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MondayApril 18, 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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Spain’s First Female Ambassador to Vatican Arrives in Rome

Spain’s First Female Ambassador to Vatican Arrives in Rome

Photo: Catholic Church in Spain

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Benedict XVI, received in audience Maria Jesus Figa Lopez-Palop, the first woman to serve as Spain’s Ambassador to the Holy See.

At the beginning of his address, the Pope recalled his visit to Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona this past November where, he said,

“I saw many demonstrations of the vitality of the Catholic faith of those lands that have seen the births of so many saints and which are sown with cathedrals, centers of assistance and culture, which are inspired by the fertile tradition and faithfulness of its inhabitants to their religious beliefs. 

This also entails the responsibility of diplomatic relations between Spain and the Holy See that always endeavor to promote, with mutual respect and collaboration, within each one’s legitimate autonomy in their respective areas, everything that promotes the good of persons and the authentic development of their rights and freedoms, which include the expression of their faith and conscience, both in the public as well as in the private sphere”.

The Holy Father highlighted that “the Church, in carrying out her mission, seeks the whole good of each nation and its citizens, acting in the area of her competency and fully respecting the autonomy of civil authorities. She seeks the good of those who are dear to her and those who ask God to serve Him in society with generosity, honor, skill, and justice. This goal, in which the Church’s mission and the function of the state meet, moreover has given expression to bilateral accords between Spain and the Holy See”.

Referring afterwards to the difficult economic situation today, with its resultant unemployment “that provokes discouragement and frustration, especially in the youth and less-privileged families”, the Pope assured his prayers that God “will enlighten those with public responsibilities, that they will tirelessly seek a path of recovery that is beneficial to all of society”.  In this regard he emphasized the praiseworthy work that the Catholic institutions are carrying out to swiftly assist those most in need”.

Read more at Vatican Information Service →

Hispanic Children Who are Not Reading Well by 3rd Grade, Twice as Likely to Not Graduate from H.S.

Hispanic Children Who are Not Reading Well by 3rd Grade, Twice as Likely to Not Graduate from H.S.

Photo: Latino children reading

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Educators and researchers have long recognized the importance of mastering reading by the end of third grade. Students who fail to reach this critical milestone often falter in the later grades and drop out before earning a high school diploma.

Results of a longitudinal study of nearly 4,000 students find that those who don’t read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to leave school without a diploma than proficient readers. For the worst readers, those couldn’t master even the basic skills by third grade, the rate is nearly six times greater.

What’s more, the study shows that poverty has a powerful influence on graduation rates. The combined effect of reading poorly and living in poverty puts these children in double jeopardy.

The findings include:

*  Overall, 22 percent of children who have lived in poverty do not graduate from high school, compared to 6 percent of those who have never been poor. This
rises to 32 percent for students spending more than half of their childhood in poverty.

*  The rate was highest for poor Black and Hispanic students, at 31 and 33 percent respectively—or about eight times the rate for all proficient readers.

*  Black and Hispanic Children Who Are Not Reading Proficiently in Third Grade Are About Twice as Likely as Similar White Children Not to Graduate from High School.

Click here for the full report. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

NJ Man Sentenced for Threatening Employees of Numerous Latino Civil Rights Organization

The Justice Department announced today that Vincent Johnson of Brick, N.J., was sentenced to 50 months in prison and three years supervised release for sending a series of threatening email communications to employees of five civil rights organizations that work to improve opportunities for, and challenge discrimination against, Latinos in the United States.  Johnson was also ordered to pay a fine of $10,000.

Johnson, 61, who went by the internet pseudonym “Devilfish,” pleaded guilty on Oct.  20, 2010, to 10 counts related to threatening conduct towards the victims, who included employees of the LatinoJustice Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund; the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund; the National Council of La Raza; the League of United Latin American Citizens; and the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders.

Johnson admitted that between November 2006 and February 2009, he emailed numerous threats to the victims to prevent them from aiding and encouraging Latinos to participate, without discrimination, in various protected activities, such as accessing the court system, voting, attending public schools, and applying for employment.  Johnson admitted that his threats were motivated by race and national origin.

Examples of Johnson’s threatening language include: “Do you have a last will and testament?  If not, better get one real soon.”; “If the idiots in the organizations which this e-mail is being copied to can’t fathom the serious nature of their actions, then they will be on the hit list just like any illegal alien…actually, they are already on the list”; “I am giving you fair warning that your presence and position is being tracked…you are dead meat…along with anyone else in your organization”; “So be warned or we may find you in the obits”; “Get into the American groove or we will destroy your sorry [expletive]”; “My preference would be to buy more ammunition to deal with the growing chaos created by the pro-illegal alien groups.  RIP [names of the victims] who are not the friends of our democracy.”; “After reading the article below can you give me simply one good reason why someone should not put a bullet between your eyes for your actions that are promoting lawlessness in this country?”; and “[Y]ou are putting yourself and your staff at great risk . . . and by virtue of the network that I operate under information about your malevolent ways is broadly disseminated. . . And you could very well find yourself belly up 6 feet under.” Throughout his emails, Johnson also made offensive and disparaging remarks about Latinos, including comments such as, “[t]here can be absolutely no argument against the fact that Mexicans are scum as all they know how to do is [expletive] and kill.” 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem Share The Stage With Prince. Check Out Bardem’s Moves! (VIDEO)

Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem Share The Stage With Prince. Check Out Bardem’s Moves! (VIDEO)

Photo: Prince, Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem

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In what would be a double date with hermano Eduardo and his woman Eva Longoria, Penélope Cruz got to dance on stage with her man Bardem.

Gossip sites on the internet, allege the two videos below happened the same day, and Prince invited Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem and Eva Longoria to the stage to put the cherry on top of their double date. 

We guess Eduardo Cruz either wasn’t invited on stage, or doesn’t know how to dance, and didn’t want to pull a Kim Kardashian .

 

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Cartel Leader “El Kilo” Arrested, Lead Suspect in Mass Grave Killings

Cartel Leader “El Kilo” Arrested, Lead Suspect in Mass Grave Killings

Photo: San Fernando ranch, site of mass graves in Mexico

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This weekend Mexican authorities announced the arrest of drug kingpin Martin Omar Estrada Luna, also known as ‘El Kilo’ for his involvement in the mass grave killings recently discovered.

Luna is allegedly a key member of the vicious Zeta drug cartel and ran operations for the cartel in San Fernando, Tamaulipas where to date 126 bodies have been found in mass graves.  Other reports have pegged the number of bodies at 145.

El Kilo had been identified early on as a key suspect yet no details were given as to how he was detained or the evidence authorities have on his involvement.  There was a $1.2 million reward announced earlier in the week. 

The mass graves were discovered after Tamaulipas authorities were investigating reports of kidnapping of bus passengers in late March.  The Zeta drug cartel was implicated and they are also blamed for the 72 migrants killed in the same area last year. 

Authorities have not confirmed the identities of all the bodies in the mass graves or confirmed they are the kidnapped bus passengers or drug cartel rivals of the Zetas. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Pearce, Brewer: SB 1070 Was a Success

Pearce, Brewer: SB 1070 Was a Success

Photo: Senate Pres. Pearce and Gov. Brewer say SB 1070 was a success

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Controversy, protests, marches of solidarity, anger, and applause. Arizona’s immigration bill SB 1070 has caused all of the above in the last year, but despite the displeasure shown by many, Gov. Jan Brewer and Senate President Russell Pearce are calling the endeavor a success.

“They’re leaving in caravans,” said Pearce, who drafted the bill. “I’ve talked to the a U-Haul dealer. He said business has never been better.”

Pearce is not alone in the belief that the bill has been a success. Governor Brewer, who became somewhat of an overnight media star, is still fighting to set aside the stay by the U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton against the enforcement of parts of the law. Still, she believes the simple passing of the law did enough.

“It has really brought more people aware of the issues we are facing in Arizona. It’s been amazing what this bill has generated.”

Judge Bolton said the state is not allowed to enforce SB 1070’s provision that require police officers to attempt to check the immigration status of those they suspected of being in the country illegally, if already being questioned on another matter by the officer (ex. routine traffic stop).

However, Pearce states that the Obama administration did not challenge a number of other provisions, like that requiring local officials to cooperate with the federal government on matters of immigration.

“The purpose of 1070 was to eliminate sanctuary policies. That’s done.” said Pearce. He is referring to the fact that some local officials were previously allowed to decide whether or not to call immigration officials when they came across anyone in the country illegally. Now, anyone who believes local officials are not cooperating are allowed to sue them for as much as $5,000 a day.

Pearce boasts that the number of inmates this year is 500 lower than it was last year, saying it saves about $30,000 a year per inmate, and also avoids the cost of prosecution.

On the other hand, the state also lost millions of dollars when a number of companies and organizations cancelled conferences and conventions. While some did so in protest, others backed out just wanting to avoid being a part of the controversy.

Read more at Arizona Daily Star →

Chilean Scientists Study Drop in Population of Antarctic Penguins

Chilean Scientists Study Drop in Population of Antarctic Penguins

Photo: Penguin population is dropping

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Chilean scientists are studying the decline in the Antarctic penguin population and are attributing the fall to the abundance of krill, penguins’ main food source.

Recent research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says levels of krill have fallen 80 percent over the course of the study, which began in 1986.

The study refutes a once widely-held theory known as “sea-ice hypothesis,” that states a drop in the level of sea ice will benefit ice-avoiding species while negatively affecting the penguin population.

Antarctica has a very delicate ecosystem, constantly threatened by the effects of global warming. Changes in ocean temperatures and ice coverage are making it harder for the region’s krill, and shrimp—once one of the most abundant species on the planet, to prosper and sustain local penguin populations

The study, where several Chilean scientists participated, looked back at the history of the penguin population over the last 80 years.

Their research has concluded that increased competition from whales for krill was having a detrimental effect on the penguins.

Read more at Santiago Times.cl →

Reviewing Landmark Case:  Undocumented Worker’s Right to Injury Compensation

Reviewing Landmark Case:  Undocumented Worker’s Right to Injury Compensation

Photo: Republic Waste v Martinez

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Earlier this year the First Court of Appeals in Houston handed down a historic opinion guaranteeing undocumented workers a fair day in court. Through its ruling, the court set the standard for Texas courts in refusing to allow the immigration status of a plaintiff to prejudice a jury, while simultaneously affirming the relief granted through the original verdict to the family of a man killed on the job.

The case, Republic Waste Services, Ltd., et al. v. Martinez, et al., was brought by Benny Agosto, Jr., a partner at the Houston law firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend, on behalf of the worker’s widow, father and infant child. The victim was an employee of Republic Waste Services, and was killed when the garbage truck backed over him while retrieving a garbage can. Because Republic did not provide workers’ compensation benefits to employees, attorney Agosto and the firm filed suit based on the negligence of Republic and the truck’s driver.

At the time of the accident, Republic had a history of employing undocumented workers; its Houston facility was the target of a raid by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents shortly after the victim’s death. At trial, Republic attempted to show that had the victim not been killed, he—as an undocumented worker—would have been discovered and deported during the ICE raid.

Republic asserted that because the victim would have no longer been employed in Texas, the calculation of lost future income should have been based on his income stream in El Salvador, not what he had been earning in the United States. Pursuant to plaintiff’s pre-trial motions, the trial judge ruled such evidence inadmissible, and the jury later returned with a verdict for the family of the victim.

In its groundbreaking opinion, a first for Texas, the Court of Appeals explained that Republic’s assertions of the victim’s undocumented status required too much speculation and brought with it a highly prejudicial effect on the members of the jury.

This historic ruling creates a new standard in Texas law, ensuring that undocumented workers now have the same chance to receive compensation for their injuries as anyone else in Texas. It is especially encouraging that it comes on the heels of another landmark decision, TXI Transportation Co. v. Hughes, in which the Supreme Court of Texas ruled that admitting evidence of a defendant’s undocumented status for impeachment purposes was so highly prejudicial that it warranted a reversal and retrial.

Attorney Benny Agosto is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law. He is the current President-Elect of the Hispanic National Bar Association and a past President of the Mexican American Bar Association of Texas.

Read more by HS News Staff →

¿Is Pancho Villa’s Trigger Finger at a Pawn Shop in Texas?

¿Is Pancho Villa’s Trigger Finger at a Pawn Shop in Texas?

Photo: "Pancho Villa's finger" for sale in El Paso

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How much would you pay for the finger of one of the most prominent Mexican Revolutionary generals? If your answer is $9,500 then you just may have a new center piece to put out for those family dinners.

At Dave’s Pawn Shop in El Paso, Texas, next to the heart of a baby vampire, the remains of a chupacabra, a human ear, and a molded plastic statue of Elvis Presley, you’ll find what shop manager, David Delgadillo says may be the trigger finger of none other than Pancho Villa.

“We don’t know if it’s real or not, but it’s still a nice piece,” Delgadillo says that in 2004, someone came in looking to pawn the finger for cheap. The seller would not say where he got it from, and Delgadillo won’t say how much the store paid for it.

When questioned on how the asking price of $9,500 came to be, store owner Larry Baron said, “It seemed like a shot in the dark.”

Baron, whose father Dave opened the shop in 1950, said, “We get some strange things here. We have a reputation, especially in Mexico,” alluding to the other body parts and other odd items not seen in the average pawn shop.

Historians aren’t buying it (figuratively or otherwise).

Villa expert Louis Ray Sadler told theAssociated Press, “No way. I’m not aware of anything where somebody cut off his finger. It’s just crazy.”

Whether or not the finger is genuine doesn’t seem to matter to those that “just wanna see it,” like 59-year-old Trinidad Garcia who lives just two blocks away.

“I don’t know if it’s his finger, but I do know it’s really ugly.”

The finger, encased in cotton, and residing in an old metal frame, is never removed from the display case, for fear of offending Villa’s spirit and bringing bad luck.

Read more at El Paso Times →

Caifanes REUNITED Plays Coachella 2011 (VIDEO)

Caifanes REUNITED Plays Coachella 2011  (VIDEO)

Photo: Coachella 2011

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It’s a fest first for the Mexicans who played their first reunited show last week at Vive Latino.

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is a three-day annual music and arts festival, organized by Goldenvoice (a subsidiary of AEG Live) and held at the Empire Polo Fields in Indio, California, in the Inland Empire’s Coachella Valley. The event features many genres of music including alternative rock, indie, and electronic music as well as large sculptural art. Coachella 2011 featured Hispanic acts like Bomba Estereo from Colombia.

Erick Morillo from Cartagena, Colombia

Read more by HS News Staff →

McCain and Kyl Introduce Plan for Increased Border Security

McCain and Kyl Introduce Plan for Increased Border Security

Photo: U.S. Senators McCain and Kyl introduce border security plan

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Last week, U.S. Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl introduced a new border security plan. They hope new legislation will help combat drug and immigrant smuggling, undocumented immigration, and stop violence at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Included in the plan were the following points:

- Send no fewer than 6,000 National Guard personnel to assist the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency in securing the U.S.-Mexico border.
- By 2016, send an additional 5,000 Border Patrol agents to the Southwest Border region, and provide funding for 500 more Customs inspectors.
- Increase funding for Operation Streamline, the multi-agency initiative that focuses on those who enter the country illegally.
-  Increase funding for the Southwest Border Prosecution Initiative
- Provide increased funding for Operation Stonegarden
- Construct a two-layer fence for areas in need along the U.S.-Mexico border, and replace old ineffectual landing-mat fencing along the southwest border.
- Increase the number of surveillance systems and UAVs along the border, and send additional fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters as well.
- Provide funding for radio communications and to allow for ease of communication between Customs and Border Patrol, and state, local, and tribal law enforcement.
- Provide funding for additional Border Patrol stations and look into the possibility of creating another Border Patrol sector in Arizona, and create six more permanent Border Patrol Forward Operating Bases as well as upgrade the existing locations.
- Finish constructing the planned checkpoint in Arizona, and deploy additional temporary roving checkpoints and increase the number of horse patrols in the Tucson Sector.

Both Senators McCain and Kyl are Republicans from the state of Arizona. Kyl is retiring at the end of the current term.

Sen. Kyl stated:

“While Senator McCain and I have successfully fought to increase funding for border security efforts, most in Washington have yet to appreciate that a whole lot more still needs to be done. The Obama Administration claims that the border is ‘more secure than ever. With hundreds of thousands of people illegally crossing the border every year and record drug smuggling and violence, shouldn’t the government be working to completely secure the border? Our plan is a straightforward approach that will actually achieve a secure border.”

Read more at KVOA NBC4 Tucson →

Documentary on Latino Motorcycling Culture Premieres

Documentary on Latino Motorcycling Culture Premieres

Photo: Harlistas - Latino Motorcycle Riders

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La Banda Films today announced the release of the documentary film, Harlistas: An American Journey, premiering April 2011. The film is directed by award-winning filmmaker Alfredo de Villa and follows the emotional journeys of real-life Harlistas – Harley riders of Latino heritage – as they seek adventure, camaraderie and achievement of the American Dream. 

The documentary is the first of its kind to ever profile Latino motorcycling culture in the United States. The 90-minute film showcases four pivotal stories spanning Los Angeles to New York, the plains of South Dakota, the Pacific Coast and the Grand Canyon. Directed by Alfredo de Villa (Nothing Like the Holidays, Washington Heights), Harlistas: An American Journey brings to life Alfredo’s own passion for Latino culture and the iconic American motorcycle brand, Harley-Davidson.

“This documentary captures an unexplored terrain: the bond between Harlistas, their motorcycles and their families,” said de Villa. “Much more than the traditional historical or fictional narratives, this film charts new boundaries and is as fearless as Harley-Davidson itself.”

Harlistas: An American Journey is scheduled to premiere on Telemundo’s mun2, a bilingual cable network in the U.S., on May 27, 2011, with additional airings on May 28 (Uni HD and mun2), July 29 (mun2) and July 30 (mun2).

The word Harlista has deep historic and cultural roots originating more than 50 years ago in Latin America among Latino motorcycle riders to proclaim their strong passion for the Harley-Davidson brand and the bonds shared between fellow riders. Being a Harlista is about overcoming obstacles, grabbing life by the handlebars and experiencing the camaraderie of the open road.

“Harley-Davidson has a long-standing history with Harlistas, and we were thrilled to help support Alfredo’s vision to create a film that celebrates Latino riders,” said Dino Bernacchi, marketing communications director for Harley-Davidson. “We hope that everyone who sees this film feels inspired to take the next step toward following their dreams.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

“Rio” Flies to the Top, Debuting at No.1 at the Box Office

“Rio” Flies to the Top, Debuting at No.1 at the Box Office

Photo: Rio hits #1 at box office

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A vibrant movie from the makers of “Ice Age” about overcoming your fears and making friends, “Rio” soared to the number one spot at the box office bringing in about $40 million in its debut weekend.

Though it was estimated that the movie, starring the flightless bird Blu (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg), would bring in closer to $48 million, it was by no means a box office failure. With 58 percent of its business coming from 3-D screenings, “Rio” became the biggest debut of 2011 thus far.

“Rio” is the story of Blu, a nearly extinct type of macaw, who is taken to Rio de Janeiro to mate with another blue macaw. The two birds are then stolen by a bird smuggler and his cockatoo. A they go on an adventure to get home, they experience Rio’s rich culture, make friends like Rafael – voiced by George Lopez, and learn that it is possible to overcome your fears.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazilian Police Going RoboCop (VIDEO)

Brazilian Police Going RoboCop (VIDEO)

Photo: Brazil goes Robocop

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Ahead of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, police debuted hi-tech RoboCop glasses that are able to recognize criminals in large crowds.

Fitted onto the glasses there’s a small camera that scans up to 400 faces per second, and cross-checks against a database of 13 million mugshots.

The camera is capable of identifying 46,000 biometric points on a persons face, enabling it to recognize a face from as far away as 12 miles in extreme cases; the camera effectively picks out persons from crowds as far as 165 ft away, a red light will come on when the face recognized matches that of a criminal in the crowd.

‘To the naked eye two people may appear identical but with 46,000 points compared, the data will not be beaten’ Major Leandro Pavani Agostini, of Sao Paulo’s Military Police, said to the Daily Telegraph

Police only need to glance into a crowd for the device to scan faces. When there is a match, the glasses immediately flash information about the suspect, date of birth, previous arrests, and whatever information the officer would need to make an arrest discreetly.

The device is also able to compare a wallet picture, for instance, and help find a person missing in a large crowd.

This technology will also be installed in airports, stadiums and other places where large crowds converge.

Read more at Daily Telegraph

Unauthorized Immigrants Pay Taxes Too

Tax Day is an appropriate time to underscore the often-overlooked fact that unauthorized immigrants pay taxes. The unauthorized, like everyone else in the United States, pay sales taxes. They also pay property taxes—even if they rent. At least half of unauthorized immigrants pay income taxes. Add this all up and it amounts to billions in revenue to state and local governments.

Today, the Immigration Policy Center releases estimates produced by the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) of the state and local taxes paid in 2010 by households that are headed by unauthorized immigrants. Collectively, these households paid $11.2 billion in state and local taxes. That included $1.2 billion in personal income taxes, $1.6 billion in property taxes, and $8.4 billion in sales taxes.

These figures should be kept in mind as politicians and commentators continue with the seemingly endless debate over what to do with unauthorized immigrants already living in the United States. In spite of the fact that they lack legal status, these immigrants—and their family members—are adding value to the U.S. economy; not only as taxpayers, but as workers, consumers, and entrepreneurs as well.

These estimates are based on a model developed by the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP).  The ITEP methodology relies on three pieces of data: 1) an estimate of each state’s unauthorized population; 2) the average family income for unauthorized immigrants; and 3) state-specific tax payments. 

Of course, it is difficult to know precisely how much these families pay in taxes, because the spending and income behavior of these families is not as well documented as is the case for U.S. citizens.  But these estimates represent a sensible best approximation of the taxes these families likely pay.

Estimates of each state’s unauthorized population are from the Pew Hispanic Center and based on 2010 Census data.
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Read more by HS News Staff →

Google Won’t Release Minority Hiring Numbers, Claiming it As a Trade Secret

Google Won’t Release Minority Hiring Numbers, Claiming it As a Trade Secret

Photo: Diversity at Google

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Several minority organizations are asking and protesting for Google to release its minority hiring statistics much like other telecom companies have.

Organizations like the Latino Business Chamber of Greater Los Angeles and the Black Economic Council feel blacks, Latinos and women are underrepresented at Google but can not substantiate the claim.

Last year the U.S. Department of Labor asked 34 Silicon Valley firms to voluntarily disclose their hiring practices and minority hires.  Of the 34, 12 responded and the others like Google claimed they were trade secrets.

What was apparent from the minority hiring numbers from firms like Intel, Cisco and eBay was that they were hiring low-cost labor from India over domestic minority groups. 

Google’s spokesman issued a statement saying

“Our philosophy has always been that a diversity of perspectives, ideas and cultures means better products for our users. That’s why we have an inclusive work environment and constantly promote diversity at Google, through scholarship programs, internship opportunities and partnerships with organizations working to educate the next generation of engineers and professionals.”

Last winter several minority organizations protested in front of Google headquarters urging they release the hiring information, next they plan to go to the Justice Department mandating Google be ‘transparent’. 

Read more at Pennisula Press →

Latin American Drug Cartels Have Reached Australia

Latin American Drug Cartels Have Reached Australia

Photo: Latin American drugs have reached all the way to Australia

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A new report from the Australian Crime Commission has noted that Latin American drug cartels have stretched their arms all the way to the island continent.

It is believed that the Sinaloa cartel and possibly others have opened up the cocaine market in Australia, as the biggest cocaine bust to occur recently happened back in October of 2010. Almost half a ton of the drug was seized on a yacht in Brisbane, making it the third largest cocaine bust in Australian history.

The report states that “law enforcement agencies have identified increasing availability throughout Australia, despite the fact that the price of cocaine in Australia is significantly higher than in many overseas markets.”

It added that while cocaine use in the U.S. has been on the decline for about 10 years, in Europe it seems to have stabilized and/or spiked, as less pure cocaine has become more available and is cheaper. “Despite this, the report states, “the majority of cocaine detected at the Australian border continues to be imported directly from North and South America,” often by way of Western Africa.

“Supply reduction strategies in South America, including crop eradication, will always be the key to reducing world cocaine supplies. There are signs that supply reduction strategies in Colombia are meeting with some success. However, reports from Bolivia suggest that Colombian and Mexican criminal groups are investing capital in Bolivia and Peru to support coca production in these countries and ensure there are sufficient supplies of cocaine to satisfy market demand. Networks involved in the production and international trafficking of cocaine are among the most sophisticated, profitable and powerful criminal networks in the world. They have displayed considerable ingenuity and invested heavily in concealment methods designed to avoid detection of cocaine importations.”


“... Criminal groups from, or with links to, Central and South America— and those groups already established in the Australian cocaine market—are expected to maintain a competitive advantage in trafficking the drug into Australia. Mexican criminals have become more prevalent as principals in the importation and supply of cocaine and associated money laundering. There is concern that they may also import the violent practices which have been reported overseas.”

Read more at Australian Crime Commission →

Mexican Billionaire Carlos Slim Fined $1 Billion for Monopolistic Practices

Mexican Billionaire Carlos Slim Fined $1 Billion for Monopolistic Practices

Photo: World's Richest Man Fined $1BN for Monopolistic Practices

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Mexican billionaire and the world’s richest man, Carlos Slim, is confirming that the telephone operator controlled by him has been fined $1 billion for ‘monopolistic practices’.

America Movil has been fined 12billion pesos by Mexico’s Federal Competition Commission (CFC) after a four-year investigation into its operations and pricing methods.  It is the largest fine ever given by the commission.

The mobile division of America Movil controls 70% of the mobile phone market in Mexico.

Slim and his company have 30 business days to appeal the fine, which the company has issued a public statement that it plans to do so. 

The ‘monopolistic practices’ accusations are nothing new to Slim or America Movil – it is something his competitors and other regulatory agencies have accused him of for years. 

Read more at Financial Times →

LISTEN To J-lo’s New Single “Papi” (VIDEO)

LISTEN To J-lo’s New Single “Papi” (VIDEO)

Photo: Jennifer López new single Papi

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This song is available now on iTunes, unlocked after thousands of fans “liked it” on Facebook

Read more by HS News Staff →

Ronaldo and Bono had a Karaoke Duel in Sao Paulo (VIDEO)

Ronaldo and Bono had a Karaoke Duel in Sao Paulo (VIDEO)

Photo: Bono Ronaldo and The Edge

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The former soccer player, and the lead singer from U2 sang Rolling Stones and Talking Heads tunes at Sao Paulo’s Secret Bar.

The Edge also joined in the pair onstage and sung David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance,” among other tunes.

“Sources said the U2 crew partied and sang karaoke until 5am while 80 bodyguards patrolled the street outside to keep unwanted revellers away,” claimed the new york post.

Read more by HS News Staff →

On Palm Sunday Pope Addresses Violence in Colombia

On Palm Sunday Pope Addresses Violence in Colombia

Photo: Palm Sunday at Vatican

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At the end of the celebration of the solemnity of Palm Sunday and the Lord’s Passion, the Holy Father prayed the
Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

Before the Marian prayer the Pope addressed those present in various languages, exhorting them above all, “to live the celebration of the Lord’s Passion and Glorificationin order to achieve the fullness of what these feasts mean and hold”.

“I am particularly speaking to you, beloved youth” he continued in Spanish, “that you accompany me at the World Youth Day that will take place in Madrid this coming August, with the theme of “Rooted and Built in Christ:
Firm in the Faith”.

“Today I am also thinking of Colombia”, he continued, “where the Day ofPrayer for victims of violence will be held this coming Good Friday. I am spiritually near to this initiative and earnestly urge Colombians to participate in it, at the same time I ask God for those in this beloved nation who have been appallingly stripped of their lives and their possessions. I renew my urgent call to conversion, repentance, and reconciliation. No more violence in Colombia, that peace there reign!”

Read more at Vatican Information Service →

STUDY: Hispanic Car Buyers Prefer Imports

STUDY: Hispanic Car Buyers Prefer Imports

Photo: Hispanics prefer imported cars

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TrueCar.com, the authoritative voice in new car pricing and industry trend information, today released a study based on Hispanic car-buying behavior in 2010 that shows import brands and models dominating the top 10 list. Hispanic car-buyers in 2010 made up seven percent of all new vehicle retail purchases in the U.S.

“The Hispanic market is very critical for automakers, being the fastest growing minority group in the U.S.,” said Jesse Toprak, Vice President of Industry Trends and Insights at TrueCar.com. “The domestic automakers have some work ahead of them as the Asian brands have a stronghold on Hispanic car buyers.”

Some of the key findings of the TrueCar.com study include:

  * The brand Hispanic car-buyers preferred most was Toyota (19.5 percent), followed by Honda (13.7 percent), and Nissan (11.9 percent). Domestic brands rounded out the top five with Chevrolet (9.4 percent) and Ford (9.3 percent).
  * Eight of the top 10 models purchased by Hispanic car-buyers were Japanese.  The top five vehicles purchased were the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, and Ford F Series.
  * The brands with the highest growth among Hispanic buyers in 2010, compared to 2009 (with sales above 1,000 units) were Buick, Hyundai, Cadillac, Kia and GMC.
  * In 2010, among Hispanic buyers (age 18-34) when compared to all buyers from that age demographic, Mitsubishi was the most popular brand, followed by Nissan, Toyota, Suzuki and Honda.
  * The most popular vehicles in 2010 among Hispanic buyers (age 18-34) when compared to all buyers in that age group, placed the Nissan Sentra at the top of the list followed by the Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa, Nissan Pathfinder and Scion tC.

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Lawsuit in Massachusetts Hopes to Give Legal Resident Aliens Right to Possess Handguns

Lawsuit in Massachusetts Hopes to Give Legal Resident Aliens Right to Possess Handguns

Photo: Hand guns for legal resident aliens

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The Second Amendment Foundation filed a federal lawsuit challenging a law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that denies legal resident aliens the licenses required to possess a handgun in the home for self-defense, or purchase any kind of firearm.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Joining SAF in this lawsuit are Commonwealth Second Amendment, a Massachusetts grassroots organization, and two British citizens who reside in the commonwealth.

The lawsuit alleges that Christopher M. Fletcher of Cambridge and Eoin M. Pryal of Northboro – both legal resident aliens – have been specifically denied the ability to obtain a Firearms Identification Card or a License to Carry of any kind. Before moving to Massachusetts, Fletcher lived in California, where he had a Basic Firearms Safety certificate and Handgun Safety certificate, which allowed him to purchase and own firearms including handguns. Pryal, who is married to a citizen of this country, and had a shotgun certificate and international dealer’s license while living in the United Kingdom.

“One of the fundamental principles in this country is that people have rights,” said SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. “Among those rights is the right of self-defense, especially in one’s own home. Christopher Fletcher and Eoin Pryal live here legally, they have been firearms owners, they are productive members of the community, yet they are being denied a basic right by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This is wrong and our court challenge aims to correct that.”

“This lawsuit truly illustrates the contradictory and irrational nature of the Commonwealths’ firearms laws,” Comm2A President Brent Carlton added.  “Governor Deval Patrick’s administration has broadly supported the immigrant community and noted our dependence on them for our continued prosperity while Massachusetts law treats those same individuals as inherently dangerous enough to justify their exclusion from certain fundamental rights protected by the Constitution of the United States. This blanket prohibition runs contrary to the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and today’s challenge is supported overwhelmingly by well-established legal precedent.”

The Second Amendment Foundation is the nation’s oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. 

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MondayApril 18, 2011