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MondayMay 2, 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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Rising Food Price Expected to Negatively Impact Urban Poor of Latin America

Rising Food Price Expected to Negatively Impact Urban Poor of Latin America

Photo: Food inflation in Latin America

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Rising international food prices could trigger an acceleration of inflation in several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean this year, highlighting the need for policies to protect the urban poor, according to a new study by Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

Net food importers with a greater share of spending concentrated on tradable foodstuffs and with little room to let their currency appreciate will be the hardest hit by higher international food prices, according to the study. The urban poor that do not have access to any enhanced income from self-grown products are most at risk from the food price shock.

“There is a need to increase and improve targeting of aid, perhaps through reformed conditional cash transfer schemes, to these groups to compensate the effect of the food price surge,” according to the Policy Note published by the IDB’s Research Department. “How will the food price shock affect inflation in Latin America and the Caribbean.”

Flexible exchange rates in other countries tend to offset the impact on domestic prices but this raises other concerns. A significant nominal appreciation may affect the competitiveness of other tradeable sectors. The challenge for net commodity exporters is to harness the current windfall and ensure that the economy remains competitive.

The report estimates the potential inflationary impact of higher international food and oil prices for 13 countries in the region and discusses policies that can be used to alleviate the impact of higher food prices on inflation. The study concludes that rising oil prices will only significantly affect inflation in a small number of countries in the region this year.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Comcast Set to Open Spanish-Language Call Center in Florida Employing 300 People

Comcast Set to Open Spanish-Language Call Center in Florida Employing 300 People

Photo: Spanish Language Center for Excellence

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Comcast Cable is set to open a new call center in Miramar, Florida that will be operating as a Spanish-language center, employing 300 people.  This dedicated customer-service center will handle inquiries and sales calls for the nation’s largest cable operator across the U.S.

In a prepared statement, Florida Governor Rick Scott said: “As Governor, I am working to make Florida the No. 1 place for job creation so that successful companies like Comcast will grow and expand in our state.” 

Once opened the center will be called Spanish-Language Center for Excellence.  The center will officially start handling calls in May and the company is starting to accept applications from bilingual applicants now.

The company has dramatically increased the amount of Spanish-language programming on TV, On Demand and online with the launch of Xfinity TV in Spanish, offers international calling plans that make it more affordable to call Latin America and other Spanish-speaking areas and has launched a Spanish version of SmartZone Communications Center, an online destination where customers can access and control their email, voice mail, address book and calendar as well as program their DVR.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico’s Press Now Listed as “Not Free” in World Press Report

Mexico’s Press Now Listed as “Not Free” in World Press Report

Photo: Man wears mask reading, "Stop Killing Journalists"

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As the drug war rages on in Mexico, the country’s press is becoming more and more stifled.

While HS News’ acquaintance behind the Narco Blog is still publishing the often-gruesome photos of the near-constant violence in Mexico, most media outlets have signed a pact to not publish such things, causing many to worry about the ever-declining amount of freedom the press has in Mexico.

The annual report from Freedom House, revealed that Mexico is showing one of the world’s quickest declines in press freedom. The pact the press was signed as journalists are intimidated and/or murdered, and newspapers are threatened and forced to print press releases from the drug cartels and other criminal groups.

“If the pact leads to fewer journalists being killed, that would probably improve the situation,” says Karin Karlekar, the managing editor of Freedom House’s Freedom of the Press Survey. “On the other hand, a codification of self-censorship will also make the situation worse. … It could be a situation where violence goes down but levels of self-censorship go up.”

Over the last decade, more than 60 Mexican journalists have been killed, with 10 of them losing their lives in just the last year.

The violence against the media in the country has elevated to such a level that some newspapers have resorted to asking the cartels which stories they would like published, in the hopes that the killing of their journalists stop.

In the Freedom House report, which in previous years had listed the country’s press as “partly free,” now has it listed as “not free,” joining the list of Cuba, Venezuela, and Honduras, as the only Latin American countries with that designation.

Read more at Christian Science Monitor →

Illegal Immigrants Lose Homes in Tornadoes, Fearful to Ask for Federal Aid

Illegal Immigrants Lose Homes in Tornadoes, Fearful to Ask for Federal Aid

Photo: Undocumented Aliens Losing Homes from AL tornadoes

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As the southeast region of the U.S. starts its recovery from deadly tornadoes that left countless dead, undocumented aliens living in the region are fearful to rebuild with federal aid.

For example, the 30 or so families that are illegally in the country and lost their homes and possessions in Alberta and Holt, Alabama are receiving help from the community and the church only.  They are fearful even to go back to their home sites, homes they own, because federal authorities are there cleaning up – the fear of deportation is too great.

“What happens is that many do not want to talk, they’re afraid of the police because they are illegal,” said Martin Izaguirre, a volunteer who works at a shelter.

Alabama’s official count indicates that only eight illegal aliens are still missing and uncounted for after the tornadoes.  Church groups and other undocumented individuals peg the number much higher – instead neighbors are looking for them.

Read more at Google News →

Colombian Performance Artist Dies Freakishly in Front of His Art Patrons (VIDEO)

Colombian Performance Artist Dies Freakishly in Front of His Art Patrons (VIDEO)

Photo: John Jairo Villamil's Last Art Piece

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John Jairo Villamil asphyxiated while in the middle of a performance art piece about his perception of Bogotá and its surroundings.

Villamil, 25, tied a garbage bag around his head, removed his shoes, and put his feet in a bucket of water, while holding in his left hand a chain with bills, and on his right a leaf from a plant. All while his art patrons were watching what they thought was another thought provoking performance by the student artist.

The young man had performed this ‘happening’ in different occasions to no adverse results, and his mother even suggested a few changes, to make the piece more impacting.

The art student audience at Bogota’s Universidad del Bosque sat still as Villamil’s breathing became agitated inside the bag, and didn’t move when he collapsed, as they thought it was all a part of the show.

Villamil died after five days in the ICU of the neighboring Clínica El Bosque.

The family of the deceased has denounced neglect from the part of the university, as they allege they failed to contact emergencies in a timely manner, and for allowing “irresponsible activities” on campus.

University officials regretted the incident, but denied any wrongdoing; Luis Arturo Rodríguez, the institution’s general secretary said they acted immediately after it became apparent the performance had gone wrong.

“[…] It was an academic exercise in which the student tried to create a representation using his own body, activity that he chose on his own, and regretfully ended in a tragedy” Rodríguez said.

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Minority Students Benefit Academically From Improved Self-Esteem

Minority Students Benefit Academically From Improved Self-Esteem

Photo: Higher self-esteem improves academics

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Researchers and psychologists Geoffrey L. Cohen and Gregory M. Walton found that while black and Latino 17-year-olds have the average reading level of 13-year-old whites, the key to improvement and success isn’t necessarily the drilling of information.

They suggest that “noncognitive” factors, such as the students’ sense that they fit in and are capable of doing and finishing their work, greatly affect what they learn. Meaning, if they believe they can, they are more likely to do well, or at least better.

The study shows that minority students are especially prone to the fear of failing. It revealed that almost 25 percent of male African-American kindergarteners are already convinced they lack the ability the to succeed in school. Psychologists have labeled that fearfulness “stereotype vulnerability,” and say it undermines the students’ performance. So if/when they do poorly, those fears are confirmed, and thus begins the cycle.

The researchers suggest that education policymakers, giving little weight to improving self-confidence and a sense of belonging, are failing a number of minority students who need to be encouraged, and helped to realize that success is possible.

Read more at Philly.com →

Argentine Novelist Ernesto Sábato Dies

Argentine Novelist Ernesto Sábato Dies

Photo: Ernesto Sábato

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The brilliant Argentine novelist died in Argentina Saturday, at the age of 99.

The remains of the author of “The Tunnel” were buried in a Buenos Aires cemetery, following a wake ceremony assisted by political, artistic and human right figures of the South American nation.

The writer, one of the most important writers in Argentina and the 1984 Cervantes Award Winner, died on Saturday from Pneumonia complications.

Sábato was born in the city of Rojas, on June 24th 1911.

In 1938, he earned a doctorate in Physics from La plata University, and worked alongside Marie and Pierre Curie during war times.

“In Paris, I assisted in breaking the uranium atom, which was being disputed by three laboratories: the ‘race’ was won by a German. I thought it was the beginning of the apocalypse”

Sábato won a vast array of awards for his novels, considered pillars of Latin American existentialism. “The Tunnel” and “Of Heroes and Graves” are widely regarded as two of the most important works in contemporary literature.

“I don’t belong to any party, I just support anything I think is good for this sickly country and denounce anything I find false, despicable, dirty, corrupt and hypocritical”

Read more by HS News Staff →

The “Latino Paradox” and Its Effects

The “Latino Paradox” and Its Effects

Photo: The Latino Paradox

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As the life expectancy continues to increase, the Latino community is faced with what many experts call the “Latino paradox,” in which much like the overall population, they are living longer, yet they often suffer from chronic health problems that lower their quality of life.

While the Latino population continues to grow, the number of “frail elderly” will grow as well. In fact, as a whole, the Latino population has a higher life expectancy than non-Latinos – Mexican-Americans in particular. Unfortunately, this “extra time” has trade-offs since chronic health issues usually accompany the years.

Experts are still trying to address the paradox though evidence suggests that there is a link between poverty, lack of education, and “the loss of the immigrant advantage through selective health risk behaviors, such as smoking and fast-food diet,” said Jacqueline Angel, a Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs.

She adds that Latino culture can make life a struggle, not only for those ill and aging, but for the family members that take care of them.

Angel adds, “Many Latinos spend their working lives in low-paying jobs that preclude saving for retirement. Even those who are eligible for Social Security often receive low benefits and rely heavily on publicly funded programs such as Medicaid that are at risk of continuing cutbacks and restructuring. The tight economy also affects younger Latinos, with the escalating cost of living often making it difficult to support themselves and their children, much less their aging parents. The high unemployment rate for Latinos — 11.3 percent in March 2011 — further exacerbates the problem.”

Read more at Know →

Train Delays in Argentine Prompts Commuters To Torch Trains (VIDEO)

Train Delays in Argentine Prompts Commuters To Torch Trains (VIDEO)

Photo: Arson in Argentine Trains

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Image Government officials say the arson in three different stations was premeditated, and politically motivated.

The secretary of transportation of Argentina, Mr. Juan Pablo Schavi, said the enterprise “Trains of Buenos Aires” has filed a “sabotage” complaint, following an investigation which revealed that delays, were caused by a derailment in Sarmiento, an accident that was caused by foul play, and not mechanical fault. At first glance, the ensuing delays from the derailment caused commuters to be angry and proceed to torch numerous trains in anger.

ImageThese disgruntled commuters allegedly burnt 8 train cars in the stations of Haedo, Ciudadela, Ramos Mejia and Liniers. Dozens of people were involved and several were arrested.

Buenos Aires Trains spokesman Gustavo Gago says it’s not easy to set a train on fire, but the mobs appeared to be well-organized, destroying security cameras and coming prepared for the arson attacks. This lead authorities to believe that the derailment and the ‘disgruntled commuters’ were actually organized criminals - though an investigation is still underway.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Report: Government Spends More Than $1.5 Billion to Jail Undocumented Immigrants

Report: Government Spends More Than $1.5 Billion to Jail Undocumented Immigrants

Photo: Government Spends More Than $1.5 Billion to Jail Undocumented Immigrants

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A new report issued by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has revealed that the federal government spends over $1.5 billion a year detaining undocumented immigrants throughout the country.

The report states that over the past five years, the number of jailed non-U.S. citizens in federal prisons has jumped to 55,000, an increase of 4,000. State prisons have seen an increase of roughly 75,000, for a total of 296,000.

According to the study, since 2001, about 25 percent of the population of federal prisons is made up of undocumented immigrants. Of those, almost 70 percent were born in Mexico. As for state prisons, about 66 percent were born in Mexico. Around 5 percent are from the Dominican Republic, and another 5 percent are from Colombia.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who sits on the House Judiciary Committee’s Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security & International Law subcommittee, is now using the study to push for the construction of a wall and fence at the U.S.-Mexico border to stop people from entering the country illegally.

“We have to secure our southern border with a fence, a wall and a fence,” King stated. “That would drastically reduce the ability of criminal aliens to enter the United States, providing needed relief to overburdened state prison systems and to taxpayers. We also have to do a better job of removing criminal aliens who are apprehended.”

Read more at The Hill →

REPORT:  Corporate Boards Getting Whiter, Earning a “D” for Diversity

REPORT:  Corporate Boards Getting Whiter, Earning a “D” for Diversity

Photo: Minority Board Representation Declines

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According to a recently released report from the Alliance for Board diversity, in spite of the times, American corporate boards are getting whiter.

Six years after the first ABD Census, this report shows that white men still overwhelmingly dominate corporate boards with few overall gains for minorities and a significant loss of seats for African-American men.

Key findings from this report include:

• In the Fortune 100, between 2004 and 2010:

o Men still dominated boardrooms. In 2010 they held 82.0 percent of board seats; in 2004, 83.1 percent.

o White men have actually increased their share of board seats in corporate America—from 71.2 to 72.9 percent. Minorities and women shared the remainder, with very few seats occupied by Asian Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, or minority women in particular.

o More specifically, African-American women held 2.1 percent of seats; Hispanic women held 0.9 percent; Asian Pacific Islander women held 0.5 percent; African-American men held 4.2 percent; Hispanic men held 3.1 percent; and Asian Pacific Islander men held 1.7 percent.

• Fortune 500 boards were less diverse than Fortune 100 boards.

• More specifically, African-American women held 1.9 percent of Fortune 500 board seats; Hispanic women held 0.7 percent; Asian Pacific Islander women held 0.3 percent; African-American men held 2.7 percent; Hispanic men held 2.3 percent; and Asian Pacific Islander men held 1.8 percent.

• Approximately one-half of Fortune 500 company boards were composed of 20 percent or fewer women and/or minorities.

• Women and minorities were significantly underrepresented in Fortune 500 board leadership positions. White men held 94.9 percent of board chair positions. 

o There was not a single Latina lead director or board chair.

Read more at Alliance for Board Diversity →

Latter-day Saints Branch President in Utah Arrested, Faces Deportation to El Salvador

Latter-day Saints Branch President in Utah Arrested, Faces Deportation to El Salvador

Photo: Felix Joaquin Callejas-Hernandez, an LSD branch president now faces deporation

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Felix Joaquin Callejas-Hernandez, a Utah branch president for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is faces deportation after it ws discovered he was in the United States illegally.

Callejas-Hernandez, 53, is currently detained at Utah County Jail and awaits deportation to El Salvador. He, along with his wife and two teenage children, was arrested by immigration agents on April 19.

Tony Yapias, director of Projecto Latino de Utah, said, “There’s a lot of speculation about what happened, but this specific case, and this family, is a real tragedy in that none of them committed a crime.”

Yapias said that the family had sought asylum and remained in the U.S. while attempting to become legal. He added that the church is now divided on the subject of immigration, and that the family’s case now has LDS Church members arguing amongst themselves.

“We have to put a stop to the deportation caucus, LDS members who really want our Latinos deported,” he said. “I wish our system would change, or we could do something with our system so we would have good people like the Callejas family and not be in a similar position as they are now.”

On Friday, April 29, LDS Church spokesperson Scott Trotter released a statement on the Callejas-Hernandez family’s situation.

“This case reminds us all of the need to address immigration reform. As we have stated, we believe any solution should include the following three principles: the commandment to ‘love thy neighbor,’ the importance of keeping families intact and the federal government’s obligation to secure its border.”

Yapias said that Felix is “not resentful of what happened,” and is actually “sharing the gospel with other inmates in jail.”

Jail records indicate his wife Lucia Margarita Castillo de Callejas, 52, son Jose Moroni Callejas-Castillo, 19, and daughter Margarita Concepcion Callejas-Castillo, 18, were all released April 22.

Read more at KSL NBC 5 (Salt Lake) →

World Reacts to Osama Bin Laden’s Death: Latin American Newspaper Headlines

World Reacts to Osama Bin Laden’s Death: Latin American Newspaper Headlines

Photo: Latin American Newspaper Headlines

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The World’s more sought after fugitive, has been killed in an operative in Pakistan. Read the reactions of the biggest Latin American names in Journalism.

Image

Read more by HS News Staff →

More Bad News for Spain With Unemployment Rate Hitting 21.3%

More Bad News for Spain With Unemployment Rate Hitting 21.3%

Photo: Spain's Unemployment Hits 21.3%

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Spain received more bad news - news that will affect its ability to recovery economically – when its unemployment rate hit 21.29% for the first quarter of the year.

The unemployment rate, that was already at record levels, now represents that 4.9 million Spaniards are without work.  The first quarter report shows that all sectors of the economy lost jobs with no industry left untouched. 

This news comes in light of an austerity program that all Spaniards are living under as the country tries to reduce its public deficit and not declare itself insolvent.

Read more at CNN →

17 Sex Offenders Leave U.S. to Puerto Rico and Fail to Register - All are Indicted and Arrested

A federal grand jury on Tuesday indicted 17 convicted sex offenders who failed to register with the Puerto Rico authorities after traveling to Puerto Rico from the continental United States.

The indictment stemmed from a multi-agency investigation led by the U.S. Marshals Service, in collaboration with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD), the San Juan Municipal Police and the Puerto Rico Department of Justice.

Following is the list of 17 defendants, their conviction date, and the state they were convicted:

  * Tomas Papote-Mercado - convicted in September 2004 in Pennsylvania
  * Irvin Baez-Amadeo - convicted in October 2000 in Massachusetts
  * Hector M. González-Rodríguez - convicted in April 2002 in New Hampshire
  * Mario Albino-Oliveras, aka Mayito - convicted in March 1998 in Massachusetts
  * German Rodríguez-Vázquez - convicted in March 2009 in Florida
  * Felipe Martínez-Vázquez - convicted in June 1989 in Massachusetts
  * José A. Almodovar-Falcon - convicted in November 2005 in Illinois
  * Carlos J. Heredia - convicted in May 1998 in Connecticut
  * Kelvin Vargas-Galicia - convicted in September 2004 in Connecticut
  * José A. Cruz-Vázquez - convicted in February 1991 in Florida
  * José A. Enriquez-Sepulveda - convicted in April 1998 in Florida
  * Eliezer Martínez-Álvarez - convicted in October 2005 in Massachusetts
  * Alexander Meléndez-Maldonado - convicted in January 2005 in Connecticut
  * Donald Lee Peters - convicted in August 2001 in Wyoming
  * Eduardo Pacheco - convicted in June 1998 in New York
  * Alex S. Rodríguez-Santana - convicted in 1994 in Delaware
  * José F. Morales-Cruz - convicted in October 1994 in New Jersey

“Convicted sex offenders who fail to register as such in our jurisdiction will be sought, apprehended and prosecuted as this case clearly shows,” said Roberto Escobar Vargas, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Puerto Rico. “ICE HSI will continue supporting our federal, state, and local partners in this effort to make our communities safer.”

“The arrest of these individuals underscores the importance of joint investigative efforts with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. We will continue to prosecute these sex offenders who travel to our jurisdiction and fail to comply with their obligation to register with the authorities, and we will ensure that the highest applicable penalties are imposed against these offenders. Puerto Rico will not be a safe haven for these individuals,” said U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez.

Under the provisions of the Adam Walsh Protection and Safety Act, a previously convicted sex offender, who travels in interstate or in foreign commerce and fails to register, faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Read more by HS News Staff →

World Wide Travel Alert Issued in Light of the Killing of Osama bin Laden

The U.S. Department of State alerts U.S. citizens traveling and residing abroad to the enhanced potential for anti-American violence given recent counter-terrorism activity in Pakistan.  Given the uncertainty and volatility of the current situation, U.S. citizens in areas where recent events could cause anti-American violence are strongly urged to limit their travel outside of their homes and hotels and avoid mass gatherings and demonstrations. 

U.S. citizens should stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of their surroundings at all times.  This Travel Alert expires August 1, 2011.

U.S. Embassy operations in affected areas will continue to the extent possible under the constraints of any evolving security situation.  U.S. government facilities worldwide remain at a heightened state of alert.  These facilities may temporarily close or periodically suspend public services to assess their security posture.  In those instances, U.S. Embassies and Consulates will make every effort to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens.  U.S. citizens abroad are urged to monitor the local news and maintain contact with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Arizona Governor Brewer Authorizes Border Fence, Hopes to Fund with Donations

Arizona Governor Brewer Authorizes Border Fence, Hopes to Fund with Donations

Photo: U.S-Mexico border fence

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Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer has signed a bill authorizing the construction of a U.S.-Mexico border fence that will either connect with other states or be a stand alone.

The bill lacks clarity since it does not specify a budget or identify where the funds would come from to build – however the state is welcoming donations, seeking prison labor and private contractors to help get the fence built.

What is also unclear is if Brewer’s fence will be in addition to the federal government’s border fence or in areas where illegal immigration is still occurring in Arizona or in areas where there is no fencing at all, some of that land being federal land.

Read more at CBS News →



MondayMay 2, 2011