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FridayNovember 18, 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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Latino Health Advocates Urge Obama to Maintain Birth Control as Preventive Health Care

Latino Health Advocates Urge Obama to Maintain Birth Control as Preventive Health Care

Photo: Latinas Urge Obama on Birth Control Clause

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Today, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) joined by the Hispanic Federation and 20 other local and national organizations that advocate for Latinos issued a letter to President Obama, urging him to stick to the recent Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) decision that requires health plans to cover preventive health care, including cancer screenings, immunizations, and birth control, with no co-pays.

“The HHS decision to cover birth control without co-pay as preventive health care is one of the most popular provisions of the new Affordable Care Act,” said Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, executive director of NLIRH.  “As we talk with Latina women around the country, they are overwhelmingly in support of the provision; no matter where they fall on the political spectrum.”

HHS issued the standard earlier this year after the nonpartisan Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommended birth control be covered as a women’s preventive service and therefore covered with no co-pays under the new Affordable Care Act.

Some organizations and lawmakers are now pushing the Obama administration for an expansion of the current refusal clause that is already in the Affordable Care Act –which, gives an exemption religious employers –like churches.  The expansion would exempt religiously affiliated hospitals, universities, parochial schools, and other organizations from offering their employees coverage for birth control without co-payments.

An expansion of this clause would deny coverage for birth control for millions of women who may not be religious or may disagree with a religious institutions stance on birth control.  That means nearly one million nurses, secretaries, teachers, and other workers (and their dependents) who work at religious universities would lose their benefits.  In addition, approximately two million students would also lose this important benefit.

“For a lot of Latina women and their families, this would be a devastating blow to their well-being,” said Lillian Rodríguez López, President of the Hispanic Federation.  “Birth control can sometimes cost hundreds of dollars.  The HHS decision frees up that money so women can afford to put food on their families table, pay for gas to get to work or pay for school tuition.”

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.

Research conducted by NLIRH also shows that Latinas want the full range of birth control options available to them.  And birth control use is nearly universal in the United States:  99 percent of sexually experienced women will have used birth control at some point in their lives, including 98 percent of sexually experienced Catholic women.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Shootout simulation held at Mexico school

About a thousand students and teachers participated in a gangland gun battle simulation at a school in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, officials said.

A dozen individuals in the role of cartel hit men staged the fake shootout Thursday at the Cbtis 114 high school while teachers and students - following safety protocols instituted last week by the city’s municipal police force - took cover under desks and tables inside the classrooms.

The goal of the exercise was to reinforce instruction imparted last week during police safety seminars.

Those sessions are being offered by the Juarez police force’s Group 16, responsible for establishing the safety protocols for schools throughout Chihuahua state and at all levels, from kindergarten to high school, police spokesman Adrian Sanchez told Efe.

The safety instruction is a response to gun battles pitting drug cartel hit men against one another or members of the security forces, some of which have have taken place near or on schools’ premises during class hours.

On Aug. 24, assailants fired gunshots at a group of parents waiting to pick up their children outside an elementary school in Ciudad Juarez, killing one person and wounding four women.

Ciudad Juarez, located across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, has been plagued by a wave of drug-related violence in recent years blamed on a war for control of smuggling routes into the United States being waged by the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels with backing from hit men from local street gangs.

Nearly 10,000 people have been murdered in the border city since 2008.

Ciudad Juarez, with 191 homicides per 100,000 residents, was the most violent city in the world in 2009, registering a higher murder rate than San Pedro Sula, San Salvador, Caracas and Guatemala City, two Mexican non-governmental organizations said in a report released last year.

But experts say the murder rate in the metropolis is down significantly in 2011.

Nationwide, nearly 50,000 people have been killed in turf battles among rival drug mobs and clashes between cartel gunmen and members of security forces since President Felipe Calderon took office nearly five years ago.

Read more by HS News Staff →

9,300 Immigrant Visas Issued for Adoptions, Colombia Leads L.A. Region in Number of Adoptees

9,300 Immigrant Visas Issued for Adoptions, Colombia Leads L.A. Region in Number of Adoptees

Photo: Colombia Leads Latin America in Annual Adoption Report

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The Department of State is pleased to announce the release of the 2011 Annual Adoption Report to Congress, which coincides with National Adoption Month. This year, the U.S. welcomed Kazakhstan and Ireland as new parties to the Hague Adoption Convention. The Convention provides the best framework for ethical, transparent intercountry adoptions and ensures that adoptions are conducted in the best interest of children.

In fiscal year 2011, the Department of State issued more than 9,300 immigrant visas to children adopted by U.S. citizen parents. More than 2,700 of these immigrant visas were issued under the Hague Adoption Convention.

In Latin America, Colombia led the region for the number of children adopted from there by Americans, with 216.  Guatemala followed with 32 followed by Nicaragua with 30.  Mexico had 22 adoptees with Panama only having 1. 

Chinese children had the highest rate of adoption by U.S. citizens with 2,589 followed by Ethopia with 1,727.

The Secretary’s Special Advisor for International Children’s Issues, Ambassador Susan Jacobs, has traveled to more than 15 countries this year, most recently to Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Ethiopia, to promote ethical intercountry adoptions and the Hague Adoption Convention.

Read more by HS News Staff →

After Kicking Out Anti-Immigrant Sen. Pearce, Arizonans Set Sights on Sheriff Arpaio

After Kicking Out Anti-Immigrant Sen. Pearce, Arizonans Set Sights on Sheriff Arpaio

Photo: After Kicking Out Anti-Immigrant Sen. Pearce, Arizonans Set Sights on Sheriff Arpaio

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A group of Arizona residents who promoted the recall of Republican Sen. Russell Pearce, the chief architect of the state’s harsh anti-immigration law, now aims to thwart the reelection of controversial Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

“Just like Pearce, Sheriff Arpaio takes an extremist position against immigrants, against immigration, and we want that to end,” Randy Parraz, cofounder of Citizens for a Better Arizona, told Efe.

The 79-year-old sheriff is the only law enforcement official in the state to mount workplace raids in search of the undocumented.

Arpaio, who cultivates a reputation as “the toughest sheriff in the West,” is currently being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department on charges of racial profiling against Hispanics.

The sheriff will seek reelection in 2012, which is why Citizens for a Better Arizona plans to inform voters about his department’s actions against the community.

“We’re going to take action, we’re going to set our sights on him,” Parraz said, adding that a formal announcement of their campaign will be made next Monday in front of the state capitol in Phoenix.

Arpaio has been sheriff of Maricopa County - which includes Phoenix - since 1993, though his popularity among voters waned as time passed.

While in 2004 he won 56.7 percent of the vote, in 2008 he won 55.2 percent.

In 2007 another civic group failed to gather 200,000 voter signatures to force a special election to recall Arpaio.

Parraz said that these new efforts to thwart Arpaio’s reelection will focus on his record and, just as they did with Pearce, will not support any alternative candidate.

On Nov. 8, voters in state senate District 18 in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa made history by recalling Pearce, the main promoter of SB 1070, the first law in the country that seeks to criminalize the presence of the undocumented.

Since its enactment last year, SB 1070 has served as a model for other states to pass even tougher measures against illegal immigration.

Citizens for a Better Arizona was the group that collected the signatures needed to hold a special election to recall Pearce.

“We want the sheriff to understand that we as voters have the right to question his actions and that he must give answers,” Parraz said. “Once again the Hispanic vote will be very important, especially in times like these. I believe this is a historic moment in Arizona that began with the recall of Pearce and can continue with Arpaio.”

For his part, Arpaio told Efe he isn’t worried about the campaign against him.

“I’m going to keep on doing my job, nothing has changed with Pearce leaving office, my work is to apply the laws and that’s what I’ll do,” he said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Scientists Worry Many Monarch Butterflies May Not Make it to Mexico This Fall

Scientists Worry Many Monarch Butterflies May Not Make it to Mexico This Fall

Photo: Scientists Worry Many Monarch Butterflies May Not Make it to Mexico This Fall

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Each year, the monarchs butterflies in the North America travel south to Mexico to take refuge during the winter months, but scientists who have marked a significant drop in the monarch’s population say the loss of a wintering habitat in Mexico and breeding habitat in the U.S. may spell trouble the insects.

The loss of a breeding habitat in the U.S. is being caused by severe weather, continued land development, and the expansion of certain genetically modified herbicide-resistant crops, which is causing a loss of milkweed host plants for the butterflies’ eggs and larvae.

Scientists and conservationists fear that the migration phenomenon of the monarch butterfly each fall may soon be halted by as both the wintering habitat in Mexico and the breeding habitat in the U.S. are failing them.

Bill Toone, a monarch conservationist and director of the ECOLIFE Foundation in San Diego told Mongabay that after hearing reports that claim monarchs are struggling in some areas like drought-stricken Texas, he is glad to hear their populations in Michigan and New Jersey show no decline.

“I know from my 23 years of experience going to Mexico, you don’t have to be a scientist to be able to tell that the number of butterflies has just been in a horrific decline in those overwintering areas.”

He added that, “On one hand, it’s great to get a sense that in some parts of North America it looks like monarch butterflies are doing OK. On the other hand, I don’t think it’s reflective of the whole North American phenomenon.”

Read more at Insect Conservation and Diversity →

Argentine Actress Mia Maestro Thrilled to Sing and Act in ‘Twilight: Breaking Dawn’

Argentine Actress Mia Maestro Thrilled to Sing and Act in ‘Twilight: Breaking Dawn’

Photo: Mia Maestro

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Argentine actress Mia Maestro, who plays Carmen Denali in “Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. Part 1,” says she is “thrilled” she had the chance to act and even sing in the film premiering Friday.

The 33-year-old Buenos Aires native not only acts but also vocalizes the song “Rain” on the original soundtrack of the fourth episode of the hit saga about vampires and wolfmen.

In the movie based on the first part of the fourth book of the saga by Stephenie Meyer, the leading character Isabella “Bella” Swan, again played by Kristen Stewart, and Edward Cullen, played by Robert Pattinson, are off to enjoy a honeymoon in Brazil.

“It’s a very interesting, touching movie. And the fans are going to love it,” Maestro, who plays one of the new characters in the film, told Efe in an interview.

The actress is one of the nine vampires of the Danali Clan, specifically “a Spanish vegetarian vampire who lives in Alaska and is a cousin of the Cullens.”

Maestro said the movie will be a very opportune presentation of her music, since her first album goes on sale in January or February next year: “It’s a truly great chance because the film will be seen all over the world, so I’m very happy about that.”

Mia Maestro is already a familiar face to many thanks to her role in the “Alias” television series, in which she appeared for some three years.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Online Spanish Royal Academy Dictionary Received 50M Visitors in October

Online Spanish Royal Academy Dictionary Received 50M Visitors in October

Photo: Spanish Royal Academy Dictionary

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The ultimate Spanish-language on-line dictionary doubled its expected number of visitors last month, the majority, coming from Mexico, Argentina and Spain.

The digital version of the Spanish Royal Academy Dictionary has turned into an essential tool for Spanish speaking internauts, as demonstrated by the websites visit count last month.

More than 50M users accessed http://buscon.rae.es/ to search for definitions, synonyms and correct spellings of Spanish words.  If the numbers continue increasing as they have, the Academy thinks they could reach well over 500M consultations by the end of the year.

The most Spanish-language dictionary-curious nations last month were Mexico, with 25.26% of the queries, followed by Argentina, with 20,21%, Spain at 19.91%, Colombia with 9.55% and finally Chile, with 4.47%.

Additionally, the Academy opened a Twitter account on August, and already has more than 15,000 followers.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Shakira’s In-Laws: “We Love you as Much as We Love Piqué” (VIDEO)

Shakira’s In-Laws: “We Love you as Much as We Love Piqué” (VIDEO)

Photo: Shakira, Piqué and His Parents

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Joan Piqué, writer, entrepreneur and father of Barça player Gerard Piqué, said he and his wife love Shakira as much as they love their fútbol star son!

To prove his point, Pique’s father who just released a novel titled “Two Lives,” proceeded to toast the couple during a launch event in Spain.

Shakira and Piqué attended the book launch event, accompanied by new Barça forward Cesq Fábregas, and captain Carles Puyol.

Piqué senior offered a speech during the presentation of his novel dedicated it to his late father, who “passed away when Gerard started doing well in soccer.”  Later in his speech he said to Shakira “We [him and his wife] love you as much as we love Gerard.”

The book, already a fiction best-seller in Catalonia, was prefaced by journalist Joan Basté, who mentioned that “we would not be able to enjoy this novel today” if it wasn’t for the support of the Barcelona player.

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Victoria’s Secret Angels Bring Heaven to Puerto Rico!

Victoria’s Secret Angels Bring Heaven to Puerto Rico!

Photo: Alessandra Ambrosio, Adriana Lima, and Erin Heatherton

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Alessandra Ambrosio, Adriana Lima, and Erin Heatherton attended the ribbon cutting for the Plaza Las Americas Victoria’s Secret store in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Wednesday, the Victoria’s Secret Angels attended an event in Puerto Rico to inaugurate the island’s first V.S store.

Alessandra Ambrosio tweeted, “Had the best time in Puerto Rico today for the #vspuertorico!!! Now is time to [fly] back.”

The three sexy Angels enjoyed a ride in Victoria’s Secret’s Pink helicopter and also received a police escort while in San Juan.

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Group of DREAMers Shines a Spotlight on What It’s Like to Be “Undocumented and Awkward”

Group of DREAMers Shines a Spotlight on What It’s Like to Be “Undocumented and Awkward”

Photo: Group of DREAMers Shines a Spotlight on What It's Like to Be "Undocumented and Awkward"

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A groups of DREAMers are creating a series of videos, attempting to help those who are not undocumented immigrants understand what it’s like to be those who are.

Dreamers Adrift, have so far created two episodes for a series called, “Undocumented and Awkward”.

When you don’t have a U.S. government-issued ID it can lead to uncomfortable and awkward moments, if not scary ones involving immigration officials. The group’s first episode shows how a simple blind date at a club can be hindered when your undocumented.

Dreamers Adrift describes itself as “4 Lives… 4 College Grads… Representing 1 DREAM for countless others.”

“We, along side thousands of others, are fighting towards the passage of the DREAM Act,” their website states. “This is a bipartisan legislation that will give undocumented youth an opportunity to become legal residents. Under the rigorous provisions of the DREAM Act, qualifying undocumented youth would be eligible for a 6 year long conditional path to citizenship that requires completion of two years in college or two years of military service. The bill was first introduced a decade ago, but has yet to make it through the United States congress.”

For now, the four college grads are trying to shed light on what the DREAM Act means for them and for countless other undocumented youth who face limitations and frightening consequences simply because they were not born in America.

 

Read more at Dreamers Adrift →

Puerto Rican “Franco the Gorilla” Launching Second Album

Puerto Rican “Franco the Gorilla” Launching Second Album

Photo: "Franco the Gorilla"

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Puerto Rican rapper Franco the Gorilla is launching his second album, “La Verdadera Maquina” (The Real Machine), in which he works with artists he describes as the “cream” of reggaeton like Wisin & Yandel, Jowell & Randy, Cosculluela and O’Neill.

Luis Francisco Cortes Torres, the artist’s real name, told Efe in an interview that working with such star vocalists is “interesting and important,” because they are singers, he said, who “project the musical and vocal evolution” of reggaeton.

“It’s something that flows through us and is a chemistry that feels good. They never hesitated to be part of the disc,” the 32-year-old artist said.

He said his new album - which went on sale this week - is up to now “the most important project” of his life, apart from his family.

“The disc is a super-project for me because we did it with so much affection and care. We surpassed all expectations of what we set out to achieve,” he said.

He said that while he has a career of six years and two discs - the first was “Welcome to the Jungle” in 2009 - he’s coming on now “like a new talent with a terrible hunger.”

Franco the Gorilla kicked off his career as a backup singer for Wisin & Yandel, until he had the chance to record his first solo on the 2005 disc “Underground.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Man Tries to Hide Heroin in Woman’s ‘Lady Purse’, Telling Her to “Shove It Up There”

LATINO BLOTTER: Man Tries to Hide Heroin in Woman’s ‘Lady Purse’, Telling Her to “Shove It Up There”

Photo: Man Tries to Hide Heroin in Woman's 'Lady Purse', Telling Her to "Shove It Up There"

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A New Mexico man has been arrested and charged with criminal sexual penetration, drug trafficking, and tampering with evidence, after he attempted to shove a bag of heroin inside a female friend’s crotch.

Stephen B. Holguin was indicted by a Doña Ana County grand jury Thursday. His charges stem from a November 3rd incident in which he and a female companion were pulled over by police after they received a tip that Holguin had more than 20 grams of heroin on him.

ImageHolguin, 26, was picked up by the woman outside the Sands Motel in Las Cruces. Police then pulled over the car for having expired registration.

According to court documents, officers noticed Holguin “making furtive movements toward the driver of the vehicle and under and near the console of the vehicle.”

When questioned about it, Holguin admitted to hiding marijuana under his seat.

However, the court reports stated that when the female driver was questioned by police, she told them Holguin had pulled a plastic bag containing a “dark substance” from within his pants, “shoved the bag in her crotch area” and told her to “shove this up there.”

The woman gave the officers the bag, and it was later determined that it contained 21.4 grams of heroin. She was not charged.

Metro Narcotics Sgt. Bobby Holden told the Las Cruces Sun-News that while traffickers do tend to hide drugs inside their bodies, it’s a far less occurrence to try to hide drugs inside someone else’s.

Holden said that the heroin in the baggy has a street value of $1,200.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Hundreds Gather in Juarez to Catch Glimpse of Pope John Paul II Relics and Pray for Peace

Hundreds Gather in Juarez to Catch Glimpse of Pope John Paul II Relics and Pray for Peace

Photo: Hundreds Gather in Juarez to Catch Glimpse of Pope John Paul II Relics and Pray for Peace

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Hundreds of people gathered at a mass in Juarez Wednesday to honor the late Pope John Paul II.

The large mass was held in the future location of a building to be named after him.

A wax figure of the late pope has made it’s way to Juarez and people from both Juarez and El Paso waited in line for hours just to see it. The figure is dressed in papal attire and inside a crystal case, which also contains a vial of the former pope’s actual blood. While in Juarez, the relics resided in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Downtown Juárez.

As the relics were arriving, people lined up outside the cathedral in a manner fitting a parade, shouting, “!Que viva el papa!” (“Long live the pope!’). People lined up for hours to get a glimpse of the relics, with most of them coming from around Juarez or El Paso.

Many are hoping that the relic will once again “restore peace in Juarez,”  as the area is one of many in Mexico that is currently suffering from the on-going violence caused by drug cartels.

According to the El Paso Times, Monsignor Ernesto Ascencio León, bishop of the Diocese of Juárez, asked parishioners to ask John Paul II to act as a mediator before the Lord.

‘Let’s ask him (the pope) to pray for us, to restore the peace and to put an end to the violence that has brought so much pain to Juárez.’

In Juarez alone, more than 8,500 people have been killed since 2008.

Friday, the relics continued with the ‘tour’ and headed to Chihuahua. Following that visit, they will be moved to Cuauhtemoc Madera on November 19th.

Read more at El Paso Times →

‘Twilight: Breaking Dawn’ Fever Hits Barcelona (VIDEO)

‘Twilight: Breaking Dawn’ Fever Hits Barcelona (VIDEO)

Photo: Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner

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Take a look at Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner at the Premiere of their vampire flick Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part: 1 in Barcelona.

Don’t miss this exciting film event, and when you watch it, stay until the end of the credits: director Bill Condon said he hid an important surprise at the very end….

Read more by HS News Staff →

Hispanics Focus of Campaign Urging Foot Care for Those with Diabetes

Hispanics Focus of Campaign Urging Foot Care for Those with Diabetes

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Hispanics are the focus of a campaign to promote foot care among people with diabetes, says the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA).

Hispanics are 66 percent more likely than whites to be diagnosed with diabetes, which can result in foot ulcers and lower limb amputations. Leading causes of type 2 diabetes include poor diet, lack of exercise and genetics, risk factors that are especially high among Hispanics, according to the association.

The “Knock Your Socks Off” campaign in November coincides with Diabetes Awareness Month and encourages people with diabetes to get an annual foot exam, which can reduce the risk of amputation by 45 percent to 85 percent.

“Your feet are a mirror of your health—especially when you have or are at risk for diabetes,” APMA President Dr. Michael King said in an association news release. “The ‘Knock Your Socks Off’ campaign encourages people with diabetes to get an annual foot examination by today’s podiatrist, particularly if you are part of the Hispanic community. Getting a foot exam, along with maintaining a good diet and proper exercise, is vital to staying in control of diabetes and living a healthy life.”

Sixty percent to 70 percent of people with diabetes have mild to severe diabetes-related nerve damage, which often includes deceased sensation or pain in the feet, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data the release. Severe nerve damage can lead to foot ulcers and lower limb amputation.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Cops thwart theft of ATM from Venezuelan fire station

Six armed assailants took an automatic teller machine from a fire station north of the Venezuelan capital, but police were alerted in time to chase down the pickup truck that was carrying the ATM and two of the robbers.

The theft took place shortly after dawn Thursday at the central station of the Vargas state fire department, where four armed robbers pulled up on two motorcycles and another two in the pickup on which they loaded the ATM, fire department officials told Efe.

Fireman Nelson Muñoz said that the ATM, installed some three months ago, mainly “for the benefit of the more than 200 firefighters” who come to the station every day, was tipped over on the ground and removed by the thieves using “their own tools.”

He said that two of the men who were on watch when the robbers arrived were tied separately to the two columns at each end of the room, but since their legs weren’t tied down they were able to kick certain objects within reach and wake their sleeping fellow firefighters, who called the cops.

The two assailants speeding away with the ATM, that they never managed to open, were overtaken on the expressway between Vargas and Caracas and were arrested after an exchange of shots that left no casualties, one of the officers told the daily El Universal

Read more by HS News Staff →

Britney Spears Bitten By Brazilian Fan (VIDEO)

Britney Spears Bitten By Brazilian Fan (VIDEO)

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A young Brazilian fan couldn’t help himself and as Brit wrapped her legs around him in the middle of a lap dance routine, he bit the pop star’s calf! Britney Spears bitten in rio during her femme fatale tour

Toe-Eating Piranhas are not the only Brazilian citizens making news because of their bites, now that this crazy Britney Spears fan bit the pop star while she was giving him a lap dance.

Take a look at the video below, and join our forums section, where we will try to make sense of this fan’s cannibalistic thank-you-for-this-great-lap-dance gesture.

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Oklahoma State Univ. Coaches Kurt Budke, Miranda Serna Die in Plane Crash

Oklahoma State Univ. Coaches Kurt Budke, Miranda Serna Die in Plane Crash

Photo: Oklahoma State Univ. Coaches Budke and Serna Die in Plane Crash

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Assistance Coach Miranda Serna and Head Coach Kurt Budke of Oklahoma State University’s women’s basketball team are dead after their plane went down in central Arkansas Thursday night.

The single-engine plane (a Piper PA-28) carrying coaches Serna and Budke went down about 45 miles west of Little Rock and 4 miles south of Perryville.

Initial reports announced that all four people aboard the small plane died, the other two passengers being the pilot and another person not affiliated with the university.

OSU President Burns Hargis said, “The Oklahoma State family is devastated by this tragedy. Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of Kurt Budke, Miranda Serna and the other victims.”

The coaches were on recruiting trip to Arkansas when the crash occurred.

ImageThe Perry County Sheriff’s Department said a local woman saw the plane and called 911 to report what she witnessed. Chief Deputy Mike Surrett said, “She saw the airplane swirling. It basically nose-dived and crashed.”

At around 6 p.m. local time, a helicopter located the crash site, where debris was scattered over an area of more than 300 yards. Surrett said the nose of the plane slammed into the side of a steep ridge and created a 5-foot crater. The weather at the time of the flight was clear, and investigators say it may take up to 9 months to determine a cause.

Both Serna and Budke were in their seventh season with Oklahoma State’s Cowgirls basketball team. Budke is from Kansas, while Serna hails from New Mexico.

According to her university profile, Serna’s family resides in Guadalupita, N.M. Her mother, Nettie Herrera, teaches Spanish, while her sister, Cassandra, is a history teacher.

The last month has been a rough one for college sports. This week, child molestation accusations came out against Syracuse University’s associate head basketball coach Bernie Fine, who has now been placed on administrative leave.

And Penn State was rocked when a whole number of questions were raised about alleged child sexual abuse by former Penn State football defensive coordinator Gerald “Jerry” Sandusky against a number of young boys.

The Oklahoma crash comes almost 11 years after another plane crash killed 10 men affiliated with the university’s men’s basketball team in January 2001. That plane is said to have crashed after the pilot became disoriented when power to the plane was lost and he had to manually fly it with use of limited instruments.

Read more by HS News Staff →

20 Narcos Charged in Chicago, 5 with Ties to Vicious Zetas of Mexico

20 Narcos Charged in Chicago, 5 with Ties to Vicious Zetas of Mexico

Photo: Drugs & Cash Seized in Chicago from Zetas

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Twenty defendants are facing federal narcotics charges in Chicago, including five alleged members of a Chicago-based cell of the Zetas Mexican drug cartel who were responsible for transporting millions of dollars in drug proceeds between Chicago and Mexico, federal law enforcement officials announced this week.

A joint investigation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation resulted in the charges, as well as accumulated seizures during 2010 of more than $12.4 million cash and approximately 250 kilograms of cocaine in the Chicago area. An additional $480,000 cash and two kilograms of heroin were seized Tuesday.

Federal agents yesterday executed simultaneous arrests in the Chicago area and in Laredo, Tex., of defendants stemming from the multi-jurisdiction investigation of drug-trafficking and the flow of its narcotics proceeds. Twelve of the 20 defendants indicted in Chicago were arrested in Chicago and a 13th in Laredo.

The 20 Chicago defendants were charged in five separate indictments that were returned by a federal grand jury on Nov. 2 and unsealed following the arrests. The 12 Chicago defendants arrested here Wednesday appeared in U.S. District Court and remain in federal custody pending detention hearings. Five defendants remain fugitives; one was already in federal custody and another is hospitalized.

Yesterday’s seizures of cash and heroin occurred during the arrests and execution of search warrants at the residence of one defendant in Bellwood and another defendant’s residence in Bolingbrook, as well as a safe deposit box.

All 20 Chicago defendants were charged with various narcotics offenses, including conspiracy to possess and distribute quantities of cocaine and using a telephone to facilitate narcotics trafficking. The five alleged members of the money transportation cell were also charged with conspiracy to transfer narcotics proceeds outside the United States. I

Read more by HS News Staff →

Alleged White House Shooter Made Tape for Oprah, Calls Himself “Modern Day Jesus” (VIDEO)

Alleged White House Shooter Made Tape for Oprah, Calls Himself “Modern Day Jesus” (VIDEO)

Photo: Alleged White House Shooter Made Tape for Oprah, Calls Himself "Modern Day Jesus" (VIDEO)

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Believing he had an important message to share, the man suspected of shooting at the White House, Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, made a tape for Oprah.

Calling himself the modern day Jesus, Ortega-Hernandez, who has been charged with attempting to assassinate President Obama, pitched himself and what was apparently a show idea to the Oprah Winfrey show.

“You see Oprah, there is so much more that God needs me to express to the world,” he says into the camera. “It’s not just a coincidence that I look like Jesus. I am the modern day Jesus Christ that you all have been waiting for.”

Washington D.C’s WTTG Fox 5 said it obtained a part of the video from a Secret Service agent who learned about the tape, which was recorded two months ago, a few days ago from Ortega-Hernandez’s girlfriend.

Though only a part of the video was aired, the station said it is 45 minutes long, and includes “rants” about the government’s wars in oil-rich countries.

The video was made with the help of a student at Idaho University, who never actually sent it to the show. Idaho University Professor Tom Hallaq said he never thought to turn the tape over to authorities, because no threats were actually made, and the video was just rambling.

Read more at WTTG Fox 5 →

Selena Gómez on Ellen: ‘Last 2 Weeks Have Been Crazy’ (VIDEO)

Selena Gómez on Ellen: ‘Last 2 Weeks Have Been Crazy’ (VIDEO)

Photo: Selena Gómez on the Ellen Show

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Ellen DeGeneres invited Selena Gómez to her show and asked her about her last couple of weeks and then proceeded to chat about her relationship with Justin Bieber.

Selena Gómez was certainly not chatty about it, but she admitted to Ellen the last couple of weeks have been very tough.

Overall the last several weeks, the young singer/actress has had to deal with the release of her scary psycho stalker Thomas Brodniki, her new puppy munching himself sick on garden rocks, and of course the blatantly bogus, yet still scandalous paternity lawsuit against boyfriend Justin Bieber.

“What a crazy last two weeks it’s been in the news,” Ellen DeGeneres said to Selena, and the expression in the 19-year-old pop star’s eyes said it all.  She quietly replied “To say the least.”

But Selena said that though it hasn’t been easy, she has been alright, and shared with Ellen her favorite thing about Bieber.

Check out the video below to find out what it is!

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazil’s Truth Commission Signed Today Receives International Praise

Brazil’s Truth Commission Signed Today Receives International Praise

Photo: Brazil's President Signs Truth Commission into Law

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The United Nations human rights chief today hailed the creation of Brazil’s truth commission as an important first step towards promoting healing and investigating the violations that took place during the political repression of 1946 to 1988.

“This development shows Brazil’s commitment to addressing human rights at home, as well as elsewhere in the world,” said High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.

“It is an essential and welcome first step towards healing the country’s wounds and clarifying past wrongs,” she stated, as the bill establishing the National Truth Commission was signed into law today.

Nearly 500 people are said to have either been killed or forcibly disappeared under Brazilian military rule during the 42-year period, according to a news release issued by the UN human rights office (OHCHR).

The idea of a truth commission had been contemplated for many years and was provided for in the country’s Third National Human Rights Programme in 2010. However, it only recently passed the final legislative hurdles in Parliament.

The bill was signed into law by President Dilma Rousseff, who was herself a victim of the types of violation the new body will investigate. She also promulgated a Law for Public Access to Information, which aims in part to enable the commission to bring facts and information into the public arena.

The commission will consist of seven members with a two-year mandate to investigate violations. OHCHR hopes that this will lay the groundwork for future accountability for those responsible for killings, torture, forced disappearances and other human rights atrocities.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Dominican Republic Very Advanced in Fighting Child Labor, Dramatic Decreases Seen

Dominican Republic Very Advanced in Fighting Child Labor, Dramatic Decreases Seen

Photo: Dominican Republic Makes Stride Reducing Child Labor

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According to the results of a study just published by local authorities, in the past 10 years there has been a 14% reduction of child labor in the Dominican Republic.

According to these data, the country is moving towards the eradication of the worst forms of child labor by 2015 and the elimination of all forms of exploitation by 2020, as planned by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Office of the United Nations for Childhood. The study, conducted between December 2009 and January 2010, involved 9119 households and interviewed 8540 children aged between 5 and 17.

According to the ministry of local labor, more than 89% of children and adolescents of Dominican workers are able to continue their studies. The country is among the most advanced in the fight against child labor, a significant downward trend. The highest rates are recorded in the provinces of the southwest such as Bahoruco, Independencia, Pedernales and Barahona with 24.5%, while the lowest in the National District and the province of Santo Domingo, with 8%.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico Asks U.S. to Extradite ‘Fast and Furious” Gunrunners

Mexico’s government has requested the extradition of six U.S. citizens for weapons trafficking, including three people linked to a botched federal gun-tracking operation, Attorney General Marisela Morales said.

“We’re going to get to the bottom of this and we’re going to punish ... whomever is responsible for these (crimes),” Morales told the lower house of Mexico’s Congress in reference to the “Fast and Furious” program, which was run out of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Phoenix field office in 2009 and 2010.

She said two extradition proceedings are underway against U.S. citizens suspected of smuggling weapons to Mexico.

One of the requests involves three people believed to have acquired “a large number of weapons” under the Fast and Furious program, the Mexican attorney general told lawmakers Wednesday.

As part of that undercover operation, ATF agents allowed thousands of guns to be illegally acquired from Arizona gun shops by straw purchasers and smuggled into Mexico.

The idea behind letting the weapons “walk” across the border was to trace them to powerful drug cartels, but once the program was underway ATF agents realized they had no dependable way to monitor the firearms, ultimately losing track of some 2,000 guns.

Weapons traced to Fast and Furious have appeared at more than 100 crime scenes in Mexico and two were found at the location where U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent Brian Terry was killed in southern Arizona last December while trying to arrest a group of armed suspects.

Morales said the second extradition request involves another three individuals who purchased high-powered weapons in Texas that they later transported to Mexico.

The attorney general told lawmakers that another two U.S. citizens are currently on trial in Mexico for smuggling guns and grenades into the country.

“We’ve assumed our commitment to inhibit arms smuggling through the effective use of weapons-tracking (software),” she said.

Opposition lawmakers have criticized what they say is the Mexican government’s lack of urgency in demanding that Washington investigate and punish those responsible for Fast and Furious.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who oversees ATF as head of the Justice Department, is currently the target of a probe by leading Republicans in Congress, some of whom say he should resign over the scandal.

Morales, meanwhile, acknowledged Mexicans’ “concern and indignation” and reiterated that the effort to combat criminal gangs “is a shared responsibility.”

That means Mexico and the United States must continue to develop ways to work together to crack down on organized crime, “always with respect for each nation’s sovereignty,” the attorney general said.

Turf battles among drug cartels and clashes between mobsters and security forces have left nearly 50,000 dead in Mexico since President Felipe Calderon took office in late 2006.

Calderon says the United States is largely responsible for the violence because of the high demand for illegal drugs there and the cross-border flow of weapons to the violent cartels.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Alabama Looking to ‘Amend’ Its New Immigration Law, Months after Implementation

Alabama Looking to ‘Amend’ Its New Immigration Law, Months after Implementation

Photo: Alabama's HB56 Maybe Amended

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Months after Alabama’s strict immigration law was enacted, the state’s law makers are looking to make amendments to it. 

Currently Republican senators are addressing “unintended consequences” to the immigration legislation, HB 56,  that affects most aspects of an undocumented individual’s life.

The law that was passed in June required schools to verify immigration status of students, made it illegal to transport or aid an undocumented immigrant as well as allow police officers to inquiry about a suspect’s immigration status. 

Now due to the added bureaucracy, no available farm workers and disgruntled educators, amendments are being drafted.  The law was approved in June and enacted in September and quickly faced multiple lawsuits including one from the Justice Department. 

The Republican Governor, Robert Bentley had already called for simplifying the legislation.  Meanwhile others, especially Alabama Democrats, are attempting to repeal the law entirely.

Read more by HS News Staff →

$1.4 Billion Latin American Energy Project to Build Four Wind Farms in Region

$1.4 Billion Latin American Energy Project to Build Four Wind Farms in Region

Photo: Wind Farms Coming to Latin America

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IMPSA, one of the world’s leading renewable energy companies, will get a $150 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to help finance its plans to expand wind energy generation in Latin America.

The IDB loan will be to IMPSA’s Brazilian subsidiary Wind Power Energía S.A. to support the construction of an estimated four wind farms, three in Brazil and one in Uruguay, which will add 546 megawatts of wind energy capacity in the region by 2014. The estimated $1.4 billion investment program is expected to reduce carbon emissions by approximately 595,000 to 680,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year once the projects are fully operational.

“The long-term financing provided by the IDB will allow IMPSA to advance on its plans to build a long-term renewable energy market in Latin America and bypass the current turbulence in credit markets, which could make project financing more challenging in the coming months,’’ said John Graham, project team leader at the IDB’s Structured and Corporate Finance Department. “The IDB maintains ambitious targets for expanding its renewable energy portfolio across the region, and operations such as the IMPSA financing are meant to have a catalytic impact on this rapidly expanding sector.”

The three new Brazilian wind power plants will add an additional 481 megawatts of installed capacity in Brazil while the plant in Uruguay, known as El Libertador, will contribute with at least 13 percent of the country’s strategic goal of reaching 500 megawatts of installed wind capacity over the next five years.

 

Read more by HS News Staff →



FridayNovember 18, 2011