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WednesdayDecember 28, 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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Thousands Expected to March in Madrid in Defense of Family Values

Thousands Expected to March in Madrid in Defense of Family Values

Photo: Celebrating Family Day in Spain

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For the fifth consecutive year, many Spanish Bishops will be in Colon square in Madrid, on Friday, December 30, the liturgical feast of the Holy Family, to accompany thousands of families from all the dioceses in the nation, in order to thank God for the gift of the Christian family and also to ask for support to the family as the nucleus of society.

Last year 60 Bishops and thousands of families attended the event.

From the information Fides received, we learn that the Bishop of Cordoba, Mgr. Demetrio Fernandez, has highlighted the urgency of promoting births, “because a society that does not transmit life has already failed,” and added: “We must begin to help pregnant women and families with many children. There must be alternatives to abortion. I propose the abolition of abortion and to respect the right of parents to educate their children “.

Along the same lines the Bishop of Logroño, Mgr. Juan Jose Omella expresses himself: “The social regeneration involves not only the economy but also the education of values; family, school and the Church can do much if they agree. Today school proposes anti-value courses. Public education can insist on proposing the Constitution, but if it touches the moral issues, issues of their own parents, then it imposes the values of political power. It is something very serious”.

The Bishop of Terrassa, Mgr. Jose Angel Saiz, has asked the Spanish government three things: “Firstly, to be aware of the importance of the family as the basic unit of society; to commits oneself to promote and defend the family in line with Christian values and finally to promote specific policies that make family life easier”.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Study Examines If Columbus Brought Syphilis to the Americas

Study Examines If Columbus Brought Syphilis to the Americas

Photo: Did Columbus Bring Syphilis to the Americas?

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A new examination of the origin of syphilis supports the theory that the sexually transmitted disease was carried to Europe aboard Christopher Columbus’ ships as they sailed home from the New World.

The disease was not spread through sexual contact at the time, but adapted to survive once it got to Europe, Emory University researchers say.

“Syphilis has been around for 500 years,” study co-leader Molly Zuckerman, a former Emory graduate student who is now an assistant professor at Mississippi State University, said in an Emory news release. “People started debating where it came from shortly afterwards, and they haven’t stopped since. It was one of the first global diseases, and understanding where it came from and how it spread may help us combat diseases today.”

After analyzing skeletal evidence in 54 published reports, the researchers found that syphilis did not exist in Europe until after Columbus’ historic voyage to the New World in 1492. They said that most of the skeletal material lacked characteristics that would meet standard diagnostic criteria for chronic syphilis, such as small holes on the skull and long bones.

It appears that skeletons previously considered evidence of syphilis in Europe before Columbus’ trip were dated incorrectly because of seafood consumption, which would have altered the collagen levels of the skeletons, the researchers said.

Their appraisal is published in the Yearbook of Physical Anthropology.

“This is the first time that all 54 of these cases have been evaluated systematically,” said study co-author George Armelagos, an anthropologist at Emory, in the news release. “The evidence keeps accumulating that a progenitor of syphilis came from the New World with Columbus’ crew and rapidly evolved into the venereal disease that remains with us today.”

The researchers suggested someone sailing with Columbus brought Treponema—the bacteria that causes syphilis—to Europe. This type of bacteria also causes other diseases that are spread through skin-to-skin or oral contact in tropical climates. Their theory is that the bacteria mutated into the sexually transmitted form to survive in the cooler and more sanitary conditions of Europe.

Read more at Health Finder →

U.S. Government Suing Moving Company for Anti-Latino Bias

U.S. Government Suing Moving Company for Anti-Latino Bias

Photo: U.S. Government Suing Moving Company for Anti-Latino Bias

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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed suit against a moving and storage firm for discriminating against employees based on their national origin.

Mesa Systems, Inc, which is based in Grand Junction, Colorado, allowed management at its Salt Lake City warehouse facility to discriminate against Mexican immigrants, according to the EEOC.

The suit, filed last week in U.S. District Court in Utah, accuses Mesa of violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Hispanic workers at the Salt Lake City warehouse were subjected to discrimination and a hostile work environment that included ethnic slurs, the EEOC said.

Mesa also instituted a restrictive workplace language policy “that had disparate impact against Hispanics and Asians/Pacific Islanders,” the federal agency said.

Employees who complained about management abuses suffered retaliation in the form of reductions in hours or outright dismissal, according to the suit.

The EEOC wants to see the fired employees reinstated and receive back pay and damages. The agency is likewise asking the court to require Mesa to implement programs and policies to avert future violations of Title VII.

“Offensive slurs and comments deriding one’s national origin violate Title VII and are never appropriate in the workplace; such conduct is the very definition of a hostile work environment,” Mary Jo O’Neill, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office, said in a statement.

Mesa System has had no public response to the filing of the lawsuit, which followed the EEOC’s attempt to settle the matter through a conciliation process.

Read more by HS News Staff →

More than 100 Sears, Kmart Stores to Close- Many Failed to see Christmas Boost

More than 100 Sears, Kmart Stores to Close- Many Failed to see Christmas Boost

Photo: KMart Sears Closings

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Sears Holdings Corp plans to close as many as 120 Sears and Kmart outlets nationwide after sales continued to decline during the Christmas shopping period.

“Given our performance and the difficult economic environment, especially for big-ticket items, we intend to implement a series of actions to reduce ongoing expenses, adjust our asset base, and accelerate the transformation of our business model,” CEO Lou D’Ambrosio said in a statement.

Neither Sears nor Kmart benefited from the increased holiday spending reported by other U.S. retailers.

Besides shuttering between 100 and 120 stores, Sears Holdings said it will reduce inventories at its remaining outlets by around $300 million.

The cost-cutting measures will generate savings of $140 million to $170 million, the company said.

Sears Holdings said its adjusted fourth-quarter earnings before interest, debt and amortization will be less than half of the $933 million posted in the final three months of 2010.
A spokesperson for the retailer said Tuesday a full list of location closings will be posted as soon as possible on www.searsmedia.com.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico’s Los Zetas Using Encrypted Radio Networking to Conduct Business

Mexico’s Los Zetas Using Encrypted Radio Networking to Conduct Business

Photo: Mexico's Los Zetas Using Encrypted Radio Networking to Conduct Business

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Mexico’s Los Zetas drug cartel is now said to be using encrypted radio frequencies to covertly control their operations.

The drug cartel has been using the encrypted radio network since 2006. It is said to be working in all of Mexico’s 31 states as well as in Guatemala.

A former US Army colonel told the Associated Press that the Zetas are “doing what any sensible military unit would do, They’re branching out into as many forms of communications as possible.”

While the Mexican government claims that such a network even exists, a former member of Los Zetas testified that the cartel uses legally-available parts to build their radio network.

When creating the network, it is said the cartel, which was once the enforcers for the Gulf Cartel before splitting and becoming its rival, even hired communications experts to run part of their operation.

Though attempts have been made to destroy and disrupt the network, the parts are relatively cheap and re replaced quickly, often within days.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Woman Stabs Mom After Learning Mayans Predict World Ending in 2012

Woman Stabs Mom After Learning Mayans Predict World Ending in 2012

Photo: Woman Stabs Mom After Learning Mayans Predict World Ending in 2012

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After watching a History Channel program about the Mayan prediction of the end of the world in 2012, Sabelita L. Hawkins of Seattle, WA, reportedly lost it and began attacking her mother.

According to police documents, after the program, Hawkins began yelling, “We are all going to die? Get me a gun. ...I’m ready to die. ... I’m gonna kill myself. We are all gonna die.”

A witness awoke Hawkins’ mother after finding the daughter squeezing a 2-year-old in the home. Trying to calm down her down, the mother was attacked by Hawkins, who stabbed her in the cheek with a serrated bread knife. The knife went through the mother’s cheek and sliced her tongue as well. Hawkins continued to attack her mother.

The “unprovoked an unexpected” attack left the mother with multiple stab wounds, including one that punctured her lung.

When police arrived, Hawkins continued to yell nonsensical things, some of which included statements about “people wearing blue and purple, and somebody named Darrell,” according to the report.

Hawkins has been charged with first-degree assault and remains in jail on $500,000 bail. After the attack, her mother was taken to the intensive care unit at Harborview Medical Center.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Pew Study: Obama Approval Drops Amongst Latino Voters, Yet He Leads Over all Republican Contenders

Pew Study: Obama Approval Drops Amongst Latino Voters, Yet He Leads Over all Republican Contenders

Photo: Latinos Voters 2012 Elections

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A Pew Hispanic survey reveals that, heading into the 2012 presidential campaign, Obama and the Democratic Party continue to enjoy strong support from Latino registered voters.

In a hypothetical match-up against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Obama wins 68% to 23% among Latino registered voters. And in a match-up against Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Obama wins the Latino vote 69% to 23%.3 These results closely match the outcome of the 2008 presidential election, when Obama carried the Latino vote over Republican John McCain by 67% to 31%.

The survey also shows that identification with the Democratic Party among Hispanic registered voters remains strong. Two-thirds (67%) of Hispanic registered voters say they identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party, while 20% say the same about the Republican Party.

The survey also shows that by a ratio of more than two-to-one (59% versus 27%), Latinos disapprove of the way the Obama administration is handling deportations of unauthorized immigrants, according to the new survey of Latino adults by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center.

Latinos are nearly twice as likely as the general public (42% versus 24%) to say the priority should be a path to citizenship for immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally.

Read more at Pew Hispanic Center →

Dr. Luis Bonilla Among Those Killed When Helicopter Picking Up Donor Heart Crashes

Dr. Luis Bonilla Among Those Killed When Helicopter Picking Up Donor Heart Crashes

Photo: Dr. Luis Bonilla Among Those Killed When Helicopter Picking Up Donor Heart Crashes

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A helicopter transporting two members of Mayo Clinic’s transplant team crashed the morning of December 26th while traveling to Shands at the University of Florida in Gainesville to procure an organ. The medical team consisted of Mayo Clinic cardiac surgeon Luis Bonilla, M.D., and procurement technician David Hines. A helicopter pilot who was not employed by Mayo also died in the accident. No patients were on board.

“Our deepest sympathies go out to the families of those involved in this tragedy. This is a great loss to the Mayo Clinic family and the transplant community,” said William Rupp, M.D., vice president of Mayo Clinic and chief executive officer of Mayo Clinic in Florida.

“As we mourn this tragic event, we will remember the selfless and intense dedication they brought to making a difference in the lives of our patients,” said John Noseworthy, Mayo Clinic president and chief executive officer. “We recognize the commitment transplant teams make every day in helping patients at Mayo Clinic and beyond. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families.”

The helicopter crashed in northern Florida, about 12 miles northeast of Palatka at around 5:53 a.m., but the crash was not reported until around noon when those aboard another helicopter saw it.

Details about the intended recipient of the heart were not released.

The helicopter was owned and operated by an outside company.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Last Episode of “La Fuerza del Destino” Tops U.S. TV Ratings, Garners 8 Million Viewers

Last Episode of “La Fuerza del Destino” Tops U.S. TV Ratings, Garners 8 Million Viewers

Photo: La Fuerza del Destino with Pedro Armendariz Jr.

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The last episode of the Univision soap opera “La fuerza del destino” was the most-viewed television program this past Monday in the United States, a broadcast that was bittersweet - however - due to the death of one of its stars, Mexican actor Pedro Armendariz Jr.

The soap was watched by 8 million viewers, with a special program of “Don Francisco Presenta” coming in a distant second with 3.6 million, making the Spanish-language network the most-heavily-viewed on that day in the entire country.

The final episode of “La fuerza del destino” exceeded the number of viewers tuning in to ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX, and it even garnered more market share than all those networks combined among viewers 18-34 years of age in Los Angeles, Houston, Miami and New York, all cities with large Hispanic populations.

Univision on Monday in prime time broadcast a two-hour special final episode of the soap in which David Zepeda and Sandra Echeverria starred in the roles of Ivan and Lucia, respectively, and in which Armendariz portrayed Anthony Macguire, Ivan’s adoptive father.

Armendariz, 71, died in a New York hospital from cancer of the eye.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Social Media Aiding in the Tracking of Drug Dealers in Mexico

Social Media Aiding in the Tracking of Drug Dealers in Mexico

Photo: Social Media Aiding in the Tracking of Drug Dealers in Mexico

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As Mexico continues its battle with drug cartels, residents are taking to the internet to help authorities find the drug dealers in their neighborhoods.

Using Twitter and Google Maps, residents with knowledge of criminal activity in Reynosa, are marking and sharing with authorities and other residents where they’ve seen or know of drug related incidents occurring.

Local officials have a system for reporting illegal drug activity (Denuncia Ciudadana), and say they would rather have residents use their system than one that residents created themselves.

Earlier this year, an anonymous group began a project on Twitter called “Denuncia Publica de Puntos de Venta Droga”, which utilizes both Twitter and Google Maps to allow users to zoom in, even getting street views of areas where drugs are sold.

Whether residents use the system created by law enforcement or the one run by Twitter users, they are doing what they can to try to rid their neighborhoods of drugs and hopefully the violence that comes along with it.

Read more by HS News Staff →

STUDY: Justice Elusive for Women Victims of Sexual Violence in Central America

STUDY: Justice Elusive for Women Victims of Sexual Violence in Central America

Photo: Map of Central America

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The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) publishes today the Report Access to Justice for Women Victims of Sexual Violence in Mesoamerica.

The report analyzes the multiple dimensions of the problem of sexual violence and its treatment by the justice systems of the Mesoamerican region, with a special emphasis on Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua.

The women victims of sexual violence encounter serious obstacles in endeavoring to get access to adequate and effective justice. These obstacles are impediments to the full enjoyment of women’s human rights, which is protected under inter-American and international human rights instruments; they also represent a failure on the part of the States to honor their obligation to act with the due diligence required to prevent, investigate, prosecute, punish and redress acts of violence committed against women. 

The IACHR has observed that sexual violence is not an isolated phenomenon confined to the Mesoamerican region.  It is instead a multidimensional problem that affects every country in the Americas.

The report includes recommendations oriented to promote State interventions to prevent, investigate, prosecute and redress acts of sexual violence promptly and effectively.

Read more at Inter-American Commission on Human Rights →

Venezuela Offers to Remove Dangerous French Implants Found in Many Latin American Women

Venezuela Offers to Remove Dangerous French Implants Found in Many Latin American Women

Photo: Venezuela Offers to Remove Dangerous French Implants Found in Many Latin American Women

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After a number of women in Latin America discovered their breast implants were filled with industrial silicone and prone to rupture, Venezuela stepped in a has offered to help.

Tuesday, Venezuela’s health minister announced that patients who had been given implants from bankrupt French company Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) could check into the country’s hospitals and have the dangerous implants removed for free. However, the implants would not be replaced.

Many of the PIP implants in Venezuela were brought in illegally, and now research has shown that the industrial silicone-injected implants have an unusually high rupture rate.

In Latin America, cosmetic procedures are rising.. In fact, earlier this year, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez went on a tangent earlier this year about breast augmentation, claiming it leads to teen pregnancy and drug addiction, and failed to enhance his revolutionary priorities in any way.

It is estimated that in Venezuela alone, 30,000 to 40,000 women undergo breast surgery every year.

So while the PIP implants are dangerous and should probably be removed from all you have them, Chavez is more than happy to provide free removal, because as they’ve stated, they will not be replaced, cutting back on the number of women with implants.

It is estimated that some 300,000 PIP implants were used in cosmetic procedures, with tens of thousands of them being bought in Latin America, where the demand for cosmetic procedures continues to grow.

Studies are currently being performed to determine if ruptured PIP implants are causing cancer.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Copy-Cat: Chavez Pardons 141 Prisoners for Christmas Much Like Cuba’s Raul Castro

Copy-Cat: Chavez Pardons 141 Prisoners for Christmas Much Like Cuba’s Raul Castro

Photo: Hugo Chávez

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First Cuban President Raúl Castro announced the pardon of more than 2900 prisoners; now Hugo Chávez has followed suit and freed 141 inmates.

Raúl Castro said the upcoming visit by Pope Benedict XVI inspired the mass amnesty in Cuba; among the prisoners that will be freed in the coming days, there are 86 foreigners from 25 countries, Castro said.

Monkey see, monkey do and so Chávez announced amnesty for a group of 100 men and 44 women inmates in Venezuela, but failed to grant a Christmas pardon to former Judge Maria Lourdes Afiuni, who was jailed after she released Eligio Cedeño, a banker with ties to the opposition from prison.

Judge Afiuni, a single mother and cancer patient, was imprisoned in Los Teques female prison in the Venezuelan capital, and then placed under house arrest in February, following repeated death threats against her.

Imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery, but in this case, Chávez is demonstrating that he is fully in control of his government while attempting to convince voters that he has a heart.  The Venezuelan leader’s return to his usual preposterous and flamboyant self in the last couple of weeks is evidently a campaign ploy, intended to be a message to the Venezuelan people, that indeed he has defeated cancer and is ready to govern until 2021.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Argentine President Kirchner Has Thyroid Cancer to Take Short-Leave of Absence

Argentine President  Kirchner Has Thyroid Cancer to Take Short-Leave of Absence

Photo: President Cristina Fernandez

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Argentine President Cristina Fernandez will undergo surgery on Jan. 4 to remove a tumor on her thyroid gland, presidential spokesman Alfredo Scoccimarro said.

The tumor was discovered when the 58-year-old president underwent a routine medical exam, Scoccimarro said.

Fernandez’s other organs have not been affected by the tumor, the presidential spokesman said.

After the operation, the president plans to take sick leave until Jan. 24, Scoccimarro said.

“On Dec. 22, during a routine medical examination conducted on the president of the nation, the existence of a papillary carcinoma of the right lobe of the thyroid gland was detected,” the presidential spokesman said.

Tests conducted on Tuesday indicated that the lymph glands have not been affected and Fernandez’s tumor has not metastasized, Scoccimarro said.

The procedure Fernandez will undergo is relatively simple and she should be able to recover completely and live a normal life, specialists said Wednesday.

The operation takes “two or three hours, basically because of the proximity of other organs” near the thyroid in the neck, Latin American Thyroid Institute president Dr. Marcos Abalovich told Radio Continental.

The president will undergo surgery at a private hospital in Pilar, a city located about 60 kilometers (37 miles) north of Buenos Aires.

Fernandez will be undergoing an operation that “does not have too many complications,” Pedro Roffo Oncology Institute chief Ricardo Kirchuk told Radio 10.

Thyroid cancer has a high recovery level and is “absolutely manageable” with medicine, Kirchuk said.

The operation will be performed by Dr. Pedro Saco, one of Argentina’s top specialists in dealing with this form of cancer, officials said.

Saco studied medicine in Argentina and received additional training at cancer institutes in Houston and New York.

The surgeon, who has been practicing medicine for 27 years, is vice president of the Argentine Association for Head and Neck Surgery.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Over 2,000 Suspected Criminals Have Died in Mexico Clashing with the Military

Over 2,000 Suspected Criminals Have Died in Mexico Clashing with the Military

Photo: Mexican Military Kills Over 2,000 Allleged Criminals

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A total of 2,321 suspected criminals have died in clashes with army and air force personnel over the past five years, the Mexican Defense Secretariat said.

Since President Felipe Calderon took office on Dec. 1, 2006, 356 people have been wounded and 41,023 others have been arrested in operations targeting drug cartels and other criminal organizations, the secretariat said.

The figures, however, do not cover operations staged by the marine corps, which is part of the Navy Secretariat, and do not include army and air force casualties.

Army and air force units were attacked 1,971 times in the past five years, the secretariat said.

Calderon declared war on Mexico’s drug cartels shortly after taking office and deployed about 45,000 soldiers and 20,000 Federal Police officers to areas plagued by drug-related violence.

The army and air force “follow the law” in all their operations, respecting human rights, the secretariat said.

“In those cases where some effect on individual guarantees has been detected,” the armed forces have “cooperated with the agencies in charge of clearing up the incidents,” the secretariat said.

Citizens have filed 5,962 complaints with the National Human Rights Commission, or CNDH, Mexico’s equivalent of an ombudsman’s office, against the armed forces during the Calderon administration.

Only 92 of the complaints, or 1.54 percent of the total, resulted in CNDH recommendations of action against the army, the secretariat said, adding that 86.29 percent of the complaints ended up as closed cases.

More than 40,000 people have died in Mexico since Calderon launched his war on the cartels, with many of the victims dying in attacks staged by gang enforcers.

Read more by HS News Staff →

GEO Will Continue to Manage South Texas Immigration Facility, $45 Million in Revenue Expected

GEO Will Continue to Manage South Texas Immigration Facility, $45 Million in Revenue Expected

Photo: Immigration Detention Centers Texas

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The GEO Group (“GEO”) announced today that it has signed a contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) for the continued management of the company-owned 1,904-bed South Texas Detention Center (the “Center”) located in Pearsall, Texas.

The new contract will have a term of approximately five years effective through November 30, 2016. Under the terms of the agreement, the contracted capacity at the Center will be 1,800 beds with a 75 percent occupancy guarantee and the ability to surge to 1,900 beds.

The new contract is expected to generate approximately $45.0 million in annualized revenues at the full occupancy level of 1,800 beds.

GEO has had its share of issues from prisoner uprisings to deaths to lawsuits related to its detention centers.  Earlier this month New York officials were urging the probe of the Queen’s GEO facility citing ‘unjust’ treatment of prisoners that included long period of solitary confinement. 

GEO is one of the largest private prisoner operators in the U.S.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Shameless Sheriff Arpaio in Iowa Campaigning Alongside Rick Perry

Apparently America’s alleged toughest Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s label as a racist and Latino loather aren’t bothering Republican presidential hopeful Texas Governor Rick Perry.

Perry is back in Iowa campaigning with Arpaio at his side to make sure Iowans and all Americans know his commitment to a secure border.  While Arpaio defends himself from the Department of Justice findings of civil right abuses of Latino detainees in Arizona, Perry apparently thinks Arpaio adds a positive patina to his floundering campaign.

Think again we say especially if you are seeking the Latino vote.

Perry noted “There is no such thing as homeland security when there is no border security.”  No mention that border security must come at the expense of someone’s civil rights. 

Arpaio had been a much sought after endorsement by the other Republican presidential contenders but Perry eventually won that endorsement.  Two months ago and before his troubles with the Justice Department got serious, he gave his endorsement to Perry.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Illinois Teen Killed in Mexico, Burned Body Found in Trunk, While Visiting Family

Illinois Teen Killed in Mexico, Burned Body Found in Trunk, While Visiting Family

Photo: Alexis Uriel Marron Memorial Facebook Page

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18-Year Old Alexis Uriel Marron of Rolling Meadows, Illinois was founded murdered inside a burned car holding the remains of two other young men in Mexico on Christmas Eve.

The Rolling Meadows High School senior was in Guadalajara, Mexico visiting family and friends with monies he earned as a waiter.  He was reported missing last Friday when he failed to show up for a gift-exchange. 

The teen’s body was found inside the trunk of a car outside of a rural ranch in Ixtlan de los Hervores.  His parents who remained in Illinois during the holidays are now making plans to retrieve his remains and hold a memorial service. 

The other two bodies have been identified as two locals: 24-year-old Juan Pedro Estrada Osequeda and 21-year-old Raul Tellez Vazquez.  The victims were found inside of Estrada’s 1997 Mercury.  Police are investigating the connection between the three young men and how they came to be in the car on Christmas Eve.

Robbery is suspected as the motive but the investigation by Mexican authorities is still ongoing. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Cuba Increases Total Phone Connections by 18.5% in 2011

Cuba Increases Total Phone Connections by 18.5% in 2011

Photo: Cuba Increases Total Phone Connections by 18.5% in 2011

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The number of telephone connections in Cuba increased 18.5 percent this year to 2.4 million, about evenly divided between fixed-line and mobile accounts, official daily Juventud Rebelde said Tuesday.

The state phone company, ETESCA, installed 43,362 fixed lines and activated 300,000 new cellular connections in 2011, the newspaper said, citing the firm’s president, Mayra Arevich Marin.

Announcing in mid-2010 that Cuba had passed the milestone of 1 million mobile connections, ETESCA proclaimed a goal of substantially boosting cell phone use in the island nation of 11.2 million people.

It was only in March 2008 that the Communist government authorized ordinary Cubans to own cell phones.

Since then, ETESCA has gradually reduced activation fees by 80 percent, instituted a sliding scale of rates and given subscribers on prepaid plans the ability to have friends or family outside Cuba add minutes to their accounts.

Read more by HS News Staff →



WednesdayDecember 28, 2011