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FridayMay 6, 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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UN Officials Say Latin America and the Caribbean Remain Most Socially Unequal Region

UN Officials Say Latin America and the Caribbean Remain Most Socially Unequal Region

Photo: Latin America Inequality

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Latin America and the Caribbean remains the most socially unequal region in the world, the head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said today, highlighting the measures required to tackle the problem in a region which has made significant strides in reducing poverty.

“Ten out of the fifteen most unequal countries in the world are in Latin America and the Caribbean,” said Helen Clark, the UNDP Administrator, addressing the opening session of the 4th Ministerial Forum on Development in Latin America at UN Headquarters in New York. “While the region is not the poorest in the world, it is the most unequal,” she said.

Miss Clark gave the reasons for inequality in the region as continuing gaps in the quality of social services and access to them; institutional and regulatory challenges, including insecure property rights and limited access to justice, which affect the poor mostly; and a lack of opportunity for decent work.

Miss Clark stressed that countries in the region needed to address inequality through specific public policy instruments, rather than treat it as a by-product of successful poverty reduction programs.

“Those instruments need to reflect the multi-dimensional nature of inequality across the economic, political, and social dimensions, and be designed to reach the poorest and most vulnerable people, including women, indigenous people and Afro-descendants,” she said.

The Administrator also spoke of the need to strengthen the capacity to mobilize domestic resources, pointing out that the tax burden among countries in the region ranges from 10 to 23 percentage points lower than the average in other regions of the world, and tax evasion is widespread.

“UNDP can assist with designing effective policy in these areas, drawing on the extensive experience gained and knowledge derived from our work around the world and across the development spectrum.”

Commenting on the relevance of development assistance to middle income countries, such as those in Latin America, Miss Clark emphasized that the income range within that category remained wide.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Apple Manufacturer Foxconn Looking to Build $12 Billion Factory in Brazil, Presents Demands

Apple Manufacturer Foxconn Looking to Build $12 Billion Factory in Brazil, Presents Demands

Photo: Foxconn Looking to Build $12 Billion Factory in Brazil

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Apple’s China-based manufacturer, Foxconn, is looking to build a $12 billion plant in Brazil, but has presented the country with a list of demands that must first be met.

On the list are the following:

• A large facility, housing more than one Foxconn division
• High-speed Wi-Fi
• Expedited shipping at airports, including São Paulo
• Funding support from the Brazilian National Development Bank
• Assistance in finding local, smaller investors
• Infrastructure improvements to permit fast delivery in and out of the site
• Fiber optic Net connections

In response, Brazil’s government, by way of President Dilma Rousseff has demanded that Foxconn primarily employ local labor, share technology and afford “basic respect” of the country’s labor laws, which can get tricky, especially considering China-based Foxconn has been in the throws of a scandal at home for years regarding work conditions. Some allege the conditions have been so bad as to lead a large number of employees to commit suicide.

So while Foxconn has presented a list of demands, so too has Brazil, and the country shows no sign that they will simply lay down for a chance to increase revenue.

Read more at Fast Company →

Pancho Villa’s Great Nephew New Top Cop in Mexico’s Quintana Roo

Pancho Villa’s Great Nephew New Top Cop in Mexico’s Quintana Roo

Photo: Carlos Bibiano Villa Castillo, Pancho Villa's great nephew, now head Quintana Roo's police force

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The name Carlos Bibiano Villa Castillo may not be familiar to many outside of Mexico, but the retired Mexican army general, and new head of coast state Quintana Roo’s department of public security is the great nephew of the revolutionary leader Pancho Villa.

On April 4, 2011, the 62-year-old took office in the Caribbean state, and like a number of other authorities, was sent a message.

“This is a little gift for you,” read a note from the drug cartel Los Zetas. The ”greeting” was found on a dismembered body dumped near Cancun. “You’re next, Villa.”

“Damn good that they told me,” he told The Associated Press. “If they are warning me, I’ll be ready.”

The former army general shares the intensity once seen by his great uncle, and like him, he doesn’t plan to back down.

The father of three says he sleeps with a rifle and a .44 caliber pistol. At 16, he joined the military and during his 43-year military service, became a telecommunications and intelligence expert. Calling the country his mother, and the army his father, Villa joins the growing number of retired military officers taking top spots in states’ public security departments.

Mexico’s Institute for Security and Democracy reportedly shows that 17 of the 32 states have retired military officials like Villa as top cops. Just two year ago, there were only six.

While some feel a sense of security with military men in top police positions, others, like Juan Salgado, a specialist in public safety research at Mexico’s Center for Economic Research and Teaching, and Oscar Manuel Soto, a researcher for the National Institute of Criminal Justice, worry that they may make the violent situation in Mexico worse.

Soto believes that while military officers bring the benefit of weapons and tactics training to their positions, their abilities are suited “to handle situations of war, not to handle civilian situations, and that is a big problem.”

Salgado agreed, saying, “Military men have skills for eliminating their enemies, but not necessarily in crime prevention.”

Villa has been in office for 14 months, and in that time the Coahuila state commission on humans rights has brought four cases against him, investigating reports of arbitrary detention by local police.

If a recent comments from Villa are any indication of what to expect, human rights activists will likely not be happy.

“When I catch a Zeta ... I kill him. Why interrogate him?” he told La Jornada, a local nespaper.

He’s also been quoted as saying, “The only thing (a police chief) needs is a set of balls, and no fear.”

Read more at Associated Press →

Central and South America Saw Increase in Foreign Investment in 2010

Central and South America Saw Increase in Foreign Investment in 2010

Photo: Central and South America Saw Increase in Foreign Investment in 2010

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A report from the United Nations is showing an increase of 40 percent in foreign direct investment in Latin America, which adds up to about $113 billion.

Brazil in particular saw a big jump in foreign entity investments. Following the South American country was Mexico.

In South America alone, foreign investment increased by 56 percent ($85.1 billion). This was driven by investors looking to take advantage of Brazil’s domestic market and get in on commodities like copper and oil. The U.N. predicts that the country’s foreign investments will easily top $50 billion in 2011. In 2010, it reached $48.5 billion, which was 87 percent more than in 2009.

Overall, the U.N. said Latin American and the Caribbean showed the strongest growth of an region.

In Mexico, foreign investment rose 17 percent, to end the year with an additional $17.7 billion from the year before. Most of which went to manufacturing. Alicia Barcena, executive secretary of the U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) expects that to top $20 billion this year.

While the foreign investments in Central and South America rose overall, Colombia, Ecuador, and El Salvador were the only countries that did not see an increase. In fact, they saw a decrease. The Caribbean also saw investment flows drops with the exception of Haiti, which, following the 2010 earthquake, saw a 303 percent jump.

Read more at The Wall Street Journal →

Protesters in Mexico March to End Calderon’s “Badly Planned” War on Drugs

Protesters in Mexico March to End Calderon’s “Badly Planned” War on Drugs

Photo: Protesters march in Mexico to end the violence

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In Mexico, a protest consisting of hundreds of marchers has begun. They walk in their capital in demand of peace and an end to the violent drug war that is destroying their country from within.

Thursday, protesters began a 3-day march in Mexico City, some carrying signs with the names of the victims of the overwhelming increase in violence, others with a clear message, “STOP THE WAR.”

The 50-mile walk included one of the most outspoken opponents of President Calderon’s drug war, poet Javier Sicilia, whose 24-year-old son’s body was found crammed into a car with six other bodies in Cuernavaca, Mexico. All the victims’ hands, wrists, and heads were wrapped with masking tape. Authorities say all were suffocated to death.

“We cannot understand a war that is badly planned, a war that is badly directed. We cannot understand why he does not understand why the criminals are out there. If they are out there, it is because the institutions and the state are co-opted,” Sicilia said.

The march is scheduled to end on Sunday in Mexico City’s central square. A demonstration will be held as the protesters demand that authorities agree to re-establish peace and justice in Mexico.

President Calderon issued a statement Thursday saying, “Retreating from the fight is not an option. Quite the opposite. We must redouble our efforts, because if we stop fighting, they are going to kidnap, extort and kill all over the country … marching back means things will get worse. If we retreat, we will allow gangs of criminals to walk all the streets of Mexico with impunity, assaulting people without anyone stopping them.”

Recently, Calderon told CNN, “Just like you, I also want a Mexico without violence. I want a peaceful Mexico. But this goal will not be accomplished with false exits. The solution is to stop the criminals, who are the enemies of Mexico.”

Read more at Cnn →

Campaign Looks to Preserve Latino Culture With Help From Linda Ronstadt and Latino Youth (VIDEO)

Campaign Looks to Preserve Latino Culture With Help From Linda Ronstadt and Latino Youth (VIDEO)

Photo: Valor Latino looks to engage young Latinos in hopes of preserving culture, music, and identity.

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Linda Ronstadt and other celebrities are lending their names, faces, and support to a new campaign intended to engage Latino youth in their culture and history by way of creative expression.

Valor Latino, which launched Wednesday at Los Cenzontles (The Mockingbirds) Mexican Arts Center in San Pablo, California, has garnered support from Ronstadt, filmmaker Les Blank, and even David Hidalgo of popular rock band Los Lobos.

Ronstadt said the campaign is aimed at reaching more than the 200 students taught at the center each quarter. She said that for too long Latino youth had “been invisible in this culture.”

Los Cenzontles founder Eugene Rodriguez called young Latinos “the fastest-growing population in the United States,” and said, “We can choose to marginalize them or we can choose to invest in them.” And that’s exactly what Valor Latino is about.

The movement was created to showcase Los Cenzontles’ 17-year dedication to the preservation of Latino-inspired music styles and other aspects of Mexican culture.

ImageIn a video called “La Pelota” (The Ball), animation is used to depict a “political soccer game” if you will, in which the population is used as a soccer ball. The video, by Dioniso Ceballos, incorporates information from a study by a University of California Davis professor, and includes the ever-growing number of Latino eligible to vote.

“It’s really learn your tradition first,” Rodriguez said. “We need to recognize who we are, where we come from. We need to take the best from our ancestral culture, take the best of what we have in the United States and that’s our future.”

Videos like Ceballos’ and those of a more musical nature are encouraged, and Rodriguez hopes video submissions will continue to come in so that they can be posted on the organization’s YouTube as well as appear on Valor Latino’s website.

“We’re inviting other young people to show us their vision for America,” he said. “They can send in anything, really, as long as they have heart.”

He adds that social media allows for a longer reach, and is excited to reach as many people as possible. “Facebook and Twitter and whatever else they have next year” they’ll use it.

Related Videos

Read more at Mercury News →

RESEARCH: Parent’s Limited English Tends to Prolong their Child’s Hospital Stay

RESEARCH: Parent’s Limited English Tends to Prolong their Child’s Hospital Stay

Photo: Bilingual Needs in Hospital

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Children have longer hospital stays if their parents or other main caregivers have poor English language skills, a U.S. study finds.

The research, published in the May issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, included almost 1,300 children admitted to a children’s hospital in the Midwest for treatment of infections requiring long-term antibiotics.

Among the parents or primary caregivers of those children, about 97 percent were proficient in English and the rest had limited English proficiency. The parents/caregivers with poorer English were more likely to be Hispanic and either uninsured or covered by Medicaid.

The median length of hospital stay for all patients was about four days, but was about six days for children with less fluent parents, said the researchers from Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, Mo.

The study also found that children of parents with less-than-proficient English were less likely to receive a home health care referral than those with English-proficient parents (6.9 percent vs. 32.6 percent).

The researchers noted that a language other than English is now spoken in 14 million U.S. households by more than 55 million—about one in five—U.S. residents. Nearly half of those people say they have limited English proficiency or speak English less than well.

As this group continues “growing exponentially, the medical community must ensure that all patients with [limited English proficiency] receive adequate interpreter services,” the study authors concluded. “Increasing the number and quality of trained medical interpreters and translators, improving the infrastructure for a multilingual approach to care, and further minimizing multi-tiered care based on language are important areas for advocacy.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

U.S. Catholic Bishops Launch Major-Spanish Media Initiative in Support of Traditional Marriage

U.S. Catholic Bishops Launch Major-Spanish Media Initiative in Support of Traditional Marriage

Photo: Latinos in Support of Traditional Marriage

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The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) announced the launch of a major Spanish-language media initiative in support of marriage and the family.

The radio public service announcement (PSA) campaign, titled “Matrimonios que inspiran” (Marriages That Inspire), is composed of nine unique 30-second radio spots, targeted to different age demographics.

The campaign directly speaks to the many challenges faced today by couples in sustaining healthy marriages and family life. It is designed to more-effectively address the specific pastoral needs of the Spanish-speaking community in the U.S.

“Most Latinos believe in the institution of marriage” said Alejandro Aguilera-Titus, director for Hispanic Affairs at the Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church and coordinator the activity. “Our main communications’ objective with the campaign is to revalidate the significance of marriage as the foundation for a stronger, more stable family.”

According to U.S. Census Bureau data, in 2010 less than half of U.S. households, 49.7 percent, were headed by a married couple versus 78 percent in 1950. By comparison, 2010 Census data reveals that 66 percent of Hispanic households were made up of a married couple.

“We believe the PSA campaign is an effective method to motivate and inspire Hispanic listeners on this topic,” Aguilera said.

The PSA campaign was developed by OpenMedia (openmedia.tv) of Miami, Florida, and was financed through a grant from the Catholic Communication Campaign. The radio spots will roll out in three individual “media waves” throughout 2011, with the first announcements expected to begin airing in May.

The radio campaign has its complement in a dedicated Spanish-language website, www.portumatrimonio.org, which launched in 2010. The successful website has had over a 100,000 visitors in just one year, and averages 1,500 visits daily. It also has 1,200 fans on Facebook. The site has received very positive reviews and feedback from Spanish-language users around the country and around the world.

“We hope the radio spots also will motivate listeners to visit portumatrimonio.org, where they’ll find valuable, insightful and practical information for anyone seeking to strengthen their marital and family unions”, Aguilera said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Hispanic Bar Association Leaders Nominated to the Federal Bench

Hispanic Bar Association Leaders Nominated to the Federal Bench

Photo: Latino Federal Judges

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The Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) commends President Barack H. Obama for his nomination yesterday afternoon of The Honorable Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California; Edgardo Ramos for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and The Honorable Robert Scola to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Diana S. Sen, HNBA President, noted that, “The HNBA is proud to support the nomination of these highly qualified candidates, and we now look to the U.S. Senate to take the necessary steps to advance these qualified nominees speedily through the confirmation process. Given the current judicial vacancy crisis present in our federal courts, the HNBA is hopeful that they will be confirmed without delay.”

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers is a Superior Court Judge in Alameda County, California, where she has served since 2008.  Prior to being appointed to the bench, Judge Gonzalez Rogers served Alameda County as a pro tem judge from 2007 to 2008 and as a member of the civil grand jury from 2005 to 2007, serving as foreperson from 2006 to 2007.  Previously, she worked as a litigator in private practice at the law firm of Cooley Godward LLP (now Cooley LLP) in San Francisco from 1991 to 2003, where she was an equity partner from 1999 to 2001.  Judge Gonzalez Rogers received her J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law and her A.B., cum laude, from Princeton University.

Edgardo Ramos has been a partner with the law firm Day Pitney LLP since 2002.  He also serves as a Commissioner on the New York City Commission to Combat Police Corruption, an appointment he has held since 2003.  Prior to joining Day Pitney, Ramos served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of New York from 1992 to 2002.  From 1987 to 1992, Ramos worked in private practice as an associate with Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP.  Ramos received his J.D. from Harvard Law School and his B.A. from Yale College.

Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr. serves as a Judge on Florida’s Eleventh Judicial Circuit, where he has presided over criminal, civil, and family law matters since 1995.  Prior to joining the bench, he spent a decade in private practice as both a sole practitioner and, from 1992 to 1993, at the law firm of Quinon, Strafer & Scola, as a criminal defense attorney representing a wide range of defendants in both state and federal courts.  Judge Scola began his law practice at the Miami-Dade Office of the State Attorney, where he worked from 1980 to 1986.  He received his J.D., cum laude, from Boston College Law School and his B.A. from Brown University.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latina Victims of Domestic Violence More Likely to Experience Postpartum Depression

Latinas who endure violence at the hands of a partner during or within a year of pregnancy are five times more likely to suffer postpartum depression than women who have not experienced such violence, according to a new study by researchers at the UCLA Center for Culture, Trauma and Mental Health Disparities.

The study, published in the current issue of Archives of Women’s Mental Health, suggests that recent exposure to intimate partner violence, or IPV, is a much stronger prenatal predictor of postpartum depression than even prenatal depression, which is generally considered the most significant predictor.

In addition, recent partner violence has a stronger effect on postpartum depression than prior episodes of trauma from either partners or non-partners, the researchers said.

The authors suggest that pregnant women be screened for both prenatal depression and IPV.

This research derives from Proyecto Cuna (Baby Cradle), a study begun in 2003 to trace the effects of trauma on maternal and child health among Latinas. Participants were recruited from obstetric and gynecologic clinics at two private, nonprofit health care organizations in largely Latino communities. In total, 210 women, aged 18 and older, were enrolled in the current study.

The researchers found that women who had experienced IPV during pregnancy or within the 12 months prior to pregnancy were 5.4 times more likely to suffer postpartum depression than women who had not experienced recent IPV.

“This finding is true even after controlling for prenatal depression and low social support, which shows that recent IPV exposure during and close to the pregnancy is a very strong predictor of postpartum depression among Latinas,” Valentine said.

The study also found that women who had experienced prenatal depression were 3.5 times likelier to experience postpartum depression than women who had not experienced prenatal depression.

Among the other findings:

  * 43.7 percent of the women (83 participants) met the criteria for depression during their first postpartum year.
  * 33.2 percent (63) demonstrated depression symptoms during the prenatal period.
  * 20.5 percent (39) experienced IPV within the prior 12 months.
  * 23.2 percent (44) had experienced IPV further in the past.

According to the authors, the study does have some limitations, given that the subjects were largely Spanish-speaking, non-U.S. born, low-income Latinas, and the results may not be entirely applicable to other populations. Still, they said, the findings merit further study.

A grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to the UCLA Center for Trauma, Culture and Mental Health Disparities funded this study.

Valentine’s co-authors on the study are Michael Rodriguez and Muyu Zhang of UCLA, and Lisa M. Lapeyrouse of the University of Texas–El Paso.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Illinois Senate Passes their own version of The Dream Act..On to the House Now

Illinois Senate Passes their own version of The Dream Act..On to the House Now

Photo: Il Dream Act

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This week , the Illinois Senate passed the Illinois Dream Act with an overwhelming 45-11 bipartisan vote- with 11 GOP Senators voting in favor of the bill.

The Illinois DREAM Act now moves to the Illinois House, where it should see a vote in the next several weeks. The heroes in the Senate are the following;  Senate President John Cullerton who made a commitment to ICIRR and kept it, Illinois Senate Latino Caucus Assistant Majority Leader Tony Munoz, Senator William Delgado, Senator Martin Sandoval, and Senator Iris Martinez we all supportive. Finally it is hugely important that fully HALF of the Republican Senators, led by Minority Leader Christine Radogno and Senator Bill Brady, voted for the Illinois DREAM Act! We will have no success for immigrants without bi-partisanship.

We also had another amazing victory yesterday! Governor Pat Quinn, with the support of law enforcement, has made Illinois the first state in the country to opt-out of the flawed Secure Communities program. Governor Quinn sent a letter to the Homeland Secruity:

“Due to the conflict between the stated purpose of Secure Communities and the implementation of the program, [Illinois State Police] will no longer participate in the Secure Communities program.”

We are grateful to the legislators who made this possible

Neither of these two victories would have been possible without our champions in the state house. Senate President Cullerton for sponsoring the Illinois Dream Act and Representative Burke for sponsoring the Smart Enforcement Act. All the members of the Latino Caucus did an absolutely amazing job advocating on behalf of immigrant communities - not only on the Illinois Dream Act and Secure Communities, but also supporting fair redistricting and budgeting for our communities.

Already the anti-immigrants have taken to the air on talk radio condemning Governor Quinn and the Latino Caucus for their courageous action.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Numerous Properties in Latin America and Spain Being Considered for UNESCO’s World Heritage List

Numerous Properties in Latin America and Spain Being Considered for UNESCO’s World Heritage List

Photo: Fundidora Monterre Park, Mexico

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Remarkable natural and cultural properties from 40 countries will be considered for inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage List during the meeting of the World Heritage Committee in Paris (19 – 29 June).

Six of these countries stand to have properties inscribed on the World Heritage List for the first time during the forthcoming session: Barbados, Jamaica, Micronesia, Palau, Congo, and the United Arab Emirates. 

The following Latin American cultural properties will be considered for addition to the list: 

Coffee Cultural Landscape (Colombia); The architectural work of Le Corbusier, an outstanding contribution to the Modern Movement (France, Argentina, Belgium, Germany, Japan, Switzerland); Fundidora Monterre (Mexico); and Cultural Landscape of the Serra de Tramuntana (Spain).

There are no natural properties or mixed natural and cultural sites being considered in Latin America. 

The World Heritage Committee, responsible for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention, comprises representatives of 21 countries, elected by the States Parties of the World Heritage Convention for four years. Each year, the Committee adds new sites to the List. 


Read more at UNESCO →

FridayMay 6, 2011