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SundayDecember 25, 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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US Illegal Immigrants, Mass Deportations Face New Scrutiny

US Illegal Immigrants, Mass Deportations Face New Scrutiny

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The U.S. government is currently reviewing orders to deport thousands of illegal immigrants in two cities, at a time of great division on the issue at federal and local levels. In the past fiscal year, a record 396,000 undocumented immigrants were deported from the United States, with more than 300,000 cases still pending.

The port city of Baltimore, Maryland, also known by its nickname “Charm City,” is one of the cities where U.S. federal immigration authorities are trying out new ways in dealing with a large caseload of deportation orders.

The other city is high-altitude Denver, Colorado.

Divergent views
In both places, illegal immigrants without violent criminal records may be allowed to stay, while cases against illegal immigrants deemed to have serious criminal records may be expedited.

One politician not happy at all with the experiment, which runs until the middle of January, is Maryland House of Delegates Republican Pat McDonough.

He recently wrote a newspaper opinion piece saying Baltimore was being turned into what he calls an “amnesty city.”

“What this does is it creates a magnet and incentive for people who are in this country without lawful presence to flock to Baltimore. And there are consequences to that,” said McDonough.

Economic issues cited

McDonough says consequences include added costs to provide bilingual services, added pressures on emergency rooms to deal with uninsured illegal immigrants, higher unemployment among legal residents, and threats to public safety.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said it was not conducting interviews on the immigration case review.

In an email statement, it said the U.S. government is trying to focus immigration enforcement resources on those convicted of crimes, recent border crossers and what it called egregious immigration law violators.

Pro-immigrant activists have complained too many non-violent illegal immigrants are being deported, in a rush by the agency to boost statistics and receive more funding.

Review and considerations

Mary Giovagnoli, the Washington-based Immigration Policy Center director, calls the current two-city review a small step in the right direction. 

“Truly moving on is really messy, and like any major social issue you do not resolve it right away. In that sense, it is not unlike the civil rights movement or the voting rights movement or any other number of issues that took years and years to really resolve and get right because you are both changing the laws, and you are changing hearts and minds,” said Giovagnoli.

The review comes at a time when lawmakers in more and more U.S. states are passing tough anti-immigration laws.

But the federal government is pushing back on that front as well, using challenges in the court system and saying it has exclusive authority to regulate immigration.

There also have been protests by those favoring fewer deportations. In some states like Alabama, civil rights leaders recently marched for families to be kept together, as in recent months, detained or deported illegal immigrant parents were separated from their U.S.-born citizen children.

Activists in other cities, like Iowa City, are going even further, seeking to make the college town Iowa’s first so-called sanctuary city to protect illegal immigrants from federal immigration law.

More than 30 cities in the United States have gone this route, with some even banning officials from asking people about their immigration status. Activists say it saves the city money while also creating a stronger sense of community - claims staunch opponents to illegal immigration find outrageous.

Read more at voice of america →

Colombian Marines Seize 32 Homemade Bombs

Colombian Marines Seize 32 Homemade Bombs

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Marines found 32 homemade bombs containing a total of 130 kilos of explosives in a rural area outside Tumaco, a port city on Colombia’s Pacific coast, the navy said Sunday.

“The 32 homemade devices were found inside a hideout and contained the explosive” pentolite, the navy said.

Marines found 68 meters (222 feet) of detonating cord and 200 meters (655 feet) of duplex cable, “which were apparently going to be used to build the mechanism for activating the devices,” at the site in Palo Seco, the navy said.

The bombs were found thanks to assistance from a “network of informants” before “the materiel could be used by the enemies of peace to perpetrate attacks against the civilian population and the security forces during the year-end period,” the Pacific Naval Force said.

No fighting or arrests were reported in connection with the seizure of the bombs, whose owners were not identified.

Both the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, the country’s oldest and largest leftist guerrilla group, and gangs that work for drug traffickers operate in the area.

Nearly two tons of explosives have been seized by naval personnel since the beginning of the year, the navy said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico Set to Approve More Religious Freedoms, Many Still Want Separation of Church and State

Mexico Set to Approve More Religious Freedoms, Many Still Want Separation of Church and State

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The Mexican Chamber of Deputies has approved, with the votes of the National Action Party, President Felipe Calderon and the PRI’s (Partido Revolucionario Institucional) proposal:  We are talking about an amendment to Article 24 of the Constitution that allows the public celebration of religious events without first asking permission.

The Senate’s approval is still necessary, the change has divided the PRI and has alarmed the left wing, fearing that this change becomes the door through which religious organizations may be able to obtain concessions for radio and television or to enter the education system.

From the information Fides Agenzia gathered, the situation is not entirely peaceful, as a group of politicians insist on limiting this “religious freedom”. For example, according to the Secretary of the Human Rights Commission of the Chamber of Deputies, Enoé Uranga, one must specify everything to avoid misinterpretations.

From interviews released by the press, the parliamentarian Paola Rojas (PRD) said that it is not the same thing to worship in a closed room and go out on the streets to demonstrate for religious reasons. There is a radical change in the concept of Article 24: from the concept of religious freedom we have now gone to the freedom of religion. So it is not a privilege of the Catholic Church, but an openness to all religions.

Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, Archbishop of Mexico, with regards to the reform made at the Chamber of Deputies on Article 24 of the Constitution, he replied that it was something expected, because already the First article is about equal rights for all Mexicans, and this reform is necessary because it expresses how the Constitution will abide by the international treaties that the country has ratified.

“Every human being has the right to religious freedom to believe or not to believe, and practice or not practice. All those who believe in human rights should be glad, because this concept has eventually been applied in the First article in the Constitution.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico Preserves Biggest Mammal Collection in Latin America

Mexican researchers presented a collection of more than 46,000 mammal specimens preserved in different ways, many of them extinct, with the aim of publishing the inventory and disseminating knowledge about them in the coming years.

The National Mammal Collection is the biggest and oldest in Latin America and “keeps growing, because there are still unexplored parts of the country,” curator Fernando Cervantes Reza said in a communique.

The collection also includes species from Europe, he said.

The Biology Institute of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, or UNAM, is in charge of safeguarding the collection that was begun in 1947, Cervantes said.

He said that 90 percent of the country’s mammal species discovered to date are represented there, including specimens preserved in different ways, such a hides of everything from mice to jaguars, skeletons including the hide, skulls alone, hides plus skulls, and hides with skeletons including the skull.

He said the collection also has frozen tissue in storage, with 3,500 examples of mammals from all over the country, as well as bacula (bones found in the penis of most mammals, specifically in insectivores, rodents, carnivores and primates) and plaster casts of foot/paw/hoof prints.

“There are species that no longer exist in the wild but that survive in captivity - in this collection they are represented in the form of hides, skulls, skeletons and frozen tissue, such as the Mexican wolf, of which only a few remain in zoos and certain natural areas, and the vaquita porpoise, also in danger of extinction,” he said.

“This is a very important natural treasure because it has more specimens than any other collection. It also has a wide diversity of taxonomic groups: rodents, carnivores, deer, marine mammals and more,” he said.

According to the curator, the collection meets the highest international standards in the way the specimens are treated, labeled, organized, preserved, identified, classified, stored and protected against dust, water and insects, and in how the information is provided to users.

He said that this natural heritage collection is among those that researchers use most to obtain data about these animals, and said that the general public can also consult the entire catalogue on the institute’s Web site.

“This project has been going on for many years - now the decision has been taken to unify it and make it available free, together with other UNAM Web sites, for all users, not only in Mexico but around the world,” he said.

The collection is the only one in the region that has an Associated Molecular Biology Laboratory, as well as being “a source of information for the three levels of government interested in planning environmental policy,” he said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Cuban Baseball Great in Very Serious Condition after Car Crash

Cuban Baseball Great in Very Serious Condition after Car Crash

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Cuban baseball great Norge Luis Vera, one of the best pitchers in the island’s history, has been hospitalized in “very serious” condition after a traffic accident two days ago, official media reported Saturday.

Vera, 40, reportely is fighting for his life although his vital signs are stable, state television said, without providing details on the accident.

The pitcher, who officially announced his retirement from the sport in September, suffered severe cranioencephalic trauma and multiple fractures in Thursday’s car crash and is in intensive care at the Provincial Hospital in the southeastern city of Santiago de Cuba, according to the report.

In December 2009, Vera underwent reconstructive facial surgery at a Havana hospital after he was seriously injured while trying to break up a fight in Santiago de Cuba, where he lives.

The star pitcher won a gold medal at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and a silver medal in Athens four years later and also was a member of Cuba’s national team in several other international competitions.

Vera also played in Cuba’s national baseball league for nearly 20 seasons.

He put up impressive numbers in the 2nd edition of the World Baseball Classic in 2009, posting a record of 2-0 with an ERA of 1.69.

The pitcher first garnered international attention in 1999, when he worked seven innings and retired 20 of first 22 batters he faced during an exhibition game between the Cuban national team and the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.

Read more by HS News Staff →

3 Million of Mexico’s Senior Citizen’s Without Pensions Will Get Aid in 2012

3 Million of Mexico’s Senior Citizen’s Without Pensions Will Get Aid in 2012

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The 70 and Over Program will be extended to marginalized urban zones in 2012 in order to provide monetary support for senior citizens living in poverty declared Secretary of Social Development (SEDESEOL) Heriberto Félix.

Heriberto Félix stated that by the end of President Felipe Calderón’s administration, the expansion of the program’s coverage to urban zones will make it possible to attend to over 3,382,514 senior citizens over the age of 70 living in Mexico who do not have pensions.

Expansion of the program’s coverage, operation and attention to provide bi-monthly payments of one thousand pesos to adults over 70 throughout the country will make it possible to attend to this sector of the population in 105,047 localities throughout the country next year.

The Social Development Secretary stated that the 70 and Over Program has been consolidated and is one of the social programs with the greatest impact, reducing the vulnerability of the elderly by increasing their income and providing social security.

By the end of the November-December this year, the Active Beneficiaries Register listed 2,149,024 senior citizens, attended to in over 76,000 localities in the country’s 32 states.

Heriberto Félix declared that in many cases, the financial support provided by the Program constitutes the main household income even for other family members, in addition to having a significant impact for the elderly, since it rewards their lifelong efforts.

In addition to the financial assistance received by senior citizens over 70, trained counselors provide them with information on services as well as human rights, health care, self-esteem and become reincorporated into family and community activities.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Study: Wealth Inequality In America May Be Worse Than It Was In Ancient Rome

The 99 Percent Movement effectively changed the American political debate from debt and deficits to income inequality, highlighting the fact that income inequality has increased so much in the U.S. that it is now more unequal than countries like Ivory Coast and Pakistan. While those numbers are startling, a study from two historians suggests that American wealth inequality may actually be worse than it was in Ancient Rome — a society built on slave labor, a defined class structure, and centuries of warfare and conquest.

In the United States, the top 1 percent controls roughly 40 percent of the nation’s wealth. According to the study, which examined Roman ledgers, previous estimates, imperial edicts, and Biblical passages, Rome’s top 1 percent controlled less than half that at the height of its economic power, as Tim De Chant notes at Per Square Mile:

Their target was the state of the economy when the empire was at its population zenith, around 150 C.E. Schiedel and Friesen estimate that the top 1 percent of Roman society controlled 16 percent of the wealth, less than half of what America’s top 1 percent control.

Of course, the millions of Romans at the bottom of the empire’s class structure — the conquered and enslaved, the poorest Romans, and the women who had little civic or economic empowerment — would probably disagree with the study’s conclusion. Still, it serves as yet another highlight of how large the income gap in the United States has become over the last three decades.

Read more at Think Progress →

Pope’s Annual Christmas Message Includes Prayers for Colombia, Venenzuela and Guatemala

Pope’s Annual Christmas Message Includes Prayers for Colombia, Venenzuela and Guatemala

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Here is a Vatican translation of Benedict XVI’s Christmas message, which he gave today at noon from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, and before he imparted his traditional blessing “urbi et orbi” to the world’s Catholics. His prayers included prayers for Colombia, Venezuela, Guatemala and Costa Rica that suffered horrific natural disasters in 2011.

Dear brothers and sisters listening to me here in Rome and throughout the world, I joyfully proclaim the message of Christmas: God became man; he came to dwell among us. God is not distant: he is “Emmanuel”, God-with-us. He is no stranger: he has a face, the face of Jesus.

This message is ever new, ever surprising, for it surpasses even our most daring hope. First of all, because it is not merely a proclamation: it is an event, a happening, which credible witnesses saw, heard and touched in the person of Jesus of Nazareth! Being in his presence, observing his works and hearing his words, they recognized in Jesus the Messiah; and seeing him risen, after his crucifixion, they were certain that he was true man and true God, the only-begotten Son come from the Father, full of grace and truth (cf. Jn 1:14).

“The Word became flesh”. Before this revelation we once more wonder: how can this be? The Word and the flesh are mutually opposed realities; how can the eternal and almighty Word become a frail and mortal man? There is only one answer: Love. Those who love desire to share with the beloved, they want to be one with the beloved, and Sacred Scripture shows us the great love story of God for his people which culminated in Jesus Christ.

God in fact does not change: he is faithful to himself. He who created the world is the same one who called Abraham and revealed his name to Moses: “I am who I am … the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob … a God merciful and gracious, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness (cf. Ex 3:14-15; 34:6). God does not change; he is Love, ever and always. In himself he is communion, unity in Trinity, and all his words and works are directed to communion. The Incarnation is the culmination of creation. When Jesus, the Son of God incarnate, was formed in the womb of Mary by the will of the Father and the working of the Holy Spirit, creation reached its high point. The ordering principle of the universe, the Logos, began to exist in the world, in a certain time and space.

“The Word became flesh”. The light of this truth is revealed to those who receive it in faith, for it is a mystery of love. Only those who are open to love are enveloped in the light of Christmas. So it was on that night in Bethlehem, and so it is today. The Incarnation of the Son of God is an event which occurred within history, while at the same time transcending history. In the night of the world a new light was kindled, one which lets itself be seen by the simple eyes of faith, by the meek and humble hearts of those who await the Saviour. If the truth were a mere mathematical formula, in some sense it would impose itself by its own power. But if Truth is Love, it calls for faith, for the “yes” of our hearts.

And what do our hearts, in effect, seek, if not a Truth which is also Love? Children seek it with their questions, so disarming and stimulating; young people seek it in their eagerness to discover the deepest meaning of their life; adults seek it in order to guide and sustain their commitments in the family and the workplace; the elderly seek it in order to grant completion to their earthly existence.

“The Word became flesh”. The proclamation of Christmas is also a light for all peoples, for the collective journey of humanity. “Emmanuel”, God-with-us, has come as King of justice and peace. We know that his Kingdom is not of this world, and yet it is more important than all the kingdoms of this world. It is like the leaven of humanity: were it lacking, the energy to work for true development would flag: the impulse to work together for the common good, in the disinterested service of our neighbour, in the peaceful struggle for justice. Belief in the God who desired to share in our history constantly encourages us in our own commitment to that history, for all its contradictions. It is a source of hope for everyone whose dignity is offended and violated, since the one born in Bethlehem came to set every man and woman free from the source of all enslavement.

May the light of Christmas shine forth anew in the Land where Jesus was born, and inspire Israelis and Palestinians to strive for a just and peaceful coexistence. May the comforting message of the coming of Emmanuel ease the pain and bring consolation amid their trials to the beloved Christian communities in Iraq and throughout the Middle East; may it bring them comfort and hope for the future and bring the leaders of nations to show them effective solidarity. May it also be so for those in Haiti who still suffer in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and the recent cholera epidemic. May the same hold true not only for those in Colombia and Venezuela, but also in Guatemala and Costa Rica, who recently suffered natural disasters.

May the birth of the Savior open horizons of lasting peace and authentic progress for the peoples of Somalia, Darfur and Côte d’Ivoire; may it promote political and social stability in Madagascar; may it bring security and respect for human rights in Afghanistan and in Pakistan; may it encourage dialogue between Nicaragua and Costa Rica; and may it advance reconciliation on the Korean peninsula.

May the birth of the Savior strengthen the spirit of faith, patience and courage of the faithful of the Church in mainland China, that they may not lose heart through the limitations imposed on their freedom of religion and conscience but, persevering in fidelity to Christ and his Church, may keep alive the flame of hope. May the love of “God-with-us” grant perseverance to all those Christian communities enduring discrimination and persecution, and inspire political and religious leaders to be committed to full respect for the religious freedom of all.

Dear brothers and sisters, “the Word became flesh”; he came to dwell among us; he is Emmanuel, the God who became close to us. Together let us contemplate this great mystery of love; let our hearts be filled with the light which shines in the stable of Bethlehem! To everyone, a Merry Christmas!

Read more by HS News Staff →

Join us This and Every Sunday At HS-News Open Mic

Join us This and Every Sunday At HS-News Open Mic

Photo: Introducing This Week, The North Point iBand

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Juan Laverde, Open Mic, North Point iBand, josé feliciano, feliz navidad, merry christmas, xmas music, santa claus

Merry Christmas!!

Artist:North Point iBand
Song: Feliz Navidad (José Feliciano iPad Cover)

Read more by HS News Staff →

Overwhelming Majority of Americans View Christmas As Nations Most Important Holiday

Overwhelming Majority of Americans View Christmas As Nations Most Important Holiday

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For most adults, Christmas continues to be America’s most important holiday.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 67% of American Adults consider Christmas one of the nation’s most important holidays, showing little change from last year and consistent with surveys stretching back to December 2006. Only six percent (6%) see Christmas as one of the least important holidays, while 24% rate it somewhere in between.

The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on December 21-22, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports.

Read more at Rasmussen Reports →

Disney Channel Pulls Two Episodes after Demi Lovato Slams Eating Disorder Joke

Disney Channel Pulls Two Episodes after Demi Lovato Slams Eating Disorder Joke

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Demi Lovato’s Twitter blew up after the 19-year-old actress heard a joke in one of Disney Channel’s shows, Shake it Up which made a joke about having an eating disorder, but Disney quickly responded.

“I could just eat you up, well if I ate” - Disney Chanel’s Shake It Up…. What are we promoting here? #notfunnyATALL” the singer tweeted. “I find it really funny how a company can lose one of their actress’ from the pressures of an EATING DISORDER and yet still make joke about.”

The network was soon to respond to Demi, who publically struggled with her own eating disorder. According to Us Weekly Disney pulled an episode of Shake it Up and So Random!

“@ddlovato - we hear you & are pulling both episodes as quickly as possible & reevaluating them,” Disney’s PR reportedly wrote to the singer. “@ddlovato - It’s NEVER our intention to make light of eating disorders!”

Lovato was pleased, simply writing “Thank you.”

The singer/actress went on to explain why a joke like the one in Shake it Up angered her so much.

“I have nothing against any specific actress/actor or tv show.. Nor do I think there’s anything wrong with girls who aren’t curvy,” she tweeted. “I just was stating a fact that there needs to be more variety on television so young girls growing up don’t feel pressured to look one specific way. Tall, thin, curvy, short, whatever you are, you are beautiful. smile

Read more at The Celebrity Cafe →

Aqua Santa Claus Big Hit in Mexico

Aqua Santa Claus Big Hit in Mexico

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Thousands of children and adults visited the zoo in the city of Guadalajara, capital of the western Mexican state of Jalisco to see the “underwater” Santa Claus, who dives in one of the fish tanks at the aquarium.

Also known as “Aqua Claus,” the character has become the main attraction between Wednesday and Friday at the Guadalajara Zoo during the current Christmas season, aquarium director Luis Eduardo Quintero told Efe.

“It’s the first time we’ve had this Santa and he’s a big hit with the kiddies, who usually imagine the guy coming out of a chimney,” the official said.

Amid algae, stones and fish, the jolly old Christmas elf sparks laughter, surprise and a whole assortment of emotions among the kids watching him.

With the water at a temperature of 10 C (66 F) to simulate the the frosty North Pole, Santa Claus with his oxygen tube dives underwater in a fish tank to interact with those watching him for 30 minutes.

The youngsters no sooner see him than they run to the thick glass separating them from the fellow with the floating white beard, who, wordlessly, gets them laughing and jumping up and down with excitement.

Santa stands on his head, acts like he’s on a sleigh ride, waves a golden bell, asks the kids for their letters to Santa listing their Christmas wishes, asks if they’ve been good little girls and boys, shows them drawings to see what they want for Christmas, and even poses for souvenir photographs.

Playing one of the best-known characters in the world can’t be easy, not just because of the water temperature but because he has to wear a special suit, a belt with between 10 and 20 kilos (22 and 44 pounds) of weights so he can sink to the bottom, and, above all, he needs a scuba-diving certificate.

But it’s all worthwhile when you see the kids’ reaction, says Gerardo Espinoza Sandoval, one of the zoo’s three scuba-diving Santas.

“It’s an experience that pays you back because you see the kids’ expression that tells you that we still believe in magic and because it makes you remember when you were little,” the Santa, a veterinarian by profession, said.

The success of the underwater Santa Claus has been so great that the zoo’s administrators are already thinking about the scenery and set design for next year.

Meanwhile they expect visitors with children to flock to the zoo between Dec. 25 and Jan. 2 on their Christmas vacation.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Study: 77 Percent of Latina Retail Workers Earn Less Than $10/hr

Study: 77 Percent of Latina Retail Workers Earn Less Than $10/hr

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A new study by the Retail Action Project and the City University of New York released data that shows a dramatic gender gap in wages in the retail industry — one in which black and Latina women are hit the hardest.

The report is based on data collected by 435 retail workers at national companies. According to information pulled from those surveys, women earn an average of $9.00 per hour, compared to $10.13 per hour earned by men. Those numbers are especially pronounced for women of color —53 percent of black women and 77 percent of Latina women earn less than $10 per hour.

While many retailers benefited from Black Friday weekend sales, the workers who were hired to help meet that demand are often stuck in temporary, low-wage jobs, according to the study.

“We’re happy that more people have the opportunity to go back to work, but the majority of jobs created are low-wage, part time, and seasonal. The retail industry is thriving and can do better,” said Retail Action Project’s Carrie Gleason.

Read more at new america media →

HS-News Wishes You a Very Merry Christmas

HS-News Wishes You a Very Merry Christmas

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Merry Christmas from your friends at Hispanically Speaking News!



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SundayDecember 25, 2011