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WednesdayNovember 9, 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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Georgia University Officials Face Protesters on Undocumented Student Ban

Georgia University Officials Face Protesters on Undocumented Student Ban

Photo: Georgia Students Protests Undocumented Student Ban

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A coalition of organizations mounted a protest here to urge the Georgia Board of Regents to scrap a policy that bars undocumented students from the state’s five most-competitive publicly funded universities.

Members of the Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance, Georgia Students for Public Higher Education, the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups went to Tuesday’s meeting of the regents to present petitions opposing the regulation.

The organizations also held a press conference outside the board’s Atlanta offices.

“There is no just cause to implement the prohibition against undocumented students,” Allie McCullen, spokesperson with Georgia Students for Public Higher Education, told Efe.

Enacted last year, Policy 4.1.6. bars undocumented students from admission to any publicly funded school that was unable to find room for all academically qualified applicants over the preceding two years.

In practice, the measure applies to the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State University, Georgia Health Sciences University and Georgia College & State University.

Figures provided by the Board of Regents show the five universities had a total of 29 undocumented students enrolled in 2010.

The new policy has forced those institutions to begin verifying applicants’ immigration status, a practice McCullen said could spread to Georgia’s 30 other state-funded universities.

“We have great concerns about how this program is being implemented and we have noted that there is a lot of disinformation at other universities regarding the way in which the prohibition should be implemented,” the activist said.

The “disinformation,” according to McCullen, has prompted universities that are not subject to Policy 4.1.6. to start scrutinizing applicants’ immigration status.

“The logic of the authorities is that the undocumented students were taking spots in the state universities away from the U.S. students, but that’s not the case, as the undocumented represented less than 1 percent of the student population when the measure was approved,” she said.

A Board of Regents investigation released last month found that only 501 of the roughly 310,000 students in the University System of Georgia are undocumented immigrants.

Undocumented students attending state-funded schools in Georgia are excluded from government financial aid programs and must pay tuition at the higher out-of-state rate.

Responding to Policy 4.1.6., some professors at the University of Georgia launched an initiative they call “Freedom University,” which is now providing instruction to around 30 undocumented students.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Colombian Paramilitary Sentenced to 33 Years for Narco Terrorism

Colombian Paramilitary Sentenced to 33 Years for Narco Terrorism

Photo: Carlos Mario Jimenez Narco Terrorist Sentenced

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Carlos Mario Jimenez-Naranjo, aka “Macaco,” a paramilitary leader and one of Colombia’s most notorious drug traffickers, has been sentenced to 33 years in prison in Miami for leading an international drug trafficking conspiracy that supported a foreign terrorist organization.

According to court documents, Jimenez-Naranjo was one of the top leaders of the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC), a Colombian right-wing paramilitary and drug trafficking organization.  The AUC is a U.S. Department of State-designated foreign terrorist organization.  From the mid 1990s through 2007, Jimenez-Naranjo led the Bloque Central Bolivar (BCB), a group within the AUC, commanding an estimated 7,000 armed combatants. 

Jimenez-Naranjo controlled large areas where cocaine was produced, and his organization was responsible for exporting thousands of kilograms of cocaine from Colombia to Central America, Mexico and the United States using seaports and clandestine airstrips.  Jimenez-Naranjo was extradited from Colombia to the United States on May 7, 2008, based on a provisional arrest warrant from separate indictments in the District of Columbia and in the Southern District of Florida.

The evidence from the two cases established that Jimenez-Naranjo’s drug trafficking organization processed and manufactured multi-ton quantities of cocaine in Colombia-based laboratories and exported that cocaine from Colombia to Central America, Mexico and elsewhere, some of which was ultimately imported into the United States .

During the same time, Jimenez-Naranjo permitted the proceeds of his cocaine production and trafficking activities to be used to facilitate and finance the activities of the AUC.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Attorney General Eric Holder Admits Fast and Furious was “Flawed”

Attorney General Eric Holder Admits Fast and Furious was “Flawed”

Photo: Attorney General Eric Holder Admits Fast and Furious was "Flawed"

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U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder acknowledged the blunders made in the federal Fast and Furious gun-tracking operation in an appearance before Congress, but some Republicans remained unappeased and continued to call for his resignation.

During a packed Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday, Holder said the sting conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Phoenix chapter, which allowed assault rifles and other weapons to be illegally purchased from Arizona gun shops and smuggled to Mexican drug traffickers in 2009 and 2010, was unacceptable and acknowledged that its repercussions would be felt for years.

The idea behind Fast and Furious was to trace the weapons to powerful drug traffickers in Mexico, but once it got underway ATF agents realized they had no dependable way to keep track of the guns, which eventually began appearing at crime scenes on both sides of the border.

The operation was “flawed in its concept and flawed in its execution,” Holder said, acknowledging that Fast and Furious weapons will likely continue to appear in the future at crime scenes in both the United States and Mexico.

It was Holder’s first appearance before Congress since top Republicans probing Fast and Furious accused the attorney general of misleading them in earlier testimony about when he first learned about the details of the sting.

Holder has been the target of a probe by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Rep. Darrell Issa, (R-Calif.), who said last month in a joint statement that the attorney general received at least five memos in mid-2010 that described the ATF’s “gun-walking” strategy.

Holder had testified in a congressional hearing in May of this year that he had learned about the program just a few weeks prior.

In Tuesday’s hearing, Holder said he first learned about Fast and Furious at the beginning of the year and should have said in May that his knowledge of the sting dated back a couple of months rather than weeks.

During the hearing, Grassley also pointed to a letter dated Feb. 4 in which the Justice Department said the operation did not involve gun-walking and that “ATF makes every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico.”

Holder admitted that the letter contained erroneous information from ATF’s Phoenix office but refused to accept blame.

He said he was continuing to receive information from ATF personnel as late as March that assured him that no gun-walking - as efforts to track rather than interdict weapons purchased by suspected arms smugglers is known - was taking place.

Pressured by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Holder acknowledged that he is ultimately responsible for what happens within the Justice Department, which oversees ATF, but he added that he cannot be expected to be aware of the day-to-day management of every operation.

Referring to a timeline presented by Cornyn, Holder said he did not learn about the gun-walking tactic used in Fast & Furious until the true nature of the controversial operation became public early this year.

The attorney general’s remarks, however, did not placate Republicans in Congress.

In statements to reporters, Cornyn criticized Holder for not being informed nor demonstrating curiosity about the details of the operation, although he stopped short of calling for the attorney general’s resignation, as dozens of House Republicans have done.

Grassley, meanwhile, told reporters that he wants to gather all the evidence and get to the bottom of Fast and Furious, adding that Holder must resign is he is found to be responsible for the program.

The lawmakers also are seeking more information about a similar - but smaller - gun-tracking operation in 2007 during President George W. Bush’s tenure.

The Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General is due to craft a report on the details of the Fast and Furious operation, although no date has been set for its release.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LULAC reacts as AZ SB1070 Author Becomes First Senate President in Nation to Loose Recall

LULAC reacts as AZ SB1070 Author Becomes First  Senate President in Nation to Loose Recall

Photo: Defeated Russell Pearce

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The League of United Latin American Citizens, the largest and oldest Latino membership organization in the United States, hailed the stunning defeat of Arizona Senator Russell Pearce in a recall election that pitted his extremist anti-immigrant record against the moderate civil tone of his opponent Jerry Lewis. Pearce becomes the first senate president of any state to lose a recall election and must step down immediately once the election results become official.

“Mesa voters decided they have had enough of the anti-immigrant vitriol that Pearce used to create divisiveness throughout Arizona and the rest of the nation,” stated LULAC National President Margaret Moran. “This historic recall along with the defeat of Sharon Angle in Nevada in 2010 should be a clear signal to unscrupulous politicians across the county that immigrant bashing will not help you get elected.”

The conservative Arizona District 18 in Mesa, Arizona was considered a safe seat for Pearce who often boasted that he had never lost an election. Yet Lewis prevailed despite his pledge not to take contributions from lobbyists and special interests and being outspent by Peace by a 3-1 margin. Even the outpouring of support from controversial anti-immigrant politicians like Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer could not save Pearce from voter disgust over his hardline positions.

“The defeat of Russell Pearce yesterday may very well be the election that finally turns the tide on the rise of anti-immigrant xenophobia in America,” stated LULAC National Executive Director Brent Wilkes. “Arizona voters are clearly dismayed that Russell Pearce and the anti-immigrant SB1070 law that he championed have damaged the Arizona economy and given the state a reputation for intolerance.”

The League of United Latin American Citizens, the largest and oldest Hispanic membership organization in the country, advances the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, housing, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating through 900 LULAC councils nationwide.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Threesome Gone Wrong - Man Throws TV at Wife in Fit of Jealousy

LATINO BLOTTER: Threesome Gone Wrong - Man Throws TV at Wife in Fit of Jealousy

Photo: Jorge Daniel Silva of Naples throws tv at wife during threesome

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A young Florida man is in jail after seriously losing his cool during a threesome he had convinced his wife and another woman to take part in.

Jorge Daniel Silva, 22, of Naples, Florida was arrested and charged with felony battery after he became so full of jealousy Sunday that he threw a television at his wife when she and the second woman became intimate and wouldn’t let him join.

Silva’s wife told police that her husband “freaked out” when she and the other woman began kissing. When he began punching his wife in the face, the second woman ran into the bathroom and closed the door. According to reports, he then kicked in the bathroom door before returning to the attack on his wife.

ImageAs if punching his wife as a result of his inability to get in on the fun weren’t bad enough, Silva began swinging a television at her like a bat as she lay curled up on the floor, before ultimately dropping in on her.

He continued his attack on her and threw yet anothery television. The second woman said she tried to get Silva away from his wife, but that she was also punched by the raging husband.

When police arrived, they found Silva’s wife beaten and bloodied with what appeared to be a broken nose, televisions destroyed, and doors broken down.

When initially questioned by police, he told them his wife had actually arranged the threesome as a means to attack him. He quickly recanted however, and admitted he beat up his wife and said he bashed down the doors because he thought the women were having sex without him.

This was reportedly his first threesome experience, but we’re pretty sure he did it wrong.


Read more by HS News Staff →

Iowa School to Offer Masters Degree in Creative Writing in Spanish

Iowa School to Offer Masters Degree in Creative Writing in Spanish

Photo: Masters Degree in Creative Writing in Spanish

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Responding to the explosive growth of Iowa’s Hispanic population, the state Board of Regents authorized the University of Iowa to create a Master of Fine Arts program in Spanish Creative Writing.

The program will attract native speakers of Spanish who want to pursue a creative writing degree in their first language, the university, which is already home to an acclaimed Writer’s Workshop, said in an announcement.

While Latinos currently make up just 5 percent of the state’s 3 million residents, the number of Hispanics has grown by 52 percent in the last decade and is on course to surge an additional 200 percent within the next 30 years, according to the Iowa Office of Latino Affairs.

Latinos will likely represent a third of the U.S. population by 2050, UI said, citing projections by the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan think-tank based in Washington.

“Spanish is no longer a foreign language. It’s a national language and this program will help many bilingual writers to express themselves creatively in English and in Spanish,” said Mercedes Niño-Murcia, professor and Chair in the UI Department of Spanish & Portuguese.

The Spanish Creative Writing MFA initiative will be the first of its kind in Iowa and only the third in the entire country, joining programs at New York University and the University of Texas at El Paso.

UI’s two-year program will offer classes in literary theory, the novel, the short story, poetry and writing for the stage and screen, among other topics.

Besides their academic activities, MFA students will take part in local events with Hispanic adults and children.

Those who successfully complete the program will be ready to teach creative writing in community colleges and universities, UI said.

Directing the program will be Ana Merino, an associate professor of Spanish at UI who is known for her poetry and her analysis on Spanish-language comics.

“We believe the writer is an important part of society,” she said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Costa Rican Nat’l Soccer Team on the Taxman’s Radar for Irregularities

Costa Rican Nat’l Soccer Team on the Taxman’s Radar for Irregularities

Photo: Costa Rica’s Tax Authorities Investigating Soccer Federation

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Costa Rica’s Ministry of Finance raided the nation’s Soccer Federation looking for proof that the federation withheld information about revenue from ‘friendly’ matches.

FEDEFUTBOL, Costa Rica’s soccer federation was raided by tax officials who seized piles of documents in attempts to prove that the federation lied about how much money they made at a friendly match against Argentina in March, attended by some 35,000 fans.

Finance Minister Fernando Herrero said that the reports turned in by FEDEFUTBOL about the Argentina match and a few others aren’t authentic, and lack clarity. Tax authorities believe financial documentation was concealed from authorities.

Costa Rica, ever the soccer loving country, assured fans the current investigation won’t have an impact on the friendly match between Costa Rica and Spain this Saturday.

FEDEFUTBOL President Eduardo Li called the investigation a “media show” and said the federation turned in all necessary accurate information in a timely manner.

In the last couple of weeks, tax authorities have shut down more than 80 business for “tax irregularities”, including the franchised chain stores of Hallmark greeting cards and fashion retailer Oscar de la Renta.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Feeling Helpless, Texas Teen Posts to Twitter 144 Times Before Taking Own Life

Feeling Helpless, Texas Teen Posts to Twitter 144 Times Before Taking Own Life

Photo: Feeling Helpless, Texas Teen Posts to Twitter Before Taking Own Life

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In the age of the internet, today’s young people often find themselves talking to no one, while constantly telling ‘no one’ anything and. Making public posts on Facebook and Twitter does not ensure that someone will read what you have to say, it simply ensures what you have to say is online.

Eighteen-year-old Ashley Billasano may not have being speaking to anyone in particular, but she was definitely talking.

Over the course of six hours, the senior at BF Terry High School reportedly posted 144 ‘tweets’ on Twitter. In them she revealed to her followers that she was feeling helpless after being molested and forced into prostitution.

Image“I remember telling my closest teacher and CPS and the police detectives,” she tweeted. “I remember having to tell them everything.”

Though Billasano reached out to police, she was crushed to find out that the man who had abused her for years would not be prosecuted.

“Weeks passed, then I got the call. They said, ‘sorry but there isn’t enough evidence’ I hung up.”

“That’s when I changed,” she said in the next tweet. “I didn’t care anymore. And the people I was meeting gave me no reason to.”

For hours, her 500 followers were able to read her posts, though some either did not see them or thought they were fake.

In the end, while some in the online community were trying to figure out if she was telling the truth, she was already planning to take her life.

The Texas teen’s final tweet: Take two. I hope I get this right.

Sonya Corrales of the Houston Area Women’s Center told FOX 26, “Today, social media is the way people communicate and we have to listen and listen well.”

Read more at FOX 26 →

Cuban Doctors at the Forefront of Haiti’s Fight Against Cholera

Cuban Doctors at the Forefront of Haiti’s Fight Against Cholera

Photo: Cuban Doctors at the Forefront of Haiti's Fight Against Cholera

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As Haiti’s fight against cholera continues, it appears Cuban doctors leading the way when it comes to aid.

Over the last two years, Haiti’s earthquake and subsequent cholera epidemic have ravished the country’s population, but doctors from Cuba have never waned in their medical support for the country.

The Cuban medical missions have been going to Cuba for more than 50 years and in October of 2010, these doctors confirmed that cholera was to blame for the increased number of deaths.

More than 476,000 people in Haiti have been sickened by cholera, with 6,600 people having died. The United Nations has called this the highest rate of cholera in the world.

With help from donors and diplomats, the Cuban medical mission has been able to stay in Haiti and treat those affected by cholera, and remain vigilant in their efforts to improve the island’s, shared with the Dominican Republic, health care system.

Since 1960, Cuba has sent doctors all over the world in an act of “medical diplomacy” to help those in remote, rural areas receive health care. Doctors have been sent to Africa, Venezuela, and Haiti, to name a few.

After January 2010 earthquake that destroyed large sections of Haiti, Cuban medical missions were among the first sent to help.

However, it serves to be noted that Cuba also sees a great deal of foreign currency from many of these missions, with the export of medical services, bringing in more than $2 billion. Cuba generally asks each country they aid to pay about $2,500 a month for each doctor they send, though Haiti is not being charged anything.

Since Haiti’s cholera outbreak began, the Cuban mission has treated more than 76,000 cases of the disease, with 272 deaths.

Though the 37,000 Cuban doctors overseas generally get paid on a sliding scale, since Haiti in not paying for the doctors, they are paid roughly just $500 per month.

However, some may see the life these doctors lead as a gift, since most Cubans will never be able to leave their island nation.

Since the doctors are not allowed to bring family, the number of defections has remained low.

Read more at New York Times →

Latino Silver Fox Jorge Ramos Celebrates 25 years with Univision (VIDEO)

Latino Silver Fox Jorge Ramos Celebrates 25 years with Univision (VIDEO)

Photo: Jorge Ramos Then, and Now

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HS-News wishes to congratulate veteran Univision anchorman Jorge Ramos on the 25th anniversary of his impressive and successful journalism career. Image

Jorge Ramos has been the anchorman for Noticiero Univision since November of 1986.

Ramos is one of the most respected journalists amongst the 50 million Hispanics in the United States and in the 13 Latin American countries where his newscast is seen every night. He has covered five wars (El Salvador, the Persian Gulf, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq) and has been a witness to some of the most important news stories of the last two decades, including the fall of the Berlin Wall, the disintegration of the former Soviet Union, 9/11 and the catastrophe of hurricane Katrina.

Ramos also hosts “Al Punto”, Univision’s weekly public affairs program offering in-depth analysis of the week’s top-stories and exclusive interviews with newsmakers.

He writes a weekly column published in more than 40 newspapers in the United States and Latin America and provides three daily radio commentary for the Radio Univision network

Ramos has also been instrumental in promoting literacy amongst Latinos. In 2002 he created the first book club in the history of Hispanic television: Despierta Leyendo (Wake Up Reading).

Visit www.jorgeramos.com and watch the video below for more highlights on Jorge Ramos and his remarkable career!

Read more by HS News Staff →

PEW STUDY: Hispanics Make Up 28.6% of Country’s Poor, No Matter Which Measure Used

For more than a decade, the Census Bureau has been developing an alternative measure of poverty that is intended to better reflect the costs of basic living expenses as well as the resources people have to pay them. The bureau has just released results for 2010 from the alternative metric-called the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM)—that uses a wider range of factors than the official federal measure to determine poverty status.

The additional data used in the alternative measure include medical expenses, tax credits, non-cash government benefits (such as food stamps, housing subsidies and school lunch programs), and cost-of-living adjustments for different areas. The alternative measure is not intended to replace the official poverty measure, at least for now. For the foreseeable future, the Census Bureau will report two sets of numbers.

When the alternative measure is used, a greater share of Hispanics in 2010 lived in poverty than any other group. By contrast, when using the official poverty rate, a greater share of blacks in 2010 lived in poverty than Hispanics or any other group. Even so, no matter which measure is used, Hispanics make up nearly three-in-ten of the nation’s poor-28.6% under the official poverty measure and 28.7% under the SPM.

Click Here to See Full Report.

Read more at Pew Research Center →

Pitbull Sues Lindsey Lohan for Suing Him Over Lyrics

Pitbull Sues Lindsey Lohan for Suing Him Over Lyrics

Photo: Pitbull and Lindsay Lohan

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Rapper Pitbull has filed a countersuit against Lindsay Lohan over the lawsuit she filed against him for using her name in his hit “Give me Everything

The plot thickens in this legal battle between Pitbull and Lindsey Lohan.  The whole thing started when Lohan sued Pitbull over the lyrics “I got it locked up like Lindsay Lohan” in the “Give Me Everything” song.

The rapper apologized, and said he meant no harm to Lohan or her reputation.

In the meantime, Lohan went to jail… again… and posed for Playboy.

She never said apology accepted, nor withdrew the suit, so Pitbull got understandably upset and lashed out.

Pitbull, whose real name is Armando Christian Perez, filed a countersuit against Lohan, saying the lyrics are not at all defamatory, taking into account Lohan was in jail this week.  Pitbull is also questioning whether Lohan is eligible to file a lawsuit in New York, since she lives in Los Angeles and most of her (occasional) work commitments are in Hollywood.  She even served brief and most recent jail sentence in the California prison system. 

“In light of Ms. Lohan’s continuing obligations to the State of California, as well as the foregoing facts, Ms. Lohan is a citizen of California, not New York,” his lawsuit reads.

The ball is in your court, Lindsey.


Read more by HS News Staff →

Arizona Recall Election Kicks SB 1070 Author Russell Pearce Out of Office

Arizona Recall Election Kicks SB 1070 Author Russell Pearce Out of Office

Photo: Arizona Recall Election Kicks SB 1070 Author Russell Pearce Out of Office

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Controversial Arizona legislator Russell Pearce is now without a job after the recall election meant to kick him out of office succeeded.

The now-former Arizona State Senator Pearce lost the recall election against fellow Republican Jerry Lewis in Phoenix Tuesday night, with 53 percent of the votes going to Lewis.

Pearce was the main author of Arizona’s controversial immigration law known as SB 1070, and while many across the country support the law, some voters were becoming increasingly frustrated with Pearce’s focus on undocumented immigration, especially when the state, especially the Phoenix area he represented, was facing an economic crisis.

Pearce’s ethnics were often called into question as well, as many believed he had ties to white supremacists, while others claimed he did not push SB 1070 to take on immigration, but rather to put money in the pockets of the privately-run prisons that both he and Gov. Jan Brewer were connected to.

Back in May, those in favor of a recall election gathered 17,000 signatures to get the recall on the ballot. Though only about 10,000 were deemed valid, only 7,756 signatures were actually necessary.

While all the votes were being tallied, Pearce gave a speech in Mesa saying, “It doesn’t look like the numbers are going in my direction on this, and I’m okay with that.”

The Associated Press quoted Lewis as saying, “We pulled off a historic upset. We ran a clean and civil campaign.”

Lewis, 55, a charter school executive, is a conservative Republican, and while he does not differ from Pearce on immigration, he expressed that the state needed a change in focus and tone. He called SB 1070 a “good start,” but says he will tackle the issue of immigration differently.

He had stated that though Pearce’s term only had one year left, the people of Arizona could not afford to wait to unseat a man who had tarnished the state’s image.

The recall election against Pearce is believed to have been first held against a state legislator in Arizona history.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Scientist Susana Lopez Honored for Her Advances in Scientific Research

Mexican Scientist Susana Lopez Honored for Her Advances in Scientific Research

Photo: Dr. Susana Lopez of Cuernavaca University Honored

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The United Nations and the cosmetics giant L’Oreal announced today the five women scientists who will receive their joint award for their advances in scientific research.

The award, which is given out each year by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and L’Oreal, honors five women from different regions of the world who are selected by an independent jury made up of eminent members of the global scientific community.

This year’s winners are: Jill Farrant from South Africa, Ingrid Scheffer from Australia, Frances Ashcroft from the United Kingdom, Susana López from Mexico, and Bonnie Bassler from the United States.  Each winner will receive $100,000 in recognition for their contribution to the advancement of science.

The contributions of this year’s winners cover a wide range of issues.  Ms. Lopez teaches developmental genetic and molecular physiology at the National University of Cuernavaca.  She was recognized for identifying how rotaviruses, the most common cause of severe diarrhea, cause the death of 600,00 children each year.  From 1992 to 1993, she was a Fogarty Fellow in the Division of Biology of the California Institute of Technology. She received the National Science Award from the Mexican Academy of Sciences in 1994,


Read more by HS News Staff →

South Carolina Immigration Law Seeing Opposition from 16 Latin American and Caribbean Countries

South Carolina Immigration Law Seeing Opposition from 16 Latin American and Caribbean Countries

Photo: South Carolina Immigration Law Seeing Opposition from 16 Latin American and Caribbean Countries

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South Carolina’s controversial immigration is getting international attention , as well as criticism. To date, more than a dozen Latin American and Caribbean countries have asked to join in the fight against the Arizona-style law.

Sixteen countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have filed papers to be a part of the U.S. Justice Department’s lawsuit against South Carolina where an Arizona-like law is trying to be passed.

The countries, which include Mexico, Brazil, and Honduras, say they wish to join the suit because the law would allow law enforcement to racial profile.

When Arizona passed a similar law, Mexico issued a travel warning to those visiting, working, or studying in the state. President Calderon even called the law “discriminatory”.

If passed, South Carolina’s new legislation, which is currently scheduled to take effect in January, would require law enforcement officers making traffic stops to call federal immigration officials if they suspect someone is in the country illegally.

Alabama and Arizona have already passed similar laws, though both faced immense pressure not to, and still face lawsuits to keep parts of the laws from taking effect.

The U.S. Justice Department’s lawsuit states that immigration policy is the domain of the federal government not local or state.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Shakira Becomes First Colombian to Have a Star on the Walk of Fame (VIDEO)

Shakira Becomes First Colombian to Have a Star on the Walk of Fame (VIDEO)

Photo: Shakira in Hollywood's Walk of Fame

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Colombian singer Shakira received a star on the iconic Hollywood Walk of Fame surrounded by her parents s well as hundreds of fans.

The multiple Grammy and Latin Grammy winner said she was grateful and moved to see her name alongside other luminaries in the entertainment industry, an honor her mother, Nidia Ripoll, had predicted when Shakira was just seven.

“When I was seven years old, I came to Los Angeles for the first time and I remember I was walking along the Walk of Fame and I remember that my mother told me: ‘Shaki, one day you’re going to have your name embedded here.’ I think if someone had heard my mom saying that they would’ve thought she was hallucinating,” the 34-year-old singer-songwriter said.

Shakira, who on Tuesday became the first Colombian to receive the five-pointed terrazzo and brass star on the Walk of Fame and the 2,454th celebrity recognized overall, dedicated the honor to all of her fans and supporters and the Hispanic community in the United States in particular.

“I want to share this with you because of that unbreakable spirit that we Latinos have, that spirit to overcome all our difficulties with a smile. This star is for you. I think we all come into the world with a star, with a talent and a gift and then our dreams are born,” she said.

The singer, who got her start in music at the age of 13, gained international stardom in 1996 with the release of her “Pies Descalzos” album. Her fame then continued to grow with the success of the 1998 album “¿Donde estan los ladrones?” and her English-language debut, “Laundry Service,” in 2001.

Her best-known hit singles include “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa), the official song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa; “Hips Don’t Lie,” with Haitian rapper Wyclef Jean; and “La Tortura,” a duet with Spanish pop star Alejandro Sanz.

After posing with her star before the media, Shakira dedicated a few minutes to her tireless fans, some of whom had been waiting for her since the early morning.

Shakira will receive another tribute Wednesday in Las Vegas, where the Latin Recording Academy will honor her as its 2011 Person of the Year at a tribute dinner and concert at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

The celebration precedes the Latin Grammy Awards extravanganza, which will be held Thursday at the adjacent Mandalay Bay Events Center.


Read more by HS News Staff →

Crazy Cubano Brett Ratner Resigns Oscar Producer Gig (VIDEO)

Crazy Cubano Brett Ratner Resigns Oscar Producer Gig (VIDEO)

Photo: Brett Ratner

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Brett Ratner quit as producer of the upcoming Oscars, after a series of foot-in-the-mouth comments about the LGBT community, Latinos, his sex life and Hollywood personalities while promoting the film “Tower Heist.”

Brett Ratner has issued a letter to the Entertainment industry explaining why he has decided to resign as producer of the Academy Awards.

In the letter, the director of the ‘Rush Hour’ series basically wholeheartedly apologizes for using the three letter f-word at the end of “…Rehearsing? Rehearsing is for…” at the screening of “Tower Heist,” but nowhere in the letter does Ratner address all the other people and communities he might have offended while promoting his timely Wall Street honcho caper.

On different interviews promoting “Tower Heist”, Ratner discussed uncomfortable details on his Hollywood sex life with Olivia Munn and Lindsey Lohan.  Later, the director/producer delved into the disturbing details of his Latino experience in the video/radio interview below, with comments like “…You know I am Cuban, my heart is in the Dominican Republic, that’s where I lost my virginity at the age of 13”

He goes on to complain about the skin tone of all the prospects presented to him the day he lost his flower to merengue classic “El Africano,” a song he put in the score of “Tower Heist”. Classy.

Watch the video below for more Ratner.

Read more by HS News Staff →

11-Year-Old Mexican Girl Gives Birth, 2nd Minor to Do So in Same Rural Hospital

11-Year-Old Mexican Girl Gives Birth, 2nd Minor to Do So in Same Rural Hospital

Photo: 11-Year-Old Mexican Girl Gives Birth

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An 11-year-old Mexican girl gave birth after a 31-week pregnancy at a hospital in the central city of Puebla, where her infant son is recovering from pneumonia, officials said.

The Puebla state Attorney General’s Office was notified and is investigating whether the young mother was the victim of sexual abuse, the director of the Hospital de la Mujer, Rogelio Gonzalez, said Tuesday.

The official said the minor entered the emergency area of the hospital on Oct. 22 with pre-term labor symptoms, including seizures and other complications that endangered her life and that of her child.

Doctors delivered the 1.5-kilo (3.3-pound) baby boy by Caesarian section and the infant remains at the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, but the expectations for his recovery are as high as possible under the circumstances, Gonzalez said.

The 11-year-old girl, who lives in the rural community of San Francisco Totimehuacan, near Puebla, “comes every day with her mother to breastfeed her son every four hours and she is recovering very well from her surgery,” the hospital director said.

She was the second minor to give birth this year at that same hospital, Gonzalez said, adding that in both cases the mothers and babies survived.

The Puebla state legislature currently is debating a bill that would end jail sentences for women who elect to have an abortion for any reason.

Abortion is a criminal offense in Puebla and women found guilty of deliberately terminating their pregnancy - with the lone exception of victims of sexual abuse - face fines and prison time.

Read more by HS News Staff →

California’s Mexican Museum Receives $800,000 Grant to Expand

California’s Mexican Museum Receives $800,000 Grant to Expand

Photo: Mexican Museum in San Francisco to Expand

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The Mexican Museum has received an $800,000 planning grant from The California Cultural and Historical Endowment (CCHE) to design and develop a permanent home for the museum in San Francisco’s vibrant Yerba Buena district.

The CCHE grant will support the full design of the new Mexican Museum, from space planning through construction which includes the following:

*  Working with Enrique Norten, the architect selected to design the new museum, to establish a project work plan and development of a schedule and budget.

*  Architectural design and development.

*  Preparation of documents including the drawings and subcontractor bidding.

*  Providing assistance and oversight to the general contractor throughout the construction.

In partnership with the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, Millennium Partners, and the San Francisco Arts Commission, The Mexican Museum’s approximately 40,000 sq. ft. new home will be part of a mixed-use project on Jesse Square, which is part of the vibrant Yerba Buena cultural district at Third and Mission Streets in San Francisco. The museum’s new facility is expected to be completed in 2016.

“Our new facility will allow us to showcase The Mexican Museum’s unparalleled collection of over 14,000 works of art,” continued Yorba. “These works are so important to the history and culture of San Francisco and California.  The CCHE should be applauded for its vision in supporting this important cultural project.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Drug Use Highest Among Native American, White & Latino Teens, Lower Among Blacks

Drug Use Highest Among Native American, White & Latino Teens, Lower Among Blacks

Photo: Latino Teen Drug Abuse

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A national analysis of drug abuse among teens released yesterday – among the most comprehensive to date – found that Native American, Latino and white adolescents have the highest rates of drug-related disorders.

In culturally diverse California – where recent illicit drug use among teens has climbed to nearly 11 percent – the findings have implications for the state’s prevention and treatment policy.

“This is a national study, but California is the prototypical state where there is a mixture of individuals across racial and ethnic groups,” said Dan G. Blazer, a Duke University psychiatry professor and co-author of the study. “In terms of looking at comparisons across races, this study is very relevant to California.”

According to a state tally, there were 23,322 teens in publicly monitored and funded treatment programs in 2009.

The study analyzed federal surveys of more than 72,000 youth between ages 12 and 17. Thirty-seven percent said they had used alcohol or drugs in the past year, and about 8 percent misused substances to the extent that they had a “substance use disorder.”

After researchers controlled for variables like age and socioeconomic status, they found “elevated odds of substance-related disorders” among Native American, white, Latino and mixed-race teens. African American and Asian youth had the lowest rates of substance use.

Read more at California Watch →

Illegal Immigration to Puerto Rico from Dominican Republic Down

Illegal Immigration to Puerto Rico from Dominican Republic Down

Photo: Illegal Immigration to Puerto Rico from Dominican Republic Down

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So far in 2011, the Puerto Rican authorities have detained 932 undocumented people trying to get into Puerto Rico. Not all were citizens of the Dominican Republic, but all had traveled from the Dominican Republic.

They were trying to reach the island of Puerto Rico in handmade open boats called “yolas,” as well as yachts and fast boats. In a 48-hour period last October, the Dominican authorities captured three small boats coming from La Romana on the south coast, Matancitas in Nagua and Cabrera on the north coast. Despite permanent patrols along the Dominican coasts and the breakup of 11 illegal trafficking rings, the clandestine “yola” trips keep leaving with Puerto Rico as their destination. On September 29, two Cubans and 17 Dominicans arrived at the coast of Aguada in Puerto Rico aboard a 22-foot open boat. Later, on October 18, agents from the Puerto Rico maritime Police, called the Fast Action Unified Force (FURA in Spanish), arrested 16 illegal Dominican immigrants who were found 21 kilometers from the coast. Fourteen were repatriated to the DR and seven were detained for criminal prosecution for illegal entry into Puerto Rico.

In Puerto Rico the use of biometric filing systems has led to the arrest and trial of many repeat offenders, as well as people wanted for crimes who were trying to sneak back into the island. “The information on all the people intercepted goes into the federal authorities data bank. The ones who don’t have a previous record or any other type of complication are repatriated. The immigrants with previous attempts to enter illegally are sent to trial in federal courts in Puerto Rico,” said Immigration and Customs Enforcement Department spokesman Ricardo Castrodad.

Read more at DR1 →

WednesdayNovember 9, 2011