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TuesdayNovember 22, 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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Justice Department Files Complaint Against Utah’s Immigration Law

Justice Department Files Complaint Against Utah’s Immigration Law

Photo: Utah Immigration Law Challenged

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The Department of Justice today challenged Utah’s immigration law, which comes after recent lawsuits in Arizona, Alabama and South Carolina. 

In a complaint, filed in the District of Utah, the department states that several provisions of Utah’s H.B. 497 are preempted by federal law.  The provisions were enacted on March, 15, 2011. 

The department’s lawsuit comes after several months of constructive discussions with Utah state officials. Notwithstanding today’s lawsuit, department officials expect this important dialogue to continue.

The department’s complaint states that H.B. 497 clearly violates the Constitution because it attempts to establish state-specific immigration policy. The law creates and mandates immigration enforcement measures that interfere with the immigration priorities and practices of the federal government in a way which is not cooperative with the primary federal role in this area. The law’s mandates on law enforcement could lead to harassment and detention of foreign visitors and legal immigrants who are in the process of having their immigration status reviewed in federal proceedings and whom the federal government has permitted to stay in this country while such proceedings are pending.

“This kind of legislation diverts critical law enforcement resources from the most serious threats to public safety and undermines the vital trust between local jurisdictions and the communities they serve,” said Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.  “The Department will continue to enforce federal immigration laws in Utah in smart, effective ways that focus our resources on criminal aliens, recent border crossers, repeat and egregious immigration law violators and employers who knowingly hire illegal labor.”

The department notified Utah state officials of its position that the Utah’s Immigrant Guest Worker statutes, H.B. 116 and H.B. 469, are clearly preempted by federal law.  Given that the provisions do not take effect until 2013, and in light of the constructive conversations the department continues to have with Utah officials about these provisions pursuant to the Justice Department’s long-standing policy of exploring resolution short of litigation before filing suit against a state, the department is not challenging these provisions today. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico’s First 3D Animated Film, El Gran Milagro, to Make U.S. Debut (VIDEO)

Mexico’s First 3D Animated Film, El Gran Milagro, to Make U.S. Debut (VIDEO)

Photo: El Gran Milagro Movie Debut in U.S.

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Dos Corazones Films announces that The Greatest Miracle, Mexico’s first 3D animated feature film will appear in theaters in Chicago and 49 other US cities on Fri., Dec. 9, 2011. 

The Greatest Miracle was released in Mexico on Oct. 14, 2011 to praise from audiences and critics alike, and had the second highest per-screen average that weekend.

Directed by Bruce Morris (Disney’s Pocahontas, The Little Mermaid, The Princess and the Frog and Hercules), The Greatest Miracle explores the lives of three strangers at Catholic Mass one morning, who are experiencing difficult situations – Monica, a widowed mother, struggles to sustain her home with her son Diego; Don Chema, a bus driver, deals with his child’s incurable illness, and Dona Cata, an elderly woman who seeks peace.  There, each person meets their guardian angel and is given the gift to see the world through spiritual eyes and then take full account of their blessings.

Last week in Hollywood, the film’s music score, composed by Mark McKenzie (Spiderman and Ice Age: The Meltdown) won the Hollywood Music in Media Awards “Best Indie Score” for 2011.

According to Jonathan Broxton of Movie Music UK, “McKenzie writes some of the most beautiful, lyrical and emotionally resonant music ever written for film.  Film scores like this don’t come along too often – music so passionate, so moving, and so warm.”

“I am very proud of our team’s effort and the industry recognition our film has received so far.  We did not skimp on putting the best ingredients into the making of The Greatest Miracle,” said Pablo Barroso, producer at Dos Corazones Films.  “In Mexico, audiences were inspired to seek a deeper understanding of God’s love and to view their lives as a spiritual journey.  We hope people in the United States will have a similar response, especially now that we’re entering Advent and Christmas,” he said.


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Costa Rican police seize ton of cocaine, arrest 3

Costa Rican police seize ton of cocaine, arrest 3

Photo: Results of a Previous Drug Bust

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Costa Rican authorities on Tuesday seized 1,203 kilograms (2,649 pounds) of cocaine and arrested three Colombian nationals who were transporting the drug, the Security Ministry announced.

The Colombians were arrested along a highway in the town of Tibas, north of the capital, as they were transporting the shipment in a truck.

One of the men was driving the truck and the others were driving two other vehicles and acting as escorts. All the vehicles were seized along with two guns, the Security Ministry said.

Security Minister Mario Zamora said that this is one of the most important blows dealt to drug trafficking in Costa Rica territory in recent years.

“We are bringing to a close one of the large-scale operations that the country has had. It’s been one of the most ... significant blows by our country against drug trafficking,” he said.

The drug was being shipped in 60 sacks and authorities said that they smelled like seawater, causing them to suspect that the cocaine arrived in Costa Rica on board some kind of boat.

The three Colombians will face charges of international drug trafficking, a crime that in Costa Rica carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Shootout in Honduras leaves 4 dead

Four people were killed Tuesday in a gunbattle between two rival criminal gangs in the central Honduran city of La Guacamaya, police said.

Nearly a score of men from one of the gangs surrounded a house where the other criminal faction was meeting and began shooting, deputy inspector Daniel Matamoros told reporters.

Three men inside the home died, while their comrades killed one of the attackers, he said.

The gangs - both with a history of cattle rustling and armed robbery - had been at odds with each other for years, Matamoros said, citing a preliminary report from police in La Guacamaya.

Honduras experiences an average of 20 homicides a day.

Hoping to curb the mayhem, President Porfirio Lobo launched “Operation Lightning,” a crime-suppression effort involving hundreds of police and soldiers.

The initiative began Nov. 1 and has had no discernible effect on the level of violence.

Corrupt police officers have been linked to some of the murders that have made Honduras the most dangerous country in a region notorious for rampant crime.

Read more by HS News Staff →

STUDY: Lawn Industry Key Economic Opportunity for U.S. Latinos

STUDY: Lawn Industry Key Economic Opportunity for U.S. Latinos

Photo: Lawn Care Industry Critical to Latino success

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The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce today released a major economic study confirming the vital role that the landscape and lawn care services industry plays in providing entrepreneurial opportunity, jobs and income to U.S. Latinos.

“This study clearly shows that the landscape and lawn care industry is a key creator of entrepreneurial opportunity for our community that is worthy of our strong support,” USHCC President & CEO Javier Palomarez said.  “It is very much the kind of ‘low entry cost/high sweat equity’ industry that provides immigrants and first-generation Americans with a starting point and pathway into the mainstream economy,” he added.

The study, entitled “The Economic Impact of the Landscaping and Lawn Care Services Industry on U.S. Latinos” examines the landscaping and lawn care industry’s impact upon Latinos.  It was conducted for the USHCC by the Inter-University Program on Latino Research, a national consortium of 27 independent and university-based centers headquartered at the University of Notre Dame and dedicated to increasing the availability of policy-relevant, Latino-focused research.  Among the study’s key findings are:

*  The total household income of households with at least one worker in the landscaping industry totals almost $75 billion.  Latino households with at least one worker in the industry obtain more than $18 billion in household income.

*  The landscape industry in the United States employs almost 1.6 million workers and generates almost 959,000 jobs in other industries.  In total, Latinos account for more than 830,000 of the workers in both categories.

*  For Latinos, the landscape and lawn care industry is an important source of employment.  The share of Latino employment in the industry is 2.6 times higher than the national average.  Specifically, the data shows that while Latinos represent 13.4 percent of all *  U.S. workers, they represent 35.2 percent of all workers in landscape and lawn care services industry.

*  The landscaping and lawn care industry provides disproportionately more income to Latino households than the overall economy provides to Latinos.  It also provides disproportionately more income to Latinos than it does to other population groups participating in the landscape and lawn care industry.  The data reveals that 8.3 percent of the household income across the total U.S. economy is attributable to Latinos while nearly 25 percent of the household income within the landscape and lawn care industry is attributable to Latinos.

*  The landscape and lawn care services industry provides a strong source of entrepreneurial opportunity to Latinos.  The proportion of businesses owned by Latinos in the industry is almost double the national average for all industries with Latinos accounting for over 16 percent of the business owners in the industry (versus 8.6 percent of the businesses nationwide).

*  Latino-owned businesses in the landscape and lawn care industry capture 7.5 times more of the total receipts than Latino-owned businesses across all industries with the landscape and lawn care industry reflecting an approximate 9 percent of total industry receipts versus 1.2 percent of total receipts across all industries.

Juan Carlos Guzman, who led the research effort for the IUPLR, noted that U.S. Census figures do not capture family and sole-proprietor businesses in the industry and may, as a result, not fully reflect the scope of Latino ownership and involvement in the industry.  “While the census data does not include figures on family-owned and sole-proprietor businesses, we think it is more than likely that a similar proportion of those businesses are also Latino-owned,” he said.

The report also includes qualitative insights from telephone interviews conducted with both Latino and non-Latino supervisors and employees in the landscape and lawn care industry from across the country.  The interviews offer additional insight into the actual value and impact of the landscape and lawn care industry to participants in the industry.

California, Texas, and Florida account for one-third of all the Latino workers employed in the landscape and lawn care services industry.  Sixteen states, including California, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, New Mexico, Illinois, Colorado, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Delaware, Florida, Utah, Maryland, Georgia, and Washington, all have Latino worker participation rates in the landscape and lawn care industry at twice or more the national average of Latino worker participation across all industries.

Palomarez observed that “Policy makers at all levels of government should be in the business of encouraging opportunity for Latino entrepreneurs, especially in industries like landscape and lawn care and especially in states where Latino-owned businesses and Latino employees are particularly in evidence.  There’s no doubt that, given the industry’s demographics, Latinos are disproportionately vulnerable to detrimental employment, income and ownership consequences from policies which adversely affect the landscape and lawn care industry.  We urge Latino lawmakers to be particularly attentive to the industry’s needs as it is an economic and opportunity engine for our community.”

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

$15.3 Million of Cartel Money Seized by Mexican Army

$15.3 Million of Cartel Money Seized by Mexican Army

Photo: $15.3 Million of Cartel Money Seized by Mexican Army

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Army troops seized $15.3 million in cash in Tijuana, a border city in northwestern Mexico, that apparently belonged to the Sinaloa cartel, marking the second-largest seizure of money since President Felipe Calderon took office in 2006, but no arrests were made, the Defense Secretariat and the Attorney General’s Office said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

The cash was found on Nov. 18 inside a vehicle parked in the Cumbres de Juarez section of Tijuana, located near San Diego, California, during a “surprise land reconnaissance” operation, the statement said.

The money, which was seized “without any shots being fired,” was being taken to a “house used by members of the ‘Guzman Loera’ criminal organization as a financial operations center,” the statement said.

Army troops seized $26.2 million on Sept. 14, 2008, in Culiacan, the capital of the northwestern state of Sinaloa, the statement said.

Three packages containing cocaine, two rifles, two handguns and jewelry were also seized as part of “Operation Zorro,” which began in July in the northern states of Sonora, Baja California and Baja California Sur.

The Sinaloa organization is the oldest cartel in Mexico and is led by Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman, who was arrested in Guatemala in 1993 and pulled off a Hollywood-style jailbreak when he escaped from the Puente Grande maximum-security prison in the western state of Jalisco on Jan. 19, 2001.

Guzman, considered extremely violent, is one of the most-wanted criminals in Mexico and the United States, where the Drug Enforcement Administration has offered a reward of $5 million for him.

Forbes magazine estimates that Guzman has a fortune of more than $1 billion, making him one of the richest people in the world.

The Sinaloa cartel, according to Mexican journalist Jose Reveles, controls at least 3,500 companies around the world.

Read more by HS News Staff →

New Mexico Women Say Gang Members Held Them Down and Forcibly Tattooed Them

Photo: New Mexico Women Say Gang Members Forcibly Tattooed Them

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Police are investigating two claims from women who say they were forcibly tattooed by gang members after they were taken off the streets of Albuquerque.

Both women asked that their names not be released, but shared their story with local ABC affiliate KOAT.

One of the women said, “We were jumped and basically threatened that if we weren’t going to do what they said, then that would be it, and they took us and tattooed us.”

The other victim, a teenager, said the men that grabbed them held them on the ground while one man tattooed his name all over her body. She said she feels “trapped” in her own body, “like it’s not mine.”

When she spoke with KOAT, Albuquerque Police Department Sgt. Trish Hoffman said she had never heard anything like this, and that gang detectives had not heard anything about it in the last 10 years either.

Assistant District Attorney Edga Sprague said that she knows of two similar cases.

“[In] both cases, they had tattoos specifically on genitalia, breast…[and the] buttocks,” Sprague said.

Dawn Maestas, who works with victims to help remove what attackers have done to them said, “These are not tattoos. This is a form of branding and mutilating a victim and it just so happened that they used a tattoo gun to achieve this process.”

Read more at KOAT ABC 7 →

‘Sesame Street’ Composer Fernando Rivas, Charged with Child Pornography

‘Sesame Street’ Composer Fernando Rivas, Charged with Child Pornography

Photo: Fernando Rivas

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59-year-old Rivas, who won two Emmys for his work on Sesame Street has been charged with three counts of child pornography in Charleston, SC.

According to a court affidavit, authorities following the track of a New Jersey child pornography investigation searched Rivas house in April, and found inappropriate images of children in hard drives, disks and on his personal computer.

Two of the images on Rivas’s personal computer showed a 4-year-old girl handcuffed and bound by Velcro restrains in sexually-suggestive positions, mimicking bondage adult images.  Rivas admitted to having handcuffed the little girl, taking the pictures and sending them to 2 others (one of them in New Jersey), but pleaded not guilty to making child pornography and to using a computer to send the images across state lines.

Yesterday, Rivas posted 10 percent of a $300,000 bond and has been placed under house arrest. He was forbidden to have contact with the alleged victim, to access the Internet and to be around any children without supervision.


 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Thieves Break Into Maradona’s Daughter’s Car During “Doña Tota’s” Burial

Thieves Break Into Maradona’s Daughter’s Car During “Doña Tota’s” Burial

Photo: Dalma Maradona

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Diego Maradona’s oldest daughter, Dalma, returned from her grandmother’s funeral to find her vehicle had been broken into, and valuables swiped away.

A distraught Dalma Maradona posted the bitter news on Twitter, shortly after the burial ceremony for her grandmother Dalma Salvadora Franco, better known as “Doña Tota.”

“Great,“ the soccer star’s daughter tweeted “as we said good-bye to grandma, some son of a b**ch was emptying the trunk of my car.”

Doña Tota died of heart complications last Saturday at 82 years old, in Buenos Aires.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Texas Latinos Getting Three Additional Voting Districts

Texas Latinos Getting Three Additional Voting Districts

Photo: Texas Redistricting Good for Latinos

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The new redistricting plan federal judges announced last week for the Texas state House of Representatives creates three additional districts where Latinos will have a good chance to elect a candidate of their choice, activists said.

A group of citizens and politicians represented by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund presented a complaint several months ago in which they accused the Republican-controlled state legislature of manipulating maps to favor the GOP.

At the beginning of November, the U.S. Justice Department said that the redistricting proposed by the legislature would reduce the ability of minority voters to elect the candidates they preferred.

The map issued last week by a three-judge panel in San Antonio will remain in effect pending final resolution of various legal challenges to the redistricting plan.

“The court’s action vindicates the continued vitality and importance of the federal Voting Rights Act in protecting the rights of Latino voters, whose rights and interests were completely neglected by the Texas legislature,” MALDEF’s president and general counsel, Thomas Saenz, said in a statement.

The judges’ map creates a new, largely Hispanic state House district in the Rio Grande Valley and increases the Latino population of two existing districts in El Paso and Houston, respectively.

“Now, we can talk about eight seats in the lower house for the Valley. The judiciary has prevailed and acknowledges the population growth of Hispanics,” said state Rep. Veronica Gonzalez (D-McAllen), who aspires to a fifth term next year.

Rep. Jessica Farrar, a Democrat who represents District 148 in Houston, considers the ruling a win for her party and for the state’s Hispanic population, which grew more than 65 percent in the past 10 years, according to Census figures.

“And it was the Republicans supporting the presidential candidacy of (Texas Gov.) Rick Perry who also undertook to get the state into debt with budget cuts that forced teachers to be fired and social services for children, the elderly and pregnant women (to be cut),” Farrar said.

Republicans currently enjoy an advantage of 101-49 in the Texas lower house.

According to Census data, 37.6 percent of the Texas population is of Latino origin but less than half of them are registered to vote and many of the state’s Hispanic citizens are minors.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Bella’s ‘Breaking Dawn’ Wedding Dress to Be Sold in CHNY Stores

Bella’s ‘Breaking Dawn’ Wedding Dress to Be Sold in CHNY Stores

Photo: Carolina Herrera, Designer of The Twilight Dress.

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The wedding dress worn by Kristen Stewart‘ in Twilight: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 will be sold at designer Carolina Herrera‘s CHNY stores.

The long-sleeved white sheath wedding dress, adorned with lace in the back, was specially designed for Stewart by Venezuelan designer Carolina Herrera, who said she was flattered to be asked to create the now-iconic gown.

“I wanted to create a magical moment for the wedding,” the designer said. “She is an innocent girl who lives through her first true love, there’s romance, there’s magic, all comes together,” Herrera added.

Herrera didn’t specify the number of dresses her design house will create, or how much Twilight fans will have to fork over for one, but for fans eager to get married in Bella’s dress, it may not matter.

However, for those and who don’t want to wait until next year, bridal dress company Alfred Angelo is selling official replicas for $799 each.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Drunk Latina Crashes Car, Blames it on Boyfriend Not Taking Her to See New Twilight Movie

Drunk Latina Crashes Car, Blames it on Boyfriend Not Taking Her to See New Twilight Movie

Photo: Drunk Latina Crashes Car, Blames it on Boyfriend Not Taking Her to See Twilight Breaking Dawn

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No one likes when their weekend plans fall through, but for one Chicago Latina, it was especially hard to handle.

Olivia Christina Ornelas was arrested Saturday and charged with driving under the influence after she crashed her car into a ditch off Rt. 71.

ImageWhen police found the car, the front right tire was missing and police say she attempted to drive the vehicle with the tire missing. They also discovered that 18-year-old Ornelas was “extremely intoxicated”.

She told officers that she was upset because her boyfriend told her they would go see Breaking Dawn, the latest movie in the Twilight series, but then canceled.

According to the Kendall County police report, “Ornelas advised that she was extremely upset with her boyfriend because she did not see the movie Twilight like they were supposed to.”

Ornelas apparently decided to get extremely drunk instead.

There’s a reason Twihards have their own fan designation. They take their Twilight fandom seriously.

In the end, Ornelas, of Aurora, IL, was charged with driving under the influence and unlawful consumption of alcohol by a minor. She was released after posting a $300 bond.

And while Ornela may have missed the movie this weekend, millions of others did not. In its first week, “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part One” took in $139.5 million, with 51.9 percent of its gross coming from Friday.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Chilean Children’s TV Show Wins Emmy Award (VIDEO)

Chilean Children’s TV Show Wins Emmy Award (VIDEO)

Photo: Chilean kid's show "Con que sueñas," won an Emmy Award

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The Chilean television program “Con que sueñas,” broadcast by the TVN network, won an Emmy Award for best children’s program.

“We feel very honored to have gotten here,” Paula Gomez, the director of the documentary series focusing on Chilean children, said, adding that “it’s been six years since a Chilean program was nominated” for an International Emmy Award.

The honors were presented Monday night in New York at a gala hosted by actor Jason Prestley.

Gomez said that her aim was to show “the variety” of Chilean children ages 7 to 13, who have “very different lives, given that some live on the altiplano, some have to walk two hours to get to school and others are urban children.”

The Chilean series competed with the German show “Allein gegen die Zeit,” Australia’s “Dance Academy” and Malaysia’s “Saladin.”

In the soap opera category, the Portuguese show “Lacos de Sangue” - a coproduction between S.I.C. and TV Globo Portugal - went home with the Emmy, beating out Argentine public television’s “Contra las Cuerdas,” TV Globo de Brasil’s “Destiny River” and “Precious Hearts Romances presents: Impostor,” produced in the Philippines.

Opening Con que sueñas from Sólo por las Niñas on Vimeo.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Puerto Ricans Among Those Helped Most by HUD’s Homeowners’ Assistance Program

Puerto Ricans Among Those Helped Most by HUD’s Homeowners’ Assistance Program

Photo: Puerto Ricans Among Those Helped Most by HUD's Homeowners' Assistance Program

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A federal program that offered more than $1 billion to homeowners struggling to keep their homes, apparently helped three states in particular – Connecticut, Maryland, and Pennsylvania – though 32 states and U.S. territory Puerto Rico were open to the funds.

In the end, just over half of the $1 billion allotted was spent and while the number of people in need of assistance was high, less than 15,000 households were approved, while it was expected that at least 30,000 would receive help.

Though the Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program was offered in the states (and Puerto Rico) based on population and unemployment, about half of the money spent went to Connecticut, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) initially sent $179 million to these three states, but an additional $46 million was sent after they went through the first allotment.

These states, along with Delaware and Idaho, were allowed to run their own programs as they already had similar programs already established in the states.

Among the other 27 states and territories, Puerto Rican homeowners in need benefited the most, with 72 percent of the 652 homeowners who applied for the program being accepted.

Though thousands of homeowners received assistance, legislators like Rep.  Barney Frank (D- Mass) say more could and should have been helped, but that the department’s late start in getting the program going and poor administration failed Americans.

“They dragged and dragged their feet,” Frank told the New York Times. “I believe it was not one of their priorities.”

Read more at USA TODAY →

Bolivian Narcos Dig Up Dead Narco Mule to Extract Cocaine Cargo

Bolivian Narcos Dig Up Dead Narco Mule to Extract Cocaine Cargo

Photo: Bolivian Narcos Dig Up Dead Mule

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A 55 year-old man who had died in May got dug up recently, his insides dissected and spilled on the ground as narcos exhumed his body to retrieve the cocaine cargo in his belly.

The unidentified man died in Yacuiba, Bolivia, when one of the cocaine capsules he had swallowed burst inside his stomach during his smuggling trip from Argentina.

According to Bolivian police, the man’s grave was desecrated and the capsules retrieved from his body in a crude and rudimentary fashion.

Local police continue to investigate.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Grammy Hall Of Fame Inductees Announced. 3 Latinos Make the List

Grammy Hall Of Fame Inductees Announced. 3 Latinos Make the List

Photo: Sergio Mendes, Los Panchos, and Santana have songs entered into the GrammyHall of Fame

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Albums by Brazilian Sergio Mendes, Mexican band “Los Panchos”  and Carlos Santana, will be inducted to the Hall Of Fame along with works by Paul Simon, and The Rolling Stones.

The Grammy Hall of Fame Award is a special Grammy award established by the Recording Academy’s National Trustees in 1973 to honor recordings that are at least 25 years old and have “qualitative or historical significance”.

Each year, inductees are selected by a special committee of eminent professionals from all areas of the recording arts.

Three albums from Latino musicians made the list this year and will be inducted next to such albums as “Exile on Main St.” by The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A,”and “graceland” by Paul Simon.

Notable singles included this year are “Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)” by Doris Day and Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It”. Martin Luther King Jr.‘s “I Have a Dream Speech” will be also inducted as this year’s ‘Spoken Word Track.’

The albums by Latino artists being inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2011 are:

—“Herb Alpert Presents Sergio Mendes & Brasil ‘66,” Sergio Mendes & Brasil ‘66

—“Mexicantos,” Los Panchos

—“Santana,” Santana (album)

HS-News wishes to congratulate these exemplary artists for their induction into the exclusive list of musicians whose timeless contributions to the recording arts have given shape to the world of music.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Murder Suspect, Richard Mendoza Jr., Out of Jail After DA Mistake

Murder Suspect, Richard Mendoza Jr., Out of Jail After DA Mistake

Photo: Murder Suspect, Richard Mendoza, Free on Bond After DA Mistake

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A mistake by the Texas district attorney’s office has resulted in the release (on bond) of a man suspected of committing a 2002 murder.

On November 7, 2002, Christopher Daigle went hunting with his friend, Richard Mendoza Jr, but when Mendoza thought Daigle was flirting with his girl friend, he allegedly shot him in the back of the head.

Though nine years ago, Daigle’s family is still awaiting closure. They were hoping Mendoza would spend the rest of his life in jail after DNA evidence linked him to the murder. However, due to the DA’s mistake, Mendoza was free to leave on bond on Monday.

When Mendoza was arrested and put in jail in August, after Daigle’s bones were finally recovered from a field in Arcola, TX, the DA had 90 days to get an indictment, but they failed to do so, meaning Mendoza was able to go, once his bond was posted.

District Attorney John Healey admitted that his office made a mistake, and said it takes full responsibility for what happened.

‘It is a mistake that shouldn’t have been made,’ Healy stated. ‘But it’s a long road between now and the time the defendant is going to be in front of 12 citizens of Fort Bend County, and we’re going to need that family, and they’re going to need us to work together as a team and try to facilitate justice…’

While Tracie Gregory, Daigle’s mother, may understand the need to work with the DA, she can’t help but be angry.

Gregory told My FOX Houston, ‘The DA forgot the date. I don’t understand how that can happen, if it was their child they wouldn’t have forgotten.’

Though Mendoza will be out on bail, he still faces a trial, which has been fast-tracked, and most involved believe he will still spend a number of years in jail, if not the rest of his life.

This DA mistake only disrupted the process and has kept the family from having a proper burial for Daigle, as his remains are evidence in the case against Mendoza.

Read more by HS News Staff →

In the Past Week 16 Wanted Fugitives Arrested at Texas-Mexico Border

In the Past Week 16 Wanted Fugitives Arrested at Texas-Mexico Border

Photo: Texas-Mexico Border

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at South Texas ports of entry between Pharr and Roma arrested 16 persons wanted on outstanding federal, state and local warrants during the past week.

During the week of Nov 14, 2011 CBP officers working at the Hidalgo/Pharr International Bridge arrested five U.S. citizens, two Mexican nationals and an Italian national on outstanding state and local arrest warrants.

The following three travelers were arrested on warrants from the McAllen Police Department and released to their custody. Brent Wilson, age 45, a U.S. citizen from Houston, Texas was arrested for an unauthorized use of motor vehicle warrant. Adrian Galindo, age 34, a U.S. citizen from San Juan, Texas was arrested on a providing false reports to a police officer warrant and Rossy Garza Mendez, age 28, a U.S. citizen from Pharr, Texas was arrested on a criminal mischief warrant. Edgar Javier Guevara, age 31, a Mexican national from San Juan, Texas was arrested for an assault charge warrant from the Edinburg, Texas Police Department and released to their custody.

The following three travelers were arrested and released to the custody of the Hidalgo Police Department. Patricia Elizabeth Torres, age 40, an Italian national was arrested on a failure to appear (prostitution) charge from Odessa, Texas. Raul Alejandro Rodriguez Fraire, age 21, a Mexican national from Hargill, Texas was arrested on a failure to appear warrant from the Madison County Sheriff’s Office. Mary Carmen Valdez, age 54, a U.S. citizen from Fort Worth, Texas was arrested on a probation violation warrant from the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office. Manuel Alejandro Martinez, age 21, a U.S. citizen from Richmond, Texas was arrested on an evading arrest warrant from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office and released to the custody of the Pharr, Texas P.D. These last four subjects were subsequently taken to the Hidalgo County Jail where they will await to be extradited.

CBP officers at the Roma/Miguel Aleman International Bridge arrested four U.S. citizens and two Mexican nationals during this same week. Veronica Angeles Perales, age 42, a U.S. citizen from Laredo, Texas was arrested on a federal warrant from the U.S. Marshal’s Service for violation of probation conditions and released to their custody.

The following four travelers were arrested on warrants from the Roma, Texas Police Department and released to their custody. Francisco Garza, age 24, a U.S. citizen from Rio Grande City, Texas and Adalberto Rene Sanchez, age 34, a Mexican national from Zapata, Texas were both arrested for failure to appear (public intoxication) warrants. Maria Magdalena Sanchez, age 47, a U.S. citizen from Roma, Texas was arrested on a failure to appear (failure to maintain financial responsibility) warrant and Jose Gerardo Garcia Ortega, age 25, a Mexican national also from Roma was arrested on a failure to appear (traffic violations). Ruben Anthony Mejia, age 27, a U.S. citizen from McAllen was arrested on a possession of controlled substance warrant from the Star County Sheriff’s Office and released to the custody of their deputies.

Finally, CBP officers working at the Los Ebanos international ferry crossing arrested Jennifer Yahaira Oyervides, age 25, a U.S. citizen from Sullivan City, Texas on a failure to appear warrant from the Sullivan City Police Department and released to their custody.

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‘Bachelorette’ Ali Fedotowsky Spilts From Fiance Roberto Martinez

‘Bachelorette’ Ali Fedotowsky Spilts From Fiance Roberto Martinez

Photo: 'Bachelorette' Ali Fedotowsky Spilts From Fiance Roberto Martinez

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Going the way of many couples formed on ABC’s The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, Ali Fedotowsky and Roberto Martinez have reportedly ended their relationship.

The couple met on the 6th season of the The Bachelorette, and were engaged for a year after Martinez proposed on the season finale.

Since coming into the spotlight, Fedotowsky’s past has come back to haunt her. An ex-boyfriend was reportedly shopping around a topless photo of her, reportedly from her crazy drug and sex past.

A former friend of Fedotowsky was also said to have a topless photo of her, in which someone is pouring beer on her as she covers her chest with her hands. It is said that at the time the photo was taken, Ali was only 15.

Martinez and Fedotowsky had been living together in San Diego, where he worked as a State Farm insurance agent.

The wedding was originally postponed in August, with Fedotowsky naming knee surgery as the reason for not walking down the aisle at that time.

A rep for the couple told E! News, “Ali Fedotowsky and Roberto Martinez have ended their relationship. As they go through this difficult time, we ask that you respect the couple’s privacy.”

Just last month, Fedotowsky told People that though she and Martinez hadn’t met in the most traditional way, they were still engaged, and still living together, but didn’t “feel the need” to get married just then.

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Reyes Sisters Photoshopped Bikini Pics at Center of Union Fight with Hyatt (VIDEO)

Reyes Sisters Photoshopped Bikini Pics at Center of Union Fight with Hyatt (VIDEO)

Photo: Hyatt's idea of Appreciation.

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A California Hyatt Hotel fired the Reyes sisters two weeks after posting their photoshopped faces in a not-so-appreciative Appreciation Week Poster.  Was this a wrongful termination or union bashing by the hotel?

50-year-old Lorena Reyes had been working at the Hyatt hotel in Santa Clara, CA for 17 years, with her younger sister Martha eventually coming to work for the hotel.  After 7 years of working together, the hotel decided it was time to make the sisters the center of ‘Appreciation Week’.  But the sisters weren’t presented with a card, or some cupcakes, or even pats on the back. 

The Hotel’s bizarre way of showing their appreciation, was to crudely photoshop the sister’s faces onto the bodies of slender women wearing bikinis, and posted the photos on a collage with other photoshopped staff photos in an employee-only hallway.

‘When I saw the photos,’ Lorena told Jezebel ‘I was very shocked. I was very embarrassed and angry.’ Appalled, the sisters ripped the pictures from the wall, having never even worn a bikini ‘What they did was unjust, displaying our bodies in that manner,’ the former housekeeper said. 

Peter Hillan, a spokesman for the Hyatt said management wasn’t aware that the collage themed “Riding the Waves to Success,” could be misconstrued as insulting, and they still don’t think it is offensive ‘Everybody was enthusiastic about what we were celebrating,’ he said.

“I came to work and saw men laughing at the pictures, and I was so embarrassed to see my face pasted on a bikini body,” says Martha Reyes. “For me this is no joke. I take my job very seriously, and all I ask is to be treated with respect. Instead, Hyatt fired me, and now I may lose my home.”

After the sisters took down the offensive images, a staff member told the sisters they had to put them back up in the appreciation week poster, as the images were “Hotel Property” but the sisters refused. Within two weeks, both of them were fired.

According to the Reyes sisters, hotel management told them they were let go because they allegedly extended their lunch break for 10 minutes longer than allotted.

They claim the hotel management never talked to them about this matter until this incident occurred.

Peter Hillan, said the sisters were ‘dismissed for clear violation of workplace policies and procedures unrelated to the claims around the images.’ “We look at this as really a camping by the union Unite Here, who is trying to unionize this hotel and has sort of hijacked this particular issue for their own good,” Hillan said.

The Reyes sisters filed a retaliation claim against the company on Friday. Community leaders held a protest at the hotel on Friday calling on Hyatt management to immediately reinstate the housekeepers with back-pay and to apologize publically. “Firing these long term employees with weak rationale is not good enough and they need to take serious complaints about sexually degrading photos,” said Adam Zapala, the Reyes sisters’ attorney.

 

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Mexico’s Virgin of Juquila Arrives to Its New Home in Los Angeles

Mexico’s Virgin of Juquila Arrives to Its New Home in Los Angeles

Photo: Virgin of Juquila Arrives in LA

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A replica of the image of the Virgin of Juquila, one of the most venerated in Mexico, is now in the Southern California city of Lynwood.

The new home of the image will be the chapel of the Plaza Mexico community center in Lynwood, a municipality in Los Angeles County.

The image left the Casa Refugio del Inmigrante Elvira in Tijuana, Mexico, on Friday.

The procession bearing the image northwards on Saturday crossed the U.S.-Mexico border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, was received in San Diego and on Sunday arrived in Lynwood.

Despite the rain, on Sunday hundreds of the faithful awaited the Virgin’s image to welcome her to her new home at Plaza Mexico.

“The Virgin is the best, and not only for me but for the whole community, and we’re very happy to have her here, now that she’s crossed the border and - as we say - faith has no borders,” Maurilio Bautista, the representative of the Committee of the Virgin of Juquila in Los Angeles, told Efe.

The organizer of the event emphasized the hope with which the image was welcomed by hundreds of the faithful, showing that “for this community so eager to see her it’s a blessing to have her here.”

The image is a replica of that which is venerated in the Santa Catarina de Juquila shrine in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, and her name comes from the Zapotec Indian word “xuhquililla,” which means “place of blue milkweed.”

The original image has been venerated since the 16th century and in 1633 a fire destroyed the town where it was kept, but the image itself was not harmed.

In the early 18th century, it was placed in the shrine where it currently resides.

Myriam Estrada, a devotee of the Virgin of Juquila whose son is a cancer survivor, was one of the people who on Sunday came to welcome the “Juquilita,” as many tenderly call the image.

“My son had leukemia and I promised to follow her and, because of faith, my son was cured, and that was six years ago,” Estrada told Efe by way of explaining her devotion to the Virgin’s image.

“I thank her so much that my son is cured,” she added.

The replica traveled more than 2,000 miles in its pilgrimage before it arrived at the chapel at Plaza Mexico, where it will be housed in a special niche, according to what Mario Cardenas, the general manager of the center and master of ceremonies at this year’s Juquila celebrations, told Efe.

Cardenas invited the public to attend the festivities, where food and drink will be offered free to the participants to avoid any profit-making activity associated with an event with a religious character.

He also emphasized that there will also be music at the celebration for “the Virgin of Juquila, which is one of the greatest symbols for our Oaxacan community.”

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Costa Rican National Guilty of $670 Million Investment Fraud in U.S.

Costa Rican National Guilty of $670 Million Investment Fraud in U.S.

Photo: Jorge Luis Castillo Guilt of $670 Investment Fraud

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Jorge Luis Castillo, 56, a resident of New Jersey, pleaded guilty for his role in a $670 million fraud scheme involving victims throughout the United States and abroad.

“Mr. Castillo played an integral role in a multi-million dollar fraud scheme that harmed investors throughout the United States and abroad,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer.  “Trading on his qualification as a CPA, he created false documents that concealed the true nature of Provident Capital Indemnity’s (PCI) operations.  We are determined to continue holding accountable those who commit financial fraud, and prey upon unsuspecting investors.”

According to a statement of facts filed with Castillo’s plea agreement, PCI was an insurance and reinsurance company registered in the Commonwealth of Dominica and doing business in Costa Rica.  Castillo prepare audited financial statements that falsely claimed that PCI had entered into reinsurance contracts with major reinsurance companies.

Castillo also admitted that he and other conspirators provided the false financial statements and fraudulent independent auditors’ report to Dun & Bradstreet (D&B), which D&B relied on in compiling its commercial reports on PCI and issuing its 5A rating of PCI’s financial strength.

Castillo is scheduled to be sentenced on May 22, 2012.  Conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. 

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Number of Abused & Exploited Children in Colombia Increasing

Number of Abused & Exploited Children in Colombia Increasing

Photo: Child Abuse on Rise in Colombia

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Child abuse continues to be a very serious wound in the Latin American country. According to the latest report carried out by ICBF, the Colombian Institute which deals with the protection of the family, in 2011 104,392 complaints were recorded, of which 39,500, about 40%, related to cases of abuse on boys and girls.

The numbers could be much higher, both because many cases are not reported and because there are cases of abuse that are culturally accepted. The ICBF statistics deal with reported cases, what are missing are those hidden thanks to the complicity of family members or other people outside the household. Compared to last year, however, complaints have increased due to greater awareness on behalf of the population. It has gone from 95,577 to 104,392.

The type of abuse recognized as the most common is that given by the negligence of adults who deprive children the attention they need. In 2011 there were 19,521 complaints of this form of abuse, followed by 17,795 complaints of child physical abuse, 1,827 for psychological abuse and 363 for abuse even during pregnancy. Regarding sexual abuse, out of 11,025 children abused, 4,796 are girls and 1,281 are boys, mostly between 7 and 12 years of age. The reported cases of sexual exploitation in 2011 have so far been 606, also, according to the ICBF figures, 507 children are involved in prostitution and 54 in pornography.

In the country there are 2,513 child workers, 392 who live on alms, 14,524 are under the Criminal Responsibility System for Adolescents, 878 are street children, 4,681 drug users, 1,352 are displaced. According to the chief of the movement for the protection of children in Latin America, the problem in Colombia and the world is more serious than it appears from the figures reported.

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ARGENTINA: Two Killed in Mid-air Crash Involving Air Force Plane

ARGENTINA: Two Killed in Mid-air Crash Involving Air Force Plane

Photo: ARGENTINA: Two Killed in Mid-air Crash Involving Air Force Plane

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Two people were killed Monday when their small aircraft collided with an Argentine air force plane over the city of Mercedes, a military spokesman told Efe.

Authorities are working to identify the fatalities, the air force’s Mariano Mohaupt said.

The air force plane suffered significant damage in the collision and had to make an emergency landing, but neither of its occupants was seriously injured, the spokesman said.

The crash took place near the airfield of a flying club in Mercedes, a city some 100 kilometers (60 miles) west of Buenos Aires.

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Rep. Luis Gutierrez Urges South Carolina Hispanics to Fight New Immigration Law

Rep. Luis Gutierrez Urges South Carolina Hispanics to Fight New Immigration Law

Photo: Fight Against SC HB56

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Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) urged the Hispanic community in South Carolina to join forces to fight law SB 20, which allows authorities to question the immigration status of people detained in routine traffic stops if there is a “reasonable suspicion” that they might be undocumented.

During a brief visit to the Palmetto State, Gutierrez also urged South Carolina Hispanics to learn to use a new federal policy to avoid more deportations.

The lawmaker’s visit to South Carolina is part of a tour he is making along with 10 other Democratic congressmen around the South to ask for the overturning of anti-immigrant laws like SB 20.

After his stay in South Carolina, Gutierrez will travel on Monday to Birmingham, where he will denounce the impact of Alabama’s harsh immigration measure, HB 56.

“This legislation spurs racial profiling and is un-American. We have to fight together and do everything possible because the government cannot continue separating families,” Gutierrez said on Sunday at a meeting with Hispanic leaders in Charleston.

He also participated in a community forum attended by 500 people and heard examples of how Hispanics are being indiscriminately detained.

SB 20 permits law enforcement officers to question the immigration status of a person during routine traffic stops if a “reasonable suspicion” exists that the person is in the country illegally.

Gutierrez also urged local leaders to use the memorandum of discretion approved Aug. 18 by the administration of President Barack Obama that seeks to reduce the deportations of immigrants without criminal records.

“That memorandum should be used (with) discretion immediately. The No. 1 reason you’re detained and taken to an ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) facility is a moving traffic violation,” Gutierrez said.

“That initiates the process of your deportation, and if that’s all there is, they should simply use their discretion and release you. So people have to learn to use it (the memorandum) and demand that it be used,” the Chicago-area congressman said.

The Department of Homeland Security has begun to review on a case by case basis the deportation proceedings of 300,000 undocumented immigrants to focus on those that pose a danger to the country.

On Dec. 19, a federal district court in Charleston will hear the state’s arguments in favor of SB 20, as well as the opinions of attorneys for the federal government and organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed lawsuits to halt its entry into force on Jan. 1.

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TuesdayNovember 22, 2011