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ThursdayDecember 8, 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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Immigration Officials Arrest Criminal Aliens for Brutal Murder Committed in Guatemala

Immigration Officials Arrest Criminal Aliens for Brutal Murder Committed in Guatemala

Photo: Three Guatemalan Illegal Aliens Wanted for Murder

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Three Guatemalan criminal aliens were arrested yesterday in Lynn, Mass., by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The three are wanted by Guatemalan authorities for the rape and murder of a female.

The three arrested were residing in Lynn, and included 25-year-old Danilo Candelario De Leon-Robles. Two other 21-year-old males were also arrested in connection with the rape and murder. An Interpol Red Notice had been issued for the arrest of De Leon-Robles. Two of the individuals are also wanted on other charges in Guatemala.

On Nov. 26, 2006, in the Los Puentes area of San Antonio Serchil in Guatemala, the three men allegedly attacked Herlinda Elizabeth Lopez Lopez in a deserted area. They held her by the neck and then beat, raped and strangled her to death. The three individuals have been charged by Guatemalan authorities.

Interpol Washington, U.S. National Central Bureau, working collaboratively with ICE, was able to determine that two of the three individuals have a previous criminal history in Massachusetts.

Last night, ICE officers arrested all three individuals. They are now in ICE custody pending removal proceedings.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico’s Tallest Cross Stands at More than 110 Feet

Mexico’s Tallest Cross Stands at More than 110 Feet

Photo: Mexico's Tallest Cross Stands at More than 110 Feet

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Catholic authorities in the southern state of Chiapas inaugurated Mexico’s tallest cross, a 64-meter (210-foot) structure with the profile of Christ within it.

The concrete and metal monument, called “El Glorioso Cristo de Chiapas” (The Glorious Christ of Chiapas), is the work of architect Jaime Latapi and measures 34 meters (110.5 feet) across its horizontal portion. It was erected on a hill outside Tuxtla Gutierrez, the state capital.

Participating in building the cross, which weighs more than 100 tons and was financed by the contributions of the religious faithful over more than 10 years, were experts from Mexico’s National Autonomous University, or UNAM, who carried out studies on the movement of the tectonic plates affecting the zone.

“Technicians and scientists from UNAM focused on doing soil mechanics studies to guarantee the visitors’ safety, (and) they reinforced the foundations to 15 meters (49 feet) below (ground) and now we have a firm structure,” explained the president of the foundation organizing the construction, Isabel Aguilera.

Aguilera, the wife of Chiapas Gov. Juan Sabines, noted that state authorities backed the project, which was proposed by the Catholic Church, because “it represented an opportunity to spur tourism in the region.”

Chiapas Archbishop Rogelio Cabrera emphasized the example of the effort to build the monument, which “is beyond that of one institution, one Church.”

Below the monumental cross is a chapel.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Diego Rivera murals Return to New York at the MoMA (VIDEO)

Diego Rivera murals Return to New York at the MoMA (VIDEO)

Photo: Diego Rivera's Art at the MoMa

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In 1931, the fledgling Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York chose Mexican muralist Diego Rivera for its second major show, inviting him to New York to create “portable” murals on site. Now, some of the works he created in six feverish weeks are again on display at MoMA.

They are aggressive and vibrant, testimony to Rivera’s fascination with Mexican history and his loathing of capitalism.

A communist, Rivera created fiercely political works picturing Mexico’s colonial past and the struggles of indigenous peoples. Indian Warrior, for example, illustrates his anger at Spain’s conquest of Mexico in the 1600s. An Aztec warrior wearing a fearsome Jaguar costume uses a stone knife to cut down a conquistador who lies dead, still encased in his armor.

Rivera also painted scenes of what he saw as capitalist oppression in the U.S. and the struggle for workers’ rights in a rapidly industrializing America.

“He made pictures that made us think about what our society is like, about labor and class, and the inequities of our modern world,” MoMA curator Leah Dickerman said. She points to the mural, Frozen Assets, a depiction of New York City, in 1931, in the depths of the Great Depression. The mural has several tiers, with New York’s new skyscrapers towering above what looks like a subterranean morgue.

“In the top tier of the painting, you see all the most recent landmarks of modern architecture,” Dickerman says. “Under that, you see the shelter for unemployed men that was on East 25th Street. Then under that, you see a bank vault where the city’s richest citizens are waiting to count their assets.”

Rivera was already famous when he and his wife, artist Frida Kahlo, arrived in New York for the MoMA commission. Born in 1886, Rivera had studied painting in Europe in the early 1900s.

There he developed, then abandoned, an interest in Cubism in favor of realistic frescoes - paintings on wet plaster - focusing on Mexico’s revolution.  At the time, murals were Mexico’s leading public art form.

The show also includes watercolors from a visit to Moscow in 1927-1928, where Rivera celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Soviet revolution.

Visitors have packed the show since its opening in November. Art historian Anna Indych-Lopez said that’s because Rivera’s message remains relevant.

“This work speaks to people today for obvious reasons,” she said. “If we just open up the newspaper and look at the events surrounding Occupy Wall Street, these are issues that have not gone away.”

“What he was showing, really, was his interest in the uprising of the common people,” says visitor Lenore Zarin. Paula Santos, also visiting the show, said as a Mexican American, she was touched by Rivera’s dedication to “people you don’t usually see, indigenous people.” “It was really poignant for me,” she said, “that even today, he could have painted those frescoes.”

The MoMA show also includes a sketch for one of Rivera’s most famous works, although few people ever saw it.

Man at the Crossroads was the title of the work commissioned in 1933 by New York’s Rockefeller family, for one of its Rockefeller Center buildings. It was supposed to illustrate the progress of “civilization” on a grand scale. But a controversy erupted in the press over Rivera’s insertion of a small portrait of Lenin. The artist refused the Rockefellers’ request to remove it, and he was dismissed. The mural was covered up and later destroyed.

Indych-Lopez, an expert on Rivera, said the artist’s radical politics, typical among Mexican artists of the time, was indulged by his patrons, including MoMA founder Abby Aldrich Rockefeller.

Indych-Lopez said the management of Rockefeller Center, charged with leasing office space in the building, strongly objected.

“They believed they had to make a public stand against this very overt visualization of communism, the fact that this was a public gesture that would have faced workers entering into the heart of capitalism day in and day out,” she said.

Dickerman and Indych-Lopez also cite reports that the Rockefellers were offended by the inclusion of a portrait that appeared to be the teetotaling patriarch, John D. Rockefeller, holding a drink, during the period of prohibition.

In the ensuing furor, Rivera lost a commission to paint at the World’s Fair in Chicago. Undaunted, he returned to Mexico City and created an almost identical mural for the Palacio De Bellas Artes.

The show at MoMA is on view until mid-May 2012.

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Guinness World Record- Largest Nativity Scene in Mexico City

Guinness World Record- Largest Nativity Scene in Mexico City

Photo: Mexican Children in Sheppherds Plays

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Mexico City authorities have set up the Guinness-certified largest nativity scene in the world as part of their Christmas festivities.

The nativity scene, which cost $2 million to create, was unveiled Wednesday by capital Mayor Marcelo Ebrard in the parking lot of the giant Azteca stadium.

The scene, which covers 20,000 square meters (215,000 sq. ft.) and has 5,000 figures and 700 tons of infrastructure, is comprised of 57 smaller scenes that recall the biblical passages discussing the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem more than 2,000 years ago.

Organizers said that this nativity scene took 70 days to fashion and that task was performed by architects, engineers, designers and historians, among others.

They said that many of the pieces and figures - including camels, burros, elephants, the Three Kings, an angel and some of the residents of Bethlehem - were crafted by Mexican artisans and many of them actually move.

The Mexico City government said in a communique that the scene has set two Guinness records, one for the largest nativity scene in the world and another for having the greatest number of figures for a scene of this type.

Organizers said they were sure that more than 1 million people will come to view the scene between now and Jan. 15

Read more by HS News Staff →

Alabama Attorney General Recommends Changes to State’s Harsh Anti-Immigration Law

Alabama Attorney General Recommends Changes to State’s Harsh Anti-Immigration Law

Photo: Alabama Attorney General Recommends Changes to State's Harsh Anti-Immigration Law

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Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange is calling for changes to his state’s controversial and harsh immigration.

The changes that he’s pushing for would require adjustments to about one third of the law’s 32 sections, and includes ending the ability to sue public officials who don’t completely enforce the law. Strange also says churches that provide aid to undocumented immigrants should be exempt from punishment, and that schools should halt schools’ collection of immigration data from those that enroll.

In a statement from Strange’s office, he stated that he was giving the opinion he was asked to provide.

His recommendations come after an embarrassing mishap during which one of the first people arrested under the new immigration law was a Mercedes-Benz executive in from Germany. The man, who was fairly high up in one of Alabama’s biggest money-makers, was thrown in jail after he was unable to provide proper documentation, as he had left it in his hotel room.

While he was eventually released once his passport and additional identification were retrieved, critics of the law were quick to point a finger at the waste of resources and time caused by the law, not to mention the issues will jailing a man you simply didn’t carry his passport around.

Still, House Speaker Mike Hubbard says that while recommendations were asked for, they any no way should lead anyone to believe that the law is going to be repealed.

“Make no mistake, the Legislature is not going to repeal this law and have Alabama become a sanctuary state for illegal immigrants,” a spokesman for Hubbard said. “Speaker Hubbard is focused on making our illegal immigration law work better, clearing up misconceptions and correcting any portions that might be vague or require additional definitions.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Take A Look At Jlo Dancing Capoeira in Uruguay

Singer Jennifer Lopez practiced a bit of “capoeira” - a type of Brazilian martial arts dancing with African roots - Thursday on the Montevideo beach along with a group of dancers who are participating in her television talent search program “Q’Viva! The Chosen.”

Lopez, who in recent days was in Peru and Chile to tape other segments of the TV show, came to the Ingleses beach at midday where a stage had been set up using wooden planks laid out on the sand.

The artist, who sported sunglasses and wore her hair up, jeans and a red sleeveless t-shirt, took her shoes off as soon as she got out of her van to watch the dancers perform.

Later, after directing a few words to a television camera, she approached the group and tried her luck at doing a bit of capoeira herself.

Dozens of curious onlookers and photographers followed the action from a short distance away, kept back by the security cordon set up by the singer’s team.

Lopez is on a tour through the region seeking new talent - singers, dancers, musicians and artists - with an eye toward putting them on “¡Q’Viva! The Chosen.”

JLo is producing the program with her ex-husband, salsa star Marc Anthony.

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Selena Gómez Wants You to Help Create Her New Perfume (VIDEO)

Selena Gómez Wants You to Help Create Her New Perfume (VIDEO)

Photo: Selena Gómez

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Selena Gómez is coming out with a new fragrance, and you can help her figure out what it will smell like.  Apparently she is quit busy at the beach with the Biebs being a bridesmaid and celebrating her 1st dating anniversary!

Currently, Selena and her beau of one year are in Cabo for a friends wedding and celebrating their anniversary.

Before their little vacation, Selena had been working really hard on narrowing down the possible combinations of smells for her new perfume, and she has now invited fans to help her in her final decision. 

The 100,000 people to log onto Selena’s website to help her pick scents for her fragrance will receive a free sample of the perfume before it’s even in stores (excluded outside of the US).

Additionally, 10 lucky voters will win a trip to New York to help Selena pick her final scent.

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Immigrant Deported While on Dialysis, Returns to the U.S.

Mexican Immigrant Deported While on Dialysis, Returns to the U.S.

Photo: Immigrant Deported While on Dialysis, Returns to the U.S.

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An undocumented Mexican who has lived in the United States for more than 20 years and was deported last month while undergoing dialysis treatments has obtained a humanitarian visa that allowed him to reenter this country.

Francisco Cortez Lopez, a resident of Pasadena, California, was deported to Tijuana, Mexico, on Nov. 15.

“They came to my house looking for another person and asked me to come outside for a moment because they wanted to examine my vehicle,” said Cortez at a press conference at the headquarters of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, or CHIRLA.

Once he went outside he was arrested by immigration authorities and six hours later he had already been deported to Tijuana.

“Suddenly, I was in Tijuana, alone, without knowing anybody and with five dollars in my pocket,” the father of three U.S.-born children told Efe.

“My main worry was thinking that if I didn’t get dialysis I could die,” added Cortez, who worked as an electrical technician and plumber.

Upon learning of the deportation, Esperanza Chavez, his girlfriend and the mother of the three children, decided to resort to every means possible so that Francisco could return to the country.

“The more lost we are is when we have to have more hope in God and seek help wherever it may be, knock on doors and not give up,” she said.

On the third day after being deported, Chavez, a housecleaner, contacted CHIRLA and told them what had happened.

“We acted as quickly as possible to denounce the case in the communications media, sending a letter requesting a humanitarian pardon to the immigration authorities and contacting Congressman Adam Schiff,” Jorge-Mario Cabrera, CHIRLA’s communications director, told Efe.

Meanwhile, Cortez was making fruitless attempts in Tijuana to try and obtain dialysis services without which his life would be in danger.

“I went to several public hospitals and to the health insurance (authorities). I obtained health insurance coverage but it didn’t cover dialysis treatment,” said Cortez, who during his 12 days in Tijuana slept in the Casa del Inmigrante (Immigrant Home), which offers lodging and a little food to people who need them.

There came a point, he said, where he thought it was not going to be possible to return to the United States “or be able to be with my family again and I decided to disconnect myself from them.”

However, the efforts of CHIRLA, of attorney Meredith Brown who took Cortez’s case pro bono and of Rep. Schiff (D-Calif.), among others, got the immigration authorities to issue a humanitarian visa that allowed Cortez to be reunited with his family.

“It’s a good ending for this family who is reunited and for Mr. Francisco Cortez to now have access to the medical care on which his life depends,” Angelica Salas, CHIRLA’s executive director, told EFE.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Ecuador Nature Reserve Raises Enough Money to Stop Oil Drilling (VIDEO)

Ecuador Nature Reserve Raises Enough Money to Stop Oil Drilling (VIDEO)

Photo: Ecuador Nature Reserve Raises Enough Money to Stop Oil Drilling

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In exchange for not mining the crude oil beneath its land, a national park in Ecuador had to raise millions of dollars by the end of the year, and they did just that.

The 722 square miles of Amazonian land known as Yasuní National Park in Ecuador has made its first deadline, collecting $100 million dollars before Deccember 30, 2011. By doing this, the plan, known as the Yasuní-ITT initiative, keeps the government from mining the estimated 900 million barrels of crude oil underneath the nature reserve.

Ecuadorean government officials agreed to halt plans to mine the ITT oil field if it could raise at least 50 percent of the revenue being lost by not mining the oil.

On August 3, 2010, Ecuador signed a historic agreement with the UN Development Group establishing the Yasuni ITT Trust Fund to keep oil reserves ITT reserve underground indefinitely, provided at least half of the lost revenue could be

In September, only about $4 million had been collected, leaving many conservationists worried that the money couldn’t be collected in time. However, after private sector donations began flooding in, the UN-backed project was able to collect what it needed to make the first payment.

By not mining the oil, the initiative is avoiding the emission of 407 million metric tons of CO² caused by the extraction of the oil and by the burning of it.

In September, scientists concluded that more mammal, bird, amphibian and plant species live in a 100 square-mile area of Yasuní than any other spot in the hemisphere.

Part of the reason the government agreed to the plan was that 78 percent of Ecuadorean citizens support the Yasuní-ITT initiative.

Over the next 12 to 13 year, the country hopes to raise about $350 million a year.


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Latino Families in Texas Receiving Threatening Letters From Anonymous Sender

Latino Families in Texas Receiving Threatening Letters From Anonymous Sender

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Last weekend, a number of Latino families in the Dallas/Fort Worth began receiving threatening and hate-filled letters from a yet-unidentified source.

The letters appear to be sent to families and not just individuals, with the envelopes having no return address on them, and the letters containing “threatening language” according to Garland Police.

The police say the letters have so far been only been reported in local neighborhoods, but said the FBI has been contacted just in case things escalate

One recipient said the letter she and her family received letter told them to “leave the country now” and included a number of racist and violent remarks.

For now, police are asking the public to share an information they may have about the letters or the person(s) who may be sending them by calling 972-272-TIPS.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Glee Wants Pitbull To Play Santana’s Brother, Gloria Estefan’s Son!

Glee Wants Pitbull To Play Santana’s Brother, Gloria Estefan’s Son!

Photo: Gloria Estefan, Naya Rivera and Pitbull

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Gloria Estefan has confirmed that she will be appearing on Glee as Santana’s mom; now the show is reportedly seeking out rap-artist Pitbull to play her brother!

If Pitbull accepts the role, there’s talks about a massive family musical number for the episode, which would air later this winter.

Ricky Martin has also confirmed he’ll play a hot Spanish teacher on his own episode to air next year and sadly (for us) he won’t appear in the same episode as Pitbull and Estefan.

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Kalimba’s Cousin is a Murder Suspect & Rape Accuser Graces Playboy Cover (VIDEO)

Kalimba’s Cousin is a Murder Suspect & Rape Accuser Graces Playboy Cover (VIDEO)

Photo: Kalimba and Daiana Guzmán

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Kalimba is back in the news after reports indicate that his cousin is a suspect in the murder of the singer’s aunt. Also, his former rape accuser is Playboy’s Miss December.

News that Kalimba himself had been detained in connection with his aunt’s murder begun spreading Tuesday, but rumors have been dispelled and official reports indicated the person arrested is Alfredo Mauricio Marichal Cansino, Kalimba’s cousin.

Initially, Kalimba was confused with Bruno Marichal, also his cousin, and the suspect’s brother.

Kalimba said he believes his cousin’s are innocent and said both of them are musicians, and not violent people.

The singer’s aunt, prominent actress and social activist Julia Marichal was found mutilated inside black plastic bags in the water-tank of her own home.

In other Kalimba-related news, Daiana Guzmán, one of the girls that took Kalimba to court on rape, and underage sex assault to a minor last year, is the cover of this month’s Playboy México.

It has also been reported that Daiana has plans to write a book next year, presumably about the whole Kalimba hullabaloo.

Watch her Playboy video below, and join us in our forums section.

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Judge Rules Same-Sex Latina Couple Will Not be Separated by Deportation

Judge Rules Same-Sex Latina Couple Will Not be Separated by Deportation

Photo: Judge Rules Same-Sex Latina Couple Will Not be Separated by Deportation

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Earlier this week, Queens couple Cristina Ojeda and Monica Alcota were able to celebrate their marriage for the first time without the fear of deportation threatening their future.

For two years, Ojeda, 26, and Alcota, 36, having been fighting to keep Argentina-born Alcota in the U.S., arguing that denying her a green card based on the Defense of Marriage and Family Act (DOMA) is discrimination.

Monday, the couple’s lawyer, Lavi Soloway received a letter stating the deportation case against Alcota was closed November 30 after immigration Judge Terry Bain’s ruling.

Soloway said the government “moved in the right direction in the time we needed.”

In 2009, Alcota had been living in the U.S. for ten years after overstaying her visa. In July 2009, she was pulled a Greyhound bus, taken to New Jersey, and thrown in immigration detention. For three months, Ojeda traveled hours every day to visit her beloved.

In 2010, the couple married in Connecticut, as New York had not yet legalized gay marriage, and until Monday, had lived in fear that at any moment, the wives could be sent away.

Their fight is not over however, as they are still trying to get Acota’s green card application approved.

‘[The government understands] that they were dealing with a married, lesbian binational couple that but for DOMA would have had an avenue to a green card,’ Soloway told the New York Daily News.

The Obama administration recently stated that it would not longer support DOMA, which bans federal recognition of same-sex marriages, and also states that same-sex marriages in one state do not have to be recognized in another.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Romeo Santos’ 1st Solo Endeavor Tops Billboard Latin Chart

Romeo Santos’ 1st Solo Endeavor Tops Billboard Latin Chart

Photo: Romeo Santos Solo Albums tops Latin Billboard

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Billboard’s list of best-selling Latin Albums is led again this week by Dominican bachatero Romeo Santos’ first solo disc, “Formula: Vol. 1.”

Mexico’s Jenni Rivera likewise retains her grip on second place with “Joyas prestadas: Banda,” while another of her albums, “Joyas prestadas: Pop,” climbed from fourth to third.

Moving up from fifth to the No. 4 spot is Cristian Castro’s “Mi amigo El Principe: La historia,” the latest installment in his series of albums paying tribute to Jose Jose.

“El verdadero amor perdona,” by Mexican rockers Mana with an assist from bachatero Prince Royce, tops Billboard’s Tropical Songs chart, where the rankings are based on radio airplay.

A Romeo Santos collaboration with Usher, “Promise,” takes the No. 2 spot, followed by Victor Manuelle’s “Si tu me besas.”

“Lovumba (Prestige),” the latest single from Daddy Yankee, edged up from fifth to fourth, but the biggest jump this week belongs to Tito El Bambino, whose “Maquina del tiempo,” featuring Wisin y Yandel, vaulted from No. 21 to No. 5.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Members of Mexico’s “Movement for Peace” Found Murdered, Others Missing

Members of Mexico’s “Movement for Peace” Found Murdered, Others Missing

Photo: Members Mexico's Peace Movement Murdered

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Authorities in the western Mexican state of Michoacan found the body of one of three recently abducted members of the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, a group founded by prominent poet Javier Sicilia, officials said Thursday.

The body of activist Trinidad de la Cruz Crisostomo was found Wednesday in a rural area of the municipality of Aquila, the Michoacan state Attorney General’s Office said in a statement.

The 72-year-old man, known as “Don Trino,” was found dead of multiple gunshot wounds, the state AG’s office said, adding that it has launched a murder investigation.

The man’s hands were tied behind his back and shell casings from weapons of two different calibers were recovered at the scene.

He was abducted Tuesday by four armed assailants near a community in Aquila known as Santa Maria Ostula while traveling in a 12-person MPJD caravan.

According to the MPJD, the activist supposedly had received threats from organized crime gangs and paramilitaries yet still had not received the protection he had requested through the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Santa Maria Ostula has been beset by a land conflict that has left 27 people dead since June 2009 and which the Agrarian Reform Secretariat has tried unsuccessfully to defuse, the MPJD said.

One of those victims was another MPJD member, Pedro Leyva Dominguez, who was killed on Oct. 7.

The MPJD gave a press conference on Wednesday in which it also denounced the kidnapping of a man and a woman who were members of Sicilia’s movement and of the Organization of Ecologist Farmers of the Sierra of Petatlan and Coyuca de Benitez, which is based in the southern state of Guerrero.

Eva Alarcon and Marcial Bautista remain missing after they were forced off a bus Tuesday by armed assailants while en route to Chilpancingo, Guerrero’s capital.

These new cases come on the heels of the Dec. 2 attack on a co-founder of the May our Daughters Return Home non-governmental organization, Norma Andrade, who was shot and wounded in Ciudad Juarez.

That group seeks justice for the - mainly unsolved - slayings of more than 500 women in Ciudad Juarez since 1993.

Another MPJD member, 56-year-old Nepomuceno Moreno Nuñez, was killed on Nov. 28 in Sonora, a case in which no arrests have yet been made.

Sicilia said after Moreno’s death that Sonora state Attorney General Abel Murrieta was directly responsible for the failure to ensure Moreno’s safety and called for his dismissal.

The poet also criticized the prosecutor for “criminalizing the victim.”

Moreno, who was convicted in the United States in 1979 of conspiracy to smuggle heroin, was killed after spending most of the last year of his life seeking to draw attention to the July 2010 abduction of his son and four other people in Ciudad Obregon, Sonora, a crime the activist attributed to state police.

The Sonora Attorney General’s Office said late last month it was pursuing several “lines of investigation” but that all evidence indicates Moreno’s murder was linked to organized crime, the victim’s own criminal record and his son’s abduction.

Sicilia founded the MPJD in April after the brutal murder of his son, Juan Francisco, and six other people in the central state of Morelos by suspected drug-gang members.

The group, which has organized several marches bringing together relatives of victims of violence, is demanding an end to President Felipe Calderon’s deployment of tens of thousands of troops to drug-war flashpoints.

The strategy has led to headline-grabbing captures of cartel kingpins, but drug-related violence has skyrocketed and claimed nearly 50,000 lives nationwide during Calderon’s tenure, which began in December 2006.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Albert Pujols Leaving St. Louis, Signs With Los Angeles Angels in $250 Million Deal

Albert Pujols Leaving St. Louis, Signs With Los Angeles Angels in $250 Million Deal

Photo: Albert Pujols Signs With Los Angeles Angels in $250 Million Deal

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The St. Louis Cardinals are saying goodbye to first baseman Albert Pujols, after he agreed to a last minute offer from the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim.

Born José Alberto Pujols Alcántara in the Dominican Republic, Pujols has played his entire career with the St. Louis Cardinals, winning the National League Rookie of the Year award in 2001 and two World Series rings – 2006 and 2011.

The last minute offer form the Angels came directly from owner Arte Moreno, who called Pujols Wednesday.

Moreno, the first Hispanic to own a major sports team in U.S. history made the Dominican-American an offer he couldn’t refuse – 10 years for at least $250 million. Alex Rodriguez’ record-setting 2007 contract with the Yankees was 10 years for $275 million.

Previous offers for the arguably best came in at more than $200 million from the Cardinals for nine years and $220 million for 10 years from the Miami Marlins.

During his 11 years with the Cardinals, Pujols, who turns 32 next month, has a career .328 batting average, with 445 home runs. Just last season he hit .299 with 37 home runs and 99 RBIs, with that being called a down year for the all-star.

To put this deal into perspective, in 2003, Mexican-American Arte Moreno paid $183 million for the Angels, $70 million less than his offer to Pujols.

Next season, the St. Louis Cardinals will be without both manager Tony LaRussa and Pujols.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Calle 13 Singer Linked to Argentine Actress Soledad Fandiño

Calle 13’s René ‘Residente’ Pérez, and Argentine actress Soledad Fandiño took to twitter to flirt, a week after their quick romantic Buenos Aires getaway.

Rumors of a romance between Pérez and Fandiño begun when the couple arrived together at the Latin Grammys in November.

Last week, Pérez took a day off from Calle13’s Latin American tour and traveled to Buenos Aires, for a romantic getaway with Fandiño.

This week, the new couple moved their flirting to the web, twitting dreamy messages to each other, about their eyes, the meaning of their names, and their zodiac signs. Adorable.

calle 13, rené 'residente' pérez, residente, soledad fandiño, flirting on twitter, buenos aires, juan laverde

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Google Honors Diego Rivera With a Mural-Doodle on his 125th Birthday

Google Honors Diego Rivera With a Mural-Doodle on his 125th Birthday

Photo: Diego Rivera Google Doodle

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Check out today’s neat Google-Doodle celebrating Diego Rivera, the great Mexican painter and muralist, influential communist leader and husband of Frida Kahlo.

Diego Rivera was born 125 years ago today, in the city of Guanajuato. He studied art in Mexico City, and further advanced his studies in Europe.

Rivera’s politically charged work helped define the ‘Mexican Muralism’ art movement, while constantly exploring themes related to the physical process of human development and the consequences of the technological development.

Rivera passed away on Nov. 24, 1957.

The doodle features Diego Rivera standing on a scaffold, working on a mural.  The mural in the doodle chronicles Mexico’s cultural transformation from its indigenous roots, to the current boom of the age of technology.

diego rivera, google doodle, mexican muralism, mexican painters, frida kahlo, juan Laverde Hs-news

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Soccer Star Carles Puyol Helps UN to Save Orangutans of the World

Soccer Star Carles Puyol Helps UN to Save Orangutans of the World

Photo: Carles Puyol Pledges to Help Save Orangutans

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Soccer star Carles Puyol, who led Spain to the World Cup title last year, is the face of a new United Nations campaign to save endangered orangutans that could face extinction within the next few decades.

Act Now for Orangutans” is developed by the UN Great Apes Survival Partnership an alliance that works to respond to the conservation crisis facing chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and bonobos – and the United Kingdom-based International Animal Rescue (IAR).

Less than 66,000 wild orangutans are thought to remain in the forests of Borneo and Sumatra in Indonesia, and more than half of that population has been lost since 1950, according to a news release issued by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), which created GRASP in 2001.

Mr. Puyol, the 33-year-old captain of FC Barcelona, is the center piece of the campaign’s posters that state “I Care – Do You?” and asks supporters to visit a website that provides information on orangutan conservation, reforestation, and the impact of palm oil production on orangutan habitats.

For every individual who pledges their support on the website, GRASP will plant a tree to help expand key forests surrounding Sumatra’s Gunung Leuser National Park, a major orangutan habitat.

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STUDY:  Americans Split Over In-State Tuition for Undocumented Students

STUDY:  Americans Split Over In-State Tuition for Undocumented Students

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Americans are evenly split over whether illegal immigrants who graduate from high school in their state should be eligible for in-state college tuition: 48% say they should be eligible for the in-state tuition rate, while 46% say they should not.

The national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Nov. 9-14 among 2,001 adults finds continuing partisan differences over immigration policy. More than twice as many Republicans as Democrats say the priority for dealing with illegal immigration should only be better border security and stricter law enforcement (47% vs. 22%).

Nearly half of the public (48%) thinks an illegal immigrant who went to high school in their state and is accepted to a public college should be eligible for the in-state tuition rate, while 46% disagree.

About three-quarters of Hispanics (77%) say illegal immigrants should be eligible for in-state tuition, compared with 66% of non-Hispanic blacks and just 40% of non-Hispanic whites .

Most Republicans (63%) say illegal immigrants should not be eligible for in-state college tuition. By contrast, 56% of Democrats say they should be eligible. About half of independents (51%) favor in-state tuition for illegal immigrants while 44% are opposed.

Nonetheless, the public continues to support tough measures to crack down on illegal immigration, but also a path to citizenship for those in the country illegally. A plurality (43%) says the priority should be better border security and enforcement, as well as creating a way for illegal immigrants to become citizens if they meet certain requirements. Fewer say the priority should only be better security and stronger enforcement of immigration laws (29%), or only creating a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants in the U.S. (24%). These opinions have not changed substantially over the past year.

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Enviromentalists Say Approved Brazilian Forestry Bill Will Deal “Mortal Blow” to Amazon

Enviromentalists Say Approved Brazilian Forestry Bill Will Deal “Mortal Blow” to Amazon

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Brazil’s Senate has approved a controversial forestry bill that environmentalists say will deal a “mortal blow” to the already threatened Amazon region and open the door to even greater deforestation.

The bill, which will now go back to the lower house for review of some slight changes, was passed Tuesday by a vote of 58-8 as most members of the ruling coalition joined with a bloc of opposition legislators representing big landowners.

In approving the legislation, the senators ignored protests from environmentalists who have warned of the disastrous impact of overhauling the 1965 Forest Code.

The green light from the Senate ensures passage of the bill, which the lower house had approved in a first reading earlier this year by a vote of 410-63.

The bill, introduced by President Dilma Rousseff’s administration and backed by the agribusiness lobby, proposes a reduction in the proportion of terrain private growers and ranchers must set aside as forest preserves from 80 percent to 50 percent.

It also states that a 15-meter (50-foot) swath of land must be protected on both banks of a river, down from 30 meters under the current code.

However, it also requires farmers to restore areas that have suffered environmental damage and provides economic incentives for rural producers that adopt sustainable practices.

The most controversial aspect of the legislation, however, is the amnesty it affords farmers who illegally expanded their farming and ranching operations through deforestation.

Rousseff was among the critics of the amnesty provision, saying that she may veto that and other sections of the bill.

Sen. Marinor Brito, of the leftist opposition Socialism and Freedom Party, said approval of the forest code overhaul marks “a dramatic turning point for Brazil and for current and future generations.”

But Sen. Katia Abreu, a Brazilian Social Democracy Party lawmaker who also heads the National Agriculture and Livestock Confederation, came out strongly in favor of the legislation.

“Passage of this bill means doing away with the dictatorship of a half-dozen non-governmental organizations that controlled the Environment Ministry and makes clear that we all have a say in environmental matters,” she said.

Greenpeace led the most recent protest against the bill Tuesday, saying in a rally outside the Senate building in Brasilia that it would erase all the gains Brazil has made in recent years in reducing Amazon deforestation.

Ten former Brazilian environment ministers also came together to oppose the bill, urging Rousseff in a letter a few months ago to impede a “disaster foretold.”

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ThursdayDecember 8, 2011