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MondayDecember 12, 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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Peru to Spend $25 Million on Early Education Projects

Peru to Spend $25 Million on Early Education Projects

Photo: Peruvian Children Get a Boost

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The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a loan to Peru for $25 million for an early education project that will foster safe schools, improve teaching methods, and support the participation of parents in the educational development of children 3 to 5 years of age in the departments of Ayacucho, Huancavelica and Huánuco.

This initiative, which will form the basis for a strategy at the national level, represents a first step in implementing a comprehensive and improved intervention model that builds on research conducted in these three departments in recent years, as well as lessons learned from prior experience.

A major focus of the program is teacher training and support, which are critical for improving the learning process. Investment in early childhood education is a critical element in school performance and in the ability of children to achieve success throughout their lives.

The project will be carried out in these three departments because they have high poverty levels as well as high rates of grade repetition among school children. The program will include equipping, rehabilitating, or replacing 190 education centers and providing maintenance plans for an additional 296 centers.

The program will also include training teachers in improving communication skills and instructional methods, use of teaching materials, multiculturalism and bilingualism, and the promotion of parent involvement in education of their children.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Former Brazilian President Lula Begins Final Round of Chemo

Former Brazilian President Lula Begins Final Round of Chemo

Photo: Former Brazilian President Lula Begins Final Round of Chemo

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Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva entered the Sirio Libanes Hospital in Sao Paulo on Monday for his third and final round of chemotherapy to treat the cancer of the larynx he was diagnosed with in October.

Lula, who entered the hospital at 7:30 a.m. by a side entrance to which the press did not have access also on Monday will be subjected to different examinations, including a laryngoscopy and a CAT scan that doctors will use to evaluate the results achieved by his therapy so far.

The 66-year-old former head of state expressed on Sunday, after attending a game of American football at a stadium in Sao Paulo, his confidence in the treatment he is undergoing.

“If the doctors are optimistic, I have no reason not to be,” said Lula, who on Sunday posed for photographs without the hat he had been using to hide his hair loss from the chemo.

According to his press office, Lula will spend the night in the hospital and will probably be released on Tuesday.

He will also undergo several exams designed to detect tumors and possible metastatis early.

After the chemotherapy, early next year Lula will undergo radiotherapy sessions to reinforce the treatment he will have received so far.

The former president, an inveterate smoker, on Oct. 29 was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx and two days later he began chemotherapy treatment in the same hospital in which his protege and successor, Dilma Rousseff, was cured of lymphatic cancer.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spanish Royal In-Law Told to Refrain from Official Activities

Spanish Royal In-Law Told to Refrain from Official Activities

Photo: Inaki Urdangarin

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Iñaki Urdangarin, son-in-law of Spain’s King Juan Carlos, will cease to take part in official activities of the Royal Family amid the controversy over a judicial investigation into an alleged diversion of public funds by a foundation he once headed, the chief of the royal household said Monday.

Rafael Spottorno made the announcement during a press conference at Zarzuela Palace.

While the royal household considers that the behavior of Urdangerin, who holds the title of Duke of Palma, is not exemplary, it does plead that his presumption of innocence be respected.

Spottorno said that the royal household will publish its itemized accounts on its Web site, probably before the end of the year, as all public administrations do.

Princess Cristina, the youngest daughter of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, wed Urdangarin in October 1997. The couple and their four children now live in Washington, where the duke is an executive with Spanish telecom giant Telefonica.

The decision to remove Urdangarin from official activities was taken by consent of that institution and the Duke of Palma, Spottorno said Monday.

But he did express regret that a man who is not accused of anything is currently on trial in the media, referring to the many news stories that have been published over the past few weeks about the duke’s business interests.

Shortly after learning the royal household’s decision, the attorney that Urdangarin named last weekend to represent him in the case, Mario Pascual Vives, said that his client is “concerned and greatly distressed and a little indignant” by news reports appearing about the Instituto Noos, a non-profit entity the duke led until 2006.

For his part, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who next week will hand over his post to Mariano Rajoy, said Monday that Iñaki Urdangarin’s situation is being “handled well” by the royal household.

In his first statement about the controversy entangling the king’s son-in-law, Zapatero spoke of the monarchy’s role in Spain.

“I believe that the royal household has taken a reasonable position, solid and serious. I believe that institutionally the king will know how to handle the situation, which obliges all of us to respect the action taken by the courts,” he said in an interview on ABC Radio.

The chief anti-corruption prosecutor for the Balearic Islands, Pedro Horrach, is leading the probe of Instituto Noos. He took a statement last month from Diego Torres, a long-time Noos director who succeeded Urdangarin as president of the foundation.

Read more by HS News Staff →

He Raped Her, She Forgave Him, They Got Married, He Murdered Her

He Raped Her, She Forgave Him, They Got Married, He Murdered Her

Photo: Carla Figueroa Married her Rapist, He Killed her.

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An 18 year-old Argentine girl was stabbed to death in front of her child by the man who had raped her, and had forgiven him enough to accept him as her husband.

Last April, Carla Figueroa told police that while holding a knife to her abdomen, Marcelo Tomaselli had sexually abused her; Tomaselli was arrested and spent 8 months in prison, until Figueroa forgave him and got the charges dropped.

The pair married this past October 28th, while he was still in prison.

Last Saturday, Tomaselli stabbed his wife to death, in front of their three year-old, as well as his own mother.

Tomaselli was found by police in the kitchen of his own home, holding the three year-old with bloody hands.

He was arrested and refused to say anything to investigators. Later he tried to hang himself in his cell using his own pants.


 

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Tarot Card Reader Scams Hispanic Women Out of Thousands of Dollars

LATINO BLOTTER: Tarot Card Reader Scams Hispanic Women Out of Thousands of Dollars

Photo: Tarot Card Reader Scams Hispanic Women Out of Thousands of Dollars

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An Oregon Hispanic community is devastated and angry after a fortuneteller scammed a group of women out of thousands of dollars.

Beaverton police are searching for Mariana Gomez who three Hispanic women say ran off with more than $8,000 of their money after she promised to “fix their pending problems with the evil spirits.”

The women went to the police November 28th, after they realized they had been scammed by Gomez, who had told them that witches and other evils were in their futures.

The tarot reader, who had ads on Spanish-language radio stations, worked out of a home in Beaverton.

Gomez told the women that once the evil spirits were gone they would all get their money back within 40 days. When they had not gotten back their money within that time, they went to Gomez’s rented home, but she was no where to be found.

Spokesperson for the Beaverton Police Dept. Officer Pam Yazzolino said, “We know there are other victims, but because they may be illegal immigrants, they may not want to come forward. These women asked us to get the word out so others would think twice before stepping into this situation.”

Gomez is said to have left the rented home with a male roommate, and the landlord told police that he had not seen either person in some time.

The victims admit it was partially their fault for believing Gomez so whole-heartedly and say they don’t expect to get their money back. However, they do want her ads pulled from the radio so that no one else can be scammed.

Police are still investigating and remain on the lookout for Gomez.

Read more at Beaverton Valley Times →

Ladies in White Harassed in Havana After Weekly Procession

Ladies in White Harassed in Havana After Weekly Procession

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Members of the dissident movement Ladies in White, which fights for the freeing of political prisoners, were harassed by government supporters after their weekly procession in the Cuban capital.

The Ladies were surrounded Sunday by dozens of men and women shouting “mercenaries, worms,” and chanting revolutionary slogans in the presence of police who closed the area to traffic.

The dissidents sat down in the middle of the street to resist being put on several buses that the supporters of the Communist government finally forced them to get on, pushing and shoving them in one of their demonstrations known as an “Act of Repudiation.”

The incident lasted 1/2 hour and occurred after some 50 members of the Ladies in White marched through the streets in an event commemorating their late leader, Laura Pollan, at a park near the church where the group attended Mass on Sunday.

The Ladies also complained that they were harassed the day before at their headquarters in Pollan’s home, where 28 members of the group were confined until Saturday night and where they commemorated the United Nations’ Human Rights Day.

Berta Soler, spokeswoman for the movement, told Efe Monday that “they didn’t respect our right to go out into the streets, but we spent the day as we wanted to because we exercised out right to free speech reading the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

They also complained of repression against a score of Ladies among the dozens of dissidents arrested over the last few days.

According to the opposition Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation, more than 200 temporary arrests were inflicted on the island in the first nine days of December.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Julio Iglesias to Play Show in Tel Aviv Tonight

Julio Iglesias to Play Show in Tel Aviv Tonight

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Spanish singer Julio Iglesias will perform on Monday in Israel, a country with which he says he has a strong professional and emotional relationship and where he has thousands of fans.

Iglesias, who will be giving one show at the Nokia Sports Palace, which has a capacity of about 10,000 and where for days “Sold out” signs have been posted, arrived in Israel on Saturday on his private jet shortly before the soccer match between Spain’s top two clubs, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.

The first thing Iglesias, a former goalkeeper in the Real Madrid organization, did was to hole up in his hotel room to watch the match on TV and he did not emerge until the next day, local media reported.

“The first signs of life he gave us were to ask us to send hummus to his room,” it was reported on the Walla news Web site.

After the concert Monday night, Iglesias will make a night tour of Jerusalem and on Tuesday he will travel to Madrid.

The Spanish singer, who will perform a dozen of his best-known songs from his repertoire, most recently gave a concert in Israel in 2009, when he declared himself to be “a Jew from waist upward” and “international from the waist downward.”

Iglesias is a musical icon among women in Israel, where he has regularly performed for the past three decades.

Read more by HS News Staff →

We’re Aren’t a ‘Narco State’ Says Puerto Rico

We’re Aren’t a ‘Narco State’ Says Puerto Rico

Photo: Is Puerto Rico a Narco State?

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The government denied that Puerto Rico has become a “narco-state,” after local economists’ estimates that the illegal drug trade contributes about 20 percent of the Caribbean island’s gross domestic product were released.

Important members of Gov. Luis Fortuño’s administration rejected the characterization of Puerto Rico as a narco-state, a situation being heavily reported in the local media.

Prof. Jose Alameda, an economic professor at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez, told Efe that the figure of $9 billion, or 20 percent of the GDP, that some of his colleagues have estimated as the weight of illegal drugs in the island’s GDP is feasible.

Drug trafficking “tends to insert itself into the governmental framework” and Puerto Rico’s strategic location as a bridge between drug-producing and -receiving countries has contributed toward allowing the illicit activity to flourish on the island, Alameda said.

Since the mid-1980s, Puerto Rico has been heavily linked to the international drug trafficking economy, especially to cocaine, which found a perfect location where it could grow in a society such as the one on the island afflicted by social breakdown and the loss of values, the economist said.

Criminal organizations since that time have fostered the growth of the underground economy and consolidated the role of Puerto Rico as a drug transit point between South America and the United States and Europe.

Although the U.S. commonwealth is facing a serious social problem due to the incidence of drug activity, Puerto Rico cannot be spoken of as a narco-state, Puerto Rico’s representative to the U.S. Congress, Pedro Pierluisi, said.

“To characterize Puerto Rico as a ‘narco-state,’ drugs would have to have penetrated to the highest government offices, which is not the case,” Pierluisi said.

It is an insult to describe Puerto Rico as a narco-state, Justice Secretary Guillermo Somoza said.

That would mean that the drug would have penetrated all local institutions, Somoza said, adding that he did not know of any case in Puerto Rico where a judge, prosecutor or head of a government agency was involved in drug trafficking.

The newspaper El Nuevo Dia noted in its Monday issue that already in the mid-1990s the then-speaker of the island’s house of representatives, Zaida Hernandez, noted the alleged links of four members of that body to drug trafficking.

The complaint was rejected by the then-justice secretary, Pierluisi.

Puerto Rican police have also been tainted by drug trafficking as reflected in October 2010 when the FBI carried out in Puerto Rico the largest operation in its history against police corruption linked to drug trafficking.

The operation resulted in the arrests of 133 suspects, including police officers, public officials, army soldiers and former military officers who worked to provide protection to drug traffickers during illicit transactions all over the island.

Puerto Rico, is moving dangerously close to fulfilling the criteria used by the United Nations to define a territory as a narco-state, El Nuevo Dia said.

The paper noted that the island has problems of a lack of transparency in its institutions and a state apparatus that is incapable of exercising its authority in certain areas, has been suffering from an economic crisis for more than five years and is facing a situation where several drug trafficking groups are challenging the state.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Guatemalan Bloggers Targeting Criminals in Country’s Most Violent State

Guatemalan Bloggers Targeting Criminals in Country’s Most Violent State

Photo: Guatemalan Bloggers Targeting Criminals in Country’s Most Violent State

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Bloggers in Guatemala have begun identifying people suspected of being criminals in one of the country’s most violent states.

So far, vigilante bloggers from four sites have “outed” 39 alleged members of street gangs or other criminal organizations in San Benito, Peten, Guatemala over the last three years. Of those, at least 10 alleged criminals have been killed.

The investigation into the bloggers was done by elPeriodico.

In Guatemala, less than four out of 100 murder cases is actually processed, so the bloggers began looking into things themselves.

On their still-active sites, the bloggers post photos, names, and crimes of the suspected criminals. They also include where they are known to hang out, their vehicles’ license plates, and even include ways to find them.

One of the sites, Final Justice, writes, “We want justice for all the crimes these individuals have committed. We want all the weight of the law on them.”

The municipality of San Benito has a population of about 50,000 people, and is considered one of the most dangerous areas in the world. Drug trafficking and gang activity in constant and predominantly responsible for the high murder rate.

Much like in Mexico, it appears government officials in San Benito are corrupt, or at the very least inept.

And while the bloggers may have started their websites to encourage law enforcement to investigate suspected criminals, it has turned into a different, counterproductive animal, in that some web users have used their sites to make accusations simply to slander rivals.

Still, with more countries, states, and cities facing corrupt law enforcement, the internet and these blogs seem to be the best way to provide the community with information on alleged criminals and criminal activity.

Read more by HS News Staff →

‘Quickie Tents’ Become a Problem in Colombian Public Park

‘Quickie Tents’ Become a Problem in Colombian Public Park

Photo: ‘Quickie Tents’

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According to watchmen at Bogotá’s Simón Bolívar Park, out of every 10 tents pitched in the park, 4 are used by couples to have sexual intercourse.

Now park authorities have prohibited park goers from bringing their tents to the park.  Police in the area confirmed that they are routinely called to the park to enforce the no-tent-you-might-be-having-sex law, after couples get belligerent with park security a pitch their tent.

In the past people would bring their tents for family days at the park, to protect themselves and their personal effects from the sun, or an eventual rain shower.  From now on park goers will have to share the park’s few parasol umbrellas and kiosks.

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Drunk, Half-Dressed Cop Found Passed Out in Squad Car, Then Allowed to Go Home

LATINO BLOTTER: Drunk, Half-Dressed Cop Found Passed Out in Squad Car, Then Allowed to Go Home

Photo: Drunk, Half-Dressed Cop Passes Out in Squad Car, Blames Concussion he Received 13 Years Ago

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A Miami-Dade police officer who was found in his squad car half-dressed and unresponsive eventually told police he was unconscious, not because he was drunk, but because of a sports injury he received more than a decade ago.

Officer Fernando Villa, 32, was arrested last week after another officer found him drunk and passed out in his cruiser. The officer called for medical assistance when he realized Villa was unresponsive. The official police report says that when Villa awoke, the officer who had stopped to check on him encountered a very strong smell of alcohol and had Villa perform a roadside sobriety test.

Villa, who was off-duty at the time, failed miserably, but said it was not because he was drunk. He claimed his altered consciousness was due to a baseball injury he’d suffered at least 13 years prior while he was in high school. He then refused to take any additional sobriety tests.

Though he was determined to be intoxicated, Villa was not arrested, but instead allowed to go home after signing a form saying he would appear in court.

Today, the internal affairs bureau is investigating both Villa and the supervisors who were called to the scene, as they failed to take him into custody despite Miami-Dade Police Director Jim Loftus’ orders to treat him “like everyone else,” and book and arrest him.

Thursday, Loftus told the Miami Herald, “Someone along the line decided to depart from my specific directions. We’re going to discover the identity of the person or persons and hold them accountable.”

Department policy states that only in instances of low-level misdemeanors are “promise to appear” notices given in lieu of physical arrest. Finding Villa apparently drunk and passed out in his idling squad car, facing a DUI, should not have been one of those instances.

It was not clear how Villa got home the night of the incident.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Snow in México City? Yes! In ‘Villa Nevada’

Snow in México City? Yes! In ‘Villa Nevada’

Photo: Zócalo Plaza in México City

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For the fifth holiday season in a row, the Zócalo Plaza in México City will dress-up in white through the holiday season to welcome ice skaters and snowmen builders of all ages!

City officials estimate that between 3 and 4 million people will visit the Mexican capital this December and approximately 200,000 people will visit “Villa Nevada”  to ice-skate and be a part of the holiday fun.

The city installed a 164ft Christmas tree in the plaza, and under it, a massive ice skating rink.  Mexican company Real Snow Productions has installed a number of tents where visitors can participate in snow-related activities, such as building snowmen, and having a snow-ball fight.

Villa Nevada will also host a series of musical holiday shows like the “Santa Claus and the Elves” and the “Three Wise Men Show” after Christmas.

 

 

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican-American Louis CK Releases Latest Comedy Special for $5 Online, Asks You Not to Steal It

Mexican-American Louis CK Releases Latest Comedy Special for $5 Online, Asks You Not to Steal It

Photo: Mexican-American Louis CK Releases His Latest ONLINE-ONLY Comedy Special for $5

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Stand-up comedy veteran, Louis CK recently did something most performers are afraid to. He released his latest concert special online only – not on television, and not on DVD.

The 44-year-old funny man, who was raised in Mexico, said that while he knows this means his performance can be easily pirated he simply asks that people don’t and just hopes they will pay their $5 dollars and enjoy.

On the site, where one can either download or streamLouis CK: Live at the Beacon Theater, he had this to say:

To those who might wish to “torrent” this video: look, I don’t really get the whole “torrent” thing. I don’t know enough about it to judge either way. But I’d just like you to consider this: I made this video extremely easy to use against well-informed advice. I was told that it would be easier to torrent the way I made it, but I chose to do it this way anyway, because I want it to be easy for people to watch and enjoy this video in any way they want without “corporate” restrictions.

Please bear in mind that I am not a company or a corporation. I’m just some guy. I paid for the production and posting of this video with my own money. I would like to be able to post more material to the fans in this way, which makes it cheaper for the buyer and more pleasant for me. So, please help me keep this being a good idea. I can’t stop you from torrenting; all I can do is politely ask you to pay your five little dollars, enjoy the video, and let other people find it in the same way.

Louis CK has been around for years, both as a stand-up comedian and a writer for fellow comedians like Conan O’Brien, Chris Rock and David Letterman, but since his first hour-long special in 2007, he has become a comedic icon for the every-man just trying to get through life while not screwing up his young daughters.

C.K. was born in Washington D.C. but his family moved to Mexico shortly after his birth. He lived there until he was seven, and his first language was Spanish. To this day, he maintains both Mexican and American citizenship.

He is currently the star, writer, director and editor of the hit FX show Louie, for which he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series in July 2011.


Watch him talk about being “a little Mexican boy” on Conan.

 


 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Penis Silicone Injections Lead to Death; Latina Charged

Penis Silicone Injections Lead to Death; Latina Charged

Photo: Kasia Rivera

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Latina, Kasia Rivera, has been charged with the manslaughter of 22 year-old Justin Street, who died a day after she injected silicone into his penis at a “pumping party.”

Only a day after a home-made penis-enlargement procedure was performed, Justin Street suffered a clot to the lungs and died. A medical examiner determined he died of a silicone embolism.

Investigations revealed that Street had attended a “pumping party” at the New Jersey home of Kasia Rivera, who was arrested Friday and is being held on $75,000 bail.

Rivera (34) has been charged with manslaughter as well as the unauthorized practice of medicine.

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Will.i.am Video Featuring Jennifer Lopez HERE (VIDEO)

Will.i.am Video Featuring Jennifer Lopez HERE (VIDEO)

Photo: J Lo and Will.i.am and Mick Jagger Collaborate

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“T.H.E (The Hardest Ever)” is the debut single from The Black Eyed Peas founder and front man’s new solo album, “#willpower,” which will be released next year. 

The song and video features Jennifer Lopez and Mick Jagger who add their powerful vocals.

Check it out. 


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U.S. Supreme Court to Examine Arizona Controversial Immigration Law

U.S. Supreme Court to Examine Arizona Controversial Immigration Law

Photo: U.S. Supreme Court to Examine Arizona Controversial Immigration Law

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Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will weigh in on whether or not Arizona’s anti-immigration law is constitutional and whether appeals courts proper grounds to block certain measures.

The high court was asked by the Obama administration to examine Arizona’s controversial immigration law, and determine if the it is constitutionally allowed to enforce immigration laws, which is the responsibility of the federal government.

The Supreme Court was asked to stay out of earlier court proceedings in the Arizona case, allowing the lower courts to examine it, which ultimately put parts of the law on hold.

Now, the high court will examine whether the lower federal courts had sufficient grounds to block the enforcement of a number of provisions in Arizona’s law including that which requires state law enforcement official to determine the immigration status of anyone they stop or detain and suspect may be in the country illegally, a measure many have said will lead to racial profiling. Under the law, undocumented immigrants are also not allowed to seek or obtain jobs, and all immigrants must carry immigration registration papers with them. Even if an immigrant is in the country legally, they can still be detained for not carrying their registration with them.

A U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr., told the U.S. Supreme Court in a brief that Arizona’s immigration measures upset the balance between “law enforcement priorities, foreign-relations considerations and humanitarian concerns.”

Justice Elena Kagan will not participate with the Arizona v. United States proceedings, which are likely to begin in April 2012, due to her time with the Justice Department and her work on the subject as a solicitor general.

Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 into law in April 2010, and has since sparked similar laws in other states including Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina, and Utah.

In May, the Supreme Court upheld a separate Arizona law that allows the state to shut down businesses that hire undocumented immigrants.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Yet Another Dancing Chihuahua Dog Feeling the Salsa Beat (VIDEO)

Yet Another Dancing Chihuahua Dog Feeling the Salsa Beat  (VIDEO)

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Yes, we have another recently posted YouTube dancing Chihuahua dog feeling the salsa beat.  Who cares that he has a Scottish surname, Stuart, he is pure Latino when he dances.  We don’t like that he is tied to a chair when he dances though - what’s that all about.


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Brangelina to Spend the Holidays, Buy Property in Costa Rica

Brangelina to Spend the Holidays, Buy Property in Costa Rica

Photo: Brad Pitt , Angelina Jolie and their kids

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Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are buying a farm in Costa Rica, and taking Maddox, Pax, Zahara, Shiloh, and the twins there for the holidays!  Numerous sources including Inside Costa Rica are reporting.

A source told “The Sun” that “Brad has found a sprawling farm that he reckons will be the perfect place for the family to get away from everything for a while; he loves the country and is considering buying some Costa Rican property so they can spend some time there when life gets less hectic for them.”

The Hollywood stars are eager to raise their family away from the pressure and the troubles of being a Hollywood-family.  Jolie is planning to take a step back from Hollywood before too long, and make time to spend with the children through their teenage years, “My kids will be needing me a lot when they hit their teens. If I know anything about being a teenager, I need to be braced to be spending a lot of time with all six of them and making sure I can be there for when they go through everything.”

Despite retreating from the public eye, the couple is sure to continue their Hollywood work “I’m sure I’ll be working from home in some way. Maybe I’ll get to write or something,” Jolie remarked.

 

 

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latina’s Demi Lovato & Selena Gomez to Ring In the New Year for MTV

Latina’s Demi Lovato & Selena Gomez to Ring In the New Year for MTV

Photo: Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez Host MTV New Year

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MTV today announced that it will close out 2011 by giving viewers an explosive night of musical performances by host Demi Lovato, along with Selena Gomez, J Cole, Jason Derulo and Mac Miller at its annual New Year’s Eve party airing LIVE on Saturday, December 31st at 11:00pm ET.

Hosted by Tyler Posey of the hit series “Teen Wolf” and Demi Lovato, the “NYE In NYC” special will be the ultimate dance party coming straight from MTV’s Times Square studio. In addition to the amazing performances, Vanessa Marano and Katie LeClerc of the series “Switched At Birth” will also stop by to join the celebration.

“I’m so excited to ring in the new year in Times Square with MTV as well as share the stage with friends and amazing musicians,” said Lovato.

MTV.com will prepare fans for the festivities with the launch of a NYE page that will look back at blasts from past New Year’s Eve specials featuring photos, special moments, performances and other highlights. Additionally, beginning on Wednesday, December 15 fans can get in on the action by heading over to nye.mtv.com to cast their votes for their favorite songs of 2011 that will be used in a special in-show surprise. Voting continues through December 29th.

From December 8-18, viewers can bid on exclusive items and experiences MTV Act brought together including two tickets to MTV’s New Year’s Eve Celebration. Fans wishing to be a part of the “NYE in NYC” audience can head over to http://is.gd/mtvnye to place their bid. Proceeds will benefit the FWD Campaign, an East Africa relief effort.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Barça Players Relax in Tokyo After Defeating Real Madrid Saturday

Barça Players Relax in Tokyo After Defeating Real Madrid Saturday

Photo: Barcelona Players in Tokyo

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The Barcelona soccer team is taking a few days off in Japan before their Thursday debut against Qatari club Al-Sadd in the Soccer Club World Cup.

After the team’s flawless performance Saturday, where they defeated Real Madrid 1-3 (ending the white team’s 15-match winning streak), Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola gave his players some deserved time off in Tokyo for sight seeing and relaxing.

Andrés Iniesta, Carles Puyol, Cesq Fábregas and Danny Alves are just a few of the players who have uploaded photos of their time off in Tokyo, check them out below, and don’t miss the best team in the world’s debut against with Qatari club Al-Sadd in the Soccer Club World Cup.

barça, barcelona fc, Cesc, fútbol, soccer, leo messi, spain soccer, tokyo, Soccer Club World Cup, Andrés Iniesta

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The Americas Celebrate the Day of La Virgen de Guadalupe (VIDEO)

The Americas Celebrate  the Day of  La Virgen de Guadalupe (VIDEO)

Photo: Our Lady Of Guadalupe

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Today is one of the most important Catholic celebrations of the year, The Feast Day of the Lady of Guadalupe, patron saint of the Americas who appeared to Juan Diego in Mexico City in 1531.lady of guadalupe, virgen de guadalupe, december 12, juan diego, patron saint of the americas, virgin mary

According to the Archdiocese of Mexico some 8 million people from all over the country make a pilgrimage to the Basílica of Guadalupe, in Mexico City, where the miraculous image of la Virgen Morena (The Brown Virgin) is kept.

The appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the Aztec Indian Juan Diego in December of 1531 played a pivotal role in the conversion of Mexico, Central and South America to Catholicism.

The Virgin Mary, disguised as an Aztec princess, appeared to Saint Juan Diego (his pre-conversion name of Cuauhtlatoatzin translates as “Talking Eagle”), a Mexican convert, on December 9, 1531 as he strode to Mass and was passing by the base of Tepeyac hill.  She spoke to him in Nahuatl, his native tongue, and told him to go to Archbishop Juan de Zumarraga, the primate of Mexico, and tell him that she wished for a shrine to be built on Tepeyac hill.  She also gave him this message: ”I will demonstrate, I will exhibit, I will give all my love, my compassion, my help and my protection to the people. I am your merciful mother, the merciful mother of all of you who live united in this land, and of all mankind, of all those who love me , of those who cry to me, of those who seek me, of those who have confidence in me. Here I will hear their weeping, their sorrow and will remedy and alleviate all their multiple sufferings, necessities and misfortunes.” 

The Archbishop told Diego he would not believe in his encounter with Mary unless he had a sign.  Our Lady told Diego to visit the Archbishop again, but Zumarraga repeated his request for a sign.  Returning to Tepeyac, Diego again encountered Our Lady who told him to present himself to Archbishop Zumarraga and give to him roses he was instructed to pick.  Roses growing in Mexico in December were a miracle in and of themselves.  Diego did as he was bidden, and when he presented the roses to the Archbishop, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was imprinted on his tilma, his peasant’s cloak, where the roses had been held by him.  News of the miracle spread throughout Mexico and before the decade was out some eight million Mexicans converted to the Faith.  A chapel was built on Tepeyac and Diego cared for it and the image as a religious hermit until his death in 1548 at 73.¹

Watch the video below for more information, on the Our Lady of Guadalupe and don’t forget to say a prayer to her on this special day.

 

 

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National Council La Raza Dismayed by Failure to Confirm Financial Protection Head

National Council La Raza Dismayed by Failure to Confirm Financial Protection Head

Photo: Cordray Nomination Denied

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In a show of deference to Wall Street banks and the financial industry, the Senate voted 53–45 to block President Obama’s nominee, Richard Cordray, to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). NCLR (National Council of La Raza) has supported the goals behind the creation of the CFPB from the beginning and is disappointed in the Senate for once again letting powerful special interests stand in the way of progress.

“The U.S. Senate failed to deliver on its promise to serve the American public,” said Janis Bowdler, Director of the Wealth-Building Policy Project at NCLR. “By failing to confirm Rich Cordray, a well-qualified nominee with bipartisan support from consumers, civil rights organizations, and business leaders, 45 senators chose to leave Latinos and all Americans vulnerable to the tricks of unregulated and deceptive lenders.”

The CFPB is an independent agency charged with the mission of protecting consumers in the financial marketplace by ensuring that markets for consumer financial products and services are fair, transparent, and competitive.

“The Latino community has not forgotten about the devious tactics that some in the consumer finance industry have resorted to in order to make exorbitant profits,” added Bowdler. “Those senators who voted against Cordray’s nomination know that without a director, the CFPB lacks full authority to supervise payday lenders, private student lenders, non-bank mortgage lenders, debt collection reporting agencies or other non-banks. Refusing to confirm Cordray is a blatant move to weaken the power of this agency, which was created to protect the American people from fraud and deception.”

Despite the setback today, NCLR will continue to advocate on behalf of consumers, to fight powerful Wall Street lobbyists, and to push for the confirmation of Richard Cordray as director of the CFPB.

 

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Calderon Calls for Protection of Journalists and Activists in Mexico

Calderon Calls for Protection of Journalists and Activists in Mexico

Photo: Calderon Calls for Protection of Journalists and Activists in Mexico

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Mexican President Felipe Calderon urged civil society and the authorities to join forces in an effort to halt violence against human rights defenders and journalists, as well as candidates in next year’s general elections.

“I am reiterating to all federal entities my instruction to implement effective mechanisms to protect human rights defenders and journalists,” the head of state said Friday during the 2011 National Human Rights award ceremony.

Calderon said civil society and the authorities must join forces to ensure the safety of members of grassroots organizations, reporters, politicians and ordinary citizens and guarantee the survival of Mexican democracy.

He also urged electoral authorities to explore mechanisms for providing “effective protection to candidates and activists during electoral processes, especially (the July 1, 2012, general election).”

“This is an urgent task that demands our full attention,” Calderon said, adding that organized crime is the “primary threat” to democratic institutions and the rule of law.

He said it is regrettable that federal, state and local governments have not yet been able to “contain the wave of aggression and violence against activists, journalists and also candidates and (government officials).”

Journalists have increasingly been targeted in recent years by drug traffickers and other organized crime groups, especially in northern Mexico, while media members must also contend with long-running abuse at the hands of federal, state and local officials.

Numerous mayors and other politicians also have been slain in recent years in Mexico, while a candidate for governor of the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas was murdered in 2010.

Calderon militarized the struggle against the nation’s heavily armed, well-funded drug cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006, deploying tens of thousands of army soldiers and federal police 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 over the five-year period.

Calderon has been under pressure from rights groups both in Mexico and abroad over his deployment of the military and his past claims that the vast majority of victims of drug-related violence are criminals themselves.

This week, a member of the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, which is led by prominent Mexican poet and peace activist Javier Sicilia and has been highly critical of Calderon’s security policies, was abducted and killed.

According to the MPJD, the activist 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.

Two other members of MPJD, which the 55-year-old Sicilia founded after his son was brutally murdered earlier this year by suspected drug-gang members, also were abducted this week.

New York-based Human Rights Watch, meanwhile, said in a recent report that it questions Calderon’s claim that “90 percent of the victims of drug-related deaths (between 35,000 and 50,000 over the past five years, depending on the source) were criminals.”

It noted that the Mexican Attorney General’s Office only opened 997 investigations into drug-related murders between 2007 and August 2011 and that “federal judges have only convicted 22 defendants for homicides and other offenses tied to organized crime.”

HRW also said that Mexican security forces, far from bringing peace and tranquility to the country, have committed “widespread human rights violations” within the context of the country’s drug war.

“Instead of reducing violence, Mexico’s ‘war on drugs’ has resulted in a dramatic increase in killings, torture, and other appalling abuses by security forces, which only make the climate of lawlessness and fear worse in many parts of the country,” the organization’s Americas director, Jose Miguel Vivanco, was quoted as saying in the report.

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Manuel Noriega Arrives in Panama, Starts 60 Year Prison Sentence

Manuel Noriega Arrives in Panama, Starts 60 Year Prison Sentence

Photo: Manuel Noriega in Panama

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Former strongman Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega, who was extradited from France, has started serving more than 60 years in prison in Panama, with officials assigning him to a common cell.

The 77-year-old Noriega, who was captured by the U.S. Army after the 1989 invasion of Panama by the United States, arrived in his homeland around 6:07 p.m. on Sunday aboard an Iberia Airlines flight.

Noriega was flown by helicopter to a heliport near El Renacer, a maximum-security prison located in a jungle area on the shores of the Panama Canal.

The former strongman was driven in an SUV to the prison gate, helped into a wheelchair and taken inside as various officials watched.

Officials had brought a person covered with a cloak into the prison a short time before, throwing off the dozens of Panamanian and foreign reporters, cameramen and photographers who had been awaiting the general’s arrival.

The measure was taken to ensure Noriega’s safety, Government Minister Roxana Mendez said.

Prison officials brought Noriega out briefly, but he was kept at a distance from reporters and the public.

President Ricardo Martinelli had said in a Twitter posting that he had given instructions that the former strongman be shown to the public.

Noriega was rolled out into the prison reception area in his wheelchair, chatted briefly with prison bureau director Angel Calderon and several other people, and was then taken inside the prison.

Calderon cited the recommendations of Noriega’s doctor and the former strongman’s long trip to justify the brief appearance.

“That is the closest we could go with him,” Calderon told reporters.

Officials also wanted to respect the wishes of Noriega, who “did not want to be part of a media circus,” Mendez said.

Noriega does not have 100 percent ability to function on his own, has difficulty getting around, had a cerebral hemorrhage and is not in condition to be shackled, Dr. Jorge Yerwood, who examined the former general on arrival at the prison, said.

Relatives of Noriega’s victims staged a peaceful protest as he was being transported to the prison, located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Panama City.

The area where the prison is located was controlled by the United States during Noriega’s time in power from 1983 to 1989.

The former strongman arrived in Madrid at 9:50 a.m. Sunday on an Iberia flight from Paris with six Interpol agents and his personal physician.

The Iberia flight from Madrid to Panama City was delayed for nearly 80 minutes, but the carrier did not say why.

Noriega, according to Panamanian officials, must serve six sentences totaling 67 years.

The former strongman was found guilty of the murders of guerrilla physician Hugo Spadafora and Maj. Moises Giroldi, the Albrook massacre, depriving Maj. Humberto Macea of his freedom, corruption and embezzlement.

Noriega asked to be extradited to Panama to face the charges against him.

Under Panamanian law, prisoners age 70 or older can be allowed to serve their sentences under house arrest.

Noriega served 20 years in prison in the United States on drug trafficking charges before being extradited to France in 2010, where he was sentenced to seven years behind bars for money laundering.

The former strongman surrendered on Jan. 3, 1990, to the U.S. troops who had invaded Panama the previous month, ending the military dictatorship established in 1968 by Gen. Omar Torrijos (1929-1981).

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Paraguay to Improve Employment Opportunties for Its Women and Youth

Paraguay to Improve Employment Opportunties for Its Women and Youth

Photo: Paraguay Youth to Get Goverment Support

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The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a loan for $5 million to support Paraguay’s efforts to expand the coverage and effectiveness of its employment programs as a means to improve labor productivity and employment. The program will provide new forms of training to youths, half of whom are expected to be women.

The operation will finance improvements in the capacity of the General Employment Office (DGE, after its initials in Spanish) of the Ministry of Justice and Labor to provide orientation, training, and placement services through a one-stop-shop facility. The program will assist some 17,800 people during its five-year implementation period. After that, additional people will continue to benefit from the new facilities and trained staff.

The program seeks to increase job placement rates in formal employment by 10 percent and raise hourly wages of participating workers by 7 percent over that of a control group that finds employment through other means.

Investments will be made in infrastructure, furniture and equipment, information systems, and improvements in the DGE’s capacity to provide services.The program will create new approaches for training a target population in a defined geographic area that will include quality control mechanisms for managing, monitoring, and evaluating results.

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MondayDecember 12, 2011