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WednesdayDecember 21, 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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Uruguay Set to Invest in Its Dairy Farmers to Make Them More Green

Uruguay Set to Invest in Its Dairy Farmers to Make Them More Green

Photo: Uruguay Dairy Farmers Going Green

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The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), in partnership with the Cooperativa Nacional de Productores de Leche (CONAPROLE), is launching a $6 million project to help expand access to clean and efficient energy for small and medium-sized dairy farmers in Uruguay.

Working alongside dairy producers, government agencies and the industry, the project will support measures to improve energy efficiency in farms by combining technical assistance with financing to access energy saving technologies.

The project will help increase the competitiveness of an industry whose energy consumption accounts for 18 percent of the total energy consumed by the Uruguayan agricultural sector.

The project will develop at least four types of energy efficiency solutions to be offered to farmers as well as financing alternatives for participants to implement such solutions. The project is expected to benefit as many as 500 milk producers from Uruguay’s dairy belt by allowing them to increase efficiency in milk collection and adopt at least one energy efficiency measure and/or incorporate renewable energy into their production systems.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Bank of America to Pay $335 Million for Discriminating Against Latino & African American Borrowers

Bank of America to Pay $335 Million for Discriminating Against Latino & African American Borrowers

Photo: Bank Of America Pays Discrimination Fine

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The Justice Department today reached a $335 Million settlement to resolve allegations of lending discrimination by Countrywide Financial Corporation (purchased by Bank of America in 2008) on behalf of more than 200,000 African-American and Hispanic Borrowers who qualified for loans but were charged higher fees or placed into subprime loans.

This is DOJ’s largest residential fair lending settlement in history and relates to a widespread pattern or practice of discrimination againt qualified Latino and African-American borrowers in their mortgage lending from 2004 through 2008.

The settlement provides $335 million in compensation for victims of Countrywide’s discrimination during a period when Countrywide originated millions of residential mortgage loans as one of the nation’s largest single-family mortgage lenders.  The settlement, which is subject to court approval, was filed today in the U.S. District Court in California.

The complaint alleges that these borrowers were charged higher fees and interest rates because of their race or national origin, and not because of the borrowers’ creditworthiness or other objective criteria related to borrower risk. 

The United States also alleges that Countrywide discriminated by steering thousands of African-American and Hispanic borrowers into subprime mortgages when non-Hispanic white borrowers with similar credit profiles received prime loans.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazilian Bus Crash Kills 5

Brazilian Bus Crash Kills 5

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Five people were killed and 47 others injured Wednesday when a bus collided with a truck in the central Brazilian state of Tocantins, authorities said.

The accident took place around 4:30 a.m. near the city of Barrolandia, according to a report from the highway patrol.

The bus, a double-decker vehicle carrying 56 people from Goiania to Redenção, strayed into the opposing lane and sideswiped a truck laden with motorcycles, the report said.

The driver then lost control of the bus, which careened into some rocks before flipping over.

Five of the bus passengers were pronounced dead at the scene, while the injured were taken to hospitals in Paraiso do Tocantins and Palmas, the state capital.

The accident forced a three-hour shutdown of a busy highway linking Brasilia with the Amazonian state of Para, creating a traffic jam that stretched for 10 kilometers (6 miles).

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spanish Couple Celebrates 78 Years Together and 103rd Birthdays

Spanish Couple Celebrates 78 Years Together and 103rd Birthdays

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Born in Spain in the early 20th century, Jose Pascua and Antonia Patino - married to each other for 78 years - on Wednesday became an example of longevity and perseverance by both celebrating their 103rd birthdays.

Antonia and Jose, neighbors in the central town of Hinojosa de Duero, were born, respectively on Aug. 14, 1908, and Dec. 21, 1908, and they celebrated their birthdays on Wednesday.

It must be something in their family’s genes that has enabled them to live so long - although one of their sons, Santiago, is already deceased - since Antonia and Jose got to know their grandparents, four great-grandparents and two great-great-grandparents.

Also, Antonia’s parents and grandparents all lived past 90 and an uncle made it to 105, she told Efe.

“The truly surprising thing is the state of health of both of them,” except for Jose’s hearing, which is starting to fail, although their other senses are in virtually perfect shape, said son Angel Pascua.

The couple, who have 16 nieces and nephews and 8 great-nieces and -nephews, lives a normal live in the town and up until last year they managed an orchard in back of their home.

Now, the orchard is being tended by other family members, Antonia said, adding that over the years she had combined her farmwork with domestic duties.

Jose, who worked as a farmer and railroad employee, recalled the coming of electricity to the town, along with sad experiences like the 1936-1939 Spanish Civil War.

The couple laugh if they are asked when they first watched anything on television: One of their sons brought one to them and it was the first TV set in the town.

At first, the admitted, they did not like it, but after a few days they were glued to the set and their neighbors came over to have a look at it, intrigued by the new device.

Nowadays, though, every evening they gather by the heater to play cards.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio Says He’s Not Backing Down, Still Plans to Run for U.S. Senate

Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio Says He’s Not Backing Down, Still Plans to Run for U.S. Senate

Photo: Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio Says He's Not Backing Down, Still Plans to Run for U.S. Senate

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Just as Sheriff Arpaio of Maricopa County in Arizona is catching serious flak from the U.S. Dept. of Defense, a man who was Tasered by police under Arpaio’s command, had a heart attack, and wound up brain dead and on life support, only to die a few days later. Still, “America’s Toughest Sheriff” says he is not backing down.

‘So, we had a couple of bumps,” Sheriff Arpaio told The Arizona Republic. ‘We had some isolated incidents, and they make it look like it’s systemic.’

Arpaio was referring to a 22-page letter from the Department of Justice that blasted him for incidents of discrimination and racial profiling in a state already being deemed anti-immigrant and in many ways anti-Latino.

Still, the sheriff believes he has nothing to apologize for and claims that the Obama administration is simply out to get him.

He seems so unfazed that he even says not only is he not going to resign, but he may run in the next U.S. Senate race, though he’s stated that he has yet to decide what he’ll run for in the coming year, but will likely choose in January.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Hispanics, still Victims of Health Disparities

Hispanics, still Victims of Health Disparities

Photo: Hispanics, still Victims of Health Disparities

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Hispanics continue to suffer from disparities in health care, despite advances in coverage within the health care system and the reduction in mortality from certain illnesses.

“There are many things that can be done to reduce the disparities among Hispanics. State and local agencies are working with the communities to implement policies and programs that help healthy decisions to be made, easy decisions,” Leandris Liburd, director of the Office of Minority Health and Health Equity at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, told Efe.

Obesity, especially among children, is a problem that particularly affects Hispanics.

Several studies have found that the rate of infantile obesity has reached alarming levels in terms of leading to other conditions, such as Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension among Hispanic children and teenagers.

According to CDC figures, obesity currently affects 17 percent of all minors in the United States.

In 2008, 18.5 percent of Hispanic children were obese compared to 12.6 percent of white children and 11.8 percent of African American youngsters.

Statistics show that obese children have nearly an 80 percent probability of becoming obese or overweight adults.

Felipe Lobelo, an epidemiologist who heads the CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention, emphasized the importance of prevention for eradicating this problem.

“Giving parents useful information and fostering environments that support healthy alternatives; providing healthier meals in schools; ensuring that every family has access to healthy food and helping children be more active” are some of the measures that should be pushed, Lobelo told Efe.

Diabetes affects Latinos in greater proportion than other groups.

Hispanics have a greater probability of developing Type 2 diabetes than the rest of the population and while some of the risk factors are genetic, by making small changes such as getting better nutrition and more exercise, this group can halt or delay the onset of the disease.

In its 2011 report on health disparities and inequalities in the United States, the CDC also warned about the risk of other conditions such as uncontrolled high blood pressure.

According to the CDC, Mexican-Americans have a much higher incidence of untreated high blood pressure than whites or blacks.

In the case of vaccination against the flu, for the second consecutive year the gap between white and minority children has been reduced although disparities remain among adults in those groups.

Vaccination coverage among Hispanic children between 6 months and 17 years in age was 43.4 percent, higher than among white non-Hispanic children of the same age, where it was 33.5 percent.

The CDD said that these advances have been achieved thanks to the development of alliances with community and local religious organizations that are working closely with Latinos.

The lack of medical coverage and the lack of confidence among the Hispanic community in government entities are some of the main barriers affecting the vaccination rates.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Economy Pegged to Grow 3.25% in 2012

Mexican Economy Pegged to Grow 3.25% in 2012

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Mexico’s economy will grow 3.25 percent in 2012 even though the economic problems in Europe and the United States remain unresolved and could lead to even bigger woes, the Mexican Institute of Finance Executives, or IMEF, said.

The global crisis could adversely affect the Mexican economy given the export sector’s role as the country’s main “engine of growth,” the institute said.

The country’s exchange rate also may be affected by greater uncertainty and volatility in financial markets, the IMEF said Tuesday in a report.

Despite the pessimistic outlook for the global economy, the specialists are forecasting an average inflation rate of 3.65 percent, an average exchange rate of 13 pesos per dollar and the creation of 505,000 new jobs in Mexico in 2012.

But the IMEF sees Mexico’s economy expanding at just a 3.8 percent clip in 2011, down from its May forecast of 4.4 percent growth.

It said the outlook for Mexico’s gross domestic product worsened beginning in August due to Standard & Poor’s decision that month to strip the United States of its AAA credit rating for the first time, as well as fears surrounding the sovereign debt burdens of countries such as Greece, Italy and Spain.

In addition to lowering its GDP growth forecast for this year, the IMEF also remarked on the recent decline in value of the Mexican peso, which is currently priced at roughly 14 per dollar amid investors’ fears of a global economic slowdown, down from 12.45 per greenback at the start of 2011.

“The free-float system for the peso has worked and, while dollars are now more expensive, the peso’s depreciation has alleviated pressure on other fronts,” IMEF said.

It added that the situation is very different in Mexico than in the euro-zone countries, which cannot rely on currency devaluation as an adjustment mechanism.

Finally, the finance experts called on the contenders in Mexico’s July 1, 2012, presidential election to focus on achieving the economic growth necessary to ensure sufficient job creation.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Are NY Jets QB Mark Sanchez and Victoria’s Secret Model Kate Upton a Couple?

Are NY Jets QB Mark Sanchez and Victoria’s Secret Model Kate Upton a Couple?

Photo: NY Jets QB Mark Sanchez and Model Kate Upton reportedly dating

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Page 6 of the New York Post is reporting that the quarter back for the New York Jets is now dating a current “it girl” and model for Victoria Secret.

It seems the Jet’s Mark Sanchez, 25, makes as many headlines for who he’s dating as for his performance on the field. This time he’s being linked to the curvaceous Victoria Secret model Kate Upton, 19.

The Post is reporting that Sanchez has been making frequent late-night visits to the model’s New York apartment, even being spotted carrying bags into the lobby of her building shortly after she arrives.

ImageSanchez has been linked to Hollywood actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler (of Sopranos fame) and Hayden Panettiere. He also caused a stir when a 17-year-old he was seen with at a bar (she was joined by her mother) posted that she had “hooked up” with the young athlete on Facebook.

Neither Upton’s nor Sanchez’s reps gave statements, perhaps to let Sanchez focus on his upcoming game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.

But if the rumors are true about these two, Upton would be in running for hottest sports WAG (wives and girlfriends).

ImageIn this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, Upton was featured and named Rookie of the Year, and has since been a rising star in the modeling world as well as in internet sensation for well, anything she does, including teaching us how “Dougie” at a Clippers game. (Watch her dance below.)


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Mexico Says 42.2M Sea Turtles Were Born in 2010-2011 Nesting Season

Mexico Says 42.2M Sea Turtles Were Born in 2010-2011 Nesting Season

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Mexican authorities recorded a total of 42.2 million olive ridley, leatherback and Kemp’s ridley sea turtle births during the 2010-2011 nesting season, the Environment and Natural Resources Secretariat said.

Efforts to secure the protection of female turtles and their nests and safeguard hatchlings’ journey to the ocean are led by the National Commission on Natural Protected Areas, or Conanp, at 33 nesting beaches, the secretariat said in a statement Tuesday.

Ten of those beaches are natural protected areas, three are located inside biosphere reserves, 15 are internationally designated Ramsar wetlands sites and the remainder are located in areas without special protection mechanisms, the secretariat said.

Approximately 1.2 million Olive Ridley turtle nests were laid and 23.3 million offspring made their way to the ocean at the Playa de Escobilla sanctuary and Morro Ayuta beach, both located in the southern state of Oaxaca.

A total of 20,574 Kemp’s ridley turtle nests were laid in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas and 534 in the eastern state of Veracruz and an estimated 18.9 million hatchlings reached the sea in those two regions.

“The nesting figure for the latest season is up (compared to the previous season), and therefore the conclusion can be drawn that the population is on the road to recovery,” the secretariat said.

In the case of the leatherback turtle, one of the most threatened turtle species in Mexico, authorities counted a total of 615 nests, mainly on the coasts of the Pacific states of Michoacan, Guerrero and Oaxaca.

In those states, Conanp supervised the entrance to the sea of 15,414 leatherback offspring.

However, the secretariat estimates that around 1,647 leatherback turtle nests were laid along the entire Pacific coast during the 2010-2011 nesting season.

Invasion of their habitat (beaches) by man, accidental fishing, depredation of their nests by some communities that still consume their flesh and eggs and injuries suffered by boats’ outboard motors are the main dangers sea turtles in Mexico face.

Mexico has banned the harvest of sea turtles for commercial or subsistence reasons since April 2006.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Is Fashion Designer Marc Jacobs Dating Brazilian Porn Star Harry Louis?

Is Fashion Designer Marc Jacobs Dating Brazilian Porn Star Harry Louis?

Photo: Fashion designer Marc Jacobs (left) and Brazilian porn star Harry Louis (right).

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Famous fashion designer Marc Jacobs has dated some interesting guys: a ( retired escort/porn star who is said to have Jacobs’ name in tattoo form, an advertising executive and former model with whom he was very serious, and now he may be adding a Brazilian porn star and model to the list.

Rumors are circulating after model/porn star Harry Louis posted a photo on Twitter of him looking quite cozy with the 50-year-old Jacobs designer in Paris.

Along with the photo, Louis wrote, “What a great weekend thanks to the sweetest guy on earth, Marc Jacobs, see you soon in Paris baby.”

He also stated that he couldn’t wait to go back to Paris after “[loving] every minute of it,” adding, “I’m in love again … It feels nice, and I’m so happy.”

Though he never actually states that the designer is the object of his affection, the photo and the fact that Jacobs was in Paris at the time has led many to believe these two are now a couple.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Diego Forlan’s Girlfriend Topless in Uruguay

Diego Forlan’s Girlfriend Topless in Uruguay

Photo: Forlean and Girlfriend Vitto Saravia

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The spectacular model Victoria Saravia made sure she got a smooth, line-less tan in Punta Del Este, ahead of Forlán’s Christmas Visit to Uruguay.

Victoria Saravia, diego forlán, uruguay soccer team, atlético madrid, forlan's girlfriend toplessVictoria Saravia, diego forlán, uruguay soccer team, atlético madrid, forlan's girlfriend topless

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U.S. Retirees in Lake Chapala, MX Fearful of Crime Spree

U.S. Retirees in Lake Chapala, MX Fearful of Crime Spree

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With an estimated American and Canadian population of 15,000 Mexico’s Lake Chapala area provides residents with lake-front homes at a fraction of the cost of similar homes in their native countries, but the recent increase in crime has residents worried the lower cost of living pay have come at the cost of safety.

The rising number of “For Sale” signs in the area has coincided with the swell of violent crimes, as many are fleeing the neighborhoods they once thought were perfect for social retirees.

In November, 26 bodies were found in three vehicles in Guadalajara, which is just a short drive from Lake Chapala, and in the last year, various violent crimes like home invasions have hit the retirement-type community itself.

Earlier this month, residents met with the municipality’s mayor as well as state officials of Jalisco to brain storm ideas about can be done to make the area safer.

Among the suggestions was to raise taxes, an idea that residents were more than willing to agree to. Some stated that they pay just $50 in taxes, and wouldn’t bat an eye if asked to double that if it meant a safer community.

While the violence in recent years has steadily increased, the cost of living in the Lake Chapala keeps many in their homes, as taxes are low, homes cost less, and medical care is far less than that in the U.S.

With a rise in taxes, perhaps a greater law enforcement detail can help protect the many retirees that have come to call Lake Chapala home.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Outrage Over “Hot Latina Lottery” in Spain (VIDEO)

Outrage Over “Hot Latina Lottery” in Spain (VIDEO)

Photo: Latina Raffle

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Police are investigating a series of flyers announcing a January 6, 2012 raffle that offered a night at a hotel with a not Latina girl, and a bottle of whiskey to top off the experience.

Tickets for the raffle could be purchased for US$25 at local establishments including the neighborhood market and local disco all in the region of Cantabria.

The raffle was cancelled after local women advocacy organizations complained about the raffle flyers, featuring a half-naked Latina.

A business owner told authorities that whoever organized the raffle was planning to take the winner to a local brothel and treat him to his/her pick of an available hot Latina.

The people selling the tickets told police they have nothing to do with the raffle, and that they don’t know whether the girl in the picture is over the age of 18, or even real.

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

WATCH Trailer for J Lo and Marc Anthony’s Q’Viva The Chosen (VIDEO)

WATCH Trailer for J Lo and Marc Anthony’s Q’Viva The Chosen (VIDEO)

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“It’s probably gonna be the biggest thing that I’ve been involved with yet,” said Jennifer López of her new show!

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UPDATE: Latino Veteran Left Brain Dead After Being Tasered by Arpaio’s Arizona Police Has Died

UPDATE: Latino Veteran Left Brain Dead After Being Tasered by Arpaio’s Arizona Police Has Died

Photo: Ernesto Atencio dies after becoming brain dead after Tasering by Arpaio's AZ police

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The Latino Gulf War veteran who was left brain dead after suffering a heart attack after being Tasered by Arizona police has died.

According to the attorney for Ernest Atencio’s family, the 44-year-old was taken off life support once his relatives had arrived to say goodbye. He passed away shortly after.

Antencio’s death comes as embattled Sheriff Joe Arpaio is facing questions not only regarding this came, but hundreds of sex crimes handle improperly, as well as allegations that he put in place and promotes racists or at least biased policies.


Read Ernest Antencio’s story here.

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Check Out Eva Mendes & Ryan Gosling Remake of The Night Before Christmas (VIDEO)

Check Out Eva Mendes & Ryan Gosling Remake of The Night Before Christmas (VIDEO)

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New couple Eva Méndes and Ryan Gosling star in this FunnyorDie.com holiday special, a drunken remake of the Night Before Christmas (NSFW)

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Puerto Rican Singer Luis Fonsi and Spanish Model Girlfriend Have their First Child

Puerto Rican Singer Luis Fonsi and Spanish Model Girlfriend Have their First Child

Photo: Luis Fonsi and Agueta Have Baby

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Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi and Spanish model Agueda Lopez have had their first child together, a little girl they named Mikaela.

The 33-year-old artist announced on his Web page that Mikaela was born at 1:46 p.m. Tuesday in a Miami hospital.

“Both Agueda and Mikaela are in perfect health,” said Fonsi, who added that he felt “very emotional and proud to begin this new chapter in ... life as a father.”

The couple expressed their gratitude “from the bottom of our hearts (for) the lovely wishes and messages of support (we) have received,” although they also asked for “privacy to ensure that mother and daughter have a quick recovery.”

In July, the singer and the model announced that they were expecting their first child, an event that Fonsi called a “beautiful blessing” that “fills our lives with joy.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

‘Piolin’ aka Tweety Bird Extradited from Mexico for Killing Federal Agent Zapata

‘Piolin’ aka Tweety Bird Extradited from Mexico for Killing Federal Agent Zapata

Photo: Extradition in Case of Agent Jaime Zapata

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Julian Zapata Espinoza, also known as “Piolin,” (Tweety Bird) has been extradited from Mexico to the United States to face charges for his alleged participation in the murder of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Special Agent Jaime Zapata and the attempted murder of ICE Special Agent Victor Avila on Feb. 15, 2011, in Mexico.

On April 19, 2011, a grand jury returned a four-count indictment against Zapata Espinoza, charging him with one count of murder for the murder of Zapata; one count of attempted murder for the attempted murder of Avila; and one count of using a firearm during a crime.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Gisele Bündchen Is Everywhere These Days

Gisele Bündchen Is Everywhere These Days

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Gisele Bündchen, the “best paid super model in the world,” according to Forbes, is the new face of Givenchy, H&M, Pantene and just landed a contract with Versace!

Gisele is a favorite of Donatella Versace, who had featured the Brazilian model back in 2008 for their spring/summer collection.

The images below were taken by top fashion photography duo Mert & Marcus, for Versace. The pair also took the photographs for the new Givenchy campaign.

Gisele Bundchen, brazilian models, bündchen, best paid model in the world, Givenchy ad ,  Pantene ad

Gisele Bundchen, brazilian models, bündchen, best paid model in the world, Givenchy ad ,  Pantene ad
Bündchen’s new contracts this year boosted her yearly income to some $45M, making her the best paid model in the world for the 7th year in a row, according to Forbes.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Is this FedEx Driver a Lazy Latino or YouTube’s Latest Celebrity? (VIDEO)

Is this FedEx Driver a Lazy Latino or YouTube’s Latest Celebrity? (VIDEO)

Photo: FedEx delivery driver throws package over fence, walks away

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After a customer posted clear video of a FedEx delivery person carelessly throwing the customer’s package over a fence and simply leaving, the video went viral.

YouTube user goobie55 posted the video titled “Fed Ex guy throwing my computer monitor” on Tuesday. The 21-second video shows what appears to be a Latino delivery person carrying a package to the customer’s fence, not ringing a bell or attempting to contact anyone in the home, then tossing the boxed monitor over the black-painted steel fence.

In the video description, the poster wrote, “The sad part is that I was home at the time with the front door wide open. All he would have had to do was ring the bell on the gate. Now I have to return my monitor since it is broken.”

Though some have claimed that video is fake, a spokesperson for FedEx made a statement saying the video was confirmed as real, and said that by using their tracking system, the delivery company was able to identify the route and driver.

The spokesperson added, “The situation has been resolved to the customer’s satisfaction. The customer has what they need and is happy.”

As for the so-far-unnamed delivery person, he has reportedly been disciplined for not displaying “behaviour we consider to be reflective of customer service.”

The original video, which was only posted on December 19th, has already been viewed nearly 2.5 million times.


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New Mexico Mom, Dad & Sons Charged with Smuggling Arms to Mexican Narcos

New Mexico Mom, Dad & Sons Charged with Smuggling Arms to Mexican Narcos

Photo: NM Gun Smuggling Family Arrested

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A complaint filed by the Justice Department and the District of New Mexico seeks to seize the assets of the Reese family of New Mexico, for allegedly selling firearms, ammunition and other supplies knowing they were being illegally sent to Mexico.

New Deal Shooting Sports is owned and operated by Rick Reese, his wife, Terri Reese, and their two adult sons, Ryin and Remington Reese. 

On Aug. 30, 2011, the family was arrested on charges contained in a 30-count indictment.

The complaint alleges that, between April 2010 and July 2011, property associated with New Deal Shooting Sports was used in connection with, among other things, a conspiracy to make false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms and to illegally export firearms to Mexico, a conspiracy to engage in money laundering, and a conspiracy to facilitate the trafficking of narcotics.

Read more by HS News Staff →

WATCH: Uruguayan Hot-Momma Natalia Oreiro’s Naked Plea to Save Forests (VIDEO)

WATCH: Uruguayan Hot-Momma Natalia Oreiro’s Naked Plea to Save Forests (VIDEO)

Photo: Natalia Oreiro

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“Please Help My Unborn Child Known the Forests,” says Uruguayan singer, actress, fashion designer and activist Natalia Oreiro in this Greenpeace ad for Argentina. 

Deforestation in Argentina is on the rise because of illegal logging permits and cattle expansion, even after the approval of a government forest bill “Ley de Bosques,” supported by more than 1.5 million Argentinean citizens and signed off by the Argentinean Congress in 2007 to protect native forests.  Argentina and Uruguay share a border and the bio-rich Rio de La Plata region.

You can help save the forests, protect indigenous livelihoods and guarantee biodiversity for our future. for more information, visit GreenPeace.org

Read more by HS News Staff →

MALDEF Sues Indiana Over Its Immigration Law SB 590

MALDEF Sues Indiana Over Its Immigration Law SB 590

Photo: MALDEF Sues Indiana Over Immigration

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MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) has filed suit on behalf of La Union Benefica Mexicana, a Latino community and civic organization in Northern Indiana, against the State of Indiana to strike down two previously-unchallenged provisions of the State’s anti-immigrant law known as Senate Bill 590 (SB 590).

Signed into law on May 10, 2011, SB 590 creates a state-based regime of immigration regulations that poses severe and immediate threats to the United States Constitution and to the livelihood of anyone who “looks” to local authorities like an undocumented immigrant, alleges MALDEF.

MALDEF challenges SB 590 as a violation of several federal constitutional provisions.

With this lawsuit, MALDEF specifically seeks to stop the enforcement of two key, that have the purpose of penalizing employment and contracting activities of workers and business owners in Indiana. The suit alleges both sections conflict with federal laws and policies and usurp powers constitutionally vested exclusively in the federal government.

SB 590 went into effect on July 1, 2011. Other provisions have been barred from implementation through a previously-filed suit.

“This challenge is necessary to send a message to anti-immigrant groups that their efforts to pass Arizona-style legislation in the Midwest are not welcome and will be resisted,” added Alonzo Rivas, MALDEF Midwest Regional Counsel.

Read more by HS News Staff →

U.S. Sued for Its Immigration Asylum ‘Clock’

U.S. Sued for Its Immigration Asylum ‘Clock’

Photo: Broken Asylum Clock Lawsuit

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Last week, the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center (LAC) filed a nationwide class action lawsuit against U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) in federal court in Seattle.

The lawsuit alleges widespread problems with the asylum “clock”—the system that the government uses to determine when immigrants with pending asylum applications become eligible to obtain work authorization in the U.S. 
The complaint, co-filed with the Northwest Immigrants Rights Project, Gibbs Houston Pauw, and the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, was submitted on behalf of untold numbers of asylum applicants wrongfully denied work authorization due to unlawful agency policies and practices. The named plaintiffs include asylum seekers who have pursued their cases for years without work authorization—including a man from China who initially filed his asylum application in 2003.

With limited exceptions, federal law requires USCIS to grant work authorization to any person with an asylum application pending for 180 days. In calculating this period, however, USCIS relies on determinations made by immigration judges who work for EOIR.

As a result, EOIR policies on when the “clock” should start and stop—combined with growing backlogs in U.S. immigration courts—have unlawfully prevented asylum seekers from working. The suit alleges these policies violate the Constitution, federal statutes, and governing regulations.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Members of Bolivian Evangelical Church Arrested After Exorcism Results in Death

A judge in the central Bolivian province of Cochabamba ordered two members of an evangelical group held after a young woman drowned during an attempted exorcism, police said Tuesday.

The victim’s sister and a pastor admitted to authorities that the woman died Sunday during a rite that involved immersion in a barrel filled with water, the provincial police spokesman, Maj. Juan Carlos Corrales, told Efe.

Adelaida Marca Rios, 26, told police she thought her 18-year-old sister was possessed by a demon, saying the girl’s face had become “ugly, satanic.”

Acknowledging that she had prevented her sister from surfacing, Adelaida said she was not to blame, as Satan had taken control of her and guided her hand.

Pastor Carlos Uriona, who said he had trusted in the “purifying actions” of Adelaida, told authorities Marca Rios held her sister under water for as long as five minutes.

Opinion newspaper cited the father of the two sisters, Andres Marca, as saying that he didn’t know what to make of the horrific event.

“My family cannot judge what happened, only God knows what he does,” the father of 10 said. “All this hurts me, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I just trust in God.”

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UN Aims to Saves Lives in Amazon Through Use Of Plants & Food in Region

UN Aims to Saves Lives in Amazon Through Use Of Plants & Food in Region

Photo: Fruits & Plants of Amazon Save Lifes

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A United Nations book released today aims to provide people in the developing world with accessible knowledge of Amazon plants and foods they can use to improve their livelihoods.

The book, Fruit Trees and Useful Plants in Amazonian Life, is written in easy-to-grasp language and incorporates the folklore and customs of rural villagers so they can easily put the book’s recommendations into practice.

“Some 80 per cent of people living in the developing world rely on non-wood forest products such as fruits and medicinal plants for their nutritional and health needs,” said Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Assistant Director-General for Forestry at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

FAO estimates that 25 per cent of people in developing countries are functionally illiterate, and that in rural areas this figure can be of up to 40 per cent. The layout of the book takes this into account and allows readers who lack formal education to extract knowledge using pictures and numbers.

“Some 90 Brazilian and international researchers who were willing to present their research to rural villagers in alternative formats – including jokes, recipes and pictures – collaborated in the production of this book,” said Tina Etherington, who managed the publication project for FAO’s forestry department.

Some of the foods spotlighted in the publication that provide nutrients, minerals and anti-oxidants that keep the body healthy include the Buriti palm fruit, which contains the highest known levels of vitamin A of any plant in the world and the açaí fruit, which is hailed as a “superfood” for its high antioxidant and omega fatty acid content.

The Amazon is the largest contiguous tropical forest remaining in the world, with 25 million people living in the Brazilian Amazon alone. However, deforestation, fire and climate change could destabilize the region and result in the forest shrinking to one third of its size in 65 years.

 

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Peru Receives $13 Million to Fight Child Labor from U.S. Labor Dept.

Peru Receives $13 Million to Fight Child Labor from U.S. Labor Dept.

Photo: Fighting Child Labor in Peru

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The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs has awarded a $13 million cooperative agreement to nongovernmental organization Desarrollo y Autogestión to combat exploitative child labor in Peru. To implement the project, Desarrollo y Autogestión will partner with World Learning, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization, and DESCO, a development organization.

“Ending exploitative child labor would have global benefits,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “This grant provides critical funding to bring us closer to that goal by providing targeted assistance to families and governments.”

The project will target exploitative child labor in the provinces of Huancavelica, Pasco and Junín. Funds will be used to increase access to quality education, promote sustainable livelihoods and link beneficiaries to national social protection programs so families do not need to rely on child labor to meet basic needs.

The project will engage local indigenous leaders and communities, and will benefit from the experience of Desarrollo y Autogestión in combating exploitative child labor among indigenous populations in Ecuador and Bolivia. It is designed to complement and support the government of Peru’s strategies to combat poverty and social exclusion.

Since 1995, Congress has appropriated approximately $840 million to the Labor Department to support global efforts to combat exploitative child labor. As a result, the department has rescued approximately 1.5 million children from exploitative child labor.

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WednesdayDecember 21, 2011