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FridayJune 17, 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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Alabama Brings Back Troubled Racial History With New Immigration Law

Alabama Brings Back Troubled Racial History With New Immigration Law

Photo: Alabama's troubled past

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Alabama has joined other states in the Deep South on the immigration battleground, with its troubled racial history not far from the surface. The state signed the nation’s harshest immigration bill into law last week, with HB 56 containing almost every significant anti-immigrant provision that has been introduced in the past few years.

“This law is an outrageous throw-back to the pre-Civil Rights era, going beyond the discriminatory and unconstitutional police practices that we’ve seen in other states,” said Cecillia Wang, director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project.

Among the bill’s litany of punitive measures: imposing penalties on employers who hire undocumented immigrants, forcing public schools to check the immigration status of students and parents, allowing police to arrest anyone they suspect of entering the country without valid immigration documents, making it illegal to rent housing to an undocumented immigrants, barring undocumented immigrants from enrolling in or attending public colleges or universities and prohibiting them from applying for or soliciting work.

Alabama will join Georgia, Utah and Arizona in its anti-immigrant legislation targeting the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. Approximately 120,000 of them live in Alabama, according to the Pew Research Center.

Read more by HS News Staff →

34% of Hispanic Children Live Without Dad at Home, New PSAs Trying to Change That

34% of Hispanic Children Live Without Dad at Home, New PSAs Trying to Change That

Photo: Take Time to Be a Dad Today

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The smallest moments can have the biggest impact on a child’s life. Take time to be a dad today.” That’s the campaign message of new public service advertisements (PSAs) that launched nationwide in recognition of Father’s Day. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an estimated 24 million children (34%) in the U.S. live apart from their fathers.  The PSA campaign is an effort between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance and the Ad Council to show fathers the unique and irreplaceable role they play in their children’s lives.

From the time the Responsible Fatherhood campaign began in 2008, the PSAs have featured different segments of the population each year and the various challenges fathers face.  This year’s campaign focuses on military and Hispanic fathers.  An unforgettable reunion between a military father and his daughter is captured when he surprises her in her classroom.

“The President has said there is no more important job he or any other man can have than being a father,” said Joshua DuBois, Special Assistant to the President and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.  “We are excited to promote fatherhood through this year’s media campaign as we all work toward addressing the crisis of father absence in our communities.” 

According to the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse (NRFC), children who live without their biological fathers are on average at least two to three times more likely to experience educational, health, emotional and behavioral problems, to be victims of child abuse and to engage in criminal behavior than their peers who live with their married, biological (or adoptive) parents. 

Whether they live together or just see each other occasionally, research shows kids benefit greatly when their fathers are actively involved in their lives. The Responsible Fatherhood campaign urges fathers to be proactive and not wait for their children to ask them to read them a book, play a game, or sit down together for a meal—but take the lead. Spending time with your children can energize the relationship and create a stronger bond between a father and child. 

Created pro bono by Campbell Ewald (CE), this year’s campaign includes new TV, radio, outdoor and Web PSAs that include Hispanic fathers and Military dads, and the small, yet precious moments they share with their children.

The U.S. Census reports that 34% (slightly higher than the national average) of Hispanic children live in father-absent homes; while more than 1.8 million children of military dads suffer from the unique stresses of military life. New Spanish television, radio and outdoor PSAs were developed in collaboration with the Hispanic Communications Network.

This year’s campaign also includes a second series of PSAs that were developed in collaboration with The Walt Disney Studios. The new television, radio, outdoor and digital ads feature the lovable animated characters from the movie The Lion King. The PSAs illustrate the important role fathers play in their children’s lives and ask fathers to play a part in “the circle of life.”

To date the campaign has received nearly $123 million in donated media across television, radio, outdoor, print and digital. Per the Ad Council’s model, the PSAs will run and air in advertising time and space that is donated by the media.

Read more by HS News Staff →

TxDOT Creates Original “Mini” Telenovelas Series to Reach Hispanic Families

TxDOT Creates Original “Mini” Telenovelas Series to Reach Hispanic Families

Photo: "Drink - Drive - Jail" TxDOT Creates Original "Mini" Telenovelas Series to Reach Hispanic Families

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Culturally relevant telenovela episodes illustrate the serious consequences of drinking and driving

This month the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will be airing an educational campaign in a mini telenovelas series format in an effort to educate the Hispanic community about the consequences of drinking and driving. TxDOT is one of the first state agencies to tackle the dangers of drinking and driving through the telenovela format.

“We created these educational telenovelas on drinking and driving to reach Hispanic women and men who may be unfamiliar with Texas drunk driving laws,” said Carol T. Rawson P.E., TxDOT Traffic Operations Director. “We chose the telenovela format because historically, Hispanic families tend to develop an emotional connection with these series and their characters. We believe it’s an effective way to encourage people to take the initiative and not let the people they care about get behind the wheel after they’ve been drinking.”

In Texas, drinking and driving poses a great danger for Hispanics, where they make up over one third of the population. Key statistics:

  * 33 percent of all DUI fatalities in Texas in 2009 occurred in crashes where a Hispanic driver was under the influence of alcohol. (TxDOT, CRIS)
  * 21 percent of all Hispanic DUI drivers involved in crashes in 2009 had a blood alcohol level of .08 or above. (TxDOT, CRIS)
  * Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for Hispanics one to 44 years of age, and 15 percent of U.S.-born Mexican Americans had a DUI within the past 12 months according to a 2008 study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

To address these alarming facts, TxDOT created three short Spanish telenovelas that follow the members of a Hispanic family as they experience drinking and driving situations. The goal is to relay information on how to proactively prevent drinking and driving, how to explain the consequences of drinking and driving to those unfamiliar with the laws, and how drinking and driving can affect the lives of young adults.

Drinking and driving is more common in countries like Mexico than in the U.S. and Canada. In fact, many Central and South American countries don’t have any real impaired driving laws in place, or in some instances, these laws exist but aren’t strictly enforced or penalties are lenient enough to not carry the possibility of a prison sentence. For that reason, many newly arrived immigrants are unaware of state drinking and driving laws, including the blood alcohol concentration limit, stiff penalties, and the overall consequences of driving under the influence.

The telenovelas will air as thirty second and two minute spots on Univision, Estrella, and Telefutura for two weeks beginning June 20 in markets throughout Texas including Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, Rio Grande Valley, and San Antonio. This period includes the July 4th holiday when many of the markets will be participating in high visibility enforcement and no refusal crackdowns. The three, two-minute episodes will also be available online at the Texas Department of Transportation’s YouTube Channel and will be used as teaching tools by civic and social service organizations throughout the state.

Read more at Texas Department of Transportation →

Guatemala launches Women Only Buses

Guatemala launches Women Only Buses

Photo: Womens only bus in Guatemala

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The first woman-only routes of the public transportation system in the capital, have been operating since Wednesday.

The women only buses are identified with a pink ribbon, or a written announcement that says “Exclusively for Women”.

The initiative seeks to protect commuting women from male abuse and aggressions during the rush hour; women only buses will operate for an hour in the morning (6:00-7:00) and one and a half in the afternoon (from 5:00pm to 7:30pm). The only men allowed, have to be under the age of 12 and traveling with their mother.

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Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazil: Super Saturday Visa Program

Brazil: Super Saturday Visa Program

Photo: Visa to Brazil

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The U.S. Embassy in Brasilia, along with the U.S. consulates in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Recife, will open on Saturday, June 18, to accommodate Brazilian travelers seeking visas to visit the United States.

U.S. consulates in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo will also open on July 23. All appointment openings for visa interviews were rapidly filled.

Trade, commerce, education, and tourism between Brazil and the United States have grown dramatically over the past several years. This has fueled a 230 percent increase in Non-Immigrant visa (NIV) demand in Brazil since 2006. In 2010 alone, the U.S. consulate general in Sao Paulo issued more than 319,000 NIV’s – more than any other post worldwide. This demand is expected to continue and even increase by up to 30 percent over last year.

About 95 percent of all Brazilian visa applicants receive visas, and most visas issued are the new combined B1/B2 for business and tourist travel with ten-year validity.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Journalists Fear for Their Lives, Seek Asylum in U.S.

Mexican Journalists Fear for Their Lives, Seek Asylum in U.S.

Photo: Mexican Journalists Fear for Their Lives, Seek Asylum in U.S.

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A group of Mexican journalists are desperately asking the U.S. government to approve their asylum petitions, as they constantly fear for their lives for their depictions of drug cartels and the country’s military.

Emilio Gutierrez Soto, Ricardo Chavez Aldana, and Alejandro Pacheco are urging government officials to grant them asylum in the U.S., one of them having already been detained by the U.S. immigration officials.

Gutierrez told the Associated Press that he began receiving death threats after he began writing stories about members of Mexico’s military being involved with drug trafficking in Chihuahua in northern Mexico. Three years after he started the reporting, his house was pillaged, and the threats kept coming. He filed complaints with the national government, but received little help. In 2008, he and his then 15-year-old son fled to the United States.

Both he and his son were held captured by immigration agents and held at a U.S. immigration detention center, him for seven months, and his son for four. They were released only after his story aired on national television. His next hearing will not likely happen until 2012.

Gutierrez has a temporary work permit, but has been unable to find work.

“We are living a legal limbo,” he told AP, “We are unable to have any emotional, familial or employment stability.”

Until his nephews were killed, Chavez was a reporter who made waves attacking drug cartels on his radio show. He, his wife, mother, and son have all received death threats, and they only stopped when the family fled to El Paso, Texas in 2009.

At the National Association of Hispanic Journalists’ annual meeting in Florida, Chavez told several hundred journalists, “I have covered more than 4,000 killings.” Adding that criminals “are destroying Mexico. They are killing children [and] pregnant women.”

The third journalist seeking asylum, Hernandez, was a cameraman for the Televisa network. He was kidnapped by alleged members of the largest drug cartel in Mexico in Durango last July, along with three other journalists. The kidnappers were demanding that the station stop broadcasting stories about the gang. A week later, he was freed. In October, he too fled to the U.S.

All three journalists have said they will not return to Mexico, and currently, all of their asylum cases are pending.

Read more at Associated Press →

WATCH: La 33’s Biographic Video Comic (VIDEO)

WATCH: La 33’s Biographic Video Comic (VIDEO)

Photo: la 33, Colombian salsa band.

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This super neat Video Comic tells the ten salsa band’s ten years of history, in 3 spicy minutes!

Read more by HS News Staff →

Father Locks Up Son in a Wooden Box for 2 Months in Bolivia!  (VIDEO)

Father Locks Up Son in a Wooden Box for 2 Months in Bolivia!  (VIDEO)

Photo: Johan Knelsen, locked in a wooden box

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The Canadian youth and his father belong to a Mennonite community in the Tres Cruces region of Bolivia.

Johan Knelsen was forced to live inside a wooden box for 8 weeks as religious punishment for using a cell phone, the radio, and having allegedly stolen 3 chickens.

Knelsen told news agencies that he had left the house, and when he returned he was suddenly tied up and thrown inside a wooden box.

Despite the apparent cleanliness of the box, the calm “rescue” and the allegations from the father and a local priest that the precarious punishment was only intended to straighten a troubled young man with metal problems, both men and the mother have been called to court and will have to answer for the crimes of imprisonment, attempted murder and torture. 

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Arizona School Official Says Ethnic Studies Programs Promote Resentment Against Whites

Arizona School Official Says Ethnic Studies Programs Promote Resentment Against Whites

Photo: Arizona School Official Says Ethnic Studies Programs Promote Resentment Against Whites

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As the debate over ethnic studies programs in Tucson, Arizona schools continues, the state’s schools chief has stated that programs like these promote resentment towards whites.

John Huppenthal, Tucson’s Superintendent of Public Instruction has stated that ethnic studies programs is Tucson schools violate a new state law, because it promotes ethnic solidarity among Latinos and resentment towards white people.

“This is not rocket science. This is fundamental,” Huppenthal said at a news conference outside his office. “They have gotten themselves in a very tight corner. The ball is back in their court.”

The programs’ advocates see arguments like Huppenthal’s as part of an on-going attack against Hispanics in Arizona.

The law, which Huppenthal voted for and believes the classes violate, was signed into law in May of 2010 by controversial governor Jan Brewer, and went into effect on Dec. 31.

The Tucson school district is facing a 10 percent funding cut if the programs continue. This fight will likely go to the Supreme Court.

Read more at CNS News →

WATCH: Selena Gómez in Good Morning América!

WATCH: Selena Gómez in Good Morning América!

Photo: Selena Gómez

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The 18 year-old singer-actress graced the Central Park’s Rumsey Playfield this morning, performing on Good Morning America.

Selena Gómez and the Scene sung three songs for the crowd, including their latest release “Love You Like a Love Song” for GMA’s Summer Concert Series.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Victims of Nicaragua’s 1972 Eartquake Will Finally Have Permanent Housing

Victims of Nicaragua’s 1972 Eartquake Will Finally Have Permanent Housing

Photo: In the wake of the 1972 earthquake in Nicaragua, 10,000 people lost their lives

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In 1972, a 6.5-magnitude earthquake devastated Nicaragua’s capital city. In the wake of the tragedy, 10,000 people lost their lives and 50,000 buildings – many of them homes – were leveled.

For almost 40 years, many of those left homeless by the earthquake were still living as refugees, which is really what they are. Over 100 families have been living in buildings abandoned by the wealthy in Managua for nearly four decades, initially believing the living conditions were only temporary.

“The so-called squatter settlements in the ruins are nothing more than earthquake refugees who never got a place to live after the quake,” Nicaraguan historian Roberto Sánchez Ramírez told the Christian Science Monitor.

Now, thanks to a government program, the 103 families that were living in what had become known as “the ruins” will finally be relocated as the last of the government’s efforts to rectify the damage caused by the earthquake.

It is believed that the poor choice in building design was responsible for the high death toll and the destruction of an estimated 80 percent of the capital city. Many speculate, that the capital should simply be moved, as it sits on a fault line and will likely experience more earthquakes.

Read more at Christian Science Monitor →

WATCH The Infamous Photos That got Chilean Press Banned from Soccer!

WATCH The Infamous Photos That got Chilean Press Banned from Soccer!

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The Chilean soccer team has banned the press after pictures of a naughty prank got published in newspapers and the Internet.

Backed up by the entire coaching body,  Chile’s National Soccer Team has closed its doors to the press through the practices for the upcoming Copa América and until further notice.

A few days ago, several players decided to play a prank on left wing Roberto Cepeda, and during practice, ganged up on him and got him naked in the middle of the field.

Several media outlets captured the scene, and published the images, next to comments suggesting naughtiness and indiscipline by the part of the entire team, as well as coaches and management.

“If you ask me, the press should not even be allowed in Juan Pinto Durán (the team’s practice home),” said forward Jean Beausejour, before adding that the teams intimacy had been violated, as “What happened with Cerceda, has happened a million times in the team.”

Coach Claudio Borghi suggested that journalists had betrayed his trust, and announced a cero press policy.

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Read more by HS News Staff →

President Obama to Address National Council of La Raza Annual Conference

President Obama to Address National Council of La Raza Annual Conference

Photo: Pres Obama to Speak at NCLR Conference

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The White House has confirmed that President Barack Obama will speak at the 2011 NCLR (National Council of La Raza) Annual Conference, NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía announced today. The NCLR Annual Conference and National Latino Family Expo, the single largest national Latino event of the year, will be held in Washington, D.C., July 23–26, at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. More than 25,000 participants are expected to attend the four-day event.

Also confirmed as Conference speakers are Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, II of Missouri, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus; author, columnist, and president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group Arianna Huffington; renowned actress and NCLR ALMA Awards® host and executive producer Eva Longoria; and Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis. Republican presidential candidates also have been invited to speak. Times and dates for all speakers, including President Obama, will be released in the coming weeks.

“We are very proud to have the President of the United States join us at this important event,” Murguía said. “Our attendees are eager to hear from President Obama on the key issues faced by the country and the Latino community, including the accomplishments and other unfinished business of his administration.”

“Our lineup of acclaimed speakers has always been one of the highlights of the Conference, and this year is no exception,” continued Murguía. “It is the largest gathering of and serves as the meeting ground for more than 25,000 community leaders, activists, and volunteers; elected and appointed officials; members of the corporate, philanthropic, and academic communities; senior citizens; college students; and youth.” Murguía added, “It also provides a forum for corporate representatives and government officials to become better acquainted with ongoing and emerging issues in the Latino community.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

“Silent Raids” Continue as Government Continues Search for Illegal Labor

“Silent Raids” Continue as Government Continues Search for Illegal Labor

Photo: “Silent Raids” Continue as Government Continues Search for Illegal Labor

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The federal government continued its crackdown on businesses and employers who hire undocumented immigrants, and Wednesday issued another 1,000 warning to companies across the country saying that inspections of their hiring records should be expected.

Those that hire undocumented workers to keep labor costs down are now hoping they can keep Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials from fining or possibly filing criminal charges against them for “knowingly hiring illegal workers, evading taxes and engaging in identity theft,” wrote The Wall Street Journal.

The 1000 employers were ordered to hand over their I-9 forms, which determine a person’s employment eligibility. The forms contain Social Security numbers, dates or birth, and employees’ statements of citizenship.

Gillian Christensen, spokeswoman for ICE said the businesses under scrutiny in these so-called “silent raids” have not been named due to “the ongoing, law-enforcement-sensitive nature of the inspectors.”

Immigrant advocates, even other government agencies have expressed concern over of the “silent raids” and say that evidence should be found that something is not right.

Randy Johnson, a senior vice president for the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce said, “We are concerned the audits are being based more on a fishing expedition than firm facts.” Adding, “Because these audits can cost millions of dollars in lost productivity and attorneys’ fees, the government should move carefully and only when based on solid foundation that there is in fact illegal behavior.”

Last year, Chipotle Mexican Grill was audited, and since the inquiry began, hundreds of workers have been let go from the restaurant’s more than 1,000 locations. It is believed Chipotle fired them as a means to avoid punishment from ICE.

A number of former employees have since filed lawsuits after they allegedly did not receive wages they were owed.

In Brazil, UN Secretary Ki-moon to Confer with National Leaders There

In Brazil, UN Secretary Ki-moon to Confer with National Leaders There

Photo: Brazilian President Rousseff Set to Meet UN Ki-moon

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is set to meet Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, Foreign Minister Antonio de Aguiar Patriota and members of the national Parliament during his final stop on a four-nation visit that has already taken him to Colombia, Argentina and Uruguay.

Mr. Ban arrived in Brasilia late Tuesday from Uruguay, where he addressed that country’s Parliament, noting that Uruguay had lived through a dark period of dictatorship and human rights abuses, but had managed to transform itself into a progressive and tolerant nation.

He also noted that people in the Middle East and North Africa are also calling for freedom and democracy.

The Secretary-General once again urged Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad to protect the country’s people, respect their rights, listen to demands for reform and create proper conditions for refugees to return.

“Implement meaningful reform now before it is too late,” said Mr. Ban in a message directed at Mr. Assad.

Syrian authorities have been widely criticized for their bloody repression of the protests, which are part of a broader uprising this year across North Africa and the Middle East that has already toppled the long-standing regimes in Tunisia and Egypt and led to ongoing conflict in Libya.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Messi Wins, Messi Parties (VIDEO)

Messi Wins, Messi Parties (VIDEO)

Photo: Tabloids Accuse Messi of Messy Partying

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Argentine tabloids report that Leo Messi’s apartment has become a haven for hard partying, alcohol, sex and cumbia.

Following a more than impressive season with the Barcelona Fútbol Club, and before concentrating on his upcoming responsibilities as #10 of the Argentine team in the Copa América, Leo has been partying with friends back home.

Argentine tabloids and newspapers have noted that from the lobby, at least, the partying in Messi’s 34th floor apartment appears scandalous.  Several dancers and models—many of them notorious for chasing millionaire soccer players, attended Messi’s bash along with high profile soccer players.

Guests said that nobody had an affair with Messi, and that they just had a few drinks, talked about Cumbia, and spent some time playing with his PlayStation.

Still, the Argentine press is making a huge deal out of it.

What’s the big deal? He’s not inviting underage girls, or tweeting bulge pictures, breaking windows, punching people, stealing his friends’ girlfriends or using recreational drugs.  He is bringing VIP’s to his house for cocktails and PlayStation, and he doesn’t need anybody’s permission to do so.

….And if you ask us, we think he has more than the right to “Raise the Roof” here are 53 reasons why.

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

AARP Has Not Changed Its Position on Social Security and Issues Statement to Clarify

AARP CEO A. Barry Rand offered the following statement in response to inaccurate media stories on the association’s policy on Social Security:

“Let me be clear – AARP is as committed as we’ve ever been to fighting to protect Social Security for today’s seniors and strengthening it for future generations.  Contrary to the misleading characterization in a recent media story, AARP has not changed its position on Social Security.

“First, we are currently fighting some proposals in Washington to cut Social Security to reduce a deficit it did not cause.  Social Security should not be used as a piggy bank to solve the nation’s deficit.  Any changes to this lifeline program should happen in a separate, broader discussion and make retirement more secure for future generations, not less.

“Our focus has always been on the human impact of changes, not just the budget tables.  Which is why, as we have done numerous times over the last several decades, AARP is engaging our volunteer Board to evaluate any proposed changes to Social Security to determine how each might – individually or in different combinations – impact the lives of current and future retirees given the constantly changing economic realities they face.

“Second, we have maintained for years – to our members, the media and elected officials – that long term solvency is key to protecting and strengthening Social Security for all generations, and we have urged elected officials in Washington to address the program’s long-term challenges in a way that’s fair for all generations.

“It has long been AARP’s policy that Social Security should be strengthened to provide adequate benefits and that it is sufficiently financed to ensure solvency with a stable trust fund for the next 75 years.  It has also been a long held position that any changes would be phased in slowly, over time, and would not affect any current or near term beneficiaries.

“AARP strongly opposed a privatization plan in 2005, and continues to oppose this approach, because it would eliminate the guarantee that Social Security provides and reduce benefits, and we are currently fighting proposals to cut Social Security to pay the nation’s bills.

“Social Security is a critically important issue for our members, their families and Americans of all ages, especially at a time when many will have less retirement security than previous generations with fewer pensions, less savings and rising health care costs.  And, as we have been for decades, we will continue to protect this bedrock of lifetime financial security for all generations of Americans.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Eva Longoria Pushes on Capital Hill to Reform Migrant Child Labor Laws

Eva Longoria Pushes on Capital Hill to Reform Migrant Child Labor Laws

Photo: Eva Longoria on Capital Hill

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Actor and Activist Eva Longoria, who is executive producer of a new documentary THE HARVEST/LA COSECHA, joined Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34)  on yesterday at the House Triangle outside the East Front of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. to announce a new push to reform child labor laws for farmworkers.

THE HARVEST/LA COSECHA, a new film by Shine Global, U Roberto Romano and Executive Producer Eva Longoria, examines the lives of child migrant laborers.  It focuses on three Latino youths who are among an estimated 400,000 children who work under frequently brutal conditions on America’s farms, at the expense of their health, education and social development.  The film will be released theatrically in Los Angeles and in New York in July, along with special screenings in 30 cities nationally.

In addition to Eva Longoria and Congresswoman Roybal-Allard, speakers at the press conference included Thomas A. Saenz, President & General Counsel, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF); Reid Maki, Coordinator of the Child Labor Coalition who will be releasing the National Consumers League’s results of a consumer survey on attitudes about child labor in agriculture; and Norma Flores López, Director of the Children in the Fields Campaign at the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP), and a former child migrant farmworker.

Rep. Roybal-Allard is the author of “The Children’s Act for Responsible Employment,” (CARE) which would extend equal child labor protection to hundreds of thousands of children by raising the minimum age at which farmworkers can work to 14 and increasing the age at which they can do hazardous work to 18 – the same as all other industries.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Praises Brazil’s Global Leadership and Commitment to UN Ideals

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Praises Brazil’s Global Leadership and Commitment to UN Ideals

Photo: Dilma Rousseff

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has praised Brazil for its leadership and commitment to world peace and security, regional integration, development and the promotion of the values and goals of the United Nations, including human rights.

“Brazil is positioned in a very strategically good position to make a consensus between the developed and developing countries, and I appreciate such a strong commitment to promote South-South cooperation and this is exactly what we expect from emerging countries like Brazil,” Mr. Ban told reporters at a joint press briefing with Brazil’s Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota in Brasilia Thursday.

He expressed his appreciation of Brazil’s to UN peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts, especially in Haiti and Timor-Leste.

The Secretary-General said he was also counting on Brazil’s leadership at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), which will be held in Rio de Janeiro in June next year.

“This will be the most important, top priority issue for the United Nations. We have been dealing with climate change, we have made good progress, even though we are not able to agree on [a] global acceptable comprehensive agreement,” said Mr. Ban.

“We are now facing food security, energy security, water scarcity issues and health issues. All of these health issues are interlinked. That means we need to look at these issues from a broader perspective in a more comprehensive way. We will exert all the efforts to make this Rio+20 a great success for humanity, to make this world and planet Earth environmentally sustainable and hospitable,” he added.

Answering a question on the ongoing bloody repression of demonstrators calling for democracy in Syria, the Secretary-General said he had repeatedly called upon President Bashar al-Assad to heed the people’s demands for civil liberties and human rights and to stop killing his own people.

“It is totally unacceptable that many civilians, peacefully demonstrating to have their genuine wishes for greater freedom and democracy [heard], have been killed and wounded.

“I again strongly urge President Assad and his… regime…. to stop killing people and to engage in inclusive dialogue and to take bold measures, decisive and bold measures, before it is too late. And I also hope that the United Nations will be able to speak in a coherent manner,” said Mr. Ban.

Responding to a question on Libya, where the pro-democracy opposition is bidding to oust the country’s long-time ruler Muammar al-Qadhafi, Mr. Ban said he and spoken to authorities there as well and demanded that they stop killing people.

“A ceasefire in a verifiable manner, [is needed] so that the United Nations and other international humanitarian community can provide humanitarian assistance to many needy people.

“The humanitarian situation in many places, in many cities like in Misrata, has very much deteriorated. And we are also now starting to prepare for post-crisis arrangements, a peacebuilding and peacemaking process, including providing humanitarian assistance and protecting human rights,” Mr. Ban told reporters.

Asked about Security Council reform, the Secretary-General said it was “long overdue.”

“If you consider the dramatic and significant changes which have taken place during the last 65 years, the Security Council needs to be, should be, changed. Adapting to changing situations, that means the Security Council should be reformed in a more representative, a more credible and democratic way,” he said.

He said UN Member States had begun “text-based” negotiations on Security Council reform and hoped they will accelerate discussions and come up with a mutually-agreed modality for the expected changes.

In a meeting with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff earlier yesterday, Mr. Ban invited her to take a lead role at the international conference on nuclear safety and security that the Secretary-General has convened in September. Their discussions also touched on the Rio+20 Conference.

Mr. Ban noted Ms. Rousseff will this year be the first woman in the history of the UN to open the General Assembly’s annual high-level General Debate.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Reducing Birth Defects Amongst Latina Moms with Folic-Acid Fortified Tortillas & Tamales

Reducing Birth Defects Amongst Latina Moms with Folic-Acid Fortified Tortillas & Tamales

Photo: Reducing Birth Defects Amongst Latina Moms

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Fortifying corn masa flour with the B vitamin folic acid could prevent more serious birth defects of the brain and spine in the Hispanic community, according to a March of Dimes commentary published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Fortification of enriched cereal grains such as bread and pasta with folic acid was mandated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) beginning in 1998.  Since then, the rate of birth defects of the brain and spine known as neural tube defects (NTDs), which include spina bifida and anencephaly, has decreased by nearly one-third.

However, despite this success, about 3,000 pregnancies in the United States still are affected by NTDs annually and Hispanics have the highest rate when compared to other race or ethnic groups.

“Fortification of cereal grains with folic acid in 1998 is a public health success story. Adding this B vitamin to corn masa flour will build on that initiative and begin to address the disparities in these birth defects,” said Alan R. Fleischman, MD, March of Dimes medical director and lead author of the commentary. “Despite the fact that fortification has given thousands of babies a healthy start in life, it is imperative we address this serious health problem in the Hispanic community. Public health officials and businesses must work together to expand the success of folic acid fortification to corn masa and to the Hispanic community in the U.S.

Corn masa flour is made from specially treated corn and used to make products common in Latin American diets such as corn tortillas and tamales.

Dr. Fleischman writes that by targeting traditional Hispanic food made with corn masa for folic acid fortification, it would be possible to lower the rate of NTDs among Hispanics, particularly Mexican-Americans.  Studies have shown that folic acid works if taken before conception and during early pregnancy.

Hispanic women are about 20 percent more likely to have a child with an NTD than non-Hispanic white women, according to the National Birth Defects Prevention Network.  Although the reasons for the disparity is not well understood, Hispanic women have been found to have lower intake of folic acid overall compared to non-Hispanic white women.

In order for corn masa flour products to be fortified with folic acid, approval of the Food and Drug Administration is needed. Many countries in Latin America interested in public health measures known to prevent neural tube defects already fortify their food products with folic acid, including Chile, Costa Rica, and Mexico. This safe and effective public health intervention can successfully decrease birth defects. 

The commentary “Fortification of Corn Masa Flour with Folic Acid in the U.S.” was published online today by the American Journal of Public Health.

 

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Mexico Sets ‘Digital’ As Its New Radio Standard

Mexico Sets ‘Digital’ As Its New Radio Standard

Photo: President Felipe Calderon on Digital Radio

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Mexican President, Felipe Calderon, presented the progress of Agenda Broadcasting at the official residence of Los Pinos, where he announced that the Federal Communications Commission issued an agreement to make the transition to digital radio .

Recognizing the radio as a vital instrument of freedom of expression and dissemination of knowledge and culture, the President began his speech referring to the Federal Government’s commitment to support its development. “By establishing the new digital standard, we opened the door for Mexicans to get more content with better signal quality,” he said.

It is a long-awaited action by broadcasters in the country and placed Mexico as the world leader for radio transmissions.

Mentioning the issue of concessions, the President said that at present there are clear rules for endorsement and each of the broadcasters know the times and transparency requirements that must be met. It is noteworthy that during the event 75 stations will receive endorsements of concessions, in addition to those delivered so far in Calderon’s administration, making a total of 317, showing that COFETEL, the Federal Communications Commission, has completed the process of endorsement of all those applications in time and way before the end of this year with impartiality and objectivity.

To conclude and to all those present, President Calderón said: “For the Federal Government to develop a more robust broadcasting industry is one of the highest priorities. We are working to create conditions that are required. Now it is you who must bring them broadcasting from Mexico to the XXI Century “.

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The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mocks Obama’s Trip to Puerto Rico (VIDEO)

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart  Mocks Obama’s Trip to Puerto Rico (VIDEO)

Photo: Jon Stewart

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The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

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U.S. Bishops Launch Immigration Campaign in Opposition to the E-Verify Program Expanding

U.S. Bishops Launch Immigration Campaign in Opposition to the E-Verify Program Expanding

Photo: U.S. Bishops Oppose E-Verify Expansion

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The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Justice for Immigrants campaign is urging Catholics to oppose the expansion of E-Verify in the absence of comprehensive immigration reform. E-Verify is the federal government’s Internet-based system that allows employers to determine whether workers are eligible to work in the United States.

‘Justice for Immigrants’ is the action alert campaign the Conference of Bishop is running to help block the E-verify by asking everyone to contact their U.S. representatie and U.S. Senator.

According to the campaign: 

Enforcement-only immigration policies are not working.  In the past decade, Congress has spent $117 billion of taxpayer dollars on immigration enforcement initiatives, yet the number of unauthorized immigrants in the country has grown to 11.2 million and the demand for foreign-born, low-skilled labor has continued on pace with the ebbs and flows of the U.S. economy.  Approximately 8 million – or 70 percent – of the unauthorized population are in the U.S. labor force and each year another 300,000 to 400,000 enter the country.  It is clear that another approach is necessary. 

Yet, some in Congress are now calling for the mandatory expansion of E-Verify – a largely voluntary program which allows employers to electronically verify workers’ employment eligibility with Government databases.  Only 250,000 some employers use the system today; some in Congress want to make its use mandatory by all 6 million U.S. employers.

The problem is that unless E-Verify’s expansion is undertaken in the context of comprehensive immigration reform, it will hurt U.S. workers and our already weakened economy.  Unless Congress legalizes unauthorized immigrants, mandatory E-Verify will begin with a handicap of 8 million unauthorized workers who will be driven further into the underground economy, hurting both the U.S. economy and workers by decreasing federal tax revenue by more than $17.3 billion over ten years, creating an unequal workplace, and lowering labor standards for all workers.

And, because of well-documented flaws in the Government databases upon which it relies, E-Verify does not detect over half of the undocumented workers entered in the system, yet results in false positives for hundreds of thousands of American workers.

For these reasons, we urge you to let your Senators and Members know that unless and until the E-Verify program is improved and undertaken in the context of comprehensive immigration reform, you oppose its expansion and mandatory implementation.

Read more at Justice for Immigrants



FridayJune 17, 2011