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WednesdayDecember 7, 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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Mexico Condemned for Killing of Peace Activists in Country

Mexico Condemned for Killing of Peace Activists in Country

Photo: Nepomuceno Moreno Nuñez Murdered in Mexico

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Two United Nations agencies have strongly condemned the recent murder of a Mexican peace activist and the attempted killing of the chief of a women’s rights organization in the same country and called on the Government to investigate and prosecute those responsible.

Nepomuceno Moreno Núñez, a member of the Peace with Justice and Dignity Movement, was murdered on 28 November in the northern state of Sonora. He joined the movement after the disappearance of his son in July last year, demanding an investigation and punishment of the perpetrators.

Two months ago, during an encounter of the movement with Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón, he revealed he was under a lot of pressure and turned in all the documents related to his son’s disappearance.

Norma Andrade, the co-president of the non-governmental organization (NGO) “Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa” (Our Daughters Come Home) in Ciudad Juárez, was severely injured by a gunshot on December 2nd.

Ms. Andrade’s daughter was murdered in 2001. Since then, she has been defending women’s rights, demanding justice for the hundreds of women have been murdered in the state of Chihuahua over the past decade.

Javier Hernández Valencia, representative for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Mexico, called for authorities to implement mechanisms that would protect human rights defenders in the country.

Officials have reiterated the need for the Mexican Government to establish dialogue with NGOs to create a national mechanism that can guarantee the security of those individuals that dedicate their lives to the promotion and defense of human rights.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Luis von Ahn of Guatemala Wants to Translate the Internet

Luis von Ahn of Guatemala Wants to Translate the Internet

Photo: Luis von Ahn of Guatemala Wants to Translate the Internet

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Luis von Ahn, who left his native Guatemala at 17 to study in the United States and has since become a computer science pioneer, now is on a mission to translate Internet content into all of the world’s major languages and bring the Web to a much broader global user base.

The bold endeavor involves giving Internet users themselves the lead role, transforming the work of translation into “something that millions of people want to do, and that is to learn another language,” Von Ahn said in an interview with Efe.

“We thought that maybe we could do it with a computer but we saw we couldn’t, that (machine) translations are really bad for now and we need human beings,” Von Ahn, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, said.

That realization led to duolingo.com, a platform in which anyone can learn a language by translating sentences on the Web, with beginners working with simple sentences and more advanced users handling more complex ones.

The idea behind the platform, according to the Web site’s intro, is for users to “learn a language for free while at the same time helping to translate text from the Web, enabling a wealth of language-shackled information to be liberated for all of humanity.”

Users of duolingo.com receive three phrases at a time in a foreign language of their choice - all taken from the same paragraph - and are given the task of translating them into their native language.

The program takes the translation and combines it with responses from other users, with the most frequent answer considered to be the “correct” one.

“The translations aren’t perfect but we’ve confirmed that they are very, very good,” Von Ahn said.

Although many language-learning resources are available on the market, “they cost a lot of money, some up to $500, and for someone in Latin America that’s a great deal of money,” the professor said, adding that people in that region do not generally learn English as a hobby but to earn more money.

The Web site was initially launched using texts in Spanish, English and German, but plans are to add French, Italian and Mandarin shortly and eventually cover the world’s 15 most widely spoken languages.

Von Ahn recalled that he arrived in the United States in 1996 with the dream of enrolling in a university to study mathematics. But he later found himself drawn to computer science, “a newer, more dynamic field that is changing more every day.”

Through his research, he developed his concept of “human computation,” which focuses on designing programs that combine human and computer intelligence to solve problems that neither could solve alone.

One example is CAPTCHA, a challenge-response test using distorted letters and numbers that is deployed to protect Web sites vulnerable to spam e-mails and denial-of-service attacks.

Online users type in the letters and digits they see to solve the test, which has been designed to be unsolvable by a computer.

At 33, Von Ahn already has been named Foreign Policy magazine’s most influential Latin American intellectual and last year was included on a list of the 100 most creative people in business by Fast Company magazine.

This newfound recognition is a source of pride personally and especially for Guatemala, “a small country with few resources,” Von Ahn said, adding that after he completes his work with duolingo.com he would like to “do something specifically for Guatemala and Latin America.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Tamales a Tradition on Many Tables at Christmas

Tamales a Tradition on Many Tables at Christmas

Photo: Christmas Tamales- New Tradition

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Tamales have become a tradition for Hispanic families in the United States who unite in their preparation and never lack for them on their tables at Christmastime.

“Making tamales during Christmas is always a special time for us,” Virginia Calsada-Medina, an expert in gourmet tamales in southeastern California’s Imperial County, told Efe.

“That’s because we not only have the chance to enjoy delicious tamales, but it also gives us the chance to celebrate our culture and spend a little time with our family and friends,” she added.

Calsada-Medina, the principal of Calipatria High School, and her family once a year set up Grandma Lupe’s Authentic Tamales stall at the International Tamale Festival in nearby Indio, California.

“Eating turkey for Thanksgiving or eating tamales for Christmas is something traditional, not just for Hispanic families, but also for all families in the United States,” Calsada-Medina said.

“When someone enjoys Hispanic tamales it opens the doors for those people to also enjoy other aspects of our culture,” she added.

Calsada-Medina learned from her mother the art of preparing tamales and, in contrast to those of Central and South America which are wrapped in banana leaves, she cooks them in cornshucks in which she surrounds chicken, pork, beef or cheese with corn meal.

For the sweet kind, she makes them with pineapple and raisins and her gourmet style tamales for Christmas Eve are made with strawberries and cream cheese.

Maria Guadalupe Nuñez Calsada, better known as Grandma Lupe, emigrated to the United States from Mexico along with her husband in 1954 and recalls that then many people in this country didn’t know what a tamale was and they had to be taught that to eat one you had to remove the cornshucks.

“My daughter (Virginia) invented strawberry tamales during a Christmas season when she wanted to make some sweets,” 74-year-old Lupe recalls. “And I said, we’re going to make (tamales) with strawberries and I bought the strawberries, stirred them into the corn meal and they turned out well.”

The Christmas strawberry tamales are prepared with corn meal and pork lard that is mixed with pureed natural strawberries with sugar.

Then, a portion of the mixture is spread over a cornshuck and in the middle one places a generous spoonful of cream cheese, and then the shuck is wrapped to give shape to the tamale, it is tied together “so that the flavor doesn’t seep out” and then boiled.

Mexican immigrant Norma Castellanos, a customer of Grandma Lupe’s Authentic Tamales, told Efe that she likes to see that Anglos, African Americans and Asians wait up to three hours in line to buy and freeze the tamales they will eat at Christmas.

“On Christmas Day I also make my own tamales,” Castellanos said. “On that day, the whole family gathers in the morning around a table to make the tamales we will eat that night.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Hispanic Drivers in Milwaukee 5 Times More Likely to be Pulled Over by Police than White Drivers

Hispanic Drivers in Milwaukee 5 Times More Likely to be Pulled Over by Police than White Drivers

Photo: Hispanic Drivers in Milwaukee 5 Times More Likely to be Pulled Over by Police than White Drivers

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According to a report done by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a black driver in the Milwaukee is seven times more likely to be stopped by police than his white counterpart, and a Hispanic driver is five times more likely.

Of 46,000 traffic stops, the newspaper found that police searched black drivers’ cars twice as often as white drivers’, though the searches did not lead to higher rates of seized weapons, drugs, or stolen items.

When compared to other metropolitan police departments, traffic stop data revealed Milwaukee had greater racial disparities than Charlotte, Kansas City, Raleigh, and St. Louis.

State Rep. Tamara Grigsby (D-Milwaukee) told the news source she long suspected drivers were treated differently and often unfairly by police in Milwaukee, saying, ‘Is racial profiling real? It’s like water to a fish in my world. There is a feeling, there is an understanding, an unsaid knowledge that this is part of the experience of being a person of color in Wisconsin. It feels like a standard practice in this state.’

When asked about the disparities, Police Chief Edward Flynn, said he does not dispute the findings, but that in the area, high-crime neighborhoods tend to have large minority populations.

‘I would say it’s not an unexpected consequence,’ Flynn told the Sentinel. ‘If we are going to heavily engage with those communities that are both victimized and from whence a significant majority of our offenders come, we are going to generate disparities because of where we’re physically located.’

The newspaper’s research also revealed other racial disparities when it came to traffic stops in Milwaukee:

• Milwaukee police stopped 45,703 city residents during the first four months of this year. Nearly 69% of drivers stopped were black. White drivers accounted for 16% of stops, while 14% were stops of Hispanic motorists.

• After the stop, Milwaukee police searched the vehicles of black drivers twice as often as whites, or one search for every 12 stops. But police found contraband items in searches involving black drivers at almost the same rate as whites - about 22% of the time.

• Black and Hispanic drivers were arrested at twice the rate of whites after getting stopped, with white drivers being issued traffic citations at a lower rate than black or Hispanic drivers and were let off with written or oral warnings more often.

• Police stopped black and Hispanic drivers about five times as often as white drivers solely for equipment violations.

Read more at Milwaukee Journal Sentinel →

Police Dismantle Ring Trying To Smuggle Gadhafi’s Son to Mexico

Police Dismantle Ring Trying To Smuggle Gadhafi’s Son to Mexico

Photo: Saadi Gadhafi

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A ring that was trying to smuggle Saadi Gadhafi, the son of late Libyan dictator Col. Moammar Gadhafi, and his family into Mexico has been dismantled, officials said Wednesday.

Four suspects - two Mexicans, a Canadian and a Dane - involved in the scheme were arrested during “Operation Guest,” Government Secretary Alejandro Poire said.

The suspects were trying to provide 38-year-old Saadi Gadhafi and his family with false Mexican identification documents under the names Daniel Bejar Hanan, Amira Nayed Nader, Moad Bejar Sayed and Sofia Bejar Sayed, Poire said.

The plan called for the Libyan businessman to acquire properties in different parts of Mexico and establish his residence in Bahia de Banderas, a Pacific coastal town in Nayarit state.

The suspects were identified as Cynthia Ann Ranier, a Canadian who is allegedly the gang’s leader and ran its finances; Gabriela Davila Huerta, a Mexican living in the United States who also used the alias Gabriela Davila del Cueto, served as the “logistics link” and contacted the document forgers; and Pierre Christian Fleisborg, a Danish national who was in charge of logistics.

The fourth suspect was identified as Jose Luis Kennedy Prieto, a Mexican citizen who was in charge of obtaining the false documents.

Ranier was arrested on Nov. 10 in Mexico City, while the other suspects were detained a day later.

The suspects are all in preventive detention, allowing prosecutors to hold them for 40 days while they gather more evidence in the case.

The criminal organization chartered several flights between Mexico, the United States, Canada, Kosovo and various Middle Eastern countries “to coordinate the route and prepare the logistics for Gadhafi’s move,” Poire said.

The suspects face forgery, people trafficking, bank fraud and organized crime charges.

Saadi Gadhafi, who was born in 1973, commanded the Libyan special forces and is known for his love of soccer.

He was a professional soccer player but made it into only two Italian League matches before being penalized for doping.

Gadhafi, who crossed into Niger in September and requested asylum, is accused of being behind the killing of a 1980s Libyan socccer star.

An arrest order was issued for Gadhafi by Interpol on Sept. 29 at the request of Libya’s National Transitional Council, which accuses him of taking properties via force or intimidation while serving as head of the Libyan Soccer Federation.

Preventing Gadhafi from entering Mexico is “another demonstration of the capacity of the Mexican state’s institutions for protecting the integrity of national territory,” Poire said.

Foreign Relations Secretary Patricia Espinosa, who is visiting Brazil, praised the successful police operation.

“This is a matter we had been working on for some time and we are very happy that the plan was detected in an efficient manner and we prevented the entry of this person into Mexico,” Espinosa said during a press conference in Sao Paulo with her Brazilian counterparet, Antonio Patriota.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Top Tip for Muggers: Make Sure Your Mark is Not a UFC Fighter

Top Tip for Muggers: Make Sure Your Mark is Not a UFC Fighter

Photo: Top Tip for Muggers: Make Sure Your Mark is Not a UFC Fighter

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An attempted robbery in Chicago’s Southwest Side took a surprising turn when mugger Anthony Miranda, 24, chose the wrong victim, and paid for it with bruises and a bullet wound.

The 33-year-old “victim”, whose asked not to be named, said Miranda approached him as he got into his car and asked him for a light. After stating he did not have one, Miranda pulled out a gun, demanded valuables, and told him to get out of his vehicle.

What Miranda did not know was that the man he was pointing his gun at was a trained mixed martial arts fighter who competes in the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC).

The subsequent “struggle” between the men was over rather quickly, as the fighter managed to get the gun away from Miranda and hold him down until police arrived. However, one of the men was wounded when the gun went off during the altercation, and no, it was not the trained athlete.

The cage fighter said that during the fight for the gun, Miranda shot himself in the ankle.

Along with the gunshot wound to his ankle, Miranda received a number of bruises and scratches to his face, which included two black eyes that can clearly be seen in his mug shot.

He was taken to Holy Cross Hospital before appearing in Cook County Bond Court Sunday.

His bond was set at $300,000. Miranda, who served six years in prison for a number of burglary charges, was only released on parole in March 2010.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Argentine Nursery Home Pins Bill to 3 Year Old Girl’s Smock

Argentine Nursery Home Pins Bill to 3 Year Old Girl’s Smock

Photo: bill for $35 pinned to 3 year old's smock

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The “Crear” Nursery home in Argentina has been closed while authorities investigate the case of a 3 year-old who was sent home with a bill for $35 pinned to her smock.

A woman saw the girl and her older brother board a public bus, and outraged snapped a picture, that she hung on her Facebook.

“The little girl boarded the bus and sat across from me. The invoice pinned on her smock caught my attention. I thought it was such a humiliating way of notifying her parents, of exposing her, that I snapped a picture,” the woman said.

The Municipal Sub-secretary of Consumer Protection of Salta, Maria Pía Saravia went to the nursery home on Tuesday morning and closed it down pending a full investigation.

 

 

Read more at Los andes.com.ar →

Brazil Fines McDonald’s for Using Happy Meal Toys as Bait

Brazil Fines McDonald’s for Using Happy Meal Toys as Bait

Photo: Brazil Fines McDonald's

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The Consumer Defense Foundation in Sao Paulo fined fast-food giant McDonald’s 3.19 million reais ($1.77 million) for including toys in children’s meals.

The organization considered that giving away toys with a “happy meal” creates eating habits harmful to youngsters’ health, the official Agencia Brasil news service said.

An NGO filed a complaint last year against the company for distributing toys with meals.

In spite of that, the company has aired 18 ad campaigns since then targeting kids in which it used the enticement of toys to sell happy meals, according to the news service.

McDonald’s, which can appeal the fine, argued in a press release that it complies with Brazilian law and follows precise rules of advertising self-regulation.

In 2009 Brazilian prosecutors recommended that McDonald’s and other fast-food chains stop giving away toys with children’s meals so as not to promote unhealthy eating habits.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Are the National Guard Troops at the Border Worth Their Cost?

Are the National Guard Troops at the Border Worth Their Cost?

Photo: Are the National Guard Troops at the Border Worth Their Cost?

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After President Obama deployed 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, many that had called for increased surveillance of the area cheered, However, critics of the move have said having the troops there is inefficient and expensive.

The majority of criticism against the deployment are those saying that Homeland Security has yet to prove that the troops are having an cost-worthy impact on national security, while giving the appearance that the border is militarized.

Since the National Guard troops were sent to the border, they have helped Border Patrol capture over 25,000 unauthorized immigrants at a cost of $160 million.

At about $6,271 per apprehended immigrant, some tax payers have begun to look at the deployment as an unnecessary use of money, especially since they are mainly used as “scouts” rather , while others say a price cannot be put on security.

The deployment of the troops, Operation Phalanx, came after the president was pressured by anti-illegal immigration advocates who worried that Mexico’s drug war was on the verge of spilling into the U.S.

Still, with the effectiveness of the National Guard at the border being called into question, one has to wonder what will be deemed more important – securing the border at great expense, or using that money to promote something to stimulate the troubled economy?

Read more at The Washington Times →

Elián Gonzalez Turns 18 Years-Old (VIDEO)

Elián Gonzalez Turns 18 Years-Old (VIDEO)

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Elián Gonzalez, spent his 18th birthday surrounded by friends and his father, in a celebration held in his home in his native Cárdenas, 90 miles east of Havana.

It was Thanksgiving Day 1999 when a fisherman found then 6-year-old Elián González clinging to an inner tube, off the coast of Florida.

The young boy explained his mother and others fleeing the island perished along the way, and he was taken to live with relatives in Miami.

The boy’s father, who was separated from Elián’s mom and still living in Cuba, said the boy was taken without his permission, and demanded he was returned to the Island.

Following an intense and international legal dispute, it was decided the boy should be flown back to Cuba.

Elián’s Miami family refused to relinquish him, and on April of 2000, federal agents stormed Elian’s uncle’s home in little Havana and took the boy at gunpoint; Elian was on a plane to Cuba 2 months later.

Elián currently studies at a military academy on the island and took part in an 18th birthday celebration Tuesday alongside his father.

Check the video below for more information.

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: California Teen Lies About Being Pregnant, Hires Gang Members to Steal a Baby

LATINO BLOTTER: California Teen Lies About Being Pregnant, Hires Gang Members to Steal a Baby

Photo: Gladys Remigio, 17, lied about being pregnant, then tried to steal roommate's baby

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A California teenager who lied about being pregnant is being accused of hiring gang members to steal another woman’s newborn baby.

Gladys Remigio, 17, is said to have enlisted the help of Steven Quirino, 20, and Robert Rodriguez, 19, to steal the two-week-old baby of her roommate, known only by the media as Norma.

Police say Remigio of Santa Ana, had been lying for about 8 months about being pregnant in New York, and she arranged to have Rodriguez and Quirino enter the home, take the baby, and steal anything they wanted, and leave the child in with Remigio.

Santa Ana Police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said, “She’s engaged to a guy who thinks that she’s 8 months pregnant and working in New York City. But she’s not pregnant. Eight months into this lie, she’s living with these people who have a 2-week old baby. So her master plan was to befriend these two hardcore gang members and have them rob the house.

“The deal was that she would pay them a little bit of cash and they could steal her iPhone and whatever else they could find in the house.”

Though the gang members grabbed the baby, rather then put it in Remigio’s car as planned, they handed her the baby and ran off with a game console and other items they had stolen.

After the baby was supposed to be put in the car, Remigio would then drive to see her boyfriend in Chula Vista and she allegedly thought they’d live as a happy family, with the boyfriend thinking the baby was his and Remigio’s.

ImageFollowing the botched kidnapping, Remigio called her boyfriend’s mother and told her she had been kidnapped and that the kidnappers induced labor, and were holding her baby hostage, asking for $10,000.

The mother then called police to report the crime. Shortly after, Remigio arrived at the woman’s home with two unidentified men, with her future mother-in-law surprised to see her, as she thought the teen was in New York.

That is when Remigio changed her story, and told police no kidnapping had taken place and that she had given birth to a stillborn child before throwing it in a dumpster.

When detectives could not find the child’s body, Remigio was questioned again, and admitted she made the whole thing up. Angry with the gang members she made the deal with, she gave police the location of one of them, and the other man was picked up later.

ABC wrote:

If convicted on all charges, which include conspiracy to commit a crime, first degree residential robbery, first degree residential robbery, and street terrorism, with a sentencing enhancement for criminal street gang activity, Quirino and Rodriguez face a maximum sentence of life in state prison.

Remigio is charged with one felony count each of conspiracy to commit a crime, first degree residential robbery, first degree residential robbery, and attempted kidnapping with sentencing enhancements for criminal street gang activity. She will be tried as an adult, and if she is convicted on all charges, Remigio faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Author of Emblematic Cumbia Song “La Pollera Colorá” Dies (VIDEO)

Author of Emblematic Cumbia Song “La Pollera Colorá” Dies (VIDEO)

Photo: Colombian composer Wilson Choperena

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Colombian composer Wilson Choperena, famous for being the author of “La Pollera Colorá”, died Tuesday in Bogotá, at the age of 87 years-old.

Wilson Choperena was bon on Christmas day 1923 in Plato, Magdalena in Northern Colombia.

In the late fifties, he joined the ‘Pedro Salcedo Orchestra,” and in 1961 the entire band took a trip to Barranquilla to record one of the most emblematic songs in Colombian history.

‘La Pollera Colorá,’ a Colombian favorite to play and perform at international events was even performed by Bart Simpson, atop moe’s bar counter.

Take a look at the videos below if you can’t put a sound to the song title, and join us in the forums section for the conversation.

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Colombian Guerillas Use Dead Body Laced with Explosives to Deter Local Police

Colombian Guerillas Use Dead Body Laced with Explosives to Deter Local Police

Photo: FARC Using Explosive Laden Dead Body Against Police

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Four police officers were slightly wounded on Wednesday when they approached a man’s body that FARC rebels left surrounded with explosives on the outskirts of Florencia, a city in the southwestern Colombian province of Caqueta, officials said.

The officers, all members of the criminal investigations division, went to the site where the body had been dumped after receiving a tip.

The officers became suspicious when they spotted the body, which had gunshot wounds, and called for the bomb squad.

Several explosive charges that the guerrillas had hidden around the body went off as the officers were pulling out.

The explosives were apparently detonated by an electronic apparatus, Caqueta police commander Col. Carlos Alberto Vargas said from Florencia, the provincial capital.

The blast left the officers “dazed,” the colonel said.

The body, which has not been identified, was used by the rebels as a decoy, Vargas said.

Florencia is at the center of a region that has a strong presence of Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, guerrillas.

The FARC, Colombia’s oldest and largest leftist guerrilla group, was founded in 1964, has an estimated 8,000 fighters and operates across a large swath of this Andean nation.

The Colombian government has made fighting the FARC a top priority and has obtained billions in U.S. aid for counterinsurgency operations.

The FARC has suffered a series of setbacks in recent years at the hands of the Colombian security forces.

Alfonso Cano, the FARC’s top leader, was killed on Nov. 4 in a military and police operation that the government hailed as the biggest blow to the FARC in its nearly 50-year history.

Cano, a 63-year-old intellectual who had entered the ranks of the FARC 30 years ago, was killed in in a remote area of the southwestern province of Cauca a few hours after fleeing a bombardment.

The FARC also suffered a series of blows in 2008, with the biggest coming in July of that year, when the Colombian army rescued a group of high-profile rebel-held captives: former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, U.S. military contractors Thomas Howes, Keith Stansell and Marc Gonsalves, and 11 other Colombian police officers and soldiers.

The FARC is on both the U.S. and EU lists of terrorist groups. Drug trafficking, extortion and kidnapping-for-ransom are the FARC’s main means of financing its operations.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Woman Claims 19 Non-Existant Children on Tax Returns, Now Facing 143 Years in Prison

Woman Claims 19 Non-Existant Children on Tax Returns, Now Facing 143 Years in Prison

Photo: Woman Claims 19 Non-Existant Children on Tax Returns, Now Facing 143 Years in Prison

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A former Los Angeles resident was sentenced this afternoon to 18 months in federal prison for filing fraudulent federal income tax returns that claimed deductions for 20 non-existent children who were supposedly all born on the same day.

Norma Coronel, 40, of Livermore, California, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, was sentenced today by United Stated District Judge Manuel Real. In addition to the prison term, Judge Real ordered Coronel to pay $302,186 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.

Coronel pleaded guilty in September to three felony counts – aiding and assisting in the preparation of fraudulent federal income tax returns, fraudulently using Social Security numbers obtained with false information, and theft of government property.

In a plea agreement filed in this case, Coronel admitted that in 2003 she applied for and obtained Social Security numbers for at least 20 fictitious children, falsely claiming that the children had been born to her at a Los Angeles hospital on December 11, 2002. Using these bogus identities, Coronel prepared and filed fraudulent federal tax returns for family members and friends that claimed dependent deductions and fraudulently sought refunds.

Coronel admitted in the plea agreement that she had frequently directed the
IRS to send the refund checks to her own residence or to accounts that she controlled. Coronel either failed to provide the taxpayers with copies of the returns that she had filed, or gave them copies of fake returns that had never been filed. As a result, the taxpayers were not aware that Coronel had filed fraudulent returns in their names or that Coronel was using the returns to obtain the refunds for her own benefit.

Hers is not the only fraud case making headlines these days after is it was discovered that a couple living in a $1.2 million waterfront house was also on welfare.

People were outraged when they discovered David Silverstein and Lyudmila Shimonova received more than $135,000 in welfare assistance while going on numerous trips across the globe.

Federal welfare fraud investigator Michael Radyshewsky found that since receiving federal assistance in 2003, Silverstein and Shimonova have taken trips to Moscow, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, France, Israel, and Turkey.

According to her welfare records, Shimonova claimed she lived alone with her two children and that her assets were less than $5,000. Records also show that Silverstein, who was listed as her landlord, received monthly benefits of $1,272.

Shimonova received benefits under the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program and Social Security. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

STUDY: Hispanics Had Greatest Health Risk During 2009’s H1N1 Flu Pandemic

STUDY: Hispanics Had Greatest Health Risk During 2009’s H1N1 Flu Pandemic

Photo: Hispanic and H1N1 Outbreak

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Social determinants, including the lack of paid sick leave, contributed to higher risk of exposure to the influenza A (H1N1) virus among Hispanics in the U.S. during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, according to a study led by Sandra Crouse Quinn, professor of family science and senior associate director of the Maryland Center for Health Equity at the University of Maryland School of Public Health.

The findings are published online ahead of print in the American Journal of Public Health, November 17, 2011.

Several other studies from the pandemic found that H1N1 disease had a disproportionate impact on minorities, but the factors contributing to this disparity were not clear.

Dr. Quinn’s team, which included lead author, Dr. Supriya Kumar, and other researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Georgia, investigated how social determinants, such as workplace policies and household size, contributed to the incidence of influenza-like illness during the pandemic.

By surveying a nationally representative sample of 2,079 U.S. adults in January 2010, the research team discovered that incidence of influenza-like illness was strongly associated with workplace policies, such as lack of access to sick leave, and structural factors, such as having more children and crowding in the household. Even after controlling for income and education, the researchers found that Hispanic ethnicity was related to a greater risk of influenza-like illness attributable to these social determinants.

The study analysis also suggests that the absence of such sick leave policies could contribute to 5 million additional cases of influenza in the general population and 1.2 million additional cases among Hispanics during a subsequent pandemic.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Univision to Premiere Documentary on the Threat of Iran in Latin America

Univision to Premiere Documentary on the Threat of Iran in Latin America

Photo: “La Amenaza Iraní,” Premieres Tomorrow

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Don’t miss tomorrow’s premier of “La Amenaza Iraní,” a documentary on the emerging Iranian threat to the U.S. and Latin America.

La Amenaza Iraní” looks at Iran’s growing political, economic and military ties in Latin America, and the threat this offensive poses to the Latin American region and the United States.

The documentary, which was produced in collaboration with Univision News’ Investigative unit, reveals exclusive findings, including secret video and audio recordings that provide a rare window into an alleged Iranian-backed cyber attack against the United States from Mexico.

La Amenaza Iraní” also features unseen video footage taken by extremists linked to Iran and an interview with an undercover journalist who infiltrated clandestine military training camps in Venezuela. It also showcases the inner workings of terrorist networks and depicts the threat posed to the United States as well as Latin America,” said Juan Rendon, director of Documentales Univision.

La Amenaza Iraní” (The Iranian Threat), will premiere on tomorrow at 10 p.m. ET/PT (9 p.m. Central) on the Univision Network.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Drunk Bolivian Teenager Killed By Flesh-Eating River Piranhas

Drunk Bolivian Teenager Killed By Flesh-Eating River Piranhas

Photo: Drunk Bolivian Teen Killed By Piranhas

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An unnamed 18-year-old fisherman was reportedly drunk when he jumped out of a canoe, and into the piranha infested Yata river. 

Police in the town of Rosario del Yata, 400 miles north of the Bolivian capital of La Paz, said the teenager bled to death after the attack, which happened last Thursday.

Police suspect the young man wished to end his own life, as he was an experienced area fisherman, who was more than familiar with the Yata river and its flesh-eating inhabitants.

Bolivian teenager, suicide by piranha, drunk bolivian teen, killed by river piranhas, juan laverde for HS-news

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Ecuador Expanding Access to Microcredit for Low-Income Women

Ecuador Expanding Access to Microcredit for Low-Income Women

Photo: Ecudador to Have more Women Microentrepreneurs

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Ecuador will expand access to microcredit, particularly among low-income women, through a $50 million loan approved by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) aimed at increasing employment opportunities and reducing poverty.

The National Program for Finance, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Solidarity (PNFPEES) will be the executing agency for the program, which will contribute to its strategy for fostering economic inclusion with particular emphasis on financing for women entrepreneurs.

“We expect that by 2015 the program will provide loans to approximately 25,000 microentrepreneurs,” said Rosa Matilde Guerrero, IDB specialist.“We also anticipate that these credits will lead to the creation of at least 5,000 new jobs over the next four years.”

The program is intended to result in an 60 percent increase in credit available in districts with high levels of poverty, and at least 54 percent of the credit operations will benefit women microentrepreneurs.

Ecuador has seen a significant expansion in microfinance over the past eight years.The total loan portfolio of microfinance institutions has increased from $73.2 million to nearly $2.5 billion, an average annual growth of 405 percent.In addition, the total number of entrepreneurs served by this sector has expanded at an annual average of 232 percent over the same period, rising from about 60,000 to more than one million customers.

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Marc Anthony Threatens to Quit “Q’Viva” After Fight With J Lo

Marc Anthony Threatens to Quit “Q’Viva” After Fight With J Lo

Photo: Marc Anthony and Jlo Fight over Casper Smart

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Marc Anthony refused to travel to Perú and Chile to host “Q’Viva” with J Lo, after the former couple quarreled about J Lo’s new flame, Casper Smart.

Star Magazine is reporting that “Marc and J Lo had a tense conference call while she was in Morocco. Inevitably, their discussion boiled down to her new boyfriend (Smart) and Marc made the decision not to work with Jennifer last week as a result.”

Star also reports that Marc Anthony called Idol creator Simon Fuller to tell him that he was considering quitting for good. Anthony told Fuller the reason he was not traveling Perú and Chile was “Quite simply, J Lo. I can’t work with her.”

The magazine said its source confirmed that the show doesn’t want to lose Marc, and is negotiating a way to get him back onboard.

“Millions of dollars are on the line and producers are desperate to soothe the tension between their two stars,” Star says.

 

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13 Latin King Members Indicted While Trying to Portray Gang as Public Servants

13 Latin King Members Indicted While Trying to Portray Gang as Public Servants

Photo: Jorge Peter Cornell aka Latin King

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Thirteen alleged members of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation (Latin Kings) have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Greensboro, N.C. for allegedly conspiring to participate in a racketeering enterprise.

According to the indictment, 12 defendants are members of the Latin Kings, a violent street gang with members operating in North Carolina since at least 2005. The traditional power centers of the Latin Kings are the Chicago and New York metropolitan areas, with thousands of members scattered across the United States and overseas.

According to the indictment, the Latin Kings were allegedly formed in North Carolina by JORGE PETER CORNELL, a/k/a “King Jay,” who allegedly became a member of the Latin Kings while he was residing in New York City. When CORNELL moved to the Middle District of North Carolina, he allegedly formed a tribe and became the “Inca” for the entire state of North Carolina. It is alleged that, through violence, threats of violence, and coercion, CORNELL gained control of all of the Latin Kings tribes in North Carolina, including chapters in Greensboro, Charlotte, Durham, and Raleigh.

The unsealed indictment also sets forth allegations that CORNELL, in an attempt to disguise the criminal activities of the Latin Kings and frustrate law enforcement attempts to investigate and prosecute Latin Kings members, orchestrated a public relations campaign to falsely portray the Latin Kings as a public service organization.

It is also alleged that CORNELL made public statements for peace between Greensboro street gangs and regularly held media events with community leaders to publicly advocate for the dissolution of Greensboro Police Department’s gang unit during the same period of time that he allegedly plotted to murder or assault rival gang members (including other Latin Kings) and was involved in other gang-related criminal activities.

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BP Claiming After Gulf Oil Spill, Halliburton Destroyed Evidence

BP Claiming After Gulf Oil Spill, Halliburton Destroyed Evidence

Photo: BP Claiming After Gulf Oil Spill, Halliburton Destroyed Evidence

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BP Plc accused Halliburton of “intentionally” destroying evidence linked to the April 2010 explosion of a drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico that caused the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

In a document presented Monday to a federal court in New Orleans, BP asked Judge Carl Barbier to impose sanctions on Halliburton for the explosion at the deepsea Macondo well, a blast which killed 11 people, injured another 16 and spilled almost 5 million barrels of oil into the sea.

The new charge came within the framework of a lawsuit filed against Halliburton Energy Services Inc., which was working under contract to BP on the Deepwater Horizon platform.

BP alleged that Halliburton destroyed evidence about cement testing in the oil well, in part to “eliminate any risk that this evidence would be used against it at trial.” An oil well must be cemented properly to prevent it from blowing out and leaking.

BP also said that Halliburton violated a judicial order by not turning over computer files related to the results of the cement slurry tests.

Consequently, the oil firm asked the judge to order an investigation to determine the whereabouts of the files, which Halliburton claims have simply disappeared.

Halliburton spokesperson Beverly Blohm Stafford told reporters that the company is reviewing the documents but, right from the start, she said it feels that “the conclusion that BP is asking the court to draw is without merit and we look forward to contesting their motion in court.”

The oil spill, which was the topic of congressional hearings and multiple investigations, gave rise to multi-billion dollar lawsuits.

Halliburton, the second largest provider of petroleum services in the world, has accused BP of fraud and defamation.

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WednesdayDecember 7, 2011