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ThursdayApril 28, 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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Hispanic World Prepares for Nuptials of Príncipe Guillermo, and Future Princesa Catalina

Hispanic World Prepares for Nuptials of Príncipe Guillermo, and Future Princesa Catalina

Photo: Royal Couple

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The Hispanic world, like everywhere else, is preparing for the royal wedding nuptials of Príncipe Guillermo, and Future Princesa Catalina, as they will be known in the region.  Traditionally, the names of Popes, and members of the Royalty are translated, a practice alive since the Renaissance.  Beside presenting the royal couple with newly minted Spanish names, many other gifts from Latin America are in store for the couple.

Príncipe Guillermo and his fiancée have asked for donations to NGO’s and charities instead of presents. The governments of Argentina and Colombia however, will present the royals with silver cast presents—a vase, and a mate gourd, in addition to their donations. The vase, designed by Colombian artist Alexandra Agudelo is inspired in diverse pre-Columbian native motifs. The mate gourd, a special receptacle designed to brew and drink the Argentine herbal infusion was designed by silversmith Marcelo Toledo; the piece, an homage to wine, is in the shape of a bunch of grapes held by angels, or mermaids which rest on a vine leaf.

In Bolivia, the British ambassador Nigel Baker has extended a special invitation to a local couple, who is incidentally chose to get married at the same time than the royals; At the exact time that Príncipe Guillermo and his fiancée arrive at the reception, Alejandro Antezana Koisiner and his future wife Fabianna Rivera Aguilar, will arrive at the ambassador’s residency, accompanied by their parents and the bridal party for cocktails, a photo session in the English-style gardens and to receive a present from the diplomat, before being driven to the austere cozy church they chose to be married at.

Jose Antonio Iturrate, a Chilean polo player was one of the very few Latin Americans invited to the wedding, met the royals the first time the Chilean polo team defeated the British in 1998. Since then, Iturrate visits the royals every summer, whenever he goes to play polo in England. Despite the invitation, Iturtate will not attend, as he is hosting a polo competition in Santiago. He will arrive to the UK later on to deliver his present to the couple.

Queen Doña Sofía, Prince Don Felipe and Princess Doña Letizia, are the only Spanish royals in attendance. They have adhered to the suggestion of donating to charities instead of buying presents, although it is not known which charity they chose, nor the amount they donated.

For the event, Queen Sofía has chosen an embroidered blue dress, and Princess Letizia will done a terracotta pink dress. Prince Felipe had the choice of wearing a suit, but he decided to wear his Captain uniform for the Royal Navy.

Read more by HS News Staff →

President Obama Meets with Hispanic Public Figures to Discuss Immigration

President Obama Meets with Hispanic Public Figures to Discuss Immigration

Photo: Influential Hispanics meet with President Obama to discuss immigration

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Thursday, President Obama hosted a number of “influential Hispanics from across the country to discuss the importance of fixing the broken immigration system.”

Invited were the following:

Administration officials expected to attend the meeting include:

Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President
David Plouffe, Senior Advisor to the President
Melody Barnes, Assistant to the President & Director of Domestic Policy Council
Cecilia Munoz, Deputy Assistant to the President & Director of Intergovernmental Affairs

Participants expected at the meeting include:

Jose Diaz-Balart
Barbara Bermudo
Rosario Dawson
Emilio Estefan
Lily Estefan
America Ferrera
Don Francisco
Vanessa Hauc
Maria Teresa Kumar
Eva Longoria
Maria Elena Salinas
Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo

A press release from the White House stated, “President Obama remains deeply committed to fixing the broken immigration system.  The United States has been enriched by a steady stream of hardworking and talented people who have helped make America an engine of the global economy and a beacon of hope around the world.  As we work to rebuild the economy, our ability to thrive depends, in part, on restoring responsibility and accountability to the immigration system.  President Obama believes Democrats and Republicans should come together to tackle an issue that is critical not only to our national security but also to the economy and our global competiveness.”

The release also gave a list of points the president wished to address with those in attendance. Those points included:

-Responsibility from the federal government to secure our borders
- Accountability for businesses that break the law by undermining American workers and exploiting undocumented workers
- Responsibility from people who are living in the United States illegally
- Strengthen economic competiveness by creating a legal immigration system that meets our diverse needs
- Dedicating Unprecedented Resources to Secure the Border
- Making our Interior and Worksite Enforcement Efforts Smarter and More Strategic
- Improving our Legal Immigration System

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mortgages Scare for Minorities According to Most Recent Study

Mortgages Scare for Minorities According to Most Recent Study

Photo: Scare Mortgages for Minorities

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The report, Paying More for the American Dream V, examines the most recent home mortgage data available to the public, for New York City and six other metropolitan areas, including Chicago and Los Angeles. The report shows disparities in conventional refinance lending and denial rates, based on racial composition of neighborhoods. In all seven cities analyzed, lenders denied loan applications at significantly higher rates in communities of color than in predominantly white neighborhoods.

Access to conventional mortgage refinance lending is critical to homeowners and communities. Refinance loans are vital to homeowners seeking to benefit from lower interest rates improve their homes, finance small businesses, or pay for education. Refinance lending is especially crucial given the ongoing foreclosure crisis as homeowners struggle to stay in their homes. Access to sound refinance loans is critical to preserving community assets and neighborhood stability.

One of the key findings was that between 2008 and 2009, the number of conventional refinance loans made in predominantly white neighborhoods more than doubled in all seven cities examined. During this time, however, conventional refinance lending declined sharply in communities of color in all but one of the seven cities examined.  Similarly large disparities were seen in denial rates. In 2009, lenders’ denial rates in communities of color
ranged from 29 percent to 60 percent, compared to 12 percent to 24 percent denial rates in predominantly
white neighborhoods. 

Conventional refinance loans to homeowners in predominantly white neighborhoods increased by an average of 129 percent. Conventional refinance loan originations in communities of color decreased by an average of 17 percent. 

Lenders were roughly two and a half times as likely to deny a conventional refinance loan to homeowners in communities of color as they were to homeowners in predominantly white neighborhoods. On average, lenders denied 34 percent of conventional refinance loan applications from homeowners in communities of color in the seven cities studied, but denied only to 14 percent of applications from homeowners in predominantly white neighborhoods. 



Read more by HS News Staff →

American Learns the Importance of Knowing Spanish Slang

American Learns the Importance of Knowing Spanish Slang

Photo: Santiago, Chile

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No matter which you speak, nearly all languages have their own slang. For one American starting a new life in Chile, it took some getting used to.

Fifteen years ago, Jared Romey moved to Chile from Maryland. He thought his many years of Spanish courses had prepared him enough for the move, but he underestimated the importance of knowing slang in every language.

Trying to immerse himself in the culture, he quickly discovered he understood none of what anyone was saying because slang was freely and frequently used.

“It was fast, different and full of odd slang. I was totally lost,” Romey told AOL News.

His saving grace would come to be the copy of “How to Survive the Chilean Jungle” a friend gave him. The book had been written just one year prior (1996) by John Brennan and Alvaro Toboada.

Romey shared his story and the slang words and phrases he with AOL. Below are some of them.

- A calzon quitado: “Literally, this translates into ‘taking off your underwear.’ In Chilean slang, this is an expression that means to get straight to the point; to hold nothing back.”

- Chupar: This word means “suck.” In slang, chupar refers to drinking copious amounts of alcoholic drinks

- Anda a lavarte el hoyo: This phrase translates into “go wash your hole,” which refers to your um…rear. In slang, this phrase is used to tell people to scram or go away.

- Andar con el dragon: Roughly translates into “being with the dragon.” Colloquially, it means you’re so hungover from drinking all night that your breath is kicking. You’re practically breathing fire, much like a dragon might.

- Hilo dental: This literally means “dental floss.” In slang, it refers to a woman’s tiny thong or G-string. American slang seems to follow the same thought.

- Pokemon: “No, not the little yellow anime cartoon. In Chile, a pokemon is the term given to alternative, edgy teenagers who dress in skater tennis shoes and baggy pants that are about to fall off. Pokemons usually sport long hair, lots of piercings and listen to Reggaeton music.”

- Tragarse un tony: This means to “swallow a clown.” In slang speak this actually means to die of laughter.

- Mas doblado que Chino con visitas: “Another Romey favorite. It translates into ‘more bent over than a Chinese man with visitors.’ In slang, it means you’re so drunk, you’re tipping over, much like a Chinese man bowing to visitors. ‘This one is hilarious,’ Romey said. ‘It really captures the Chilean spirit and the playfulness of the language.’”

Beware of thinking this jargon can be used in all Latin American countries however. Words like “bicho” for example. In Chile and Argentina it is used as a name for a bug or insect, but it Puerto Rico, it means penis.

Chile was his home for awhile, he now lives in San Juan, Puerto Rico, but has also spent time in Argentina, Bolivia, and Costa Rica.

These days, Romey sells haircare products internationally, but he has developed a database for all the Spanish slang he has learned over the years. (That can be found at SpeakingLatino.com) and he is also the author or “Speaking Boricua,”  “Speaking Argento,” and Speaking Chileno.”

Read more at AOL News →

$15,000 Fine for Owl Kicking Soccer Player Luis Moreno

$15,000 Fine for Owl Kicking Soccer Player Luis Moreno

Photo: Luis Moreno Fined $15,000

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Panamanian soccer player Luis Moreno was sanctioned by the Environment Department of Barranquilla.

The fine, equates to 50 current Colombian minimum wage salaries.

According to Humberto Mendoza, director of the environmental organization issuing the fine, Moreno must also pay the animal’s medical costs, apologize publically to the city, and volunteer at the city’s zoo.

Moreno is currently unable to play, as he has been sanctioned for seven games for kicking player Andres Escobar in the abdomen a few weeks ago.


Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico’s Contribution to Pope John Paul II Beatification: A Miracle and Mangos

Mexico’s Contribution to Pope John Paul II Beatification: A Miracle and Mangos

Photo: Pope John Paul II

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This May 1st, the late Pope John Paul II will be beatified as México embraces the memory of one of the world’s most charismatic religious leaders.

John Paul II is widely recognized as one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century, and for millions of Mexicans, John Paul II was a symbol of wholesomeness, purity and tenacious faith, a man capable of inspiring with the power of his prayer, and casting leukemia out of a young Mexican boy’s body, with a kiss.

“There was nothing more that could be done for the child. Now, he is a young man. He was presented to the pope, who was very happy,” said Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, who witnessed the miracle during the pope’s visit to the diocese of Zacatecas in México.  This miracle though recognized by the Catholic Church was not the one’s taken into account for the Pope’s beatification.  Nonetheless, Mexican’s feel very connected to the Pope through this miracle. 

In a beatification, only miracles that have taken place after death are taken into consideration; because of this rule, the miracle doesn’t count toward the criteria for beatification.  The Pope also connected to the country through their mangos. 

During his trip to México, the pope happened to find his all time favorite fruit: Mango. Moved by how much how much he liked them, those in charge of hospitality in each of his following pastoral visits, always prepared for the Pope fresh and different dishes using the fruit.

Father Daniel Villalobos, who was one of the people closest to Cardinal Corripio Ahumada, Archbishop Primate of Mexico, witnessed not only how much the Holy Father John Paul II enjoyed this tropical fruit, but the concern of the Archbishop of Mexico was to make sure that some boxes of “mangos” were always on the Pope`s table.

“Even when the Holy Father was already very sick - Fr. Villalobos said in a statement sent to Fides by the Archdiocese of Mexico on the occasion of the forthcoming beatification of John Paul II - Cardinal Corripio, through a friend, sent him mangos.

To check that His Holiness had received them, he asked the present Cardinal Leonardo Sandri for information, who had been nuncio in Mexico, and at that time was Deputy Secretary of State.

“In Mexico there are some popular sayings that connect Pope John Paul II with two states of Mexico: Oaxaca and Veracruz, and the mangos produced in their own land were sent to the Pope at the Vatican.


Read more by HS News Staff →

Southern California Considers Financing Mexico Desalinization Plant

Southern California Considers Financing Mexico Desalinization Plant

Photo: Southern California Considers Financing Mexico Desalinization Plant

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Southern California water officials are now considering looking to Mexico to aid in the state’s on-going water issues by financing desalinization plants.

California, Arizona, and Nevada have been speaking with Mexican government officials about sharing a desalinization plant in the neighboring country, but it is the San Diego County Water Authority and Metropolitan Water District of Southern California that have pursued the possibility.

The desalinization plant would be located just south of San Diego in Mexico’s Rosarito Beach, and construction could begin in just two years. The plant would produce up to 75 million gallons of fresh water a day, which is 50 percent more than the biggest facility planned for California. The plant planned for California has been delayed due to lawsuits and permitting for well over a decade. It is intended for Carlsbad in San Diego County.

Some, like Serge Dedina, executive director of the conservative group, Wildcoast in Baja California, think the U.S. is making another attempt to take advantage of Mexico for American interests.

“It’s absolutely unethical for U.S. water agencies to finance coastal developments in Mexico to serve the insatiable water needs of southern California,” Dedina said. “The coast of Baja should not be used for American infrastructure projects.”

Dedina went on to stay that the proposal is nearly not too different from others that wish to exploit the lower costs and weaker regulations in Mexico.

Halla Razak of the San Diego County Water Authority refuted those claims, saying, “A lot of people when they hear this they say, ‘Oh great, we can do that and not worry about the environmental implications, [but] in Baja, they have very similar regulations as we have north of the border.”

Conservation groups are not happy about the plants either.

“The effects are the same if you’re drawing in seawater for desalination or power plants,” said Tom Luster, an analyst with the California Coastal Commission. “You’re killing essentially 100 percent of marine life, larva and fish eggs.”

A plant the size of that being proposed would cost roughly $1 billion, and Mexico is also in need of additional water, but the government has shown little interesting it building a plant alone.

“For Mexico, they are not looking at this at all as a last resort. They are in dire need of water,” Razak said. “Mexico is very much interested in our participation because it’s a matter of economy of scale. If you have more takers of the water, the overall cost of a unit of water is smaller.”

Mexico has agreed to pay for under a third of the cost for the plant.

Read more at DC Bureau →

Obama Meets with Panamanian President After Release of Revealing Wikileaks Documents

Obama Meets with Panamanian President After Release of Revealing Wikileaks Documents

Photo: Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli

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President Obama will be meeting with Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli Thursday to discuss security and trade. This meeting comes after Wikileaks released State Department cables in which Martinelli was not spoken of favorably.

The documents state Panama’s president has a “limited attention span” and tends to make “strong impulsive decisions with minimal information.” They go on to paint him as a vindictive, authoritarian man, obsessed with spying on his political rivals. It continues with claims that Martinelli is scornful of any questioning of what one cable called his “hyper-presidency.”

The not so warm relationship between the U.S. and Panama was only made worse by the cables, and with Thursday’s meeting ahead, it should make thing interesting, to say the least.

Abrasive encounters between the then-U.S. Ambassador to Panama Barbara J. Stephenson and Martinelli fill a number of the cables including one that
incident between the two that points to just how strained the relationship had become just days after Martinelli took office in November of 2009.

Stephenson once sent a cable to Washington that spoke of “a cryptic BlackBerry message that said, ‘I need help with tapping phones.’” In subsequent meetings, Martinelli and his aides stated that, unless a U.S.-designed wiretap program was expanded to allow the tapping of his domestic political rivals, he would reduce Panama’s counter-narcotics cooperation.

Olmedo Alfaro, Martinelli’s chief security aide, confided to U.S. officials however, that Martinelli wanted to use the wire-taps to “find out who ‘was sleeping with his wife,’” Stephenson said in a cable to Washington.

“His penchant for bullying and blackmail may have led him to supermarket stardom but is hardly statesmanlike,” she later wrote. She would go on to inform the State Department of Martinelli’s attempts to place two “cronies” on his country’s Supreme Court to ensure he could control them. She added that he was trying to replace an attorney general he could not control, and was sending tax auditors after businessmen that gave support to his political foes.

Still, despite the conflicts, Panama will be following a U.S. model when it merges its customs and immigration bureaus.

“Panama is the first frontier of the United States in terms of security,” Martinelli stated after meeting with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials Wednesday.

So as the meeting at the Oval Office concludes, it will be interesting to learn what was discussed with the Panamanian president Stephenson was speaking of when saying, “His penchant for bullying and blackmail may have led him to supermarket stardom but is hardly statesmanlike.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Catholic Church in Colombia Continues to Garner Support for Right to Life Legislation

Catholic Church in Colombia Continues to Garner Support for Right to Life Legislation

Photo: Colombia's Right to Life

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The Catholic Church has extended until the first week of June, the deadline for collecting signatures throughout Colombia, in support of the request of some senators who wish to present to the House and Congress a legislative act for the right to life, in order to complete Article 11 of the Political Constitution.

This initiative is sustained by many political parties and religious denominations, led by the laity and Catholic politicians, as well as evangelical Christians, to complete Article 11 of the Constitution which reads: “The life of every Colombian is inviolable, no death penalty”, the proposal is for it to be modified as follows: “The life of all Colombians is inviolable from conception to natural death, no death penalty”.

According to the note sent by the Episcopal Conference to Fides, the senators and other representatives who promote this initiative, participated in February in the Plenary Assembly of Bishops, in order to expose to the prelates the legislative proposal. The proposal will be presented in the legislature that begins on July 20, and not in the current one which ends June 20 in order to take the time to share ideas and allow the four necessary steps (two in the House and two in the Senate) to the proposal.


Read more at Agenzia Fides →

Archie, Veronica, Betty and Jughead Now Digital and In Spanish

Archie, Veronica, Betty and Jughead Now Digital and In Spanish

Photo: Archie Comics

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ImageArchie Comics is offering digital editions of their comics in Spanish, at www.archiedigital.com

Archie comics will also be available through iTunes and the iVerse app, the Sony PSP and, in the upcoming weeks,the Android-powered smartphones.

“The great thing about our company is that we’re not just domestic, we’re a global company,” said Jon Goldwater, co-chief executive of Archie Comics “The gags seem to translate well, people really do get the humor behind it,” he added.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Study Finds Surgeons With Higher Proportions of Hispanic Patients Less Happy at Work

Study Finds Surgeons With Higher Proportions of Hispanic Patients Less Happy at Work

Photo: Language barriers make it difficult for surgeons to care for patients

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A study submitted to the Annals of Surgery suggests that surgeons “treating a large proportion of Hispanic patients were significantly less likely to be satisfied with their careers.” The study believes this could be due to language and cultural barriers.

The new report also points out that more minorities are needed in the surgery field, especially since “an acute shortage of surgeons is anticipated in the future.”

Senior researcher Satish P. Deshpande, of Western Michigan University, said though the surgeons who tended to Hispanic patients were less happy with their job, “you need to be careful with interpreting that finding,” because it could be construed as discrimination, and that is not believed to the cause. The issues that surgeons encounter with Hispanic patients tend to be cultural.

It seemed that a higher proportion of Hispanic patients coincided with a higher number of patients without insurance, which makes money a large issue. Deshpande stated that survey results indentified language as being the major issue for surgeons with more Hispanic patients, but for those with access to translation services for patients, job satisfaction was generally high.

“So we think most of it has to do with language and cultural issues,” Deshpande said. Adding that more translation services and ethnically diverse hospital staff – including surgeons—would help both patients and doctors.

“That’s something that really needs to be looked at. We do need more minorities (in surgical specialties), and more women as well.”

The recent U.S. Census showed that the Hispanic population in the U.S. grew 43 percent from 2000 to 2010, and continues to be the fastest growing minority group.

Despite the increase in Hispanics however, the study found that only about 6 percent of surgeons were Hispanic or African-American, and only 9 percent were women.

Read more at Reuters →

Man Pleads Guilty to Crimes Against Hispanics and Racial Intimidation

Man Pleads Guilty to Crimes Against Hispanics and Racial Intimidation

Photo: Hispanic Hate Crimes

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The Justice Department announced today that Johnny Mathis, 47, of Lecompte, La., pleaded guilty to two federal crimes for shooting at the home of three Hispanic men living across the street from him because of the victims’ race and national origin. 

Mathis pleaded guilty to criminal interference with the right to fair housing and using a firearm during a crime of violence.  Mathis admitted that, on June 15, 2008, he shot at the victims’ home because the victims were Mexican.  When the defendant began shooting at their home, the victims fled into the woods behind their residence.  Mathis then entered the home with his firearm.  All three victims survived the shooting unharmed. 

“The defendant targeted his neighbors with violence because of their race and national origin,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.  “Acts of violence like this one have no place in our country, and the department will vigorously prosecute those who engage in such conduct.” 

“Everyone, regardless of race, national origin or religion, etc., has the right to feel secure in their homes and free from violence,” said U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana Stephanie A. Finley. “That’s pretty basic.  Our office will protect that right for all people residing in this district and will continue to prosecute these types of crimes.” 

Sentencing is scheduled for July 28, 2011.  Mathis faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, a fine of $ 250,000, or both, on the fair housing charge.  He also faces a mandatory minimum term of 10 years in prison for the firearm charge, which must run consecutively to any term imposed on the fair housing charge.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Rock Band Maná Calls for Immigration Reform On the Eve of Their First Album in 5 Years

Mexican Rock Band Maná Calls for Immigration Reform On the Eve of Their First Album in 5 Years

Photo: Mana Calls For Justise for Undocumented People

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Mexican rock band, Mana, calls for “justice for the undocumented” while attending Billboard’s Latin Music Conference in Miami.

“The U.S. needs an urgent immigration reform that does justice to the millions of undocumented [people], the ones that put the bread on the table of the Americans,” said Fher Olvera, the band’s lead singer.

The band asked every Latino to support politicians who support the Dream Act, while assuring to be committed to back up the dream act, and to support all the undocumented workers in America.

Olvera recounted the time when Secretary of State and former First Lady Hillary Clinton confessed to him that once, her family had been illegal immigrants, in a nation that “if ever belonged to anyone, it was the Native Americans.”

Olvera, drummer Alex González, guitarist Sergio Vallín and bass player Juan Calleros also spoke about their new album “Drama y Luz” (Drama and Light), their eighth world-wide release, and the first one since 2007’s “Amar y Combatir” (To Love and Combat).

“It was worth the wait,” the band said, before describing it as their “most intense” effort.

“Drama y Luz” is their darkest work yet, drawing heavily from the murkiness of current times, as well as from the band’s personal experiences; Olvera’s mother passed away last year during the initial stages of the album’s production, an episode that sent him into the arid wastelands of depression.

But just as the rest of the band was wondering whether they would be able to help the singer overcome his darkest hour to complete the album, Fher channeled his sorrow into the music, donning the album with a certain darkness that is new to Maná’s music, that far from making the album sound depressing, comes out as mature and seasoned.

The band told reporters that the secret to their success, is to be authentic, humble and to not give into cliché rock-star excesses; additionally, the band focuses heavily on working really hard to promote their albums: Maná puts their own money towards production, while encouraging the record label to put their budget towards promotion.

“When you’re doing music, you’re doing art. It’s not like making shoes or sausage. It’s not a factory,” Fher said. “We’re totally honest between what we do in the studio, and what the consumer receives. There’s no intermediary in between. We are an honest band. We are what you see here. Maná is Maná”



Read more by HS News Staff →

Massachusetts Workplace Fatalities Highest for Hispanics

Massachusetts Workplace Fatalities Highest for Hispanics

Photo: Hispanic workers in Massachusetts

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In a timely report titled “Dying for Work in Massachusetts: The Loss of Life and Limb in Massachusetts Workplaces” the state is finding out that Hispanics workers die on the job at a much higher rate than anyone else.

The report, commissioned by the state’s AFL-CIO office and the Coalition for Occupation Safety and Health, noted that on average nearly one worker’s death occurs each week in the state.  On average 1.2 deaths per 100,000 occur amongst whites but for Hispanic workers on average 3.5 die per 100,000.

The report also concluded that inadequate safety precautions, and a lack of oversight along with workplace violence are resulting in this rate of fatalities. 

Nonetheless Massachusetts is one of the safest states to work comparatively.

Read more at Boston →

Obama Criticizes Georgia’s Immigration Bill (VIDEO)

Obama Criticizes Georgia’s Immigration Bill (VIDEO)

Photo: Obama Slams GA Bill

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President Obama has weighed in on the controversial Arizona style law that the Georgia Governor has said he intends to sign into law.

“It is a mistake for states to try to do this piecemeal. We can’t have 50 different immigration laws around the country. Arizona tried this and a federal court already struck them down,” Obama told WSB-TV in an interview taped Tuesday.

Georgia officials claim that the bill is necessary because the federal government has failed to do its job in securing the border and halting illegal immigration.

“The truth of the matter is that we’ve done more on enforcement than any previous administration. We have more border patrols. We have been engaging in serious crackdowns on employers who are hiring undocumented workers,” Obama said.

In an effort to avoid the legal challenges that Arizona faced, “reasonable suspicion” has been removed from the language of the Georgia legislation.


Read more at USA TODAY →

Federal Judge Blocks Local Town’s Day Laborer Law - They Can Return to Corners to Seek Work

Federal Judge Blocks Local Town’s Day Laborer Law - They Can Return to Corners to Seek Work

Photo: Day Laborers in Oyster Bay, New York

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit today upheld a preliminary injunction barring enforcement of an ordinance in Oyster Bay, Long Island that violates day laborers’ core constitutional right to free speech. As a result of the ruling, day laborers whose livelihoods were threatened because of the ordinance can continue to exercise their First Amendment rights and look for work without being ticketed or fined.

“This ruling is a great victory for the First Amendment and for the day laborers who can continue to work and support their families,” said Corey Stoughton, senior staff attorney for the New York Civil Liberties Union who argued the case before the Second Circuit. “Standing on the sidewalk to let people know that you are available for work is not a crime. The Constitution protects all people in this country, regardless of their background”

The lawsuit, Centro de la Comunidad Hispana v. Town of Oyster Bay, was filed on May 18, 2010 on behalf of Centro de la Comunidad Hispana de Locust Valley and the Workplace Project by the NYCLU, American Civil Liberties Union and LatinoJustice PRLDEF.

It challenges an ordinance enacted in September 2009 that prohibits standing on the sidewalk to solicit employment and bars motorists from stopping to solicit employment or hire workers. The Oyster Bay law, enacted purportedly to address traffic and pedestrian safety, criminalizes a wide variety of constitutionally protected speech that presents no threat to traffic safety, including, for example, students soliciting cars for a high school carwash fundraiser.

On May 20, 2010, a federal district judge issued a temporary restraining order halting enforcement of the ordinance. The ruling was a preliminary assessment that the
law is likely to be found unconstitutional and that the right to free speech should be protected while the court further considers the matter. Weeks later, the judge granted a preliminary injunction barring the law’s enforcement.

For nearly two decades, day laborers have gathered in Oyster Bay, particularly the Hamlet of Locust Valley and the Village of Farmingdale, to find work. After the ordinance passed, the Town stationed law enforcement officers at corners where workers and contractors typically meet, keeping contractors away from the site and intimidating workers seeking employment. The ordinance had a devastating effect on the workers, who typically depend on these jobs to feed themselves and their families, and frequently lack transportation to seek work elsewhere.

Local lawmakers and police officials have never explained why current road safety laws – such as New York State’s vehicle and traffic laws – are inadequate to protect motorists or pedestrians. At the public hearing, no resident or Oyster Bay Town Board member indicated that a single traffic accident had occurred as a result of a day laborer soliciting work. The legislative record on the ordinance contains no evidence that the presence of day laborers causes traffic problems.

Today’s unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit affirms the District Court’s ruling and remands the case to the lower court for trial.

Read more at NYCLU →

ThursdayApril 28, 2011