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ThursdayNovember 10, 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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Court Rules Amazon Indians Not Affected by Dam Construction

Court Rules Amazon Indians Not Affected by Dam Construction

Photo: Court Rules Amazon Indians Not Affected by Dam Construction

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A Brazilian federal court gave the green light for construction of the controversial Belo Monte dam, ruling it will not directly affect any Amazon Indian communities.

The Brasilia-based court also rejected a challenge filed by federal prosecutors in Para state, who argued that the federal government violated the constitution by not consulting Indians prior to opening up bidding for concessions to build and operate the massive hydroelectric project.

Justice Maria do Carmo Cardoso, who cast the deciding vote on Wednesday, said the government acted lawfully by contacting Indians during the bidding process.

She ruled that, under Brazil’s constitution, consultation prior to approval of a given project is required only if it will directly affect Indian communities.

A dozen suits have been filed in the Brazilian courts to block the project and the Inter-American Human Rights Commission is hearing a complaint that alleges irreparable damage to that slice of the Brazilian Amazon.

Construction of the dam - located on the Xingu River, which feeds the Amazon, and estimated to cost $10.6 billion - began in March outside the town of Altamira, Para state.

The 11.2 GW dam complex would be the world’s third-largest after China’s Three Gorges and Itaipu, jointly operated by Brazil and Paraguay.

Environmentalists and indigenous protesters say the dam will flood 516 sq. kilometers (200 sq. miles) of jungle, displace 50,000 people and cause severe damage to the local ecosystem.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spain’s Royal Son-in-Law Suspected of Diverting Public Money

Spain’s Royal Son-in-Law Suspected of Diverting Public Money

Photo: Princess Cristina and husband Iñaki Urdangarin

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Spanish prosecutors are investigating a possible diversion of public funds by a foundation once headed by Iñaki Urdangarin, who is married to Princess Cristina, the youngest child of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia.

The chief anti-corruption prosecutor for the Balearic Islands, Pedro Horrach, questioned several people Thursday in connection with the probe of the non-profit Instituto Noos.

Horrach has no immediate plans to ask supervising magistrate Jose Castro to subpoena Urdangarin - the Duke of Palma - for questioning as a potential defendant, sources close to the investigation told Efe.

On Wednesday, the prosecutor took a statement from Diego Torres, a Noos director during Urdangarin’s tenure as president and the duke’s successor as head of the foundation.

Horrach and his team suspect Urdangarin and Torres established a web of shell corporations to facilitate the diversion of public money going to Instituto Noos.

Investigators are also looking into the 2.3 million euros ($3.1 million) the Balearic regional government paid Instituto Noos in 2005 and 2006 to organize conferences on sports and tourism.

The royal household issued a statement expressing “absolute respect” for the actions of the judiciary.

Iñaki Urdangarin wed Princess Cristina in October 1997. The couple and their four children now live in Washington, where the duke is an executive with Spanish telecom giant Telefonica.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Utilities Turned Off in Homes of Alabama’s Undocumented Immigrants

Utilities Turned Off in Homes of Alabama’s Undocumented Immigrants

Photo: Utilities Turned Off in Homes of Alabama's Undocumented Immigrants

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A utilities provider in Alabama has begun turning off water, electric, and gas services to homes that cannot confirm they are legal residents of the United States.

With winter and cold weather fast approaching, a number of homes in Alabama are without heat, water, and electricity, after Utilities Decatur began turning off their service to undocumented immigrants.

Alabama recently passed an immigration legislation barring businesses from providing goods or services to those not legally in the country. If businesses fail to comply they face fines and possible loss of their business licenses.

‘We did not [initially] document or confirm whether or not they were citizens or aliens here legally,’ Stephen Pirkle, business manager and chief financial officer of Decatur Utilities told the Decatur Daily. ‘Because of the new law, we are now going through the process to confirm that they are either a citizen or an alien here legally. If not, we will deny them service.’

Just like Arizona’s SB 1070, the ultra-controversial immigration law signed in 2010, Alabama passed legislation known as HB 56 much to the distaste of the federal government and immigrant rights advocates.

The federal government has long maintained that immigration enforcement is their domain, and does not rest in the hands of state, and local officials.

And while the southern state does not experience the extreme cold weather that many others do, a big dip in temperature has been known to happen, leaving many worried about the health and safety of those who will be without heat, water, and gas service this winter.

Read more by HS News Staff →

NC School District Vows to Eliminate Discrimination Against Latinos

NC School District Vows to Eliminate Discrimination Against Latinos

Photo: Durham Public schools to End Discrimination

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One of North Carolina’s largest school districts has pledged to end discriminatory practices against Hispanics, responding to a federal civil rights complaint filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Hispanics making up nearly 21 percent of the 32,566 students in the Durham Public Schools perceived a “hostile environment” in the system, the SPLC said in April.

The SPLC also faulted DPS for having only three qualified interpreters to deal with Latino parents who have limited proficiency in English and for not providing Spanish translations of parental notifications and other basic documents.

The complaint, filed with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, likewise cited instances where teachers uttered ethnic slurs targeting Hispanics and cases of students’ being asked to provide immigration documents when registering for school.

By law, public schools cannot turn away undocumented students, as the U.S. Department of Education pointed out earlier this year in a letter sent to every school district in the country.

One incident described in the SPLC’s complaint involved a teacher who pushed a student against a wall and said “go back to your own country.”

“This agreement is a great victory for students and parents in Durham Public Schools,” the SPLC’s deputy legal director, Jerri Katzerman, said Wednesday in a statement.

“It goes a long way toward ensuring that children from immigrant families and their parents have a meaningful opportunity to participate in the district’s education programs,” she said.

After getting the opportunity to sit down and talk with DPS, the SPLC is confident that the district’s administrators will work to resolve the problems, Katzerman said.

The official DPS Web page now includes information in Spanish and district officials have held several meetings with Hispanic parents.

For Ivan Parra, coordinator of the organization DurhamCAN (Congregations, Associations and Neighborhoods), the accord with DPS is “only the beginning of a long process.”

“The changes we observe are positive, but at the end, what we are looking for is that the district find solutions to the low achievement and graduation rate and (high) dropout rate that Hispanics have,” he told Efe Thursday.

At the same time, Parra recognized DPS Superintendant Eric J. Becoats’ commitment to continue making necessary changes and noted that the Durham district has promised to deliver by next spring a set of reforms designed to boost Latinos’ academic performance.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Five Chile Fútbol Players Taken off The Team For Drinking, Violating Curfew

Five Chile Fútbol Players Taken off The Team For Drinking, Violating Curfew

Photo: Gonzalo Jara, Jean Beausejour, Carlos Carmona, Arturo Vidal, Jorge Valdivia

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Coach Claudio Borghi removed 5 players from the national team after they returned to the team’s hotel drunk and 45 minutes past their curfew.

West Brom defender Gonzalo Jara, Birmingham winger Jean Beausejour, Atalanta defender Carlos Carmona, Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal and Palmeiras’ Jorge Valdivia have been taken off the Chilean National Soccer Team by coach Claudio Borghi.

The five players arrived visibly drunk and forty five minutes past their curfew, after having spent the evening at a party for Valdivia’s daughter’s baptism.

Borghi dismissed the players, and they won’t play at the World Cup qualifiers away against Uruguay on Friday and at home against Paraguay on Tuesday.

The five players apologized to team mates and fans for being late but challenged the coach’s version. They say that although they don’t deny having had drinks, they were not drunk.

Any further punishment will be decided by the Chile football federation.  One of the players is on his way back to Europe, while the other four remain in Chile, waiting for developments.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Ship Remains off Panama Coast Could be Those of Sir Francis Drake

Ship Remains off Panama Coast Could be Those of Sir Francis Drake

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Ship wrecks recently discovered off the coast of Panama could possibly be the remains of the ship of Sir Francis Drake.

Divers have gone below to check out two wrecks resting on the ocean floor of the Caribbean.

It the ship remains do belong to Drake, that would make them more than four centuries old.

Sir Francis Drake was known not only an enemy of the Spanish due to his pirating ways, but also as the first Englishman to have circumnavigated the globe.

Using British underwater technology, the ships were discovered off Portobelo, a port city in Colón Province, Panama.

If these are Drake’s ships, it could mean that his remains are nearby as well.

In 1596, Drake died of dysentery. He was put to rest wearing a full suit of armor, in a lead-lined coffin. It is said that he was laid to rest near his ships, which had been intentionally sunk to keep them from the hands of the Spanish.

If the remains are confirmed to be his, this discovery is comparable only to that of the Titanic.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Angie Varona, Speaks Out About the Online Hack that Sent Risqué Photos of her to the Public

Angie Varona, Speaks Out About the Online Hack that Sent Risqué Photos of her to the Public

Photo: Angie Varona, Speaks Out About the Online Hack that Sent Risqué Photos of her to the Public

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While the internet, camera phones, and social media are things the younger generations have grown up with, the story of Angie Varona is an example of what can happen when advanced technology is held in the hands of those who think their private photos are completely safe online.

At just 14 years old, Angie Verona believed her password-protecting online photo album was safe. So when she began taking not-fully-clothed photos of herself for her boyfriend at the time, she never assumed that years later, those photos would haunt her

In 2007, Angie uploaded a number of risqué photos of herself. At the time, her Photobucket account was set so that only her and her boyfriend could see the private photos, but when her account was hacked, her entire life changed.

The photos of the not-yet-legal teen spread like wildfire on the internet. Not only were strangers seeing her barely clothed, but the photos actually found their way onto pornographic and even pedophilic websites.

Now at 18, Angie and her family constantly have to live with torment and judgment of those who have seen the photos. After changing schools more than once, Angie is now homeschooled, and is trying to finish up the last months of her senior year.

Those that don’t know that the photos being public was the work of a hacker and not Angie, have berated and belittled her, many calling her a slut.

ImageThough her and her parents hired lawyers to get the photos removed from various sites, they have had no success.

Since she is not naked in any of the photos, authorities have told them that they are not considered child pornography, but rather child erotica. In simple terms, their hands are tied.

And even if they managed to get some sites to remove the photos, with the internet, nothing is gone forever. Things can just easily be moved.

Today, the Miami teen has said she is partially responsible for the what happened since she is the one who took the pictures. When asked by “Nightline” anchor Terry Moran if she regrets taking the pictures, she said, “Hell yes … If I could go back in time, I would have listened to my parents, stayed off the internet, stayed off my phone, and only used it for emergencies.”

According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 1 in 5 teenage girls has sent nude or semi-nude photos of themselves via phone or posting them online.

And while Angie’s story is now being heard, she still can’t believe people don’t understand the consequences of their actions.

“I still know people who still send out pictures, and after knowing everything that’s happened to me, they still say, ‘It can’t happen to me. It’s not going to happen to me.’”

Angie is currently working to inform and stop those who are thinking about or have shared photos of themselves, letting them know that even if they think they’re protected, that’s not necessarily true.

Though she has been verbally abused and even stalked, the always-smiling teenager knows she cannot stop what has happened no matter how hard she wishes. Instead, she looks to her future.

When she gets her diploma, Angie said she hopes to continue her education and become either a lawyer or a veterinarian.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Drunk Costa Rican Prison Warden Hits 12 Cars, Dodges Jail

Drunk Costa Rican Prison Warden Hits 12 Cars, Dodges Jail

Photo: Herrera and his Drunken Rampage

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‘La Reforma’ penitentiary’s warden Roland Herrera won’t go to jail despite having hit 12 cars while drinking and driving in a car that wasn’t his. To add to his problems, the woman he was with was not his wife.

Herrera was found to be driving 6 times over the legal alcohol limit by police who arrested him at his house after a drunken joy ride through the streets of San José, all in a vehicle that did not belong to him.

Herrera had just left a celebration of a soccer victory when his car scrapped another occupied parked car.  A chase began and a grand total of 12 different vehicles as well as numerous street lamps and the chain blocking access to his own parking lot were all damaged before the run ended.

Dozens of people chased, screamed and excitedly signaled to the drunk Warden, who haphazardly parked the totaled car and went inside his house like nothing had happened.

Police went into his home and arrested him after he blew a 2.93 on a breathalyzer; the legal limit in Costa Rica is .50, and anything over .75 is considered a crime.

But warden Roland Herrera will not go to jail.

The warden’s defense and the attorney general reached an agreement in which Herrera will not go to jail, but instead attend AA meetings, 150 hours of community service, donate 420k colones (some $850) to a charity of his choice, and pay for the damages to the 12 vehicles he impacted.

Herrera’s license was revoked, and he is not allowed to leave the nation for the next two years while he’ll be in probation.

It is not clear if Herrera lost his position as Warden as a result of this episode.


Read more by HS News Staff →

Drug Cartel Takes the Life of Fourth Blogger in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico

Drug Cartel Takes the Life of Fourth Blogger in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico

Photo: Drug Cartel Takes the Life of Fourth Blogger in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico

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As the terrifying reign of drug cartels continues in Mexico, another blogger has been killed by gangsters for his reports of the cartels on social media sites.

The death of the internet blogger known only by the name “Rascatripas” or “Belly Scratcher” became the fourth person to die as a result of social media reporting. The victim was the second person killed from one site.

The blogger was killed and beheaded, and his body was placed in one of Nuevo Laredo’s wealthier neighborhoods at the Christopher Columbus Monument. On his body was a note (translated from Spanish) that read, “This happened to me for not understanding that I shouldn’t report on the social networks.”

The victim is said to have been a moderator on a site called Nuevo Laredo En ViVo. The site posted various bits of narco news regarding shootouts and other Zeta-related activities.

Los Zetas are among Mexico’s most powerful and dangerous drug cartels. In Nuevo Laredo, which sits just across the Rio Grande from Laredo, Texas, Los Zetas have all but taken over.

Though investigators were unwilling to release additional information on the case, photos of the latest victim’s body were shown. In them, one can see the body face down with his hands cuffed behind his back, his head was atop the note.

In the month of September, three other bloggers were killed, the bodies of two – a young man and woman – were hung from a highway overpass. The third was killed in late September and was also a part of the same website as the latest victim. Her name was Elizabeth Macias. The 39-year-old, known as “La Nena,” was found in the same intersection as the most recent victim.

Since President Felipe Calderon declared war against Mexico’s drug world, around 50,000 people have died in cartel-related violence, many among them newspaper writers, journalists, bloggers, and anyone else attempting to share the cartel’s activities with the public.

However, in the face of threats against them, bloggers continue their monitoring of the cartels.

The latest victim’s site, Nuevo Laredo En ViVo, posted, “Let’s continue denouncing them, now that we’ve seen it burns them, hurts them.” They added, “We have to continue. We can’t give in.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

WATCH ‘Do The Mark Sánchez’ NY Jets’  Official Anthem (VIDEO)

WATCH ‘Do The Mark Sánchez’ NY Jets’  Official Anthem (VIDEO)

Photo: Do the Mark Sánchez

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Take a look at the official New York Jets Anthem, “Do the Mark Sánchez” performedby ADAMAZ and directed By Andrés Yepes.

 

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Will Spanish-Language Jury Deliberation Set Conrad Murray Free?

Will Spanish-Language Jury Deliberation Set Conrad Murray Free?

Photo: Jurors spoke Spanish during Conrad Murray trial deliberation

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When half of a jury are Hispanic it would seem unlikely that at least a few of them wouldn’t speak to each other in Spanish, and that’s exactly what happened during the trial of Michael Jackson’s physician Dr. Conrad Murray.

TMZ is reporting that during deliberation for the manslaughter trial of Dr. Murray, two of the jurors began discussing the case in Spanish.

A relative of one of the jurors reportedly said a second juror found it hard to understand some of the testimony, so the first juror had to translate parts of it for them.

All jurors were required to fill out a questionnaire. The first question on the form asked, “Do you have any difficulty reading, speaking or understanding English?”

A court spokesperson told TMZ that if a juror wanted an interpreter, the court was not aware of a request for one.

After 8 hours of deliberation, the jury returned with a unanimous guilty ruling against Murray. He was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, and faces a maximum of 4 years in prison.

With the revelation that the jurors were not always speaking the same language, many are now wondering it the juror’s guilty verdict will stand.

If the ruling stands, Murray will be sentenced on November 29.

Read more at TMZ →

NARCO BLOG Brazilian Police Capture Rio de Janeiro’s Most Wanted Drug Kingpin

NARCO BLOG Brazilian Police Capture Rio de Janeiro’s Most Wanted Drug Kingpin

Photo: Antonio Bonfim Lopes

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Antonio Bonfim Lopes, reputed boss of the drug gang that controls the sprawling Rio slum of Rocinha, was arrested by Brazilian police in the wee hours of Thursday.

Lopes, known as “Nem,” was taken to prison in an armored vehicle and streets were closed to traffic as the police convoy made its way through Brazil’s second-largest city.

“It is a victory for everyone,” the commander of the Rio de Janeiro state police, Col. Erir Ribeiro Costa Filho, said of the arrest, while state Gov. Sergio Cabral announced that security forces will move into Rocinha on Sunday to re-establish the rule of law.

Lopes was apprehended after a car carrying two of his men was stopped at a police checkpoint in Lagoa, an affluent area neighboring Rocinha.

Claiming to be employees of the Congolese Consulate in Rio, the two men invoked diplomatic immunity and refused to allow a search of the vehicle, Costa Filho said.

Cops then escorted the car to the regional headquarters of the Federal Police, where the men’s story was checked and found to be false.

Police searched the car and discovered Lopes hiding in the trunk.

Lopes and his men offered the police up to 1 million reais ($571,000) to release them, Costa Filho said.

“The detainee arrived at police headquarters apparently calm and aware of his situation,” Victor Poubel of the Federal Police told a press conference. “Later, he called his mother to tell her he had been arrested and asked that his children be taken to school today.”

Authorities started preparing days ago for the planned occupation of Rocinha, a “favela” of some 70,000 people perched on hilltops amid several upscale neighborhoods.

As the siege tightened, five suspected drug dealers and an equal number of retired and active-duty police thought to be working for the traffickers were arrested as they tried to flee Rocinha.

Security forces have driven drug gangs out of a score of Rio favalas since late 2008 as part of a strategy that calls for the permanent stationing of large police units in the reclaimed areas.

In each case, the occupation has been preceded by raids to arrest dealers and seize drugs and guns, a measure aimed at averting deadly shootouts when the main body of the police arrive.

With Rio de Janeiro set to serve as a venue for the 2014 soccer World Cup and to host the 2016 Olympics, Brazilian authorities are anxious to end the drug gangs’ dominance in the favelas and bring crime under control.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Nationals Catcher Wilson Ramos Kidnapped in Venezuela

Nationals Catcher Wilson Ramos Kidnapped in Venezuela

Photo: Wilson Ramos

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24-Year old Wilson Ramos, the starting catcher for the Washington Nationals was abducted at gunpoint from his family’s home in Venezuela yesterday evening.

Ramos traveled to his native Venezuela for the winter holidays while scheduling to play in numerous games for his Venezuelan winter league team, the Aragua Tigers.

While enjoying the evening outside Ramos mother’s home in the Santa Inés neighborhood of Valencia, the player and his family noticed a 4x4 vehicle drive past the front yard more than once.

Four armed men climbed off the vehicle and at gunpoint, took the player away from his shocked relatives. The vehicle was abandoned, and found by police who are examining it for evidence.

Public Relations Manager for Ramos’ Venezuela team Ms. Kathe Vilera, confirmed the abduction via Twitter, and said that there has not yet been any word from the kidnappers.

Ramos is one of the Washington Nationals’ best players in this his rookie season. He replaced Iván Rodríguez as the team’s regular catcher, and batted .267 with a .779 on-base slugging percentage and 15 home runs batted in.

The Washington Nationals has been apprised of the situation but has not yet released a statement.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Hispanic Veteran-Owned Businesses Growing the Economy

Hispanic Veteran-Owned Businesses Growing the Economy

Photo: Hispanic Veteran Owned Businesses Grow Economy

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As the United States reflects this week on the many contributions of our veterans and service members over Veterans Day weekend, the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) recognizes the value that Hispanic veterans’ efforts have had on our economic recovery.

According to the most recent Census Bureau Survey of Business, the percentage of Veteran-owned businesses under Hispanic ownership doubled from 2002 to 2007. Hispanic veteran-owned businesses now number over 113,000. These businesses employ about 141,000 people and account for nearly $25 billion in receipts.

“Hispanic veterans have demonstrated an extraordinary entrepreneurial spirit worthy of our continued support,” said Javier Palomarez, President & CEO of the USHCC. “These talented veterans and service members have honored our country with their commitment, and it is critical that we ensure they have access to the resources and opportunities that will turn their training, experience, and drive into prosperity for the American people.”

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) acknowledges the importance of supporting veteran entrepreneurs as well. The SBA’s bipartisan efforts to ensure that veterans have access to necessary resources should be applauded. In fiscal year 2011, the SBA has funded 4,300 loans totaling upward of $1.5 billion in financing for veteran-owned small businesses. Furthermore, all government agencies remain committed to meeting requirements that at least 3% of federal contracts be awarded to service disabled veteran-owned small businesses, and at least 5% of all federal contracts be awarded to minority-owned small businesses.

As thousands of veterans return to the U.S. in the coming months, it is crucial to assist them by providing a strong foundation for their economic success, and the USHCC will continue to commend the SBA and policies that allow for veteran-owned small businesses to flourish.

Read more by HS News Staff →

STUDY:  Dining Out a Family Experience for Latinos, Over 40% Go With Kids

STUDY:  Dining Out a Family Experience for Latinos, Over 40% Go With Kids

Photo: Dining Out for Latinos Family Affair

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The family orientation of U.S. Hispanics extends to restaurant dining, according to The NPD Group, a leading market research company. Slightly over 40 percent of restaurant visits by Hispanics include children compared to 30 percent of non-Hispanic visits, based on the latest findings from NPD’s CREST Hispanic foodservice market research.

Hispanics represent 16 percent of the U.S. population based on the 2010 U.S. Census, and according to NPD’s CREST Hispanic, which continually tracks U.S. Hispanics use of restaurants; they made 5.8 billion restaurant visits in the first six months of 2011. When making those visits Hispanics seldom go to restaurants in parties of two. They are either alone or in a group that often includes children. Forty-five percent of Hispanic restaurant visits are a group of three or more compared to 32 percent for non-Hispanics.

NPD reports that language is an important factor in how U.S. Hispanic families use restaurants. Spanish language is an aspect of home life for 88 percent of the Hispanic population, 52 percent of Hispanics are bi-lingual speaking Spanish and English equally at home, slightly more than a quarter are Spanish-language dominant, and 21 percent are English dominant. Spanish-language dominant Hispanics are the most likely to include children in their foodservice visits.

“Hispanic restaurant consumers tell us that they would visit restaurants more if they make children feel welcome. Language also matters in reaching this market,” says Michele Schmal, vice president, product management for NPD’s foodservice unit. “Restaurant operators and food manufacturers would do well to focus marketing to Hispanics around the family and children.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Four Killed in Violence Following Nicaraguan Election

Four Killed in Violence Following Nicaraguan Election

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Four people have been killed and 46 police officers injured over the last 24 hours in violence related to last weekend’s election in which Daniel Ortega won another term as president of Nicaragua, authorities said Wednesday.

Supporters of Independent Liberal Party, or PLI, presidential candidate Fabio Gadea, who has refused to accept the result, account for three of the fatalities, while the fourth was an official of Ortega’s Sandinista party, National Police spokesman Fernando Borge told a press conference in Managua.

Sources in the PLI, however, put the death toll among their members at five.

Five of the injured police officers were shot, while an undetermined number of civilians have also been hurt in the disturbances, Borge said.

The deaths of the PLI partisans took place Tuesday during a clash with Ortega loyalists in the northern town of San Jose de Cusmapa, according to the police spokesman, who identified the fatalities as Mercedes Perez, 60; Jose Ariel Torrez, 22; and Elmer Cruz, 25.

PLI campaign chief Eliseo Nuñez said five of his party’s supporters were killed in San Jose.

“They have been murdered. The witnesses say they were machine-gunned this early morning by hooded people dressed in blue,” Nuñez told Efe. “It was a political murder.”

Tuesday also saw a battle between supporters of Gadea and Ortega in the Caribbean coastal town of Siuna, where the local Sandinista party secretary, Donaldo Martinez, was killed, Borge said.

He said the PLI partisans in Siuna also shot at police sent in to quell the unrest.

Ortega took 62.6 percent of the vote on Sunday, followed by Gadea with 31.1 percent, Nicaragua’s Supreme Electoral Council said Tuesday.

Gadea, an octogenarian radio personality, rejects the official results and accuses the government of having mounted an “unprecedented and monstrous fraud.”

“The indignant people ... have a right to civic protest, by God,” Gadea said Wednesday at a press conference, repeating his demand for a re-do of the elections.

Polls ahead of the vote indicated that Ortega would win, but his candidacy was labeled illegal by the opposition because of legal maneuvers he employed to get around the constitutional ban on a president’s serving consecutive terms.

The Nicaraguan Constitution prohibits immediate re-election, but Sandinista magistrates on the Supreme Court declared the article dealing with re-election to not be applicable, opening the door to Ortega’s candidacy.

Ortega, 65, previously governed Nicaragua from 1979-1990, first as leader of the Sandinista junta that toppled dictator Anastasio Somoza and then as the country’s elected president.

Returning to the presidency in 2007, the Sandinista leader resorted to the courts after failing to persuade the National Assembly to alter the constitution so he could run again this year.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Papal Trip to Cuba and Mexico Under Consideration for Spring 2012

Papal Trip to Cuba and Mexico Under Consideration for Spring 2012

Photo: Pope Coming to Mexico & Cuba, Spring 2012

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Replying to questions raised by journalists, Holy See Press Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. has announced that Benedict XVI is studying the possibility of travelling to Cuba and Mexico in the spring of 2012

“In recent days”, Fr. Lombardi said, “the nuncios in Mexico and Cuba have been instructed to inform the highest civil and religious authorities that the Pope is examining concrete plans to visit those States, in response to invitations he has received”.

The plans will be finalized over coming weeks, when “the Pope will take his final decision. The trip is due to take place in spring 2012.

“It is well known that expectations among people in Mexico are high”, said Fr. Lombardi, explaining the reasons for the trip. “The Pope is aware of this and is happy to be able to respond. He has been to Brazil but the Spanish speaking countries of Latin America, of which Mexico has the largest population, wished for a visit of their own”.

“Cuba also has great desire to see the Pope, having never forgotten the historic visit of John Paul II. The Church and the people are experiencing a particularly important moment in their history, and the Pope’s visit will be a great encouragement, particularly in view of the fourth centenary of the discovery of the image of ‘Nuestra Senora de la Caridad del Cobre’”.

“It is sufficient to glance at a map to see that Mexico and Cuba lie in the same direction with respect to Rome, therefore it would seem more logical to visit these two countries in a single, though necessarily long, journey. Any trip would not have many stages, but just a few of great symbolic and pastoral importance. Another factor to be taken into account is that of the altitude, which would make it unadvisable for the Holy Father to visit Mexico City. One of the questions to be examined immediately, then, is that of better alternatives.

Read more by HS News Staff →

HISPANIC VOTER POLL: Issue of Economy is Paramount

HISPANIC VOTER POLL: Issue of Economy is Paramount

Photo: Latino Voter Poll

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The Economy, Immigration and Education are top issues for Hispanic voters an unprecedented Univision News – Latino Decisions Election poll of Hispanic registered voters and the general electorate finds the economy, immigration and education as top issues facing the community and outlines the challenges facing both parties ahead of the 2012 elections.

President Obama and the Democratic Party face challenges in recuperating 2008 voter enthusiasm levels that delivered roughly two-thirds of its votes in 2008 and which will be essential to Democratic hopes of retaining the White House and strengthening its position in Congress. On the other side, the poll also finds that Republican candidates for the White House remain largely unknown among Hispanic voters, while anti-immigration rhetoric could undermine efforts to make inroads with a key constituency, which shares the nation’s economic worries.

Two-thirds of Latinos indicate approval of the president’s job performance, but only 1 in 3 Hispanic voters strongly approves of the president, suggesting softness in his popularity among a constituency that were among his most ardent backers in 2008. In addition, 53 percent of Hispanic registered voters indicated that they are less enthusiastic about President Obama now than they were in 2008.

These attitudes could be driven by a general dissatisfaction with the federal government amid loud complaints from Latinos about high joblessness and a lack of progress on immigration reform.

Sixty-three percent of Latinos disapprove of Congress and while 61 percent of the general electorate is very excited about voting in 2012, only 47 percent of Latinos say the same.

In head-to-head ballot tests, President Obama retains a decisive edge over his potential Republican challengers among Hispanics. The President out-polls former Massachusetts Gov. Romney, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and businessman Herman Cain by 2-to-1 margins, rivaling his margin of victory over Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008. However, the survey shows that the Republican candidates remain largely unknown. Nearly half of all Hispanic voters felt they were not sufficiently familiar to offer an opinion of Gov. Romney, 37 percent could offer no view on Gov. Perry and 53 percent for Herman Cain.

This suggests the possibility of fluidity in the support of Hispanic voters over the course of the campaign, which is further evidenced by the generic Congressional ballot test, in which nearly one-quarter of Hispanic voters remains undecided.

The survey finds that like voters everywhere, the issue of the economy is paramount. When asked which was the most important issue in determining who to vote for in an election, 65 percent said the economy, compared to 23 percent who said immigration, with education and health care polling at 16 percent and 12 percent respectively. Respondents also indicated support for policies broadly favored by Republicans, with 42 percent support for extending tax cuts to everyone regardless of income.

However, when presented a hypothetical candidate whose economic policies the voter supported but who used strong anti-immigrant rhetoric, nearly 60 percent indicated the rhetoric would make them less likely to vote for that candidate.

The survey found that a majority of all voters (58 percent) support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, including 53 percent of all Republicans.

That number is higher among Latinos: 67 percent support an earned path to citizenship, including 64 percent of Republican Latinos.

A majority of general voters (62 percent) and of Latino voters (67 percent) believe that conditioning immigration reform on border security is a ploy to block action on reform.

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Uruguay Joins International Campaign to Stop Violence Against Women

Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro has commended Uruguay for joining the United Nations campaign that seeks to end violence against women by raising awareness and generating political will to implement measures to stem the scourge.

The ‘UNiTE to End Violence against Women’ campaign was launched by the Secretary-General in 2008 and calls for all countries to put in place strong laws, action plans, preventive measures, data collection, and systematic efforts to address sexual violence by 2015.

The UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) developed the social mobilization campaign which has registered more than two million actions by more than 600 partners worldwide, Ms. Migiro said yesterday in Montevideo, Uruguay.

“The social awareness campaign ‘Take Action Uruguay’ has found an innovative way to unify the concept of not accepting violence with that of concrete action,” she said.

At a separate event, Ms. Migiro commended the country’s contribution to UN peacekeeping operations over the past 50 years, noting that 25,000 Uruguayans have served in such missions and 28 of them lost their lives in the service of the UN.

“Uruguay contributes more peacekeepers in proportion to its population that any other country on earth,” she said when she visited the National Peacekeeping Training System in Montevideo.

“Put another way, if every country were as supportive of UN peacekeeping as Uruguay, we would not have to beg for equipment and troops. When you patrol a camp or disarm a fighter or help get relief aid to people who depend on it to survive, you are showing the United Nations at its best,” she added.

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ThursdayNovember 10, 2011