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ThursdayOctober 13, 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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Results of Investigation of L.A. Schools for Civil Rights Violations Announced

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan today announced the successful resolution of the first proactive civil rights enforcement action taken by the Department of Education under the Obama Administration.

“Today’s agreement will go a long way toward ensuring that Los Angeles’ English Learner and African-American students are performing to their fullest potential,” Duncan said. “The remedies it contains are intended to address some challenges unique to Los Angeles and others that we are seeing play out in many different places across the country.  But the process that got us here, the cooperation, the commitment to crafting effective solutions, and the fundamental agreement that every student deserves an equal shot at a world-class education is a model that I hope to see repeated again and again.”

Secretary Duncan was joined by John Deasy, superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Russlynn Ali to announce the Voluntary Resolution Agreement between LAUSD and the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

“There is a no greater challenge facing the LAUSD than to dramatically improve the academic performance and graduation rates of English Learner and African-American students,” Deasy said. “While the District has made considerable progress in this regard, success for every student remains to be delivered.  The proposals offered by the Department of Education’s Civil Rights Division are a welcome and promising addition to efforts already undertaken.”

The voluntary agreement concludes an OCR investigation launched in March 2010 that focused on the educational opportunities of LAUSD’s English Learners and comparability of resources for African-American students.

“The achievement gap is the civil rights issue of our time, which is why everything we do at LAUSD and the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools is geared toward protecting every child’s right to learn and to prepare for life,” Villaraigosa said. “We can – and must – do better, and this agreement between the Department of Education and LAUSD is another step in the right direction toward ensuring that English Learners and African-American students have equal access to the resources they need to graduate high school and get a solid footing on the economic ladder.”

Under the agreement, the District will revamp its entire program for English Learners and accelerate its efforts focused on closing the achievement and opportunity gap for African-American students.  The District will also increase its focus on college- and career-ready curricula and programs, and ensure access to needed supports, including effective teachers, to accelerate student progress.

“President Obama often says that the story of the civil rights movement was written in our nation’s schools, and that story is defined by the kind of bold, transformative efforts that we’re all so proud to announce here today,” Ali said. “I want to sincerely thank Superintendent Deasy, his team and the city of Los Angeles for their help in confronting tough issues, working to craft honest solutions and ultimately helping to author this latest chapter in a story we are all committed to seeing fulfill its promise.”

For English Learner students, the District will revamp in almost its entirety, the ELL program.  LAUSD will:

  * Develop and implement a new English Learner Master Plan, monitor program implementation carefully, and evaluate its success for EL students and their teachers.
  * The resolution has a special focus on secondary PRP students (those Preparing for Reclassification) who have completed the ELL program but who have not been deemed proficient and heretofore have not had their specific needs addressed.
  * Do meaningful professional development geared specifically at strengthening the delivery of instruction to EL students.
  * Communicate with EL parents in a way that enables them to understand the District’s EL program and their children’s academic progress.
  * Ensure EL students and their parents access the District’s college and career ready curriculum and have the information they need to prepare for success in postsecondary education and careers. 

For African-American students, the District will:

  * Expand access to the full range of educational resources they need to learn.  Examples include technology, library materials, and access to gifted and talented programs.
  * Develop a plan to enhance the capacity of teachers to address the needs of African-American students.
  * Ensure African-American students are more fairly evaluated and placed in gifted and talented programs.
  * Take steps to report disparate discipline rates, and eliminate inequitable and disproportionate discipline practices.
  * Renew its focus on identifying the academic English needs of African-American students and ensuring that they have the instructional supports necessary so that they graduate college and career ready.
  * Implement a first-of-its-kind pilot project for a community school in a predominantly African-American neighborhood that will provide wrap-around health and social services and become a sustainable and replicable model for promoting African-American student success.
  * Provide parents and students with information and support so that students can prepare for success in postsecondary education and careers. 

OCR will monitor this agreement until such time as it determines the District has fulfilled the terms of this agreement and is in compliance with Title VI and the regulation implementing Title VI, at 34 C.F.R. part 100, that were at issue in this case.

Read more by HS News Staff →

After 5 Suspensions, Univ. of S.C. Quarterback Stephen Garcia is Out, Coach Says ‘Enough’

After 5 Suspensions, Univ. of S.C. Quarterback Stephen Garcia is Out, Coach Says ‘Enough’

Photo: Univ. of S.C. Quarterback Stephen Garcia has been dismissed

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The University of South Carolina Gamecocks had had enough of the quarterback Stephen Garcia. After multiple suspensions, Garcia has been let go for failing to “follow the guidelines of his reinstatement.”

A source told ESPN that Garcia tested positive for alcohol and marijuana, and it was the final straw for team officials. Though he is legally able to drink, his reinstatement contract stated that if he wanted to play for S.C. he was not allowed to drink.

Eric Hyman, the team’s athletic director, said the fifth-year senior was not meeting the agreed-upon guidelines put in place after he was suspended for a fifth time this past spring.

In a statement from hyman:

Being a student-athlete at the University of South Carolina is a privilege, not a right and we remind all of our student-athletes that there are consequences for their actions.

Garcia, who was only fully reinstated in August, said he was “shocked and completely flabbergasted” when he learned of his dismissal.

At the start of his final season, Garcia was suspended for a week for violating team rules during the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta, after which he swore he would not get into anymore trouble.

However, two weeks later, he was suspended for what would come to be the fifth and final time. At that point, Coach Steven Spurrier publicly suggested that Garcia officially graduate – he received a degree in sociology in May – but Garcia decided to stick with the team he helped win the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division title.

In the end, the decision would be taken out of his hands.

Coach Spurrier said, “We all feel like we’ve given Stephen numerous opportunities to be a student-athlete here at South Carolina. Obviously, he has chosen not to follow the guidelines of his reinstatement contract. We wish him the best.”

Read more at ESPN →

Venezuelan City Uses Mimes to Educate Drivers

Venezuelan City Uses Mimes to Educate Drivers

Photo: Venezuelan City Uses Mimes to Educate Drivers

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Traffic around Caracas can get out of control, and that’s why Sucre Mayor has decided to replicate a Colombian initiative: Mimes.

Mayor Carlos Ocariz of Sucre, in eastern Caracas, has implemented a similar approach to traffic control to that of former Bogotá, Colombia Mayor Antanas Mockus, who combined mimes, thumbs-up cards, smarter infrastructure design and stricter police enforcement in a program that was internationally perceived as a success.

About 120 mimes dressed in green and orange reflective outfits, white gloves and bowties have taken to the streets making faces and shaking pointy fingers at traffic violators, angry drivers and pedestrians who fail to use crosswalks.

The mime initiative is expected to over time help change bad habits of both motorists and pedestrians as it did in Bogotá. Mimes overlooking traffic can often achieve what transit police are not able to with repressive policies, tickets and other sanctions that alienate citizens; people tend to respond amiably to the peaceful and artistic suggestions of the mimes, which helps cultivate a culture of tolerance and a sense of respect towards other drivers, pedestrians and traffic laws.

Can you imagine this in LA? Chicago? New York?

Check out the pictures below and join us in our forums section for the conversation!

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Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Adolfo Martinez Arrested for Groping Woman in Brooklyn

LATINO BLOTTER: Adolfo Martinez Arrested for Groping Woman in Brooklyn

Photo: LATINO BLOTTER: Adolfo Martinez Arrested for Groping Woman in Brooklyn

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A Latino man has been arrested for groping woman in a New York neighborhood, police initially believing he was behind a dozen other sexual attacks in the area.

Adolfo Martinez, 26, was arrested and ultimately confessed to the sex attacks against women in and around Brooklyn, after police officers revealed they had a video of him near the crime scene.

Detectives have stated that they now do not think Martinez is not the only man responsible for the more than a dozen attacks on women. Additional men are wanted in those cases and is said to have assaulted the women in various neighborhoods, touching or grabbing them, then running away when they realize and scream.

Martinez’ family said they cannot believe he is the repeat molester. His brother, Antonio, pointing out that Adolfo is a married father of an 8-month.

“He’s a family man,” Antonio told the NY Daily News.

However, the family’s claims that he is not the serial molester, as he has never been in trouble with the law, are not exactly true.

In 2007, he was arrested for allegedly grabbing the rear end of a woman in Chinatown, where he currently works at a fish market. He was freed without bail, and after missing two court dates, police were keeping an out for him.

Tuesday, he was picked up in Sunset Park near where another woman was attacked.

Thursday, Martinez was ordered held for a psychiatric evaluation.

He has been charged with two misdemeanors, forcible touching and sexual abuse.

The News says he is scheduled to appear in a Manhattan court on Friday, where he will be forced to answer for the 2007 case.

Read more at New York Daily News →

WATCH Argentina Bieber Fans Go Commando to Catch a Glimpse

WATCH Argentina Bieber Fans Go Commando to Catch a Glimpse

Photo: Justin Bieber

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Argentine fans of Justin Bieber defied security at Buenos Aires’ exclusive “Faena” hotel, jumping over or crawling under fences, rushing and shrieking while trying to get a glimpse of the Biebs.

Bieber went on to Twitter to post a video of his fans going all commando on hotel security staff, and wrote:

“MY FANS go HARD!! Ha, #EPICFANS !!! wait..but dont break into my room. that aint cool. this is still epic. lol -”

Read more by HS News Staff →

CHECK OUT Ronaldinho’s Insane Free Kick Goal Against México (VIDEO)

CHECK OUT Ronaldinho’s Insane Free Kick Goal Against México (VIDEO)

Photo: Brazilian player Ronaldinho

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Watch Brazilian player Ronaldinho kick the most amazing goal of the 2014 World Cup qualifying games thus far against México. The Brazilian team won 2-1.

Read more by HS News Staff →

U.S. House Approves Colombia, Panama, and S. Korea Trade Agreements

U.S. House Approves Colombia, Panama, and S. Korea Trade Agreements

Photo: U.S. House Approves Colombia, Panama, and S. Korea Trade Agreements

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With the Senate expected to approve the trade deals with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea, the House of Representatives has signed off on the deals.

Of the three deals, the between the U.S. and Colombia was the most controversial, as Panama and South Korea do not have a Colombia-like history of violence against union members.

The Colombia deal saw complaints from a number of Democrats who claimed the agreement failed to include enforceable labor rights.

After the House approval, the President released a statement.

The landmark trade agreements and assistance for American workers that passed tonight are a major win for American workers and businesses. I’ve fought to make sure that these trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama deliver the best possible deal for our country, and I’ve insisted that we do more to help American workers who have been affected by global competition. Tonight’s vote, with bipartisan support, will significantly boost exports that bear the proud label “Made in America,” support tens of thousands of good-paying American jobs and protect labor rights, the environment and intellectual property. American automakers, farmers, ranchers and manufacturers, including many small businesses, will be able to compete and win in new markets. I look forward to signing these agreements, which will help achieve my goal of doubling American exports and keeping America competitive in the 21st century.

Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton released a statement sharing the President’s sentiments, adding, Our work is not yet done. We will not be content until these agreements are fully implemented so that American exporters can reap the benefits as soon as possible.”

Read more at White House →

Former Astronaut, Jose Hernandez, Running for Congress in California (VIDEO)

Former Astronaut, Jose Hernandez, Running for Congress in California (VIDEO)

Photo: Former Astronaut, Jose Hernandez, Running for Congress in California (VIDEO)

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On October 11t, Jose Hernandez, a retired NASA astronaut, announced that he is looking to become the newly-created 10th District’s congressional representative.

After encouragement from President Obama, Hernandez decided to run for the U.S. House of Representatives, and announced his candidacy on Tuesday via a link on Twitter, which sent users to his campaign website. Even the first lady has offered to help him campaign.

The 49-year-old was born in French Camp, California to Mexican immigrant parents.

Tuesday, Hernandez told the Associated Press, “I’ve worked hard and haven’t taken any shortcuts, and I’ve got this country to thank for it. It has been possible in this country for people like me to live the American Dream, and that’s what I want to make sure I preserve.”

The self-proclaimed moderate Democrat says he will run his campaign on ending U.S. military presence in Ira and Afghanistan in order to free up the $10 billion which is spent each year.

Hernandez joined the Johnson Space Center in 2001, and was selected by NASA as an astronaut candidate in 2004. After finishing his astronaut training in 2006, Hernandez worked at with the Kennedy Space Center to support Shuttle launch and preparations.

On August 28, 2009, Hernandez went into space as a mission specialist on the STS-128 mission. He became the first person to use Spanish in space while tweeting.

Hernandez and his wife have five children, aged 8 to 17. He says he is looking for a home within the 10th district.


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On Anniversary of Rescue, Bolivian Miner Gets Arrested

On Anniversary of Rescue, Bolivian Miner Gets Arrested

Photo: Bolivian miner Carlos Mamani

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Trapped Bolivian miner Carlos Mamani unfortunately won’t partake of the 1 year anniversary celebrations as he has been arrested for domestic abuse.

According to the Chilean sites “soycopiapo.cl” and “emol.com” Bolivian miner Carlos Mamani was arrested last night after police responded to a domestic abuse phone call.

Chilean “carabineros” arrested not only the only foreigner miner in the “33” group, but also his wife and her brother. No information as to what kind of domestic abuse or other details have been released.

The miner won’t be able to attend the mass and subsequent celebrations of the 1 year anniversary of the rescue held today in Copiapó.

President Piñera will not attend either, as he will be attending to other commitments in La Moneda.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Puerto Rican “Coquí Llanero” Frog to Receive U.S. Protection as Endangered Species

Puerto Rican “Coquí Llanero” Frog to Receive U.S. Protection as Endangered Species

Photo: “Coquí Llanero” frog

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U.S. environmental officials announced they would like to list the minuscule “Coquí Llanero” frog to the list of endangered species.

The “Coquí Llanero” is Puerto Rico’s smallest tree frog. Its calling sound is at such a high-pitch frequency, that it can barely be heard.

The “Coquí Llanero is found only in the wetlands; the species was discovered in 2005 and is one of 17 coqui species. They exclusively lay their eggs on the bulltongue arrowhead plant.

An “endangered species” status would make it illegal to kill, harm or capture the frog.

The “United States Fish and Wildlife Service” has requested that over 600 acres of wetlands in northern Puerto Rico be designated as the tiny frog’s species’ critical habitat. Currently the majority of that property is managed by the U.S. Department of Defense and appears to be destined for residential development, the rest is managed by the local government.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Following Successful Promotion of Enrique Iglesias, Zynga Announces New Games, Prepares to go Public

Following Successful Promotion of Enrique Iglesias, Zynga Announces New Games, Prepares to go Public

Photo: Following Successful Promotion of Enrique Iglesias, Zynga Announces New Games, Prepares to go Public

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Last week, Enrique Iglesias teamed up with Zynga, the gaming giant that gave the world FarmVille, CityVille, Mafia Wars, Words with Friends, etc, to promote the singer’s “Euphoria” tour, which kicked off in Boston in late September.

From October 3rd to the 10th, an Enrique Iglesias avatar was placed in Zynga’s CityVille. Gamer players were able to interact with this character, “collect special items, build an arena in the game and get a first look at an exclusive video as part of an integration designed to celebrate” the singer’s recently launched tour.

“I love finding new and cool ways to connect with my fans,” Iglesias said in a Zynga release. “Bringing my Euphoria Tour to Zynga’s CityVille not only helps me celebrate my tour with a massive global audience, but also gives fans who can’t make it to see me live, a way to be part of the Euphoria experience.”

Iglesias is just one of the celebrities working with the company to both promote themselves and keep users playing Zynga games.

Last year, rapper/producer Dr. Dre worked with Mafia wars, and in May, Lady Gaga partnered with Zynga on “GagaVille,” a themed farm within FarmVille. Zynga was able to use Gaga to promote their game, and the singer was able to promote the release of her “Born This Way” album.

Earlier this week, Zynga announced its new play service known as “Project Z”. Facebook Connect will enable this new social “playground” to leverage your friend network on Facebook to play in an environment built for games.

Ten new games were also revealed, including Mafia Wars 2, CastleVille, Hidden Chronicles, and others.

Four months ago, the internet firm filed to go public, with an estimated valuation of $15 to $20 billion. Zynga hopes to raise up to $2 billion by going public.

Read more by HS News Staff →

CONFIRMED Javier Bardem Will Be The Villain in The Next 007 Film (VIDEO)

CONFIRMED Javier Bardem Will Be The Villain in The Next 007 Film (VIDEO)

Photo: Javier Bardem will play the villain in Bond 23

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The Spanish actor will be the next Bond-villain in the 23rd Bond, titled “Skyfall,” directed by Sam Mendes.

Oscar winning actor Javier Bardem, who earned his academy award for his role as the evilest person ever in the Coen brothers’ “No Country for Old Men,” has signed up to embody the next James Bond foe.

“I am very excited, my parents took me to watch the movies, and I saw all of them, and to play that is going to be fun,” Bardem told ABC’s “Nightline”

Read more by HS News Staff →

248 U.S. Jurisdictions Will Provide Voters with Language Assistance

248 U.S. Jurisdictions Will Provide Voters with Language Assistance

Photo: 248 U.S. Jurisdictions Will Provide Voters with Language Assistance

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Over 19 million voting-age eligible citizens from language minority groups reside in the covered jurisdictions, including more than 14 million Latinos

The Census Bureau today released a list of 248 political jurisdictions that will be required to provide language assistance for language-minority U.S. citizens participating in the electoral process. Of the 248 covered jurisdictions, 212 will be required to provide citizens with assistance in Spanish.

“The language assistance requirements of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) strengthens the foundation of our nation’s democracy by ensuring that all U.S. citizens, regardless of linguistic ability, are able to fully and fairly exercise their right to participate in the electoral process,” said NALEO Educational Fund Executive Director Arturo Vargas.

The list, which will be published in the Federal Register tomorrow, identifies jurisdictions covered by Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) that must provide language assistance for Hispanic, American Indian, Alaska Native and Asian language groups.  Since Section 203 was enacted in 1975, these determinations have been made by the Census Bureau following each decennial census. (See below for state breakdown of all covered jurisdictions)

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The new determinations mark the first time in history that statistics from the American Community Survey (ACS) have been used to produce the list of covered jurisdictions.  During the VRA Reauthorization in 2006, Congress instructed the Census Bureau to begin utilizing data from the ACS survey to provide more frequent coverage determinations.  Future coverage determinations will be made every five years, with the next determinations scheduled to be released in 2016.

A total of 19,209,431 voting-age citizens from language minority groups reside in the 248 covered jurisdictions, compared with 13,463,635 in 2002, an increase of 42.7 percent. Of the voting-age citizens covered, approximately 14,794,716 are Latino.

The new determinations included a slight decrease in the number of jurisdictions covered for Spanish.  Compared to 224 in 2002, U.S. citizens will have access to Spanish assistance in 212 jurisdictions across the country. (See below for state breakdown of covered jurisdictions for Spanish)

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According to the new determinations, three states will be covered in their entirety (all for Spanish): California, Florida (for the first time) and Texas.

Statewide coverage requires that all statewide forms distributed by the Secretary of State’s office, as well as any assistance provided by the office, must be offered in Spanish.  In addition, Spanish language assistance must be available in communities or voting precincts where there is a need for that assistance.

States with net gains in Spanish language coverage for individual jurisdictions include: AK, CA, CT, FL, IL, MA, MI, NE, NJ, PA, RI, UT, VA, and WI.

States with net losses in Spanish language coverage for individual jurisdictions include: AZ, CO, KS, NM, and TX (still maintains statewide coverage but had elimination of Spanish coverage for 15 of its 89 individual jurisdictions).

Some of the more notable jurisdictions now covered for Spanish are located in areas that are non-traditional centers of Latino populations, including Aleutians East Borough (AK), Fairfax County (VA) in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area, Salt Lake County (UT), including Salt Lake City, Milwaukee (WI), 2 additional counties in CT and 5 additional townships in MA.

The determinations also revealed a reduction of individual jurisdiction coverage for Spanish in a number of states, including Oklahoma, which lost Spanish coverage entirely (2 counties were covered in 2002), and in New Mexico, which lost statewide coverage and had a net reduction of 5 counties from 2002 (16 of its counties are still covered for Spanish).

Mr. Vargas concluded by saying, “The right to vote is one of the most fundamental rights afforded to us as citizens of this country, and we look forward to working with the Department of Justice to ensure that officials in newly covered jurisdictions have the information and resources necessary to uphold this right for all Americans.”

Read more at NALEO Educational Fund →



ThursdayOctober 13, 2011