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MondayDecember 19, 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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U.S., Mexico & Canada Reaffirm Commitment to Antitrust Enforcement

U.S., Mexico & Canada Reaffirm Commitment to Antitrust Enforcement

Photo: Trilateral Antitrust Laws Include Mexico

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The heads of the antitrust agencies of the United States, Canada and Mexico – Acting Assistant Attorney General Sharis A. Pozen of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, Chairman Jon Leibowitz of the Federal Trade Commission, Canadian Commissioner of Competition Melanie Aitken and President Eduardo Perez Motta of the Mexican Federal Competition Commission – met to reaffirm their commitment to effective enforcement cooperation. 

The discussions covered a wide range of enforcement and policy issues, including updates on merger policy and enforcement in the three jurisdictions and the sharing of recent experience in areas of mutual enforcement interest. 

“Working with our antitrust colleagues across both United States borders to ensure that antitrust enforcement is effective is good for businesses and consumers,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Pozen.  “The department values its close law enforcement relationships with Canada and Mexico, and I look forward to our continued efforts to work together to combat anticompetitive activity that affects North America.”

The United States, Canada and Mexico are parties to a series of bilateral antitrust cooperation agreements that commit their antitrust agencies to cooperate and coordinate with each other in order to make their antitrust policies and enforcement as consistent and effective as possible.  The three nations also are parties to the North American Free Trade Agreement, which includes a competition chapter that provides for cooperation among them in antitrust investigations.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Paraguay to Spends Millions to Improve Agricultural Productivity

Paraguay to Spends Millions to Improve Agricultural Productivity

Photo: Paraguay Investing Millions for Land Rights System

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The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a $25 million loan for a program to improve agricultural productivity in Paraguay by increasing security of property ownership.

The objective of the Cadastre and Property Registry Program II is to increase agricultural productivity in nine districts by 9 percent, improve the value of property values in these districts by 9 percent, and consolidate and standardize information on 543,000 farms in the Cadastre and Registry Information System (SICAR).It also aims to increase from zero to 60 percent the percentage of the country’s land area with rural cadastral mapping and formalize land titling and registration in 79 colonies of the National Rural and Land Development Institute (INDERT).

“This program is very important for providing continuity to the process of regularization of land tenure, which is essential for increasing agricultural investment and production in an agricultural exporting country such as Paraguay,” said Gonzalo Muñoz, IDB project team leaders.

The program will strengthen the implementation of a cadastral management, formalization, and land registration system that is accessible, comprehensive, efficient, reliable, and continuously updated.It will deepen the process of modernization of the cadastre and land registry, promote formalized land ownership, and create and strengthen the National Cadastre Registry.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Songs of the Drug Lord: “Narcocorridos” Impose Their Own Fashion Trends

Songs of the Drug Lord: “Narcocorridos” Impose Their Own Fashion Trends

Photo: Songs of the Drug Lord: "Narcocorridos" Impose Their Own Fashion Trends

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Vinyl jackets and T-shirts with prints of rifles and skulls are some of the fashion statements being made by fans of “narcocorridos”: ballads about the lives, deaths and exploits of Mexican drug lords.

“This is the music I grew up with,” 19-year-old Steve Creci told Efe. He was wearing a vinyl jacket with a logo on the chest of two crossed M-16 combat rifles along with three skulls and the word Antrax (Anthrax).

Antrax, a new clothing brand especially designed for fans of Movimiento Alterado that Zuñiga wears because his narcocorrido idols do, is the creation of Eleno Jr. Serna, a native of Tijuana, Mexico.

Serna, 25, told Efe that one day his friends in the music group Fuerza de Tijuana asked him to design a wardrobe for their upcoming dance gig in San Diego.

Serna came up with some black shirts plus military-style vests with a lot of pockets and even a slot for a handgun.

“I made these shirts with military vests and they were crazy about them,” Serna said. “They started ordering more and more designs and it caught on - now tons of artists in the movement wear them and they’ve recommended me to boxers, racecar drivers and like that.”

His clothing line includes T-shirts with simulated bullet holes made with lasers, a skeleton wearing a Middle East headdress carrying an AK-47 assault rifle with Arabic letters in the background, and his most famous creation, the “El Padrino” (The Godfather) T-shirt that shows a face in high relief with the words “humilde, ranchero, millonario” (impoverished, rancher, millionaire). In the background, two skeletons point guns at each other.

The face of The Godfather has been compared to a photo published of Ismael Mayo Zambada, a top lieutenant of Mexico’s most powerful drug lord, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, though Serna insists he was not inspired by any drug trafficker in particular.

“I drew a gentleman and that’s all, someone who made money by working hard,” he said.

The T-shirts sell for between $30 and $80, and the vinyl jackets for around $100 - but the real profits come from a line called “Milicia Antrax,” which consists of military outfits like the kind Serna made for his friends of Fuerza de Tijuana.

His biggest hit has been “pecheras” - military vests full of pockets and compartments for carrying things like shortwave radios, guns and grenades.

Serna does a makeover of this kind of garment, making them more stylized, tight at the waist and decorated with appliques of vinyl, leather and glittery crystal, along with prints of motifs like guns, grenades, skulls, flowers and his own logo.

He even does a military vest with appliques of plaid cloth by England’s famous Burberry brand that is part of the collection dedicated to one of the most iconic singers of the movement, Alfredo “El Komander” Rios.

These vests sell for between $500-$800, but there are also exclusive, personalized designs with prices as high as $1,400.

Rafael Uribe Rodriguez, 19, has an Antrax vest that he wears to dances. His is black with a print of the brand logo, and at a concert he managed to get Rios to autograph it.

“In my house everyone listens to ‘narcocorridos’ - my parents, my uncles, my cousins,” he said, pointing at 13-year-old cousin Alvaro Uribe.

Rafael and Alvaro recently went to the Antrax store at a mall in Chula Vista to hear one of the their favorite groups, Clika Los Necios.

Rafael was wearing a T-shirt with a rosary whose beads were appliques of red crystals on the front, and on the back a print of an AK-47 assault rifle. The brand was El Cartel Clothing.

“My high-school friends ask me and I tell them that besides this brand of clothes there’s a lot of clothes like it in the streets and alleyways of Los Angeles - clothes with grenades, with rifles, with rosaries like this,” Rafael said.

The store in Chula Vista mall is the third Serna has opened in just a year. He also exports his styles to Mexico and Canada.

The clothes are made by a factory in Los Angeles and are distributed to his three stores in San Diego as well as the two in El Cajon and Sacramento, and is sold on the Internet at antraxclothing.com, which delivers anywhere in the United States and to other countries.

Asked about his profits, Serna laughs nervously and scratches his head.

“More than we expected, much more, I still haven’t closed this first year but everything I have has been sold - I’ve just sent an order to Canada,” he said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Federal Judge to Hear Arguments on S. Carolina Anti-Immigrant Bill SB 20

Federal Judge to Hear Arguments on S. Carolina Anti-Immigrant Bill SB 20

Photo: SC Immigration Protests

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A federal judge on Monday will hear arguments for and against South Carolina’s tough new immigration law while pro-immigrant groups gather and pray that the measure will not enter into force on Jan. 1.

In a courtroom in the federal courthouse in Charleston, Judge Richard Gergel, will allow both sides to present their cases at a hearing, but no definitive decision is expected to be reached on Monday.

The Justice Department and a group of organizations led by the American Civil Liberties Union filed separate lawsuits in October seeking to overturn legislation they consider to be discriminatory, unconstitutional and certain to promote racial profiling.

Republican Gov. Nikki Haley signed SB 20 on June 27, a law that emulates Arizona’s SB 1070 by authorizing police to investigate the immigration status of people they stop for any reason.

It mandates the creation of the country’s first state-level immigration enforcement unit.

SB 20 also penalizes those who transport undocumented foreigners with jail terms and fines and makes producing and selling false documents a felony.

South Carolina is arguing that the federal government has not done enough to combat unauthorized immigration, while the Obama administration claims that immigration is a matter that falls only within Washington’s purview.

On the eve of the hearing on Monday, demonstrations, vigils, public events and the sending of numerous text messages on Sunday in cities like Charleston, Hilton Head, Columbia and Greenville were all geared toward urging people to pray that the judge in the case will decide in favor of immigrants.

In Columbia, the state capital, at least 300 Latinos, African Americans and Anglos marched through the city’s downtown area and gathered near the capitol to listen to 16 religious leaders.

Lonnie Randolph, with the state chapter of the NAACP, said that “this (is) not an immigration matter but rather one of civil rights” and hopes that “South Carolina can correct its mistakes.”

Meanwhile, the Rev. Sandra Jones, pastor of Spring of Life Lutheran Church in Columbia and a plaintiff in the ACLU-led lawsuit, asked the public to continue praying that the law will be struck down and also for the souls of people on the “other side” of the issue that their hearts might be “softened.”

Humberto Manzano, a Mexican who has lived in South Carolina for 14 years, said that if the law enters into effect, many immigrants “will have to move out of the state so that they don’t keep treating us badly.”

While Maria Calef, a Panamanian schoolteacher, said that laws like SB 20 were created to “distract” the white population.

“They want to put the blame for unemployment on us when it’s not like that. We’re not taking anybody’s job,” she told Efe.

According to Diana Salazar, the president of the Latino Association of Charleston, if the legal process does not prove to be favorable to Latinos, they will “continue fighting, marching and letting people know that we’re united.”

Gergel has the authority to suspend implementation of SB 20, accept the arguments of the state government and let the law enter into force or to temporarily suspend its most controversial parts pending next year’s Supreme Court decision on Arizona’s SB 1070.

About 55,000 undocumented foreigners live in South Carolina.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latino Veteran Arrested by Arpaio Officers in AZ, Hours Later Sent to Hospital, Put on Life Support

Latino Veteran Arrested by Arpaio Officers in AZ, Hours Later Sent to Hospital, Put on Life Support

Photo: Latino Veteran Arrested by Arpaio Officers in AZ, Hours Later Sent to Hospital, Put on Life Support

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A Latino Gulf War veteran had to be put on life support just hours after being arrested by deputies under the supervision of controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Now his family, activists, and critics of “America’s Toughest Sheriff” are demanding for answers.

At around 3 a.m. Friday, Ernest M. Atencio, 44, was taken into custody on assault charges in Maricopa County. He was taken into a Phoenix jail, where some kind of altercation broke out according to prison officials. Atencio was then Tasered and put in a jail cell to “calm down.” When medical staff went to check on him 15 to 20 minutes later, Atencio was unresponsive and the staff began CPR.

Antencio was then taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix in critical condition. His family stated that he suffered a heart attack and was not tended to quickly enough. He is reportedly brain dead and is currently still on life support, with his family deciding when or whether to take him off.

According to a report from the U.S. Department of Justice, Sheriff Arpaio is running his office based on blatant racism against Latinos, including racial profiling, and a number of other civil rights violations.

The head of the DOJ’s civil rights division stated that the DOJ “found discriminatory policing that was deeply rooted in the culture of the department, a culture that breeds a systematic disregard for basic constitutional protections.”

Arpaio maintains that he and those he commands are not racists and that the allegations against him are simply politically motivated by the Obama administration.

Whatever Arpaio thinks is no consolation to Antencio’s family, who say they are waiting until his out-of-town family arrives to say goodbye before they make the decision to take him off life support.

Antencio’s story was first revealed by Scottsdale Police Lieutenant Mike Stauffer who posted on his Facebook page, “Latino inmate at 4th Avenue Jail is brain dead due to excessive force by detention officers.”

Antencio’s family described him as “sweet and loving,” but did say he suffered from an unspecified “mental condition.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Peru to Allow Lori Berenson to Spend Holidays in the U.S.

Peru to Allow Lori Berenson to Spend Holidays in the U.S.

Photo: Lori Berenson

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Lori Berenson, an American who is on parole after serving most of a 20-year prison sentence for aiding leftist rebels, was given permission Monday by the Peruvian immigration service to travel to the United States.

The 42-year-old Berenson and her toddler son were prevented by immigration agents from flying to New York on Friday night despite the fact that she had been cleared to leave by a court.

Berenson asked the immigration service on Monday to allow her to leave in accordance with last week’s court ruling, court spokesmen told Efe.

A three-judge appeals panel gave Berenson permission to travel to the United States, and she will be allowed to make the trip between Monday and Jan. 11.

Berenson “did not have an exit permit issued by the migration office,” immigration service director Edgard Reymundo told Radio Programas del Peru, or RPP.

The U.S. citizen forgot to request the permit from the immigration service, preventing her from making the trip last Friday with her 2 1/2-year-old son, Salvador, Reymundo said.

Berenson’s attorney and ex-husband, Anibal Apari, said he planned to request a writ of habeas corpus because officials were not complying with the court order.

The prosecutor in charge of terrorism cases, Julio Galindo, opposed allowing Berenson to leave Peru because the law bars those who have not fully served their sentences from leaving the country.

Berenson was granted parole in 2010 after serving 15 years of a 20-year sentence and was required to stay in the country for five more years.

Berenson was arrested in December 1995 as she was leaving the Peruvian Congress.

Prosecutors alleged that she entered the premises with false press credentials to obtain information on the building’s security systems for use in planning an attack by the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, or MRTA, guerrilla group.

A day after her arrest, police foiled an MRTA plot to storm Congress, take lawmakers hostage and exchange them for jailed leaders of the now-defunct rebel group.

One of the special military courts established by then-President Alberto Fujimori - now serving time for massacres committed during his administration - sentenced Berenson to life behind bars for treason.

The sentence was reduced to 20 years by a civilian court that retried the U.S. activist after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled invalid the verdicts handed down by the Fujimori-era panels.

Around 70,000 Peruvians died in politically motivated violence between 1980-2000.

The biggest share of the killings is attributed to the Maoist-inspired Shining Path, with the security forces accounting for most of the rest.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters Enlarges Show for Latin America

Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters Enlarges Show for Latin America

Photo: Roger waters Performing "The Wall"

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Pink Floyd’s lead singer and bass player Roger Waters said he has specially re-designed his “The Wall” live show, to fit in Latin American venues.

Waters told Rolling Stone Magazine that the show of “The Wall” he’s taking on the roads of Latin America next year was designed for basketball or ice hockey venues, two popular sports in the US, but not in Latin America.

According to the rock music publication, Waters has modified his emblematic show to fit soccer stadiums, Latin America’s venue of choice.

“I desperately wanted to bring this tour to South America, but they don’t play basketball or ice hockey down there, and consequentially they don’t have arenas. So you can play in a club or a soccer stadium. I’m playing in soccer stadiums, and I’ve decided that the arena show that I produced of The Wall is not expansive enough to play in a soccer stadium. We’d made the wall a lot wider, and I’ve been working on the content. I’ve worked on ways that the audience can see that tiny bloke from a long way away . “Let’s put up a couple of IMAX screens and they can watch us singing and playing the guitar out of sync” Waters told Rolling Stone. 

Waters will play Chile on March 2 and 3 , 2011 before playing nine shows in Argentina. The tour will end in México, following stops in Brazil.

 

Read more at Rolling Stone Magazine →

WATCH Messi’s WTF? Moment After Barça VS Santos FC Game (VIDEO)

WATCH Messi’s WTF? Moment After Barça VS Santos FC Game (VIDEO)

Photo: Lionel Messi

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Take a look at the bizarre post-game interview that got Lio so confused and annoyed that he turned around and walked off after question #1!

Right after scoring two goals in Barcelona’s 4-0 victory over Santos on Sunday, Lionel Messi was subjected to one of the most bizarre and awkward interviews we’ve seen in a while.

Messi was presented with a rather large gold key by Toyota after being named the most valuable player of the tournament and with the cameras rolling was brought into an improvised sideline-studio.

After refusing a coat, three Japanese hosts went on an endless rant in Japanese that Messi obviously couldn’t follow. The player looked confused and uncomfortable clearly unsure about where to stand or how to pose with his ample key, and once a question was finally translated, it caught the best player in the world completely of guard as it had to do with his plans after his soccer career.

Messi muttered his retirement date is still a long ways in the future and immediately made a sharp swerve away from the cameras and back into Spanish-speaking territory.

Watch the awkward interview below.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Romeo Santos Announces 2012 Tour Dates, Christmas Contest

Romeo Santos Announces 2012 Tour Dates, Christmas Contest

Photo: Romeo Santos

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The bachata singer has announced he’ll be touring some of the largest US venues next year playing hits from his first solo album “Formula Vol. 1”

In addition, the “12 Days of Christmas” sweepstakes will give a dozen fans the chance to see Romeo perform live!

The singer has already sold out his New York’s Madison Square Garden show on Feb 11. He’ll be playing the Garden again on Feb 23, followed by shows in Miami, Boston, Chicago, L.A., Las Vegas and more!

Check out Romeo’s official web site for more details on venues, dates, and ticket prices, as well for your chance to be one of the lucky 12 that will go see him for free, or the winner of it all, who will get a personalized limo ride to the show.

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

“Carlos the Jackal” Given Second Life Sentence in France, Now Demands He be Returned to Venezuela

“Carlos the Jackal” Given Second Life Sentence in France, Now Demands He be Returned to Venezuela

Photo: "Carlos the Jackal" Given Second Life Sentence in France, Now Demands He be Returned to Venezuela

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Though he has been serving a life sentence in a French prison, Illich Ramirez Sanchez, most famously known as Carlos the Jackal, is demanding that he be sent back to his native Venezuela to serve his time there.

Carlos the Jackal, 62, who has now been given a possible second life sentence, has been in prison for more than 20 years for the 1975 raid on an OPEC meeting in Vienna. He and a six-person team took more than 60 hostages and demanded that Austrian authorities read a communiqué on Austrian radio and television networks every two hours, threatening that if they didn’t hostages would be killed. Austrian authorities agreed, but in the end, three hostages were killed.

Sunday, a French court sentenced him to another 18 years in prison for his part in the four bombings of two French trains, a train station, and a Paris street in the 1980s. In all, 11 people were killed and almost 200 wounded.

After the sentence, Ramirez Sanchez demanded that he be sent back to Venezuela, stating that if it had not been for politics in the justice system, he would have been sent back already.

Ramirez Sanchez told a Venezuelan radio program, “There is an agreement between President Chávez and (former French President) Jacques Chirac signed in January 1999, and confirmed by (current) President Sarkozy. According to the agreement, when the trial is over, I would return to Venezuela ... The only person who can oppose to this is the French Head of State.”

In the last few decades, Ramirez Sanchez has boasted about the number of missions he organized and was a part of, and in 2011 claimed he holds the record for the highest number of operations. He has also stated that he is responsible for the deaths of as many as 2,000 people, claiming that only 10 percent of them were what he’d consider “innocent,” though he never clarified what makes someone guilty in his eyes.

Read more by HS News Staff →

1,100 Homicides So Far This Year In Puerto Rico

1,100 Homicides So Far This Year In Puerto Rico

Photo: 1,100 murdered in 2011 in Puerto Rico

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The number of violent deaths registered since Jan. 1 in Puerto Rico has hit 1,100, making 2011 the bloodiest year in the island’s history.

One of the latest victims in the crime wave linked to the surge in drug trafficking was 4-year-old Jomar Rivera Rodriguez, who died from a gunshot wound to the head in an incident where his stepfather, Kenneth Rivera Fontanez, 21 - who was also killed - was apparently the target.

The boy and his stepfather, who was identified by the media as a drug dealer in the San Juan neighborhood of Rio Piedras, were playing in a park then they were shot.

In addition, over the weekend, a couple were shot to death while they were together with their three children, who were unharmed, driving in an automobile on one of the capital’s main streets.

The vehicle was machine-gunned, something that is becoming a more frequent occurrence in the metropolitan area.

A war of sorts is raging on the streets of the U.S. commonwealth as drug gangs vie for control of drug sales points. Experts say that in recent years the island has become a key cocaine shipment route from South America to the U.S. mainland.

This month, the newspaper El Nuevo Dia published a report in which it warned that Puerto Rico is showing some of the characteristics of what U.N. agencies call “narco-states,” although that contention has been denied by the government.

An economist consulted by the daily estimated that the illegal drug business on the island totals $9 billion per year, or around 20 percent of the island’s economic output.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Drunk Police Officer Crashes 4-Wheeler After Leaving Drunk Driving Seminar at Police Academy

Drunk Police Officer Crashes 4-Wheeler After Leaving Drunk Driving Seminar at Police Academy

Photo: Drunk Police Officer Crashes 4-Wheeler After Leaving Drunk Driving Seminar at Police Academy

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New Jersey police officer Joseph B. Gaeta was charged with DWI Thursday after he flipped over a four-wheeler after taking part in a drinking and driving demonstration for officers.

Earlier in the day, Gaeta, 31, participated in a demonstration at the Bergen County Police Academy to help determine a person’s physical impairments when intoxicated. As part of the demonstration, Gaeta performed various sobriety test while sober. He was then asked to consume alcohol and perform the same tests to display an inebriated person’s physical abilities.

At the time of the intoxicated tests, Gaeta was given a breath test, and it was determined his blood alcohol level was .13 percent.

After the demonstration, Gaeta, a patrol officer in Midland Park, was driven home by a fellow officer. However, he did not stay at home, instead deciding to ride a four-wheel ATV while still intoxicated.

At around 3 p.m., he lost control of the vehicle, flipped it, and sustained serious facial injuries. He was taken to Hackensack University Medical Center where he underwent surgery for said injuries on Friday.

He was later charged with DWI and given several motor vehicle violations, including those for illegally operating a motor vehicle of an ATV on the roadway.

Gaeta, the son of the late state Superior Court Judge Bruce Gaeta, was not on duty and was not paid to attend the demonstration.

Officer Gaeta, you serve as the perfect of example of what NOT to do when drunk. Next time you get drunk, order in, plop your ass down on the couch, and watch TV like the rest of us.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Fidel Castro Publishes “Reflections” Book in Argentina

Fidel Castro Publishes “Reflections” Book in Argentina

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Friday, the Argentinean Congress presented a book of reflections written by Cuban leader Fidel Castro on the mercenary invasion known as the Bay of Pigs invasion of April, 1961.

A book of reflections penned by Cuban dictator Fidel Castro was launched at the Center of the Cooperative Movement of Rosario in Argentina.

More than 100 representatives of the solidarity organization Mascuba were in attendance at the launch event. Cuban Ambassador to Argentina Jorge Lamadrid praised the work of former National Deputy Jorge Obeid in promoting the initiative in Congress to publish the book.

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Alejandro Sanz Chooses Mexico’s Top Voice on “La Voz de Mexico”

Alejandro Sanz Chooses Mexico’s Top Voice on “La Voz de Mexico”

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Alejandro Sanz is not Mexican but he has just discovered the country’s best singer on the “La Voz de Mexico” television contest, which broke nationwide viewership records.

Oscar Cruz, a 44-year-old man from the central state of Puebla, will leave his job as a school custodian and will have the opportunity to become a musical performer, given that one of the prizes in the contest - in which he won first place - is recording an album.

“My participation in the program has left me with a much deeper knowledge and love for this country than I had. I’m leaving a lot of my heart here,” said Sanz, who has lived in Mexico for the past two months during the contest and on Sunday celebrated his 43rd birthday.

On the final program, Sanz and his protege Cruz performed a duet of the song “Piano Man.”

Cruz beat out the contestants sponsored - or selected - by the Mexican artists Lucero, Aleks Syntek and Espinoza Paz.

“La Voz de Mexico” was not a typical musical talent show and Sanz and his colleagues were not simply judges, but rather coaches on teams of singers that they had previously selected.

The contestants were competing among themselves and were selected or eliminated by the TV viewers and the judges until just one person was left for each one of the coaches.

Read more by HS News Staff →

More Than a Dozen Fake Cheerleaders From Colombia Arrested or Deported

More Than a Dozen Fake Cheerleaders From Colombia Arrested or Deported

Photo: More Than a Dozen Arrested or Deported in Colombian "Cheerleader" Scheme

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Earlier this year, 16 people pretended to be cheerleaders traveling from Colombia to the U.S. for a cheer competition. However, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials foiled their plan, and last week announced that the last member of the group pled guilty to visa fraud.

On September 30th, nine adults and six children illegally entered the U.S. by way of Miami International Airport. They claimed they were part of a Colombian cheerleading team from Cali, and that they were on their way to a South Florida competition.

ICE officials claimed the group planned to enter with falsified visas, “become visa overstays and [then] never leave the country.”

Monday, December 12, the last of seven co-defendants, Duastin Salazar, 28, pled guilty to visa fraud and was sentenced to time served two years of supervised release.

The seven minors, along with two of the adults were not charged and were sent back to Colombia.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Chávez Unveils $28M Coffin to Honor Latin American Hero Simón Bolívar

Chávez Unveils $28M Coffin to Honor Latin American Hero Simón Bolívar

Photo: Hugo Chávez Next to Bolivar's Coffin

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simón bolívar, venezuelan news, new coffin for bolivar, $28 million coffin, famous hispanics, latins, hugo chávezVenezuelan President Hugo Chávez unveiled the new pearl- and diamond-studded coffin during a ceremony marking the 181th anniversary of Bolivar’s death.

Officials revealed that Hugo Chávez’s administration is investing $27.7 million to build a new mausoleum for Bolivar’s remains, in addition to footing the bill for the new coffin, which is adorned with gold stars, the national seal, golden laurels, and Bolivar’s initials.

President Chávez ordered and supervised the exhumation of Bolivar’s remains last year to confirm the identity and dispel rumors about the hero’s actual cause of death

Bolivar died in Santa Marta, Colombia in 1830.

Researchers confirmed Bolivar’s identity through DNA tests but were unable to determine the cause of his death.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Kobe Bryant’s Latina Wife Vanessa Laine Files for Divorce, Couple Asks for Joint Custody of Kids

Kobe Bryant’s Latina Wife Vanessa Laine Files for Divorce, Couple Asks for Joint Custody of Kids

Photo: Kobe Bryant's Latina Wife Files for Divorce, Couple Asks for Joint Custody of Daughters

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After more than 10 years of marriage and numerous claims of infidelity on his part, Vanessa Bryant (née Laine), 29, has filed for divorce from basketball player Kobe Bryant, 33.

The young Latina and the LA Lakers shooting guard met when she was still a senior in high school. Though the relationship began while they were both young, they were married within a year of meeting, and remained together for just under 11 years. Vanessa stayed by his side amidst numerous rumors of cheating and even stayed with him when a hotel employee accused Kobe of sexually assaulting her. In the end, Kobe admitted to sleeping with the concierge, but said he did not rape her.

Vanessa, whose full name is Vanessa Cornejo Ubrieta Laine Bryant, filed on December 16th, citing irreconcilable differences, though the splitting couple is said to have privately resolved all issues related to the divorce prior to the filing. However, a final settlement is not expected to be filed until some time in 2012.

They have two daughters, Natalia Diamante Bryant, nearly 9, and Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant, 5, and both parties have requested joint custody of the children.

Recent reports claim the basketball star was seen flirting with actress Sanaa Lathan, 40 at Tuesday’s Jay-Z and Kanye West “Watch the Throne” concert at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. A rep for the player said the athlete and the actress, while at the same venue, were not flirting, adding, “There’s nothing there.”

Bryant has also recently been linked to Kim Kardashian’s friend and producer, Carla DiBello, 27. DiBello is said to have been close to the athlete for years, and has been seen courtside at a number of Lakers games.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Massive Colombian Pothole Eats Car (VIDEO)

Massive Colombian Pothole Eats Car (VIDEO)

Photo: Car Swallowed by Crater in Downtown Bogotá

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A giant hole opened in the middle of a Downtown Bogotá street and swallowed a family car. Four people were pulled out of the wreck unharmed.

 

 

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Raul Castro Receives Papal Delegation In Preparation for Pope’s 2012 Visit

Raul Castro Receives Papal Delegation In Preparation for Pope’s 2012 Visit

Photo: Raul, Fidel Castro Await Pope Visit

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Cuba will greet Pope Benedict XVI on his upcoming visit to the island with “affection and respect,” President Raul Castro said Monday at a meeting in Havana with a delegation from the Vatican, state television said.

Gen. Castro welcomed the official announcement of the papal visit at a meeting with the chief organizer of the pope’s international travels, Alberto Gasparri, who heads the Vatican delegation currently in Cuba.

“In the course of conversations the excellent state of relations between Cuba and the Holy See was evident as preparations for the visit were discussed,” according to a news broadcast on Cuban television showing videos of the meeting.

Benedict XVI will travel to Mexico and Cuba in March on his second official visit to Latin America. He was in Brazil in 2007.

Cardinal Archbishop Jaime Ortega of Havana, papal nuncio Bruno Musaro and Cuban bishops conference president Dionisio Garcia were among those attending the meeting with Gen. Castro.

Also present were a number of Cuban government officials including Vice President Esteban Lazo, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, Cabinet secretary Homero Acosta and Caridad Diego, head of the ruling Communist Party’s office of religious affairs.

The pope said at a Mass he officiated Dec. 12 in Rome that he intends to make an apostolic trip to Mexico and Cuba before Holy Week, to “proclaim the word of Christ there in the conviction that this is a wonderful time to preach the gospel with sturdy faith, vibrant hope and fervent charity.”

The papal visit will coincide with Cuba’s Jubilee Year celebrating the 400th anniversary of finding the image of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, the island’s patron saint.

Since last year Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre has been the inspiration of an unprecedented pilgrimage across the country that is now in Havana, where an outdoor Mass on the Avenida del Puerto thoroughfare will bring the devotional journey to an end on Dec. 30.

The trip of 84-year-old Benedict XVI will be the second of a pope to Cuba, which in 1998 welcomed the historic visit of John Paul II.

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Lionel Messi: Club World Cup’s Best Player Again (VIDEO)

Lionel Messi: Club World Cup’s Best Player Again (VIDEO)

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‘La Pulga’ became the only soccer player to have ever received the accolade in two occasions, after leading the Barça to a 4-0 victory over Santos FC on Sunday.

Messi was awarded the Club World Cup’s Ballon d’Or after scoring twice in the spectacular final; the silver ball went to his team mate Xavi Hernández, while the bronze ball was awarded to Brazilian phenom Neymar.

In addition, Messi has been nominated for the third year in a row for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award and is the clear favorite to win the 2011 FIFA Ballon d’Or award.

“I’m very excited about this because it was our goal all long to become No. 1 in the world,” Messi said after Sunday’s victory over Santos. “One of our concepts is to hold on to the possession as much as possible, and I think we were able to do that today.”

Always humble, Messi is quick to point out despite his performance and nominations as an individual player, soccer is always a team effort. “I’m happy I was able to score, but more than that, I’m pleased with the way we performed as a team,” said “La Pulga,” who got his squad nominated to every award he was nominated as an individual player.

Take a look at the video below for a close look at Messi lead the Barça to their second Club World Cup Title.

Read more at The Mainichi Daily News →

Latino Blotter: Edward Salas, Convicted Child Killer & Prison Escapee Now on Most Wanted List

Latino Blotter: Edward Salas, Convicted Child Killer & Prison Escapee Now on Most Wanted List

Photo: Child Killer Edward Salas Now a Most Wanted

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The U.S. Marshals Service has announced the addition of Edward Salas to its 15 Most Wanted fugitive list. A convicted child killer, Salas escaped from the Curry County Detention Center in Clovis, New Mexico, on August 28, 2008, and has been on the lam ever since. At the time of his escape, he was serving a life sentence plus 56 years for his role in the murder of 10-year-old Carlos Perez.

On September 15, 2005, Salas, along with his brothers Orlando Salas and Demetrio Salas and two other individuals, planned to murder Ruben Perez during the night, reportedly in retaliation for an argument that occurred earlier that day at the Clovis High School. Instead they killed his brother, Carlos, who was sleeping in the same bedroom. The child died just one day before his 11th birthday.

Nearly three years into his prison term, Salas and seven other prisoners escaped from the Detention Center. He made his way to Friona, Texas, where he stayed under the radar until November 27, 2008, when he was spooked from his hideout by law enforcement activity in the area. A fellow escapee, Luis Chaves, was arrested, but Salas disappeared.

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U.S. Defense Contractor Wins $100 Million Brazilian Military-Jet Contract

U.S. Defense Contractor Wins $100 Million Brazilian Military-Jet Contract

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Hamilton Sundstrand, a subsidiary of United Technologies, has landed a $100 million contract from Brazil military jet manufacturer Embraer Defense and Security.

Hamilton will be supplying the electric power systems for the new Embraer KC-390 cargo-tanker planes for Brazil’s Air Force.

The aircraft is slated to enter service in 2016, with capability to transport up to 23 tons of cargo, including wheeled armored vehicles, support equipment and military personnel.  This aircraft is also designed for rapid configuration as a tanker.

Hamilton is one of the world’s largest suppliers of technologically advanced aerospace and industrial products in the world. 

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UPDATE:  One of Separated Conjoined Twins Dies from Cardiac Problems

UPDATE:  One of Separated Conjoined Twins Dies from Cardiac Problems

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Maria Jose, one of the 10-month-old Siamese twins separated last week in an operation that took 20 hours to perform, died over the weekend of cardiac problems.

The little girl died Sunday at 8:15 of a “multiple organic failure associated with her cardiac problems,” Luis Calvo Mackenna Children’s Hospital director Osvaldo Artaza said.

Maria Jose, who was separated from her twin, Maria Paz, last Wednesday, had been in a critical state and in danger of dying, as Artaza warned several days ago.

Soon after the operation, the baby suffered extreme tachycardia and in the following days had to be revived on several occasions.

As to the state of her sister’s health, Artaza said that doctors have “great hopes for Maria Paz’s survival despite her grave condition.”

The baby remains in stable condition with no change in her basal and metabolic parameters, and following the dialysis she needed this weekend, her kidneys have begun to function, Artaza said.

Before being separated, the baby girls, born in the southern region of La Araucania, had undergone seven previous surgeries, the last to separate a leg they shared.

Separated during the marathon operation this week were the livers, large intestine and anus that they also shared.

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Emergency Message to U.S. Citizens About Carjackings in Matamoros

Emergency Message to U.S. Citizens About Carjackings in Matamoros

Photo: Carjacking Warnings in Matamoros Mexico

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The U.S. Consulate General in Matamoros has learned that a series of carjackings appear to have been committed by the same suspects in the first two weeks of December in neighborhoods in the north of Matamoros.

At least five of the carjacking victims were either US citizens or Legal Permanent Residents of the US. Suspected perpetrators were described as two armed males in their early 20s, each approximately 150 lbs. The pair have been seen driving different vehicles, including a green Chevrolet Cavalier, a green Chevrolet Tahoe and a black Ford Escort. The carjackers appear to be targeting vehicles with valid U.S. license plates that are stopped in traffic or parked at commercial establishments.

The Department continues to advise U.S. citizens to defer non-essential travel to the state of Tamaulipas. We also encourage U.S. citizens living or traveling abroad to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

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13 Tons of Pot Seized by Brazilian Police

13 Tons of Pot Seized by Brazilian Police

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The Federal Police seized 13.7 tons of marijuana over the weekend hidden in two trucks near Brazil’s border with Paraguay and made two arrests, media reports said.

The marijuana was found Saturday night hidden in lumber shipments on two trucks at a police checkpoint in Caarapo, a city in Mato Grosso do Sul state, some 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the border with Paraguay.

The drivers told police they picked up the lumber in the border city of Coronel Sapucaia and were told to deliver it to the southeastern states of Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais.

The two men, who told investigators they were paid 2,500 reais (about $1,350) each, face drug trafficking charges and could spend between five and 15 years in prison if convicted.

The checkpoint was set up as part of an operation launched in June to monitor Brazil’s borders.

The Federal Police and armed forces patrolled 11,600 kilometers (7,207 miles) of border territory and seized nearly 116 tons of drugs, 597 firearms and 8,000 kilos of explosives during the first six months of the operation, the government said last week.

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Catholic Church in El Salvador Urges “Dirty Campaign” to Stop for Upcoming Elections

Catholic Church in El Salvador Urges “Dirty Campaign” to Stop for Upcoming Elections

Photo: Catholic Church El Salvador and 2012 Elections

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The Catholic Church of El Salvador has urged the country’s political parties to lead a “clean campaign” for the upcoming legislative and municipal elections in 2012, and to put an end to the “dirty campaign” that characterized past elections.

“The Church expects ’ a campaign to be up to the situation’, a campaign worthy of a civilized country in the best sense of the word, civilized, democratic, where one has the opportunity to learn about various proposals and to be able to choose freely”, said the Archbishop of San Salvador, His Exc. Mgr. Jose Luis Escobar Alas, during his traditional press conference on Sunday.

“Stop with all these smear campaigns that are not good for anyone and do not help anyone,” said the prelate, who stressed: “We hope that on this occasion there is no room for violence” and that it is “a very positive event.” He also underlined that the electoral system, for these next elections, ” has improved”, but hopes that this improvement is really effective in practice”, as for example to what happens in democratic countries.”

The novelty of these legislative and municipal elections to be held on March 11, 2012 is that for the first time one can vote for individual candidates, for the people, not just for parties, as was always done. From the information gathered by Fides we learn that the vote will be extended to 185 municipalities out of 262 in the country, this means that citizens will vote in the seats of their neighborhood, with a system used for the first time.

The militants of the political parties, especially the big ones, like the government, the “Frente Farabundo Marti para la Liberacion Nacional” (FMLN), and the opposition, the Nationalist Republican Alliance (Arena), are already on the streets of the capital, especially around the shopping center to distribute propaganda leaflets.

The Supreme Electoral Tribunal has registered nine political parties and 19 independent candidates, although all will be made official only if they fulfill certain requirements, expiring January 20, 2012.

Read more by HS News Staff →



MondayDecember 19, 2011