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WednesdayApril 20, 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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Cuban NGO ‘Damas de Blanco’ Recognized by State Dept for Human Right Efforts

Cuban NGO ‘Damas de Blanco’ Recognized by State Dept for Human Right Efforts

Photo: Damas en Blanco

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Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns will present the Diplomacy for Human Rights Award, the Human Rights and Democracy Achievement Award, and the Human Rights Defenders Award in the Department of State’s Treaty Room, Thursday, April 21 at 11:30 a.m.

The Human Rights Defenders Award recognizes individuals or non-governmental organizations who show exceptional valor and leadership in advocating the protection of human rights and democracy in the face of government repression. The Department will honor the Cuban NGO Damas de Blanco – “Ladies in White”. Damas de Blanco’s visible, consistently observed vigils focused international attention not only on political prisoners, but the overall human rights situation in Cuba.

Ladies in White is an opposition movement in Cuba consisting of wives and other female relatives of jailed dissidents. The women protest the imprisonments by attending Mass each Sunday wearing white dresses and then silently walking through the streets dressed in white clothing. The color white is chosen to symbolize peace.

The movement received the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought from the European Parliament in 2005.

Read more by HS News Staff →

3 Restaurant Chain Executives Indicted on Federal Immigration Charges

The father and son owners of a regional Mexican restaurant chain, along with the company’s accountant, will be arraigned in federal court in Tucson Thursday on tax and immigration violations contained in a 19-count indictment stemming from a lengthy probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Mark Evenson, 58, of Paradise Valley, Ariz.; his son, Christopher Evenson, 39, of Oro Valley, Ariz., owners of Chuy’s Mesquite Broiler restaurants with outlets in Arizona and California; and an accountant for the chain, Diane Strehlow, 47, of Tempe, Ariz., are charged with a variety of criminal violations, including the unlawful hiring and harboring of illegal aliens, conspiracy to defraud the IRS and tax evasion. If convicted of all the charges, Mark Evenson faces up to 86 years in prison and a $5.33 million fine; Christopher Evenson faces up to 81 years in prison and a $5.08 million fine; and, Strehlow faces a maximum prison term of 40 years and a $2 million fine.

According to the indictment, the Evensons hired undocumented aliens to work in the kitchens of their restaurants; while individuals authorized to work in the United States were hired as servers or in other restaurant jobs. It is alleged the defendants then used two different methods to compensate company employees. The undocumented workers were purportedly paid under the table with no taxes withheld or reported to the IRS. The authorized workers were paid using normal payroll practices, with taxes properly itemized and submitted to the IRS.

The Evensons and Strehlow were arrested Wednesday after HSI, IRS and Department of Labor agents executed 20 search warrants related to the case, including 15 at Chuy’s restaurants in Arizona and California.

According to the court document, the Evensons engaged in a pattern and practice of hiring aliens knowing they were not authorized for employment in the United States. On multiple occasions, Mark Evenson stands accused of personally directing employees not to run personal information for illegal aliens through the government, because the government would “kick it back” or would “come and pick them up.” When he received a complaint about illegal aliens working at a restaurant in Lake Havasu City, Mark Evenson allegedly told an employee that “throwing some American people in there,” might stop the complaints. When Christopher Evenson was advised by an employee that a person Christopher Evenson wanted to hire (who was working at another restaurant) was an illegal alien, Christopher Evenson replied that the other restaurant did “the same thing.”

The indictment states that, sometime prior to January 2008, the defendants began filing fraudulent Forms 941 (the Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return) with the IRS, and did so every three months through January 2010. Consequently, the restaurant’s management companies underreported and failed to pay at least $400,000 in Federal Insurance Contribution Act (Social Security and Medicare) taxes throughout the course of the conspiracy.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Colorado Bill Regarding Non-Citizens Possibly Voting Struck Down

Colorado Bill Regarding Non-Citizens Possibly Voting Struck Down

Photo: Sen. Rollie Heath

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A bill targeting those that register to vote despite not being U.S. citizens presented by Secretary of State Scott Gessler has failed to make it through the state Legislature.

Monday, HB 1252 was struck down by Sen. Rollie Heath in the Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee, but Gessler told the Colorado Independent that he isn’t finished with the idea yet.

Prior to the committee meeting, Gessler told committee members that is the bill should fail, he would likely give district attorneys or the attorney generals office with information he claimed would allow them to prosecute anyone suspected of having illegally registering to vote.

Though he stated that he would have simply preferred the bill to pass, he said the decision to move forward with the previously mentioned information is still be considered.

“You have to look at the tools that are available,” Gessler said.

Members of the media have repeatedly asked the Secretary of State to show proof of just one vote that has been cast in Colorado by an a non-citizen, and he has yet to do so. Instead, he has state that his office has research to back up his claims. However, the methodology of that research has been seriously questioned, by those like Sen. Heath, who called the bill unnecessary.

“Why is this something other than a witch hunt?” Heath asked.

Gessler claimed the bill was not a witch hunt, and was not intended to be looked at as prosecutorial. He said he was just trying to weed out those who are not legally allowed to vote, and claimed he had no intention of pressing charges against anyone.

Read more at The Colorado Independent →

Oxi, the New Drug Causing Panic in Brazil

Oxi, the New Drug Causing Panic in Brazil

Photo: OXI, Deadly New Drug

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A bi-product of cocaine, and is four times powerful, “oxi” is frighteningly cheap and more deadly than crack.

Public sanitation in Brazil does not know how to deal with this new drug. Crack is already 6 times stronger than cocaine, and cocaine is by itself a reason for concern, with more than 600,000 addicts in Brazil.

Oxi is so strong, that those who use it daily, “won’t last a year,” said Alvaro Ramos, president of the Reducción de Daños del Estado de Acre (NGO).  According to Ramos, users will go “entire days without eating or sleeping, and end up in a deplorable state.”

The drug is a free mix of cocaine as a base, gas fuel or diesel, lye, acetone, potassium permanganate and battery acid. After 20 seconds of smoking, the user feels a euphoric rush, followed by the intense desire to do it again.

It is a drug that started in poor communities of Perú and Bolivia, but due to its popular and intense energizing effects, has seeped onto the middle class, where party goers and users who need to stay awake and alert for many hours try the substance and get hooked.

Everyday, there are more cases of once middle class students, and formerly-able workers, now wondering around at night, unable to speak, like vagrants, looking for a fix.

“You feel compelled to take it day and night, life or death don’t matter, just oxi,” said a 17-year-old user in recovery. “It absorbs your whole life.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Hispanics and Their Relationship with the Media: Myths Debunked

Hispanics and Their Relationship with the Media: Myths Debunked

Photo: Nielsen explores Hispanics' relationship with the media

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A recent Nielsen report has attempted to put to rest certain myths regarding U.S. Hispanics and their “interaction with today’s media.”

Two of the myths it touches on are 1) Bilingual Hispanics don’t watch Spanish-language television and 2) Hispanics are late adopters of technology so using online and mobile campaigns is unnecessary. Nielsen add that by 2050, Hispanics are predicted to make up about 30 percent of the U.S. population, which will require marketers to have a better grasp of the Hispanic market.

Using the table below, Nielsen showed that while each generation of U.S. Hispanics becomes more acculturated, many of those who are bilingual still prefer to view television programming in the language they speak at home. Though many believe that once Hispanics learn English they are acculturated, and therefore only watch TV in English, it is actually much more of a process. And while 77 percent of U.S. Hispanics speak English well, 61 percent of them 18 and older prefer to speak Spanish in their homes, according to American Community Service estimates.


Another myth Nielsen debunked was that Hispanics don’t keep up with the latest technology, whether it be phones, or online media. In truth, Hispanics have great interest in emerging technology, with 30 million Hispanics (62 percent) having access to the internet at home. Add online access via work , school, or other public places such as libraries, and it jumps to 88 percent. Once more, add online access via mobile devices and the number increase again. And while Hispanics spend 20 less time online than non-Hispanics, they stream video twice as much, which accounts for nearly 30 percent of their online activity.

Also, Hispanics are just as likely, if not more likely to own HDTVs, and make roughly 40 percent more calls than the average non-Hispanic person. Hispanics also tend to carry a monthly smartphone bill that is 14 percent higher than non-Hispanics.

So while some may be overlooking the Hispanic market, those who haven’t been are likely aware that it has the “greatest potential for sustained growth in the U.S. today.” And with 30 percent of the U.S. population expected to be Hispanic by 2050, it would be wise to not bypass the bilingual Spanish-language television watchers and those watching it on their smartphones or streaming in online.

Read more at Nielsen Wire →

Could Georgia’s Famous Vidalia Onion Be Threatened with Planned Boycotts?

Could Georgia’s Famous Vidalia Onion Be Threatened with Planned Boycotts?

Photo: Boycotting Georgia's Vidalia Onion

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As the state of Georgia gets ready to kick off the official season for its beloved and lucrative Vidalia onions, others are worried talks of boycott due to the immigration issue, will hurt the season.

The Vidalia onion brings in $145 million a year to the state from sales across the country.  Opponents of Georgia’s recently passed immigration law, HB 187 which is similar to Arizona’s SB 1070, are threatening boycott of all Georgia products.

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 bill is awaiting Governor Nathan Deal’s signature and would become law in July.

The Vidalia in order to be called that must be grown in a production area defined by law in Georgia and is the state’s official state vegetable. 

The state’s agricultural commissioner is looking to see if the state can set up a guest-worker program to allow immigrants to work in the Vidalia fields and other fields legally .  The farm business brings in $68 billion to the state and a statewide boycott of those products would cripple their economy. 

Read more at 11 Alive News →

Taco Bell Wants to Hear Them Say They’re Sorry

The fast food giant took out a full-page long ad, asking from an apology from Beasley Allen, the law firm that filed a law suit against them.

Besley Allen alleged that Taco Bell’s beef did not meet minimum USDA qualifications, and that they were selling 30% grade beef and filed suit against Taco Bell to prove their point.

The firm, apparently could not find evidence to substantiate their allegations, and withdrew the law suit.

…But it’s not enough. Now Taco Bell took out a full-page ad, asking the firm, Would it kill you say you’re sorry?

Look at the ad below!  ‘Yo Quiero Justice’


Read more by HS News Staff →

Latin American Hedge Funds Solid Performance:  Gains New Investors & Big Fees

Latin American Hedge Funds Solid Performance:  Gains New Investors & Big Fees

Photo: Latin America Hedgefunds

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Latin American hedge funds solid performance during the economic downturn has allowed them to continue charging the “2-and-20” lucrative fee and continue to attract investors.

Latin American hedge funds are being viewed as relatively safe and able to handle global economic crisis.  During the depth of the global economic crisis these funds only lost 4.93% in value versus 10.78% for everyone else.  And last year Latin American fund managers gained a respectable 9.84% return compared to the industry average of 10.83%

These solid performances have attracted new investors, especially those looking to going outside of developed economies.  The region was the only one that recorded net positive assets in the range of $5.9 billion.

Latin America hedge funds are also able to command the lucrative fee structure that other funds with poor performances have had to shy away far.  The “2-and-20” fee structure allows the managers to charge management fees of 2% of assets plus 20% of profits.

Read more at WSJ Online →

One Year After BP’s Oil Spill in the Gulf of México

ImageOne year ago today, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil platform in the gulf of México begun one of the worse environmental disasters in history.

On the first year anniversary of the worst oil spill in the history of the United States, the energy giant is trying to influence politics and clean up its image with campaign donations to Congress.

The non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics reports that the political action committee for BP’s North America subsidiary and company executives are making political contributions, including to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Energy Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich.

Despite progress being made, and lots of oil having been removed from the surface, several specialists are afraid of the long term consequences of such vast quantities of oil on the ocean floor.

President Barack Obama said in a statement that, with 2,000 responders in the Gulf providing aid, the recovery is far from over.

“We continue to hold BP and other responsible parties fully accountable for the damage they’ve done and the painful losses that they’ve caused,” Obama said “We’re monitoring seafood to ensure its continued safety and implementing aggressive new reforms for offshore oil production in the Gulf so that we can safely and responsibly expand development of our own energy resources.”

Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., a senior member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, said there has “absolutely not” been any progress in terms of ensuring there won’t be a repeat.

“We are exactly where we were, other than the public understands more clearly how reckless and what the negligence was that got us there,” Woolsey said. “But are we preventing it? Do you have better programs in place for mitigation and cleanup? No we don’t, but we could.”

Here’s the story in picture: 


Read more by HS News Staff →

U.S. Export-Import Bank Plans Multi-Billion Dollar Loan For Colombian Oil Refinery

U.S. Export-Import Bank Plans Multi-Billion Dollar Loan For Colombian Oil Refinery

Photo: Reficar oil refinery in Cartagena, Colombia

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The U.S. Export-Import Bank is planning a loan for $2.84 billion for a project to expand and upgrade a Colombian oil refinery.

The bank, which is independent of the federal government, will give the money to Reficar, which is a Ecopetrol-owned subsidiary located in Cartagena, Colombia.

In a statement, the Export-Import bank said, ““This is part of a $5.18 billion refinery and upgrade project in Cartagena, Colombia supplying petroleum products to the domestic and export markets.”

This project will be the second largest the bank has ever done. It is only second to the $3 billion in financing used for a liquid natural gas project in Papua New Guinea.

Since December, the banks has approved roughly $880 million in additional loans and guarantees to the parent company, Ecopetrol, which means if the refinery loan is approved, Ecopetrol and its wholly owned subsidiaries will have received $3.72 billion in financing from this back in just five months.

“The Reficar transaction is subject to congressional notification, with a final vote anticipated approximately 35 days following the expiration of the notification period,” said the bank’s press release. Adding that “the transaction will help create or sustain over 15,000 American jobs for a total of four years.”

Read more at CNS News →

Hispanics Comfortable With, Rely More on Homepathic Medicine, But at What Cost?

Hispanics Comfortable With, Rely More on Homepathic Medicine, But at What Cost?

Photo: Hispanics more comfortable with homepathic medicine

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Health professionals in Las Vegas are growing more concerned as a number of Hispanics are trusting their health to people not licensed as U.S. doctors.

When hearing of deaths at the hands of unlicensed medical practitioners, Hispanics like 46-year-old Catalina Alfonso are saddened by the loss of life, but think nothing of those who caused it. Alfonso said she avoids “doctores Americanos,” because they don’t speak Spanish, cost too much, and also because she does not believe they heal as well.

Like many in the area, and even throughout the U.S., Alfonso believes in a more homeopathic take on medical care. This method of health care relies heavily on leaves, powders, herbs and other things one could find at neighborhood “botanicas” to cure common ailments.

A number of those receiving this type of treatment have no other choice due to immigration status and/or lack of insurance, but those like Alfonso are most comfortable with it.

“I grew up with yerbas (herbs) and curanderos (folk healers),” said Alfonso, who said her mother’s health recipes, which she passed down, can cure everything from broken bones to high-cholesterol.

Many question this type of practice, but Alan Kilpatrick, a professor of American Indian studies at San Diego State University, says it can have legitimate effects on people. He cites the placebo effect prevalent in Western medicine, saying that people get better taking sugar pills, so why is it impossible to do the same with a herb-filled drink?

“Sometimes we have no idea why some people get better. They just do,” said Kilpatrick, who is a believer in alternative medicine himself.

“They don’t just take a pill, they believe in the spiritual healing, the mind-body-soul connection, and they go to their curanderos in part because they have this component. In Latin America, doctors spend a lot more time talking to their patients,” he said. “We don’t have this thing where a doctor is writing a prescription five minutes after they’ve walked in the office, already on their way out. It’s not uncommon for a doctor to spend up to an hour with their patient. You don’t find that here.”

Still, there are risks to this method of unlicensed medicine, as many look to these types of healers and “doctors” for cosmetic surgery as well.

Currently, two Colombian nationals - Ruben Dario Matallana-Galvas, 55, and Carmen Olfidia Torres-Sanchez, 47 – are facing murder charges after a woman they injected with silicone died.

Elena Caro, 42, had gone to the pair looking to enhance her buttocks. However, the surgery, which took place in the back room of a tile store, did not go as planned, and Caro died. Matallana-Galvas claims he was a homeopathic doctor in Colombia.

Read more at Las Vegas Sun →

Celebrating the World of Spanish Language Books

One of the most ambitious efforts to celebrate the world of Spanish language books will make its debut when LeaLA, the Spanish book fair in Los Angeles, premieres April 29, 30 and May 1, at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

“This book fair is the first of its kind in the U.S.,” says Marisol Schulz, Director of LeaLA. “LeaLA was conceived as a cultural festival where the spinal cord is the literary program, a space where authors from Latin American countries and U.S. Latino writers can find a home that reflects the U.S. Latino reality. A place where Hispanics from all walks of life can rediscover their roots, reading, culture and understand the new society they are building in the U.S.”

LeaLA will feature an impressive gathering of highly acclaimed authors from the literary, cultural and entertainment worlds. More than 100 publishers and 80 authors will showcase their works from fiction to non-fiction, with topics ranging from history to empowerment, for everyone from book aficionados to children just learning to read, in Spanish and English.

Confirmed authors include: Isabel Allende, Laura Restrepo, Francisco Martin Moreno, Xavier Velasco, Sealtiel Alatriste, Carmen Boullosa, Sanjuana Martinez, Paco Ignacio Taibo II, and Sandra Lorenzano. Also participating will be the Director of the Royal Spanish Academy, Jose Manuel Blecua; former Miss Universe, Dayanara Torres; legendary singing superstar, Jose Jose; actress Kate del Castillo, and more celebrities who will read to children in the kids’ zone.

The Mexican state of Jalisco is the honored special guest and as a tribute LeaLA will present a homage to three Mexican literary greats: Juan Rulfo, Agustin Yanez and Juan Jose Arreola, as well as the theatre performances by one of Mexico’s greatest artists, actor-writer-director, Ofelia Medina, presenting “El Placer de Nuestra Lengua,” “The Pleasures of Our Tongue,” with the Ruben Albarran (lead singer of Cafe Tacvba).

The event is open to the public and expects to draw over 30,000 people. Admission is free to the book fair. Event hours are: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Los Angeles Convention Center, Concourse Hall, 1201 South Figueroa St., Los Angeles, 90015. Tickets for the concerts and theatre performances are available through Ticketmaster.

LeaLA is an initiative organized by the University of Guadalajara USA Foundation and supported by the Guadalajara International Book Fair, Feria Internacional del Libro, known worldwide as FIL; and the University of Guadalajara in Los Angeles.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Whoa, Piqué! Is that a Banana In Your Pocket? No sir, It’s EL PIQUETÓN!

Whoa, Piqué! Is that a Banana In Your Pocket? No sir, It’s EL PIQUETÓN!

Photo: Piqué and his Piquetón

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#Piquetón, became a trending topic on Twitter shortly after Cuore Magazine published a picture of the very well endowed Barça defense waiting for Shakira at the airport.

In a matter of hours, Twitter exploded with comments about Piquetón.

@Davibla wrote: An elephant sees Piqué naked and asks, You eat with that?
@WendyRomeroAc said: No Wonder Shakira is Loca!

Every minute, another dozen tweets hint at how unfair will be tonight’s game since Piqué has a secret weapon, or suggesting coach pep Guardiola to give the Piquetón a chance, since it’s larger than Messi.

What do you think? Is it real, or photoshopped? Let us know in our comment section!

Read more by HS News Staff →

Hispanics Expected to Bolster U.S. Pro-Life Efforts

Hispanics Expected to Bolster U.S. Pro-Life Efforts

Photo: Pro-Life Latinos

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U.S. priests are looking to Hispanics to bolster their pro-life efforts seeing a commonality of values to those that trace their roots to Latin America. 

As part of the Catholic Church’s ’40 Days for Life Campaign’ that just ended, outreach to Hispanic communities on the issue of pro-life was deemed critical.  Priests are also promoting Hispanic pro-life committees in parishes and teaching others how to start those committees.

Whereas, the ‘Priests for Life’ organization is forming a Spanish-speaking team to help organize retreats to “help men and women that are suffering from abortion.”  The city of Denver has been identified as a starting point for many of these initiatives because of its large Hispanic population and because it is the site of the second largest Planned Parenthood clinic in the U.S.

Father Victor Salomon, director of Hispanic outreach for ‘Priests for Life’ feel Hispanics are key to ending abortions in this country, viewing them as very pro-life and pro-family.

Read more at Zenit →

EXTREME TRAFFICKING: Agents Find Ramp Used to Help Drug Smugglers’ Trucks Over Border Fence

EXTREME TRAFFICKING: Agents Find Ramp Used to Help Drug Smugglers’ Trucks Over Border Fence

Photo: Taken by Border Patrol agents: Truck equipped with ramp used to get trucks over the U.S.-Mexico border fence.

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Border Patrol agents have discovered that drug smugglers are becoming more innovative in their attempts to avoid security at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Recently, a truck equipped with a folding ramp was found east of Yuma, Arizona. It appears that it was used to transport vehicles containing drugs over the fence at the border. As officers stayed with the ramp truck, other officials rushed to apprehend the truck that was believed to have used the ramp to overcome the fence. That vehicle was found to be carrying 1,000 pounds of marijuana.

“We believe that the ramp could have been used previously, but it is a sign that there is a lot of drug smuggling activity in that area,” the federal preventative police commander, Gaston Loaiza, said.

Loaiza stated that the area where the ramp truck was found is a section of the border frequented path by smugglers. Just one day after the ramp was discovered, Mexican authorities reportedly caught two people preparing to cross the border on at the same location carrying twenty kilos of marijuana.

Loazia added that although the area is heavily monitored, this just goes to show how drug traffickers are constantly coming up with new ways to circumvent security forces.

Read more at Homeland Security Newswire →

Fernando Meirelles Reunites with “City Of God” Writer Montovani for Aristotle Onassis Biopic

Fernando Meirelles  Reunites with “City Of God” Writer Montovani for Aristotle Onassis Biopic

Photo: Fernando Meirelles will direct Aristotle Onassis Biopic

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Brazilian Fernando Meirelles is teaming once again with screenwriter Bráulio Montovan, also from Brazil, for a film based on Peter Evans’s book “Nemesis: The True Story of Aristotle Onassis, Jackie O, and the Love Triangle That Brought Down the Kennedys”

Meirelles defines the upcoming film as a sort of Greek ‘Godfather,’ with Ari Onassis in the middle of it all, drawing more on the sketchy business practices of the billionaire, and his tumultuous relationship with the Kennedys and particularly Robert, who as attorney general investigated Onassis, and banned him from trading in the US.

The discord between Bobby Kennedy and Onassis led to allegations that the latter might have financed Kennedy’s assassination.

Meirelles and Montovani were nominated in 2004 for best direct or and best screenwriter academy awards respectively for their work on ‘City of God.’

This project will be financed by the French Pathé.

Meirelles is currently wrapping up 360, a romantic drama starring Anthony Hopkins, Rachel Weisz, and Jude Law, written by Peter Morgan; Meirelles is also signed on to direct one of the ten short film segments in the upcoming collectionRio, I Love You.


Read more by HS News Staff →

Brutal Mexican Drug Gangs Here in U.S. Experts Say

Brutal Mexican Drug Gangs Here in U.S. Experts Say

Photo: Los Zetas in the U.S.

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According to various experts on border security and gang violence Mexico’s violent drug gangs have expanded their operations across the border and into states like New York and California.

Apparently drug profits have allowed drug cartels like the Zetas to afford top of the line terror tools like explosives and avoid detection through wiretapping, bribery and counterserveillance. 

All this has emboldened the cartels to expand their reach into the U.S., not only as a source of consumption but as an operation base.  The U.S. cocaine, heroin and marijuana market in the U.S. is valued at $25 billion with distribution handled at the local level but that may change. 

The U.S. Homeland Security Department has said that Mexican drug cartels, including the Zetas, have infiltrated 276 U.S. cities and represent the nation’s most serious organized-crime threat. 

There is now proposed legislation to have six Mexican cartels designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) making their detection and detention easier. 

Read more at Washington Post →

President Calderon Sends Initiatives to Congress to Battle Impunity

President Calderon Sends Initiatives to Congress to Battle Impunity

Photo: Los Pinos, Mexican White House

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The President of Mexico, Felipe Calderón, sent to Congress two initiatives in the framework of the National Security Strategy, to help combat impunity, from the creation and strengthening of new legal standards in criminal matters, establishment of sanctions and justice enforcement.

Reform initiatives against criminal networks and criminal liability that were sent to the Mexican Senate, seek to punish those involved in various forms of criminal networks, even if they are not those directly committing the crime or are formally part of criminal groups, but somehow because of their relationship have facilitated the realization of crimes committed.

The initiative also raises new types of crimes, like “criminal facilitation”, which punishes the activities of what are commonly called “hawks”, i.e. the lookouts. 

Moreover, the initiatives are intended to establish legal basis for pretrial detention and special monitoring arrangements.

To this end, the initiative provides the infrastructure and technology in prisons for enhanced security, establishes obligations and rights of the sentenced, provides a new system of rehabilitation, early release and reintegration programs, and parole proceedings.

President Calderon is convinced that with these initiatives, the Mexican government will have more and better legal tools to combat, more efficiently and with strict adherence to the law, organized crime. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Ex-Marine Paul Gonzalez Beats Wife in Divorce Court in Judge’s Chamber

Ex-Marine Paul Gonzalez Beats Wife in Divorce Court in Judge’s Chamber

Photo: Ex-Marine Paul Henry Gonzalez

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The attack was described as “unexpected” and “surreal”-  even for the contentious environment of family court – left soon to be divorced Catherine Ann Scott-Gonzalez in the hospital with facial fractures and multiple bruises.

She and her ex-Marine husband Paul Henry Gonzalez, of Fort Lauderdale, where in court to finalize their divorce.  Gonzalez who appeared without an attorney lost it when he found out he had to pay child support and couldn’t see his 1 and 3-year old children when he pleased.  He left Judge Ronald Rothschild’s Broward County Court room quietly and then suddenly reappeared.

He lunged at his wife and hit her repeatedly with closed fists, the first blow came with such force she was knocked unconscious.  Her attorney attempted to subdue him until police arrived and who were forced to taser him twice since he refused to calm down.  Judge Rothschild who was not hurt pressed a panic button to summon security.  He noted he would of had security if he had any indication Gonzalez was dangerous. 

Gonzalez, 28 years-old is now in jail with bond set at $1 million dollars.

Read more at Sun-Sentinel →

Border Patrol Agents Rescue 28 Illegal Aliens

Border Patrol Agents Rescue 28 Illegal Aliens

Photo: Dessert border crossing

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U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Rio Grande Valley sector saved the lives of 28 illegal aliens in several separate incidents over the past five days.

“Fortunately our agents were able to save these people’s lives, but sadly these types of incidents often end tragically,” said Chief Patrol Agent Rosendo Hinojosa. “People need to realize the border area is a harsh environment that should not be underestimated or taken for granted. In addition, placing yourself in the hands of smugglers is a dangerous decision — one that can cost you your life.”

Agents assigned to the Falfurrias checkpoint were inspecting a trailer Thursday evening when a Border Patrol canine team alerted. As agents opened the trailer, they found 12 people hidden among cardboard boxes. The group appeared to be in good health but were all sweating profusely and claimed to have difficultly breathing from the heat inside the trailer.

Agents from the Falfurrias Station rescued seven people Friday after the group activated a rescue beacon on a ranch near Falfurrias, Texas. The group consisted of four Guatemalans, two Haitians and one Mexican. The group told agents that they had been lost in the brush for three days.

Earlier on Friday, agents from the McAllen station were patrolling near Penitas, Texas, when they saw a group of people swimming in the Rio Grande. One of the people became fatigued and could no longer swim. Agents patrolling the river by boat arrived on scene and threw the person a rescue line and a floatation device. The agents were able to get the distressed swimmer onto the patrol boat and safely ashore.

Additional rescues in the Rio Grande Valley sector occurred throughout the weekend. All of the rescued individuals were offered medical attention and processed to be returned to their countries of origin.

Read more by HS News Staff →

WednesdayApril 20, 2011