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FridayApril 15, 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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The Sheriff Arpaio Circus Continues Despite His Legal Issues

The Sheriff Arpaio Circus Continues Despite His Legal Issues

Photo: Sheriff Joe Arpaio

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Media monger, Joe Arpaio, Sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona, is making headlines once more, but this time, he probably doesn’t like it. The controversial sheriff is accused of misusing nearly $100 million in funds, but despite all this, he continues his “war” on immigration.

A federal audit of his budget found that millions of dollars has been misspent, though Arpaio maintains that any discrepancies are a result of accounting errors.

“This is just another controversial program that I don’t think is controversial,” said Arpaio, who accuses his critics of trying to exploit simple errors.

And rather than attend the budget hearing on Wednesday, the do-as-he-pleases sheriff arrived at Monte Carlo Dry Cleaners in Mesa where his deputies arrested six women accused of using false identification to obtain jobs. As per usual, the media was called to witness the event. During the spectacle, Arpaio declared that this was the 44th business he had raided in his search for undocumented immigrants, stating, “We’re creating vacancies so these businesses can hire people legally. I’ve just done something for the economy. I don’t get enough credit for that, from the Justice Department and the rest of the critics. They just think it’s the bad sheriff going in and grabbing dishwashers.”

Customers at the dry cleaners at the time both applauded and were disgusted with Mr. Arpaio. A man wanting to drop off shirts said, “If they were in the country illegally, they need to get out of here.” On the other side, waiting for the sheriff and his circus to leave, was another unnamed patron, who said, “We’re tired of Sheriff Joe. These workers were supporting their families. They weren’t violent. This is ridiculous.”

Back in the courtroom, investigators were trying to determine whether Arpaio’s new air force or “air posse” of 30 private planes was funded by the allegedly misspent $99 million.

During a recent interview in his office, the self-proclaimed “toughest sheriff in America” told the New York Times,” “The president may have a no-fly zone over Libya, but there will never be a no-fly zone over my area,” he said, pausing for a moment and then adding, “That’s a good line, isn’t it?”

Read more at New York Times →

Mexico Predicts $3.5 BN for Tourism from Foreign Investment in Next 3 Yrs

Mexico Predicts $3.5 BN for Tourism from Foreign Investment in Next 3 Yrs

Photo: Cancun Mexico

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Mexico’s tourism ministry has announced that it has secured $2.5 billion in foreign investment commitments and expects another $1 billion to come in over the next three years to enhance the country’s tourism sector.

At a press conference, presided over by the economic and tourism secretaries, Spanish, German and Asian companies were noted as providing most of this foreign investment.  The capital inflow is expected to generate 20,000 jobs.

A portion of the foreign investment will go to help micro, small and medium tourist businesses obtain financing to the tune of $170 million.  Tourism is the country’s third-largest source of income representing 9% of Mexico’s GDP. 

During the press conference questions surfaced as to the impact of drug cartel violence and the most recent travel warnings to certain Mexican states issued by the U.S. 

“International tourism continues arriving and the only thing that is happening is that they are heading to other points, mainly in the south and states like Baja California” in the northwest, retorted Gloria Guevara Tourism Secretary.

Read more at Latino Fox News →

Magic Takes Over Chile in “Chile Mágico 2011” (VIDEO)

Magic Takes Over Chile in “Chile Mágico 2011” (VIDEO)

Photo: chile magico 2011

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Read more by HS News Staff →

Mosquito Coast Sees Financial Boom From “White Lobsters”, Trafficking

Mosquito Coast Sees Financial Boom From “White Lobsters”, Trafficking

Photo: Sandy Bar Village on Nicaragua's Mosquito Coast has seen the value in "white lobsters"

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“White lobsters” or what some call “bendiciones de Dios”  (godsends) have transformed Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast into a much more affluent community than it was just a decade ago, but experts warn that there is a price.

White lobsters are packages of cocaine and other drugs that drug-runners toss off their boats when fleeing Nicaraguan Coast Guard patrols, or when something happens to the vessel they are being carried on. These packages are often found by “fishermen” close to the shoreline and can fetch them a respectable amount of money.

Some Colombian traffickers and Nicaraguan middlemen give villagers up to $4,000 dollars a kilo. While the street value is more than seven times that, it is still a fortune to the coastal villagers.

Today, some that once lived in tiny huts, now live in mansions and posh hotels with the money they made by just finding and handing off the packages. Mostly creole English and African slave descendants, many of the people of the once isolated and desolate region had never even heard of cocaine. In fact, not too many years ago, it’s said that as many as 15 villagers died after mistaking the contents of one of the bales for baking powder.

While there is still poverty, the area has changed dramatically in such a short amount of time. However, officials worry that while those benefiting from the white lobsters are glad to have moved up in the world, they don’t fully understand the consequences of their drug dealings.

The drugs given to the Colombian cartels is usually divvied up and sent north to be divvied again or sold in the United States. While marijuana from Jamaica tends to flow south to Costa Rico. While much is sent away from the coastal villagers, some remains in the area and is turned into crack, and sold to locals. It is said that it’s not uncommon to see frighteningly skinny teenagers hooked on the drug wandering the streets.

President Obama visited El Salvador last month and pledged $200 million to help Central America fight organized crime and drug trafficking. It is hoped that a regional security strategy could be compiled, but due to tensions between several of the nations, many acknowledge that implementation would likely be a problem.

Still, while the seven isthmus nations on Central America quarrel with each other, many are realizing the rising impact of the coastal villages’ part in the drug trafficking, like those whose fishermen keep an eye on the horizon, and await their white lobsters.

Read more at Time Magazine →

‘Black in Latin America’ New PBS Series Set to Premiere

‘Black in Latin America’ New PBS Series Set to Premiere

Photo: Black Slaves in Latin America

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Black in Latin America, a new four-part series on the influence of African descent on Latin America, is the 11th and latest production from renowned Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., writer and presenter of the acclaimed PBS series African American Lives.

Black In Latin America, premiering nationally Tuesdays April 19, 26 and May 3, 10, 2011 at 8 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings), examines how Africa and Europe came together to create the rich cultures of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Latin America is often associated with music, monuments and sun, but each of the six countries featured in Black in Latin America including the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, and Peru, has a secret history. On his journey, Professor Gates discovers, behind a shared legacy of colonialism and slavery, vivid stories and people marked by African roots. Latin America and the Caribbean have the largest concentration of people with African ancestry outside Africa — up to 70 percent of the population in some countries.

The region imported over ten times as many slaves as the United States, and kept them in bondage far longer. On this series of journeys, Professor Gates celebrates the massive influence of millions of people of African descent on the history and culture of Latin America and the Caribbean, and considers why and how their contribution is often forgotten or ignored.

Haiti & the Dominican Republic: Professor Gates explores how race has been socially constructed in a society whose people reflect centuries of inter-marriage, and how the country’s troubled history with Haiti informs notions about racial classification. In Haiti, Professor Gates tells the story of the birth of the first-ever black republic, and finds out how the slaves’s hard fought liberation over Napoleon Bonaparte’s French Empire became a double-edged sword.

Cuba: Professor Gates finds out how the culture, religion, politics and music of this island are inextricably linked to the huge amount of slave labor imported to produce its enormously profitable 19th century sugar industry, and how race and racism have fared since Fidel Castro’s Communist revolution in 1959.

Brazil: A Racial Paradise? In Brazil, Professor Gates delves behind the façade of Carnival to discover how this ‘rainbow nation’ is waking up to its legacy as the world’s largest slave economy.

Mexico & Peru: Professor Gates explores the almost unknown history of the significant numbers of black people—the two countries together received far more slaves than did the United States —brought to these countries as early as the 16th and 17th centuries, and the worlds of culture that their descendants have created in Vera Cruz on the Gulf of Mexico, the Costa Chica region on the Pacific, and in and around Lima, Peru.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Congressman Rothman Introduces Bill Benefitting People of Vieques, Puerto Rico

Congressman Rothman Introduces Bill Benefitting People of Vieques, Puerto Rico

Photo: Bombings at Vieques

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From 1941-2003, the Navy tested nearly every kind of munitions employed by the U.S. military, dropping millions of pounds of ordnance on Vieques.  Today, Congressman Steve Rothman (D-NJ) is proud to introduce the Vieques Recovery and Development Act of 2011.

“The U.S. government must address the serious and disabling health care problems affecting the people of Vieques and this bill is the first step. These health issues were caused by more than 62 years of the U.S. bombing that island with military ordinance, which, our own government has acknowledged, created a federal superfund site that contains dozens of extremely dangerous, toxic and harmful poisons,” said Congressman Rothman. “The injustice toward the people of Vieques, Puerto Rico must end. The time for the U.S. government to right this wrong is long overdue.”

The island of Vieques is a municipality of Puerto Rico, with 10,000 residents, located eight miles east of the main island. From 1941-2003, the Navy tested nearly every kind of munitions employed by the U.S. military, dropping millions of pounds of ordnance on Vieques.

“Congressman Rothman and I share the same overriding goal – to help the people of Vieques, who have sacrificed so much on behalf of the United States and its national security. I am pleased to support this legislation, which seeks to provide a just and lasting solution to the health-related challenges facing the residents of La Isla Nena,” said Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi, Puerto Rico’s representative in Washington, DC.

“I am proud to have had Commissioner Pierluisi join in this effort and for his passion on this issue,” said Congressman Rothman.

After over a half a century of bombings, Viequenses – as locals are known – have a 25% higher infant mortality rate, 30% higher rate of cancer, a 381% higher rate of hypertension, a 95% higher rate of cirrhosis of the liver, and a 41% higher rate of diabetes than those on the main island. These alarming health disparities of Viequenses have never been addressed by the U.S. government. The people of Vieques are American citizens, many of whom have patriotically served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Without a doubt, Viequenses have made tremendous sacrifices for our country’s national security and we have an obligation to do the right thing for these Americans.

The Vieques Recovery and Development Act of 2011 finally recognizes the sacrifices of Viequenses and attempts to address this injustice once and for all by:

*  Constructing a state-of-the-art hospital and toxins research center that would provide preventative care and treat illnesses prevalent on Vieques, such as cancer;

*  Performing studies and providing recommendations at the research center on the existence and prevalence of toxins that impact the people and environment of Vieques;

*  Establishing a federal interagency plan to ensure that Viequenses benefit from federal resources across government agencies; and

*  Settling all personal claims by Viequenses against the U.S. Government by setting up a compensation fund.

Read more by HS News Staff →

WATCH Will Ferrell Speak En Español in the Trailer for “Casa De Mi Padre” (VIDEO)

WATCH Will Ferrell Speak En Español in the Trailer for  “Casa De Mi Padre” (VIDEO)

Photo: Will Ferrell, Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna

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Yes, That’s right. Hear Señor Will say “Te voy a dar una paliza con estas manos” and become the Mexican Armando Alvarez.

Armando Alvarez (Will Ferrell) has lived and worked on his father’s ranch in Mexico his whole life. As the family ranch struggles with financial troubles, Armando’s little brother Raul (Diego Luna), comes back with his new fiancé, Sonia (Genesis Rodriguez), and flaunting a higher status as an international businessman. But then Armando falls for his brother’s fiancé, and as it is discovered that Raul’s entrepreneurial efforts are not particularly legal, all hell breaks loose as they find themselves in a war with Mexico’s most feared drug lord, the cruel and heartless Onza (Gael Garcia Bernal).

This movie is a humorous, no doubt when Will Ferrell is involved, look at the Spanish telenovelas that is done in Spanish with English subtitles. 


Read more by HS News Staff →

Despite Receiving a Temporary Stay, Undocmented Coma Patient Still Faces Deportation

Despite Receiving a Temporary Stay, Undocmented Coma Patient Still Faces Deportation

Photo: Jose Gutierrez after part of his skull was removed, following an altercation with border agents (Univision broadcast)

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An undocumented immigrant who has been in a coma for weeks following an incident with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, could be deported despite being granted a “temporary stay” by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

On March 21, Jose Gutierrez, 41, was deported by the Los Angeles Immigration Court. Having lived in the U.S. since he was a child, he had no ties in the country. Though she had lost contact with him, his wife Shena Wilson, a U.S. citizen, believed he would try to return, as their youngest child, a 5-month-old, was in the hospital. However, she did not no of his whereabouts until she received a call from the Mexican consulate in Yuma, Arizona, saying, “We have to let you know there has been an accident.” She then went to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix. Her husband was in a coma.

She learned that March 30, Gutierrez had made it to the inspection at the San Luis point of entry in Arizona. According to CBP agents, he “got scared and tried to run back.” They claim he tried to fight off CBP agents, and that is when they pulled out the taser.

CBP’s account is as follows:

An individual being processed for entering the country illegally March 30, at the San Luis Port attempted to flee into Mexico. The man was combative, ignored commands to halt and subsequently was subdued by CBP officers using an electronic control device (ECD). Initial reports say the man struck his head on the ground during the incident.

Emergency medical personnel responded to the scene and took him to a local area hospital for further medical attention.

We regret the injury and will continue to actively cooperate with the ongoing investigation.

Wilson said her husband is covered in taser marks, and has an out-of-place tooth. He has two black eyes, which the nurses told her was from the head injury, that required part of his skull to be removed to relieve pressure. She has been given no additional information, yet two ICE officers are standing outside the coma patients hospital room 24 hours a day.

Being told he has no rights in the U.S. because he is undocumented, Wilson said a St. Joseph’s social worker told him he is ineligible for care in the U.S.

“They tell me, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll move him back home,’” Wilson told LA Weekly “But he’s lived here all his life…‘Stop calling it his home.’”

In a statement sent to Weekly, St. Joseph’s Hospital said:

St. Joseph’s will never move a patient without a safe discharge plan. Our commitment is always to work in collaboration with the family to get their agreement on this plan. St. Joseph’s is dedicated to working with patients and their families to provide a safe discharge from its acute care setting to longer term care facilities when a patient needs this.”

Thursday afternoon, Wilson said that St. Joseph’s Hospital told her that they would not keep Gutierrez past Friday. They stated that even though he is in a coma and requires a respirator to breathe, he would be deported and sent to Cima Hospital in Hermosillo, Mexico.

She said a doctor told her, “Don’t worry. He can take his respirator with him.”

Still in a coma, Gutierrez’s temperature fluctuates between 99 and 102 degrees, and he has a mild case of pneumonia.

Gutierrez and Wilson have two children, but he has three children from a previous relationship, including a 15-year-old daughter that describes him as “a great guy” who is “so optimistic.” Gutierrez is a film engineer, and is also the frontman for the popular Spanish-rock band FZ10. In fact, he had written a song called “ICE,” in which he sings of the criminalization of immigration in the U.S.

Below is a video of Gutierrez with FZ10 performing “ICE”. He is the one singing and playing the bass.

Related Videos

Read more at LA Weekly →

Perú Seeks to Attract 3M Visitors to Top Archeological Sites

Perú Seeks to Attract 3M Visitors to Top Archeological Sites

Photo: Peru's Top tourist Attractions

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The South American nation is seeking to beat last year’s numbers, and attract at least three million people to tourist places like Lima, Cusco and Machu Picchu.

In 2010, 2.89 million people visited the archaeological sites and museums run by the Ministry of Culture.


Read more by HS News Staff →

As the Drug Violence Continues, Mexico’s Language is Changing

As the Drug Violence Continues, Mexico’s Language is Changing

Photo: Police examine a drug cartel's threatening banner -- known as Narcomantas

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“Encobijados”, “Encajuelados”, “Encintados”, all are names given to those killed in drug-related violence in Mexico, and each is a slang given to the dead to describe how they were found. And while some are worried that the new vernacular is dulling the reality of the violence, and allowing people to simply accept it as routine, experts say it may just be a way for Mexicans to cope with a terrible situation.

Encintados refers to bodies found that have been suffocated in packing tape. Encobijados are bodies wrapped in a blanket, and Encajuelados are those stuffed in trunks.

A prefix that is now heard in everyday speech is “Narco,” as in “Narcofosas”, which are pits where cartels dump their victims, and “Narcomantas”—the banners cartels hang off highway overpasses with threatening messages. Also common is “Narcotienditas”, which are small drug-dealing locations. They are also referred to as “picaderos” is heroin is sold.

Even more of the slang is used when talking about the kinds of crimes. “Jobs” is used for contract killings. “Pickups” are kidnap-murders, and when gangs kill rival drug-dealers it’s called the “settling of accounts”.

Isabel Miranda Wallace, an anti-crime activist, is one of those worried that people referring to something as “a ‘pickup’ takes away from the seriousness of it,” and causes people to avoid it. It’s dangerous, she says, because it leaves no room for people to remain outraged at Mexico’s ongoing and spreading violence. “You become insure to the pain and suffering of these images.”

On the other hand, there are people like University of Texas professor, Ricardo Ainslie, that believe having a word or phrase for a terrible event allows for some people to cope with the situation.

“Language helps you absorb things that are overwhelming ... people need the language because it structures the experience,” Ainslie explained. Adding that while studying the psychological effects of violence in Ciudad Juarez, he learned that the residents refer to the cartel victims as “muertitos” or “little dead ones.”

“There’s something kind of normalizing about the language,” he said. “You’ve got this tension, and one of the ways you handle it is by trivializing it.”

Aware of the effect language has on people, Mexican officials have asked the media to “avoid using the terminology used by criminals,” and believing that Mexico is being unfairly portrayed as crime-ridden, they have launched a campaign to “Speak Well of Mexico.”

Officials also avoid saying “drug cartels” and instead refer to them as “organized crime.” They have also tried to emphasize that police and soldiers are not the ones initiating the violence, and that it originates with cartel gunmen.

Columnist and author Guadalupe Loaeza says the “self-censorship” being asked of the media is “absurd,” and says the world of drug cartels and violence “is our reality, and has to be written about.”

Read more at CNS News/AP →

Georgia, Like Arizona, Passes Tough Immigration Laws Enhancing Police Powers

Georgia, Like Arizona, Passes Tough Immigration Laws Enhancing Police Powers

Photo: Protesting Georgia's New immigration law

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Late last night the Georgia legislature passed immigration legislation similar to Arizona in that police now have the right to check someone’s immigration status.

Therefore in spite of a strong opposition by the agricultural sector, threats of boycotts and expected legal challenges the measure will become law once Republican Governor Nathan Deal signs it.

The new law allows police to stop a ‘criminal’ suspect and ask them for proof of immigration status and arrest those in the country illegally.  Employers with at least 10 employees will be forced to use a federal database to check the immigrant status of any new hiree.

The Georgia legislature did not appeared deterred by the U.S. Court of Appeals recent ruling that agreed that certain portion of Arizona’s SB 1070 should be struck down.  Critics here in Georgia like elsewhere in the country feared racial profiling would occur and unfairly target the Hispanic community. 

“Let me ask you a question,” said Charles Kuck an Atlanta immigration attorney. “Do you think any white people are going be taken in for an immigration background check if they forgot their wallet at home?”

According to a recent estimate there are 490,000 illegal immigrant in the state which is more than Arizona has. 


Read more by HS News Staff →

Eva Longoria to Star in Horror Film ‘Tenement’

Eva Longoria will start work next month in a horror film by writer/director Franc.Reyes titled ‘Tenement’.  While Longoria is best known for her work on Desperate Housewives, Reyes is known for his urban themed movies like Illegal Tender and Empire.

The plot line places 5 real estate agents at an open house in a haunted tenement building, hence the title, in the Bronx.  Reyes says think The Excorist meets Rosemary’s Baby.

Longoria’s next project will be appearing in Gabriela Taglavini’s Without Men that is being distributed by Maya entertainment.

Read more at Latin Heat →

MEET Esteban Ruiz Ordinary Ice Cream Vendor and Extraordinary Paleta-Man!

MEET Esteban Ruiz Ordinary Ice Cream Vendor and Extraordinary Paleta-Man!

Photo: PaletaMan

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Father and Son team Lobo Video Productions, LLC has just released “The Adventures of Paleta Man: Secret of the Gold Medallion” the second in a three children’s book series for Latino kids.

“What happens when a mild mannered ice cream street vendor purchases an antique wooden box filled with a solid gold medallion that magically transforms him into a Superhero with Aztec Warrior powers?” writes author Paul Ramírez.

The answer to that question lays within the pages of “The Adventures of Paleta Man: Secret of the Gold Medallion,” as Esteban Ruiz AKA Paleta Man, takes a trip to México to unearth the secrets behind his gold medallion and its mystical powers.

The third book entitled “The Adventures of Paleta Man – Temple of the Sun”  will be available in October of 2011.

“The Adventures of Paleta Man” book series aims to influence children’s development of good moral values. Paul Ramirez has over thirty years of experience in creative development fields. He has written, directed, edited and produced numerous music albums, independent films, television programs, and plays in a band. Together with his son, Matthew Ramirez who is a college graduate from The University of Texas in San Antonio with a degree in Communications they have developed the Paleta Man saga into screenplays, which the pair hope to produce into three Full Feature Films starring well-known Latino actors.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Cuba Sees Worse Drought in 50 Years

Cuba Sees Worse Drought in 50 Years

Photo: Cuban drought

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The drought in Cuba that started two years ago continues, making this the worse drought that the island nation has seen in 50 years. 

Many residents are now completely reliant on government water trucks for their daily water needs with no water coming out of their faucets.  The poor water pipe network in the country is compounding the problem for many.

The government itself is admitting that up to 70% of water supply pipe lines are leaking and not doing their job. 

Residents are counting on the upcoming rain season of May through June to bring some relief but much rain will be needed to provide daily water needs and build water reservoirs that are now at one fifth of their normal levels. 

Read more at BBC →

About.com Debuts “About en Español”

Wanting to expand its content, About.com has launched a Spanish-language channel, About en Español.

The expansion will be supported by independent subject matter and will allow for a doubling of the site’s video content.

As the Hispanic population grows in the U.S., they are representing a large portion of online users, and About.com has realized that this demographic is in search of interesting video content for them. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Hispanics will represent 45 percent of the overall U.S. population growth between 2010 and 2030.

About Group’s president and CEO, Cella Irvine, pointing to comScore.com data, said, “The U.S. Hispanic online market is a strong and growing space, now at 30.2 million users as of the month of January. About.com had 3.5 million Hispanics visit our Web site in the month of January ... and the launch of our new About en Español channel provides a great opportunity to offer these users high-quality Spanish-language content.”

So far, About en Español has nine topics available to search through:

Internet for Beginners
Personal Computers

About 100 more are expected to be added by the end of 2011.

With the increased content, About en Español is giving advertisers new ways to reach a more specific audience.

Irvine said, specifically, “About en Español…helps advertisers reach our coveted, search-driven users in another language, across new topics.”

Read more at Media Post →

WATCH Bruno Mars Monkeying Around in new “The Lazy Song” Video

WATCH Bruno Mars Monkeying Around in new “The Lazy Song” Video

Photo: Bruno Mars and his Ape friends

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This is the third single from the 25 year old singer’s album “Doo - Wops & Hooligans,” album currently sitting at No. 20 on Billboard Hot 100.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Arizona Vote in Country’s First Presidential ‘Birther’ Bill

Arizona Vote in Country’s First Presidential ‘Birther’ Bill

Photo: Birther bill in Arizona

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Late last night Arizona’s legislature voted in the country’s first ‘birther’ bill requiring all Presidential candidates to prove they are U.S. citizens before their names can appear on the state’s election ballot.

The measure deemed by state Republicans as necessary to maintain “election integrity” was viewed by many others as something aimed directly toward President Obama and no one else.  The measure passed in a 40-16 vote count. 

The ‘birther’ issue is centered around the belief that the current President was not born in this country and therefore is not constitutionally qualified to hold office.  The constitution requires the President to have been ‘naturally’ born in the country in order to hold office.  Thirteen other states have said they are considering the measure and four states have defeated such proposals when they came up for vote.

The Arizona measure would require a Presidential candidate to provide a sworn affidavit that they were born in the U.S., provide a copy of their birth certificate and testimony as to where they have lived for the last 14 years.  If an election committee does not believe a candidate has met the requirements they can be kept off the ballot.

The legislation will become law once Governor Jan Brewer signs the measure. 

Read more at MSNBC →

Former Mexican Federal Agent Returned to Mexico to Face Drug Charges

Former Mexican Federal Agent Returned to Mexico to Face Drug Charges

Photo: Fausto Perez-Rafael Being Returned to Mexico

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A former agent for the Mexican judicial police, who is wanted in his native country on drug trafficking charges, was turned over to Mexican law enforcement officials at the border crossing here Wednesday morning following his capture in the Bay Area by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers.

Fausto Perez-Rafael, 42, was transferred to the custody of representatives from the Mexican Attorney General’s Office by ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers. According to Mexican authorities, Perez served as an agent for the former Mexican judicial police, the equivalent of this country’s FBI, during the early 1990s. An arrest warrant issued in the Mexican state of Baja California in Feb. 2007 accuses the former federal officer of transporting cocaine. Mexican authorities allege that in Nov. 1995, while Perez was serving as a federal agent, he used a clandestine airfield near La Paz to transport 10 tons of cocaine.

Perez’s repatriation follows his capture two months ago in the East Bay community of Pittsburgh, Calif. ICE developed information on Perez’s possible whereabouts after being alerted by the Mexican Attorney General’s Office about the outstanding arrest warrant. Perez was taken into custody Feb. 8 on administrative immigration violations by officers assigned to ERO’s Fugitive Operations Teams. On April 1, an immigration judge found Perez did not have a legal basis to remain in the United States, paving the way for his repatriation to Mexico.

“Today’s repatriation is another example of the outstanding cooperation between the U.S. and Mexico to combat drug-related crime in that nation,” said Timothy Aitken, field office director for ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations in San Francisco. “The Department of Homeland Security’s goal in this case is not only to see justice served, but to protect law abiding citizens on both sides of the border.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Outreach Program Educates Teen About Dangers of Drug Smuggling

Outreach Program Educates Teen About Dangers of Drug Smuggling

Photo: Teen Drug Smugglers

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In 2008, within 24 hours, five teenagers were apprehended at the San Ysidro Port in San Diego, Calif., and the Calexico Port in Imperial Valley, Calif. Each of them had narcotics strapped to their torsos and legs. Drug smuggling organizations had enlisted the teens’ assistance in smuggling narcotics into the United States.

This, unfortunately, was not an isolated incident. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents learned that recruiters for drug smuggling organizations were frequenting school grounds, luring students with cash payments. To seal the deal, recruiters told the students that nothing could happen to them.

They would say, “Worst case scenario, they’ll take the drugs from you and you’ll be turned over to your parents,” said Millie Jones, San Diego’s assistant special agent in charge. “These kids are not aware of the consequences.”

Representatives from ICE HSI and their counterparts at the San Diego Police Department launched an outreach campaign to tackle this growing situation. To date, ICE has made presentations at 24 locations, including community centers, high schools, middle schools and charter schools. Five additional presentations are scheduled this spring.

The presentations focus on the facts. Minors can receive felony convictions. A conviction like that can follow a teenager for the rest of his/her life. The presentation also includes a video featuring two convicted drug smugglers sharing their personal experiences. Smuggling does not equate to “quick and easy” money.

Agents warn that teens between the ages of 13 and 18 are the typical recruits and are primarily asked to smuggle marijuana or methamphetamine into the country. In some instances, however, teenagers have been caught with heroin or cocaine taped to their bodies.

Agents say the program is working. Teen smuggling arrests have significantly declined in the first quarter of 2011. But agents note that their work isn’t complete. It’s an ongoing process.

“If we can convince at least one kid not to smuggle drugs, that’s one kid we won’t have to encounter at the ports of entry,” said Jones.


Read more by HS News Staff →

FridayApril 15, 2011