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FridayJune 3, 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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EXTREME TRAFFICKING:  In 7 Days, 16 Tons of Pot Valued at $23 Million Seized

Over the past seven days, U.S. Border Patrol agents confiscated more than 16 tons of narcotics, with an estimated value of more than $26 million, in multiple seizures throughout the Rio Grande Valley Sector.

Two of the largest seizures occurred Monday as agents assigned to the Falfurrias Border Patrol checkpoint were conducting immigration inspections. In both unrelated incidents, a Border Patrol canine alerted to the presence of suspected contraband. After conducting a search of the conveyances, agents found numerous bundles of marijuana. In a tanker trailer, agents found more than 4,300 pounds of marijuana with an estimated value of more thren $3.5 million. In the other seizure, agents found more than 6,300 pounds of marijuana hidden among produce with an estimated value of more than $5.1 million.

In another significant seizure, Rio Grande City agents patrolling along the Rio Grande spotted several people unloading bundles of suspected narcotics from a small boat. As agents neared, the group abandoned their cargo and fled into Mexico. Left behind was more than 1,200 pounds of marijuana, with an estimated value of more than $986,000.

Several additional seizures throughout the sector pushed the total narcotics seized from last Wednesday through June 1 to more than 32,000 pounds. The drugs and arrested subjects were turned over to various agencies for further investigation.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Texas State Senator Files Anti-Sanctuary Cities Bill - Says it NOT an Immigration-related Issue

Texas State Senator Files Anti-Sanctuary Cities Bill - Says it NOT an Immigration-related Issue

Photo: Texas State Senator Tommy Williams files anti-sanctuary

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Texas State Senator Tommy Williams has filed a massive bill in the current special session that a press release from the Republican state senator called “a comprehensive bill penalizing local governmental entities which engage in sanctuary city practices, requiring every person arrested to be run through the federal Secure Communities Program and providing the Department of Public Safety statutory authority to establish lawful presence in the United States before issuing a driver’s license.”

Williams also stated, “The Secure Communities Program is currently used in our state’s county jails, but individuals arrested and taken to city jails are often not run through the program. SB 9 eliminates this loophole.”

He has also taken issue with those that refer to SB 9 as “immigration legislation,” as he says his is about homeland security and not the federal government’s domain of immigration.

“I don’t see sanctuary cities or any of this as an immigration-related issue,” he said. “This is about homeland security and about knowing who is lawfully in the country.”

If passed, SB 9 would no longer allow grants to be provided to establishments that prohibit local law enforcement from asking individuals who have been lawfully detained or arrested for proof of their immigration status.

The House special-session version of SB 9 was filed Wednesday by State Rep. Burt Solomons (R-Carrollton). It is known as HB 12.

Read more at The Texas Tribune →

Cervical Cancer - A Preventable Tragedy for Latinas

Cervical Cancer - A Preventable Tragedy for Latinas

Photo: Cervical Cancer and Latinas

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A staggering number of Latinas in Los Angeles County are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year and die from this preventable cancer at rates higher than the national average.

In East and South Los Angeles, where many Latinas reside, the death rates from the disease are among the state’s highest, at 5.1 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively.

As part of a national campaign, the California Medical Association (CMA) Foundation is raising awareness about cervical cancer and vaccinations that can prevent the disease.

Elissa Maas, vice president of programs at the foundation, told a May round-table program in Los Angeles,“When we work arm in arm with physicians, providers and ethnic media, we have a better chance of addressing the health issues that are so critical to our community.”

Sexually Transmitted Virus

Cervical cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is transmitted sexually. Nearly 80 percent of men and women in the United States are exposed to the virus by age 50. Although the immune system fights off the virus in most people, for some the infection develops into cancer.

Screening through a pap smear, where the cervix is scraped and examined for changes, is the only way to detect the cancer in women.

“It’s not that Latinas are at higher risk for HPV. They get it at the same rate as other women⎯ the difference is in the screening,” said Rita Singhal, medical director of the Office of Women’s Health at the Los Angeles County Department of Health.

“The number one risk factor for being diagnosed with cervical cancer is never having had a pap smear, or having your last pap smear more than five years ago,” she said. Medical experts recommend that women get their first pap smear at age 18.

A key issue for Latinas is that they tend not to access free or low-cost resources for health screening available nationwide.

Carole Jordan-Harris, of the Association of Black Women Physicians, observed that culturally competent care and materials in Spanish are important for treating Latinas.

Men can play a key role in the message that cervical cancer prevention is part of family health, participants said. HPV also can infect the mouth, throat and rectum of both men and women.

“Men can be the barrier to the access to women’s care—[Latina patients] they always say they have to ask their husbands,” said Rita Oregon, a participant in the CMA Foundation gathering. She runs a colonoscopy clinic that also diagnoses and treats the effects of abnormal pap smears.

The most recent woman Oregon diagnosed with cervical cancer was a 33-year-old mother. “Her baby is four years old, and that’s the last pap smear she got,” Oregon said.

The woman also has children ages six and eight, making it difficult for her to find time to visit a doctor.

Highly Treatable

Cervical cancer is highly treatable when caught in the first three stages, but in the late stage the survival rate is low.

Stressing the importance of screening, Anita Nelson of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, said, “We don’t want to find cancer; we want to find changes that can lead to cancer to treat immediately.”

Vaccines to protect against HPV are approved for boys and girls as young as age nine and are recommended for girls and women from ages 11 to 26. The vaccine, which consists of a series of three shots over six months, reduces the risk of cancer by 70 percent.

Cervical cancer screenings are available free for low-income women through California’s federally funded Every Woman Counts program and other services. The vaccines are covered by insurance as well as the Vaccines for Children program for young women and girls.

Read more at New America Media →

Spanish Phenom Ricky Rubio Will Be Coming to the NBA

Spanish Phenom Ricky Rubio Will Be Coming to the NBA

Photo: (NBA) Ricky Rubio back in 2009, when he was first drafted by Minnesota

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Spanish point guard, Ricky Rubio, who was most recently playing basketball as part of Spain’s FC Barcelona has now become the first player born in the 1990’s to join the NBA. (Rubio was born October 21, 1990.)

On May 31, Rubio signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves, bringing an end to the anticipation of those wondering when the phenom would make the move to the NBA.

Two years ago, Rubio was drafted by the Timberwolves as the fifth overall draft pick, but a $6 million buyout clause with his Spanish contract with DKV Joventut, which he would have had to pay out of his own pocket, prompted his decision to defer his arrival to the states. There were also rumors that the then-teenaged Rubio didn’t want to play in Minnesota.

After playing in overseas for an additional two years, the buyout is now down to $1.4. And while the T-wolves can only contribute $500,000, they have been working on endorsement deals with a number of local companies to help cover the rest.

Former NBA guard Pepe Sanchez once said, “I think he’s a freak of nature, being so young and being so skilled and also so cool all the time. You can see that he knows what he’s doing. He’s not playing out there with pros based only on his talents. He knows the game and he can only improve. I think he’ll be a great player. It all depends on him, but I personally think he’s going to be great.”

The Timberwolves team president David Kahn has called Rubio “a virtuoso and somebody special,” and for a youngster that went pro at the age of 14, that’s an understatement.

Earlier this season, Lakers forward and fellow Spaniard, Pau Gasol said, “He’s a special player and a very good point guard. Very unselfish. He’s got great size, great length. He knows how to play the game very well. He’s got a great feel for the game. He’s just a guy that will get the team going and do what he needs to do.”

Read more at ESPN →

Groups Call the Approval of ‘Monster Dam’ in Brazil a “Tragic Day for the Amazon”

Groups Call the Approval of ‘Monster Dam’ in Brazil a “Tragic Day for the Amazon”

Photo: The proposed site of the Belo Monte dam

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Amnesty International and a number of other groups hoping to protect both the rainforest and indigenous people of Brazil, have urged the Brazilian government to suspend – or in some cases stop – the building of the Belo Monte dam, as they say it violates the human rights of the indigenous people.

Even celebrities have come out against the dam, which has been in planning for thirty years. Sting, actors Sigourney Weaver and Joel David Moore, and major Hollywood director James Cameron have brought awareness to the issue Cameron called “a real life” Avatar. The director even produced a video entitled “Message from Pandora” in opposition to the dam. (It can be viewed below.)

If all goes according to plan, construction of the dam is set to be completed in 2015.

The following are excerpts from a press release issued by Amazon Watch, a nonprofit organization that strives to “protect the rainforest and advance the rights of indigenous peoples in the Amazon Basin.”

The Brazilian government has issued the full installation license allowing the Belo Monte Dam Complex to break ground on the Amazon’s Xingu River despite egregious disregard for human rights and environmental legislation, the unwavering protests of civil society, condemnations by its Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office (MPF) and the request for precautionary measures by the OAS Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). The license was granted by Brazil’s environmental agency IBAMA despite overwhelming evidence that the dam-building consortium Norte Energia (NESA) has failed to comply with dozens of social and environmental conditions required for an installation license.

The risky $17 billion Belo Monte Dam Complex will divert nearly the entire flow of the Xingu River along a 62-mile stretch. Its reservoirs will flood more than 120,000 acres of rainforest and local settlements, displace more than 40,000 people and generate vast quantities of methane – a greenhouse gas at least 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

The installation license will allow for NESA to open access roads, initiate forest clearing at dam construction sites encompassing some 2,118 acres, and begin construction on the complex immediately…

“This is a tragic day for the Amazon,” said Atossa Soltani, Executive Director at Amazon Watch. “By turning a blind eye toward the tragic consequences of this dam, President Dilma Rouseff is undermining the positive environmental and social advances Brazil has made in recent years and miring its image on the global stage just as it prepares to host the UN Rio+20 Earth Summit next year.”

“Belo Monte’s installation license is a sign of the government’s deepening authoritarianism, as it continues to steamroll over environmental legislation and human rights,” said Antônia Melo, a spokeswoman for the Xingu Alive Forever Movement (MXVPS). “The government seeks to build this dam at any cost in order to benefit corporate interests at our expense. We will not cede an inch. This license is the entryway to a crime that we will prevent from being committed at any cost.”

To read the release in its entirety click here.

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Read more by HS News Staff →

Chilean Authorities to Investigate the Death of Pablo Neruda

Chilean Authorities to Investigate the Death of Pablo Neruda

Photo: Pablo Neruda's death to be investigated.

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Following a complaint filed Tuesday by the Chilean Communist Party, Judge Mario Carrizosa has ordered an investigation.

According to the official version, Pablo Neruda, considered the greatest Latin American poet, died of cancer on September 23 1973, a mere 12 days after the coup d’état staged by General Augusto Pinochet on president Salvador Allende.

The official version however, has been questioned by the poet’s driver, Manuel Araya, who claims the poet was murdered by dictatorship officials, who injected the master with an unknown substance.

Additionally, attorney Eduardo Contreras—who filed the complaint explained that as well as the driver’s story, he has collected the testimonies of several other people, including former Mexican ambassador in Chile Gonzalo Martínez Corvalán, who spent time with Neruda the day before his death and say the poet was chipper, conversational, and could walk about his room, discussing politics with Martínez.

This investigation is one of 726 complaints of human rights violations carried out since September 11, 1973 until March 11, 1990, among which is the death of former President Salvador Allende.

Read more at El Mercurio →

Is Racism Still an Issue in Cuba?

Thursday, a Cuban official announced that a media campaign will soon be launched to highlight programs that address, and hope to eliminate, the island’s still-present racism.

Heriberto Feraudy, head of the Cuban Commission against Racism, said the programs are necessary despite the fact that many believe the Fidel and Raul Castro governments did away with racism by way of continuing a Communist regime, in which the idea is that everyone is equal. But while Cuba officially denies any discrimination, Feraudy and his colleague, economist Esteban Morales worry that the Cuba’s less socialist future could once again divide the island-nation.

The two, both black themselves, agree that racism still exists on the island, and do not like the idea that programs helping blacks “had to be terminated” due to budget cuts.

Read more at McClatchy →

Popocatepetl Volcano in México Spews Two Mile-Long Cloud of Ash

Popocatepetl Volcano in México Spews Two Mile-Long Cloud of Ash

Photo: The Popocatepetl volcano

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The Popocatepetl volcano over Mexico City is once again active.

The Popocatepetl, a gigantic 17,886-foot mountain that towers over Mexico City, shot a monumental cloud of ash about 2 miles over its crater Friday morning.

Mexico’s national disaster prevention agency indicated that the mountain shook for several minutes before a massive cloud of ash burst out, drifting first to the west and then turning back and heading east going toward Puebla.

The agency has urged citizens to stay at least 7 miles away from the crater, which is about 40 miles southeast of the capital city.

No threat reports have been issued, and the alert level remains “yellow,” which is still a moderate-level warning.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Ethnic Diversity Seen in Actors, but Not Storylines

Ethnic Diversity Seen in Actors, but Not Storylines

Photo: Ethnic Diversity Seen in Actors, but Not Storylines

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The integration of minorities into mainstream television seems to be movinf forward (just look at America Ferrara on ABC’s “Ugly Betty”), but what is lacking is the diversity in the storylines, and the relevance of topics that aren’t just based on outrageous stereotypes.

Christopher Lloyd, co-creator of the wildly successful “Modern Family,” told Variety, “When you hear the dialogue or see the stories, the Asian guy could have been the white guy, the African-American guy the Latino guy. They’re the same characters. They’re just putting a different face on them.

Lloyd, as well as viewers and even other TV executives know that a change in faces does not necessarily mean the storylines are relevant to the ethnicity the actor is, or is portraying. He says the public is kind of “aware that they’re being manipulated” when they see a Latino actor, for example, who is meant to illicit a sort of “oh, he’s one of us” response, only to have the scripted character be just more of the same with only a darker skin tone.

Director of diversity at the Writers Guild of America West (WGAW), Kimberly Myers, said, “If you want those people viewing, they’ve got to see stories and people that are relevant to their lives.”

Realistic storylines are the key to true diversity, not just minority actors, with Sara Ramirez on “Grey’s Anatomy” as a prime example. Ramirez plays a lesbian orthopedic surgeon Dr. Callie Torres, and throughout the show, when the story allowed, Dr. Torres’ family is seen going through the process of coming to terms with her sexuality.

“She’s an orthopedic surgeon who went to college and represents Latinos who don’t have an accent, who are somewhat Americanized, because that exists. The maid, gardener or drug dealer—that’s played out,” Ramirez said.

But while the example in “Grey’s” is of a more serious nature, Lloyd’s “Modern Family” (ABC), which stars Sophia Vergara, highlights differences in backgrounds in a far more lighthearted manner.

Variety writer Kate Hahn wrote:

While dramas deal with diversity with a straight face, acknowledging differences brings laughs in comedies. When the grumpy white “Modern Family” patriarch lovingly referred to his adoptive Asian grandchild as “the little pot-sticker,” Lloyd knew they might step on a few toes, but, “He’s not being racist, but you can’t make him be all perfect all of a sudden because that’s not true to that character.”

So as viewers look to see themselves represented on television, whether in comedy or drama, networks and writers—who WGAW reports are only 10 percent minority – have some changes to make, but should be cautious and not create stereotypical and thus offensive characters and storylines.

Read more at Varierty →

ACLU Files Suit in Georgia Against Its “Show Me Your Papers” Immigration Law

ACLU Files Suit in Georgia Against Its “Show Me Your Papers” Immigration Law

Photo: Georgia's HB 87 Challenged in Court

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The American Civil Liberties Union, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) and a coalition of other civil rights groups filed a class action lawsuit challenging Georgia’s discriminatory anti-immigrant law passed last month and inspired by Arizona’s notorious SB 1070. The Georgia law authorizes police to demand “papers” demonstrating citizenship or immigration status during traffic stops, criminalizes Georgians who interact daily with undocumented individuals and makes it unjustifiably difficult for individuals without specific identification documents to access state facilities and services. The lawsuit charges that the extreme law endangers public safety, invites the racial profiling of Latinos, Asians and others who appear foreign to an officer and interferes with federal law.

Georgia is the third state to have enacted laws emulating Arizona’s controversial and costly SB 1070, even though the Arizona law was blocked by the courts. Utah and Indiana passed similar laws earlier this year. After an ACLU and NILC lawsuit, a federal district court last month put Utah’s law on hold pending further review. The ACLU and NILC also filed a legal challenge to Indiana’s law.

The lawsuit charges that Georgia’s law, HB 87, is unconstitutional because it unlawfully interferes with federal power and authority over immigration matters in violation of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution; authorizes and requires unreasonable seizures and arrests in violation of the Fourth Amendment; restricts the constitutional right to travel freely throughout the United States; and violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the U.S. Constitution by unlawfully discriminating against people who hold certain kinds of identity documents.

The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia on behalf of civil rights, labor, social justice and faith-based organizations, including Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, Service Employees International Union, the Southern Regional Joint Board of Workers United, Alterna, Coalition of Latino Leaders, Task Force for the Homeless, DreamActivist.org, Instituto de Mexico, Coalition for the People’s Agenda and the Asian American Legal Advocacy Center; individually named plaintiffs who would be subject to harassment or arrest under the law; and a class of similarly situated people.

Read more by HS News Staff →

MEET Latin America’s Most Marketable Athletes

MEET Latin America’s Most Marketable Athletes

Photo: Messi, Neymar, Pujols and Silva. Most Marketable Latino Athletes

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Four Latin American athletes made it to SportPro Magazine’s top 50 Marketable Athletes of 2011.

The list, published by the magazine evaluates athletes’ three-year track record as well as their future potential for sponsors.

The first one of the list is Jamaican runner Usain Bolt, followed by Miami Heat star Lebron James. Cristiano Ronaldo came in third.

Below, the four Latinos who made it to the list:

Image At #4 Argentine phenom Lionel Messi. Without a doubt, the best soccer player in the planet right now earned a reported $23.5 million last year after securing deals with Swiss luxury watchmaker Audemars Piguet and Chinese car manufacturer Chery.  “Messi’s brand has been built exclusively on his footballing ability and achievements,” Said the magazine, that has made him hot property for the likes of Adidas, Pepsi and Konami, who have always concentrated much of their marketing around soccer.”

ImageAt #17 Brazil’s 19 year old star Neymar, who following a spectacular career as a striker at the Santos club in Brazil, will soon be playing for European clubs. “Nike recently signed the striker to an 11-year deal, while Panasonic spent $2.4 million to secure his services for two years in March” reports SportPro. “Neymar has worked with agency Traffic Sports Management and as of April with 9ine.”

ImageAlberto Pujols, the 31 year-old Dominican slugger for the St. Louis Cardinals came in at #25.  SportsPro ranks him as the most marketable man in baseball at the moment despite having failed to secure is dream move in Major League Baseball’s offseason. His value is likely to increase after he leads the Dominican National Team at the 2013 World Baseball Classic. “The 2006 World Series champion has developed a following across the United States, reflected by his appearances in national advertising campaigns for toiletries brand Dove and breakfast cereal Wheaties. He has also won admiration for his charitable work, including the establishment of the Pujols Family Foundation, which supports people with Down’s syndrome and their families.”

ImageThe last Latin American in the list is Brazilian Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight champion Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva, who has become the longest running UFC champion by defending his title eleven times, in a brutal string of knock-outs. Some, regard “The Spider” as the greatest mixed martial artist of all time. Right now, and as a part of UFC’s expansion plans, “Silva breaks into the rankings as a value-for-money athlete with a golden opportunity to cement his position as a home-grown hero in an enormous market, and a global superstar in a sport that is rapidly becoming one of the industry’s hottest new properties with broadcasters and sponsors alike.” SportsPro contends.


Read more at SportsPro Magazine →

Justice Department Settles Lawsuit with Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office

Justice Department Settles Lawsuit with Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office

Photo: Sheriff Joe Arpaio Settles with Justice Dept

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The Justice Department today announced that it has entered in to a court-enforceable agreement with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio resolving a longstanding dispute over access to information related to the department’s Title VI investigation of the sheriff’s office.  The settlement comes after MCSO allowed officials from the Justice Department to conduct more than 220 interviews and review hundreds of thousands of pages of documents.  Prior to the litigation, MCSO refused to cooperate in full with the investigation.

On Sept. 2, 2010, the department filed a lawsuit after exhausting all cooperative measures to gain access to MCSO’s documents and facilities, as part of the department’s investigation of alleged discrimination in MCSO’s police practices and jail operations.  Since March 2009, the department attempted to secure voluntary compliance with the department’s investigation and did not receive full compliance until the lawsuit was filed. 

MCSO has now cooperated with the investigation by permitting the department to interview Sheriff Arpaio, command staff, deputies, detention officers and first line supervisors, as well as jail inmates.  MCSO has also allowed tours of its facilities and has responded to each of the department’s original document requests.  Under the terms of the agreement, MCSO will continue to provide the department with access to sources of information that the department determines are pertinent to its Title VI investigation.

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in federally assisted programs on the ground of race, color or national origin.  Recipients of federal funds, such as MCSO, are obligated to provide the department with access to information and facilities pertinent to an investigation under Title VI.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Dialogue Continues on U.S.-Brazil Global Partnership

Dialogue Continues on U.S.-Brazil Global Partnership

Photo: U.S.-Brazil relations

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In their Joint Statement of March 19, 2011, Presidents Barack Obama and Dilma Rousseff called for regular meetings of the major U.S.-Brazil bilateral dialogues. In this context, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Minister of External Relations Antonio de Aguiar Patriota convened on June 1, 2011 the second U.S.-Brazil Global Partnership Dialogue (GPD).

The Participants discussed the possibility of a joint aviation program between the United States and Brazil in order to enhance private sector engagement and to better enable our economies to rise to the challenges of globalization.

The Participants renewed their decision to enhance cooperation on food security and on development assistance to third countries.

The Participants welcomed the progress achieved under the Joint Action Plan to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Discrimination and Promote Equality and the Memorandum of Understanding on the Advancement of Women.

They highlighted the interdependence of peace, security and development, and reaffirmed that the United States and Brazil share the common objectives of enhancing their bilateral partnership and promoting democracy, human rights, sustainable development, and social inclusion.

Read more by HS News Staff →

JUST RELEASED New Song by Bruno Mars, Eminem and Royce da 5′9″ (VIDEO)

JUST RELEASED New Song by Bruno Mars, Eminem and Royce da 5′9″ (VIDEO)

Photo: Bruno Mars, Eminem and Royce da 5′9″

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The new song “Lighter”  features Eminem and Royce da 5′9″ rapping and Bruno doing the chorus. Don’t miss the upcoming Bad Meets Evil EP, Hell: The Sequel, out on shelves June 14

Read more by HS News Staff →

Cuomo Withdraws from ICE’s Secure Communities Program

Cuomo Withdraws from ICE’s  Secure Communities Program

Photo: Governor Cuomo

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New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo suspended New York’s participation in the Federal Immigration Program-Secure Communities.

“There are concerns about the implementation of the program as well as its impact on families, immigrant communities and law enforcement in New York,” Mr. Cuomo said. Unless those concerns are eased, the statement said, New York will not take part.

Mr. Cuomo’s decision makes the second state to announce it’s intent to withdraw from the program, Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois announced in May that he was canceling their participation.

“Until the numerous questions and controversies regarding the program can be resolved, we have determined that New York is best served by relying on existing tools to ensure the safety of its residents, especially given our overriding concern that the current mechanism is actually undermining law enforcement,” Mr. Denerstein wrote to John Sandweg, counsel to Janet Napolitano, the homeland security secretary.

Secure Communities has lead to a rise in US deportations and immigrant advocates have called for the President to terminate the program.

Read more at New York Times →

FridayJune 3, 2011