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TuesdayDecember 20, 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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More Job Opportunties Through Unique Training Programs in Honduras

More Job Opportunties Through Unique Training Programs in Honduras

Photo: More Jobs in Honduras

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Honduras is one of the poorest countries in Latin America. About 65 percent of its 8 million people live in poverty. Informality prevails in its labor market, affecting particularly the young, women and persons with limited education.

Now, 12,500 young Hondurans have taken part in PROEMPLEO, the program supported by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) as a part of $30.6 million secondary education project from 2004 to 2011. The goal of the program was to boost job opportunities for unemployed and underemployed people aged 18 to 29.

A strategic alliance with the private sector enabled the program to achieve a high job placement rate of over 77 percent. Out of all the young people who went through the program, 9,607 obtained a steady job with benefits at the companies where they interned at the end of their training. More than half the beneficiaries were women. Trainees also received a certificate for their future job searches.

The program was developed by the Labor Ministry in partnership with the Honduran Maquila Association, the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Tegucigalpa and Puerto Cortes and others, with IDB support. The business association played a crucial role in promoting the program among companies with vacant positions as well as in identifying young people with matching profiles for the jobs.

There is also the Honduran National Employment Service (SENAEH), established to link people looking for work with domestic and overseas organizations in need of workers. SENAEH currently consists of 15 employment offices managed and supported by the Labor Ministry.

SENAEH offices provide career orientation and counseling; training, and access to equipment such as computers. They also run an electronic jobs database, EMPLEATE, which has already registered 24,000 job seekers and some 15,000 vacancies posted by 10 companies in 2011, making it possible to dramatically increase the rate of successful matches.

Read more by HS News Staff →

East Haven, Connecticut Police Don’t Like Latinos Says Justice Department

East Haven, Connecticut  Police Don’t Like Latinos Says Justice Department

Photo: DOJ Says East Haven, CT Cops Discriminate

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Following a thorough investigation, the Justice Department today announced its findings that the East Haven Police Department (EHPD) has engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination against Latinos in violation of the Constitution and federal law.

Specifically, the investigation found that EHPD intentionally targets Latinos for traffic enforcement and treats Latino drivers more harshly after traffic stops in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.  The investigation further found that EHPD has willfully enabled discrimination by failing to put in place basic law enforcement practices and procedures used by law enforcement agencies across the country to prevent discrimination.

The Department of Justice findings are based on:

    a statistical analysis demonstrating that Latino drivers are disproportionally targeted for traffic stops;
    an analysis of traffic stops showing that officers use non-standard and, in some cases, unacceptable, justifications for stops that are not employed against non-Latino drivers, and post-stop treatment that shows EHPD treating Latino drivers more punitively than non-Latino drivers;
    serious incidents of abuse of authority and retaliation against individuals who criticize or complain of EHPD’s discriminatory treatment of Latinos; and
    a failure to remedy a history of discrimination and a deliberate indifference to the rights of minorities, including EHPD’s failure to guide, train, supervise and discipline officers engaged in unlawful discrimination.

The department will work with town officials to obtain voluntary compliance that will lead to sustainable reforms. Should EHPD and East Haven choose to not cooperate in reaching an agreed-upon remedy, the department may seek relief from the federal courts.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican “King of Comedy” Eugenio Derbez Heading to Hollywood

Mexican “King of Comedy” Eugenio Derbez Heading to Hollywood

Photo: Mexican "King of Comedy" Eugenio Derbez Heading to Hollywood

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Eugenio Derbez, known as Mexico’s “king of comedy,” debuts on U.S. television with a regular part in the “Rob” series with comedian Rob Schneider.

On the show that premieres Jan. 12 on CBS, Derbez plays a distant relative of Rob, an Anglo married to a Mexican-American. The comedy is based on the title character’s often unsuccessful struggles to fit into his big Latino family.

“When they offered me the part, I didn’t think twice. Americans are the kings of situation comedy and this project is by the same people who make ‘Two and a Half Men,’ one of the big hits on TV,” Derbez told Efe in a telephone interview from Los Angeles.

Known as one of Latin America’s most popular comedians, he got started in Hollywood in some notable productions.

This year he acted in the film “Jack & Jill” with Adam Sandler, and has just wrapped up the romantic comedy “Girl in Progress,” in which he plays the “romantic interest” of Eva Mendes.

“It was hard, because it’s a type of comedy I never do. I even had to change my physical appearance for the film. And I had to do exercises to acquire the image of the guy in love with Eva’s character. I never played a part like that before and I doubt if I would ever be offered one in a Latin country where I’m stereotyped as a comic,” the son of the late Silvia Derbez, one of Mexico’s great dramatic actresses, said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Undocumented Immigrants Under Siege on Multiple Fronts

Undocumented Immigrants Under Siege on Multiple Fronts

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Undocumented immigrants in the United States will end 2011 facing more deportations, fewer jobs and the endless uncertainty about whether Congress will approve laws that allow them come out of the shadows.

Though several Democratic leaders in the Senate say there are “glimmers of hope” in a presidential electoral year for some part of a comprehensive immigration reform to be enacted, what is certain is that 2011 saw a relentless siege against those living in the country illegally.

According to official figures, in fiscal year 2011 the authorities deported 396,906 undocumented foreigners - about 27,000 more than in the final year of the George W. Bush presidency.

Roughly 55 percent of this year’s deportees had criminal records.

The figures also show that the Obama administration, which has deported more than 1 million undocumented foreigners since 2009, has beaten the record number of deportations during eight years under Bush.

But apparently neither the increase in arrests and deportations nor the decline in illegal border crossings - due to the recession and job scarcity, among other factors - is enough to appease groups demanding the expulsion of everyone without immigration papers.

The resurgence of the war against the undocumented also stems from laws passed and enacted in several southern states that have copied the example of Arizona’s SB 1070, which seeks to criminalize the undocumented.

In 2011, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, state lawmakers presented a total of 1,607 bills and resolutions related to immigration. As of Dec. 7, 42 states and Puerto Rico had adopted 197 laws and 109 resolutions on the topic.

As if the police siege and tougher border vigilance weren’t enough, the undocumented population has also suffered the hardships of a soaring jobless rate that has in turn shrunk the remittances they send their families back home.

Even so, defenders of immigrants’ rights had a few small victories to celebrate, beginning with the Obama administration’s decision to review deportation cases and give priority to the expulsion of those who can genuinely be considered a threat to public safety or national security.

At the same time, the Supreme Court announced on Dec. 13 that it will study the constitutionality of SB 1070, which has served as a model for similar laws in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Utah and South Carolina, which are also targeted for lawsuits.

The high court’s decision, expected by the end of next June, could encourage the passing of punitive laws against the undocumented, or, if SB 1070 is rescinded, it would help President Barack Obama and the Democrats secure Hispanic support in 2012.

The close to 11 million undocumented immigrants will end 2011 as they did 2010 - without comprehensive immigration reform having been moved an inch in the corridors of Congress.

The last reform was passed in 1986 under the presidency of Ronald Reagan during a year when all 435 House members and dozens of senators had to face the voters.

But, unless the “glimmers of hope” touted by Democrats actually materialize, 2012 will be another year in which Obama fails to fulfill his 2009 electoral promise for immigration reform.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Singer David Archuleta to Take a Break From Music to Serve as Mormon Missionary (VIDEO)

Singer David Archuleta to Take a Break From Music to Serve as Mormon Missionary (VIDEO)

Photo: Singer David Archuleta to Take a Break From Music to Serve as Mormon Missionary

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The runner-up of American Idol’s 7th season says he’s postponing his music career while he serves his church as a full-time missionary.

While on his My Kind of Christmas tour’s stop in Utah in his childhood home of Salt Lake City, Archuleta announced that once his tour is complete he will be taking two years off from his music career to serve as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

At the concert Monday night, Archuleta, shed a few tears and told the crowd that he was not pursuing this path because he was pushed to by someone else, or because he was getting sick of the music world. He’s doing it because of a feeling that he needs to move on to the next thing in his life.

“It’s just the same feeling that I’ve always followed, tried to follow in my life,” Archuleta told the crowd. “It’s the feeling that has allowed me to have the opportunities that I’ve had, the challenges that I’ve overcome and the blessings, too. And I’ve learned to trust that feeling, and I’ve learned that I need to answer when it calls. And that is the reason why I know I need to do this in my life.”

Mormon missionaries are usually about Archuleta’s age – he turns 21 on December 28 – and missions tend to last about two years.

In 2007, Archuleta became one of the youngest contestants in American Idol history, and made it all the way to the finals, coming in second to David Cook – whose birthday is coincidentally today, December 20th.

Since the show, Archuleta has had a very successful music career, participating in 6 tours, including Demi Lovato’s Summer Tour of 2009, and releasing three albums.

He’s also won a number of awards including a 2009 “Music Rising Star” Alma Award.

Archuleta’s deep-seated Latin roots are said to be a part of his love of music. His mother, Lupe Marie Mayorga, is a singer and dancer from Honduras and his father, Jeff Archuleta, is a Spanish-Basque descent. Archuleta has stated that much of the music he listened to a kid was Latin-influenced and he has fond memories of watching his mother and her sisters at various events.

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Read more by HS News Staff →

Apocalypse Tourists Flocking to Mayan Site in Honduras for 2012

Apocalypse Tourists Flocking to Mayan Site in Honduras for 2012

Photo: Copan Ruinas Site in Honduras

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While some Hondurans interpret the Mayan calendar countdown as presaging the end of the world in 2012, the city of Copan Ruinas in western Honduras is getting ready for a big celebration for the thousands of tourists expected to turn up as the count begins.

“One thing is the interpretation some people make of the Mayan calendar, not only in Honduras but in neighboring countries as well, and another is the new interest in Copan Ruinas,” Tourism Secretariat spokeswoman Nora Schauer told Efe.

“What we’re expecting here in 2012 are thousands of Honduran and foreign tourists on hand to witness the countdown to the end of the Mayan calendar,” Schauer said.

The countdown to the last day will be marked on Wednesday at Copan Ruinas with a cultural event led by President Porfirio Lobo, several of his ministers, diplomats and experts in Mayan archaeology, among others who have been invited, Schauer said.

The event, to be held at the Copan Ruinas archaeological park, is sponsored by the Honduran Tourism Institute, which during 2012 will offer a series of cultural, educational and scientific activities related to the Mayan civilization, extant between 800 A.D. and 800 B.C.

Among other activities will be conferences and some five new archaeological sites to be opened in Copan, a region that continues to surprise archaeologists with the cultural riches written in stone that lie hidden in its valleys and mounds, Schauer said.

Visitors will also observe phenomena like the solstice, when the sun is in one of the two tropics - between June 21-22 in the Tropic of Cancer, and from Dec. 21-22 in the Tropic of Capricorn - the zenith and the equinox.

The start of the countdown to “the end of time” on the Mayan calendar will be broadcast live on national television and transmitted to the rest of the world, “to make known the beauty and heritage the Mayas left to humanity,” Schauer said.

Wednesday has been given the slogan “Live the end of an era and start from the new beginning.”

Copan Ruinas is located some 400 kilometers (250 miles) west of Tegucigalpa in the province of Copan, which borders on Guatemala

Read more by HS News Staff →

Luis Suárez Guilty of Racism—It’ll take $63,000 & 8 Games Ban for England to Forgive

Luis Suárez Guilty of Racism—It’ll take $63,000 & 8 Games Ban for England to Forgive

Photo: Luis Suárez

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Today, the English Football Association ruled in favor of French player Patrice Evra, the Manchester United defender that alleges Suárez used the “N” word about a dozen times during a match.

Suárez has been banned eight matches and fined $63,000.

“Today is a very difficult and painful day for me and my family, said Suárez on Twitter.

“I’m upset by the accusations of racism. I can only say that I have always respected and respect everybody. We are all the same. I go to the field with the maximum illusion of a little child who enjoys what he does, not to create conflicts,”

The Uruguayan player has 14 days to file an appeal. The Liverpool team is convinced their player is not a racist and have already responded angrily to the news.

“We find it extraordinary that Luis can be found guilty on the word of Patrice Evra alone when no-one else on the field of play - including Evra’s own Manchester United teammates and all the match officials - heard the alleged conversation between the two players in a crowded Kop goalmouth while a corner kick was about to be taken,” team officials said in an official Liverpool statement.


Read more at ESPN →

Sources Say Former Mexican Officials are Working as Spies for U.S.

Sources Say Former Mexican Officials are Working as Spies for U.S.

Photo: Sources Say Former Mexican Officials are Working as Spies for U.S.

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Daily Mexican newspaper La Jornada has reported that dozens of former Mexican officials have been working as spies for the U.S. government.

The news source stated that according to senior Mexican officials, at least 80 people who once worked for the Mexican government are collecting information for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

After reports came out that the DEA was possibly laundering money taken from drug cartels, the news of the spies also came out.

U.S. officials have not helped dispel the rumors that they have spies among the Mexican government, with an unnamed senior government official telling the paper, “We have not dismissed the possibility that current government employees are also working for the Americans in combination with their ex-colleagues.”

Other government agencies said to be using spies in Mexico’s government are the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mariano Rajoy Confirmed as New Spanish Prime Minister

Mariano Rajoy Confirmed as New Spanish Prime Minister

Photo: Marino Rajoy New Spanish Prime Minister

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Spanish lawmakers voted Tuesday to confirm Mariano Rajoy, who led the conservative Popular Party to a landslide victory in the Nov. 20 elections, as the country’s new prime minister.

The vote in the lower house of Parliament was 187-149 with 14 abstentions.

Rajoy was supported by all 185 PP members and two legislators from regional parties.

Voting against him were 110 Socialists, lawmakers from the leftist IU coalition and from the center-right Catalan nationalist party CiU.

Twelve members of Basque nationalist parties and the two lawmakers from the Canary Islands party abstained.

Rajoy becomes Spain’s second premier from the PP after Jose Maria Aznar, who governed Spain between 1996-2004.

The new prime minister will be sworn-in this Wednesday before King Juan Carlos and will later announce the structure and composition of his Cabinet, which he has kept an absolute secret.

Rajoy said he was happy about the vote after working many years for this outcome and said that “winning the trust of the Spanish people implies an enormous responsibility looking toward the future.”

He made a call to join forces because “today the more people uniting in support of Spain the better,” since a government can’t do everything by itself.

After the inauguration, Rajoy was congratulated by his predecessor in office, Socialist Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who leaves behind his leading political role Tuesday.

Lifting the country out of the grave crisis it is going through and creating jobs for Spain’s 5 million unemployed are the great challenges awaiting Rajoy, who on Monday announced austerity plans to slash the government deficit by at least 16.5 billion euros ($21.4 billion) in 2012.

U.S. President Barack Obama called Rajoy Tuesday to congratulate him and to further the “excellent relations” between the two countries, PP sources said.

On Tuesday Rajoy also received felicitations from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who wished him “great success” as prime minister and invited him to implement his austerity program “quickly and consistently.”

Less than two weeks ago the PP leader had his first contact with the Obama administration, specifically with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, whom he saw briefly in the French city of Marseille.

At that meeting, Geithner told Rajoy that his economic plan was the right one for a country like Spain.

Read more by HS News Staff →

TV Show Hit, a Dream Come True for Espinoza Paz

TV Show Hit, a Dream Come True for Espinoza Paz

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Mexican singer-songwriter Espinoza Paz said that his dream came true after appearing on a television show that made him famous.

Until several months ago, the 29-year-old from the western state of Sinaloa was a complete unknown to the general public - only a few singers knew who he was because he had written songs for them.

“This year’s success has been very interesting. I’m really happy that dreams can come true and that I could achieve what I’ve longed for so much,” the artist told a press conference.

Espinoza Paz has spent years composing songs for artists like Thalia, David Bisbal and Paulina Rubio.

He recorded his first disc in 2008 and in September debuted on the TV program “La Voz de Mexico” (The Voice of Mexico), a contest in which four artists took charge of a group of unknown singers who faced off against each other to find out which one had the best voice in the country.

The contestant mentored by Paz, Alejandra Orozco, came in second on the program that ended Sunday, after winning a large viewer following and popularizing the singer-songwriter, who said that “for some magic reason” his songs work.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Airport Verbal Smackdown: Maria Conchita Alonso vs. Sean Penn

Airport Verbal Smackdown: Maria Conchita Alonso vs. Sean Penn

Photo: Actress Maria Conchita Alonso verbal sparring match with actor Sean Penn

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Cuban actress Maria Conchita Alonso started a verbal altercation with actor and “Colors” (1988) co-star Sean Penn at LAX over the weekend over Penn’s support of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Alonso, who was born in Cuba but raised in Venezuela, spotted Penn at LAX where she was picking up her mother who had just gotten off a flight from Miami, Sunday.

The actress says she walked over to Penn, who was standing at the American Airlines lost baggage counter, and said, “I would like to talk to you.”

Last year, Alonso wrote an open letter to Penn stating that she was “appalled” by his public support of President Chavez, so when she saw him at the airport she felt the need to speak with him, but he was not up for it.

Alonso said Penn told her, ‘I have nothing to say to you … You have been saying a lot of things about me in the press.’

After that, a full on argument broke out, and a number of people began watching the pair. Things escalated to the point of name-calling, with Alonso calling Penn a “communist a**hole,” and him calling her pig.

The actress said she returned to her wheel-chaired mother who attempting to clap as her daughter yelled back to Penn, calling him a “Communist a**hole” once more in front of a stunned audience.

Penn later told the New York Post, ‘I only knew that a hostile woman was nonsensically berating me. I didn’t realize it was that actress. I think I worked with her once. But she looks really different. She was uninformed and impolite to all the other passengers.’

During a taping of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” Penn praised Chavez for his help in Haiti, where he was coincidentally returning from when the altercation with Alonso occurred.

On the show, Penn, at the time referring to the U.S. Army’s collaboration with Venezuela, said, “We hope that those kind of collaborations can set an example for future approaches to many other issues.”

Since the incident at LAX, Alonso has since expressed her regret over her use of profanity during the altercation.

Read more by HS News Staff →

BREAKING NEWS: Argentine Gov’t Official Commits Suicide While Traveling with Pres. Kirchner

BREAKING NEWS: Argentine Gov’t Official Commits Suicide While Traveling with Pres. Kirchner

Photo: Iván Heyn

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Argentina’s Trade Undersecretary, Iván Heyn, committed suicide while at the Mercosur Summit he was attending along with President Cristina Fernandez-Kirchner in Uruguay.

Heyn had traveled to Montevideo last week to participate in technical meetings ahead of Friday’s Mercosur summit attended by the leaders of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Ecuador and Venezuela.

When Heyn failed to show up to today’s meetings, other officials were sent to the tenth floor of the Raddison Hotel in Montevideo, where he was staying.

Heyn didn’t answer the door, so hotel staff was instructed to open the door, and realized Heyn had ended his own life by hanging himself. 

Heyn, 33, was a member of “the Cámpora,” a political youth group created by Max Kirchner Fernandez, the president’s eldest son.

After hearing the news, Mrs. Kirchner suffered a nervous breakdown and had to be treated by doctors at the Mercosur headquarters; she also retired from her meetings today.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Argentina Cab Driver Gets Thumb Cut & Thrown in Street By Muggers, Reattached Later

Argentina Cab Driver Gets Thumb Cut & Thrown in Street By Muggers, Reattached Later

Photo: Argentine Cabbie gets Thumb chopped off.

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Three young people got into the taxi of Argentine cab driver Raúl Rodríguez, took his money, and chopped off his right thumb because he didn’t have a cell-phone!

Shortly after picking up a young woman and her two male friends, the thugs threatened the cabbie with a gun and took his watch and his fares, some US$200.

Then the trio demanded Rodríguez gave them his phone, but the cabbie explained he didn’t have one; irate, one of the criminals pulled out a set of pruning shears and chopped off the driver’s right thumb.

The delinquents threw the severed thumb onto incoming traffic before leaving the cab, and getting in their getaway vehicle.

Rodríguez used his radio to contact police, and successfully directed paramedics to find his thumb. He was taken to the Central Hospital in Mendoza, where they reattached it.

Police are still investigating the episode. No suspects have been named yet.

Read more by HS News Staff →

American Held in Peru: Lori Berenson Arrives in U.S. to Spend Holidays With Family

American Held in Peru: Lori Berenson Arrives in U.S. to Spend Holidays With Family

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American Lori Berenson, who has been held in Peru since being arrested in 1995, arrived in New Jersey Tuesday to spend the holidays with her family and introduce many of them to her two-year-old son.

Berenson, now 42, was arrested for aiding Peruvian guerrillas attempting an armed takeover of the government. She was convicted after she admitted to helping a rebel group known as Tupac Maru.

After landing in New Jersey, Berenson, escorted by a U.S. Embassy employee, was met by her mother Rhoda and a number of reporters. She and her family quickly got into a waiting vehicle and headed to her family’s East 25th Street apartment.

Rhoda last saw her daughter and her grandson, Salvador Apari, over the Thanksgiving holiday when she flew down to Peru to see them. Salvador is the son Lori had with her lawyer, Anibal Apari, from whom she’s now amicably separated.

Initially unapologetic for her part in the 20-year conflict, Berenson is said to have changed some and become the model prisoner. Though allowed to leave, she must return to Peru until her full sentence lapses.

Berenson was told she is court-ordered to return to Peru by January 11, and her mother told reporters, “I don’t know what there’s any concern. She agreed to go back … and she will.”

The last few days were quite hectic for Berenson who was paroled and told she could leave Peru to celebrate the holidays with her family, but then told she could not board a flight once she arrived at the airport in Lima. News reports were going back and forth on whether she’d ever arrive in the U.S., but once an additional document was provided by the Peruvian government on Monday, Berenson was finally allowed to leave.

Her father told reporters that his daughter is excited to show her son the New York and even snow.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Student-Teachers Protesting for More Jobs Killed by Police, 12 Implicated

Mexican Student-Teachers Protesting for More Jobs Killed by Police, 12 Implicated

Photo: Mexico Police Implicated in Student Murders

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Twelve police officers from the southern state of Guerrero have been arrested in connection with the killings last week of two student protesters and the serious injuries sustained by a gas station employee, the Mexican Attorney General’s Office said.

The officers are being held in preventive detention, allowing prosecutors to hold them while they gather more evidence about the killings of the students from the Raul Isidro Burgos Teachers College in Ayotzinapa, the AG’s office said.

Police and students who were blocking the highway that links Mexico City and the Pacific resort city of Acapulco clashed on Dec. 12.

Gabriel Echeverria de Jesus and Jorge Alexis Herrera Pino were shot dead while taking part in the blockade of the Highway of the Sun in Chilpancingo, the capital of Guerrero.

The students staged the protest to demand that Gov. Angel Aguirre Rivero provide them with job opportunities and order the resumption of classes at the teachers college in Ayotzinapa.

The students, who are training to be teachers, wanted classes to resume at the college, whose professors walked off the job last month to demand better pay and working conditions.

Police arrived on the scene about 10 minutes after some 200 students closed down the highway in both directions to press the governor for a meeting that eventually lasted more than five hours.

Gonzalo Rivas Camara, who worked at a service station that was torched during the protests, was seriously injured and is in a coma.

A judge issued a 30-day preventive arrest order, effective on Dec. 18, for the 12 officers detained in the case, the AG’s office said.

Federal prosecutors “worked closely with authorities from Guerrero” in obtaining the order, the AG’s office said.

Last week, officials in Guerrero denied that a crackdown on the student protesters had been ordered.

“This is not an act of repression. These are incidents in which elements outside the teachers college and the government left us with this regrettable event,” Lopez Rosas told MVS radio.

A total of 24 people were arrested, of whom “only two have links to the teachers college,” Lopez Rosas said.

“The rest are people from outside the school. That’s why we think this was orchestrated by people from outside the institution,” the Guerrero AG said.

Police were initially instructed not to use their firearms, but they later had to discharge their weapons because of the escalating violence, the AG said.

Human rights groups have urged officials to take immediate action in the wake of the killings.

Guerrero Public Safety Secretary Ramon Almonte Borja should be removed from office to “ensure an exhaustive and effective investigation” of the aggression against the students, a group of Mexican non-governmental organizations said in a statement released last week.

The statement was signed by the Guerrero Network of Civilian Human Rights Groups, the Fundar Center for Research and Analysis, the Institute for Security and Democracy, or Insyde, and the National Network of Civilian Human Rights Organizations, which is made up of 75 groups from 22 states.

Several other human rights groups, including the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Center, signed the statement.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazil Thinking About Exchanging Guns for World Cup Tickets

Brazil Thinking About Exchanging Guns for World Cup Tickets

Photo: Guns for Tickets at Brazil's World Cup.

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Brazilian legislators are studying the possibility of offering discounts, tickets, official soccer balls and other merchandise to fans that turn in their fire arms to authorities.

Brazilian Democratic Party Deputy Renan Filho leads a group of Brazilian legislators who have proposed this program that helps disarm Brazil and make it more safe country. 

The initiative, currently under debate at the Brazilian Parliament will have to be approved by the nation’s deputies and senators and President Dilma Rouseff, before being pitched to Brazilian FIFA authorities who are in charge of organizing the 2014 World Cup. 

FIFA might present the biggest challenge to the initiative, as exemplified by FIFA secretary general Jérôme Valcke’s ironic comment about the Ticket-for-Gun idea, “I’m afraid that in Brazil there are so many fire arms that we won’t have enough free tickets.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

NYU Professor José Angel Santana: I Was Fired For Giving James Franco a ‘D’

NYU Professor José Angel Santana: I Was Fired For Giving James Franco a ‘D’

Photo: I Was Fired For Giving James Franco a ‘D’

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A professor at New York University says actor James Franco failed to show up to a number of his classes, so he gave the “Freaks & Geeks” star a ‘D’. The professor claims that because of this he was fired, and is now suing the school

José Angel Santana, the professor of Franco’s “Directing the Actor II” class at NYU told the New York Post that the television and movie star missed about 12 of the 14 classes, so he gave him a low grade as a result.

He is now claiming that he was fired for not giving the 33-year-old actor a good grade simply because he was a star, and is suing to be reinstated.

‘In my opinion, they’ve turned the NYU graduate film degree into swag for James Franco’s purposes, a possession, something you can buy,’ Santana told the Post.

Santana, 58, says that not only did he lose his job, but the actor ridiculed him in public, as did the professor’s own department.

Last year, Franco told Showbiz411 that he “did the work” in Santana’s class, adding that he “did well in everything else,” a comment which Santana took to mean that Franco was saying he did well in everything else, and that the professor just had a problem with him and his celebrity status.

Franco was attending NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, while also pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts degree at Columbia University as well as continuing his acting and directing career.

Read more at New York Post →

‘Undocumented and Awkward’ Web Series Highlights Working in Corporate America (VIDEO)

‘Undocumented and Awkward’ Web Series Highlights Working in Corporate America (VIDEO)

Photo: Awkward and Undocumented Web Series

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A groups of DREAMers are creating a series of videos, attempting to help those who are not undocumented immigrants understand what it’s like to be those who are.

Dreamers Adrift, have created several episodes for a series called, “Undocumented and Awkward”.  Click here to see HS-News coverage of those videos. 

This episode deals with the undocumented in an office job setting.  According to their YouTube channel description:

“Many “lucky” undocumented folks happen to score office jobs. Finally, a crappy job that doesn’t involve the possibility of stabbing yourself with a kitchen knife or accidently breathing poison. Sure, it might involve serving coffee to a cruel boss or doing mind-numbing data entry, but if you’ve ever had to wash dishes for a living or done some construction work, it seems like a “step up.”

But having said job it’s very rare so you have to be really careful about the way you deal with your immigration status. There are times that you encounter “political” talk and you have to think twice about the right thing to say without outing yourself.

From cleaning toilets to working at an office, a job is a job. But you know that as an undocumented person your options are very limited so you find yourself holding on to a really crappy job because, well, the bills don’t pay themselves. I think anybody, documented or not, can relate to these awkward moment.”

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New Face of Chanel is Brazilian Tomboy Model Alice Dellal

New Face of Chanel is Brazilian Tomboy Model Alice Dellal

Photo: Alice Dellal and Karl Lagerfeld

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British-Brazilian tomboy model and Punk-Rocker Alice Dellal is the star of the next Boy Chanel handbag campaign, shot by Karl Lagerfeld himself.

A statement by Chanel said Lagerfeld developed “a crush on this unique, charismatic young lady, who is both a model and musician” during a photo shoot several months ago.

“Alice Dellal represents the perfect incarnation of all that is unique about the Boy Chanel handbag collection, which strives far from conformist notions of femininity,” the statement continued.

Dellal, who is also the drummer of the all-girl Punk band, “Thrush Metal” is following in the footsteps of former Boy Chanel models Vanessa Paradis, Claudia Schiffer, Nicole Kidman and Keira Knightley.


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Jersey Shore’s Chilean Snooki Hit With $7M Lawsuit

TV personality Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi has been slapped with a $7M counterclaim to her lawsuit against licensing company SRG Ventures.

Polizzi reportedly partnered with SRG Ventures last year, with the intention of releasing a collection of Snooki-related products. In October, Snooki filed a suit to end the contract with SRG Ventures, citing they didn’t fulfill their financial obligations and failed to secure any branding partnerships.

Now SRG Ventures has filed a countersuit against Snooki and her management team, claiming she violated the terms of their the deal by negotiating with brands behind the company’s back.

A rep for the Jersey Shore star told the New York Post, “Ms. Polizzi disputes SRG’s version of the facts and looks forward to her day in court.”

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Southwest Border Security Will Include More Aerial Surveillance Less National Guard

The Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today announced they will continue their partnership to further strengthen the already unprecedented levels of personnel, technology, and infrastructure along the Southwest border.

With additional DHS civilian law enforcement assets, including a record number of U.S. Border Patrol agents, now in place, the DOD mission at the border will transition.

DOD will provide air mobility support to the Border Patrol, allowing for faster response capabilities to a wide range of activities. The deployment of this new technical support, along with the additional DHS personnel on the ground, will enable DOD to reduce the number of National Guard troops at the Southwest border while enhancing border security.

In FY 2011, U.S. Border Patrol apprehensions - a key indicator of illegal immigration - decreased to 340,252, down 53 percent since FY 2008 and one fifth of what they were at their peak in FY 2000. Since 2004, the size of the Border Patrol has doubled to 21,444.

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POLL:  Majority of Voters Support Requiring Photo ID for Voting, Don’t See as Discriminatory

POLL:  Majority of Voters Support Requiring Photo ID for Voting, Don’t See as Discriminatory

Photo: Voter ID Laws

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Attorney General Eric Holder signaled last week that the Justice Department will be closely examining new state laws that require showing a photo ID before voting for potential racial bias, but voters nationwide overwhelmingly favor such a requirement and reject the idea that it is discriminatory.

Seventy percent (70%) of Likely U.S. Voters believe voters should be required to show photo identification such as a driver’s license before being allowed to cast their ballot.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 22% oppose this kind of requirement.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on December 18-19, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports.

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Another Mass Grave Found in Durgano, Mexico - 280 Bodies Found in Area Since April

Army troops found 10 bodies in a mass grave in Durango, the capital of the like-named northern Mexican state, raising to 280 the number of bodies discovered in clandestine graves in the area since April, state prosecutors told Efe.

Soldiers found the bodies in the community of Cristobal Colon and investigators are trying to identify the victims, a Durango Attorney General’s Office spokesman said.

A total of 14 clandestine graves have been found in the state since April.

Federal officials are investigating the killings, but they have not provided many details about the cases.

Soldiers and federal investigators plan to continue digging at the site, but they have ruled out the possibility of finding more bodies, the AG’s office said.

The army retains jurisdiction over the site and other federal agencies are providing support in the investigation, the AG’s office said.

Cristobal Colon residents noticed a foul odor last week, Mexican media outlets reported.

Durango, Chihuahua and Sinaloa states make up Mexico’s so-called “Golden Triangle” of the illegal drug trade.

The majority of the bodies discovered in Durango city earlier this year were in the Las Fuentes neighborhood.

The Sinaloa cartel, Mexico’s oldest and largest drug trafficking organization, has been trying to gain control of Durango, the press reported.

Durango, one of the states most affected by drug-related violence, is said to be the hiding place of Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman.

Mexico has been plagued in recent years by drug-related violence, as rival gangs vie for control of lucrative smuggling and distribution routes.

A total of 15,270 people died in drug-related violence in Mexico last year, and more than 45,000 people have died since President Felipe Calderon declared war on the country’s cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006.

Calderon has deployed tens of thousands of soldiers and Federal Police officers across the country to combat drug cartels and other criminal organizations.

The anti-drug operation, however, has failed to put a dent in the violence due, according to experts, to drug cartels’ ability to buy off the police and even high-ranking officials.

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Alabama Governor Urged to Repeal ‘Unfair & UnJust’ Immigration Law by Christian Leaders

Alabama Governor Urged to Repeal ‘Unfair & UnJust’ Immigration Law by Christian Leaders

Photo: Christians Urge Immigration Law Repeal

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Some Christian community leaders in the state of Alabama (Roman Catholic Church, United Methodist Church and the Episcopal Church), wrote a letter to Governor Robert Bentley to pray so that they show political courage and will be able to support the repeal of the immigration law in the State of Alabama.

Without speaking specifically of repeal, the leaders spoke of “an unjust and unfair law”. The six leaders who wrote the letter, had already filed a complaint against the law to the Federal Court.

The letter of commitment to pray for the governor marked a different approach to object to the bill following the lawsuits, peaceful demonstrations, marches, including a demonstration held on Saturday, December 17, at the Capitol and in front of the governor’s residence in Montgomery, which was attended by hundreds of opponents to this law.

From the information the Fides Agenzia gathered it seems that the governor’s office has publicly stated that the immigration law in the state needs to be changed, but has not said it is against it. The Catholic Church has stated its position several times, and the Bishops of America have supported the position of religious leaders, as the problem of migration is considered a national problem for many.

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Man Becomes First Handicapped Person to Swim Across River Plate Estuary From Uruguay to Buenos Aires

Man Becomes First Handicapped Person to Swim Across River Plate Estuary From Uruguay to Buenos Aires

Photo: Man Becomes First Handicapped Person to Swim Across River Plate Estuary From Uruguay to Buenos Aires

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A 51-year-old Argentine man who lost a leg three decades ago in a traffic accident on the weekend became the first handicapped person to swim across the River Plate estuary from Uruguay to Buenos Aires.

“The river is not only the widest in the world but also it’s truly the most difficult to swim. It has waves ... that block you, currents against (you), from the left and the right, and above (they push) you down, it’s very difficult. You have to have a lot of strength,” retired civil servant Gustavo Villarreal told Efe Monday.

He began the crossing early Sunday morning on the Uruguayan coast and finished it 10 hours later in the port of Buenos Aires, where a small group of friends and relatives welcomed him.

Villarreal, who had attempted the feat once before but had to suspend his effort midway on the recommendation of the coast guard due to bad weather, swam accompanied by a small boat carrying a support team, his wife and a doctor.

“Now I look at the videos my wife recorded and I’m amazed ... It was 52 kilometers (32 miles) and it seemed to me like 150,” he said.

When Villarreal had his motorcycle accident in 1982, in which he lost his leg, he went into a serious depression that led him to abuse alcohol and drugs, but 10 years ago, thanks to the support of his wife, me managed to overcome his addictions.

Therefore, the slogan of his crossing was “No to drugs, yes to sports,” with the aim of encouraging other people in his situation to follow his example.

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Latin American 2011 Export Growth Pegged at 26%, Venezuela Grew by 45%

Latin American 2011 Export Growth Pegged at 26%, Venezuela Grew by 45%

Photo: Latin American Exports Grew

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Latin America’s projected 2011 export growth of 26 percent to approximately $1.1 trillion continues the strong growth posted in 2010, according to new estimates by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

Intra-regional exports grew by 24 percent, while extra-regional flows expanded 26 percent. Intra-regional trade as a share of Latin America’s total trade with the world has declined to an estimated 17.1 percent in 2011, compared with 17.3 percent in 2010.

These are some of the preliminary figures presented by the Integration and Trade Sector of the IDB in its annual report entitled “Latin American Preliminary Trade Estimates 2011”.

On a sub-regional level, exports by the Andean Community led the region, increasing by 37 percent over 2010 levels. Meanwhile, Mercosur, Chile, Mexico, and the Central American Common Market saw their exports grow by 28, 17, 19, and 20 percent, respectively. Venezuela’s exports grew 45 percent during the first three quarters of the year.

Differences in export performance within Latin America in recent years are determined by each country’s export structure in terms of destination and products. In particular, the Southern Cone is showing a decreasing dependence on the region and an increasing diversification toward larger developing economies outside the region. The rebound in commodity prices boosted exports by South American economies from mid-2009 through mid-2011 as international demand gradually recovered.

The debt crisis in the Euro-zone and its threat to the international financial system, and the prospects for a reduction in the fiscal deficit of the United States, could negatively impact Latin America. International demand for commodities will continue to rely on the strong performance of the emerging economies, led by China.

The report anticipates that Latin America’s growth rate will be reduced in 2012 as a result of the uncertainty in the global markets and the potential reduction in the demand for basic products.

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TuesdayDecember 20, 2011