly discovery.

In an area 80 miles south of Brownsville, Texas authorities found several ‘body pits’ containing 59 dead bodies.  One pit is believed to have held 43 bodies.  This is especially troubling for authorities because it is the same location where 72 kidnapped migrants were found massacred last year.

The bus kidnappings, that originally drew the police to the area, started around March 25th.  Reports indicate that mostly men were kidnapped off of local transportation buses and not accounted for later.  Most of the bus passengers were believed to be locals or migrants known to use the bus to get closer to the U.S.-Mexico border.

At the ranch where the ‘body pits’ were located (first discovery was made on Saturday and investigators remain on site) 11 suspected kidnappers were detained and 5 kidnap victims released. The bodies uncovered thus far appear to have died 10-to-15 days ago, coinciding with the time the bus kidnappings in the area started. 

President Felipe Calderon’s office issued a statement saying the find “underlines the cowardliness and total lack of scruples of the criminal organizations that cause violence in our country.”

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Immigration Rally Ends in Arrests after Protesters Block Downtown Street

Immigration Rally Ends in Arrests after Protesters Block Downtown Street

Photo: Protesters in Georgia

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More than 100 protesters led by seven young people brought to the United States as young children — and who were later arrested after blocking traffic in protest — marched through downtown Atlanta to raise awareness about undocumented youths.

After a rally in Hurt Park near Georgia State University, protesters delivered a letter to the school’s admissions office which asked GSU officials not to comply with a ban on undocumented immigrants that takes effect this fall. The Georgia Board of Regents in October voted to prohibit undocumented students from attending five of the state’s most selective colleges.

After delivering the letter to surprised admissions officials, the hundreds-strong crowd marched and chanted “Education, not deportation,” “Undocumented and unafraid” and “Education, not segregation.”

The seven undocumented youths then unfurled banners and sat in the middle of Courtland Street, blocking traffic for close to an hour before they were all arrested. Late Tuesday evening, U.S. Customs and Immigration enforcement officials were reportedly determining whether the arrested students would face deportation.

“I am doing this for my family, for my brothers and sisters,” said Dayanna Rebolledo, a 21-year-old factory worker and student who came to the United States from Mexico when she was 9 years old. “We are undocumented and unafraid. We are standing up for those undocumented who are afraid and who are in the shadows. We are risking everything to give our community a chance.”

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In Just One Week at Arizona Border: $16M in Drugs, 4,232 Illegal Aliens Apprehended & Much More

In Just One Week at Arizona Border: $16M in Drugs, 4,232 Illegal Aliens Apprehended & Much More

Photo: Arizona-Mexico border

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The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Arizona Joint Field Command (AZ-JFC) in Arizona today reported more than $16 million in narcotics seizures for the period of March 28 through April 3 and 4,232 apprehensions of illegal aliens at the Arizona border.

The narcotics seizures consisted of more than 26,800 pounds of marijuana, 74 pounds of methamphetamines, six pounds of heroin and 168 pounds of cocaine. CBP also intercepted $16,408, three weapons, and seized 51 vehicles used for illicit purposes.

Since launching the Southwest Border Initiative in March 2009, the Department of Homeland Security under Secretary Janet Napolitano has engaged in an effort to bring focus and intensity to Southwest border security.

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Teen Sentenced to 55 Months in Jail for Racially Motivated, Fatal Beating of Luis Ramirez

Teen Sentenced to 55 Months in Jail for Racially Motivated, Fatal Beating of Luis Ramirez

Photo: Fatal Beating of Luis Ramirez

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Colin Walsh, 19, of Shenandoah, Pa., was sentenced today to 55 months in prison for his role in the fatal beating of Luis Ramirez, the Justice Department announced today.  Walsh was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release and pay $550 to the Pennsylvania victim compensation fund, as well as a special assessment.

On April 8, 2009, Walsh pleaded guilty to one felony violation of the Federal Fair Housing Act for his role in aiding and abetting Brandon Piekarsky, 19, and Derrick Donchak, 21, in the beating of Ramirez.  Walsh testified against Piekarsky, Donchak and members of the Shenandoah Police Department in two federal trials.  On Oct. 14, 2010, a federal jury in the Middle District of Pennsylvania found Piekarsky and Donchak guilty of violating the Federal Fair Housing Act for fatally beating Ramirez because he was Latino and because they did not want him living in Shenandoah.  On Jan. 27, 2011, a federal jury in the Middle District of Pennsylvania found former Shenandoah police officer William Moyer and former Shenandoah Police Chief Matthew Nestor guilty of offenses related to the obstruction of the state and federal investigations into the fatal beating.

According to evidence presented at the federal trials, on July 12, 2008, Piekarsky, Donchak and Walsh came upon Ramirez in a park after leaving a community festival.  Piekarsky and Donchak, and several of their friends, including Walsh, attacked Ramirez.  During the course of the beating, some of the assailants yelled racial epithets in which they repeatedly referred to Ramirez in derogatory racial terms and told him: “this is Shenandoah.  This is America.  Go back to Mexico.”  According to testimony, Donchak beat Ramirez while holding a thick piece of metal identified at trial as a “fist pack.”  Walsh punched Ramirez in the face and Piekarsky kicked Ramirez in the head as he lay prone on the ground.  After Piekarsky kicked Ramirez, he told a bystander who was married to a Latino man to “tell your Mexican friends to get out of Shenandoah or you will be lying next to him.”  After the fight concluded, Ramirez was air-lifted to Geisinger Regional Medical Center, where he died of massive head injuries.  The jury also heard evidence that, immediately following the beating, Donchak conspired with members of the Shenandoah Police Department and others to obstruct the investigation of the assault.

“Acts of racially-motivated violence like this one have no place in America. Their occurrence is a reminder that bigotry persists in 2011,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.  “The Civil Rights Division will vigorously enforce the rights of every American.”

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ThursdayApril 7, 2011