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MondayMay 23, 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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Thousands Turn Out for Beatification of Sister Dulce in Brazil

Thousands Turn Out for Beatification of Sister Dulce in Brazil

Photo: Sister Dulce of Brazil is Beatified

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Close to 70,000 turned out on Sunday in Brazil for the beatification of Sister Dulce Lopez, including President Dilma Rousseff, while thousands others watched the live broadcast.

Irma Dulce was a Brazilian nun known as Sister Dulce who worked with Brazil’s poorest and started the ‘Charitable Works Foundation of Sister Dulce’ now one of the country’s largest philanthropic organizations.

When she died in 1992 she had already had two audiences with Pope John Paul II, been nominated for a Peace Prize and is considered one of the most admired women in Brazil.

The ceremony was led by Brazilian Cardinal Dom Geraldo Majella Agnelo who represented Pope Benedict who was not present.  A miracle in 2001 is attributed to Sister Dulce.

Read more at Catholic Culture →

UNESCO to Name Three Brazilians as Goodwill Ambassadors

UNESCO to Name Three Brazilians as Goodwill Ambassadors

Photo: UNESCO to Name Brazilian Ambassadors

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Three Brazilians – a businessman, a designer and an artist – will be formally named Goodwill Ambassadors for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Friday, the agency announced today.

UNESCO said the new ambassadors, the businessman Nizan Guanaes, the designer Oskar Metsavaht and the artist Vik Muniz, will serve for two years as unpaid ambassadors using their talents and fame to advocate UNESCO ideals on behalf of vulnerable groups in Brazil and elsewhere.

Mr. Guanaes, 52, is the chairman of Grupo ABC de Comunicação, which brings together 18 advertising, marketing, content and entertainment companies. Mr Guanaes is also the President of the Association of Entrepreneurs and Businessmen Friends of UNESCO, which he founded in 2004 with Oskar Metsavaht.

Mr. Metsavaht, born in 1961, trained as an orthopaedist. In 1997 he created the sportswear label Osklen, which promotes a philosophy of living in harmony with the environment. He is also the founder of Instituto-E, a non-profit organization in Rio de Janeiro that promotes sustainable human development through its e-brigaders, groups of young people working for sustainable development, environmental protection and social inclusion.

Mr. Muniz, born in São Paulo in 1961, has lived in New York since the late 1980s. He uses photography to immortalize the images he creates with materials as varied as sugar, chocolate, diamonds, dust and recycled objects. He has shown his work in major museums and galleries around the world. His award-winning documentary film Waste Land is based on one of his projects.

The new ambassadors will join a roster that also includes former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela, the Cuban ballerina and choreographer Alicia Alonso and Princess Caroline of Hanover.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Study Reveals Incas Prospered Thanks to Llama Poop

Study Reveals Incas Prospered Thanks to Llama Poop

Photo: Llama dung helped Incas prosper

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New research identifies llama dung as the key to the success of the Incan empire before the arrival of Europeans in South America.

At the height of their success as a civilization in the 14th and 15 centuries, the Incas ruled over about 775,000 square miles, most of which now makes up Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.

A recent study led by Alex Chepstow-Lusty of the French Institute of Andean Studies in Lima, Peru, shows that llama poop began being used as fertilizer about 2700 years ago, and that marks the start of the mass growing of maize (corn).

This is significant, since before then, the main staple of their diet was quinoa. As the Inca population grew, quinoa was no longer capable of sustaining a large and advancing civilization. However, maize could, but due to the harsh and mostly inhospitable Andean highlands, growing maize would prove difficult until the introduction of llama poop.

While Cheptow-Lusty noted the temporarily warmer climate of the time, he credits the llama dung for allowing maize to be grow in the harsh climate.

Llamas are indigenous to the area and have been domesticated for about 3500 years, but around 2700 years ago, the oribatid mite population, which feeds on llama dung, saw a boom, which would indicate that more dung was been spread and thus leached into lakes where the mites reside.

“The widespread shift to agriculture and societal development was only possible with this extra ingredient – organic fertilisers on a vast scale,” said Chepstow-Lusty.

Graham Thiele, an Andean agriculture specialist at the International Potato Centre in Lima, agrees with Chepstow-Lusty, and says the study of the llam dung is a good one. He said that maize could be stored for much longer than other local foods of the time, not to mention it provided much more energy.

“It could be stored, and traded and moved over long distances,” he said, which would make it ideal for sustaining an empire.

Chepstow-Lusty said that though the Incas took nearly 2 millennia to reach their peak, their advancement never would have occurred without the help of the llama dung.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Settlement Reached Against Georgia Officers Who Beat Hispanic Man, Believing He Was Undocumented

Settlement Reached Against Georgia Officers Who Beat Hispanic Man, Believing He Was Undocumented

Photo: Angel Francisco Castro-Torres with Deputy Legal Director Dan Werner where the beating and arrest took place

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Last year, Angel Francisco Castro Torres was beaten by Georgia police for what the officers involved in the beating admit was simply the color of his skin. After being beaten then detained for months, Castro-Torrres, with help from the Southern Poverty Law Center, the National Immigration Project and civil rights attorney Brian Spears filed a lawsuit against the officers. Recently, a settlement was reached.

In March of 2010, Castro-Torres was riding his bike, when he was pulled over by officers Jeremiah L. Lignitz and Brian J. Walraven in Smyrna, Georgia. The officers demanded his identification, questioned his immigration status, and then beat him, breaking his nose and eye socket. After the beating, he was sent to the Cobb County jail, where he remained for four months. The lawsuit claimed the officers tried to cover up the attack by sending Castro-Torres to the jail, which cooperates with the Department of Homeland Security, on matters to do with suspected undocumented immigrants.

The officers testified that they stopped Castro-Torres because of the color of his skin, and while this lawsuit did not directly oppose the law behind the agreement between Cobb County and DHS, it did claim that the arrest and beating of Castro-Torres based on race, and not a clear violation of law, was unconstitutional.

The settlement is expected to cover Castro-Torres’ medical expenses, as he required surgery to repair damage to his eye. Leaders of immigration policy reform remain frustrated with the Obama administration for upholding the 287(g) program that joins DHS and Cobb County.

A release from the Southern Poverty Law Center last week read:

“Under that program, in place in Cobb County since 2007 (287(g)), local law enforcement officials are empowered to enforce federal immigration law. Arrested individuals are checked for their immigration status and then can be turned over to immigration officials.

“This program allows certain individuals to be targeted based on race,” Bauer said. “It then uses trumped-up charges to funnel them into the immigration system – all while ignoring their constitutional and civil rights.”
Despite the DHS’s recent attempts to reduce such racial profiling, a report released by the department’s inspector general identified ongoing and alarming problems with the 287(g) program, including few protections against racial profiling and other civil rights abuses.

Read more at Southern Poverty Law Center →

The Effects of Having Undocumented Immigrants as Parents: A Study

The Effects of Having Undocumented Immigrants as Parents: A Study

Photo: The Effects of Having Undocumented Immigrants as Parents: A Study

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A report from a Harvard developmental and community psychologist has revealed how being undocumented parents effects the lives of their children.

In a recent Congressional briefing on “Children in Immigrant Families,” Prof. Hirokazu Yoshikawa of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, stated, “Citizen children of undocumented parents show lower levels of early language and cognitive skills as early as at 2 years of age.”

“These parents were afraid to enroll their kids in learning opportunities like high-quality center care and particularly the child care subsidies that would help purchase that form of care. And that’s because child care subsidies, for one thing, in our country require confirmation of earnings and employment. And despite the fact that these families were making such low level of earnings, that they more than qualified for subsidies for their citizen children, they were afraid to enroll their kids,” said Prof. Yoshikawa to NPR’s Michel Martin.

“In many cases, with the undocumented moms and dads, our field workers were the first to tell them about things like public libraries. Our undocumented parents had more adults in the household, but less help with taking care of kids, help with making ends meet, help that they reported available to them. And that was puzzling to us until we realized that for the undocumented moms and dads, all the other adults in their household pretty much were undocumented as well. And that meant that the levels of information about learning opportunities for kids were just lower in these families.”

Yoshikawa performed a three-year study of 380 infants from Dominican, Mexican, Chinese, and African American families, after which he wrote “Immigrants Raising Citizens: Undocumented Parents and Their Young Children.” In it he points out that immigrants are often viewed “as an economic or labor market problem to be solved, but the issue has a very real human dimension.”

In the report to Congress, Prof. Yoshikawa highlighted the following ways in which the young citizen children are affected by their parent’s status.

Citizen children of undocumented parents show lower levels of early language and cognitive skills as early as at 2 years of age. The lower cognitive skills of children of undocumented parents, compared to children of documented parents, place them at risk for lower achievement, and ultimately lower economic productivity, later in life.

Undocumented parents experience higher economic hardship and psychological distress than documented parents. Undocumented parents in this study did not show different rates of cognitive stimulation of their young children. But they experienced hardship and psychological distress, in part due to fears of deportation, which in turn predicted lower cognitive skills in their children.

Undocumented parents experience much worse work conditions — with between 30% and 40% working below the legal minimum wage in the current study, across the 3 years of research. Undocumented parents also experienced much lower rates of wage growth than other low-wage working parents in this study. These conditions contributed to their children’s lower cognitive skills.

Despite their children’s eligibility for basic learning opportunities — center-based child care and preschool — undocumented parents face barriers to enrolling them. For example, these parents are reluctant to document their employment to enroll their citizen children in child-care subsidies. They are also reluctant to enroll their children in other supports, such as SNAP.

He recommended policy changes that included that the undocumented be brought “out of the shadows,” ensuring access to “learning opportunities for children of the undocumented, and improving the working conditions of undocumented parents.

Click here to read the full report to Congress.

Read more at NPR →

Latinos Take Home Some Top Awards at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards

Latinos Take Home Some Top Awards at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards

Photo: Latinos take some top awards at the Billboard Music Awards 2011

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Bruno Mars, Enrique Iglesias, Shakira, and Taio Cruz took home some of Billboard’s top awards this weekend, while Justin Bieber broke a few more hearts with a kiss for his girlfriend, Selena Gomez.

At the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, Latino stars picked up a number of awards including:

Bruno Mars
    • Top Radio Song for “Just the Way You Are” (beating out Usher ft. Pitbull)

Taio Cruz
    • Hot 100 Song
    • Top Digital Song
    • Top Pop Song
-All were won for the Song “Dynamite” (Bruno Mars was also nominated for all three)

    •Top Latin Artist
    •Top Latin Song (Three of her songs were nominated) “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)”

Enrique Iglesias
    •Top Latin Album for “Euphoria”

Pitbull, along with his dancing ladies in white and Ne-Yo, performed “Everything Tonight.” Multiple-award winner Taio Cruz also performed his hit song “Dynamite,” along with his breakthrough song “Break Your Heart.”

ImageWhat seems to have garnered the most attention is the kiss between Selena Gomez and her wildly popular beau, Justin Bieber. After being announced the “Top New Artist of the Year”, his second award of the night, the teen star grabbed a smooch with Gomez, which was caught by the cameras for live television.

Other notable “Latino moments” were Gomez and the little Latino Rico Rodriguez, of “Modern Family,” presenting the Black Eyed Peas with the award for “Top Duo of Group.”

As the group accepted the award, the BEP’s singer Taboo said, “I just recently had a baby. Thank you to my wife for giving me a great baby … Journey. [Thanks] to all of you in Vegas.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Elephant Beetle (It’s SCARY Big) from Costa Rica Comes to Visit U.S. Zoos

Elephant Beetle (It’s SCARY Big) from Costa Rica Comes to Visit U.S. Zoos

Photo: Elephant Beetle of Costa Rica

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The San Antonio Zoo is welcoming a very BIG and scary bug from Costa Rica – the elephant beetle.  You would think the fact this beetle noshes on rotting fruit and oozing tree sap would be enough to put this critter as a Yuk but it’s the size that is unsettling.

The insect common in the rainforest of Costa Rica is coming stateside and is only one of two elephant beetles residing in the country.  The other beetle is in Missouri.  Both animals left their homeland only after Costa Rica’s ministry of agriculture approved.

The beetle is the size of a human palm and in many cases much larger, has a hard shell tinted yellow and weighs several ounces, making it almost ten times the size of other beetles.  The Elephant beetle takes three long years to reach its full size. 

Both U.S. zoos are hoping to start a breeding program here with the blessing of the Costa Rican government. 

Read more at My San Antonio →

U.S. Rum Tax Benefitting Puerto Rico Under Government Scrutiny with New Legislation

U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) has re-introduced legislation to ensure that more taxpayer money for the U.S. territories is used to invest in job creation and vital public services instead of subsidizing foreign corporations. The Investing in U.S. Territories, Not Corporations Act would cap at 15 percent the amount of money U.S. territories can use to subsidize rum producers.

Created to provide budgetary support to the territories for essential public infrastructure and services, the federal excise tax on rum sold in the U.S. is given to the treasuries of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

A deal that the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) brokered with Diageo, a British multi-national spirits company, to entice it to move production of Captain Morgan rum to St. Croix is threatening to gut the program by redirecting billions of dollars that are currently being used to fund vital public services in the territories to increase the profits of Diageo.  The deal commits 47.5 percent of cover-over revenues, totaling some $2.7 billion over 30 years.

Senator Menendez feels, unless action like this legislation proposes is taken, excessive subsidies paid out of tax revenues could siphon off billions of dollars that would otherwise go to funding for vital public services.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Senator Warner Signs on as DREAM Act Co-Sponsor

Senator Warner Signs on as DREAM Act Co-Sponsor

Photo: DREAM Act

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Senator Warner (Virginia) signed on as a cosponsor of the DREAM Act.  Below is a video in both English and Spanish with Senator Warner explaining why he supports this important legislation. 

Related Videos

Read more by HS News Staff →

MondayMay 23, 2011