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SaturdayNovember 5, 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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Pastport: Panama Follows Actress/Singer Tatyana Ali on an Emotional Journey

Pastport: Panama Follows Actress/Singer Tatyana Ali on an Emotional Journey

Photo: Tatyana Ali

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Tatyana grew up in a household that spoke Spanish and fully embraced Panamanian culture, often indulging in the country’s food, music, and dance. However, Tatyana knew little of the family life her mom left behind. All she knew was that her grandmother, Estella, had fled Panama to escape an abusive marriage and relocated to America with her five children in tow.

Tatyana seemed to have it all. After landing the Fresh Prince role, starting a successful R&B career, and graduating from Harvard, she felt she was still missing something. Since childhood the 32-year-old actress had harbored a desire to re-connect with her family’s heritage, history and culture. “It’s much easier to know exactly where you’re going when you know where you come from,” shared Ali about her experiences on her life-changing trip to Panama.

In Pastport: Panama, Tatyana not only fills this long-held void in her life, but manages to fulfill a life long dream to sing in Spanish before a live audience with none other than celebrated reggaeton band Los Rabanes. With their mother serving as their personal tour guide, Tatyana and her younger sister, Anastasia, explore Panama and bring their heritage to life. 

“Pastport strikes at the very essence of who we are as Latinos. Bi-Cultural Latinos like Tatyana and our viewers are constantly balancing the best of both worlds, and feel a deep-rooted need to keep their heritage alive,” said Maria Perez-Brown, nuvoTV’s senior vice president of programming. “Our audience gets to tap into the beauty and passion of our Latino culture as experienced by Latino celebrities. We make the dream of reconnecting with their past a reality.”

Pastport: Panama follows actress/singer Tatyana Ali, best known for her role as “Ashley Banks” on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, as she makes an emotional journey with her family to Panama. Add in a jam session with Latin Grammy winners Los Rabanes and a big family surprise and you get one of Pastport’s most inspired episodes. Pastport: Panama premieres Tuesday, November 8th at 10 p.m. ET.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Benicio Del Toro May Play Villain in ‘Star Trek’ Sequel

Benicio Del Toro May Play Villain in ‘Star Trek’ Sequel

Photo: Benico Del Toro

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Benicio Del Toro may be cast as the villain in J. J. Abrams’ upcoming Star Trek sequel.

Variety reports the director has met with Del Toro to discuss the role, which has been kept under wraps, with Del Toro not even knowing what playing the character would exactly entail. It is expected that the actor will be officially offered the part by the end of the weekend.


Del Toro, who is best known for his Oscar winning performance as Javier Rodriguez in 2000’s Traffic, would join returning cast members Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, and Zoe Saldana, who will reprise their original roles.


Production for the untitled sequel is expected to start in early 2012. Although the release date was scheduled for June 29 of next year, it has been pushed back to give writers more time to work on the script. No current date has been given on when it will be in theaters.


In addition to this possible role, Del Toro will soon be seen in Oliver Stone’s Savages.

Read more at The Celebrity Cafe →

House Member Likens Undocumented Immigrants to Vagrants, Animals

House Member Likens Undocumented Immigrants to Vagrants, Animals

Photo: Rep Jeff Duncan

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A South Carolina congressman recently likened undocumented immigrants to vagrants and animals in an awfully misguided comparison during an event with college students.

Rep. Jeff Duncan made the remarks earlier this week during a question-and-answer session at Furman University in Greenville, S.C. A Greenville News article quotes him as saying:

It’s kind of like having a house—and you’re not homeowners, a lot of folks in this room, but your Mom and Dads are—taking the door off the hinges and allowing any kind of vagrant, or animal, or just somebody that’s hungry, or somebody that wants to do your dishes for you, to come in. And you can’t say, ‘No you can’t come in.’ And you can’t say, ‘No you can’t stay all night.’ Or ‘No you can’t have this benefit of using my deodorant.’ All those things. We’re giving those benefits away, which we earn as citizens of this nation, of being legalized citizens.

Duncan’s spokesperson later tried to recast the comments, telling the Greenville News that it was simply an analogy between homes and nations: “A border with no fence is like a house with no doors, where anyone or anything can come and go as they please. … It would be both incorrect and extremely unfortunate to assign any other meaning to the Congressman’s remarks.”

South Carolina’s controversial immigration law is set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2012; the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit recently challenging the legislation.


Rep. Jeff Duncan has since insisted the comments were meant as a simple analogy between securing your home and securing the border.

Read more at Campus Progress →

Mass Unites Mexicans, Americans Separated by Border Fence

Mass Unites Mexicans, Americans Separated by Border Fence

Photo: Rudy Gutierrez / El Paso Times

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The Mexican bishop often exchanged glances with his American counterpart as they celebrated the All Souls’ Day Mass. But instead of embracing at the kiss of peace, they touched palms—though the chain-link fence.

Hundreds of Mexicans and Americans joined their bishops for the Mass, enduring dusty wind that created a brown haze. On the Mexican side of the border, on a lot surrounded by trash, wandering dogs, and food vendors, a handful of the 200 attendees paid little attention to the Mass but clung to the fence and stared longingly at the congregation on the U.S. side.

Bishop Armando X. Ochoa of El Paso, Texas, Bishop Ricardo Ramirez of Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Bishop Renato Ascencio Leon of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, concelebrated the annual border Mass on either side of the fence. The theme for this year’s Mass was Remembering Our Dead; Celebrating Life; Working for Justice.


Betty Hernandez, 30, a mother of three and a youth minister at Corpus Christi Church in Anapra, said the Mass helps unify El Paso and Ciudad Juarez in a common cause of remembering those who have died in the drug violence as well as those who died in the nearby deserts, hoping to immigrate to the United States. Making this Mass even more poignant for Hernandez was the death of her neighbor, who was gunned down at a nearby burrito stand the previous week.


“Where there is an abundance of pain and death is God’s glory for us to hope,” she said.


As a youth minister in Anapra, which has seen more than its share of the violence, Hernandez tries to keep the teens involved in church activities, from the band and singers for Masses to ushers wearing their red smocks as a deterrent to the temptation of the easy money and violence associated with drug cartels. Many of these teens sat on the outskirts of the celebration amid the trash and wood-pallet fences that surrounded some of the nearby homes.

Behind Bishop Ascencio on the altar were seminarians from Seminario Conciliar in Ciudad Juarez. Father Hector Villa, rector, said their presence underscores much of what they are learning for their future ministries.


“This Mass is a sign of solidarity, especially for immigrants who try to cross the border and encounter so many troubles to reach their goal,” Father Villa said. “We’re asking the authorities in the U.S. to be more just with the people who want a dignified life through work, and this is also a subtle sign for Mexico that they are responsible for providing work for these people.”


Father Villa said he would like his 94 seminarians to be more exposed to real-life issues—such as violence and immigration—sooner rather than later.


“The church can definitely help more by being more organized and active in this moment where immigrants are seen as enemies,” he said. “These people give so much to the U.S. in terms of work, culture, and money.”


During the Mass, Bishop Ascencio accepted symbols of the migrants’ journey to the United States: flags from Latin American countries of origin, a portrait of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a gallon jug of water, a backpack and tennis shoes.


When the Mass was initiated in 1999 it was at the height of the infamous murders of Daughters of Juarez, female factory workers who disappeared and were later found to be sexually assaulted and murdered. Some were buried in shallow graves not far from where the Mass was celebrated. The number of these victims has been projected as high as 400.


Since 2006, Ciudad Juarez has seen about 8,500 murders as a result of a brutal drug war. And amid the death and sorrow are issues with immigration and human rights that include a redefinition of immigration from those not only seeking gainful employment in the United States, but those fleeing the violence of Ciudad Juarez. It is estimated that more than 200,000 people have fled the once vibrant city since 2006.


Before the Mass, Mexican children ran along the border fence some 50 yards behind the makeshift altar. The group quickly grew in size as a U.S. Border Patrol agent went back and forth between his unit and the fence.


Upon closer examination he was found distributing Halloween candy through the fence to the children. Asked about his covert act of generosity, he just smiled and said, “It’s no big deal.”

Read more at Catholic News →

Did Selena Gomez Really Dump Justin Bieber?

Did Selena Gomez Really Dump Justin Bieber?

Photo: Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber

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After 20-year-old Mariah Yeater made claims that Justin Bieber was the father of her baby, rumors started that Disney starlet Selena Gomez broke-up with the heartthrob.


A source tells RadarOnline.com, “Selena ended it abruptly. She broke the news to Justin just in the past 24 hours.”


This seems like pretty bad timing, making it look like Bieber really is guilty of what he has been accused of. The source reveals, “His camp is in damage control mode and attempting to convince her to stick around in the relationship for a few more weeks, because they fear it will be seen as an admission that something indeed took place between Justin and the woman who is alleging that he’s the father of her baby. Justin has insisted to Selena that the woman’s allegations are simply not true.”


According to Daily Mail, while Bieber claims Yeater is lying, she is still insisting he take a DNA test and pay monthly child support of up to $260,000.


After more coverage of the supposed end of Gomez and Bieber’s relationship, Bieber’s representatives have stepped up to shed light on the rumor.


His representatives tell E! News that there is “no truth” to the story reported by RadarOnline.com.


The eight-month relationship between Jelena is still going strong! What do you think, beliebers? Is this good news?

Read more at The Celebrity Cafe →

Lesbian Torture Clinics in Ecuador- Claiming to “Cure” Them

Lesbian Torture Clinics in Ecuador- Claiming to “Cure” Them

Photo: Gay Rights in Ecuador

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Paola Ziritti is unthinkably brave to speak publicly about the “clinic.” She endured physical assault, sexual abuse, and a constant battery of insults. Guards would even throw buckets of cold water and urine on her. For two years, this was Paola’s waking nightmare… because she’s a lesbian. The “doctors” and guards at the clinic were trying to “cure” her.

Paola lives in Ecuador, where these so-called clinics are terrifyingly common—although the government shut down 27 this year, 180 clinics remain open, and most of the prisoners there are women. (Some gay men and transgendered people are in the clinics as well, but far fewer.)

Paola’s parents knew they were sending her to a forced confinement clinic, but they had no idea how awful it would be. Once Paola’s mother realized what she’d done, she tried to get her daughter back, but the clinic said no. The process to free Paola took a year.

A few incredibly courageous Ecuadorian women are fighting back—they call themselves Fundacion Causana. The women of Fundacion Causana started a petition on Change.org demanding that Ecuadoran Minister of Public Health Dr. David Chiriboga Allnut investigate and shut down all 180 remaining clinics that torture women to “cure” them. Please sign the petition right now.

Fundacion Causana does direct-service work on the ground to save women from the clinics, but they say it’s not enough. They need the unbridled support of the Ecuadoran government to get all of the clinics shut down.

So far, the government has only shut down a small cluster of clinics in one region of the country. Ecuador’s government officials need to know that we are watching and will not stand idly by while women are imprisoned and tortured.

Please sign Fundacion Causana’s petition demanding that the Ecuadoran Minister of Public Health investigate and shut down every “clinic” that tortures members of Ecuador’s LGBT community:

http://www.change.org/petitions/fiscal-general-del-estado-close-fake-clinics-that-torture-lgbt-in-order-to-cure-them

Read more by HS News Staff →

More than 8 million Hispanics are Eligible to Vote, But Have Not Registered to Do So

More than 8 million Hispanics are Eligible to Vote, But Have Not Registered to Do So

Photo: Latino Vote

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Telemundo launched today its multiplatform public service campaign “Vota por tu Futuro” (Vote for Your Future) which aims to boost electoral participation among Hispanics in the United States. Ratifying Telemundo’s commitment to the US Hispanic community, the campaign will run through the 2012 presidential election across all its platforms, including its broadcast network, local stations and digital properties. Telemundo has partnered with leading organizations, United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI) and The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) to increase its reach and leverage its partners’ grassroots registration programs.

“Hispanics are the new face of America. They are transforming our country, yet they have one of the lowest levels of civic engagement, especially in terms of voter registration,” said Emilio Romano, president of Telemundo. “With ‘Vota por tu Futuro’ Telemundo and its partners ratify our commitment to give Hispanics a voice in the national dialogue at a very critical time in the history of our country.”

According to the US Census Bureau, during the 2010 mid-term elections, Hispanics were 16.3% of the nation’s population, but only 10.1% of eligible voters and fewer than 7% of actual voters. It is estimated there are more than 8 million Hispanics who are eligible to vote, but have not registered to do so.

Telemundo will dedicate much of its on-air resources to ‘Vota por tu Futuro’ by informing Hispanics about the electoral process through programs such as “Al Rojo Vivo con María Celeste,” “Noticiero Telemundo” and “Enfoque con José Díaz-Balart,” as well as its morning show “Levántate.”

Telemundo’s Station Group will be actively involved with its stations in Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Arizona, San Jose, New York and Miami focusing on the electoral process from a local perspective. In November, these stations’ soon to be launched local public affairs program, Enfoque will feature “Vota por tu Futuro” messages and initiatives among other political content.

“Vota por tu Futuro” also includes a series of high impact national and local public service announcements with Telemundo talent, as well as other celebrities from the Hispanic community asking the audience to register and vote.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Enrique Iglesias to Kick Off Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign at Dallas Cowboy Thanksgiving Game

Enrique Iglesias to Kick Off Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign at Dallas Cowboy Thanksgiving Game

Photo: Enrique Iglesias

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Pop superstar Enrique Iglesias announced today during his sold out Euphoria tour stop at Madison Square Garden that he will be the featured performer for The Salvation Army’s 15th annual Red Kettle Kickoff during halftime of the Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day game against the Miami Dolphins on November 24, 2011 (4:15 p.m. ET; CBS).


Enrique’s live nationally televised performance will mark the start of the 120th anniversary of the Army’s iconic Red Kettle Campaign, which began in San Francisco in 1891.
The iconic kettle campaign is the largest and longest running fundraiser of its kind and raised a record $142 million in 2010, with more than $1.4 billion raised since the Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day partnership began. To celebrate the 15th anniversary of this iconic musical partnership, fans will have an opportunity to win an expense-paid trip to see the Cowboy’s game and halftime show performance by signing up to be an online virtual bell ringer at www.OnlineRedKettle.org. 


“This is a great opportunity – to spend Thanksgiving in Dallas where music, football and helping others truly comes together,” said Enrique. “The Dallas Cowboys and The Salvation Army have a great partnership— throw in some great music and I know we can get viewers dancing and encourage donors to give generously this Christmas when so many need a hand up.”


One of the most celebrated and recognized Latin Artists of all time, Enrique has sold more than 65 million albums worldwide. Most recently, Enrique was on a sold out arena tour in support of his 2010 smash-hit album, Euphoria. The album has sold 4 million copies worldwide and includes the hits “I Like It,” “Tonight (I’m Lovin’ You)” and the new single “I Like How it Feels” featuring Pitbull. Enrique has won a Grammy and a Latin Grammy, as well as 16 Billboard Music Awards, 23 Billboard Latin Music Awards, 5 American Music Awards and 7 World Music Awards.


As part of the announcement, Enrique was presented with a special Dallas Cowboys jersey with “Enrique” and the number 67 on the back to highlight the 67 #1 spots on the Billboard charts Enrique has had over his career. He also met with children from The Salvation Army’s Harlem Temple Corps in New York City, who were presented with special Dallas Cowboys jerseys.

“We are more than excited to have superstar artist Enrique Iglesias kickoff the Red Kettle Campaign. We know he will put on a halftime performance that will commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Cowboys partnership with The Salvation Army in style,” said Charlotte Jones Anderson, Dallas Cowboys’ executive vice president of brand management and Chairperson of The Salvation Army’s National Advisory Board.

Enrique’s performance highlights the 15-year musical tradition of using the Cowboys Thanksgiving Day halftime show to launch the Red Kettle Campaign. During this time period, The Salvation Army has raised more than $1.4 billion in red kettles to help people in need.  Donations to the Red Kettle Campaign allow The Salvation Army to serve 30 million people in 5,000 communities nationwide each year. Previous halftime performers that helped bring awareness to the campaign include Keith Urban, Daughtry, Jonas Brothers, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Sheryl Crow, Destiny’s Child, Toby Keith, LeAnn Rimes, Creed, Jessica Simpson, Billy Gillman, Clint Black, Randy Travis and Reba McEntire.

“Not only is it the 15th anniversary of the important and remarkable partnership between The Salvation Army and the Dallas Cowboys, it’s also the 120th anniversary of the Red Kettle Campaign. And, after 120 years, The Salvation Army continues to meet the needs of families and individuals who have fallen on hard times thanks to the American donor,” said Major George Hood, National Community Relations and Development Secretary for The Salvation Army. “We’re honored that the Cowboys family has embraced The Salvation Army and our mission of providing critical care to millions of people every Christmas and throughout the year.”


As part of the Red Kettle Kickoff, fans of Enrique Iglesias and the Cowboys will be eligible to win a trip for two to the Thanksgiving Day game in Dallas by signing up to host an Online Red Kettle at www.OnlineRedKettle.org.  The person who recruits the highest number of donors to give to their individual “virtual kettle” before 12 noon on Friday, November 18th will be eligible to win an expenses-paid trip to the game and on-the-field passes for the halftime performance.  Complete rules and contest details are available at www.OnlineRedKettle.org. Last year, more than $1.6 million was raised through Online Red Kettles to support the Christmas campaign. This year, the overall fundraising goal is $3 million.


In addition to giving to traditional and online kettles, supporters can give through the Army’s text-to-give program. Donors can text the word “GIVE” to 80888 to make a $10 donation to the Red Kettle Campaign.


From its humble origin as a fundraiser started by a Salvation Army captain in San Francisco in 1891, the Red Kettle Campaign has grown into one of the most recognizable and important charitable campaigns in the United States. As part of the campaign, more than 25,000 Salvation Army workers and volunteers spread throughout the country to ring bells daily and solicit spare change donations to the iconic red kettles from holiday shoppers. In 2010, the campaign raised more than $142 million nationwide, a new record supported by the public’s nickels, dimes, quarters, dollars, credit cards (and the occasional diamond ring or gold tooth) all collected and used to help people in the communities where they were raised. Last year, the funds helped The Salvation Army provide food, clothing, toys and other assistance to 30 million Americans in need.

Read more by HS News Staff →

CHILL this weekend with a Latin American Natural Wonder

RELAX this weekend with a Latin American natural wonder.  Guess What and Where this is?

 

Juan Laverde, Latin American Natural Wonder

Read more by HS News Staff →

Best Western, Chick-fil-A, Inc., Hyatt, Kelly Services, Lexmark, and Smoothie King Join with ICE

Best Western, Chick-fil-A, Inc., Hyatt, Kelly Services, Lexmark, and Smoothie King Join with ICE

Photo: E-Verify Program

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced today seven major employers in the U.S. including Best Western International, Chick-fil-A, Inc., Hyatt, Kelly Services, Lexmark, Smoothie King and Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America have agreed to partner with ICE by joining the agency’s employment compliance program IMAGE, or “ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers.” IMAGE promotes voluntary compliance and helps companies ensure they are maintaining a lawful workforce.


“These companies have made a commitment to protecting our nation’s lawful workforce,” said ICE Director John Morton. “This is not just about smart business; it’s about doing what is right in the eyes of the law and supporting U.S. companies who are committed to hiring a legal workforce.”


IMAGE is a voluntary program that allows businesses to partner with ICE to maintain a secure and stable workforce and curtail the employment of unauthorized workers through outreach and education. ICE recently revamped IMAGE, simplifying program requirements. Twenty-two companies have signed up since then.


IMAGE partners agree to use sound compliance practices, including voluntarily enrolling in E-Verify, an Internet-based system that compares information from an employee’s Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to data from U.S Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration records to confirm employment eligibility. They also agree to follow written hiring policies and engage in annual self-audits. Most significantly, they agree to submit to an ICE audit of the employment eligibility forms. The IMAGE program is part of ICE’s overall worksite enforcement strategy, which targets employers who knowingly hire illegal labor.

In FY 2011, ICE:

Conducted 2,496 I-9 audits, up from 503 in FY 2008.
Initiated 3,291 worksite enforcement cases, up from 1,191 in FY 2008.
Criminally arrested 221 employers, up from 135 in FY 2008.
Issued 385 Final Orders for $10,463,987 in fines, up from 18 Final Orders for $675,209 in fines in FY 2008.
Debarred 115 individuals and 97 businesses, compared to 0 individuals and 0 businesses in FY 2008.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Colombia President: Cano’s Death is FARC’s ‘Biggest Blow’

Colombia President: Cano’s Death is FARC’s ‘Biggest Blow’

Photo: Alfonso Cano

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Colombian military forces have killed the top leader of the country’s main leftist rebel group.

Alfonso Cano, the top commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, was killed Friday during a military raid in the southwestern Cauca region.


Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said in a televised address Cano’s death is the “biggest blow” against FARC in its entire history.  He urged the FARC guerrillas to “demobilize” now that their leader is dead.  The president said “violence is not the way.”


Cano became the leader of the rebel group in 2008 after the death of Manuel Marulanda Velez, the group’s founder. 


Cano, whose real name is Guillermo Saenz Vargas, was born into a middle-class family.  His father was an agronomist and his mother was a teacher.  He studied anthropology at Bogota’s National University before joining the Communist Party.  He is believed to have joined FARC in the 1970s.


FARC rebels have been at war with the Colombian government since the 1960s.  While most of the group’s funding comes from cocaine trafficking and extortion, the leftist rebels are believed to be holding an unknown number of people for ransom or political leverage.


While the number of FARC rebels has dwindled over the years, analysts estimate the group retains as many as 9,000 fighters.


FARC has been designated as a terrorist organization by Colombia, the United States and the European Union.

Read more at Voice of America →

Palacio de Sal, Bolivia - 1 of 15 hotels to Stay in Before You Die

Palacio de Sal, Bolivia  - 1 of 15 hotels to Stay in Before You Die

Photo: Palacio de Sal

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Built out of salt blocks, the amazing Palacio de Sal (Palace of Salt to English folks) is located at the edge of the Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat. The Salar de Uyuni has long been a popular tourist attraction for travelers around the world. Due to the scarcity of construction materials in the area the hotel was created out of the one material that is plentiful in area. The first hotel was built between 1993 and 1995 and soon became a popular tourist destination featuring 12 double rooms, a common bath and no shower. Due to its original location in the center of a desert there were various sanitary and environmental issues that cause the hotel to be dismantled in 2002.


In 2007 a new hotel was created at a new location, some 25km from the town of Uyuni and it was given the name Palacio de Sal. Located about 220 miles south of Bolivia’s capital La Paz, the hotel was built using about 1 million 14 inch salt blocks which were used for the floor, walls, ceiling, beds, tables, chairs, sculptures and more. But don’t try to lick the walls; the hotel has a rule prohibiting it since licks can degrade the blocks and hence degrade the hotel. The hotel offers a variety of wonderful amenities to pamper its visitors including a dry sauna, steam room, saltwater pool and whirlpool baths. Enjoy a relaxing massage after your sauna or steam room sessions at the Palacio de Sal’s marvelous spa.


The hotel also features a restaurant that serves elaborated dishes based on salt, llama meat and lamb from the local region. If you’re unsure of what to order be sure to try the hotel’s specialty, Pollo a la Sal (Chicken a la Salt) for a truly tasty and delectable meal. If you’re more in the mood for livations, the hotel offers a Bar/Pub with a great game room to play billiards, chess and even an auditorium that holds up to forty guests. The Palacio de Sal is truly a unique and amazing experience giving you a distinctive environment to unwind in.


Chicago Tribune- travel
ImageImage

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Do New Health Law Mandates Threaten Access to Birth Control?

Do New Health Law Mandates Threaten Access to Birth Control?

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Anti-choice House lawmakers launched the latest attack on women’s health and family planning on Wednesday. In a House subcommittee hearing entitled “Do New Health Law Mandates Threaten Conscience Rights and Access to Care?,” several lawmakers showed their true colors, arguing for the preferences of employers over the right of women to make their own contraceptive health decisions in consultation with their doctors.

“House lawmakers’ implicit support of refusal clauses is only the latest attack in the war on women”, said Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. “Beliefs about prescription contraceptives are personal ones. It is unthinkable that a woman could be cut off from her ability to access legitimate medical and professional services solely because of the religious beliefs of her institutional employers.”

In August, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which is in charge of promulgating the rules that will guide the implementation of health reform, recognized the vital role that family planning options play in maintaining women’s health and required that almost all health plans provide coverage for contraception and sterilization. Unfortunately the rule drafted by HHS contains an exception for certain religious employers.

Anti-birth control lawmakers have taken this proposed rule even further, drafting legislation (H.R. 1179) that would effectively grant consciences and moral compasses to a variety of healthcare institutions, including hospitals and health insurance plans, and legally authorizing them to refuse any care to anyone, if it would offend the institution to do otherwise.

“Eliminating expensive co-pays could open the door for many Latinas, who are disproportionately poor, to finally access the birth control of their choice.  National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health research shows that Latinas want the full range of birth control options available to them from the birth control pill to condoms to intrauterine devices (IUDs),” added González-Rojas. “We look forward to working with HHS more on this issue.”

Studies show that 98-99% of sexually active women have used a modern form of contraception. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 50% of women age 18-34, including Latinas, say there has been a time when cost of prescription birth control interfered with their ability to use it consistently.

Preventive care for all women produces better health outcomes for all and reflects the fundamental belief that access to quality health care is a human right.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Durbin Questions DHS Secretary Napolitano About New Process for DREAM Act Deportations (VIDEO)

Durbin Questions DHS Secretary Napolitano About New Process for DREAM Act Deportations (VIDEO)

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Durbin questioned Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano about a new process for DREAM Act deportations.


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SaturdayNovember 5, 2011